Is “writing for yourself” a defense mechanism?

Flashwolf96

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I don't want to be the person that is always asking how to get ratings/views/readers or favoriting my own chapters just to make it look like someone took an interest in it.
I resonate with this a lot. I noticed lots of people doing shameless promotions of their stories and things like that, but no matter how much I think about it I'd just feel too pathetic doing the same thing :blob_no:

That's why I usually don't rate my own stories and never add them to my reading list, and I only favorite chapters of mine that I genuinely enjoyed reading back once it was uploaded, leaving the rest alone. That's also why I don't have any stories in my signature here on the forums.
 

BlackKnightX

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Jun 8, 2021
Messages
417
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To get a little background, you may skim through these two Reddit sites: here and here.

As a newish writer, I can’t help obsessing over statistics. I check ScribbleHub every hour to see if my novel has gained readers. It’s become an annoying habit that literally gives me headaches. I’m starting to wonder if this is going to be worth it or not.

Then I found out you should write for yourself. Well, I was aware of this advice before I dedicated myself to ScribbleHub, but when I got to the actual experience, that advice became more emphasized. They say you shouldn’t care about the audience. You shouldn’t write for attention; you should write what you want to read. The statistics should be off-limits to your hobby.

I wonder: is that a defense mechanism?

Writing for yourself seems like a great idea. Whenever I hear that phrase, I feel some sense of freedom. Like I don’t have to keep on checking if my popularity has increased. But I realize that it’s also a way to avoid thinking negative thoughts, by simply ignoring what readers say or think about your story. Denying your unpopularity, if you will. You don’t want to be influenced by their squabbles. To not feel unhealthily envious or resentful is to become selfish.

But either way, I decided to become blind. I decided to post my chapters blindly (unless I get grammar mistakes, of course). I shouldn’t write with too much awareness. It just cripples me, and it just spoils the fun of writing. I’ll try my best that whenever I post a new chapter, I should close ScribbleHub at an instant and never check it again for the day. I can only check it when I’m going to publish a new chapter. That’s going to be my goal from now on.

What’s your take on this? Are you a writer who writes for himself/herself, or a writer who writes for others?

Or both?
It’s both for me.

“Write for yourself” is actually a pretty good advise as it brings me back to why I start writing in the first place.

For me, it all started with the reading first. English is not my first language so I wanted to practice by reading something.

First, I started to find something to read, but what should it be? Fiction, or nonfiction?

It didn’t take me long to decide which one to choose. I love anime since I was young so the answer was obvious.

I’d start with the light novels.

I still remember vividly the moment I finished that anime and realized that the season two hasn’t come out yet. So the only solution for me was obvious. I went and look for the light novel version of that anime.

At that moment in time, my English wasn’t perfect and I only knew the basics words used in a simple conversation. I think you can imagine what a horrible idea it was to dive into the novel without the solid language comprehension.

But—what I found out surprised me.

At first, I didn’t really understand what I was reading but I kept going anyway. I ignored all the words I didn’t understand and just skimmed through it. The only thing I did care about was to visualize the scene in my head like watching an anime.

And boy was I right to do that. I could actually read and finish the novel! That was the first time in my life that I finished a book other than mangas.

After that discovery, I became addicted to reading light novels. The more I dove into the world of fiction, the harder it was to get out. I became totally absorbed that I even forgot the basic needs in real life. I ignored everyone and everything and just focus on the new wonderful world I‘d just discovered.

But then, a problem hit me.

While I enjoyed being in the world of fiction, there was one thing that irritated me to no end—

The character.

That’s right, it was the character in the Japanese light novels. If you’re like me and have also read a lot of Japanese light novels, then you’ll surely understand what I’m talking about.

Most Japanese light novel’s protagonists are such annoying little wimps! And the girls are no different either.

It makes no sense why the mc who‘s so freakin op has to abide by the rules and bows down to the woman who‘s not even honest with herself(tsundere).

It was so frustrating to see the mc acted like a dog and tried to lick everybody shoes whenever he can, or sometime just being a hypocrite and acted like a goody-two-shoes.

