Fits and starts

So we’re about a quarter more than two years old here at The Interconnected and it’s safe to say that building an audience and publishing on a regular basis is harder than it looks on TV.

Or anywhere else, especially the internet.

And there’s lots of reasons for that.

For example, it sounds easy to make writing a habit, but like every other habit that doesn’t involve addictive substances like nicotine or dopamine it’s hard to start and easy to quit. Speaking personally (and that’s all I’m doing in this essay — our other editors have either already weighed in on how hard writing is or will do so when the mood strikes them) I know I should write every day, because my fiction would certainly improve if I was writing words more, and my nonfiction certainly wouldn’t be harmed.

But that means carving out time, sitting down, and doing the work.

You know, like everything else in life.

There’s also the problem of imposter syndrome and self-doubt. At one point I told the other editors that I didn’t want this site to become “the anne show” so I wouldn’t publish more than two weeks in a row, because really, who’d want to read the anne show? If you wanted that… well I don’t know what you’d do because I’ve never given you chance, have I?

Yep. Hello writing demons, good to see you’ve teamed up with my inner editor yet again.

Then there’s the fact that because I love writing, I naively assumed lots of people in UX love writing, and would love to write for us. Except if that were true most of us would probably actually be in writing positions, not in design positions. Even our offer of an admittedly-pathetic $25 paycheck per post doesn’t draw in lots of writers.

Writing is work. Writing about work is as tiring as doing the work. Writing about work carries other risks — what if people don’t like it? what if they think I’m not a good designer? will this hurt my career? what if nobody wants to hear from me? what if it upsets my boss/company/HR department? — and those risks are real. There are not a ton of people who, when they hear, “Do you want to write an article?” punch the air and yell “Shit yeah! Sign me up!” and most of the ones I know who do are already editors here.

My years on the outskirts of the webcomics industry taught me that you can’t build an audience if you, the creator, don’t show up. On time, on a schedule, consistently enough that your audience can find you. They’ll binge on your work if they can find it and they’re behind, but they won’t follow you forward if finding your work is a pain in the ass.

But that’s exactly what we’ve done here at The Interconnected; we’ve gone from a once-a-week schedule to a haphazard schedule of posts going up willy-nilly, to long gaps of silence.

Well, that’s no way to run a railroad.

So while I strongly hesitate to use the word “promise” as in “I promise we’ll have good readable content for you every week”, I am going to make an effort to up the output around here at Casa Interconnected. I’ll probably be posting on either late Tuesday nights (hello!) or Wednesdays, depending on pinball league and tournament schedules, work needs, life needs, and whatever these three nitwits need.

Three jack russel terriers riding in a doggie car seat in the back of my Mini
from left to right, Myka (5 months), Chance, (10 years) and Kaylee (10 years), the terrier “terror triplets”

Obviously, our other writers are all still going to post when and where they can, at the schedule that best meets their needs. We don’t normally post more than once a day, but heck we don’t normally post once a week right now, so we’re not real big on hard and fast rules.

Let’s see what we can do to turn these fits and starts into a running engine, shall we?

Author: Anne Gibson

Anne Gibson is a Senior Staff Product Designer and General Troublemaker working on design systems from outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She's an editor and writer at The Interconnected. She is also published at A List Apart and The Pastry Box, and publishes short fiction when she's not persuading the terriers to stop wrecking things. (The terriers are winning.)