This one’s long enough to make up for the two weeks of silence
So it seems I hit a little blog lull, quite unexpectedly. I write posts in my head every day, all through the day (it’s why I began blogging in the first place, you know: thinking in narrative is the way my brain has always, always worked)—but lately I seem prone to tossing a thought or a quip or a link onto Facebook instead of chronicling here. And yet I recoil, actually, from the idea of handing over one’s mental activity to the data-miners and the the rushing update stream. I have this looping conversation with myself over and over. If you blog and are also active on Facebook, I bet you know exactly what I mean.
On Facebook, people leave comments: that’s one point in its favor, part of its great appeal. And let me back up and say how much I love certain aspects of Facebook! I champion it often, when people are running it down for being shallow or negative. Facebook gave me what no other medium has: daily contact with my faraway cousins, my old school friends, my coworkers from jobs long past. Very precious contact, actually. Friendships rekindled and deepened. Road trips made merry (and potentially safer) by en route updates, with friends keeping tabs on us and inviting us to stop and stretch our legs as we made our way across the country and back. There are things Facebook can do that this blog cannot.
But: vice versa! Such riches I have tucked into the archives here—family treasures, I mean. Stories I’d certainly have forgotten, had I not recorded them here. A diary of sorts of our homeschooling journey. An annotated reading journal. A commonplace book, with pictures. Oh, I love this blog, what it’s given me. Including the friends: no small matter, that. Facebook reconnected me with old friends. Blogging gave me new ones, and I count those friendships as very real and rich indeed.
I don’t comment on your blogs nearly often enough. I’m still probably among your most faithful readers, though, did you know that? 🙂 I find myself reaching for the like button to let you know I’ve appreciated a post, am nodding my head at your insight or smiling at your joke. On Facebook people snark about the superficiality of ‘likes.’ I understand why, it’s quick and glancing, it’s not saying anything meaningful, it sometimes suggests an unfortunate endorsement of the wrong half of a sentence. (“I got an offer on a YA novel today! But then I fell and broke my leg.” Er, like? No, wait!) But that silly like button serves a purpose. I means I’m here, I’m reading this, I took note of what you said, I’m glad you shared. If I could click a button on Feedly to let you know I’d appreciated a post, you can bet I would. Clicking through to actually comment, now…oh, I wish I were better about it. Sometimes it’s captcha that deters me, or login technicalities. (Blogger gets very grumpy with me when I don’t want to comment as Melissa Wiley’s Official Data-Providing Google Account, which I loathe doing on friends blogs because I’m just Lissa to you, right? And I can never remember my WordPress login on blogs that aren’t mine.) But other times, a friendly comment is an easy click away and I still don’t take the time, because I’m probably reading your post on my phone, and I really really hate typing with my thumbs.
A Facebook update is much more likely to generate discussion these days, at least for me. Of course, Facebook is such a combustible stew of people from all one’s different worlds and walks of life—sometimes I cringe, seeing all my people jumbled up together that way. I’ve tried separating my personal and professional worlds there but it’s flat impossible. Colleagues become friends, and then what do you do? Make them switch accounts? Who can keep up with multiple accounts anyway? Not I.
All of this is musing without agenda: I simply thought I’d try thinking aloud here the way I did in the olden days of blogging. You know, way back in 2006.
For my own amusement, a few of the topics I’ve posted about on social media recently:
• geocaching, which has become our favorite pastime, and I could talk about it ENDLESSLY for HOURS (see one diabolically clever hiding place in the photo above—oh how we shrieked!)
• how I’ve started writing serious poems again, and I really miss my old grad-school poetry workshop mates and the close readings we used to do of our own poems and others
• Coursera classes I’m taking (alone or with various kids), and many many thoughts about how we use Coursera—and actually I have a long post half-written on that subject. It began here (is still in drafts) and spilled over to Facebook, and judging from that conversation I actually have a lot of practical information to share on the topic.