I was annoyed by the characters, but I kept pushing on as I didn’t know what to read next other than the light novels.

Then came my breaking point. I decided to give up and tried to find what I was looking for—

A novels with strong and badass mc.

Then I found Chinese novels. It was good at first, but then everything went downhill pretty quickly as my immersion was lost by the absurd dialogues.

Every single characters speak like a Chunibyo!

Not that I don’t like it, but too much is just overwhelming. And what irritated me even more was the jade beauty character who looked like a goddess incarnation but acted like a bitch with no common sense.

I guess you could imagine what it would be like after that. It didn‘t take me long to give up on Chinese novels and moved on.

Then after that, I discovered the web novels that were written by English speakers (like on this site) and was blown away by the relatable things I’d found in here—

Most of the authors and even readers on this site were also met with the similar fate like I did!

We are the fellow survivors! My comrades!

That moment still brought me to tears whenever I start to reminisce about it (overly exaggerated).

I felt like I’d just discovered a secret treasure vault at that moment. Everything was like a radiant gold to me!

So as you may have guess by now, I started to dig in every novels I found interesting, and it was a very good experience to say the least.

Though, that is if you don’t count some novels with a Japanese-esque characters that are like a ghost that still follows and haunts me everywhere I go. Even on this site *sob* *sob*

I decided that I‘d had enough with such annoying characters.

Some other novel were all good aside from some certain aspects that just didn’t click with me. I couldn’t seem to find the novels that I one-hundred-percent enjoy.

It was at that moment that I realized. “Fine then. If this is how it’s gonna be, then I’ll write something myself! I’ll create my own universe and be the absolute supreme god who rules over everything!”

Thus began my journey as a writer. I’m quite a spontaneous person but I’m not an idiot, so before I started writing I needed to find some informations first.

Then, I studied everything’s about the writing and storytelling theories I could find on the internets, and read a ton of on-writing books on Amazon.

It took me a long times to learn all that, and It was until not long ago that I finally found the confidence to actually start writing my own story.

It was the very first novel in my life that I’ve written by myself!

It was fun and exhilarating, and what I got in return was also nice. I got readers that were looking forward for more chapter every time I posted, and also some good advices they gave me along the way.

It was a very nice experience even though there was sometime that I felt tired of my story and became burnt out. But I just took a break and then started writing again.

So if you ask me whether “Write for yourself“ is a good advice or not then I have to answer with “yes, absolutely.”

It‘s the incentive that got me to start writing my story in the first place. But—that‘s not the only thing you need.

Well, first of all, let me ask you this—What is your goal in writing? Do you write just to express yourself and have fun, or do you write to get a lot of readers?

There’s nothing wrong with either of the choices, but you have to be honest with yourself and answer this question.

If you only write just for fun, then go ahead and do so. But if you want to get the readers, then you have to learn the craft and how to do it.

You have to learn how to hook the readers into your story and never let them go. You have to learn what ticks.

Believe it or not, despite doing a tons of research about this, I still got a lot to learn. And what I found out recently was that actually writing is the best way to learn what works and what not.

So that’s it. Begin by asking this question.

“What’s your goal in writing?”
 
Last edited:

Renaxan

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 2, 2019
Messages
23
Points
53
Uh, I write to improve myself, and that's it. I have no dream to be professional writer. So I assume I would fit 'write for myself' category. I feel so good honestly to be able to improve my English much better within a month.

Yes, I'm also newish writer.

I think this is very subjective question, depend on the said writer's goal (to be professional, casual or just messing around) certainly would have a different answer.

Let me tell you something ts. My take is... I did the same as you are in webnovel ts, lmao. I posted there too but I didn't bother to check the comments anymore because most of them like... mocking my work, I understand I might deserve it since I just start writing like for a month right now and my grammar is still shit but seriously that platform... no one gives me feedback and how to improve. Hundreds of comments lol. The only reason why I still put my fanfic there is that I know some people still waiting for me to release my stuff... and even with that lately, I've considering myself to not publish there anymore.

