How To Identify Your Toxic Relationship with the Vocal Curation Team
Let's consider the more important things in life, shall we?
Look, you’re a confident person. You’ve been at this writing thing for what seems like an eternity, and as you continue to sling those sentences out into this big old internet world, you seem to be getting better with each jab of the publish button.
One day, you stumble upon a site called Vocal Media, and you notice the warm community of people who, like you, are just trying to get their work read.
Once perusing the site and its accompanying Facebook pages, you realize that there are some concrete ways you can uplift your work in this world of Vocal writing.
And this is how it starts.
You quickly recognize you've fallen down a rabbit hole of which you may never return—pandering to the powers that be, fervently mulling over the literary decisions that may well seal your fate on this platform of hearts and Top Stories.
For isn’t it reverence of our work that every writer wants? To be given Top Story staus and gifted one million hearts?
As much as you’d like to believe that you’re in it for the sake of the art form, you know in that bottomless, dark pit of your soul that what you really want is to become the top-ranking Queen of Vocal Media.
The obsession sets in.
You attempt not to get wrapped up in the drama that comes with writing on platforms like Vocal. You vow to do your thing and try to make a few people laugh along the way.
You’re not in it for the prize, you mutter to yourself as you scan for the 50th time all the top stories—none of which being yours.
You know that you probably won’t end up being the figurehead of Vocal Media, as much as you fantasize about that sort of thing while masturbating in the bathtub.
But oh, how wonderful it would be to have everyone know your name and revere the work you so studiously publish every hour on the hour.
You’ve noticed that Vocal likes it when writers post a lot of work to the site, so you’ve made it your mission to do nothing but write write write. Sure it means your children are having to cook their own dry toast for dinner, but that’s one of the sacrifices you’re willing to make.
Your number one goal, to catch the eyes and hearts of the Vocal Curation team.
Man alive! A breakthrough!
One day, out of the blue, you receive an email asking if you'd like to contribute to a brand spanking new not-even-publicly-shared-yet community. The publication in question is about revealing your deepest darkest secrets and embarrassing moments.
You think, why yes, Vocal, I'll share all my humiliating moments. If that’s what you want from me, I'll do it. Anything for you, my love. Anything.
And to seal the deal, you whisper lovingly into your laptop screen, “You like me, you really like me!”
There is no greater way to bond with the object of your affection than telling them about that one time you had to shit into a bag because your toilet was broken.
You’re getting closer to the status of Vocal Queen. You can feel it in your bones, and you fucking like it.
As with any dysfunctional relationship, you begin obsessing. What does Vocal want from me? How can I make Vocal happy? What must I sacrifice to let Vocal know my undying love for them?
Alas, it seems that your story about shitting into a bag was a one-off enjoyment for them. You’ve written countless other tales revealing your complete and utter failure as a human being, which they ignore with great care.
It feels as if your heart is crumbling into a deflated chew toy upon the floor of your soul.
Stroking their you-know-what.
Then, miraculously you find out that Vocal loves it when you write stories about them. Okay, now we’re getting somewhere. What sort of an article could you write that combines your beloved Vocal as well as some kind of skill set that may help other writers on the site?
By George, you’ve got it!
You write a post about how to infuse more humour into Vocal articles. Once you’ve published the piece, you studiously refresh the site every 5 minutes to see if it’s been added as a Top Story. 4 hours in, and so far, nothing.
You begin telling yourself that you’ve had it. How long can you possibly pander to your beloved Vocal and continue to get shoved to the sidelines?
This is getting outrageous! And yet, you know you will not forsake your online lover, Vocal. You will stand strong by its side, securing story after story of hilarity because, alas, that is what your Vocal needs from you.
After eight consecutive hours of refreshing the Vocal front page, you see, joyously, that your humour story has made it to the top! You squeal with giddiness and once again are back in the firm grips of Vocal’s glamour.
Breaking the cycle.
After writing several more Vocal-inspired stories that you assume will skyrocket to the top-ranking place markers among the Vocal elite but instead do nothing, you realize you’ve been looking at this thing all wrong.
There are hundreds (thousands?) of deserving writers on the site who also deserve Top Story status when it comes down to it. What kind of cruel world would this be if Vocal only chose your amazing articles to publish daily on the front page?
While looking back through your last few months on this site, you realize that it wasn’t the Top Story staus that brought in the majority of your views but instead the relationships you had built on your Vocal community Facebook pages.
Low and behold, by interacting with fellow writers, you’ve crafted a pleasant little village of readers that continues to uplift you in real and relevant ways.
It occurs to you that you may have to throw away your previous hopes and dreams of becoming Vocal Media royalty. Life is too short to consume your every waking moment with goals of satisfying the unsatisfiable.
For you are just a mouse, running endlessly on a wheel that powers a much greater purpose. Sure a few pats on the back will come your way, and it may feel like enough to reel you in again, but is it?
Instead, you decide to let go of the toxic nature of your and the Vocal Curation Team's relationship, allowing your dreams of grandeur to float away like a balloon into an endless blue sky.
Now, you’ve decided to set your sights a little more locally.
Your thoughts turn to the Facebook group who took you in and embraced you when the Vocal Curation team would not. You lay in your bathtub, sweating not from the steamy water surrounding you but the frantic exertion of, shall we say other activities. While labouring away, you now envision becoming the almighty goddess of your current Facebook Vocal group.
You're getting closer, you can feel it in your bones. And you fucking like it.