• related: gossip as a vital tool for human survival—one of the many fascinating points of discussion in the Coursera “Brief History of Humankind” class I’m taking, about which I have LOADS OF THINGS to say
• also related: the Coursera “Modern and Contemporary Poetry” course is wonderful and is going a long way to satisfy my ache for close readings, since each week’s lesson consists of video discussions (grad students and professor) of several different poems—one poem per fifteen(ish)-minute video, perfect for diving into in small chunks of time, which is all I have
• a mocking gripe about my internet service provider, not worth recording
• links to various articles, all of which I’ve shared in the sidebar here anyway
• my delight over the first sketches for Inch and Roly #3
• a picture of The Greatest American Hero, which generated more comments than anything else I’ve posted this month
• the sudden realization after all these years that in the Magic School Bus theme song, the guy is not actually saying “Make a sacrifice on Mars.”
• and in the comments of the above, the revelation that “the guy” is none other than Little Richard!!!
• an adorable photo of my boys
• Overheard, Rilla to Huck: “I’m going to teach you three things. The first one is Pounce, and it goes like this.”
Which is, it turns out, kind of a lot.
Patricia V. (@vollmerdp) says:
My thoughts exactly Lissa! I’ve often taken big blogging breaks, to realize that big gaps in my kids’ news goes un-recorded. Facebook data can be downloaded, but it’s not in a nice chronicle like in my blog. Thanks for sharing.
On October 30, 2013 at 4:18 pm
Theresa Gonzalez says:
I do hope you share about Coursera. Particularly about the History of Humankind course, which I also have so much I want to say about but probably won’t. I hate to admit it, but I am afraid of the haters that I know will show up and get all irate and turn the discussion in directions I really don’t want to go.. I just don’t have the energy for that any more. Maybe you do?
On October 30, 2013 at 4:21 pm
I agree with you. FB is a love/hate relationship for me but it does seem to be where the conversation is. Sigh.
On October 30, 2013 at 4:40 pm
Melissa Wiley says:
Charlotte, your blog is one of the ones that hates me! I’ve lost a number of comments there, and then I wander away without trying again, even though I could solve it simply by allowing Google to log me in with my G+ profile. Including I never thanked you for some kind words you wrote about us (the graduation announcement maybe?) because I meant to try again later and…sieve-brain.
Theresa, I’m LOL at your comment because I shied waaaaay back from further discussion of that course on FB—it’s exactly the sort of topic that tends to go explosive for me there. In the worst ways. But there is SO MUCH TO TALK ABOUT. Right? I’m thinking about simply writing up my notes here for later reference (I’ll never find ’em again in my notebook, I have far too many notebooks for search-engineless searching now), but probably even that much is asking for trouble. 🙂 Still, I’m feeling awfully stubborn these days…
Patty, I saw your like on FB so let me say thanks for clicking through and commenting! 🙂 🙂 🙂
On October 30, 2013 at 4:51 pm
I am leaving a comment here SPECIFICALLY to counteract the lack of comments on blog posts. 🙂
I know exactly what you mean about this entire post. I do the same thing, writing “blog posts” in my head, but then the shorter social media makes me neglect the long form, and the “like” button thing, and so on, and so on…. Yep, everything. Except the specific shared items!
On October 30, 2013 at 5:13 pm
Okay how could you read this and NOT comment 🙂 I don’t think I’ve ever really gotten my blogging off the ground because I started to blog and “do FB” at the same time. I feel the same about your pros and cons and for each.
I do have to add…the little bit of chatter I’ve seen about the Humankind class is really enticing me to see what it’s all about! This is a prime example of what FB can do for me at least, those snippets of ideas send me on little rabbit trails of my own. I “hear” something that sounds interesting, I search, check it out a bit further, pass or dive in further. FB has even become my news source…which is kind of frightening to write. I use to be a bit of a news junky. I would watch all the evening news as I kid, I knew all the local anchors’ names on all the networks. Now I don’t know when I last saw a tv news report. I don’t know…bad/good?
