October 29, 2012

Oh Susanna - How Do You Decide Which Blogs To Follow?

Batten down the hatches, all my fellow east-coasters!  In spite of the fact that I bought candles on Friday and filled the bathtubs with water this morning, the Frankenstorm appears to be coming anyway. I hope you are all in a safe place with plenty of batteries and chocolate and possibly your floaties and a rowboat!

To keep your minds off whether or not your basement is likely to approximate Lake Superior by tomorrow, let's dive in to today's Oh Susanna question, which is one that strikes a real chord with me, and I'm guessing a lot of you will feel the same way.

Penny asks, How in the world do you decide which blogs to follow regularly??? I would love to follow everyone! I would love to comment on all posts! But, if I do that, I have no time to do what I really love, which is writing! I read lots of blogs that I only comment on randomly, so the writer never knows that I read them often. We have become so connected by the Internet that I sometimes feel rude because I can't spend time with all my writing friends equally. Does anyone have a "qualifier" list for what blogs they will choose to best suit their goals? Do those who blog rely on comments to "keep them going"...or are you going to blog no matter what? Is anyone else as frustrated about this as I am? (I know you covered time management in one of your Oh Susanna! posts...but I think I need a refresher focusing on blogs.)

Yes, Penny!  I am definitely as frustrated as you are! :)

As Penny mentioned, we did discuss this a little in the Oh Susanna post on Time Management.  But I decided to post this more specific question because it's something I think  lot of people wrestle with every day (including me! :)), and I'm very interested in hearing from everyone out there about how they handle this issue.

I think the answer partly depends on what you hope to get out of blogging.  If you're trying to hone your craft, then you'll read a list of blogs that focus on craft and you might not need to comment unless you have a question.  This is a very different picture from that of someone who is trying to build a platform and will have to visit and comment on many blogs regularly in hopes of encouraging them all to follow back.

If you, like me, blog for community - for the connection, the interaction, the discussion, the feeling of being part of a group of like-minded people, the friendship - there's really no limit to how much time you CAN put in, which is where the problem lies.  And from the way Penny asked the question, I think this is at least partially what she's talking about.

This is a knotty problem, because we do develop friendships.  There is a large group of people out there who I am very fond of even though technically I've never met them in real life :)!  I feel guilty if a day goes by when they post and I don't have time to read, or I read but don't have time to comment.  I worry they'll feel slighted and think bad thoughts about me!

But let's face it: there are only so many hours in the day.  And most of us here have things to do besides blog :)

Just for fun, let's take a quick survey:

#1

#2

#3

I'm very interested to see how these turn out!  And I have a feeling the results may be a very informational part of this post for all of us.  I hope a lot of people will respond.

If it helps to share concrete information, I'll tell you what I do: (and I will admit straight out that I DO NOT have the answer!)

The blogs I follow regularly belong, as a general rule, to writers, illustrators, teachers, librarians, and a few agents, editors, book reviewers, and mom bloggers - at least, those are the blogs I read with commitment.  (I confess there are a couple funny ones I read sometimes that don't fit into any of those categories :))  These are the people I share common ground with, the blogs where many of my interests lie, that also intersect with what I have time for.  (I would love to read blogs about horses and dogs and a few other things, but I simply don't have time, so for me blogging centers in a more professional area.)

I like having new posts delivered straight to my inbox, even though it fills up, because then I'm sure to see them.  Anyone whose blog does not include an email option is likely to get sporadic reading from me because I read so many that I tend to forget about some without the reminder.

I try to carve out a chunk of time at the approximate beginning, middle, and end of my work day to read and comment on blogs, but it is rarely that neat... reading and commenting on blogs feels deliciously like being productive at moments when the writing isn't going well which makes it a nearly irresistible distraction :)

I read an average of 30-40 blogs per weekday (fewer on weekends - I'm trying to cut back :))  I comment on an average of 20-25 per day, maybe a little more.  Chances are high that if you ever see comments from me (and you have an email option for delivery :)) I'm reading your blog all the time - every post.

As for comments on my own blog, they are very important to me.  They let me know that I'm not just shouting into the abyss - that I hopefully provide something enjoyable maybe sometimes even valuable on some level.  And I genuinely like hearing everyone's thoughts on everything.

Truthfully I feel like the amount of blogging I do is both insufficient and far too much.

Wouldn't it be great if we could agree on some sort of system?  So that we could spend a little more time on our actual work without worrying that our friends are feeling neglected and unloved?  Maybe an "I'm-Up-To-My-Eyeballs-But-I-Took-The-Time-To-Come-Over-Here-So-You'd-Know-I-Still-Love-You-Even-Though-I'm-Not-Reading-Or-Commenting-Today" button? :)

What works for one may not work for another, but it sure would be helpful to hear from you all about how you manage.  How do you decide who to read?  How much is enough?  Please share!!!

(And remember!  Only 2 days until the Halloweensie Contest!  Rules HERE!)



