Many years ago I started a newsletter for writers online. I called it InkSplatters. It ran on the site that is now Yahoo Groups. (Does anyone remember when it was Yahoo Clubs for awhile and something else not even part of Yahoo before that?) The newsletter began as a spin off from a site my friend was doing called The Writer’s Pen. We worked on The Writer’s Pen together (he did most of it) but InkSplatters was all my own creation. I even sent it out with some of my own ASCII art as borders. Quite the fancy newsletter some days.
It lasted a few years. I was doing okay with it. I had over a hundred subscribers, then 250 and beyond but there was little feedback. In the end it was for that reason I decided to shut down the newsletter. I know other online projects have ended for that same reason.
Publishing online can be lonely. There should be some kind of cute name for it. Like cabin fever for when you have been indoors too long and desperately must get outside, break free of the inside space. It became known as cabin fever for the pioneers who were trapped inside their small farm houses most of the winter, snowed in or just too cold to leave. Publishing online is like that too. You keep posting, hoping to hear something besides the echo of silence all around you. No doubt that’s why I tend to write with the radio or TV on in the background.
Still there is the urge to be that pioneer, to try something, to start something and try to make it grow. I still do it. I start things independently or I join up other sites and networks to start something as a smaller part of something big. But, there are days when I feel overwhelmed by the to-do list I keep building for myself. There are days when the cabin fever of online publishing gets to me. When I lived alone there would be a day when I’d realize I had not spoken a word all that day. I typed a lot, but spoke not at all.
I look at my work, this site and the others and it’s so very quiet. The only sound is the TV or the radio. The comments that come in are like life rafts of communication. I’m not just talking to myself after all! There really are still people in the world.
Being inside too much also narrows your focus too much. Get out there, people watch or even talk to someone. Blow up your world again, remember what it’s like to be really social, face to face. It may be a bit scarier than talking online but we all need that interaction too. A breath of life in our quiet publishing world.
When you get back online comment in a few blogs, randomly. Spread that breath of life around. Yes, it’s good for your blog stats but more importantly, it’s really good for the blogging community too. Remind someone else that, just because it’s quiet, doesn’t mean there isn’t anyone out there, reading, listening, maybe laughing at the right parts too.
How do you battle that cabin fever of being a web writer, an online publisher?