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04 January 2010 @ 11:20 pm
Ah artistic types ...  
Very quick poll, NB, the first word of the first answer should be care, but lj won't let me fix it. *Damn you, LJ!*:
Poll #1507051 Our minds are too highly trained ...

If you are a writer, artist, or other producer of a creative endeavour that can be consumed, do you:

are about your audience, but leave it up to them whether or not they can follow you all the way;
like your audience, but don't pay that much attention;
work solely for yourself;
try to work solely for yourself, with the occasional private attack of the wobblies;
find yourself horrified how much you can care about a comment count/reviews?
For my own part, after RL attacks of the last option, I entered fandom determined to work solely for myself, and do sometimes achieve that happy state, but more often it's accompanied by occasional wobblies. Having chatted to several friends on the topic, the wobblies seem a common surprise guest.

What about you lot? And how do you combat the wobblies if you're someone they hit?
Shivshiv5468 on January 4th, 2010 12:28 pm (UTC)
I do have wobblies about quality etc, but I'm not sure I take on board the opinion of broader fandom as a whole. I've seen ti squee stuff I don't like or respect too ften to think it's an entirely reliablejudge of anything.

reviews are nice though.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on January 5th, 2010 10:55 am (UTC)
Yeah, I'm harder on myself than most people -- at least on the grounds I care about (my 'no porn? That's fine!' pass is quite generous), but then I do have occasional 'why no one love meeeeeeeee' attack. Which I counter by taking off my top and going to bother Mr Brammers ... you possibly didn't need to know that last bit ...
E McGeemelusinahp on January 4th, 2010 12:40 pm (UTC)
I find that my answer varies based on what kind of thing I'm writing. For example, I know darkfic gets fewer comments, so that frees me up to write more for myself than for an audience. I know I'm not going to get a huge response, so I don't need to worry about trying to please anyone other than myself (or my fest recipient). I'm still interested in the response, but I know from the outset that it won't be huge, so I'm less likely to feel disappointed.

When I'm writing something that has the potential to be a crowd pleaser, however, I've noticed that I get much more wibbly. I was incredibly wibbly over my hd hols fic, because I put my heart into it and there really wasn't any reason for it to not do well other than it possibly sucking, lol. I did love writing it and I was personally happy with it. But still -- it's so, so nice to know that other people enjoyed something you wrote and to get positive feedback. I'll admit that I would have been quite upset if it had been universally disliked or if my recipient had seemed disappointed.

I know some people claim they write only to please themselves, but I've seen the same people who claim that have huge wibbles when they don't get the response they were hoping for. I think everyone wibbles to an extent. If they were writing only for themselves, they wouldn't need to bother posting things publicly. Wibbling is normal and human and there's nothing wrong with it. ;P

blamebramptonblamebrampton on January 5th, 2010 11:35 am (UTC)
If they were writing only for themselves, they wouldn't need to bother posting things publicly.

In broad agreement with much of your comment, but I am not sure about this paragraph. I was trying to figure out in my head today why I put stories out into the world when I am happy with them, and came up with many bad metaphors, before deciding, that's just what one does with a finished story. Until you do that, it's not finished.

Of course, I am sleep deprived and whacked myself in the head this morning, so the likelihood that this concept is deranged or the product of yet another brain injury should not be discounted.
emansil_08 on January 5th, 2010 05:28 pm (UTC)
Thought I'd pop in here for a mo. Your statement about darkfic getting fewer comments I can't really speak to having never posted dark fic. However, I just want to say that the writers and readers of darkfic are amazingly supportive to new writers angsting over entering the genre. I've had so many people offering me assistance and hand holding as I try to make my way through the writing of darkfic. I can't tell you how very much I've appreciated it. So thanks!
E McGeemelusinahp on January 5th, 2010 05:33 pm (UTC)
That's because a) we want good new writers! and b) because we remember what it was like when we first ventured into darkfic. <3
emansil_08 on January 5th, 2010 09:01 pm (UTC)
Well, I appreciate the vote of confidence. Whatever the reason I really do appreciate it.
prone to mischieftreacle_tartlet on January 4th, 2010 01:11 pm (UTC)
What do I do about the wobblies? I email the fic to you, along with a nonsensical, hysterical note about how crap it is, and then you pat me on the head and tell me that it's fine.

