Thy cup runneth over!
In the context of this blog, when I pull a card I’m thinking about some aspect of the writing process. What I’ve been stuck on lately is time. Seems like I haven’t enough of it, like I’m scrambling, yet I’m paired with this feeling of floating in some stagnant abyss, bored and barely moving.
Ace of cups is a card of fulfillment, conception, socializing, love, having all your emotional needs met. This card is the harbinger of joy. This card says, good times are coming. It says, things are getting done, even when we don’t feel like they are; all those efforts are adding up, filling your cup, and they’ll pay off.
That’s why I’ve been sharing sample chapters lately. When I’m feeling stuck, it’s helpful to change gears and ready something for public viewing, to put my foot down on over-editing and say, “Hey, this is done enough for feedback. Submit, walk away and move on.”
Things don’t have to be so official, they just need to be alive, living, as in- you’ve got to share it, get it out of your mind, off your own computer, out of those disorganized chapter files and let it breath in fresh air, under fresh eyes that are not your own. The hope is, by watching how people respond to this or that chapter, you’ll know better what to keep, what to expand on, what to throw away.
Sharing could change the direction of your story, give you new ideas where to take your characters, and inevitably, your readers.
Sharing takes bravery. It means that you’re opening yourself up to a world of strangers; a wealth of others’ thoughts and emotions. And what a wonderful world-wide-web that sharing has been made so easy, that there are various platforms out there to aid us.
For me, that platform is Scriggler.
If you aren’t privy to the site yet and you’re a writer who’s in love with words and simplicity; maybe you want to share but your blog doesn’t get much traction and all those other sites just confuse the process, distract you further- Scriggler may be for you.
Having tried to integrate myself with Medium in the past, I knew what I did and didn’t want in a writing platform. What I didn’t want, was super shiny and official. I didn’t want it to look like a news feed. I didn’t want to be drawn into others’ stories (even though that’s an important part of it) but right now I’m just thinking of the writing process, my process, and I need to strip away all the distractions. I downloaded Scrivener (helpful software for organizing a manuscript) about the same time I signed up at Scriggler for much the same reason- I wanted something that aided the writer, spoke to the writer, fed the writer, encouraged the writer. Writing is about writing, aesthetics be damned; functionality, yes, but save me the distracting package.
So what is Scriggler?
Scriggler is a cultural, political and intellectual melting pot – a place for exchanging not only stories and poetry, but also ideas, perspectives.
It came about nearly 3 years ago today as an experiment, a concept fueled by founder Dmitry Selemir’s own need for a writing platform that simply didn’t exist yet. His inspiration? Soundcloud.
This was surprising information for me, a musician and a music blogger. Soundcloud is a platform I use daily and currently, can’t think what I would do without it. Their model has changed the way digital music is shared; redefined the industry for a whole crop of aspiring artists, listeners, bloggers, and the like. Knowing this now, I’m not surprised why I was so drawn to Scriggler’s platform.
Translate the Soundcloud model into something suitable for writers sharing their work, and that might be a way to view Scriggler.
Scriggler‘s interface charmed me immediately- a white page with random scribbles on it. Posts are simple squares that arrange themselves in the center of the home feed. When others post a piece of literature (story, opinion, poem, essay, whatever) only the pertinent details are visible: the title, the author, the tags, the views. There are no images to pull you in, initially. You won’t even find the traditional “following for following” set up. Scriggler is organized to “foster interactions around the content,” says Dmitry, who went an atypical route with Scriggler’s launch; bypassed media coverage, publicity, and simply, shared. And while they’ve gone through many changes in the past two years, it was this initial act in vulnerability that has gotten them where they are.
“In part this was perhaps due to lack of experience,” admits Dmitry, “in part – we wanted to get something out there, test it with the real users and hone in on the formula that would really work.”
And things are still changing. Dmitry has modest expectations about what the platform is and where it may go, but he also has a grand dream, that it solidifies itself as a launching pad for writers finding their way in the digital world; that it remains a place writers stay for years, life even. In this way, Scriggler hopes to build a solid community, shape the future of a global collective of writers.
What’s the big difference between Scriggler and everyone else?
It’s all run by the audience. There’s no editorial staff making any attempts to flavour what gets promoted. “Everything is less driven by the topic or genre or locality and more by what material you interacted with positively,” says Dmitry.
And it has to be mentioned that Scriggler operates on a fraction of a fraction of the small change left after Medium’s budget. “It makes it more difficult to build new things,” Dmitry says, “but at the same time we are accountable to our members alone and not to our investors (since we don’t have any).”
They have just added a donate button, letting those who use and appreciate Scriggler be the ones who make it a better place to be.
For readers heading to Scriggler to discover new writings, the experience is a little like records hunting. It takes work, but finding that gem is totally worth it.
But here’s the real clincher that sets Scriggler apart:
For writers, they do something that no other platform ever has – they promote every work you upload, personally, on twitter – sometimes twice.
For an introvert like me, self promotion has always been my biggest challenge. For my blog that maybe reaches a handful of people, posting my work does little for number of views. So going from 4 views to over 300 is HUGE. Not just huge for gaining an audience, but MASSIVE for confidence levels- those necessary doses of encouragement every writer thrives on.
But it can’t be all on Scriggler. Think of them like that Ace of Cups, a helping hand, filling you with the tools to progress even further on your path to, what Dmitry likes to call, “authorpreneur”.
To maximize your experience on Scriggler?
“Think through your content strategy and make sure that while your posts are not pure promotion – it’s still easy for people to follow up, go to your website or blog, see your other publications and books, sign up to your newsletter etc.”
The other big thing is engaging, which can be a struggle for many of us already pressed for time, but one cannot receive without giving. Engaging leads us to knew avenues, new connections.
A key piece of advice is in comments, meaning, your comments on others’ work. Comments are highly publicized on Scriggler. “Each comment is a projection of your overall image,” stresses Dmitry, “make sure the comment is interesting. Something trivial is likely going to play against you.”
And if you wish, Scriggler also allows you to create clubs or join clubs started by other users. This can help you find your audience.
As far as imagery, like I said earlier, there’s none to distract you on the home feed, but within your own submission one can get creative, embedding videos, widgets (for example Soundcloud tracks) and images, which can be helpful in promotion via social media.
For myself, Scriggler has been a game changer. I have found my audience widening with every post, I have found myself through these interactions becoming more brave, more engaging, upping my own content of which I spread fairly evenly along my own channels. Most importantly, Scriggler has shown me what is possible. With their help, I’ve been able to up my own standards of where I can take my writing career.
Sometimes all we need is a little push – in this case, a digital one, from Scriggler.
So in light of this very full Ace of Cups, I raise it to Scriggler and dedicate this post as a token of my appreciation.
But don’t just take my word for it. Head there and see for yourself what Scriggler can do for you. Get on board, you might find you can’t do without it.
Oh, and while you’re there why not Scriggle me? :)
This weeks’ musical selection to pair with all this abundance of joy- an artist called, JOY.
Be well, love often and en-JOY!