Tuesday, April 6, 2010

How Do I Say This?

I'm having a hard time lately with the blog. Don't get me wrong, I love my blog. I love my "friends". I love reading other people's blogs. I love thinking about writing my blog, I love writing my blog. But...

It's not the same as it used to be. I know change is inevitable, and I'm sort of not complaining, I'm sort of kind of...sad. For the way it used to be.

I remember the first time someone commented on one of my very first blogs and I thought I was going to pee my pants I was so happy, someone thought what I said was worthy of a response. And those first comments turned into conversations and I had friends. Not 'follower friends' but real friends I could discuss my writing with. And somewhere along the way we got know each other better and shared some of our personal life. Not the bad stuff or the junk that we all go through but just enough to make us more 'real' to each other instead of "internet" friends.

And I know this blog is supposed to be "my platform" so I can get readers and fans and all kinds of followers to be famous enough so that when I sell my first book everyone will say, "Oh I know her from the blog, she's fabulous, go buy her book."

Now, as I'm nearing 100 followers/friends, I'm finding it increasingly harder to comment. Not only on my own blog but yours as well, because for each of those little tiny faces, I read each and every thing you post. I try and comment, I really do, but sometimes there's so many other responses to your blog I don't feel like you'll miss me if I don't respond. And now that I'm getting so many comments to my own posts, I feel so badly if I just say, "Thanks so much for reading this today. I appreciate it."

I want it to go back to the way it used to be. When we could share conversation over coffee. I want to be able to discuss the finer points of writing instead of a hastily scribbled, "I so hear you on that." I want to have the TIME to read and respond instead of just tearing through each blog without focus.

I know we all have real lives, and real goals, and kids, dogs, husbands, wives, dirt that needs to be shoveled. Maybe I'm just saying, don't think because I don't comment, I don't read you or hear you, the highs and lows, the excitement the disappointment. I do. And if I write a hastily scribbled, "hey thanks," it doesn't mean that I didn't read each and every comment you wrote and appreciate and love each and every one of you for caring enough to say something to me that day.

I don't want to be one of the bloggers that writes a post and doesn't respond. I could, but I don't want to. I need that connection between us. I like that connection. It's what puts us all in this same writing boat together.

And so I'll end this post with a plea to all those people who didn't check Sunday's blog from me, there are many many awards that haven't been picked up yet. I know, I've been around. I also know it was Easter Sunday and yesterday Monday, so scroll down now and see if your name is there. It might be, I gave out almost 30 awards.

So have a happy week.


sarahjayne smythe said...

You know, you were one of the first people to follow me. And I remember how happy that made me. You commented and we talked and that made me feel good about what I was doing.

I try to comment a lot I think. I always try to comment on your blog because I really like what you have to say. And I picked up my award even if you don't see it, because it means something to me and I'm grateful that you think of me. Even if I don't post my awards right away, because I'm bad that way, I do have the one you gave me scheduled for a Friday post already written. So please don't think that I don't care.

I'm such a slacker that I didn't even have a celebration for my 100th follower and I'm up to almost 130. I promised myself I'd do one for 150 followers. And it's funny because even with all those followers, I would miss you if you didn't comment because I'm so used to seeing you there.

That's not to put pressure on you or anything, because it's all about managing a finite resource: time. Sometimes all my fried brain can handle is 'Great post. Thanks.' but sometimes I really just want you to know that I was around and listening to you even if I can't form coherent sentences.

I know it doesn't help to say you're feeling the same pressure a lot of us are. And please don't think I don't hear what you're saying. But please also know that you occupy a really special place in my bloggerly heart.

I hope you feel better.

Anne Gallagher said...

Sarah Jayne -- Everything you said to me, right back at you. No pressure but you totally get my drift, my meaning, my whole 'blog' thing. It's not that I'm not there, but I'm not, but I am. You know. Damn it, we need to hit a diner for a cup of Joe.

