attention economy


Does the writing life feel like a wrestling match?  Trying and trying to get those words on paper in a way that tells the beautiful/gory/heartbreaking story that lives within your imagination, in the very fiber of your being? 

My title was inspired by last week's column at Writer Unboxed with Porter Anderson.  He wrote about the war for attention.

But, whereas, Porter Anderson writes about macro-attention time-stealers, I'm more about micro-timestealers. Getting caught up in facebook. Pfaffing over the worksheets I create for my story. Hopping over to my blog stats too many times. I can just imagine how rodent-wheeling I'll be once I start querying. I'll be hitting the refresh button on my email site every stinking second!  

And it's so easy to not let my focus go astray. Just open the word document to my current spot I'm working on and I fall in love with my story all over again and dig into it. Bringing out its shine the best way I know how at this moment in time. 

But, getting back to the Writer Unboxed column. He quoted one of the presenters there who spoke about the commodification and the commercialization of monetized attention. 

I don't know about you but that phrase is spooky. 

Is that all we're about anymore? Money? And with money as the bottom line (and yes, writers need to earn money too) along comes its brother and sister: commodification and commercialization.  

Those last two words feel so cold because all relationships have been taken out of them. And that's my objection: when money becomes the bottom line for how to conduct ourselves. Especially if we subscribe to the paradigm of scarcity.

If I believe in scarcity, there's only so much to go around and I'm going to hoard what's mine for me and my people.  If there's enough left for you after I get my fill, fine and dandy. If not, well tough cookies. The problem is--if we're not awake to the effect of money and it's power over us, we become slaves of money, greedy, avaricious. An antithesis to human relationships. 

I could go off on so many tangents with this article from Writer Unboxed. I found it thought provoking and I'm caught up in the realities of the war for attention, just to get my story written, let alone hoping it will someday grab readers' attention and hold them, in a nanosecond twitter world.