Reactions:

94 comments:

  1. Plenty of food for thought for me there, Susan. Thanks for this post! Having spread myself thin on all sides, am finding it difficult to keep pace with all that is happening in the blogging world. And yet, I know it is imperative that I float around in the blogosphere in an engaged and meaningful way so as to be right up there on the radar of a few at least. I'll be honest, it doesn't come naturally to me and am still learning the ropes. But am sure, soon I'll be able to get into the groove and get better at it. By and by, I am beginning to learn the importance of visiting some sites regularly and leaving comments. Learning learning learning, will get there:)

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  2. Gosh Susanna, don't know how I wrote Susan there!!! Seem to be in a terribly zonked state of mind today. Sorry!

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  3. I think what makes it hard is that blogging is fun (for me) and I really enjoy reading blogs and connecting with people, but it is time-consuming. It's easy to spend your work time not working :) I just have to set a time limit so I make sure to get everything done. (And no worries about the "Susan" - it was probably auto-correct - gets me all the time! :))

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  4. I enjoy reading blogs, but have been negligient lately due to a heavy homework load and trying to write. I always encourage people to "do what they can." I do my best to keep up with comments, but don't bother with blog statistics as I know enough to understand my numbers don't reach the numbers agents/publishers want. Of course, I enjoy all the people who visit the blog or communicate via Facebook.

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  5. Hey Susanna, I used to read and comment on dozes of blogs per day then I realized that I was falling prey to not having time to write. Once I started setting a monthly goal to blog a certain amount of time and read/comment a certain number of times per week, I got a little better at opening time for writing. Like you, the blogs I follow are of other writers, agents and writing groups.

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  6. I took the quiz and am in the 50% bracket but maybe that will change once others take the quiz :-) Great question, Penny, and a hard one to answer. Like Susanna, I blog for the community of like-minded people and to stay current in my field and to learn more about the craft of writing and to be inspired. There is such a wealth of information and talent out there, and such wonderful people to interact with! Still, it takes time, and it can be overwhelming. I only post on my blog once a week, or even every 10 days. I know I should be more regular, but I can't seem to manage that. I don't always have the time, so I try to go for quality (I hope) rather than quantity... I follow a bunch of blogs but, like Susanna, I also tend to read the ones that come by e-mail. The ones in my reader and RSS feed have been quite neglected. I would say I read and comment on at least 5 a day, sometimes 10 or more, depending on my schedule. And I do my best to share them on FB and twitter. I know it's not a lot, but my illustrations are so time consuming...Why couldn't I be a minimalist?

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  7. You still manage to be around though, you post once a week or so, and no one has forgotten you... which is what I'm always afraid will happen if I blog less :)

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  8. Well this is exactly what Penny is wondering, Angela - how do you schedule your time, decide which blogs to read when? Do you have a list and try to read and comment on one post per week of the blogs you read or something? I know you comment more than that here....

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  9. I think you do a great job, Iza! I always enjoy your posts, and I see you around commenting, and I always appreciate you sharing things on twitter etc - I'm not so good with that although I'm trying :) The only way I manage to read as many blogs as I do is by working long hours... because writing takes a lot of time too - though I'm sure not as much as illustrating... and it gets overwhelming sometimes!

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  10. 40% bracket here Penny.

    I blog for the same reasons that Susanna does. To learn the craft. But ever since my blog was hacked, I feel burned out. Maybe the hacker did this to me. I am switching over to WP soon. Maybe that will help me. But writing is the reason we're all together anyway and if we don't have any time left to blog, then we've lost our focus. *sigh* Feelin' like I need to visit Penny. *sigh*

    Hugs y'all.

    Susanna, Ivy was playing with Mr. Ed in the pasture while we were cleaning the chicken coop and tack room. He was feeling good. And he bucked. She was in the way. (I thought she was dead) His hoof grazed her ribs and broke her foot. I'm taking her for x-rays, but I'm sure it's broken. Plus internet is spotty due to the hurricane. (We're having bad winds and rain.) If you don't see my entry on Wed., it's because I couldn't get on.

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  11. Oh. gosh, Robyn! More trouble?! Poor Ivy - I hope she's okay! I got a pretty good bite on my hand the other day but it was my own fault - stuck my hand in the horse's mouth :) I may change the Halloweensie Contest deadline if tons of us lose power and can't get on. I've scheduled the post so that anyone who is on can link up etc, but we may all need some more time! So don't worry if yours gets up a little late :) Maybe you and Ivy can think up an entry together and keep her mind of her hurts!

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  12. Great question, Penny! I don't know how you find time to read so many blogs, Susanna! Like you, I enjoy having posts sent to my inbox. That way I can remember to read them. I read blogs about writing, naturally. I do have a writing blog, but I never know what to post because there are SOOO many great writing blogs already out there. What do I have to contribute? So I try to find my niche and don't blog nearly enough. I also have a devotional blog that I try to post to weekly. Anyway, I love reading everyone's blog who posts it on FB.

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  13. There are so many amazing blogs out there that it can be overwhelming to choose which ones to follow! Some people follow them all, but do they really read them all? Probably not. I follow the blogs I know I'm going to take the time to read and leave thoughtful comments.

