East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

Why Bother?



(it’s A LOT less romantic than that)

Writing a blog is really a great source of ideas.
An example?
It’s 23.33, sunday night.
In theory, in about thirty minutes a post should go online on Karavansara.
And here I am, staring at the fog inundating my courtyard like a pool of soap water, and racking my brain for an idea.

And then, on my other blog, the Italian one, a surfer comments a recent post, asking…

Why do you care about the number of readers reading your blog?
Is it a matter of money – more readers, more donations?
Or is it a way to confirm how good you are? More readers means I’m a better writer?
Why bother about being read?

Now, ok, I’ll admit it – I’m facing a difficult week, and my first reaction is slamming repeatedly my forehead on the keyboard.
When someone that’s actually reading me asks me why I am interested in being read, the sense of emptyness and desolation scares me witless for ten seconds solid.
But then, c’mon, let’s think about it – here’s a theme for the new post!

Why bother about being read?

It goes for my blog(s), for my stories, my non-fiction stuff, my academical works…

Why bother?

And I don’t mean why bother writing, mind you.
Writing is hard as hell, frustrating, does not command a lot of respect, but what the heck, it’s the best game in town.
Better than reading, most of the time – which is why I’m a writer first, a reader second (if you like to make lists – I’m a lot of things at the same time, actually).
Writing is the most fun you can have alone.

But what about the desire of being read?
Why value the readers, why desire as many readers as possible?

You probably met those guys, the ones that say they write for themselves.

I don’t circulate my stories/poetry/whatnot… I write for myself.

I always thought it’s silly.
Meaning, ok – I write for myself, meaning I am the one that wants to know how the story ends, what the characters will do, what the universe in which they live looks like.
And the story has to satisfy me first.
But then, I need readers.

And it’s not about money – although being paid for our work, being recognized as a professional, is important, and feels good.
Money keeps me alive long enough for my passion to fire up another story.
But it can’t be a simple matter of money.
It’s not.
It’s not like notches on the grip of my Colt.
And it’s not a simple matter of getting a certification of sorts.
It’s not a race – oh, it might look like that, in Top Tens and Sales Ranks, but it’s not the reason why I want to reach as many readers as possible.
Ten readers more does not mean now I’m ten …whatevers… better than before.

Dammit, if the number of readers was a certification of quality, we should all kow tow to nerdy chicks writing slash porn fanfictions about the Winchester brothers*.

So, why bother?

My personal answer – which is mine, and it’s all right if for you is different (and I’d like to hear from you in the comments) – but my answer is this:

I get a hell of a kick out of the idea of someone out there feeling about me the way I feel when thinking about… H.P. Lovecraft, R.E Howard, Leigh Brackett, E.R. Burroughs, Ray Chandler, Jack Vance, Roger Zelazny, or any other of the few dozens of writers which are my personal Pantheon.
I want to reach as many readers as possible because I want to touch the lives of as many individuals as possible.
Maybe providing ten minutes of fun.
Ten minutes of fun and a spark of an idea are enough.
Enough to make my day.
Enough for me to ask for more.

That’s why I bother.


* yes, this is sexist, and cliché, and unjust.
Sorry ’bout that.

Author: Davide Mana

Paleontologist. By day, researcher, teacher and ecological statistics guru. By night, pulp fantasy author-publisher, translator and blogger. In the spare time, Orientalist Anonymous, guerilla cook.

9 thoughts on “Why Bother?

  1. I struggle with this question too, and I go back and forth. Maybe it’s just the desire for effective communication, which means someone on the other end of this is listening. If I have readers the loop is completed. The more readers, the more effective my communication has been. Maybe. Writing to connect? To touch someone, as you put it? Yeah, that too. Writing to be heard, maybe not elicit a response, as in communication, but simply that what I think/know/feel etc is witnessed. We’re not alone, we’re not even remotely alone, because so much of what we think/know/feel/yearn for is shared by others. And having them affirm that as readers–maybe that’s enough. Maybe that’s touching them, maybe that’s eliciting an emotional response. I don’t know.

    Why do we bother with anything? With living, say? Because it’s better than the alternative? Because it’s a kick? So then is writing. And living with writing is more of a kick than living without writing, or reading, for that matter.


    • Thanks for your comment, Deborah.
      I go back and forth, too.
      My answer to the question isthe one that works for me now – next week might be somewhat different.
      But yes – communication requires a sender and a receiver.
      As senders, we need receivers.


  2. I always resd your stuff with pleasure, I like it, please don’t stop


  3. I heard too many times the sentence “I write for myself”. I think it’s a lie, like “I write for exorcise demons inside me”. Not only cliché, but lies…
    The truth is we’re writing to be read, for have feedbacks.


  4. Why bother? What a question, it’s like to ask “why do you continue breathing?”
    Without any effort of communication, without any information exchange, how can an human being continue to be considered mentally functional? This is my answer to the question you’re posting about. A blog, any blog, is one of a kind as his (or hers) author. Humankind struggle to communicate with each other since the dawn of our era and your reader didn’t get the basic about the need to share informations with the others.


  5. Writing is a difficult and thin balance. A writer, a poet, a blogger write for youself but one important target of this passion is the share, the diffusion of thinks, concept and ideas to the more several readers, otherwise where’s the sense of this art?
    P.s. i’m sorry for my bad english!


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