First off, thanks to everyone who read and commented on my IWSG and Weekend Coffee Share posts. Being that it’s my first year with both of these groups, I felt nervous, not knowing how they would be received. But reading the comments and viewing the stats put my mind at ease. I know it’s ridiculous correlating stats with happiness, but it means something to me.
Now that that’s out of the way, on to the matter at hand:
So, I check my email frequently, and every day I get updates on recent activity from Scribophile, a writing website I signed up for last year. I went in with the purpose of showing my stories to the online populace. But to do so, I have to earn points. I earn points by critiquing others’ works. And not just say, “Good story. I liked it.” I have to give deep, thought-provoking analyses. I kind of gave up on Scribophile because navigating that site is not as simple as it seems.
There’s another writing website I joined a couple of years ago: The Writer’s Network. A friend on Twitter told me about it. There, you can post stories as much as you want. Critiques are optional. But since I joined, I haven’t posted one story. There’s probably another site or two I signed up for, but because it’s been so long since I joined, I don’t remember the names.
So I got to thinking: are writing websites really worth joining? I think the key to them is that you have to be fully vested into them. Sites like Scribophile, Wattpad, and the like encourage active participation, not just jumping in whenever you feel like it. It means being active in the forums, if they’re offered. Writing critiques. Publishing your work for others to read and critique. Unfortunately, I haven’t been that active. I haven’t participated in the forums to learn more about these sites. I haven’t published my stories because of the fear that people will bash them. Whatever the reason (excuse), that needs to change.
That’s not to say I haven’t done my research on them. I noted the advantages and disadvantages of such sites. In some ways, posting work on these writing sites is similar to self-publishing. You have to identify your potential audience. Learn what they’re reading right now, but also be aware that the interests can and will change. This is especially true with fanfiction sites. There are many sources to base your stories on. Whether you have “original” characters interact with established characters. Or whether you create a story that strays from the main storyline. Be aware that your audience is going to be very picky.
I can’t say that Scribophile and The Writer’s Network have been busts because I’m not active on them. To someone else, it’s perfect, depending on the audience they want to reach. Having said that, I will add one more goal for 2017: be more active on those sites and publish my work. And after a year, I’ll offer my conclusions.
Until next time, take care.