I’ve seen a lot of writers, artists that I respect and adore, kind of sucked dry by the Tumblr experience. You can drive yourself crazy, sick even, with anxiety, or hurt feelings. Wondering if you’re just not a good writer, because you shared something you were proud of, and it feels like no one noticed… or is reading… or really cares. It does feel like you’ve being rejected, on a personal level. I think most of us are thin skinned, about our words, even if we don’t like to admit it. We want to affect people, in some way.
It’s a struggle to get noticed at first… It takes a long time to get on the radar. You pay your dues, so to speak. But then you get the thrill of having maybe a handful of people paying attention, to double digits, to triple digits… But there will always be someone with more followers. You get the excitement of going from seeing maybe 4 hearts on a piece, to seeing 10, 20, 30… But there will always be someone who gets more hearts than you.
You hang in there; make friends; build a following. You feel the tiny surge of giddiness, when you get featured for the first time… But there will always be someone who gets featured on a day when you don’t. There will always be someone who gets featured more than you do.
You write something that you feel is amazing… gets almost no hearts; no feature. But that thing you wrote that you thought was so/so (maybe even terrible?) that’s the piece that seems to get the most attention. Hell, maybe it even gets featured.
Then, you make it to a point where people say that you’re “Tumblr Famous”. You get used to being featured, to getting noticed. But, one day, you fall off the list. You don’t get the blue tags anymore. You don’t want to wonder, if maybe your writing has lost something; but the thought is always there.
At every step of the way, there are critics and anons who just want to tear you down. The worst part is, you know that some of them are writers/people you care for; who you thought cared for you. They don’t mean it. They’re just frustrated, like you feel frustrated sometimes. If it’s too much… you don’t HAVE to listen to them. It doesn’t prove anything, putting on a brave face and letting them rip you apart. It’s okay to say, No!
If there’s one thing I’ve learned, Tumblr is like the tide. There are highs and lows. It’s a constant flux, and you have to adapt yourself to the inevitable disappointment. Whether no one knows who the fuck you are, or everyone in the TWC knows your name… it all comes with its own set of issues; challenges; anxiety; and again, disappointment.
If you don’t take a breath, take a step back, and get some perspective… you won’t last very long.
Please. Focus on the writing… appreciate the people who take the time to read your work; inspire you; support you. Appreciate the hearts; reblogs; features; and general attention. However it comes to you, when it comes to you… but always write for the joy; release; art; craft of writing. Be a “good citizen”. Be kind. Be supportive. Help when you feel someone deserves recognition. It will remind you about the positive things, that make Tumblr (and sharing your writing with the public, in general) worth the effort.
Otherwise? You’ll be eaten alive by bitterness, anger, envy, pride, anxiety, and self-doubt.
This is how you survive Tumblr.