Eh in the end…it works for me!
On October 30, 2013 at 5:22 pm
oh, man! i had a *feeling* you were doing ModPo. that tweet from a few days ago about falling in love with poems. it has been a glorious Fall. no, i don’t really have time for as much as i’d like, but the poems reward nonetheless.
i’m “kortney garrison” in the forums if you want to say hello over there.
peace keep you.
On October 30, 2013 at 6:06 pm
Melissa Wiley says:
Kort! How lovely that you’re there too. I’m a latecomer (now madly downloading vids so I can catch up on the earlier lessons later). Enjoying it tremendously. And filling in some gaps—I was sorely underread in the New York School.
Theresa & Kacky, an addendum about the Humankind course: today I hit lesson 3, Daily Life in the Stone Age, and I see he’s an evo-psych guy. Lot of pushback against those ideas in biology, anthropology, and other sciences. I’m finding the application of many grains of salt necessary.
On October 30, 2013 at 7:17 pm
I love this post. Of course. And I share many of your thoughts. I used to have a “quietly nodding” button at the end of my blogposts but it fell away when I changed the template, and I’ve never had time to replace it. Or I’ve had time but no longer the feeling that blog templating is a priority. I sense many other bloggers are experiencing the same shift. I have all kinds of thoughts on why … momentum, commercialisation, trends, women’s needs for friendship which inspired blogging and now their communication with e-friends has deepened, gone to Facebook or private emails or other avenues which are more immediate than blogs, bla, bla … and I could go on for hours about the whole subject. But you know, tired. And the oven needs cleaning.
But I must add – I am delighted you are writing poetry again! I hope you will share it in one form or another eventually. You are such a smart poet, it’s always a delight to read and think about your poems.
On October 30, 2013 at 7:36 pm
Ugh, two delights in the same paragraph. My students would point and laugh at me.
On October 30, 2013 at 7:37 pm
Melissa Wiley says:
Sarah, your double delight delights me. 🙂
I just deleted the most nonsensical, hyper-parenthetical reply to your remark about the shifts due to commercialization, etc.—agreeing with what I think you are thinking. 😉 But it’s a topic I’d love to return to. My brain spends a lot of time on this particular hamster-wheel.
On October 30, 2013 at 8:23 pm
Melissa Wiley says:
(Also: a thing about the internet and poetry. Blogging and social media get you hooked on immediate feedback. Now I sit here thinking, hmm, send out a poem to a journal, wait months, hear back, try somewhere else…it’s all so slow, and maybe years before anyone reads it. Even when they get accepted, it’s months or even years before they see print. I’m sure that’s why I’m pining for my old MFA workshop, where at least you had eight or ten readers before sending your work off into the void. The temptation to just post here is immense. So far, I’m resisting…)
On October 30, 2013 at 8:37 pm
Having just taken an (accidental) two month break from blogging, I cannot point fingers. However, I was delighted to open up feedly and see a nice long new post from you this morning. I always end up off on rabbit trails following your links and suggested readings. Coursera looks interesting. Love the idea of the class with 15 minute segments – that’s right about my speed with baby twins these days, and a nice way to keep the brain from ossifying in the midst of all these diapers and 20 word board books.
On October 31, 2013 at 2:41 am
is it something in the air?! I too have hardly posted at all this whole month in fact. I’ve had lots to say, and we’ve been very busy, but for some reason I’ve felt very uninclined to post it.
On October 31, 2013 at 3:20 am
Glad you posted this. I don’t see the point anymore except to document our lives and that should be enough, but it’s not an accurate picture because so much has to be cleaned up for public consumption! All the same, I miss it. For me, Google Reader closing really messed with the way I read and write.
If I may say so, blogging suits you better than FB, IMO. Not sure why. You seem more comfortable, more yourself here.
On October 31, 2013 at 5:04 am
one more ModPo note…i highly recommend the live webcasts! it’s so fun to watch and read on the forums and twitter in real time.
