I read an article a wee while back Why Blog Post Frequency Does Not Matter Anymore, and it made me think. Actually everything makes me think, but not everything I think about is something I necessarily want to write about. Trust me, not everything needs to be written about.
With the rise of the internet there are more people committing their thoughts to "paper" than at any other time in history. This should be a writer's utopia. Why then do I get the distinct feeling that there's trouble in paradise?
The first thing I discovered when I dived headfirst into the wonderful world of the World Wide Web was that there were people all over the globe that were exactly like me (and some were even female which was fantastic). Suddenly I wasn't alone, there were others who did this writing thingy and considered it not only perfectly acceptable to drop whatever you were doing to get those words down on a paper, it was expected. There was just one word came to my mind: home. That was twelve years ago. A lot has happened since then.
These days I'm drowning in words. I get advised of new blogs every day, several times a day, thousand upon thousands of words. I should be – to quote Larry the Cable Guy – happier than a tornado in a trailer park. The problem is that most of them aren't worth the pixels they're using up. I have to dig through stuff I've read time and time again to get to the tasty bit. And I'm tired of it.
It's assumed these days that most people browsing online are as focused as a fart in a storm but I suspect this is not the problem in itself rather than actually a symptom of a bigger problem. Let me clarify: I think that this level of impatience is learned. Those few kind (euphemism for discerning) people who have subscribed to my blog have come to expect something and, if I fail to deliver once or twice they're not going to drop me like the proverbial hot potato BUT if I keep it up they'll start simply scanning my blog before skipping it completely. And I suspect that is what has happened to the Web. People aren't willing to wade through crap any more because there is too much crap to wade through. They expect it. I know I do but I am SO delighted when I stumble upon something even half-decent in my inbox.
Customer expectation is an odd creature. In his blog, Filling Reader Expectations: Why Readers Keep Reading, Terry Heath makes a few interesting points. I would recommend you have a read at his article but it seems to have vanished. Basically his line of advice to bloggers, if they want to keep their audience, is to give them what they've come to expect. He has a point but that is also why a lot of pop groups in the past have died a death, because they basically re-issued the same single over and over again. They didn't grow and their audiences tired of them. I still like to be surprised and I like to surprise.
What worries me most is the fact that my novel, Living With the Truth, the one I'm going to be plugging online in a few months, commits an entire chapter to setting the scene before the protagonist's foil arrives and turns his world upside down. His entrance is a total surprise to the hero and should be as much of a surprise (and even more of a delight) to the audience – IF they have the patience to survive that opening chapter. What chance do you think I've I got?
The world is changing (euphemism for going down the pan) and there's not much point whinging about it because it would be like a middle-aged ant roaring at the wind; it ain't gonna stop blowing just because li'l ol' me is feeling the draft.
Living with the Truth Stranger than Fiction This Is Not About What You Think Milligan and Murphy Making Sense