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  14. Penny, I have also felt the same way. I want to keep up and Facebook helps, but doesn't give the 'meat' of each person. I voted - but my numbers of reads and comments desired is probably lower because I'm just starting out. However, feedback on my blog just gives me a lift that makes my day brighter and more productive (um--I haven't had negative comments yet ...so far...) I try like Susanna to break reading into 3x day. Make comments-then back to work. I don't get to everyone every day. I try to rotate bloggers and read a few posts at a time when I'm there. On less inspired days I may take more time to browse simply for inspiration. And I do like subscribing to the like-minded blogs (llustrators/writers and humorous--I love the chuckles, and by the way, Susanna, you are one of those.)

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  15. Such a great question. Though I've thoroughly enjoyed blogging since I started just over a year ago, there is that constant struggle to keep up with reading and commenting on so many great blogs. I follow other writers and really enjoy the connection with kindred spirits. Some days reading the thoughtful posts of other writers gives me the energy and motivation to keep writing. If I read a blog post I always try to comment. I know how important it is to know that someone is reading the words we put out there.

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  16. Oh...hope Ivy is doing okay.

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  17. One of the things I love about having a WordPress blog is that it has a "like" button. All blogs should have that. I may not always have a comment, but I will definitely click a "like" button to show some love.

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  18. Thanks for sharing, Tina. I think everyone's system is a little different - we all have to do whatever works best - and I'm not sure if there really is a satisfactory answer to this question! Sometimes I think I should try to read 25 blogs each day but not do any of the same blogs twice in a week - then I could read and comment on over 10 different blogs each week. Instead, I tend to be loyal to the people I like best and I read their posts anywhere from 1-5 times a week depending on their posting schedule and don't branch out into new territory as much as I probably should...

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  19. I vote for an
    "I'm-Up-To-My-Eyeballs-But-I-Took-The-Time-To-Come-Over-Here-So-You'd-Know-I-Still-Love-You-Even-Though-I'm-Not-Reading-Or-Commenting-Today"
    button :)

    I had typed out a long comment but it got lost in the process. No time to retype - sorry. Good discussion.

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  20. That is a good plan, Laura. I don't like to "unfollow" people, but I probably should unfollow blogs I really don't read. Then my google reader would be less impossible to keep track of and maybe I could use it better! Yours is one of the blogs I wish had an email option so I'd be sure to remember it - I love it! *Special Announcement to anyone reading the comments - go check out Laura's blog, Wavy Lines! :)*

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  21. Thanks for sharing your system, Laura. I like hearing what everyone does - although it seems like we're all pretty much doing the same thing - finding a way to juggle :) Thank you so much for finding the time for my blog - I truly appreciate it.

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  22. Thanks for sharing, Ruth. You put it very articulately. I feel the same way about comments. Even a brief comment lets someone know you were there and read and appreciated their thoughts.

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  23. That is a GREAT idea. I think every blog should have that!

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  24. So glad you like that idea, Alayne! Let's all add that button :) Sorry about your other comment - I hate when that happens. That happens to me ALL the time when I'm texting - I have no idea what I dod to make it happen but man it's frustrating! :)

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  25. I started blogging in hopes of joining the writing community. It turns out I am following writing blogs AND dog blogs, which led to cat blogs,hamster and guinea pig blogs, and somehow, I discovered blogs of parents with disabled children, and started following a few of them. I also follow some inspirational blogs and a fashion blog or 2. There are definitely not enough hours in the day, and I agree with you, Susanna, I like when I can follow by email. Those are the ones I'm most consistent about. Fashion, really? Some blogs (like yours) will only let me comment if I'm on my iPad. Others will only let me comment on my PC. I love commenting. So does Cupcake!

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  26. Hmmm... Good question. I like the Wordpress "Like" button. That shows that I read it, but I also like to comment. :)

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  27. I do have the email button, Susanna! I recently added it. It's located under my "Be a Zany Zigzagger" followers box: http://lauramarcella.blogspot.com

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  28. YAY! I'm coming over! :)






























    Laura Marcella (unregistered) wrote, in response to Susanna Leonard Hill:

    I do have the email button, Susanna! I recently added it. It's located under my "Be a Zany Zigzagger" followers box: http://lauramarcella.blogspot.com

    Link to comment
    IP address: 69.249.245.22

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  29. If you use the wordpress like button, does it show WHO liked it? Or just that someone did - like, 25 likes...?

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  30. Thanks for chiming in Genevieve (and Cupcake :)). I don't understand the comment problem with my blog - it is an endless source of frustration. And Disqus has stopped answering me so I don't like them any more and will not be inviting them to my birthday party. I agree - the commenting is the fun part - that's where we get interaction and discussion which is what makes blogging so much fun!

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  31. I am so struggling with this right now. As life is full and busier than usual right now, my blog commenting is more rare. Part of my problem is that I am such a perfectionist, I write and edit and re-read every comment I post way too many times. So silly! And I want my commenting to be thoughtful, not just, "great post!" but sometimes all I have time for is a "great post!" so I end up not commenting. So yes, I would LOVE LOVE LOVE one of those kooky buttons! Let's make one!

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  32. I read blogs sporadically. I may go a day or two without reading and then skim through 150+ posts. I comment on very few. I mostly use GoogleReader to subscribe to feeds. It makes it very easy to go to one place to look at all my blogs.