Why I would bother posting there if it doesn't help me toward my goal? lmao.

I still check comments and feedback I got here from time to time though. (Scribble hub is much nicer than webnovel, seriously no joke). My fanfic rating is quite low at 3.7 here but I deserve that much since I start from zero and have expected that much. At least I still get some people here to help me improve my English writing. (like user furnace, seriously his advice... I will remember you forever dude).

What I've learn from all of this was to keep my expectation to minimum, and remember what is my goal of writing in the first place. If you are want to be profesional then you need to face that reality but if you are casual and just want to improve writing like me... yeah I think it should be no problem lol.

no one can stop us and its our right to do so.
 
D

Deleted member 45782

Guest
I resonate with this a lot. I noticed lots of people doing shameless promotions of their stories and things like that, but no matter how much I think about it I'd just feel too pathetic doing the same thing :blob_no:

That's why I usually don't rate my own stories and never add them to my reading list, and I only favorite chapters of mine that I genuinely enjoyed reading back once it was uploaded, leaving the rest alone. That's also why I don't have any stories in my signature here on the forums.
I think its good to have stories linked in your signature.

Its not bad, its publicity. Don't feel bad about posting your story links. You should definitely do it! ;)

Its not the same as begging for readers/comments like other threads trying to find a secret technique to move up. Or getting frustrated at readers.

When it comes to getting more readers/comments its more of a grey spot; some focus on it too much they forgot their own enjoyment of writing. But deep down, we do all do wish in some way or form, that someone would like our story. Its good to put ourselves out there, just not overdo it.

Good luck on your writing and may you succeed. :)
 

Flashwolf96

Active member
Joined
May 15, 2020
Messages
48
Points
33
I think its good to have stories linked in your signature.

Its not bad, its publicity. Don't feel bad about posting your story links. You should definitely do it! ;)

Its not the same as begging for readers/comments like other threads trying to find a secret technique to move up. Or getting frustrated at readers.

When it comes to getting more readers/comments its more of a grey spot; some focus on it too much they forgot their own enjoyment of writing. But deep down, we do all do wish in some way or form, that someone would like our story. Its good to put ourselves out there, just not overdo it.

Good luck on your writing and may you succeed. :)
Thank you! That's really kind of you to say. Though I can't help but notice you haven't linked anything in your signature yourself despite having seven stories...

Well I'll definitely keep doing my best, so good luck to you too :blob_melt:
 
D

Deleted member 45782

Guest
Thank you! That's really kind of you to say. Though I can't help but notice you haven't linked anything in your signature yourself despite having seven stories...

Well I'll definitely keep doing my best, so good luck to you too :blob_melt:
Oh I linked it in my profiles about section. Not in signature. Different places, but still on same page, serving same purpose. :D

Thanks.
 

Quaoar

Active member
Joined
Nov 14, 2020
Messages
44
Points
33
It’s both for me.

“Write for yourself” is actually a pretty good advise as it brings me back to why I start writing in the first place.

For me, it all started with the reading first. English is not my first language so I wanted to practice by reading something.

First, I started to find something to read, but what should it be? Fiction, or nonfiction?

It didn’t take me long to decide which one to choose. I love anime since I was young so the answer was obvious.

I’d start with the light novels.

I still remember vividly the moment I finished that anime and realized that the season two hasn’t come out yet. So the only solution for me was obvious. I went and look for the light novel version of that anime.

At that moment in time, my English wasn’t perfect and I only knew the basics words used in a simple conversation. I think you can imagine what a horrible idea it was to dive into the novel without the solid language comprehension.

But—what I found out surprised me.

At first, I didn’t really understand what I was reading but I kept going anyway. I ignored all the words I didn’t understand and just skimmed through it. The only thing I did care about was to visualize the scene in my head like watching an anime.

And boy was I right to do that. I could actually read and finish the novel! That was the first time in my life that I finished a book other than mangas.

