Pay attention to me.

IWSG badgeThis post is part of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group blog hop. The first Wednesday of every month is Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. The awesome co-hosts for the the June 3 posting of the IWSG will be M. Pax, Tracy Jo, Patricia Lynne, Rachna Chhabria, Feather Stone, and Randi Lee!

One thing I’ve discovered being published (finally!) is that attention is awesome. Having positive attention focused on you for accomplishing something is heady and addictive. Every time a new release comes out, people are talking about and to me: tweets, Facebook posts, reviews, congratulations, acknowledgements. My heart soars every time someone retweets one of my tweets or talks about my book or gives me a review, be it on their blog or Amazon. Release day is the best day because that’s the day everyone is paying attention to you. Your publisher will chatter about you and all kinds of promotion and publicity is rolled out for you.

The problem with attention is that it’s fleeting. Release day will come, but it will end too. All the promotion both you and your publisher do will stop eventually. Reviews will drop off. People will stop tweeting about you and talking about you on Facebook. For one shining moment you’re the star, but that’s just it…it’s only a moment. Unless you have a new release coming out every single day, the herd will quickly move on to the next shiny thing.

When you enjoy attention, having it switched off can bring back all the insecurities and self-doubt that each pat on the back momentarily wiped out. All the sudden you’re left with just you and no one cheerleading. You have to sit down and write the next book so you can get more of that attention you crave. You have to create another reason to wave your arms and shout “hey, look at me!”

There are ways to fill in the gaps and get people to at least glance at you between the big important moments. You can do self-promotion, go on blog tours, write your own blog, enter contests, do giveaways, go to conferences, and talk to anybody who will interview you…not that yours truly would ever be THAT desperate, *ahem*. Anything to get just a little taste of that attention you get on release day. Sometimes I don’t even care if people buy my books, as long as they merely acknowledge them.

But in the end, I have to remember that I’m a writer, and as such I write to write, not to be a celebrity. Writing calms the anxiety. Writing makes me feel whole and it feels even better than the attention. Getting the words down and meeting my writing quota for the day feels better than a thousand retweets and reviews. Attention for your writing is like candy–it tastes good, but it doesn’t nourish you.

Do you crave attention? How do you deal with yourself when you’re not getting it?

(Completely apropos, I’m currently on a blog tour for One Night In Chicago, if you care to follow me around and give me attention.)

37 comments

  1. I’m always insecure about not getting attention. So when I get a simple comment on a blog post, I’m over the moon. For years I’ve kept up my blog, and there were weeks on end I received no notice from anyone. Once in a while I’d hear from a family member, “Oh, I read what you write sometimes, I just don’t comment”. Even if I’d share the link on FB, you’d think they could at least acknowledge it with a “like”. I was so disheartened for awhile that for three months last year, I gave up on writing. I decided I was done. But, like my next breath of air, I found I could not last long without writing. So I started again. It’s true what you say, we don’t write to become celebrities. We write because it’s in our blood. So, attention or not, I will write.

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    1. I’m glad you came back to it! I’ve been there way too many times, trying to convince myself it’s over, I’m not gonna do it anymore–only to come right back. The muse doesn’t let us go easily.

      I try to acknowledge and comment on things I’ve read for just that reason. Hitting ‘like’ on Facebook is super easy, too.

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Like

  2. I find too much attention overwhelming, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want any. It’s all about balance. But it’s tough when your book is in the limelight and then it’s not. It’s so fleeting. It’s a nice reminder for me to go write. 🙂

    My IWSG Post

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  3. I have yet to publish anything outside of the internet, but so far, I’ve gone back and forth on this. On one hand, I would like people to tell me they like my work and it’s good and general validation that lets me know I’m not a complete hack. On the other, I am not very good on promoting my own work and I often kind of freak out when someone leaves a comment (gotta love that stupid social anxiety).

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    1. I know what you mean–because honestly, not everyone has something good to say and I’ve already run into it a few times. It’s important to remember that people’s opinions are just that–good or bad, it’s just what one person thinks. Promoting yourself is scary, but rest assured it gets easier with time!

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  4. Love your honesty! I always think I don’t need it but when I get it, it is a bit addicting! It reminds me of growing up and how I’d get so excited for my birthday and then the next day…it was OVER and I’d be a little lost. It’s good to get your focus back but those crazy, fun moments are awesome!

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    1. That’s a good way to describe it! For one day you’re the special one and then–everybody just goes back to ignoring you. It can play hell on your ego, that’s for sure. I’m glad you liked the post! Thanks for stopping by!