Remember, those are the days I'm talking about. And I know you do. ((hugs))

And I don't think you're a slacker. I think you're a harried teacher. My mother forgot my brother once at a basketball game.

Matthew MacNish said...

Morning Anne. Thanks for sharing this and I hear you.

I'm still pretty new to blogging so it is still exciting enough I guess that I still feel that happiness you describe with each comment or follow, but I have to agree that the amount of blogs out there make it difficult to comment on every post.

I'm going to try to continue building relationships with all these other bloggers and hopefully I'll have enough time and energy not to become totally self centered.

Shameless self promotion:

If you have time please stop by, read and comment on my guest post for today over at Justine Dell's blog:


It's an interesting topic that will hopefully spark some discussion.


Roxy said...

I understand the conflict with blogging, Anne. It causes me stress sometimes, with all the blogs I follow adding up. Then I feel guilty if I don't get to them all. On the other hand, blogging brings me more inspiration and joy than I ever expected it to. I appreciate your comments on my posts. You are such a gifted, wise person. Thanks for thinking of me with the Sunshine Award. It's brightened my morning!

Erin Kuhns said...

First of all...it's great to be back and to catch up on your blog!!! It's been a bit too long since I've checked out all of my favourite blogs. And commenting? Don't get me started! (lol) I love leaving and receiving comments--and I wanted to thank you for leaving all kinds of wonderful comments, even when I was having a hard time reciprocating.

Secondly, thank you for the award!!! I do feel I've been so out of the loop, I don't feel I necessarily deserve it. But thank you!!

And last thing: 124 wheelbarrow loads??!!? Woman, that's INSANE! You deserve a "strong woman" award. I'm impressed. I have a huge yard and there is always neverending work to do...you inspire me. Thank you.

P.S. Have a superb day! :)

Christi Goddard said...

I know what you mean. I started my blog to build my platform, but then I got personally interested in my followers. Suddenly, I've a bunch of followers and I feel so guilty that keeping up with everyone is hard, and I put my writing off to try to not hurt other people's feelings (because you know how fragile we writers are) and in the end, I feel like I lost something special. My followers doubled in the last month, and some comment now, but I've lost some commenters who I really enjoyed talking to. It's a Catch-22.

Karen Jones Gowen said...

Wow I just barely posted about this, about how one's blog needs to be changing to make the writer happy, otherwise what's the point? I think most people come to a happy medium with the responsibility as well as the fun of blogging. I'm sure I'd have a lot more followers if I went and visited all their blogs and left comments. Which I try to do, but it's hard to keep up and still have a life!

Summer Frey said...

I feel like I have a core group of followers who comment, and with whom I feel like I have a reciprocal relationship. They're the people who I miss if I notice they haven't commented, or haven't posted themselves. It may be selfish, but I've chosen the people whom I make an effort to comment on every time they post, unless I absolutely just can't think of anything to say. I like to show my support, to let them know that there's one more person out there who actually cares about them and what they have to say and what they're feeling. If that means I can only thoroughly comment on 15 blogs, then so be it. I follow 90, but probably only comment on 15-20.

So...yeah. Sometimes all I can manage is a "thanks, guys" too, and I have tons of free time. Sometimes there's just nothing to say other than to acknowledge that you read their comment and appreciated it.

Tara said...

Is it cheating to ditto Sarahjayne and Summer?

I can honestly say that of all my commenters, when you're missing I wonder if everything is okay, or what you're doing to be busy and not blogging ;) And that's not to make you feel guilty in any way, cause I get it!

I don't always respond to each commenter on my posts, but I try to do a group thanks on the next post. There's two reasons for this: I think people rarely get back to see them anyway, which flows into the 2nd reason. They *will* see my thanks on the next blog post :)

Even on days when I'm too busy to run around the blogosphere, there are *always* a few stops I make, and yours is on that short list. You were my first faithful bloggy buddy, and for at least a month, my only commenter. It was much appreciated!