On October 31, 2013 at 5:20 am
Interesting your thoughts re: commenting. I think I have a tendancy to feel (on my blog) that if people who used to leave comments no longer do, it’s because they are no longer reading. I mean, it’s not like an in-person bookclub where peson X always attends but rarely speaks. I mean, you know she’s there, right? You can see her. So for bloggers, it is a simple courtesy, I feel, to say hi, I’m here? You know?
I don’t do FB at all, or anything else remotely social media-ish aside from my blog. So I really and truly appreciate all posts written by my blogger-friends! 🙂 i do comment regularly **where I can** But blogger in particular is a problem because the comment box causes the ipad to hang up and stop typing. I like blogging on blogger, but commenting is a bear!! (Unless the comments reside on their own page).
I appreciate platforms like yours where it’s so easy. (And the writing’s not bad, either :-p )
On October 31, 2013 at 5:21 am
Hello. I’m here. Oh, Melissa, you have so many good and interesting thoughts. I could spend all my internet time commenting on your blog posts and never get anything posted on my own blog. You’re not coming to KidLitCon this year, are you? I wish, wish you were so that we could meet in person.
And the sad thing is that I’ll probably never get back to this post to see what your answer was to my comment. Facebook sends me the comments, which is one advantage.
On October 31, 2013 at 6:10 am
Melissa Wiley says:
Jenn, that’s interesting about my seeming more comfortable here than FB. I don’t think I’d have characterized it like that, but I can see what you mean—over there it’s hard sometimes to know how to behave. 😉 Professional and extra-courteous, knowing my editors’ eyes may be on me, and many “friends” there are friendly acquaintances or fans who don’t actually know me very well? Or informal and familiar, trading affectionate barbs with friends who’ve known me since grade school? When you get all those relationships muddled up in one thread, it’s so complicated! Over here, I’m in my own house. Shoes off, hair down. Except…now I’m about to contradict myself, because one thing I’ve found about blogging (especially after I revamped the blog to fit within my author website) is that I often feel a quiet self-imposed pressure to really polish what I write here, not just toss off half-formed thoughts (as I did in this post, for example—decidedly UNpolished—and yet it’s the one we’re discussing, so there you go). On Facebook, I can post a link and a thought and not have to neaten it up for posterity.
But then—oh my goodness, the internal contradictions just won’t quit—links are a different kettle of fish, aren’t they? I’ve found that when I poke back through my archives here, I don’t like the linky posts cluttering up our family chronicle. That’s another one of my looping mental conversations: maybe I should have a separate link-blog? Oh wait, that’s what Tumblr is, I HAVE a Tumblr I barely use…nah, I’ll just stick this on Facebook. (And then it’s always that one argumentative friend you forgot was reading who jumps all over the link, and a debate erupts, and now your editor and your college professor and your daughter and your best friend from third grade and a college student who loved your books when she was ten are all reading the same conversation, and oh the muddling of boundaries!
So, ok, I have issues with link-sharing. 😉 AND YET SUCH A COMPULSION TO DO IT.
I guess when I said I feel less pressure to polish the writing of Facebook posts, I mean for short kid quips and loose thoughts that seem to take on so much more WEIGHT on the blog. Like, a funny kid quote—does it need context? Does it need to be a story? Also, if I put it on the blog most of my family won’t see it…and then I get into another part of the discussion, which is: the difference between taking a story to where people are (e.g. Facebook) vs. writing on a platform where they have to come to me.
Anyway, the advice I’m always giving other people is to keep hold of their writing: don’t give everything away to Facebook or other stream-based platforms that could disappear on you someday (hello MySpace! and after watching Google destroy Reader and other products I’ve loved and used regularly, why would I ever, ever entrust all my memories to something like G+?). In the end, that’s why I write here. To share my words, and keep them too.
On October 31, 2013 at 8:12 am
Melissa Wiley says:
Sherry, alas no, I can’t make it to Kidlitcon. I’m traveling in another direction that weekend. Hate to miss it!
