By: Marilyn L. Davis
Crickets and the No Comments Dilemma
“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 usually 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
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 aconnection 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. But, and this may sound greedy, 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 people should reward acts of kindness.
Comments Build 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.
Two Drops of Ink publishes 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.
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.
Six Types of Cricket Camps and Counting
Comments generally fall into six categories from a writer’s perspective; they are helpful, annoying, or just thoroughly confusing.
#1. Spam Comments
These do not come as frequently as they used to, due in part to apps that filter them out. However, this feedback often promotes enhancement, cheap knock-offs, or lucrative offshore investments in snake oil. They used to come in droves, but all took me to a dead-end, offering 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 complicated 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. After all, I am left confused; 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 did the reader get out of the post because I can’t reference what they learned from the comment.
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 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 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 was helpful
- What emotional response did they have to the post
These comments give me an idea of the relevance of my articles.
Sometimes, I am uncertain which keywords or labels to use for my articlesto 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.
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, is 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 somewhat 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. I probably only deleted the original comment out of jealousy.
When I got into recovery, I vowed not to create nor participate in drama. These comments qualify, so I often 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.
If I have written something poorly, not done an excellent job of formatting, misquoted, or wrote something 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, so I comment back because I appreciate the time, energy, and effort that readers took to comment. These exchanges are also how we build and cement the relationship between writer and reader.
- 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.
Marilyn L. Davis is the Editor-in-Chief at Two Drops of Ink and From Addict 2 Advocate. She is also the author of Finding North: A Journey from Addict to Advocate and Memories into Memoir: The Mindsets and Mechanics Workbook.