Like in my current thread I can see a lot of views and I've gotten a few nice bits of feedback for which I'm grateful, but overall I'm just not feeling the love. I write for myself and so I keep working regardless, but what I do find is that if I'm not getting feedback I lose motivation to post.
Ditto. The promise of feedback was what lured me into posting my stuff publicly in the first place.
any ideas on how we can encourage a collaborative atmosphere here would be welcomed
Maybe it would be helpful if I made a personal confession? When I first found the nerve to sign up (I still don't know where I found it) I did it because I was impressed with the writing I found here and the casual, friendly atmosphere I noted in the comments people left. I'd wanted to leave comments, but I'm almost pathologically shy when it comes to introducing myself to a group. Especially a group I respect. I felt thoroughly intimidated, and I was scared to "impose." (That's truly how I felt about making a reply. I was afraid I'd be seen as an imposing, presumptuous, "Who the heck is this Rowena person and why is she writing on my
thread?") So, I worked for three months straight until I figured I'd come up with a story I could use as an introduction: "Christmas Cookies." (I finished it in December so I thought a holiday theme would be fitting). I read and re-read it so many times I think I still have the darn thing memorized. I worked really hard to correct the grammar mistakes I ususally made in school papers (mainly concerning really LONG sentences and comma use) and I checked the spelling every time I changed a word! (Hey, I was really
nervous.) But, the thing was, I wanted to make sure my introductory work made a good impression, and if anyone suggested an improvement, I wanted to make sure it concerned something that I wasn't already working to improve.
This is the little message I wrote to myself when I was trying to convince myself to to post my story. I scribbled it at the top of my first draft.
1) This isn't school. You're not doing all this work for a grade (a.k.a. the approval of others), you're doing it for yourself. If you like what you're doing, hopefully others will too.
2) Fanfiction should be fun to read and to write. That's why people create it. No one
gets paid to do this, it comes from within. That's what matters. That's why you like it. Even if no one replies to your story, that's still what matters. You did it, you wrote it, now you're going to put it out there for the world to criticize. That, in itself, takes a lot of guts. ....oh help....
3) Learning how to express yourself clearly through writing is really, really, really, really, really important in The Real World. Duh. So, if I want those writers out there to take me and me work seriously, I've got to check the grammar. Commas!!!!!!! OK, grammar, spelling, that's the key. If it's easy to read, hopefully people will read it!!!!! I hope, I hope, I hope.... But even if they don't, it's still good practice.
OK, yes, I am a total nerd to have written that to myself. I admit it, I'm a dweeb! But, it did help me build up the nerve to actually make a post.
MAIN POINT ---> Sooo.... based on all that, my suggestion on how to encourage a collaborative atmosphere is to encourage new writers/artists, potential writers/artists, and people who like reading stories and looking at artwork but aren't much into writing or drawing to feel honestly welcome to share their thoughts and ideas here.
This is a Nightcrawler site, so it has to be assumed that just about everyone who pops in here to look around is a Nightcrawler fan and thus already a member of the community, even if they don't actively participate. In order to make that community collaborative, the next step is to encourage people to stand up, introduce themselves, and share their ideas. The goal of that sharing should be to encourage each other to improve. Reciprocal feedback. Even the self-motivated need to know their posted words are reaching someone else's eyes, or else they'll just motivate themselves somewhere else.
And now, I'm off to go practice a bit of what I just preached. See ya!