After that discovery, I became addicted to reading light novels. The more I dove into the world of fiction, the harder it was to get out. I became totally absorbed that I even forgot the basic needs in real life. I ignored everyone and everything and just focus on the new wonderful world I‘d just discovered.

But then, a problem hit me.

While I enjoyed being in the world of fiction, there was one thing that irritated me to no end—

The character.

That’s right, it was the character in the Japanese light novels. If you’re like me and have also read a lot of Japanese light novels, then you’ll surely understand what I’m talking about.

Most Japanese light novel’s protagonists are such annoying little wimps! And the girls are no different either.

It makes no sense why the mc who‘s so freakin op has to abide by the rules and bows down to the woman who‘s not even honest with herself(tsundere).

It was so frustrating to see the mc acted like a dog and tried to lick everybody shoes whenever he can, or sometime just being a hypocrite and acted like a goody-two-shoes.

I was annoyed by the characters, but I kept pushing on as I didn’t know what to read next other than the light novels.

Then came my breaking point. I decided to give up and tried to find what I was looking for—

A novels with strong and badass mc.

Then I found Chinese novels. It was good at first, but then everything went downhill pretty quickly as my immersion was lost by the absurd dialogues.

Every single characters speak like a Chunibyo!

Not that I don’t like it, but too much is just overwhelming. And what irritated me even more was the jade beauty character who looked like a goddess incarnation but acted like a bitch with no common sense.

I guess you could imagine what it would be like after that. It didn‘t take me long to give up on Chinese novels and moved on.

Then after that, I discovered the web novels that were written by English speakers (like on this site) and was blown away by the relatable things I’d found in here—

Most of the authors and even readers on this site were also met with the similar fate like I did!

We are the fellow survivors! My comrades!

That moment still brought me to tears whenever I start to reminisce about it (overly exaggerated).

I felt like I’d just discovered a secret treasure vault at that moment. Everything was like a radiant gold to me!

So as you may have guess by now, I started to dig in every novels I found interesting, and it was a very good experience to say the least.

Though, that is if you don’t count some novels with a Japanese-esque characters that are like a ghost that still follows and haunts me everywhere I go. Even on this site *sob* *sob*

I decided that I‘d had enough with such annoying characters.

Some other novel were all good aside from some certain aspects that just didn’t click with me. I couldn’t seem to find the novels that I one-hundred-percent enjoy.

It was at that moment that I realized. “Fine then. If this is how it’s gonna be, then I’ll write something myself! I’ll create my own universe and be the absolute supreme god who rules over everything!”

Thus began my journey as a writer. I’m quite a spontaneous person but I’m not an idiot, so before I started writing I needed to find some informations first.

Then, I studied everything’s about the writing and storytelling theories I could find on the internets, and read a ton of on-writing books on Amazon.

It took me a long times to learn all that, and It was until not long ago that I finally found the confidence to actually start writing my own story.

It was the very first novel in my life that I’ve written by myself!

It was fun and exhilarating, and what I got in return was also nice. I got readers that were looking forward for more chapter every time I posted, and also some good advices they gave me along the way.

It was a very nice experience even though there was sometime that I felt tired of my story and became burnt out. But I just took a break and then started writing again.

So if you ask me whether “Write for yourself“ is a good advice or not then I have to answer with “yes, absolutely.”

It‘s the incentive that got me to start writing my story in the first place. But—that‘s not the only thing you need.

Well, first of all, let me ask you this—What is your goal in writing? Do you write just to express yourself and have fun, or do you write to get a lot of readers?

There’s nothing wrong with either of the choices, but you have to be honest with yourself and answer this question.

If you only write just for fun, then go ahead and do so. But if you want to get the readers, then you have to learn the craft and how to do it.

You have to learn how to hook the readers into your story and never let them go. You have to learn what ticks.

Believe it or not, despite doing a tons of research about this, I still got a lot to learn. And what I found out recently was that actually writing is the best way to learn what works and what not.

So that’s it. Begin by asking this question.