Edited at 2010-01-04 01:11 pm (UTC)
blamebramptonblamebrampton on January 5th, 2010 10:57 am (UTC)
I fell asleep before making the last bit perfect and then I went to Deense's tonight and helped her sew. Will send it to you without perfect last bit ;-)

Also, it's FINE!
Vaysh Swiftstormvaysh on January 4th, 2010 01:16 pm (UTC)
I generally know pretty well whether one of my fics is crap or great. So no, no wobblies about the inherent quality of my writing. BUT: of course comments mean a whole lot to me. :) They can make me view something I know is not all that good, in a different light and tell me that a story which does not live up to my lofty editor's (needs to be publishable) standards can still be a decent piece of fanfic. My Career Fair fic comes to mind.
Vaysh Swiftstormvaysh on January 4th, 2010 01:18 pm (UTC)
Publishable quality, I meant. *headdesk* I never ever would want to publish fanfic.
maggie: HP VK as Harrymarguerite_26 on January 4th, 2010 01:17 pm (UTC)
I'm not sure my responses to the poll really reflect how I wanted to answer. What I want to say is that I write to entertain, both myself and others. If I wrote to entertain only myself, I would never bother with typing it in because God, I hate that bit. If I write something that is meant to entertain someone like a very specific gift fic, it really is only that giftees reply that matters (like a ridiculously dark and horrid b-day piece for mel, I expected to get 2 comments on and was ecstatic with 5).

In general, I write for a certain niche corner of fandom that is interested in the type of fic I happen to be writing at the time. I write in the hope that my fic entertains those people. The comments/reviews/recs help me gage whether I was successful at entertaining them. If the response goes beyond that target audience, I am thrilled! If it doesn't *shrug* I just hope I didn't miss the mark for the person/persons I was intending to entertain.

Not to say I don't wibble, but they tend to be easily satisfied with a pleasant stroke or two from a small group.
Hueyphoenixacid on January 4th, 2010 01:17 pm (UTC)
I think generally people who writes are hit harder by crit than artists, because you can really tear someone up about their story. But when it comes to art, it's either you like it or you don't - not many people will give specific comments like, "Draco looks like a demented peacock in this", or "I'd prefer *Harry!bits* to be closer to *Draco!bits*". But yes, reviews are always nice. :D
מִרְיָם רִבְקָהangelofcaffeine on January 4th, 2010 01:30 pm (UTC)
I'd love to take part, but I think I could have all of them as my answers, depending on exactly when I'm writing.
beatnikspinster on January 4th, 2010 01:57 pm (UTC)
I picked 1 and 4. When I'm actually working, it's one. Once it's posted, then four. It's only natural to have concerns about how a piece is received, but I try to set them aside when I'm actually working.

I think I worry more about fanart than RL art. Fandom has very specific expectations that aren't my first language, so to speak, so I find myself being more concerned about translation. But my RL stuff is my world, and I'm much more likely to tell people to take a long walk off a short pier.

But it's still not "work solely for yourself". Like my art professor said, "If it's only for you, then why waste everyone else's time with it?" (Yes, that was said to me.)
lotus_lizzylotus_lizzy on January 4th, 2010 02:28 pm (UTC)
Fandom has very specific expectations that aren't my first language, so to speak, so I find myself being more concerned about translation.

That is absolutely fantastic. I need to remember that in the future because it sums up quite a bit of how I feel.