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  33. I don't have a great system. I have a tendency to do a crazy amount of reading and commenting on the day I post--typically Monday. Then it dwindles as the week progresses. I really should space it out, but for some reason I feel a sense of urgency on that first day. My fave thing about reading and commenting is the community--love that I get to know friends like you Susanna! Oh and good luck with the Frankenstorm--I'm hoping that we get to drain our bathtubs and go back to normal asap!

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  34. It is a challenge to balance time for blog reading for pleasure and knowledge, time for my own work, time to keep my home from falling into the dog hair pit of despair and, of course, time for my boys. I do read every blog I subscribe to, but I don't always comment. There are times when I can't think of anything to say, or someone else has already expressed what I'm thinking in a better way, or I simply like what the person has posted and it seems silly to post a comment saying "I like this!" It probably isn't a silly thing to write at all, but it sometimes feels that way. The internet has created the mixed blessing of an ocean of information at our fingertips and no more hours in the day to absorb it all!

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  35. Also, sometimes I don't have the time to comment as much as I'm sitting down and reading blogs for a few minutes here and there throughout the day. This is another great post, Susanna!

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  36. All so true, Heather, and well put. I wish blog comments had a feature like FB where you could like previous comments - I would do that a lot because, as you say, often someone has already said what I'd like to better than I could!

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  37. Thanks for chiming in , Coleen! I think a lot of people post M/W/F, including me, so those are my heaviest blog reading days too. I forget where you live - maybe more in harm's way than I do - so far it's windy here, but not too bad - pretty much of a non-event. I'm hoping we keep power. I scheduled my post for Wednesday in case we lost it, but haven't added in my sample Halloween Contest entry yet because I haven't finished writing it! :)

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  38. Lots of people like google reader - I think I just followed some blogs I ended up not being that interested in way back when I started so it gets really full and hard to navigate... I should probably clean it out :)

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  39. Nice use of the poll! I select the blogs that are consistently meaningful to me and subscribe via email, even though I am a member of many others. Every couple weeks I check out the others and add a couple to email if they strike my fancy.

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  40. I'll have to get on that kooky button :) But personally, I don't mind people leaving comments like "great post" - at least then I know they came, read, enjoyed. And sometimes I leave "great post" comments for the same reason - I figure the blog owner will appreciate knowing I was there but I don't have time to say more or don't have much else to add.

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  41. That sounds like a pretty good system, Lauri. Thanks for sharing!

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  42. Great question and great idea to use a poll. I use google reader as I am one if those who doesn't enjoy my email box full. I try and read and comment on 15-20 a day and truly have the same motivations as you, Susanna. I love reading, commenting and blogging for the community I am creating, but recognize my stats are way off anything that makes it of interest to agents and editors when it comes to platform-building. When I took a couple of months away from blogging over the summer, I missed it but boy I got more writing done, which does worry me! This is truly one of my favorite blogs!

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  43. You are so nice, Joanna! Thank you for finding time in your day to read my blog and leave this comment which has made my day :) In the beginning, I looked at my stats a lot. Now I never look at all. I don't have the kind of numbers anyone would be interested in and that's not why I blog (although I suppose it would be nice to feel that thousands of people couldn't wait to read what I had to say every day :)) But then I think you'd lose that sense of community that I love so much - it would be harder to respond to every comment and to feel like you knew people.

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  44. Susanna~Thanks for posting my question. I love the way you set up the polls for feedback. There has been lots of interesting and helpful feedback...mainly due to the fact that everyone struggles with this to a degree and so, therefore, won't be too hard on folks that can't comment every time they drop by to read.

    I love your idea of an "I'm-Up-To-My-Eyeballs-But-I-Took-The-Time-To-Come-Over-Here-So-You'd-Know-I-Still-Love-You-Even-Though-I'm-Not-Reading-Or-Commenting-Today" button!!!

    So many comments expressed what I feel...that it isn't easy to always leave a meaningful comment without repeating previous commenters. I am like Amy Dixon...I have a tendency to read and reread to make sure I don't have typos. As far as those who comment on my blog...I love getting comments even if it's just a "great post" or other short comments.

    I blog for the community, too. I have found so many kindred spirits that it just makes my day/week brighter. I know I don't have anything close to a platform. I figure if I spend all my time blogging and not writing...that I will never have anything to set on my "platform". LOL I mainly blog for Perfect Picture Book Friday. I chose this because I am a retired teacher and I see how helpful PPBF can be for teachers.

    I am slowly getting better at sorting out a system for the blogs I love to read but don't have time to read each day. I am flagging them in my email and then going back to read when I have time during the week. I try not to get too far behind. There are a few blogs I read that, even though they may post 5-7 times a week, I decided I would only read 1-2 times a week. If it's a blog I participate in...like your Short and Sweets, or like Laura Purdie Salas's 15 Words or Less Poems, I try to get there on the posting day. After reading today's comments, I am going to try
    to streamline my methods so that I will feel better about how I am handling my blog reading.

