Saturday, 5 December 2015

Know Any Support Groups?

Back at the end of September, I felt like I was in a “Good Creative Place”, particularly related to my personified mathematics webcomic. Well, that’s deteriorated.

Part of it is some other personal difficulties I’m going through, which has me thinking more about my hobbies. Part of it is the fact that the recap post I wrote here last weekend got two Twitter endorsements and six likes with little effort, which is miles away from any reaction to to the actual CREATIVE stuff I do regularly. Part of it is fatigue.

Someone recently mentioned online support groups in connection to a completely different matter. I’m wondering if maybe that could be a thing I need, and if anyone knows of support groups out there for the following things:


I personify mathematics. Still. That serial began in July 2011. I learned it was a serial in March 2013. I gave it up in May 2014. I brought it back as a webcomic in August 2015. Strip #20 posts on Monday. It’s the most important thing I do after family and work.

...Or not.
Back in August & September, I used to be getting 100 hits. Since mid-October, that’s dropped; the average is now about 70 hits (lowest is 59). I had no comments on it through the month of November.

Why I Sigh: I know I’m no XKCD, Ben Orlin, or (x, why?). But when things like the @solvemymaths Mr. Men regularly seem to get 4 or 5 likes and RTs and I can’t even manage THAT after FOUR DAMN YEARS... is my drawing THAT bad? I like to think I’m improving. I know, I’m probably deluding myself.

What Keeps Me Going: Scott RTs me. I did actually get comments from him, Chris Burke and Ashtar Balinestyar prior to November. I had one person ask me about the strips last month - at work, at a time when teachers are pretty busy. And sometimes I reread Audrey McLaren’s old comments from April 2014.

There’s also the fact that I post the images separately to Tumblr, so any hits there wouldn’t show up in my count. But I think only John Golden is tracking me there.


I have been publishing (after editing and drawing) a time travel serial since April 2015. How’s that going?
-Part 1: 129 Hits. Last hit: Nov 28th.
-Part 2: 30 Hits. Last hit: Nov 25th.
-Part 3: 25 Hits. Last hit: Nov 22nd.
-Part 4: 27 Hits. Last hit: Oct 20th.
-Part 13 (Arc 3, my BTTF tribute): 11 Hits. Last hit: Oct 25th.
-Part 24 (End Book 1): 10 Hits. Last hit: Sept 20th.
-Part 32 (published a month ago): 3 Hits. Last hit: Day after publishing.

I have had ONE SINGLE POSTED COMMENT through 36 entries in the story, and it was more an observation. (Granted I’m not including the couple comments regarding the blog itself, or remarks outside the blog.) Two posts out of the 36 got a WordPress “like”.

Why I Sigh: Whenever I go to someone else’s serial, and I see a single, solitary comment. Like, WOW. To me, that’s epic. Oh sure, sometimes people remark on my site itself, but on November 26th it was back to 0 Hits for me! Heaven forbid I learn anything about my actual story!

What Keeps Me Going: I did get a 3.5 star review in “Web Fiction Guide” by Billy Higgins way back in May. John Golden tweets at me sometimes. Scott Delahunt (my beta) reblogs the whole thing on Facebook, possibly much to the chagrin of his followers. And I had a really nice remark about my writing in general when I did a guest post over at “Legion of Nothing” for April Fool.

There are also 5 “followers” who may be reading through email. Silently.


I’ve written almost 30 of the damn things. The students seem to like them. But it’s like every PD I go to these days is telling me that “singing songs for students may engage them, but they’re not learning” so fine, I suck as a teacher, thank you. I actually couldn’t watch the TMC15 closing video - I didn’t want to see parody joy in others when (outside of the classroom) the vibes I get are silence trending to “what are you doing with your life”.

I really need to start putting together my annual Christmas parody. Did you even know I’ve done those annually for four years? Well, whatever. Last one only had 40 views on YouTube. I can’t even suggest what keeps me going here, because I haven’t written a song parody in months.

I’m a teacher. I pride myself on an ability to give feedback to others. You’d think I’d know where to get some myself. But no - I feel like the only feedback I ever get is the stuff related to my job itself. Which, granted, is appreciated. And the thought is an exaggeration. But December is traditionally lower for views in general, so I guess I need more to keep me going these days.

So, anyone know of any support groups for that stuff?

All I can do is sigh.
All I can do is wonder why.
All I can do is try, try, try...

Sorry, I think that got a bit bitter. Thanks for reading to the end. Namaste.


  1. So there are two of us out here ???

    You're reminding me of where I was in 2014 and thinking "well, it keeps my mind working and I like it better than crossword puzzles."

    But now, back to my app.

    1. I suppose it's some comfort to know this is happening with others, and the notion at the link ("There's no win and no fail, there's only make.") is a good one. Yet I feel like I need more... or at least not LESS, which has been the general trend over the last couple months. I know, I know, it's probably regression to the mean... but I can't help but think that maybe if there was a more organized group that I was a part of, my mean/average results would be different.

  2. BUT I DID GET THAT ONE LITTLE THING SOLVED!!! (Had to seriously give myself exactly the same talk I give students who say "But this one thing [integers, whatever] just MAKES NO SENSE TO ME!!!" and it finally worked. NOw for the other four things ...

  3. I was just discussing with a relative today the degree to which I see myself as a writer/artist, and tangentially this addressed the issue of writing for an audience versus writing for myself. For most of the 'oughts I maintained a blog (spent quite a bit of time on it actually) where I wrote thoughts about sports and pop culture ... I had a couple of friends who would check in with comments every now and then ...

    When I started teaching, about five years ago, I dumped that blog completely. Ran out of time, and it also seemed a bit diva-ish; Not just my blog but a lot of the projects I was into as a writer. A lot of times when I sat down to write, I would end up writing my story, and maybe that's not everybody else's business. For whatever reason, self-consciousness about that often kept me from getting anywhere near publication.

    Then, like three years ago, I read "The Artist's Way" in which I was introduced to the idea of "Morning Pages" where it's recommended that one writes three pages every morning not for publication ... I've been doing that for three-plus years now and I love it ... I really love it. I love writing not for publication. Love love love

    I still do sometimes think about writing for publication ... Looking back, my fence-sitting uncertainty and worries about being a diva probably kept me from going all out into it, and so I never gave myself a real shot at becoming a successful professional blogger.

    Just thought I would relay some of the thoughts you triggered in me with your tweet ... I guess that was yesterday. For much more well-considered thoughts on this I recommend The Artist's Way ... And also Anne Lamotte's book on writing "Bird by Bird" ...

    1. Interestingly enough, I think we have different perspectives on "publication". I don't consider my blogs to be published work. It's out there, sure, but it hasn't been seriously edited, peer reviewed, or undergone any of the steps that would elevate it to traditional publishing for an eBook or even a journal article.

      I sometimes think about writing for publication too, but I would need more information before putting any money towards it. I guess my issue is more, since I see ALL my writing as not-yet-for-publication, I'm desperate for feedback to improve my writing to the point where it IS worthy. And I'm getting very little of that, chiefly for the fiction. Hence the need for some support groups.

      I do appreciate the thoughts - it's certainly made me consider the difference we can attach to certain words. As to your situation, I don't know that you'd come across as a "diva" (not that it's necessarily even a bad thing), particularly since you've been practicing. To that end, your 'Morning Pages' thought is GREAT. (It probably applies more closely to my drawings, some of which will never go online... or to the journals I keep sporadically, which are more personal.) Keep at it!

      In addition, even "successful professional blogger" is a phrase subject to interpretation. Hey, we all had to start somewhere. Thanks for the recommendations!