With 285 pages down and only 51 left to read, I’m on the final stretch of Project: Edit | Phase One. Technically, this is only the beginning of all the work I still have left to do, but I’m pleased nonetheless.
Since I’ve been diligent trying to catch up this week, and have made pretty good progress, today has been a relax-and-let-my-brain-just-enjoy-things sort of day.¹ I’ve been reading and perusing blogs; it’s also been a much more social day than normal.
One of the things I read today was the new Writer’s Digest magazine. There was a quote in one of the articles² I read that made me feel sad and intrigued, with a dash of naïvete:
“‘Nobody cares about you on the Internet,’ [Seth] Godin says. ‘People care only about themselves. They’re looking for the answer to the all-important question: ‘What’s in it for me?'”
It’s such a black-and-white statement, one full of cynicism and pessimism, a sorry-folks-this-is-just-how-it-is sort of assertion. Perhaps that’s why it didn’t sit well with me, since I’m a fan of all things gray and I’m more hopeful optimist than cynical pessimist. Also, I know for a fact that it’s not an accurate statement, because I do, in fact, care about other people on the Internet. (In my version of English, nobody means nobody, not almost everybody except for that one girl.)
I like to think you guys care, too — in fact, you’ve proved that you care. You’ve been great accountability as I edit my work, and you say nice things about my pretty rainboots. What do you get out of commenting on pretty rainboots, you know?
Of course, I’m really not so naïve (or optimistic) to think that entire quote is off-base — I know there’s truth in it. As writers, we want to connect with other writers, hone our craft, get accountability, network, and on and on. There are undeniable benefits to making connections on the Internet. That doesn’t mean caring about others and caring about yourself are mutually exclusive, though — for me, they work together hand-in-hand.
Caring about others is an essential part of ‘what’s in it for me,’ and not in an ulterior motives sort of way. I genuinely like hearing about J.C. Hart‘s and Jennifer Neri‘s pregnancies; I empathize with Linda when she’s having a ‘blue muse’ sort of day; I hurt with Megs when she talks about her tendonitis or having to care for her hospitalized aunt; I know that Melissa hasn’t fallen off the face of the planet or anything, she’s just crazy busy trying to move and take care of her daughter and manage a full-time job. (Cutting this paragraph off because you get the picture, yes?)
Anyway. When I read that quote, it made me anxious to let you all know how much I appreciate you. I’ve got in-person support, to be sure, but it’s wonderful to have met such caring people who are also goal-oriented writers.
Any thoughts on the quote above?
Revision Update, Phase One | 285 down, 51 to go | 84.8%
¹It’s safe to say that LOST has had a big part in this decision: my mind has officially been melted by all my recent theorizing and attempts to understand what, exactly, is going on…(Gotta say, though, I am 100% among those who totally love the fact that they’re still giving us new mysteries, despite the fact that it’s the final season.)(Answers are good, too, though.)
²”Make Your Passion Make Money For You,” by Chris Guillebeau. It starts on page 31 of the March/April 2010 issue.
UPDATE: Chris Guillebeau, the author of the article, posted some helpful insights in the comment section below. Be sure to check it out, since it puts my concerns about the quote in a more appropriate context.