I created this website nearly five years ago. Almost 900 pieces later, here we are.
I think about the thousands of hours I’ve put in to this site. I think about the reasons I started writing in the first place: to connect with other people. I think of all the time and effort I’ve put into not only writing pieces but responding to every single comment. I think about the hundreds of questions I’ve posed to others, and the inversely small amount posed to me. I know it shouldn’t matter, but sometimes it’s hard.
It’s hard to be consistently overlooked. Or ignored? Which is worse?
The past week has been sobering, writing-wise. Most of my traffic comes from people clicking on Facebook links from my writing page. Due to changes in Facebook’s algorithms, people are not only not seeing those posts, but not finding their way here, either. I’m more than willing to admit I’m not of interest to the overwhelming majority of folks (including people I know who love games and love to read), but I also seem to be writing into a vacuum.
It’s to be expected, really. I loathe self-promotion. LOATHE IT. I almost never link pieces I write on my personal Facebook page because I hate the idea of bothering people with my writing. The only reason I even created a Twitter account was to promote my “work” as I don’t believe I’m clever or engaging enough to make good use of the platform outside of how I use it now. No matter how many times I’ve mentioned the capability of being able to subscribe to this website via email, almost no one does.
The writing on the wall is large and in neon.
I sometimes feel I write in spite of myself. Four times a week, every week, for five years. I’m proud that I’ve never missed a day. But I’m largely not doing what I set out to do. If I did not ask what people were playing, nearly no one would be interacting. And, while I sincerely love knowing what people are playing, I’m failing at writing.
I sat there last night and realized my “work” doesn’t matter. It doesn’t. There’s nothing here you couldn’t find elsewhere. The landscape is laden with writers, better writers, more versed writers, and what I do doesn’t matter. My words don’t matter. So I ask myself what I’m doing.
I don’t know. And I just keep doing it.
This isn’t about popularity. The only reason I cite views and traffic and algorithms is to prove a point of numbers. At some point I must heed that what I’m doing is largely of no use. I’m not an amazing writer. I don’t have style. I merely exist in this tiny corner of the internet, and I’m not sure continuing on does anything positive for anyone and that gives me pause.
I started really thinking about this again after witnessing a weird trend on my Facebook writing page. If I made a post that a piece was going up late, people would comment or engage with that post. When the piece itself went up, almost no one would engage with it. If I linked another piece (e.g.: Thehardtimes.net), it would get a crazy amount of engagement, but when I would link something I wrote, there would be little to none. The only thing I can conclude is that what I write isn’t of interest, and continuing would be an effort in futility. Most of my friends love games and I am not even of interest to them. That speaks volumes.
I post a photo and 20 people like it. I post a link to a piece I’ve written and two people do.
I am so grateful to those handful of people who have been supportive and kind and helped me feel like maybe, just maybe, I could hang in there.
To the incredibly small number of people who have ever asked me a question or, rarer still, the few people over the past five years who have asked if I’d write a piece about something, thank you. You will never know how I keep those moments with me as sustenance. The times between are painful deserts and I am thirsty.
I don’t know what I’m saying here other than what I’ve said. I think I needed to get current with where this site is and where I’m at (both: nowhere) and just how down down down I am about the site, my writing, and engagement in general.
I got nothing.
And I keep thinking about subbing to PS Now.
I hope your week is good.
I hope I can either hang in there and things change, or I hope I can finally force myself to stop writing and continuing to embarrass myself. I think about the fact that almost no one will see this and I feel like that should be an answer in and of itself.