I’m relatively new to WordPress, and one of my favourite things about blogging has been comments. I love to read, write and answer them. Recently, we were awarded a Liebster (not incredibly prestigious but still sent shivers through me when I saw Sue Blake’s comment). So we did the whole Q&A and nominated some bloggers we liked. One of my nominees was a girl whose blog I had just recently started to visit regularly, the amazing SJ Paige. During the ensuing comment chit-chat, she briefly mentioned her motivations for blogging. This seemingly casual remark caused a surprisingly big reaction within my brain. Why do I blog? Why do I spend countless hours in front of my PC screen telling stories of mages, secret agents, and spaceships?
Rationality gave me the answer. “You accepted your friend’s invitation and challenge to join the SpeakEasy” it declared, “after which you realised you could learn how to write better from these people.” Yes, but why do I feel this urge to write more? Why am I addicted to all sorts of feedback, comments especially?
Analytics then spoke up. “It’s a form of human interaction. You’re a human being (a bloody teenager at that). Evolution has wired you to pursue social interaction. It’s how you’re gonna meet a mate to further ensure the continuation of the human race.” Ok, but then why are the most satisfying comments tips, advice, constructive criticism etc… Why am I so proud when I put the final period on a post, one that outshines the tingle of satisfaction I feel when I hit “publish”? Why do I feel like a kid in a candy store while surfing through WordPress?
Dead silence from Analytics and Rationality. Well Ramble, it’s just you and me.
The way I see it, two possibilities stand out. Either I’m a lot more of an attention seeker than I originally thought I was, or this is what artists feel when they create a piece of art, or at least something that goes beyond the status of words on a piece of paper (Don’t have the pride or notoriety necessary to call myself an artist… in public… yet).
I feel like we all have an inner need for attention. We all need some sort of proof that we exist, that we are more than the sum of our actions, that we transcend the status of mere animated physical body. Maybe that is how Evolution makes us pursue human interactions: by making us addicted to them, being the most efficient and visible testimony to our existence (how it affects the life of others). Maybe it’s just a quirk produced by our overly complex brain. Maybe the machine in our heads has a desperate need to verify the reality perceived by our senses, to make sure it has a place in it.
Then again, this inner need for attention wouldn’t answer the whole question. It might justify the glee I feel when I see the high five comments on the SpeakEasy posts, and even part of the immense satisfaction caused by the comments with reactions in them (every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Here is a reaction caused by my action. My action is capable of causing a reaction, therefore it is real, and therefore I’m real). It doesn’t, however, explain the sheer pride I feel when surfing around on WordPress, knowing I’m part of that big machine. It doesn’t explain the satisfaction of finishing a post, or even that of having a good idea for a post.
That’s when the whole “artist’s pride” theory comes in. Again, I’m not calling myself an artist. I’m a teenager who happens to know how to use a keyboard. I have no qualification as a writer other than an unfinished high school education. Except quality doesn’t matter in this equation. The point is that it’s a creation, something my brain made from a set of electric impulses. Somehow, that simple fact makes us proud. Proud that we have created something. It doesn’t matter that it won’t make us rich or famous, what matters is that it is a contribution to a community (WordPress), and to a culture (the internet’s blogosphere). And that is a beautiful thing.
This pride does explain my urge to come up with new ideas, new stories, and new worlds. It explains my fascination for this community and my happiness to find my humble posts contribute to it. Is this artistic drive within all of us? Is it only due to yet another brain quirk? I have no idea. Do you?
Which one of these is the fuel my brain feeds off of when writing? A mix of the two probably. Which one is dominant? Are they fundamentally linked, and thus, impossible to separate? Am I an attention whore or Picasso?
Here is another question: Was Picasso an attention whore?