Writers, Are You Getting Crickets or Comments?

By: Marilyn L. Davis

“Publishing your writing is a bewildering mix of emotions somewhere between parental angst and walking down a public beach wearing only a thong. [scrub all you want that mental picture isn’t going anywhere] You feel all the pride and joy as well as the fear and trepidation that come with putting your child out into the world. At the same time, you’ve exposed a part of yourself that is normally private, and while you hope people will appreciate it, there is a very real possibility of a backlash.

You’ve prepared yourself for either eventuality, but a ‘no comment’ feels like crickets chirping in your soul.”  ― Aaron Blaylock

cricket-laying-down-brown

 

Crickets and the No Comment Dilemma

Every writer wants an audience; faithful readers who Tweet, pin, share and, in general, let the writer know that they are on the right track with their words.

Although we write in solitude, we appreciate a connection to our readers, the community that supports our efforts.

I’ve got several communities in my life that add meaning – my recovering community and my friends.  They sustain me in times of need and support me when I want to give up.  They also encourage me to take risks, keep writing, and get better. This may sound greedy, but I want another community – people who comment.

It’s not an exclusive club, there are no dues or fees, I won’t share your private information with others, and you will have done a kind thing when you comment, and every act of kindness is rewarded.

So, how could I reward you for a comment?  I’ve been known to quote comments and share your links in my articles, so bribery is an option.

Building a Community

We are working steadily,  but carefully, to broaden the scope of the site. Not because we are all patient people, but because we are attempting to give readers a literary blog devoted to literature in a more inclusive sense.

We publish short stories, poetry, and essays along with literary criticism, book reviews, and biographical profiles of authors, interviews and letters. We encourage submissions, and then we support and actively promote our contributors. We strive to bring thoughtful and unique conversations to our readers about grammar, writing, prose styles, poetry, literary genres, writing advice, and the publication industry. We also intend to post current news and information about the publishing industry and literary agents, as well.

But is it enough that we know where we want to go, without asking you if you’d like to tag along? 

We know from our numbers that many of you are reading us. That’s great, but I’d like to extend an invitation to comment. Although I don’t want to put too many restrictions on inclusion, there are six general categories of comments and from a writer’s perspective, they are helpful, annoying, or just questionable.

Six Types of Cricket Camps and Counting

#1. Spam Commentsdumbfounded-cricket

These do not come as frequently as they used to. However, they are the ones that promote enhancement, cheap knock-offs, or lucrative offshore investments in snake oil.

Invariably, they take me to a dead-end. They offer nothing because they have nothing of value to add. I just delete and figure they do not check back to see my response or non-response.

#2. Generic Comments

The continued “Good/Interesting/Nice article” response is difficult for me, as I do not have the slightest clue what made it good, interesting or nice for that individual.

I may be asking too much and do not want these comments to stop, just tell me why in 3-5 words which aspect of the post you liked.

While I appreciate that a person took the time to comment, as a writer, I would like to know just a little about why it was good, interesting, or nice. I am left confused, after all, the good, interesting, and nice might be a reference to the images and have nothing to do with the writing.

#3. The Ones Who Did Not Read the Post Commentscricket-2

I wonder about some comments; what was read, because I can’t reference the comment with anything in my post.  On occasion, I’ll quote from the post to add clarification in my response when someone has incorrectly assumed something about my post, based on a title or one sentence.

Sure, we give our readers the highlights – bold/italic sentences within the article or sub-headings, and they can get the gist of the article from just scanning them. At least some of those comments referencing a reader’s opinion on a sub-heading seems relevant. The non-readers however, leave a comment without a clue. It’s like they landed on the page, or came to it, only to be looking elsewhere.

Should I be glad for the non-readers who still take the time to comment? I am not sure if glad is the right emotion for me. I just shake my head and wonder as I visualize someone scrolling through an article without reading it only to leave a comment.

#4. The Interested and Informed Comments

These readers leave comments referencing the article and comment on:

  • How it appealed to them
  • How it was valuable for them
  • What specific information they think is helpful
  • What emotional response the article generated for them

These comments give me an idea of the relevance of my articles.