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  45. I make it rule not to comment on blogs with captcha unless I have to. It might sound harsh but those things irritate me. I don't always comment but I do share posts via twitter and facebook, which is another way to recognize a blogger you like. I added a list of blogs I love to read to the side of my blog that way with a quick glance I can see if it's been a while since I checked in on some of my favourite blogs.

    Another thing I started doing was writing a weekly post just for myself. I love it because I'm not worried about getting comments. I'm doing it as a way to record my progress as I pursue this crazy writing dream.

    Blogging is only one way to connect with people. I like using a variety of methods to build community. I allot an hour day to reading and responding to blogs. I wish I could do more but then I would never get any writing done.

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  46. I'm so glad if you're finding this helpful, Penny. I wish I had a better answer. But in a way I find it comforting to know we all struggle with it! You're right - hopefully that means people will be understanding if you miss commenting a few times because they know from personal experience how hard it is to keep up. This whole conversation is inspiring me to rethink my blogging methods - I feel like there really has to be a better way! I'm clearly going to have to figure out how to make that button :)... and share it with everyone else :)

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  47. Wow, Rena. It sounds like you have a good system. I admit, I put most of my social media time into blogging - I'm less good about FB - although I like to check in with the writing groups - and I'm terrible with Twitter (although I'm trying to improve my ways :)) I really like you weekly reflection post - you may do it for yourself, but I like reading it. I think you have a lot more self-discipline than I do :)

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  48. i read much more than I comment on blogs. Often times, I just can't find the right words for a comment right away. I often feel like I should comment more, but just like in real life conversations, I find myself to be shy.


    Additionally, I almost always feel like I should be doing more. I have so many people that support me in my blogging efforts that I often feel like I am not reciprocating enough. I guess there is always room for improvement.


    Thank you for this post, Susanna, it allowed me to reflect upon my blogging and blog reading practices.

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  49. Great question and the idea of putting a poll. I follow roughly the same set of blogs Susanna mentioned. I have started doing email subscription from a small set of blogs so I don't miss a post. The rest I read sporadically via Google Reader or their FB post. I try to comment on others as I absolutely need to see a handful of comments on my post, it truly motivates me. The downside of all this is that I don't spend enough time on my own stories. Blogging comes fairly easy for me but writing that's another story. Not sure what to do, just trying to figure things out. Will probably take Dec off from blogging and see if I am more productive with the writing.

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  50. This is such a great discussion. And how amazing is that poll of yours, Susanna! Another fabulous idea. I one of those that read and leave few comments. I wish there was such a button that you mentioned, Susanna. I'd really like people to know that I was there lurking in the shadows. Ooh a good title for the contest! I feel so connected to the people whose blogs I follow. It's kind of pathetic actually, I feel like I know you all, intimately. We pray for each other, encourage each other, promote each other and so much more.

    As for blogging, I am want some would call Trifling. I get asked, (only by a couple of people, but still...) when are you going to post again? I've received so much encouragement from the people I've met in the writing community, They are interested in how my little ones respond to the books I read. Yet, I don't have the time, and sometimes patience, to give the people who've made it a point to acknowledge me and my blog. I totally feel like I'm being disrespectful. I'm like Amy Dixon, who stated that she is such a perfectionist. I'm that way, and end up not posting anything. I re-write, research, delete, re-write, then I get frustrated and don't post anything at all.

    Now, that I'm in school, there's NO TIME AT ALL! I do get in a great deal of writing. I have to write a minimum of three papers a week in one class, just one class alone, in order to earn a "B." However, I must endeavor to personally connect more. Whoa! I didn't mean to go on and on. However, this is such a meaningful post.

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  51. I love the poll - I think that will help soothe some guilt feelings! I find it good to step away from it all now and then; it also let's me know which blogs I am missing and which I might not! My personal tip: Every time the phone rings I get up, but I also look for a chore (easy in my house!) to take me away for a bit - to refocus!

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  52. POSTED FOR TRACY at http://tracycampbell.net/blog/

    I don't usually respond during the day, but this post was way too important not to comment on--now.

    Penny, you hit the nail on the head with your fabulous question.

    I feel exactly the same way as you and Susanna do. I'm referring to "Truthfully I feel like the amount of blogging I do is both insufficient and far too much."

    And oh, how I wish there was a proper system. Poof! Sorry, nothing happened when I snapped my fingers.

    Most of my working time is spent in my home office, so I need to blog to form relationships. Even though, I've not met most of you. I feel a connection. It's like we've been friends for years. And I need to blog to build a platform. So, the 2 plus hours I spend a day are necessary, but even that time seems inadequate. Realistically, I'd need to spend 4 or more hours to do that effectively. Not happening.

    Like you, Susanna, the posts I receive in my email box are the ones I read and comment on. I know I follow others, but due to lack of time, I don't go searching them out. And not because I don't want to, but because there isn't enough time.

    I still can't access to take part in the poll, but I'm reading from afar. Just wish I could read all the comments.

    I'll end on this note. We're expecting the storm later tonight. We have enough gas to run the generator for a week, and the fridge and freezer are stocked. I just hope the big bad wolf doesn't blow the house down. There is one good thing though--we don't have to worry about flooding as we live way up on a hill in--Noah's Ark.