And I SO HEAR YOU on the comments thing. Facebook pings you when someone has replied to you: that’s huge. You can subscribe to my comment feed here (link at the top of the combox on each post—that’s the post-specific comments; what happened to my overall comments feed, I wonder?) so replies appear in your feed reader, but I know that’s not as convenient as FB. And subscribing to everybody’s comment feeds could get unwieldy, fast. Blogger has (or used to have?) that option to sign up for email notifications to specific posts; I always appreciate that. I think Melanie at Wine-Dark Sea has that too. There’s probably a WordPress plug-in for it; I should poke around.
On October 31, 2013 at 8:17 am
Melissa Wiley says:
Ellie, your last sentence made me smile. 🙂 And you’re right, of course: leaving a note is the only way to let a friend know you’re still reading her faithfully. I keep resolving (and failing) to chime in more often on my really really regulars—especially including you. Yours is one the few blogs I’ll click through from Feedly to finish reading, every day! Sarah’s “nodding quietly” button (which I loved, btw, Sarah, and Lesley Austin’s little heart button on Wisteria & Sunshine) was so useful in that regard. Wonder if there’s a WP plugin for that too?
On October 31, 2013 at 8:25 am
Glad all is well – I was thinking of you yesterday at the library (natch). Prarie Thief is on the shelf, looking very happy and often read. Keep up the good (work, times, craftyness, whatever)!
On October 31, 2013 at 8:35 am
Lissa, I understand. I do feel a little wistful sometimes? I really miss people who are only in the shadows, or gone completely. Especially there are a few bloggers who went away completely, who never comment at any of the old haunts anymore and you have to wonder, did something tragic happen? Where did they go? Blogging is a wonderful thing, in and of itself, but there are a number of sad little aspects to it, I have found.
I think i would find it odd to have a little ‘like’ button — because I am odd — no, because then I’d wonder “who” and why not say “hi, liked this, have a good day, gotta run” or whatever …. To me, personally, because I do hear you on the effort of clicking through and typing and navigating captcha horrors etc, to me it seems that if you can click on a button you can click on the comment form …. Ok, i’m sounding picky and exacting, I’m not meaning to!! Ach. Just trying to converse. So: i agree, it can be hard to leave a comment. Hard mentally, I mean. Just as hard as going up to someone in a crowd in person and striking up a conversation. It’s a commitment. Reading a blog can be very private, secret even. Casual. Commenting means acknowledging that you were there and are open to the author replying and so on. And some days that can just seem like too much talking!
On October 31, 2013 at 10:31 am
Melissa Wiley says:
You’re not sounding picky at all. I’m glad for the discussion, really. It’s so easy to file blog comments under Inconsequentials (we all have so much more pressing stuff on our plates)…but they aren’t, are they? For the reasons we’re articulating. Sarah @ Knitting the Wind/Gnossienne has written beautifully on this topic as well. And there was a great discussion at Finding Wonderland about blog slumps and related topics a few weeks ago. I chimed in, for once. 😉 I’ll find the link when I have a lull (hahahaha a lull on Halloween, who am I kidding?.
On October 31, 2013 at 10:36 am
You know, I think that part of it for me is down to the fact that i never have had a huge popular blog, not way back when it was Woman of the Tiger Moon, certainly not now! 50 page views on a busy day. And right from the beginning, back on that first blog and continuing to this day, i’ve had core groups of readers who become friends, who chat and chime in, who reach out. It’s always been very personal, blogging, never a big ‘distant’ platform …. Last year sometime a blogger who clearly has a very well-read blog linked to me and oh.my.words.of.shock&amazement I was getting 5,000 hits per day. It was crazy and a little scary, to be honest.
