Open Wounds

Crack for Writers

Goodreads is like crack for writers.

I’m serious.

It’s not like crack for readers, but it is for writer’s – at least it is for me.

I didn’t do Goodreads until my book was going to be published. Then I got on, got in, and started being a part of the Goodreads world. I smoked the pipe. I joined the YA Historical Novels group. I settled into the background after a short comment or two and didn’t even mention my book. I played by the rules.

Then I got my first review and it showed up on Goodreads. It was five stars.

That’s when I knew I was in trouble. First I only looked at the site a few times a week. But when my book came out and the list of people reading Open Wounds or who put it on their book shelf grew and more reviews came in – I started checking ever y day.

Then it was twice a day – every day.

I started noticing the details about the site. I checked to see who was new on the to be read list. Did I know them? I got an adrenaline surge every time a new person was added to the list. I checked that number first, then checked the date of the most recent addition to the list. And I kept waiting for more reviews.

Five star reviews made me feel euphoric. It would last a few hours. Then I developed some tolerance and it lasted less. Now I needed them just to feel normal.

Four stars send me right into withdrawal.

One reviewer said she wanted to give me four and a half stars but since Goodreads only allowed full stars she gave me four. Why didn’t she just give me five? Why can’t the cup be half full and not half empty? Doesn’t she know that reviews are crack for writers and no matter what anybody says, we live and die by them? Is it just me?

I tried to quit. I tried to stop looking at Goodreads, just for a couple of days. So I turned to Amazon. Amazon was like methadone, only it didn’t work as well because methadone is for opiates and crack is a stimulant. I should have known better. I do drug prevention work in my day job.

Goodreads called to me.

So I went back. But this time I think I have it more under control. I’m taking a harm reduction approach. I took it off my toolbar bookmark. I went on to write reviews of books I’ve read so I keep the site in a positive light. I tell myself the number of stars isn’t important. I keep myself busy. I occupy my mind.

Then I check it… just… one… more… time…

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