When a writer is first published, the silence that follows is sobering. At least it was to me. I called my friends and family, sent emails to people who cared and those who I thought maybe should care, and I relished in the few cheers from those who sent back a polite and congratulatory response. Then, I was published again; then came the first time I published for money; then the book and more prestigious publications. And now, when I publish a story and decide to share it, although I still post on Facebook, Twitter, and send out a smaller group of emails, I'm lucky to get much response at all, and I think this is good. Why? Because, writing should be about the writing.
The reason I bring this up isn't so much to say I won't continue to share my words. I'm the queen of shameless self-promotion, and this will not stop. Rather, I bring it up because I'm realizing that I'm less inclined to share my words at all, before knowing my audience. Sure, there are a few standbys, people who insist that they want to read everything that I write; and to those people, you have incredible and insightful taste in literature and should be commended. But, for the most part, audiences change as much as the output, the themes that drive the output, and the journals that print it. Some people, for instance, don't read online journals. Others don't read print. Some only read The New Yorker or Atlantic... or only pieces that have a certain political slant, genre or flavor. So, what's my point? My point is that publication is an entirely different animal than writing and that although I will be offering resources about where to submit work on Thursday, I think that each writer needs to check that inclination to submit the piece until it's finished, so that the urge to publish doesn't influence the voice. Let the work dictate the audience, never the other way around. That's step one, anyway. Steps 2-10, well, they come next.
Just some notes.