I love writing. You probably don't need to have me tell you that to know it. Otherwise why would I spend so much of my time doing it for free? I usually write every day in some capacity, even if it isn't fanfic. It's been a part of my life ever since I learned how to do it, probably. By the time I was eight I had written a few illustrated books, including my own version of The Empire Strikes Back which I'm incredibly sad to say is likely lost forever :(
Now, some of the stuff I write is just for me, but my fan fiction I like to put out there and get feedback on. I don't do it for accolades and awards (I don't think there are awards) but pretty much the only satisfaction we get as writers is feedback from readers. And let me just tell you that there is nothing more demoralizing than receiving dead silence when you post something. I've been there, and I'm sure some of you have, too. I'm sure there are many people who have no idea that their silence tends to crush our souls as writers. To most of us, silence seems to scream, "This isn't even worth the time and energy required to tell you it sucks."
Now, there's a good chance that's not at all what you are saying with your silence, but that is how it's often misconstrued. Maybe you just don't feel you have anything to contribute or your opinion is meaningless. It's not. I promise. You have no idea how good it feels to have someone tell you they enjoyed what they read. I know sometimes people will list my story as one of their favorites without ever reviewing a chapter or saying a word to me. While that is also appreciated, I'd like to know why it's considered one of your favorites. Because I swear, when some of you have literally five hundred stories listed as favorites I often wonder if you're just adding it to the list to keep track of what you've clicked on.
So here's the thing: once upon a time we used to go on forums and talk about Han and Leia and our stories. People used to review stuff and we had forged our own little community of writers and readers. Instead of closeted pen names and anonymous clicks, everyone was getting in on the conversations. Maybe I'm totally crazy, but I feel like maybe there are a lot of Han and Leia fans out there who would love to have this sort of interaction become the norm once again. The thing is, we've been silent for so long that everyone just assumes that nobody out there is interested anymore so they're not talking. So maybe if we all started talking a bit more, then more people would be encouraged to speak up and join in. Again, this is only a theory, and the silence very well could be that there is just literally nobody but me, Push, our ff.net reviewers and our nine followers who actually care in the slightest anymore.
I was thinking about this because of the comments that have been left on the "My One and Only" post. It seems that people are leaving the Han and Leia fandom to escape to other places where people are actually giving feedback. That's a real shame, I think. Part of it might just be sheer numbers, because I'm sure there could quite possibly be a thousand times more people reading Harry Potter than there are reading Han and Leia and the same percentage of those people are commenting, but there's just a way larger pool of people to pull from. But we're going to lose a lot of good writers and potential for great stories if nobody ever speaks up and lets us know that we're not just talking to ourselves.
So I'd encourage you "lurkers" to speak up and say something. Do you actually want to talk with other Han and Leia fans or are you content with just being a casual observer? It's always great to hear from people whether it's about our stories or just about Han and Leia in general. I still check in on Nerfherder's Playground in the hopes that someone might bring some of those old conversations back to light. Several years ago we used to have some fun conversations. Maybe it's that everyone else decided to grow up and move on and I'm still holding on. But unfortunately the older I get, the more apparent it seems that I will never grow up, so I'm just going to have to keep trying!
So lurkers, come on out! Comment on this post! Review a story! Start or contribute to a thread on Nerfherder's Playground! We won't bite, I promise! And it's always good to "talk" to people about our similar obsessions. Makes us feel less alone in the world :)