Sometimes, I am uncertain which keywords or labels to use for my articles to attract the right reader.  If I’ve been writing about the craft of writing, is that article a tip, a guide, or just my personal experience? Sometimes, I wonder if the information gives a new perspective or is mine simply mimicking one from another writer. Like minds and all.

The interested and informed comments add to the article and help me define the motive for the post.

I value those. I get a sense of what else a reader might like to have me write about, expanding on the original idea from these types of comments.

#cricket-big 5. The “I’m Bigger, Badder and Better than You” Comments

Every online writer, including myself are visited by the end-all, be-all, bigger than life, know-it-all writer of the millennium. The first time I got a poem denigrating my article it bruised my ego. Conflicted about just deleting it, I thought I was rather thin-skinned.

In my experience, deleting these unnecessary, unflattering, unavoidable diatribes just fuels and entices the individual to come back and once again, tell me how much more accomplished they are, and I probably only deleted the original comment out of jealousy.

When I got into recovery, I vowed not to create nor participate in drama, and this qualifies, so I often just continue deleting until the person gets bored and finds another victim.

# 6. Critical Comments

“An acquaintance merely enjoys your company, a fair-weather companion flatters when all is well, a true friend has your best interests at heart and the pluck to tell you what you need to hear.” ― E.A. Bucchianeri, Brushstrokes of a Gadfly

I can take the heat.

Constructive criticism is helpful if alternatives are suggested.

If I have written something poorly, not done a good job of formatting, misquoted, or wrote something that you disagree with, tell me why.hiding-crickete

Oh, I may hide for a day or two, licking my wounds, but I’ll take your words to heart and make an effort to improve – promise.

Challenge: Will You Comment?

There are some writers, like myself, that respond to every comment. I think it is rude not to respond. I do this because I appreciate the time, energy, and effort that readers took to comment. I also like some of the online relationships that commenting and responding create.

  1. I would like to know as both a writer and reader, what prompts you to leave a comment?
  2. How can Two Drops of Ink improve?
  3. What types of articles would you like to see at Two Drops of Ink?

Know that your comments help us improve the site, but more importantly, they help us improve as a writer. Thank you.

And if you’re up for comments, submit a post. I promise to comment.

 

Two Drops of Ink: The Literary Home for Collaborative Writing

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29 comments

  1. Like right now, I’m not seeing my comment, or even a message about its being moderated. That says to me “Your comment is not welcome at this site. *You* are not welcome at this site.” So that, all by itself, means I’ll try to remember *not* to come back, read, or comment.

    Like

    • When you posted three comments, yesterday, Priscilla, Word Press decided that you were spam. Not me. I appreciate you taking the time to comment and to discuss your dislike of certain features of Word Press. This may just be another you can add – multiple comments get judged as spam.

      Like

  2. But WordPress…I find this to be generally true for all WordPress blogs…does not play well with others. The whole “Gravatar” idea seems to mess up WordPress blogs that I read. WordPress has assigned me multiple “Gravatars” and can’t seem to keep them straight, so I get annoying “log in” or “does not recognize” or similar garbage, or (more recently) my comments just don’t show up. And no matter how nice other users may be, ever since I opened a WordPress-hosted Blogjob blog, *all* WordPress sites have tended to behave badly toward me. It’s been quite off-putting, no matter how long I’ve been following and enjoying a blog.

    Blogspot/Blogger and Live Journal seem to get along ever so much better than WordPress.

    Plus, WordPress tempts people to clutter up sites with pull-down and pull-up and pop-up and huge screen-hogging pictures and ads-inside-the-text-box and similar garbage, which makes their blogs really annoying and difficult to read. (Blogjob did that to my posts too. They looked so obnoxious my own mother wouldn’t read them, and I couldn’t do anything about it.)

