On the Rise
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On the Rise

Know Your Writing Focus

If you try to please everyone, you end up pleasing no one.

In effort to make friends and meet more people within my city, I joined the Toronto chapter of Geek Girl Brunch. GGB is a social event where women who embrace the quirkier side of pop-culture — whether it be it video games, Doctor Who, Steven Universe, etc. — come together with the common goal of eating brunch and getting day-drunk on Caesars and/or mimosas.

Once the Toronto chapter had the adequate number of captains, I set to work arranging for our first event in December. I created a GGB Toronto page on Meetup, started collecting RSVPs from interesting people, and convened online with the other active captains to determine the theme or the inaugural event. We agreed upon an Ugly Christmas Sweater Brunch.

The day of the brunch was here. I arrived and met with the other three captains and…that was it. No one else came.

As we commiserated over our virgin drinks (the event was at 10 AM — far too early to be socially acceptable to order the Caesar I craved), I came to a disheartening realization. While the other women were pleasant enough, it became abundantly clear that we had nothing in common.

Yes, we were all women, and geeky in our own right. But aside from those superficial qualifiers, we couldn’t be more different. I was hardcore about retro 16-bit games and Hey Arnold!, but another woman was a die-hard Star Wars buff; another was insanely into books, but not really into TV or movies or games. We had nothing to talk about.

We parted ways shortly after our meals and, aside from a few polite friend adds on Facebook, I never saw any of these women again.

I would quietly abdicate my role as GGB captain. No one stepped up to maintain the Meetup page, so it was eventually deactivated.

I share this anecdote not to footnote what a failure I am in social situations, but to emphasize the importance of focus.

With organizations like Geek Girl Brunch, the number of directions each meeting could take are virtually limitless. But just because someone identifies as a “Geek Girl” doesn’t necessarily mean they will find their tribe in this setting. For example, if someone is a hardcore gamer, they might fit in more in a GAMER Girl Brunch.

We all came together with the hope of meeting new people and sharing interests. But without a clear focus for the group, we were grasping at straws. Some of the founders of GGB have long since moved on, which leaves me to believe that GGB in its current iteration lacks a clear, cohesive vision.

I think focus is important when it comes to writing as well.

When I first created my website and started writing on Medium, I had no clear focus.

Perhaps if I just write about a bunch of different topics, I will eventually gain a following and drive up traffic. That was my logic.

But my ultimate goal is to write and publish a novel. Even if I was successful in my strategy, what would I accomplish if I had a bunch of followers that didn’t give a damn about the book I was writing?

I decided to pivot and ask the important question: Who are the type of the people I want to read my book?

People who read novels. Women. Girls. Teens. Fans of anime and cartoons. People who love reading about the journey to authorship.

When I started my website, I wrote about whatever came to mind. But now I write with intention. I don’t expect everyone to care about my novel. But I hope to curate a built-in audience that would be curious and invested in the creative process.

So for those that decided to take a chance on my writing or subscribe to my newsletter: Thanks for coming. I hope you enjoy the ride.

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Sylvie Soul

She/her. Former fanfiction writer turned published author, providing insight for the aspiring writer. Buy Me a Coffee https://ko-fi.com/X8X8IB92