“What’s your goal in writing?”
I’m in the same boat. Anime influenced me to write, but god was my grammar atrocious. I pretended as though I knew everything about Japan. I read light novels a lot (now that I’ve quit anime except manga), but I tend to stay away from those, you know, generic novels. The main characters can be sometimes annoying, I agree. That’s what made me write my own main characters that I like.​
 

BlackKnightX

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Messages
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I’m in the same boat. Anime influenced me to write, but god was my grammar atrocious. I pretended as though I knew everything about Japan. I read light novels a lot (now that I’ve quit anime except manga), but I tend to stay away from those, you know, generic novels. The main characters can be sometimes annoying, I agree. That’s what made me write my own main characters that I like.​
My comrade! 😂
 

EternalSunset0

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Joined
Nov 7, 2020
Messages
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108
I’m in the same boat. Anime influenced me to write, but god was my grammar atrocious. I pretended as though I knew everything about Japan. I read light novels a lot (now that I’ve quit anime except manga), but I tend to stay away from those, you know, generic novels. The main characters can be sometimes annoying, I agree. That’s what made me write my own main characters that I like.​
My comrade! (2)

Hey, we're similar. It all started with SAO for me. I was like "wait, a source material that's not manga? What is this?" Then the dive started.

As an aside, a hobby of mine eventually became finding the nuances of stuff that are very similar. Many people laughed at the Asterisk War and Chivalry thing but they're actually very different in direction and more importantly, purpose, something like that. The same with those "AoT clones" like Black Bullet, God Eater, Seraph of the End. I think that pastime of mine helped lead me to writing my series.

Then, a year or two after the SAO thing, most of the stuff I liked (both the airing stuff and the stuff I picked up from the yesteryears) ended up being LN adaptations, so it all snowballed from then.

I helped someone write a Toaru-esque series on Wattpad, tried my hand helping someone on a Fairy Tail-esque one (that got purged), before settling into writing my own back in 2017. Got demotivated by my own plot holes and walls, and rebooted it last 2020.
 

K5Rakitan

Level 32 👪 💍 Pronouns: she/whore ♀
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Messages
3,578
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Write what you love, and someone else will love it. Many people out there are craving something unique. You are never going to be everyone's cup of tea, so why not be someone's shot of whiskey?

Oh, and please rate my shots of whiskey one star 😇
 

bigbear51

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 19, 2020
Messages
130
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58
People are bullshitting if they say they're just writing for themselves while also going through the process of publishing it online and opening themselves to criticism.

Though also, I suppose for those that write what they like, which is most people. Guess that explains why they get so upset when it gets poorly received in the slightest. Because some might take it as criticism of themselves.
 

Cipiteca396

Talks too much.
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Jun 6, 2021
Messages
555
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63
That's also why I don't have any stories in my signature here on the forums.
I think its good to have stories linked in your signature.

Its not bad, its publicity. Don't feel bad about posting your story links. You should definitely do it! ;)
Just so. Please please link your story. It's so easy, and even if nobody clicks on it, it's still something. No amount of anxiety or self-loathing can justify missing such an easy source of visibility when there are so few ways to draw attention on SH.
Thank you! That's really kind of you to say. Though I can't help but notice you haven't linked anything in your signature yourself despite having seven stories...
Oh I linked it in my profiles about section. Not in signature. Different places, but still on same page, serving same purpose. :D

Thanks.
*Gasp!* The signature is the one that people see when you talk on the forum, not the About page. Unless you're hoping people will check out your story on their way to click the Ignore button. 🤣
People are bullshitting if they say they're just writing for themselves while also going through the process of publishing it online and opening themselves to criticism.

Though also, I suppose for those that write what they like, which is most people. Guess that explains why they get so upset when it gets poorly received in the slightest. Because some might take it as criticism of themselves.
To the first one, getting constructive criticism is a great way of improving your skills. If you're writing for yourself, you might be confused about why you don't like it. You wrote it, it should be perfect, right? Having outside input is invaluable, even if you don't actually care what other people think of it.

To the second, definitely. If someone walks in, drops a one star, and leaves... That isn't criticism. It's confusing. Why didn't they like it? Did they even read it? If they left a comment like 'this is bad and you should feel ashamed' that doesn't tell you anything. How can you not get upset? Doubly so if you actually liked it.