Edited at 2010-01-04 02:29 pm (UTC)
beatnikspinster on January 4th, 2010 05:02 pm (UTC)
Thanks, Liz! Yeah, it's hard to sync with the communal vibe sometimes. In my RL comics several things rarely, if ever, happen: romance, hot sex, hot people, rich (and almost-rich) people not being evil, monolithic darkness/lightness, and cute-ness of any kind.
lotus_lizzylotus_lizzy on January 4th, 2010 05:05 pm (UTC)
Hehe :) But if you added any of that I would wonder where your brain went. I personally find a fresh view to be worth more than a thousand copies of things I've seen before.
Darry Willis: treacle tartnursedarry on January 4th, 2010 02:05 pm (UTC)
As a relative n0ob, I'm delighted to get readership, and often the best gauge of this is comment count. Having said that, if I'm happy with a fic, then I'm not too fussed. It all depends on the content and context and probably the phases of the moon, to be honest :D

As we all have different tastes (which I absolutely love about fandom), I'd have to agree with what everyone above has said - it's a bit of both. I'm mostly just happy to share the same sandbox with everyone here, regardless of our style/motivation.
Azure Jane Lunatic: Get On My Horseazurelunatic on January 4th, 2010 02:15 pm (UTC)
There are the things I write solely for myself, then there are the things that I write with a mind to my audience. The solely for myself ones, I might as well do private except there are people who actively like to read me (who have told me so), and I don't mind the company. (Plus sometimes it gets me interesting surprise guests, like the time the artist from the Dinosaurs Having Sex With Robots illustration that I linked showed up on one of the Twitter imports and said that honestly they didn't know which partner all the spilled fluid was from, nor what sort of fluid it was.)

Then there's when I'm writing in public on purpose looking for an audience, and it's unnerving not to get any comments when I'm expecting at least one. Enter the wobblies.

Usually I go to one of my Partners in Crime and babble at them until they (not unkindly) tell me to shut up.
lotus_lizzylotus_lizzy on January 4th, 2010 02:25 pm (UTC)
The wobblies have hit me a bit too hard this winter season and I'm determined not to let them rule my fate in 2010! In fact, I purposely chose things that audiences wouldn't like in my future fests. I don't think I'm slated to even write H/D until the summer, other than your lovely fic I promised to write you, at some point.

I was tempted to pick the last option only because I find myself absolutely horrified at how much I care about writing well received fantasy porn (with the occasional non-porn). I wish there were a button to turn that off, but I'm afraid insecurity is the name of the game with creative works.

But I will not let it consume me! I will overcome and continue to write stuff that only I, and a few other lovely people, seem to enjoy.
lotus_lizzylotus_lizzy on January 4th, 2010 02:33 pm (UTC)
And just to add, everything I write while it has to please me, also has to please my hubby, so perhaps I am writing for an audience, and audience of one :) But in general I have trouble trying to imagine what an audience will like as they tend to enjoy the most random things. Its sort of like trying to imagine where a rain drop will fall. Doesn't mean I wouldn't like it to fall where I want it though.
not your typical annihilatrix: Bleach: Nerielfuriosity on January 4th, 2010 02:39 pm (UTC)
I don't understand what "the wobblies" are supposed to be. :S
κάτι τρέχει στα γύφτικα: deathandthemaiden_inbetween_ on January 4th, 2010 02:56 pm (UTC)
I guess it's a Matrjoschka with a rounded bottom when it's given a little nudge. Hm. That implies it can never be a permanent state though. Jelly in an earthquake? Hm.
κάτι τρέχει στα γύφτικα: J-curtains_inbetween_ on January 4th, 2010 02:53 pm (UTC)
Even though you very kindly chose multiple options (you can never edit any poll, btw), I still cannot decide what to tick, because it doesn't sound right even if I click one, four and five.
I don't find myself horrified because I always knew people with gazillion reviews who regularly throw public wobblies, and that most people get few comments (supply/demand always sliding), so it was no surprise to me that I'm often hurt or disappointed; yet I wish it would get lesser, though like stage fright it doesn't seem to?
I also couldn't even start comparing comment count or reviews to others, although once I had tried out a tracker and 2.000 hits (in a week) to seven comments (in all the years since) was the norm.
Obviously I don't work solely for myself, firstly because then I wouldn't be here and secondly - that point now only applies to myself - I need an impetus outside myself, I'm not reason enough for myself. I don't mean cheerleaders, since I never had any, but someone to write something for they might like to read.
And yet I still don't pander, grovel, cowtow or advertise *hits self repeatedly* so number one as well.
rickey_arickey_a on January 4th, 2010 04:05 pm (UTC)
Whenever I get wobblies, I lie down until they go away.