Sarah Ahiers said...

i have issues with that as well. What i do is have a list of blogs of people that comment frequently on my blog. These blogs i try hard, every day, to read and comment. That's really helped me.
And also, when i comment on a blog i don't always check to see if the blogger responds to me, not unless i'm having a conversation or if i've asked a question.

But i'm like Summer, i have a core group of followers and bloggers that i feel like i'm in a reciprocal relationship with. I try to do my best with the other blogs, but i don't beat myself up over it any more.

Shelley Sly said...

I so understand what you mean. I've been feeling the same way. When I reached around 50 followers or so (which I guess isn't a lot, but it felt like it for me), I realized it was becoming more difficult to respond individually to every comment -- but I still wanted to do it! (And I did, unless I was sick or incredibly busy.)

I'm sad, too, that as our personal blogging worlds get bigger, it gets a little less personal. I agree with the others above that I think I have a core group of blog friends that I always make sure I read/comment, and who do the same for me. Not trying to play favorites or anything; it's just how it works out. You're one of those special people to me, and I've always been genuinely interested in knowing you, as a friend, beyond just talking about writing.

I might be in the minority, but I actually do check back on the blogs I comment on, in case the blog owner comments back. Which is why I try to respond to my own comments. I'm considering emailing responses, as some bloggers do, but haven't quite gotten myself to do that yet.

But I have to say, Anne, just the fact that you're contemplating all of this means that you see us blog friends as so much more than a name and a picture. You really do care about your followers. And that really means a lot. (We care about you too!)

Shelley Sly said...

Sorry that was incredibly long. :(

Anne Gallagher said...

Matthew -- It's very difficult but thank you.

Anne Gallagher said...

Roxy -- You said it, guilt mixed with inspiration and joy.

Erin -- It was my pleasure to bestow an award on you. And I love your grandmother so that's why I commented on when you were away. And yes, it's true, I am INSANE, but I thought you knew that already.

Christi -- "And I put my writing off" and that's the nail on the head, the whole Catch 22 of it. Why can't we all just meet for coffee at someone's house. It would all be so much easier.

Karen -- I know, your post was the one that got me thinking about it all. It's a rock and a hard place situation.

Anne Gallagher said...

Summer -- Maybe that's what I'm doing wrong. I have my core but I also have another 50 or 60. And I like my newbie's who only have 20 or 30 followers. I don't want them to feel alone so I comment. Then one thing leads to another. There's got to be a better way.

Tara -- It's not cheating. And thank you for missing me when I'm not around. That's sweet. I remember you in the beginning. See that's what I'm talking about. I miss the beginning.

Anne Gallagher said...

Sarah -- Yeah, I try to hit my core group every day, but I've got to narrow my list of newbies down. It's so hard. I know google reader has a thing, but I don't know how to use it. I'm so computerly challenged.

Shelley -- don't worry about the 'longness'. You're absolutely right, I do think of my little pictures as people not followers and I do care, that's why this whole blog thing has me whacked out.

Unknown said...

Sweet Anne! If you lived within a hundred miles of me I'd already be in my car, heading your way for a pot of coffee, some chocolate, and an afternoon of commiserating together! I've felt your shared feelings too. It's exciting to meet new people, gain new followers, follow other people's blogs...but the trade-off is never having enough time to visit everyone, everyday.

I try to do a couple things, to assuage my feelings of guilt or low energy: I maintain a "daily blog reads" folder in Google Reader, and I comment on those every new post. Also, I try to visit everyone's blog who commented on mine that day. And finally, I try to visit one new blogger's site per day. I choose someone I don't know who made an interesting point in the comments of someone's blog, or I pick a random pic from someone's cluster of followers. I introduce myself and sign on as a follower.

Doing these things sort of creates boundaries for myself. They help me foster the relationships I care about, create a conversation/discourse with my daily visitors, and reach out to others so they know I've stopped by and enjoyed what they had to say.

I realized early on that I can't communicate every day with every follower, nor can I visit every blog of which I'm a follower. Not when there are other things on my daily to-do list. That's life, I guess. But I enjoy my blogging experience immensely, to the point where I could get lost in it! LOL!