So for me, when I talk about comments and conversations, in my head i’m seeing a pretty small number of people: personal conversations, friendship forming engagements. And so, blog commenting becomes (or remains), in my mind, something as important as seeing people in person and making sure to say hi, acknowledge their presence. If i’m making sense …
On October 31, 2013 at 10:46 am
Oops. Accidentally hit reply. So what I mean is, if one has 5,000 readers on any given day, well yeah, no. No you don’t expect them all to say hi!! No. Ha! 🙂
On October 31, 2013 at 10:47 am
Melissa Wiley says:
Hmm, good point, scale is a factor. In a stretch where I’m actively blogging, I might have several hundred unique visitors a day, and if I ever had 400 comments on a post I think I might faint. 😉 Scale works the other way around as well: how often you can comment is linked to how many blogs you read. I’m a slow writer (especially of comments, which I tend to overthink); if I tried to comment on even half the blogs I read daily or weekly, I’d be spending hours in the combox, which I just can’t do.
So when I don’t hear from people for a while, I assume the reasons are similar. Chiming in requires a time investment many can’t afford. But—bringing this back around to Facebook—it presents a question: people DO comment on Facebook, easily, quickly (the interface is brilliant for that), frequently, with lots of back and forth. And I’m interested in WHY this is so. Why the easy conversation on FB, but not on our blogs? Charlotte’s point is one of the main reasons, I think: every time you pop into FB you get a notice of what conversations are continuing. I turned notifications off for my phone, but there’s that option too. A continual reminder of what you’ve chimed in on, and who has chimed back.
And the easy UI has to be a big part of it. Real time refreshing, etc. Blogs require a few extra clicks.
And then perhaps the casualness, the sense that because it’s fleeting, it isn’t as weighted?
On October 31, 2013 at 11:14 am
Well, right. A blog is much more personal, and stand alone, and private in a way that FB can’t hope to be. There’s a more weighted, yes, commitment to conversing on a blog. FB is more like a forum, no? It,s designed for easy access to multiple conversations flowing in and over and around eachother. FB **wants** it to be easy, wants people to stay and chat, wants users to know who said what, and when and where. And it goes away fairly quickly, right? I mean all of the conversations and comments don’t sit there on a main page forever. On a blog, the comments are right there with their post. Forever. You don’t have to dig to find them. It’s very easy to scroll the archives and read old posts *and* comments. But on FB, i am guessing, the sheer volume of it all means it’s just not as casually accessible after a few hours or days or months, never-mind last year. So maybe commenting there seems more like talking in a coffee shop: who’s going to find your words months after you say them? They’d have to be really dedicated to seeking them out. It’s way easier on a blog to go back in time. All of which maybe makes it easier to say the words to begin with.
But on blogs, no i agree, there’s only so many comments one can leave per day or week. I fret over my words, too, when leaving comments. Probably many of us do! And then if there are technical difficulties, well forget it. And captcha **shudder**
(And yes, those 5,000 hits were seriously anxiety-producing, lordy).
PS do hope i’m making sense. We’re yet recovering from flu, ergh.
On October 31, 2013 at 11:30 am
Oh such a feast of comments! I am going to savour them all, but first I must tell you before I forget – would you consider self-publishing a volume of poetry? Or even one or two poems at a time? I’d pay a dollar to read a poem by you. Infact, I’d be more likely to do that on my tight budget than go out and buy a journal just to read your poem.
When (note the optimism) I finish my novel, I’ll probably attempt traditional publishing for a while, but I absolutely feel self-publishing poetry and short stories is the way to go (unless you’re Mary Oliver). It was easy, profitable, and quick. And the possibilities for self-expression and creativity around packaging and extras are tremendous. I love having been able to add my photos to my ebooks. I’ve long said it should be possible to add music to an ebook, and now it is. And there are more extras too.
On October 31, 2013 at 11:46 am
On the issue of commenting – after thinking about it so much, and watching my own behaviour, I’ve come to some personal conclusions about all the reasons people might not comment. Sometimes even if you’re sitting there with both hands free, no children in the room, and enough time to write, you just don’t have the emotional energy or wherewithal to do it. Also, when trying to be quick, I sometimes find myself writing quick comments which actually sound like spam – “great post, you really made me think about this subject” – and feel silence is probably wiser! That’s why I love the FB “like” button and anything similar on web posts. It’s supportive without sounding dorky.
