What am I doing here? I am not asking an existential question. I am asking a realistic question. Why am I doing this? Why am I making such an effort almost every day so that you can be reading these words? What the hell is the point of this? Why do any of us do it?
First off, few of us are being paid for these digitalized words you are reading. We are giving it away for free while the websites which carries our writings makes money from the content we provide. What the hell is the point of that? We are not even getting a dollar a post. I have a friend who is a published novelist. He publishes with an independent press. He writes six or seven hours a day and receives a check every month, which allows him to live moderately. He is what I call a “real writer.” He is not giving it away for free all though occasionally he will post on his blog. Being a “real writer” is possible for some of us but most of us just keep giving it away for free. Why?
Most of us who post these kinds of things are doing it for free. Why? Oh, I know, it is a labor of love. We do it because we love to give expression to the ideas that machinate in our heads. It is not about the money. It is about helping others or inspiring others through the words we write and as a result getting out ideas out “into the world.” What a bunch of bullshit. There are few things I despise more when people will say to me, “Don’t give to receive, just do it because it is rewarding to you. Expect nothing back.” What a bunch of crap. Of course, we all want to succeed. We all want to be appreciated. We all want some kind of acknowledgment that what we are doing is really good. When this is not obtained in a way that feels satisfactory to us, it is miserable to try and convince yourself that you do it for the love of it.
For the most part, posting writings on-line for free on a regular basis is a thankless job. Readers feed off your blood and sweat and sometimes tears and then forget about you. Like any other glutton, readers are always looking for more from you but then poop it out when done. Sometimes they will leave an appreciative comment but for the most part all you get in return is a deep feeling like you don’t get much in return. But you keep doing it anyways hoping one day things will work out. Someday you will really matter. What a bunch of crap. What will happen is that one day you will either give up because you realize there really is no point to what you are doing (as far as improving the quality of your own lived experience goes) or you will keep writing and posting on-line and end up bitter and pissed off because you have gotten so little back from the surrounding world.
What the hell are any of us doing? Are we really so narcissistic that we have to articulate the thoughts that spin around in our heads even if we know we are giving it away for free? Do we really need to be heard that badly by others? Were we really that ignored and un-listened to as kids that we need to feel like our voice matters as adults? The various blogging sites provide us possible narcissists with platforms to post our thoughts on. While they make all the money from what we write, all we get in return is this illusory feeling that we are being heard, understood and appreciated. That our ideas matter. And for narcissists, feeling like your ideas matter is the most important thing.
So we are willing to sell our labor for free. We are in such a desperate need to be heard, to be listened to, to be validated, to feel like we matter that we are willing to write, edit and post all for free, all the time. What suckers we are. Maybe we will get a nice comment or two in return from some person we will never be in the physical presence of, from some person who is basically a digital ghost occasionally haunting us. Maybe we get some temporary satisfaction knowing some one far out there is processing our words in their heads, but what fools we are. What is the point of this? Why can’t I stop doing it? Maybe I just figured all that out.