Syp’s Prime Law of Blogging (and writing online in general)July 28, 2008
It goes like this:
“The longer and the more you write, the greater the odds are that people will grow to disagree, then dislike, then turn on you like a pack of vampire manatees.”
This isn’t going to be a cynical post or anything aimed at the Warhammer Online community (including bloggers and site owners) — if anything, everyone’s been super-nice (okelydokely!) and there’s a great sense of comradeship and honor and pinky swears we haven’t seen since Peggle first came out and turned us all into brown-robed cult followers.
It’s just a thought I have. From experience, the more you write online, and the longer you’ve been writing, the odds start stacking against your favor of having people like/agree/support you. You’re bound to eventually say something that will tick everyone off, as long as you keep on writing. It will happen. Honeymoon periods wear off, and the internet at large (and I don’t mean YOU in particular, you’re a lovely human being) is not a patient beast on the best of days.
And nobody likes being slammed for something you write, or to have people rip you apart just for the fun of taking you down a notch. Sometimes criticism or disagreement is deserved and appropriate, sometimes it’s just cruel.
So why should I, you and any other WAR writer out there bother with it all? Get out before you jump the shark completely?
We should do it for the passion. Some will say, “You write to please yourself, first and foremost”, but that isn’t really true, is it? If it was, why aren’t we just penning it in a paper diary or a private Word document? We want to share our ideas, we enjoy crafting fun sentences that start to fall apart after the third prepositional phrase, we thrill to the fact that people read this and perhaps care about our perspective — as we do in turn for others.
I write because I can’t not write — if it wasn’t WAR, it would be something else. Heck, it is something else, if you consider all my other projects. And after doing 11 years of movie reviews for Mutant Reviewers, I’ve seen the highs of being lauded for verve and wit, and the lows of people regarding you as used up as a three-day-old tissue after a bout of the flu. I didn’t start doing WAAAGH! because I ever thought I’d be the best darned WAR blogger out there (and I know I’m not — there are simply spectacular bloggers out on the WAR scene that deserve your attention and readership), or because I craved the spotlight and applause so much as to prostitute myself through words just to get the attention.
I write, and others write, knowing that we’ll have our ups and downs, and that more and more people will disagree and boo you. But I also write, and others write, knowing that we just love doing this too much to stop. If I’m not the center of attention, then I’m okay with that — actually, it’s a nice thought to know that someone more deserving is.
And, for the record, I’m okay with you not agreeing with me. I’ve never had a problem with that, as long as the disagreer in question wasn’t rude or obnoxious about it. In fact, sometimes the best dialogue comes from a comment or post that takes the opposing view or calls me out on a flaw in my thinking. A lot of these posts just come straight from the hip (I type with a series of Elvis Presley-style hip shimmies), and I often look back a week or month later wondering if that was me writing, or perhaps a homeless Civil War vet named Packer who caught a ride on the Chrono Chaos train and was learning the joys of instant non-movable type.
I just wanted to encourage other WAR bloggers and journalists out there to write for the right reasons (yay! pun!) and not from a flawed sense of eternal celebrity glory.
That is all.