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  5. I’ve never really been one for attention. Then again, I have social anxiety disorder. But I do have a little writer ego inside and Writer Ego can’t wait until something is out there.

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  6. I haven’t gotten anything published yet — but I do adore those moments when my blog seems to get a boost… people talking, sharing, and paying attention! It’s always so amazing…. but your’e right, it fades and then you have to try and find ways to recapture it…
    I don’t even want to think of what a mess I’ll be when I finally do publish and have to face it on that kind of a scale… it isn’t just my blogging, but my fiction then! And, somehow, that seems even more daring.

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    1. I’m still in the first year of being a ‘real, published author,’ so I’m still trying to navigate the attention vs. the times no one is even looking at you. It makes you kind of crazy. At the end of the day, you just have to remind yourself why you’re here and why you got into writing in the first place. It’s never easy!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Hi Megan, this was a very interesting post. I used to carry out training for a living, and having a roomful of people listening to you was a real buzz. I did feel very flat after a course was over. I imagine how you felt after release day must have been similar. But as you say, the long term pleasure is in the writing itself, the attention (and the money) is just the cherry.

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    1. I never thought of training being like that! I imagine it would be, having a bunch of people paying attention to you and then…just being alone. It’s very much like that with writing and publishing. But yes, you’re totally right, the pleasure is in the writing…sometimes you have to remind yourself to focus on that instead of the kudos!

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  8. Recently, I had to rethink my marketing strategies. They were talking up a lot of time, and worst of all, writing posts for my blog, tweeting, facebook updates had pushed my first love to the sidelines – working on my manuscript had been reduced to a fraction of what it used to be. I’ve had to ween myself off the online presence, hoping my followers will not abandon me in the long run. I’ll need them when this manuscript becomes a novel. It’s a dance between keeping in touch and completing my writing projects. How to find that perfect balance? I’m still not sure. Any advice?

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    1. I feel you there. I would rather write than promote and sometimes I feel like I’m putting time into promoting that would be better spent writing–and I’m not sure that social media and an online presence is even doing that much anyway. While it’s great to talk to people and participate in various things, I’m not sure it’s actually doing that much for me sales-wise.

      One of my publishers is quite large and they do tons of promotion for me. They get me into a lot of places I couldn’t promote myself on my own and do a lot of the work for me, including getting me out to review sites and putting me on blog tours. But my other works with different publishers require my own work and money to promote. Unfortunately, I’ve found the best way to spend more time writing and less time promoting is to end up with a publisher that does the work for you.

      My advice is to spend more time writing than promoting–after all, you need something to promote! A large body of work means you always have something to show off and you stay in front of people.

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  9. I never thought of it that way – ME craving attention. I always thought I wanted the attention on my work. I’ve often said that I want to be rich and famous – without the famous part 😉 But I do scramble to keep my books (and therefore myself) in the public eye after release because honestly if I stop, so do sales. It’s exhausting! And maybe it’s more vain than I originally realized. 😉

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    1. It is truly exhausting. I find that promo is important but I’d rather dedicate that time to writing–still, it must be done. We have to get out there and get that attention I guess, if we want things to sell.

      Thanks for stopping by!

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  10. I think I’m something in between. Not necessarily craving attention, but a word here and there help me feel like I’m not being ignored. 🙂 Especially after giving out so many free books. Then I want to shout, “You got it for free for Pete’s sake! Did you read it? Can’t you leave a sentence or two review so I know what you thought?”

    Yeah, I might not NEED attention, but the sound of crickets can be devastating sometimes.

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    1. Gosh yes, that’s the worst, when you give something away and never hear a word back. It makes me worry that it was crap and they just don’t know how to tell me. Realistically, I know people have lives, they forget, they have better things to do, but we wouldn’t be writers if we weren’t paranoid, right?

      Crickets are a terrible sound…hey, maybe we should give the crickets a free copy of our books?

      Thank for stopping by! 🙂

      Like

  11. Oh yes, I crave attention. I want it so bad that I want Hollywood to pay attention and come at me with movie adaptation deals. But I think most, if not all, writers want to be acknowledged for their effort. It is no easy thing to sit down and write. So when a writer has a release, they’re deserving of the applause, pats on the back, etc. But during those times where the applause is not as loud as you use to be, it’s best to take things one thing at a time. One book at a time. And along the way you’ll gather fans who’ll stick by you, applauding you, following and retweeting you, for life.

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    1. Very well said! I definitely think it’s more important to create long-term fans than to just try to impress the crowd at large every single time. Making real connections means those people will be around even when you’re not in the spotlight.

      I wish Hollywood would visit me too! If they stop by, I’ll direct them to your house as well. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

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