I'm so glad you're one of my blogging BFFs!

((hugs)) Nicole

Lola Sharp said...

Anne, this may be really, really cheating, BUT...what ALL OF YOU SAID.

You all just wrote exactly what I wanted to say. I think we all feel this way, and we all have our core people we try very hard not to miss, and that we look forward to reading in our comments. Friends.
But, like Anne, I like to show love to the new bloggers who only have 10-30 followers, because not long ago I was that person, and I want to show them support. I feel pain for them when I see a great post and -0- comments, so I need to take the time to show them some love.

We all have finite time to work with, so I do what most of you mentioned: I make sure to get around to my core group, and then what little time I find throughout the day, I mosey around. I enjoy reading everyone's posts!

I do shave a bit of time by not always commenting on all my comments, unless I get a question, which I email a response back, always. I don't comment on every comment, because sometimes I worry this clogs the comments, and many don't come back to read it anyway. But I read every single comment (lovingly) and make a point to go visit their blogs, and leave comments there.

Also, Anne, I am grateful for the award you bestowed me! I'm just working up to another award post (I've got another new collection growing)...but I am grateful. :o) I've got mad love for you, baby, mad love.

Happy Tuesday!

Michelle D. Argyle said...

I remember coming to your blog and seeing that Davin was following you. I remember the small amount of followers you had, how genuine you seemed, and how I wanted to get to be friends. I still feel all of that about you.

I've watched your blog explode in a matter of weeks. It took me a year to reach 100 followers, and then after that it got higher and higher and I got more and more stressed and now it's kind of slowed down again because I simply cannot keep up. I follow about 500 blogs, but I can only read and comment on a handful of them every day. I get upset sometimes when I place the value of my posts on the amount of comments it gets, or the value of my blog on how many followers I have. It sometimes feels like high school all over again, but in reality, it's all coming from me.

I've found that with blogging, it's the balance that counts. Even if you have a lot of followers, I don't think the amount of sales you'd make from a book would not come largely from your blog. Maybe a few hundred, but in the context of thousands, that's not much. Most would come from other marketing, I would think. I could be wrong, but as I blog more and more, I'm finding that it's quality and not quantity that is the most lasting and meaningful to me. Popularity was never my strong suit. It always fades for me.

Michelle D. Argyle said...

I phrased that wrong: "I think the amount of sales you'd make from a book would not come largely form your blog."


Michelle D. Argyle said...

And then I misspelled "from." Okay, I'm walking away now.

B. Miller said...

I do know exactly what you mean. My time on the internet is limited so I don't often respond to comments on my posts. I sometimes post a thank you to everyone on the post the day after it's written. It's hard to keep up with stuff like that. But I do read each and every comment and they always make me happy. Just do what feels right to you; you'll figure it out in time. In the meantime, you're doing a phenomenal job as a writer, blogger, and friend. :)

Anne Gallagher said...

Nicole -- You just blow me away with how many people you follow and who follow you. You're everywhere all at once. I know I need to set some kind of blogging structure, but I'm such a newsbucket, I'd hate to miss anything. Even when I said I was taking a hiatus, I couldn't do it. So it's all my own fault. ((hugs))


Michelle -- I remember. It was just you and Davin and Sarah Jayne for the longest time. I don't think I'd want to follow 500 blogs. I would have to give up writing entirely. and I can't do that. I NEED to be published.

B. -- Thank you for thinking I'm phenomenal. That put a big fat smile on my face today.

Eva Porter said...

Hi, Anne. I followed your post from sarahjayne's blog. It seems like your success has almost become too big to handle. In other words, now this is almost work, as much as you probably enjoy people reading and posting.

Blogs, like the people who write them, evolve. When you have one follower it's easier to respond. When you have 25 comments...wow. Exhausting.

Anyway, as a blog quitter, I admired your ability to garner followers, to share your message and get responses to it. Effective writing does that--it gets people involved and responsive.

