I admit I am confronted with an activity problem on my nearly six years old site. Most of the sites have one, at a moment or another.
I feel it is something wrong with the very slow pace we have progressed with this year, and with people posting, instead of each week, only 1-2 times a month. In one year of writing, we have covered only two story months. In other years, there were three to six story months for a year of writing. If a quicker pace was possible before, and it created more enthusiasm for “the next episode” of the story, why it isn’t possible now anymore?
I think some people lose interest because the writing partners take too long to post. But they are saying that reminding them they owe posts is stressful and this makes them lose interest. I can’t understand this. Because it is only raising awareness that their contribution is needed, important, awaited, and their absence is blocking stories.
Being needed is a nice feeling, and it should be one more motivating reason to find inspiration and time. (This is exactly why I am always writing more for others than alone; because I know that other people are waiting for the “next round”). I am thinking ”My posts are needed, people are waiting for me, so I’ll make time as soon as I can”. (Which may mean instead of watching a movie or of doing something else which is for free time).
I am trying my best to stimulate people to write and be inspired, with everything I can, but it seems I am the only one doing it – and sometimes it feels damn lonely on my own site. This is when I get pessimistic and I think that nobody else cares about it, while I am giving all my best to the story and the community. It feels as one-sided as I am losing inspiration for stories I loved writing.
When I am sad, bored or tired of numbers or of drama in real world, I am starting to write, in order to get immersed in a different world. And I keep writing. But if one person not posting, doesn’t lead to inactivity and site dying, when most persons on a small site aren’t posting, the 2-3 who do… can they really make a significant difference, no matter how often they post? Because it is just a little part of the plots, and usually not the important ones, which get forward, and the others get waiting and waiting.
I think this is my main problem, especially that I know this site used NOT to be like this. The community was bubbly, involved, there were people of all speeds, and the stories were written quicker… Now, they are disenfranchising from us by simply not posting and not being anymore part of our WRITING community. Being active means being connected to the community. If they don’t understand this, what can I do? I can’t explain it any better to make them understand.
If we, each of us, no longer feel like putting in the effort, then we have made the conscious decision to let our site die. I am always willing to make this effort, but I can’t do it alone. And, unfortunately, not recognizing that we have an activity problem means not seeking consciously solutions, both within ourselves and all together.
The inactivity is the problem, at the whole board level. And instead of being stimulated to be more active when others aren’t, each one is complacent that “the others haven’t posted either, I can procrastinate as well.” Some do not even acknowledge it is a problem for the site, in order to seek solutions – both inside them and together with the others.
When we can’t get more writers (because, let’s admit, older sites seem to be less attractive for newcomers, despite the reassurance that they are more established and less prone to disappear in a whim), the solution to keep going on is to be more active ourselves – and it is a collective endeavour. A person alone can’t bring the needed activity, when the story is collective, needing various crews.
I have seen this elsewhere in the past. Sites once busy, then one left, another stopped posting, if those two weren’t anymore, others stopped posting too, either waiting for the others’ posts, or just because – and in 2 months the site was a ghost town. And it is something which would naturally lead to the death of the site, if nobody stops it somehow. But how to stop it? What more can I do in order to make the plot running smoother, better?
I really am trying my best. And maybe from here a big part of the lonely feeling… Don Quijote fighting windmills, misunderstood by the people around, who claim it is normal and we have no problem? I do care about our writing community together, writing, because this is what gathered us together. I can’t do everything in this world, but I am doing as much as I can, and I am searching for what else to do in order to keep the community together, to keep the story going. And nobody else admits that inactivity might be a problem.
I understand people being busy for a while and people having lost interest (in writing in general or in this story in special). It doesn’t mean I am not regretting their good characters, their writing style, their warm presence and their interesting ideas. I do. But I know I can’t fight something which belongs inside each person. If they don’t have motivation from inside, to write, I can’t give it to them with any outside intervention. And, in exchange, I start losing mine if my writing partners don’t care about the story anymore, because I feel I am doing everything in vain, for no readers and no writing partners.
You say that by not doing anything about it, there will be less stress and it will be better. I beg to differ, but I accept making the experiment because there is nothing I can do, more than what I am already doing. It might be the beginning of the end for the site. Hopefully not happening, but even if it does, I’d say like in the Bible – the blood of the dying site will be on your hands, not on mine.