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    • Hi, Michelle. Thanks for letting me know I’m not alone. I think if we’re all honest, we’ll write something and just love it ourselves. It might be a paragraph, or the title, and we just know the readers will be so touched, moved, enlightened, or entertained that they will write volumes in the comment section. We check back on stats and sit with a perplexed expression when there are no comments, likes, shares or retweets. , It might be that we have greater expectations on those. Scott and I laugh about “dooming a post” if we say we enjoyed writing it. Because enjoying writing it doesn’t always translate into comments about it. (that’s about as honest as I can get).

      So, I don’t write for the comments, but I certainly do value them.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Jumping Jiminy Cricket! 🙂 I promise to be honest when I comment. I think it’s truth time from me to all of you at two drops of ink. Marilyn, I feel the same as you when it comes to commenting. I respect those who make an effort to communicate to me, in turn I will put forth energy because I think it’s the right thing to do. I remember the first time I read an article of yours on Jeff Goins intentional blog. It resonnated with me so deeply I had to read almost everything you wrote. It inspired me to write, something I’ve missed doing since my elementary school days. Why? Life got in the way. I denied my self. Following you led me to Scott and Lydia’ s work which also inspires me. What they have to say hits me deep to. I get what they say. I have never really valued anything I wrote. Reading two drops content gave me the courage to give it a shot. For that I’m am thankful. All of you make it feel safe to express myself. I do have fears of people putting me down for what I will share. I confess I have been watching and learning behind the veil of my computer screen. However, all of you have been so open and honest with your hearts made me feel welcome to participate. I guess I’m dipping my toe in. For two months now I’ve been waking at 2:45 AM dedicating 1 hour every morning to write because of my work schedule and to not lose quality time with my wife in the evenings. I feel great doing this. I feel like I’m healing my soul. It’s all because of you people. I know I never met any of you in person, but I know there is a reason I ended up here. I have a lot to learn and I know my punctuation and sentence structure sucks, but hey I have to start some where. Thank you for responding to me and making me feel welcome.

    Like

    • Hi, John. Jumping Jiminy Cricket is right. What a wonderful comment. Scott Biddulph often writes about our reasons for writing. One of his, and mine, is to touch others. You wrote about not knowing us, yet, haven’t we over the course of the last couple of months or so gotten to know a little about each other? I know you gave up your writing and didn’t find value in it, and now you do.

      I admire your dedication to get up so early and write. You’ve commented elsewhere on Scott’s, Lydia’s or my works helping you heal your soul. I know that your writing will only add to that process, so stay with it and us.
      When you’re ready, I know you’ll submit and I’ll feel a measure of pride that I might have played a small part in your getting back to something that enriches your life.

      I think you make an excellent point in that if we don’t feel safe to publish our work, it will probably just languish in a notebook somewhere. That’s sad to me. I said it on another comment, but I think it has relevance for you as well. How something is said is just as important as what is said, and your voice, tone and style will in turn touch others.

      And in the end, isn’t that a wonderful thing? Jumping Jiminy Cricket, it sure is.

      Like

      • Thank you! There is something about two drops gravitational pull on me that speaks to me. I don’t get much of that from any other site. You guys feel genuine not artificial. As far as my comment about not knowing each other. You are correct, we have made a connection online. This in it self is new to me. I meant physically not met but perhaps in my travels may. Since I got back into writing it’s been like vomiting words not stop. I started off writing only one thing which to my amazement will be more than one story. It will be many. Thank you for a chance. John. Sent from my iPhone

        >

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        • John, Keep on writing! That is how we get better. And thanks for the helpful comments. I am glad that some of what we publish here has inspired you. I would also add that what you have published here has inspired us as well. Funny how that is a two way street! 🙂

          Like

      • Oh gee! I didn’t know replying to my email notification put this on the website. Oh my the spelling! Darn auto correct.

