“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
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
Scott, Lydia, John, Michelle and I 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 Comments
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 exactly 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 Comments
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.
# 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.
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.
- I would like to know as both a writer and reader, what prompts you to leave a comment?
- How can Two Drops of Ink improve?
- 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