Just kidding.

Sort of.

I try to remind myself why I do this in the first place. Why do I write. It's because I've thought up this story in my head and I want to create something out of it. I love the creative process. I focus on the process and my enjoyment of it. I try not to worry about comments. These days I'm only annoyed by anonymice and socks as a means to leave criticism because it's obviously a personal thing at that point and not about the work.

this mundane stuff called lifewinnett on January 4th, 2010 04:16 pm (UTC)
I think it is impossible to work solely for yourself. Well, I'll take that back, as someone who likes published works and wants to get there someday, you have to write for your audience. They are the ones who keep the money coming.

Comments, in a way, are like money.

I'm sure some people live in a hole and don't care, I do know some people like that and sometimes their stuff is so solidly their own, that audiences don't like it. (This happened on a literary committee I was one for a student publication where the writing was good, but too preachy and the author wasn't about to mellow it out, so we didn't accept it.)

There are times when I read a 'fan service' fic that is totally for the audience and it's so so, but fluffy or full of sex or something, and it's gotten so many comments that I get frustrated, because it's not that good. I might even go so far as to think 'but my story is better than theirs in all ways except it's not fan service and they are more popular.' That is frustrating, but it is also the way the world works.

I'm not quite sure what the wobblies are. No confidence in yourself if you're not lauded enough? I can get frustrated, as I mentioned above, but I don't compromise myself and what I consider good fic for it.
Bryoneybryoneybrynn on January 4th, 2010 04:36 pm (UTC)
Ah, this is the question with no simple answer. I think for me, I write for myself in that I have never tried to write what I think would please. If it's a gift!fic, I do try to take their wants/tastes into account but it still has to be mine and feel right to me. I can think of at least two examples straight off where I couldn't deliver what my giftee asked for because I just couldn't make it resonate for me. That said, I know that what I like to write tends to fit the fandom bill to a certain extent - flangst with an emotional focus and some sex - so it's not like I have to really pick between what I want to write and what people are willing to read for the most part.

But I've definitely written things that I loved that got little love in return. And I've definitely counted comments - this past round of hols was probably my lowest comment count of a fest fic ever, but it also wasn't a super strong fic, so I'm okay with that. Similarly, this fest saw my lowest number of recs/reviews. Maybe I was just so busy with modding that I didnt' feel so investedin the writing but I'm surprisingly okay with what probably would have felt like a bit of a check in the fail column otherwise. *shrugs*

The wibbly wobblies get better when I have a team of betas I trust and feel comfortable taking crit from because then I'm more confident in the final product. And I think that I can see how I've improved in the last 2.5 years and that makes me feel good too, even when I write the occasional stinker. To be honest, when I get wibbly in the community, it tends to be much more about relationships stuff than about my writing. However, I've been fortunate enough that I've never had anyone really tear into my writing. It might be a very different story if that happened.


Sorry. Long comment is long.
lotus_lizzylotus_lizzy on January 4th, 2010 05:48 pm (UTC)
this past round of hols was probably my lowest comment count of a fest fic ever, but it also wasn't a super strong fic, so I'm okay with that

I felt the same was about my hd_career_fair fic. Sometimes a quality fic can be overlooked and we just have to cling to the feeling we felt when we first submitted the fic for posting. I absolutely adored my 30,000+ celtic pirate fic, even if no one else read it. And I'm sure your fic was just as awesome (is curious to know which fic you wrote although I'm thinking perhaps it is the one I am currently reading now which is beyond awesome.....)