Another reason to not comment is shyness, especially if you feel like a peeping tom reading a personal blog, or like a nobody reading the blog of a shiny-haired, sparkly-eyed supermama blogger. Or perhaps you have emotional business in your relationship with the blogger which is hard to navigate in the public written arena.
Then there’s the anxiety around typing something idiotic or too personal when you’re in a hurry and not being able to delete it and worrying for days about it, especially if you linked yourself to your blog, which is way too much stress to have simply over a quick blog comment. And the ongoing awareness that everything you write will be read by dozens if not hundreds of strangers. For me, that means wanting to take time to compose my comment at least a little carefully. And that takes emotional energy I might not have. (Although I admit I’m overthinking commenting to a degree most people wouldn’t.)
But mainly I think people are changing the way they relate to the internet and blogs. I think it has become like a newspaper or magazine. They read, get what they want – be it information or inspiration – and then they move on to the next article. The commercialisation of mega-blogs has encouraged this, I believe. And the struggle many mum bloggers feel to Offer Something To Their Audiences. Many people are coming to see blogging as a service we provide rather than a way to connect with kindred spirits. Comments seem to happen the most on those blogs where being part of the atmosphere, the club, is an element of the blog’s appeal.
I’m so sorry for such a long comment. And I’ve used up more than half my reading time this morning writing it!
On October 31, 2013 at 12:20 pm
Melissa Wiley says:
>>Many people are coming to see blogging as a service we provide rather than a way to connect with kindred spirits.
I think you’ve really hit on something here. The commercialization of blogs shifted the tone. And I’m not knocking the commercialization; I’m pretty much always happy to see people finding a way to earn income for their writing, and I laugh at myself sometimes for being so resistant to sidebar ads, which might at least help this site pay for itself. But nope. I tried that in the early years (when it seemed so natural and logical), and I hated it: hated feeling obligated to generate traffic to get sponsors their money’s worth, hated the idea of my family stories being the product—and of my readers, with whom I was developing relationships, being a commodity. It means a very, very different kind of blogging, and it may be rewarding for some but it wasn’t my cup of tea. What I like are the relationships, the conversations, and the chronicle.
That’s very sweet of you about the poems! 🙂 🙂 🙂 It probably won’t surprise you to hear that Scott has been singing the same song. 🙂 He’d like to see me self-publish a small collection, even if it’s only my MFA thesis. (Only one of those poems was published, and that one I’ve posted here before…I was never very good about keeping my work circulating among the journals. The long, long time lags, and the proscriptions against simultaneous submissions, always wore me down in the end.) As for my new work, I just don’t know…there’s enough old-school in me to want to see them in the journals. But I think on a practical level you are right: I’d likely find more readers (which is what one yearns most for, in the end) and earnings from a self-published book. These days I think the journals are mostly only read by the poets themselves. 😉
I agree with you about the exciting possibilities for self-published ebooks! A whole new world is opening up. It’s been fun to watch Scott test those waters…
On October 31, 2013 at 1:20 pm
I agree about commercialisation being a good way for writers and stay-at-home mums to earn money, I probably would have done it if I’d been of that temperament. But it has changed the landscape of blogging for sure.
I’m old-school enough to hanker after traditional publishing too, even though I know self-publishing is better for me – and even though I’ve done it successfully. I was raised to view publishers as gods and its hard to get that out of my head! (Deleted alot of rambling here about craft, authorship, perceptions of the past, social media, etc etc.) Certainly attitudes towards the craft have changed completely now, mostly for the best, but clearing out the old paradigm is tricky for me and some other oldtimers I know.
On October 31, 2013 at 1:43 pm
I love, love when you blog. When I am on a reading lull, I like coming to your blog and reading about books, when I think about technology and its place in our lives, I think- oh I wish I could talk to Melissa- she probably knows. I hope you never stop blogging, especially about books!