    Keep safe, everyone.
    Tracy

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  53. Thanks so much for sharing with us, Tracy. I think it's very helpful to hear from everyone on this topic - seems we're all struggling with the same thing! Stay safe!

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  54. Thank you for joining the conversation, Eric. I appreciate your thoughts. It really is tough to find a balance, and, like you say, we all have different personalities. I find it a little easier to talk online than in real life - you probably wouldn't guess it, but I'm shy in person :)

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  55. That's the scary thing, Darshana - I know that if I didn't blog I would write more productively. The act of writing the blog and writing comments fulfills some of that need to write and it's easy to do a bunch of blogging and then feel like you've kind of done your writing for the day... even though in truth you haven't started. It can be an energy sap. I do both, but I know I would write more if I didn't blog. And though enjoy blogging, I also feel the expectation from the powers above to maintain an online presence...

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  56. Thanks so much for taking the time to share your thoughts, Pam. I think what I'm getting most out of this post is a reminder of how nice everyone is :) - how much they genuinely care about each other and how much they want to be there for each other. It's what makes this community so wonderful and special. You're about the 10th person to love that kooky button idea - clearly we've got to find a way to make that work :)

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  57. Yeah, the poll is turning out to be pretty helpful, I think! I'm grateful to everyone for responding. Thanks for sharing your personal tips too! (Although my house is a perfection of cleanliness so there are never any chores :)... oops, my nose just got so long it poked the computer screen :))

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  58. Reading this as the rains lash at the windows. Just finished making no-bake chocolate thingies - so I think I'm safe for the duration, even when the power goes.

    Such a great topic. Never sure how much/little to read & always thinking I'm missing something (and always so far behind...).

    Will be interesting to read the results.

    Stay safe & dry!

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  59. Penny...your question is one that lurks in the minds of most of us, I'm sure...THANK YOU for posing it!
    Susanna, I loved your answer...and yes, I sometimes wish I could blog 24 hours a day...but my back and eyes (and husband) don't allow that.:)
    I started blogging to get the word out about my book...but now that I have experienced the amazing support, encouragement and friendship associated with blogging...I'd want to do it even if I never wrote another word (other than posts)! In the beginning, I was a little haphazard about what I blogged about...parenting, life, picture books, skydiving. :) Then I became more organized and actually had several months where I blogged EVERY day...Menu Monday (a recipe), Timeless Tuesday (a quote), What's in Your Child's Bookcase Wednesday (picture book review and craft), Healthy Thursday (well-being tips), Follow me Friday (a recap of any school visits or book events of that week), Saturday Ramblings (random posts) and Cinema Sunday (a movie review). Each post was tied in to parenting issues.

    Then my husband almost had me committed (only joking)!
    So I cut back and then discovered YOU (through Nancy at Spirit Lights the Way)...and through you, I discovered Julie's 12x12 and everyone else in this beautiful kidlit community.

    So now I read blogs and comment because I am excited about honing the craft of picture book writing and connecting so I will learn how to put my work out there in the best way possible...and because I love reading the great posts that all of you write. :)


    But the time factor is like a millstone around my neck...I would love to follow and comment on EVERY blog of EVERY person in this group...and outside of this group...but the clock ticks away and I often get to bed after 1am...and have to get up in the morning at 6:30. Will things improve after December 31, when I 'retire' and don't have to go to work 4 days a week? Or will I fill up those hours with even MORE blogging and following and commenting? Only time will tell! Time? What's that?
    I've got my Halloweensie story ready...can't wait!

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  60. First of all, I hope so hard that everyone in the path of Sandy stays safe. I've been obsessively checking weather reports and facebook updates... I wish there were something I could do besides sit here and hope, hope, HOPE! You're all in my thoughts.



    This question and answer was very interesting -- and I learned that although I think I spend a LOT of time reading blogs, or at least scrolling through them on my email and google reader, I really have no clear idea of how many I actually read in a day, nor how many I actually comment on. It might be interesting to take a week and actually keep track, just so I know what I *am* spending time on.

    As for comments, they mean a great deal to me, probably more than they should. When I've worked hard on a post and then get hardly any comments, I tend to wonder what I've done wrong. I'm likely not choosing topics that are of interest to the people who read my blog, and I don't know quite what to do about that. The people with whom I share this blogging community have become my friends, and I hate to disappoint them.

    I confess I don't always comment even when I've read a post, because I don't feel I have anything worthwhile to say about the topic. Hmmm... that button you mentioned, or a "like" button, would be great. I'd like to be able to say, "I was here, I read you.

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  61. Tracy...I know that using Internet Explorer does not allow me to comment on Susanna's blog...I have to use a different browser connection...so I go in with Mozilla Firefox...I think Google Chrome works also. :)

    Good luck with the storm...my thoughts are with you. :)

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  62. Thanks! I'm not sure if that's true about the discipline part but thanks all the same! I love the writing groups because it takes only minutes to find out what everyone is up to. Twitter is a work in progress for me. I recently set a goal to try to write at least one meaningful tweet a day.


