RoW80 check-in and a question

          I fell behind by only walking the dog once a day *blush*, but actually met my other goals:
Working on the dissertation again was slow, because I had to remember where I was the last time I worked on it.
The conference papers revisions are coming along, although I need to stop arguing with  the scholars who wrote articles disagreeing with my interpretation *grin*.
I spent Sunday cleaning off the screened porch where I like to write, but woke up at 5am on Monday to find it was 54 degrees outside.  Much as I love the cooler, drier air, I can’t sit on my porch when it is 54!  That’s okay, though, I’ll still take it!
I am writing the morning pages–part of which is included below.  I haven’t spent the time organizing yet–that will be a weekend goal for me. The book reviews will be later in the week as well.
 Short and sweet, eh?  Actually, I have a question for you.

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.

30 thoughts on “RoW80 check-in and a question”

  1. I didn’t do any tweeting about the Campaigner challenge either other than the one that automatically went out when the post went live. I understood only other Campaigners could vote but maybe I’m wrong. I enjoyed the challenge though because it stretched my vocabulary 🙂 But I agree seeing one entry having over 70 votes when there were others I thought much more deserving… Sigh, I read all the entries, voted for my favorites, and am not looking back.

    I know I appreciate the comments on my post more than the votes. It took more to comment than it did to push a like button.

    I guess it’s a good thing I’ve been on a bit of a social media break and I missed all the tweets. I want my writing to speak for itself.

    1. Hear, hear, Raelyn! I won’t deny that it delights me when people tweet my posts but the thing that makes blogging so fun is the interaction in the comments. Some of them move me so deeply, and others make me laugh. No matter what, I appreciate the time and the opinion.

      A little Like push won’t ever be the same as that. 🙂

      1. Yes, I agree completely. The interaction is wonderful. I find, too, that I am more open in my comments than I am even in my posts, so people get to know me better through my comments. Thanks, Jenny!

    2. Perfectly put, Raelyn: “I want my writing to speak for itself.” That is exactly what I want. And you’re spot on that it takes more time and thought to comment rather than push a button. Thank you for coming by and commenting. You’ve made me feel much better! 🙂

  2. And here is my own comment to tell you that I always appreciate your links AND your comments!

    Will we be seeing any pictures from you for the ROW80 party??? Start digging through your old photos that reflect the “rock” theme. 🙂

    1. And thank you, Jenny! I enjoy commenting on your blog, and enjoy seeing you here, too! I don’t know about “rock” pictures for me, but I do have a picture of me with the WORST 80’s hairdo–I’ll post that later today!

  3. Very interesting post. I also part of the Campaign and I haven’t submitted entries for these contests. I think you’re right in regards to the “popularity contest”. I also didn’t want my first pieces of fiction for the viewing public to be short blog posts with words that don’t really mean something to me. Anyways, I’m glad that I’m not the only reluctant Campaigner.

    I prefer interacting with the #row80 crew because we’re all working together as a team to cheer each other on. I think the comments and tweets are the most rewarding and a “like” every now and then is a bonus. Only good feelings with the ROWers.

    See you at the party later.

    1. Absolutely what I was feeling, Nicole. The sad thing is that this last challenge, I knew all the words very well (medieval Latin nerd here, lol), so I thought I could actually nail the challenge pretty well. I think that is what was most frustrating for me, plus that it was my very first piece of flash fiction ever.

      I very much prefer Row80–and reading your comment and Lena’s made me realize why–we are all pulling together, whereas the campaign challenges pit us against each other. “Only good feelings with the ROWers.” Absolutely spot on! Thanks for coming by, Nicole! See you at the party!

  4. Yes, yes, yes, you’ve articulated exactly what has made me uncomfortable with the challenges.

    Don’t get me wrong — I think the Campaign is a great idea, and I’ve met a few lovely people through it. But as Nicole notes above, the quality of the interactions with the #ROW80 crew seem to be deeper and more enduring, I think because of the nature of the challenge — lots of teamwork, a collective sense of supporting one another and urging each other on as we tackle goals — and because there are fewer of us. I am so overwhelmed by the sheer number of campaign participants.

    I actually had a couple of days where I felt a little depressed about my writing, because my 2nd piece for the Campaign didn’t get nearly the number of ‘hits’ that my 1st one did. That led to lots of angsting on my part (“omg, my writing must really really suck,” etc.)… till I realized that the comments I was receiving were really wonderful and complimentary. I’ve stopped looking at the voting mechanism over on the linky list because that makes me all crazy, too.

