Friday, September 27, 2013

Short Attention Span

I've been pondering the way that readers are experiencing books in the wake of the tablet revolution, and some of it is affecting me the way that the streaming binge-watching on Netflix has maxed out my ability to really enjoy an episode of television. Readers are reading more with eBooks. There are tons of options out there right now, and as with Netflix, some of the options are great, and some are not so great. There is filler, hoping that you will click on it because you liked something similar, the way that whenever a hit movie comes out, you can reliably find a rip-off on Netflix immediately with a word changed in the name (ala Jack The Giant Killer as opposed to Slayer).

Even if the readers aren't actually reading what they download to their tablets, they are still stockpiling a ton of digital books that they hope to someday enjoy. I'm guilty of this hoarding, and I have to say that because it's "free" really entices me to just download and add to my stash. I love trick-or-treating, after all!

But, this glut of media can be damaging to me as a reader. Yes, there are more options than ever, but do I really want to rush through ten books a week just to say that I've read them and not even remember what happened in them the next week? I like my media to be spread out. I like waiting a week to see a new episode of something. The anticipation is what gets me excited.

With all the digital bookshelves of writers growing quickly, I am forced to look at my own output. I'm just starting out, so I'm slower than normal. I have two jobs and a dying car (that will be replaced soon, much to my wallet's dismay!). Even if I wanted to sit down for five hours and write, I am not practiced enough to actually write for that entire time. I made it through a few pages last night and really enjoyed it, but I know I have to speed up a bit.

My question is this: Will the readers really be willing to wait for my work as I write it? It's a legitimate fear in this digital age. Where a writer would put out a single new book a year, that was considered prolific. Now, authors are putting out three books a year, sometimes more than that, and it's considered the norm. Can I ever get to that?

I hope so. I just need to keep my fingers crossed that the audience won't lose interest in me - or pass me over completely - in the quest to find something new and exciting to keep their attention.