So...don't know if that makes a hill of beans difference but obviously, you make a hill of beans difference out there in the blogosphere. And that's something.

Unknown said...

I remember the feeling of those first few followers you jump up and down!!! You want to pee your pants! You tell your hubby that people actually like you! Then as the group grows larger and larger you realize it's getting harder and harder to maintain all the blogs you follow and you don't have time to get to it all.

What I'm saying is... I understand! I feel the same way, it's easier to read them and then move on because sometimes commenting takes to long and just saying awesome post people actually wonder if you took the time to read it but you did!!! However you do have the select few who are very loyal that you make sure to take the time to read and comment everyday... that's just part of the gig!

I never started this blog as a platform I did however realize it was good to have one when writing so it gave me more motivation to keep things entertaining however it also put more stress on me. Sometimes simple really is the way to go! I love coffee conversations and talking about writing and loving what you do! I guess it's best to continue as best as you can and when you feel it's too much then just know that it wasn't for lack of trying!

Having 300+ followers I can feel the pressure everytime I open my blog, I worry that several people will get upset or leave my blog because I haven't had time to comment, but I read... I read everyones!

Happy Tuesday!

Anonymous said...

I think it's very brave of you to be so honest with us. I agree with you. I have 60+ followers and I'm following pretty much all of them. Keeping up with everyone is really strenuous. Plus, there's the pressure of finding new blogs so that you can continue to increase your platform and such.

It's touching that you see us all as more than just avatars (no, not THOSE avatars) and names. We mean something to you, just as you mean something to us.

Change sucks but at least we're all changing together. :o)

DL Hammons said...

This is one of those times where all you can say is...what they said! Really. It is a virtual impossibility to get around to all the wonderful blogs out here, much less leave a meaningful comment. So I concentrate on a core group of bloggers that I make sure to comment on, and check out all the rest as time permits. And I do get around to the others eventually, leaving comments when the subject matter really grabs me. Some of them even get promoted up to the core group if a meaningful dialogue develops. But by far my closest relationships are with that core group. It's not meant to be exclusionary, just practical.

As far as my own post go...I try and respond to each and every comment I recieve. It's a commitment I've made to myself, and I don't care if I recieve 100 comments (I wish), I intend to give each and everyone one a personal response.

About your award post. I saw that post come up in my Google reader, but the link wouldn't connect. When I went straight to your blog outside of the reader, your previous post was still up. ??? Anyway, even though I never read the post, my reader marked the post as already being seen. Sorry...blame it on technology.

Anne Gallagher said...

E.P. -- Thank you so much for your lovely words. I've enjoyed your comments on Sarah's blog and thanks so much for becoming my friend now.

Jen -- Thanks Jen, this response means alot coming from you, I know you have 300 followers so for you to seek me out and give me words of wisdom, really does mean something. Thank you.

E.Elle -- I wouldn't say I'm brave but thanks. And you're so right, at least we're changing together.

Anne Gallagher said...

DL -- Blogger was acting crazy all weekend, with me expecially I think. So did you get your award? If not I'll send it again. And as to my 'core', I'm going to make a list and stick to it. Because these days I can't seem to do anything without a list.

Terry Towery said...

Yes, you hit the nail on the head, Anne. I am guilty of not responding to comments, and I'm often ashamed of it. I love my followers and appreciate each and every comment.

I need to do better. Thanks for setting such a good example. :)

Talli Roland said...

Aw, don't worry! I love reading your posts, and I comment because I want to, not because I expect you to comment back! We all have loads of other things to do in life - including write - and I'm sure we all understand that!

Anonymous said...

Everyone seems to write one of these posts at some point. I know I did. As you get more followers and more comments, it just kind of happens that you run out of real life time to comment back and respond and all that. Forget it when you add responding to Twitter commentary to the mix.

Don't worry, good lady. We understand.

