Confession time: in the past few days I’ve been obsessively checking and refreshing my page to see if I’ve gotten any more likes or comments. Even one more would give me the brief, euphoric feeling that yes, someone does in fact appreciate what’s recently emerged from my imagination. I feel, for a few seconds, recognized and validated. But then that feeling goes away, and I have to wait for the next like/comment/whatever to get that feeling back.
Today’s been a little different for me as far as writing goes. I realized that, for one reason or another, today I don’t want to write as much as I crave that euphoric feeling. I feel desperate for someone, just one more person, to read what I’ve written and to affirm that it’s good, that’s it worthy of being posted here. And I’ve also realized that that is a dangerous craving to have.
Obviously, writing on WordPress has benefits. I’ve written much more regularly since starting my blog at the beginning of last year. The prospect of obtaining some recognition, along with the deadlines that come with using prompts, has been a great motivator for me. I’ve grown in my confidence as a writer and in my ability to write on the spot. I’m not saying that the desire for “likes” is all bad, because it isn’t. But I am saying that it is possible to fall down the rabbit hole of needing to have them, and that’s what makes this desire dangerous.
I’ve known for a long time that I’m the kind of person who easily develops addictions, and those addictions are difficult for others to spot and for me to resist. They’re invisible, subtle, and start off innocuous. The euphoria of “likes” is dangerous because it boxes me into the mindset that likes = worth as a writer. This worthiness thing is vague and hard to define, but my view of myself as a writer has a tremendous effect, whether good or bad, on my writing life. I know that people’s opinions on what I write are subjective. I shouldn’t base my worth as a poet on whether or not one person likes my most recent poem. That just isn’t healthy. But it happens a lot. And there are certainly days when I don’t write because I’m afraid I won’t be good enough.
Sorry for the rant. I just needed to get the words out. If you also struggle with this craving for “likes,” how do you deal with it?