        “Two Drops of Ink: A Literary Blog” wrote: > a:hover { color: red; } a { text-decoration: none; color: #0088cc; } a.primaryactionlink:link, a.primaryactionlink:visited { background-color: #2585B2; color: #fff; } a.primaryactionlink:hover, a.primaryactionlink:active { background-color: #11729E !important; color: #fff !important; } /* @media only screen and (max-device-width: 480px) { .post { min-width: 700px !important; } } */ WordPress.com Marilyn L. Davis commented: “Hi, John. Jumping Jiminy Cricket is right. What a wonderful comment. Scott Biddulph often writes about our reasons for writing. One of his, and mine, is to touch others. You wrote about not knowing us, yet, haven’t we over the course of the last couple of”

        Like

  4. I enjoyed reading your article. I am totally new at all this blogging, reading them and writing them. I enjoy anything I can find that makes me think and helps me be a better writer. So often I read something and never comment. I think I feel like everyone knows so much more than I do that I don’t want to sound dumb. Obviously I need to be part of a community where I feel valued. Thank you for making it possible.

    Like

    • Welcome to the Two Drops of Ink family. Let me assure you that when I started to blog I felt the exact way you just described. You are very articulate. If you use our search widget, you can find lots of posts concerning writing and blogging advice in every category. I know we can help you. If you don’t see a post that answers a particular question, go ahead and email me (Scott Biddulph, Editor-in-Chief), and I will be glad to help you. Our mission is to help writers write better and to provide readers with compelling content. We’re so happy you found us–we are family. Happy writing!

      Like

    • Hi, Mjrodriguez. Thank you for the comment. Although you say you are new to blogging, I know you’ve written a children’s book, so I am sure we could all learn something from you as well. That’s what makes writing here at Two Drops of Ink such a pleasure. We get to learn from each other, encourage one another and improve our writing. Like Scott said, we are family and hope to grow a thriving community of writers who value each other. So, in the spirit of supporting one another, here’s a link to your site, https://mjwriter.com/

      Like

        • Hi, mjrodriguez. Again, I’d encourage any other writer to do just that – write. Having said that, I’d still like you to visit us, grow with us, and while you’re writing, consider a guest blog for Two Drops of Ink. You can gain additional exposure and the community in turn is further educated. I firmly believe that it’s just as important how something is said as what is said, so how you write will be somewhat different than me, even for the same topics. Hope you submit soon.

          Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, I obviously missed this. I would hope that you know you’re welcome here. We sincerely want to build a sharing and caring community of writers and readers. New or old at blogging, we all need to interact and feel a part of something. Again, thank you for commenting. I appreciate that.

      Like

  5. Well…the first three types of comments you described sound like spam-bots to me. Rest assured, they did not read your post, nor have they even read their own comments. They’re bots – software that puts random words together, or sales pitches, deposits them on your blog, and then leave for the thousands of other blogs it will visit that day.

    Want makes me comment? A lot of stuff. Usually, when I comment on a post, it is because I have some sort of relationship (or think I do) with the blog post author. I feel like we are in a conversation so I respond.

    This is the first time I have visited Two Drops of Ink, so I don’t think I can answer your last two questions. Good luck!

    Like

    • Good evening, N. E. White; I appreciate you taking the time to define the various types of comments. We get some spam filtered out, but unfortunately, some gets through. Your comment on the other hand is legitimate. She smiles.

      I hope you come back, find articles of interest and can help us improve.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Good morning, Lauren; it is difficult finding a community where you feel part of the process. I think it’s rather like new shoes. We try on several, walk around a bit, and then decide if they are a good fit. All of the writers here at Two Drops made a commitment to interact with our readers. Why? Because without this interaction, and listening to the feedback and comments, we wouldn’t know if what we are writing is helpful, entertaining, or even makes sense. So, I appreciate you taking the time to write a comment and subscribe. I hope you find information that helps your content writing, and look forward to hearing from you again.

    Like

  7. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this! It really resonated with me because I am currently experiencing the same thing. I would love to have a community where I feel valued and my words are moving people from observing to interacting. For whatever reason I haven’t found it yet online (it’s been a struggle). The process feels daunting lonely and frustrating at times. I didn’t mean to go on a rant, but this is exactly what I needed to read just at this moment. Thanks!

    Like

    • Lauren, If you are looking for a community that values writers and their writing this is it!! Hang around and see. It is quite intimidating to find your niche…don’t give up! You will find your way…we are here to help!

      Like

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