Without The Spectator Tribune I wouldn’t be writing. At least, not nearly as much. Here’s why:
Writing is hard to do when nobody’s reading. It’s hard to find a reason to write, to put the time and energy into creating a final product when you feel as though your work and effort is going totally unnoticed. Writers need a reason to go through the process, we need to know that our work is reaching people who love it or hate it or, probably most often, are largely indifferent to it. We don’t need any particular reaction so much as we need people to pay attention, if only for a little while.
Writing is a process that requires rejection, even when the work is being published. Anyone can write a first draft of something and then put on a jacket with some suede elbow pads, drink something in a dark brown colour and feel authorly, but real writing requires the writer to go back into that first draft and then isolate every single poor choice and mistake. It requires that the writer then give their work to an editor and have them find any embarrassing pieces that may have been missed and then to provide notes explaining exactly why those pieces are embarrassing. The only kiln writers have is rejection and that’s why we either pay people or ask our friends to thoroughly analyze our work and then reject vast swaths of it. We need that type of rejection so that we can go back and redraft our work, fix our mistakes and make something worth people’s time. Every good author in every medium does this. If you even want to be halfway good, you have to.
Even with that understanding it’s still painful and, as I’m sure you can imagine, it can be awfully hard to motivate yourself to put your work into that oven knowing full well that your words aren’t the only thing about to get burned. That’s what The Spectator Tribune does for me; it gives me a reason to write. It gives me an assurance that some audience will be reading my work, that an editor expects a finished piece by a certain date and those facts motivate me to get my ass off of the chair that I don’t write in and into the other one where I do, to put some words onto a page and then get burned a couple of times before doing it all over again.
And it’s worth it. Every single article has been worth it.
But that’s only true if somebody’s actually reading and thanks to The Spectator Tribune, you are. For me, for Jennifer Barry, for Cynthia Spring, you are. That gives us reason enough to be the thing that we most want to be. That gives us a reason to be writers. The Spectator Tribune gives every one of us who contribute the motivation and resources to be writers.
For us, the value of that is incalculable.
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