There are many preoccupations which, in the quiet hours, bother those who publish their work on the web. These range from influencer guilt (did I properly declare my allegiance to that brand?), to over-exposure (pondering if my kids’ teacher might be reading my innermost thoughts, or that person I don’t know very well, but met for coffee?), to downright white-knuckled fear (am I the only one on earth who thinks this way?). Over the years I have got used to it, and to the way in which people know my business without my having told them face to face. My mum is a particular lurker on Instagram and this blog, and will often be ahead of the ‘what is Louise thinking?’ curve, because she has read along.
A panacea to this is the write more privately for a separate group of readers, and that is why a couple of months ago I set up Patreon page. I saw other writers using this medium and was intrigued. It ensures a readership who are invested and once I launched, I learned they were readers who’ve supported me as I’ve written over time. The two currencies of following and commenting are important to writers, as we really don’t have any idea how our words are being received. Mainstream publishers have lessened their feedback mechanisms and take fewer unsolicited submissions of work, so to understand the gatekeepers of ‘what people want to read’, there isn’t much direction.
Patreon is not everyone’s cup of tea though; some have baulked at the subscription method; you have to pay a couple of pounds to read. Some might be irritated by the ‘selling’ of my work, as most of us expect to consume the thoughts of others for free and have done so for years. Why pay? For those readers who have decided to become my patrons, it’s already formed a lovely community whom I trust, and have in mind when I write. Some writers don’t envisage an audience, I always have, despite myself, and am almost surprised when I learn that readers aren’t always the demographic I expect.
It’s been illuminating to write for a smaller audience, there’s a candour I can’t display here, and I can cover a broader spectrum of topics because I need less self-censorship. It also makes me write more often, because there is an unspoken contract with the subscribers that I will bring the words and the thoughts.
I have realised, fairly recently, that I am ridiculously honest in what I write and what I say to people. I don’t often edit out, but I do skirt round bigger issues if I think they are contentious. Years of writing here has taught me the narrow path to tread between sharing and preaching. Or over-sharing. As such it becomes a vanilla environment and that is no good. If you want to become a subscriber, go to my Patreon (or search ‘Lou Bradford writes’ if you go to the main Patreon page) and join.