    I use to blog a lot more but it lead to a fight with my husband who wanted me to spend more time with him. So adopting a set time was a must. Now we are both happy.

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  63. This is a great topic. I just started my blog and have found that it has changed how I interact with other people's blogs. I used to read a number of blogs fairly frequently, but almost never commented. Now, I almost always comment because I know how much it means to get those comments, even if it is just, 'great post' (which is a comment I'm totally fine with, by they way!)

    I am also finding that I need to streamline the way I am reading various blogs. Right now, I have some in a Google Reader, some I'm following via RSS, some coming in through email, and some I am following on the Wordpress reader. I'm going to try to do them all through RSS because it's the best way to very quickly see who has a new post.

    I find the blogs I read fall into a few categories:

    1) blogs I read because the content really interests me and speaks to where I am as a writer right now (tend to comment less on these)

    2) blogs I read because I feel a connection with the person who writes them and I want to support that person (always try to comment on these)

    3) blogs I read because someone posted a link on FB or somewhere else about a great post, and the content seems interesting to me at that moment (and I have the time)

    I try to do most blog reading in the evening while I'm watching TV so it's not so intrusive but I also do a lot of reading on the days I post.

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  64. The poll results were interesting. Thanks, for being an awesome blogger and community builder, Susanna.

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  65. it's very easy to stop subscriptions on google reader. i find it great!

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  66. Yes, I agree completely about always worrying about missing things and being behind! :) Glad you have chocolate! Stay safe!

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  67. Thanks so much for sharing, Vivian. I know - in the beginning I posted every day too. Then I wised up :) Like you, i wish I had time to read every blog of every 12x12er but there just aren't enough hours. So glad you're entering the contest!!!! And impressed your entry is ready to go. My sample is not going well!!! And we've lost power three times so far. We've been lucky and it's come back, but I keep thinking the next one will be for real!

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  68. Our power is flickering... I expect to lose it any second so if my comments stop you'll know why! I know exactly what you mean about the comments - I feel the same way. I think if I don't get many comments I've failed my readers, and I have to remind myself that sometimes people just don't have time, or it's August and everyone is on vacation, or the east coast is without power or etc... But in general there are days I notice only a few comments on a lot of blogs I follow, and I sometimes think maybe everyone's feeling the time pressure and a little burned out from trying to keep up. And then there are other blogs with billions of comments that contradict my hypothesis :) Definitely got to work on that button! :)

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  69. Yes... I'm familiar with that husband problem... :)






























    Rena (unregistered) wrote, in response to Susanna Leonard Hill:

    Thanks! I'm not sure if that's true about the discipline part but thanks all the same! I love the writing groups because it takes only minutes to find out what everyone is up to. Twitter is a work in progress for me. I recently set a goal to try to write at least one meaningful tweet a day.

    I use to blog a lot more but it lead to a fight with my husband who wanted me to spend more time with him. So adopting a set time was a must. Now we are both happy.

    Link to comment
    IP address: 173.210.210.114

    ReplyDelete
  70. Great to hear your process, Carrie, thanks so much for sharing. I think streamlining is the key. And the kooky button would be most helpful :)

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  71. So glad if you're finding the poll results interesting, Hannah - I am too. And thanks so much for your very kind words - the kind of comment that makes my day! :) I love your blog too :)

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  72. Really? I looked at it quickly earlier, right before we temporarily lost internet service, and couldn't see how to do it! but that's me and tech :)





























    Beth Stilborn (unregistered) wrote, in response to Susanna Leonard Hill:

    it's very easy to stop subscriptions on google reader. i find it great!

    Link to comment
    IP address: 65.87.233.107

    ReplyDelete
  73. Go into Google Reader, click on the blog name in the left side bar. When that blog comes up, you'll see various drop down menus just above the post area. One is "mark all read" one is "Feed Settings." Click on the drop down arrow for Feed Settings, choose "unsubscribe" and voila, you're automagically unsubscribed.

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  74. Thank you! I'll have to give it a try!






























    Beth Stilborn (unregistered) wrote, in response to Susanna Leonard Hill:

    Go into Google Reader, click on the blog name in the left side bar. When that blog comes up, you'll see various drop down menus just above the post area. One is "mark all read" one is "Feed Settings." Click on the drop down arrow for Feed Settings, choose "unsubscribe" and voila, you're automagically unsubscribed.

    Link to comment
    IP address: 65.87.233.107

    ReplyDelete
  75. I've been thinking a lot about this lately. I want to craft my blogging too. I want to feel that aha, OMG, nodding my head in agreement more often than not. I love reading other people's thoughts. I also love how my blog is gaining the attention of different kinds of people then when I first began. I have changed too and I like that it shows. One audience is not better than another, but as I change my writing changes, my inspirations changes, I get deeper and wider instead of more in quantity. You are always on my check in list because I feel you are so true to yourself and it's inspiring.

    Kimberley
    First in Maine

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  76. Thanks, Kimberley, I truly appreciate that! I really enjoy your blog as well, although I'm pretty sure it's one that doesn't offer email delivery... (hint hint :)) I know what you mean about your blog writing changing and growing, and your audience changing a bit as it goes. I think we all learn and transform a it as we go along.