That said, I also enjoy your FB post and the links you share.
Regarding the Humankind class- I am loving it ! I can see how is controversial, but boy is he a great lecturer! accent and all! Did you erase your conversation in FB about gossip? I just listen to that lecture today and wanted to go back and see what you had said about it but couldn’t find it ;-(
On November 2, 2013 at 2:53 pm
Melissa Wiley says:
Natalia, here’s the direct link to that thread: https://www.facebook.com/melissawiley/posts/10151687890861596
I’ve slowed down on the lectures (busy weekend, but in part because his evo-psych stance turned me off…those theories are viewed with great skepticism by evolutionary biologists and anthropologists).
On November 4, 2013 at 7:34 am
After reading this and mulling and mulling, I’ve decided to slow down. I treasure the comments people leave for me after reading something I’ve taken the time to write, and it (usually) doesn’t take long to say at least, I read this, thank you, you made me think. So, even if it means I don’t get to read as many articles or posts, I’m going to slow down and respond because there’s a real person back there who’s waiting to hear what I think. It bothers me when I find myself flipping from one blog to another, doing nothing but consuming what other people have written “for me” today. I realize this is still all relatively new and there’s no time-honored etiquette yet, but that only means we get to set our own rules for kindness and responsibility toward others. I think I’m going to take it as my responsibility to respond if I can, to slow down, to say thank you. The quantity of what’s available (goods/books/food/blogs/friends/anything) sometimes tempts us to treat individuals cheaply. Unless we say no.
So, thank you for this. It’s made me think. There are other things I won’t get to read today because I took time to post this comment, but you took the time to write, and I appreciate the thought-seeds, so I’m more than glad to make the exchange.
On November 12, 2013 at 8:27 am
Lesley Austin says:
Beautiful conclusions you’ve reached, Erin…thank you for them. And to Lissa for starting this in the first place.
It’s a funny thing how blog posts about blog posts are sometimes the most compelling. : )
I’m just grateful to have been given this opportunity to think about where I am with it all and everyone else’s take on it has helped me get to my own more easily…
On November 12, 2013 at 11:06 am
‘They read, get what they want – be it information or inspiration – and then they move on to the next article. The commercialisation of mega-blogs has encouraged this, I believe. And the struggle many mum bloggers feel to Offer Something To Their Audiences.’ I agree, this observation from Sarah really nails it. I get so bummed whenever a favorite blogger ‘goes pro’, with the ads and the giveaways and whatnot. Actually, it’s funny using the word ‘pro’ here, because you are a professional writer, but you know what I mean – ‘pro blogger’. I so enjoy the calm and peace with blogs like yours and Jenn’s and others where you are offering ‘just’ the gift of sharing yourselves – your family, your wisdom, your experiences, your humor, your love of life and learning and books and beauty and so many things that I love. It just seems so much more real somehow. I like what Erin said too – slowing down, ‘consuming’ less and interacting with the writer is a lovely thing. I’m always startled when I get an email from a reader saying ‘I’ve read your blog for years..,’ but I’ve never heard from them before.
On November 12, 2013 at 3:39 pm
And yet, I’m not sure I mind so much being advertised to if it means that a writer I enjoy reading in blog format can afford to keep the lights on. It’s lovely to imagine a writer’s economy where we pay for others’ stories with our stories, but money, like it or not, legitimizes what we do to ourselves and others. In order for writing to be a respected occupation, we have to be willing to pay each other to do it. As long as we expect to get it for free from people who write because they’re suckers who can’t help it, it’ll always be something that we tell our children to keep as a hobby and not to consider trying to make a living doing.
Maybe when I see ads from now on I’ll think of the board games and puzzles the blogger can afford to buy for her children because I enjoyed her stories for free. I like that much more than resenting her for making a buck off of me. Continuing to think about all this, thanks again…
On November 12, 2013 at 6:53 pm