It's funny, 'slight criticism' is actually far more horrifying than an in-depth, detailed review. Haha, I guess it's literally horrifying. Because a lot of horror relies on the suspense the reader builds up with their own imagination, on a glimpse of something unpleasant, instead of a full reveal that can be easily ignored.
 

LilTV1155

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Joined
May 8, 2021
Messages
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To get a little background, you may skim through these two Reddit sites: here and here.

As a newish writer, I can’t help obsessing over statistics. I check ScribbleHub every hour to see if my novel has gained readers. It’s become an annoying habit that literally gives me headaches. I’m starting to wonder if this is going to be worth it or not.

Then I found out you should write for yourself. Well, I was aware of this advice before I dedicated myself to ScribbleHub, but when I got to the actual experience, that advice became more emphasized. They say you shouldn’t care about the audience. You shouldn’t write for attention; you should write what you want to read. The statistics should be off-limits to your hobby.

I wonder: is that a defense mechanism?

Writing for yourself seems like a great idea. Whenever I hear that phrase, I feel some sense of freedom. Like I don’t have to keep on checking if my popularity has increased. But I realize that it’s also a way to avoid thinking negative thoughts, by simply ignoring what readers say or think about your story. Denying your unpopularity, if you will. You don’t want to be influenced by their squabbles. To not feel unhealthily envious or resentful is to become selfish.

But either way, I decided to become blind. I decided to post my chapters blindly (unless I get grammar mistakes, of course). I shouldn’t write with too much awareness. It just cripples me, and it just spoils the fun of writing. I’ll try my best that whenever I post a new chapter, I should close ScribbleHub at an instant and never check it again for the day. I can only check it when I’m going to publish a new chapter. That’s going to be my goal from now on.

What’s your take on this? Are you a writer who writes for himself/herself, or a writer who writes for others?

Or both?
Mostly for self. Because if you follow the people, then your only expression is considered catering to people without care for yourself.
I agree that statistic should be off-limits because at most, it's unreliable and at times, spirit-crushing for the creator.

However, the only time I do the promotion for the stories or arts is only to get some feedback reactions which almost no one provide online because they are usually busy with other stuffs or their own preferences. And let be clear on this, people nowadays would prefer not to read long pages about stuffs that's completely useless or just irrelevant nonsenses. The only times those types of readers would show up to give response is artwork like colored comics or social media things, not story writing. Blocks of words or texts, no one care.

As for defense mechanism? I would say it's probably both - against the social pressures that come with writing and the desire for recognition from reader and your creativity instincts.
But I might see it differently. It's just a personal stance that show where you stand between Creator (Hobby) and Reader (Business). Choose either one and pain will come to find you in the forms of criticism from yourself or from them regarding how you tell things.

What you choose to share is and will always be your choice of freedom. However forcing an opinion or one's belief on another is injustice, or as I would call it "Silencing."

As for writing for myself, I have plenty of reasons: 1) Find my purpose 2) Identify my true personality 3) Build my personal sanctuary and my worlds 4) Retaliation against my enemies or self-meditation 5) Manifest my other egos and give them new place to live 6) Creativity outlet 7) Personal lifelong dream 8) Build a tomb world for myself.

I definitely agree with other guy about dropping one star without reading or a comment about its reason. That's just nasty and more like they want to downgrade your story on purpose just to boost their stuffs or their low self-esteem. There should be a system that enforce star rating with reasons in comments explained, if no one give a reason, then no star rating get posted to affect a story's position.
 
Last edited:
D

Deleted member 45782

Guest
*Gasp!* The signature is the one that people see when you talk on the forum, not the About page. Unless you're hoping people will check out your story on their way to click the Ignore button. 🤣
I see. I must have disabled signatures awhile ago , so see less of that. I kinda like skipping over them. To be honest, I really don't care about them. If someone come upon it, then swell. If not, totally fine; most are hiatus and not really stories anyways.
 
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