Sarah Ahiers said...

ok here's how the google reader thing works (I was late to the game for that as well, so no worries)

When you go to your blogger dashboard, and down at the bottom of your dashboard page it lists all the blogs you follow and shows you their most recent posts. To the lower right of that there should be a link that says "View in Google Reader"

If you click on that it will bring you to the reader.

It takes a little bit of time to clean it up the first time (because it's the first time you've been to the reader it thinks you haven't read any of your blogs in a while) but you can assign any blogs you follow (or subscribe to) to different folders. I have a Must Read folder for my bestest pals (you're in there ;) ) and Industry folder, a writer folder etc.

Then i can just scan through and read what i want.

The only negative with the reader is you have to click on the title of the post if you want to comment.

BUT once i started to use the google reader i became much more efficient at reading and commenting on blogs and was therefore able to follow more. (I'm up to 189)

There's also a Star option, where you can star posts you like for easy followup later (GREAT for when you'regiven awards) and there is a search option, so you can search for a specific term (ie, your name) in all of your blogs or just a specific one.

Good luck!

Donna Hosie said...

You aren't alone in thinking this way, Anne. I feel like a bad blogger if I don't comment, or respond to a question on my own blog - and yet if I spent all my time doing that, I wouldn't have time to write anything.

Catch-22 as a wise fellow once wrote!

Sarah Ahiers said...

hmm that was a long post - i should have just emailed you ... :-I

Unknown said...

Awe you're too sweet! Having so many blogs is a lot to handle and having only been in the game for less than 3 months I'm still trying to get a handle on things. The good thing is that those who follow you and read your words of wisdom know you care and will wait for a comment even if it takes a week to get around to them and if they don't and they decide not to follow you it really wasn't a meaningful relationship anyway. Tons of people just want the follow # I'm with you and want a relationship with other writers/bloggers/artists whatever thec ase may be!

Sorry for yet another long comment, lol!

Anne Gallagher said...

Terry -- Hey as long as you keep me posted on the Sox vs. Yankees, I'll forgive you anything.

Talli -- And I love reading yours. Someday I'll be in London and you can take me for cupcakes.

Simon -- Thank you good sir.

Sarah -- Can I tell you how much I love you.

Donna -- Yes, life does get in the way.

Jen -- No worries. And hey you double commented so that really means something. LOL.

Hannah said...

I'm all about Google Reader and subscribing to comments. Without those two tools, I'd be much, much worse than I am now at reading and commenting. I definitely don't make it out to everyone's blog every day but I try to hit everyone's at least every week...even that's a challenge.

Although, real life does come first. I won't not do something in RL just to blog. With that in mind, you and all of my blog friends are keeping me focused on my writing. Even if I decreased the blogging, I don't think I would stop entirely, you know, now that I have an audience. eek!

dolorah said...

Ditto! :)

And don't feel guilty about not responding to every comment. Things change.


Lola Sharp said...

Sarah/Falen--I'm SO glad you didn't email Anne...I totally just learned from that comment of yours!!

I had no idea HOW to use Google reader!

Anne--Have a Happy Humpday out in your yard.

Sarah Ahiers said...

Just passing on the love - i learned about google reader from Palindrome and it really changed my blogging life

Unspoken said...

Believe me Anne, I pay attention to your comments! I know we have a lot in common from what you have left at my blog, for instance :). But, I sure do get the keeping up with comments thing. it is hard. I try to stay active with writers' comments as much as possible,myself, as my blog is a writing blog, but appreciate everyone who bothers to come by and read! This is the dilemma of blogging we all face eventually if we are fortunate enough to have people who like our stuff. You have a good problem on your hands :), or should I say, in them!

Nighfala said...

Thanks for the award!

Blogging can eat up your life. Don't let it. I speak from experience.

Meghan Ward said...

I love this post. I'm not at that point yet, but hey, it's a great problem to have! And you don't have to read every post everyone writes. It's more important that we're writing than that we're commenting on everyone's blogs. But it's great that you try. I'm sure it's appreciated!