*super squishy hugs*
Bryoneybryoneybrynn on January 4th, 2010 05:53 pm (UTC)
lol If it's beyond awesome, then no, it's not mine. ;)
lotus_lizzylotus_lizzy on January 4th, 2010 05:54 pm (UTC)
How do you know?? (wanna PM me which one is yours? *bats eyelashes*)
Bryoneybryoneybrynn on January 4th, 2010 05:55 pm (UTC)

Great minds....
lotus_lizzylotus_lizzy on January 4th, 2010 06:06 pm (UTC)
November Snowflake: doppelgangernovembersnow on January 5th, 2010 01:18 am (UTC)
this past round of hols was probably my lowest comment count of a fest fic ever, but it also wasn't a super strong fic, so I'm okay with that. Similarly, this fest saw my lowest number of recs/reviews.

Ditto that. (Well, not my lowest count ever, but definitely my lowest ever in H/D Hols.) Though exchange fics are so hard to judge by, since in that case you really are writing for an audience rather than simply for yourself. I tell myself that as long as my recipient liked it, it doesn't really matter how big it went over with other readers. (And there has been more than one fest over the years in which I never got a reply from my recipient. That stings, let me tell you.)

The sad truth is, though, I always say I don't care all that much about comment counts--until the count is lower than I expected it to be. ;)
Bryoneybryoneybrynn on January 5th, 2010 03:25 am (UTC)
It's true. You get used to a certain reaction and then when it doesn't come, you wibble. But I've noticed my comments decreasing across the board lately. *shrugs* Fandom's a funny thing, I guess. I find more than the number of comments, I get wibbly about WHO comments. Like "Why has this person stopped reading my stuff?" kind of thing. Like I said, relationship wibbles. *g*

cassie_blackcassie_black12 on January 4th, 2010 05:51 pm (UTC)
I primarily write for myself, because it's something I've always wanted to do, and fandom is a way of getting around the fact that I'll never be good enough for publication.

With the exception of exchange fests, I write what I would like to read. I don't try to write what I think people would like to read, mainly because if the subject matter doesn't speak to me, then I won't be able to do it justice.

I do care about comment count, and get very excited about each and every (positive) one. If I didn't care about it, then I wouldn't bother posting. I don't really have a tried and tested method for curing the wobblies - mostly I just give myself a strong talking to, and utilise my stiff upper lip *g*
pingridpingrid on January 4th, 2010 06:33 pm (UTC)
When I do write, I write for myself - but the prospect of an audience makes me crank up my internal standards for the fic. Enter the wobblies - which I deal with by putting it aside and coming back to it later. Much later. Maybe. ;)
some kind of snark faeryshyfoxling on January 4th, 2010 08:06 pm (UTC)
Not "horrified", really, and it's not so much the count as the content of the reviews. I have no confidence at all that my "audience" will follow me anywhere. I am constantly petrified that no one likes what I do.
spark_of_chaosspark_of_chaos on January 4th, 2010 09:52 pm (UTC)
While I write a story, between the paper and myself and the attacks of word blocks, it's easy to not think about things like fandom response and such. But when I receive the first beta, all splashed in red and with a heap of "that doesn't work"s and "change it"s, the wobbling starts rearing its head a little. But I am still in a working mode then, and it motivates me, gives me a kick that I need to make it better. That's why I work better with commenter-type betas, I need critique, not only a hundred changed commas. And then, poof, when I hit post, it's like I've hit the turn on the wobblies button! :D Checking my email obsessively, who? I see others don't fret too much over missing response for stories they personally like, but it's the exact opposite with me. If I feel a story is not good enough or wrote it as a flush of momentary emotion, and then it received single digit comments, I feel it was to be expected. But if I really invested myself in a story and like it, it's hard to see it unappreciated. Last time I participated in the hd_hols, winter of 07, I was in a very wobbly place writing-wise and in the end, the story I was very proud of received a not so stellar response - and these hols now are the first I've posted since. :) It was a block-y time, obviously I was not doing good enough - it made writing ever harder. So yeah, once it's reached the reader stage how a story does affects me a lot. I try to change it, but it's an ingrained habit, measuring up to others.