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  77. Just for you Susanna, check under Follow Me for a sign up to receive my new posts by email. I am HONORED that you would want them.

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  78. Hi Susanna! I follow a lot of blogs. For me, I look for blogs to inspire me, motivate me, teach me things to help me become a better writer. I too come across dozens if not hundreds of other blogs that would interest me to read but I simply don't have enough time in each day to devote to them.

    I comment on as many as I can when the post especially connects with me and I archive the posts which reference writerly things I would like to refer back to.

    The month of November is going to be very hard on me personally so I will stepping away from my own blog as well as others for the next four weeks or so in the hopes I can return in December healthier and better able to handle this life I love!

    Donna L Martin

    www.donnalmartin.com

    www.donasdays.blogspot.com

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  79. The bookmarks arrived yesterday, and ten are already at the library (not out for grabs yet - they 'screen' everything first). Also, have decided to get back to yoga in '13 to correct the neck and back probs of too much online-time!

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  80. yes, a photo gravatar comes up and when clicked takes you to the gravatar of the person liking that post. :)

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  81. I have to be already signed in to facebook to be able to comment on this blog. If not disqus deletes me. I say this in hopes of helping someone. :)

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  82. Great blog post and great comments, Susanna. I can't come up with anything better. I do read your blog as often as I can bc I love it and most of my community is on here. I love this community and blog bc of it.


    Love the polls and topic. Thanks so much for this post. It helps to know everyone is in the same boat. Let me know when you get that button. :)

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  83. Thanks so much for chiming in and sharing, Clar! Glad you found the post interesting and helpful. Apparently that button is a must! :)

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  84. Thanks for sharing that, Clar! I hope everyone sees it. I don't know why my comment system seems to be the only one on earth that causes such trouble - it's so frustrating!





























    Clarike Bowman-Jahn wrote, in response to Susanna Leonard Hill:


    I have to be already signed in to facebook to be able to comment on this blog. If not disqus deletes me. I say this in hopes of helping someone. :)

    User's website
    Link to comment
    IP address: 173.72.185.34

    ReplyDelete
  85. Oh, that is cool. I wish I had wordpress!






























    Clarike Bowman-Jahn wrote, in response to Susanna Leonard Hill:


    yes, a photo gravatar comes up and when clicked takes you to the gravatar of the person liking that post. :)

    User's website
    Link to comment
    IP address: 173.72.185.34

    ReplyDelete
  86. For me? Really? I'm coming right over!!! :)






























    Kimberley wrote, in response to Susanna Leonard Hill:

    Just for you Susanna, check under Follow Me for a sign up to receive my new posts by email. I am HONORED that you would want them.

    Link to comment
    IP address: 67.251.11.98

    ReplyDelete
  87. Oh yay! Glad they got there. I should do yoga, really, it would be good for me. But I have NO patience! :)




























    Julie Rowan-Zoch (unregistered) wrote, in response to Susanna Leonard Hill:

    The bookmarks arrived yesterday, and ten are already at the library (not out for grabs yet - they 'screen' everything first). Also, have decided to get back to yoga in '13 to correct the neck and back probs of too much online-time!

    Link to comment
    IP address: 174.29.145.131

    ReplyDelete
  88. I hope this finds you and your family safe from the Frankenstorm. My heart goes out to all of the families who lost their homes. On a lighter note, I love your button idea! Looking forward to your Halloweensie Contest, and I'm glad to join in the fun!

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  89. Thanks, Julie! I'm glad to report that we are safe, and hope you are too! Boy, that button idea sure turned out to be popular :) I hope your enthusiasm for the Halloweensie Contest means I can look forward to an entry from you! :)

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  90. Hi Susanna...hope you were safe in the storm! This continues to be an issue for me. I desire to both receive responses and make comments. I do mostly the latter. Maybe it's the content of my blogposts. I don't know, but I'm working on it!
    As part of my early morning routine, I read emails and blogs, but then I get distracted, and don't find the time to write. Soooo frustrating! Jeff Goins recommends we don't open an email or look at blogpost until we have written a few hundred words.
    This is good advice, but I don't always follow it!
    Maybe we can brainstorm more on this topic...

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  91. Thanks for sharing, Jarm. It's a tough balance to find all right. The more I think about it, the more I think that kooky button is a must :)

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  92. POSTED FOR DONNA at http://www.donasdays.blogspot.com

    Hi Susanna! I follow a lot of blogs. For me, I look for blogs to inspire me, motivate me, teach me things to help me become a better writer. I too come across dozens if not hundreds of other blogs that would interest me to read but I simply don't have enough time in each day to devote to them.

    I comment on as many as I can when the post especially connects with me and I archive the posts which reference writerly things I would like to refer back to.

    The month of November is going to be very hard on me personally so I will stepping away from my own blog as well as others for the next four weeks or so in the hopes I can return in December healthier and better able to handle this life I love!

    ReplyDelete
  93. Thanks for sharing, Donna! And hope November doesn't go as badly as you're expecting - maybe something good will happen :)

    ReplyDelete

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