    Anyway! I am glad that your work is coming along, even if the dissertation process is a bit slow (I feel like I am wading through molasses with my thesis as well). Have a wonderful rest of the week, and I’ll see you at the party. 😀

    1. Spot on, Lena–I agree with you and Nicole about ROW80 one hundred percent. The teamwork, the collective sense, as you put it, are the best.

      Sorry to hear about your angsting–I felt exactly the same way, and I stopped looking at the linky, as well.

      Wading through molasses–well put! Thanks so much for commenting. See you at the party!

  5. Love your post! I could not agree more, Elizabeth. This challenge was nothing more than ‘get-your-friends-to-vote’ or worse, vote for yourself…which I saw Rach actually felt the need to put in her post for the challenge!
    I still would have entered. I’ve discovered that I like writing flash fiction, and it brings traffic to my blog – and therefore exposure to my novel – (Oy..even I’m self-serving at times…lol) But many of the entries had a link so that people could click to ‘vote’ for their entry! It left a bit of a bad taste in my mouth. I mean, validation is terrific, but if you have to troll for it, is it honest validation?
    I did not do any promotion of my entry, other than link to the challenge on my blogpage in my entry post. No facebook, no twitter (I don’t even have one yet…lol. I’m in the Dark Ages practically over here…ha!) no visiting around other’s entries only to post what number my entry is!

    I’m glad you addressed this irksome issue. ~ Nadja

    1. Thanks, Nadja. And I think that advertising one’s novel is a whole different kettle of fish. Believe me, if I had a novel to sell, I’d be out there with all the rest of you. And granted, there are folks who overdo the novel promotion, but honestly, none of you ROW80 folks are guilty of that! But this challenge had a different feel to it–the self-promotion was supposedly to help build a platform, but it rewards people who already have a lot of followers that they can beg to go vote for them. It left a very different taste in my mouth than an author advertising their book. And oh, the visiting to leave one’s entry number–please–how self-serving is that?

  6. Ditto what everyone has said. I haven’t been active since the beginning of this campaign. I offered a prize and fulfilled that promise but haven’t been around since. It isn’t at all what I thought it would be. I love ROW80 on the other hand!
    I agree, comments make me happier than anything. The effort is what I applaud. Tweeting is wonderful, too, but I find less time to that myself. I’d rather take the more personal approach. Great post Elizabeth, and great job on oyur goals!

    1. Thanks for coming by and commenting, Marcia. I agree with you on the campaign–I think that there was a lack of structure. Something like “visit 5 blogs a week and comment,” would have been so much more helpful, but there weren’t any suggestions of how to handle being in a group of 30+ people. I love ROW80, too. Having sponsors so that everyone gets at least one comment per check-in is a great idea. It’s such a great group, too, that lots of folks come around and comment on blogs, too.

      I understand that people lurk, and that is why there is a “like” button on the blog posts *makes mental note to make sure I’ve activated that*; that says a lot more to me than hitting a like button on a linky tool, where it is entirely possible to vote for someone without ever reading the post! Okay, I think another cup of coffee is warranted to slow the steam coming out of my ears!

  7. First off, good work on the goals. This change in weather is so incredibly welcomed. I’m loving it 🙂

    Second, I agree with you. I don’t like constantly posting about my book. I know I’m where the advertising starts, but I believe 100% that the writing will speak for itself. Where the writer has to get the ball rolling, it is up to the readers in the end. If you pour your all into your work, someone out there will find it, relate to it, and tell others. But the time in between is depressing. Marathon, I keep telling myself, this is a marathon, not a sprint.

    So, yes, go ahead and tweet about your post a few times. I know I don’t look at my feed for hours at a time. Sometimes I only get to it once or twice a day. I miss lots because of that. It’s not a bother if you mention it a few times. I think it’s kind of expected. Compare how many feeds people follow. Hundreds. That’s lots to read through. Almost impossible.

    Yikes, looks like I’m trying to write a book here 🙂

    Good work, keep it up!

    1. Thanks, Wendy. I hope you’re getting cool mornings still (I’m sooo far behind on replies, eeek!) Oh, I didn’t mean posting or tweeting about one’s book–that is part and parcel of how things work now, and it’s not a problem to tweet several times a day. That’s part of the marketing–I didn’t mean the people who are selling their books! Well, maybe the ones who tweet five times an hour (which is not true of any of the ROWers!) Your point is well taken–it takes repetition to get your work to the readers.

