In thinking back to all the things various people have said, and things I have read elsewhere, I wanted to pull ideas together into a particular little spot with my thoughts on community.
As has been said elsewhere, (and in completely different locations), Protagonize has the potential to be the biggest writers' group you will ever join. For those unfamiliar with that concept, a writers' group is (obviously) a group of writers. They get together and exchange their work, offering praise and critique as well as moral support. It is a place to exchange ideas, be reminded that you are not in it alone, and make some friends.
It can be tough trying to go it alone. It is always a little sad to check the site and see that nobody has rated your stories, no new comments await you, you have no new additions to your stories. We all understand this. We all like being noticed and getting feedback on our writing. Not that you can't just write your own stories on this site and have that be enough.
But for Protagonize to become your writers' group, if that is what you want, there is one important step you must be ready to take: get involved. To become part of the community, to get the most out of this site, it will become time to give some to get some, so to speak (no, I'm not suggesting you offer sexual favours hehe). I think the Golden Rule is a pretty good guide for how to approach any sort of involvement you want to go about.
- People love comments. I think that is pretty clear. If you would like to see comments on your writing, then perhaps comment on the stories you read by other writers. It is a great way to meet new people and to let others meet you. A great comment, be it praise, critique, or suggestion, could inspire someone to see what else you have to offer.
- Collaborate. If you are really wanting people to add to your stories, a great way to let others see just what you might have to offer is to post on someone else's story. It could be a story by one author, or it could be one of the large-scale collaborative efforts like the Haikus or Poetry Battlez, or reviving an older story you like. Make it easy for people to see your writing. There's a ton of it on the site and sometimes it is hard to get to new stuff.
- Respond to messages you receive or posts on your work. If someone says hello to you, it's a nice gesture to say hello back. If you get a great comment, say thanks. Or if you disagree with something, try asking about it. If someone posts on your story, especially the first time, make sure you comment on what they wrote. Everyone likes to be appreciated. :)
- Leave comments on profiles. Even if you just wanted to say you like someone's picture, or have a question about something they wrote or said, it is a nice gesture. You can even leave a request that they read or post on a particular story of yours, or give you feedback. They might not be able to respond immediately or add to your story or give you feedback, but they will certainly notice that you took the time to go to their profile and say something. Maybe they will be able to collaborate another time, or just give you an idea. Or maybe someone else will see your message and take a look.
The more you get involved, the more people who will know you're out there. You just might make a new friend! I know I certainly have!
So take a minute and give something to someone else. You might be surprised at just how much a little gesture can produce! That person you left a comment for might be feeling blue and forgotten.