Last week, Jenny Hansen wrote an interesting post on writers needing external verification. It really started me thinking about that topic. About the same time I read her post, I entered my very first piece of flash fiction in the Second Platform Building Campaign Challenge . A few days ago, I realized that this challenge is, in effect, a popularity contest. There is a little “like” button under each entry on the linky tool for people to vote on the entries. Whoever gets the most “likes” wins.
All of a sudden, I realized why everyone was tweeting like mad, asking all their friends to vote for them. I have to admit, I was somewhat appalled. Had I known that this challenge would be different from the previous one (which I did not enter), where there was a panel of judges in addition to the winners by popularity (with only one entry that made both lists), I would not have submitted an entry. I don’t have many followers, and I will not tweet three times a day asking people to vote for me. It’s not as though I am advertising a book I wrote–that kind of marketing I could do. But in this case, if someone has something nice to say, I’d like to hear it (vain, perhaps, but true). Someone hitting the “like” button isn’t the same. I have received some very nice comments on my piece, attached to the blog post, which makes me grin and feel wonderful. But I have few votes on my piece; while I realize that my writing is an acquired taste, and I did not flog my piece on Twitter or amongst my followers, there is a part of me that is dismayed when I see that other entries have 6 times the votes I do, despite my best efforts not to feel that way.
It has been rather eye-opening to me, making me wonder if other writers feel this tension between wanting to be valued for their writing and wanting to be liked. Or am I the only one that thinks that the two are not synonymous? I’d be interested in your responses.