      It is a marathon, and I imagine it is wait for readers to find your work. I’ve not had to deal with that yet, as my writing until now is focused on such a small audience, but I’ll be there soon. This is such a great support group; if you sing out about how hard it is to wait, I bet you’d hear from a ton of folks who feel the same. I appreciate your coming by, Wendy!

  8. Good job on your goals, I wish I had a porch to write on. As for the voting issue I would rather peopled “liked” my work because they genuinely felt it was worthy and not just clicking on a button because I’ve campaigned for votes. Best of luck for the round.

    1. Thanks, Katy. I think one of the things that bugs me about the campaign challenge is that one could vote without ever reading the submission. You literally could go through the list, find your friend and vote without ever going to read the flash fiction piece! Hmm, obviously I’m still bugged by it, lol. I appreacite your coming by and commenting!

  9. Glad your week is going well and whilst I am not involved in the platform building challenge I can absolutely relate to the way you feel. I try to have a ‘if people like it they like it, if they don’t they don’t’ and try not to take anything personally. Even when it comes to my blog posts. But deep down we all want to be liked and this is something I think all writers need to get their head around.

    Hope you have a great rest of your week!

    1. Thanks for coming by and commenting, Em. I think you have a great point–our writing is so much a part of us that we feel personally rejected when someone doesn’t like our writing, which is silly, but true. I hope you have a great week. 🙂

  10. I’m not participating int eh campaign, so I’m not quite sure what the challenge is that you’re referring to. But I definitely agree that popularity contests are no fun — I always lose! *g* Seriously, “vote for me” activities are something I just cannot get into. Makes me relieved that I decided I didn’t have time for the Platform Building Campaign, as much as I need to work on my platform.

    Good luck on your goals and have a great rest of the week!

    1. I appreciate your coming by and commenting, Ruth. I’ve mentioned some of the problems I had with the campaign in comments above–there wasn’t enough structure. A goal such as visit five blogs a week would have been more instructive and helpful in platform building. Look at what others are doing to see how to improve your own platform (Gee, maybe I should run a campaign, lol!) It dawned on me when I was writing an earlier comment that it was possible to vote without ever reading the flash fiction piece. One could go down the linky list and find one’s friend’s name and vote for their entry, without ever following the link to their blog. That made it clearly a popularity contest, and I’m with you on those–I never win!

  11. I don’t know anything about this challenge, but it sounds like you did the right thing. If I had have entered, then begged all my friends to vote for me, what would I be achieving? I totally agreet that comments are more important than ‘likes’ (although I love getting ‘likes’ on my blog, and I sometimes think when I don’t have time for comments a like button is ‘almost’ as good), and you generally learn from them too.

    1. Helen, I agree with you on the “like” button on the blog–I understand that people are busy or shy, and there is a lot of information from getting that “like.” I wasn’t clear about the challenge–the like button was on the linky list itself, so one could vote for someone by going to their name and clicking like there, without ever going to their blog post! Oh well. Thanks for coming by and commenting. 🙂

  12. Hi – thought after my post I had better leap in and comment! -I’m disapointed about the buttons on the challenges also – but I have enjoyed the challenges because I’m a gabby sort of person and having to stick to a strict word count pushes me and it’s exciting and satisfying when I manage it –

    I have had some great comments on the pieces and they mean a lot – flash fiction is something I’m fairly new too – I find I really enjoy it and would never have discovered that fact if I hadn’t entered the campaign’s challenges last time around – so I will continue entering – it never has been about the winning so it hasn’t mattered –

    I would have liked to have ‘liked’ some of the amazing flash I read but my elderly machine cannot cope with Rachaels site this time – all the buttons are the straws that break this machine!!!

    I have already met some great bloggers on Rachael’s campaign – indeed a couple of them hosted me on my book tour right at last moment which was nice of them.

    It’s a different kind of thing than ROW80 which I will always sign up to as it has helped motivate me more than anything. Everyone here has supported and encouraged – some since the New Year! I am very grateful for all the encouragment.

    see I told you I was gabby!:)

    1. Alberta, I’ve met some wonderful people on the campaign, too. Certainly it wasn’t everyone who was guilty of mass tweeting and re-tweeting of their entry number, but some were, and it seems to me that to have a challenge that rewards people who already have a lot of followers misses the point of platform-building.

      I got some wonderful comments, and I appreciate the “likes” I got on the linky list. I also appreciate the challenge of writing flash fiction. I had fun with it; I was trained in academic writing, so being concise is something I need to learn!

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