Lol, that comment got totally out of hand.
grey_hunter on January 6th, 2010 08:27 am (UTC)
I want to steal your beta. :P
anna_wing on January 5th, 2010 04:32 am (UTC)
I don't write much and I have no interest in writing for professional publication, so I don't worry too much about what anyone thinks of my fic. Naturally it is nice if people like it (and of course they should because it's good, what there is of it), but if they don't, too bad. If people were paying me for it, I'd bother to take the tastes of the market into account, but they aren't so I don't.

Silmarillion genfic being, shall we say, an extremely minority interest, makes the above attitude a lot easier to sustain.
AutumnHearti_autumnheart on January 5th, 2010 09:40 am (UTC)
Although writing's not really my thing, I do have a fair umber of creative outlets... including my day job :).

I'm usually pretty bad about separating my sense of self from any project that I've poured a lot of time into, and so tend to take criticism more personally than I should; give me a little time, and I cam bring common sense to bear, but my initial reaction to comments is usually a bit out of proportion.

Coping with the wobblies is usually a matter of trying to work out *why* I care so much. Saying my response out loud or writing it down is good, as that tends to makes me think rather than emote. Once I can admit to myself that I'm being overly precious or otherwise ridiculous about something, then I can respond properly.
emansil_08 on January 5th, 2010 05:24 pm (UTC)
I completed the poll, but didn't comment as i wanted to get my thoughts a bit more organized.

Comments to me are like an addiction. One i know I should leave alone, but for some reason I keep coming back to them, again and again. Not only do I count my own, but I also count other's and compare my number to their number. Which is a major mistake, because, trust me, that way lies madness-and depression. something I can manage on my own just fine.

How do I combat the wobblies? I don't. they just fester in me, causing undue stress and anxiety until I finally decide enough is enough, and they go away;until the next time I post a story and they return again for the next visit.

It's somewhat comforting to know I'm not completely alone in this, but just seem to be taking it to the almost psychotic side of the wobblies.

Potteresque Irepotteresque_ire on January 5th, 2010 08:31 pm (UTC)
My biggest wobblies-inducing moment is when I have to send a fic over to a beta. Knowing that the beta's name will also be attached to the product, I feel a responsibility that the story will not sully her name :). If it is solely credited to myself, then I'd just write and post whatever I am capable of writing at the moment (because I tend to have zero control over what appears on the screen ... and fanfic is fun for me because of that). It doesn't mean I write for myself—or else I wouldn't have written at all ;)—but I think the stories will select for their own audience and it isn't something I can worry too much about :)
grey_hunter on January 6th, 2010 08:23 am (UTC)
If I worked solely for myself, I'd never write down a line. Because all of it is already in my head, right? At this point, I think I should care about my "audience" more because I want to finish writing this fic, dammit! :D The wobbles come after posting when I do see (and count, because I can't help that) the reviews. :P
hanson_phreek: lumoshanson_phreek on January 6th, 2010 05:17 pm (UTC)
When I first started writing I cared about comment count and I actually at one point said that I wouldn't write anymore until I had x number of reviews. But I quickly got over that because I learned that if I did that I'd never write anything. I'd spend all my time waiting for reviews.

Now I write for myself, but I do sometimes wonder if people actually care about what I'm producing. For example, I've been writing this series (my Years series) but I've stopped getting reviews. I'm not going to stop writing it because I'm loving the story, but I do wonder if anyone else actually reads it.

When I get the wobblies, I try to go back to some of my best work and reread it. It makes me proud and want to continue. And if the wobblies are really bad, I track down a close friend and confide in them. They always know how to make me feel better.