Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Give a little lovin': Conversation Wanted


Call me crazy but I am more interested in interaction than I am in stats. Still, this is the Internet and numbers reflect hits but not communication thus my conumdrum: an attachment to comments.

Sometimes I feel like a coment whore. Lately, I've been cranking out drafts like I'm working the assembly line. Do I want to mirror that: mass produced plastic widgets? I've crossed a line. I will post rough drafts because I want feedback. I crave the immediate connection we can have online. The immediacy often means giving each other a pat on the back. It's nice, doesn't take much effort and it's safe. Not every writer wants a critique or even a question about what she writes. At the core of any comment however is acknowlegement and yeah, I want that.

With blogs, access is greater yet we are uncomfortable or indifferent about the intimacy we could enjoy. This crack is a dichoctomy: greater access, less communication. The extended conversation rarely happens. I have this discussion with myself every time I cross the line. This portal transports us but does it connect us?

Let me plainly say what I want to foster on this blog. I'm a writer and I actually enjoy talking about writing. I like talking process. Critique is a gift not a foul. I enjoy it all: when you simply want to wave hello or high five or if you're like me, that odd duck who likes to ruminate about the many ways there are to paddle and where the best places are to swim. Let's get soaking wet and hang out.

Me, I'm going to be more discriminate about volume and focus more giving a writer more than 40 characters and a smile. Writing is work. It is our passion. I think it deserves more. That's my manifesto. I am a reformed comment whore.

Let's talk- for real.


Want to add your own confession? Drop a link with Mr. Linky. No topic requirements.





Trifecta: crack

Prompt: portal

Weekly meme

40 comments:

  1. Interesting post! I have enjoyed the posts I have read so far on your blog - although I have not commented (much). I also enjoy interactions and feedback. Hope to read more from you in different memes.

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  2. i think you can cultivate it...its not easy...most people are online it seems for the social aspect...or the ego ping...and you can tell too in the brevity of their comment...its more a come see me or i was here...

    there are many that want crit but few that will actually give it...so it still is all about 'me'...i have been in a few smaller crit groups online...some better than others...the ego plays big time and has to be set aside to really give and take it...i have found it works better offline or at least not in the public eye as it makes it a little easier to get over...

    have at it though...conversation def means more than 'oo i love your writing'

    i'll still give you a smile though. smiles.

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    1. Slight detour today. Outpatient procedure became admission so comments will be short and few tonight. Don't fret.I'm fine.

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    2. yikes...going from outpatient to admission doesnt sound great...but all that ends well eh?...glad you are fine

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  3. oooh I like you. I feel very much what you're saying.
    I will try remember this Confession Tuesday for next time (or, possibly, for later).

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  4. Just don't forget to visit your friend Fireblossom! I love thoughtful comments, but could live without the generic ones. There are bloggers who just want their belly rubs, and woe to the commenter who diverges from that, but others really appreciate specific reactions and a sense that the person really read the poem. I'm one of those!

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  5. I agree with you. I'm all about the interaction. It's why I blog... otherwise I would just write and not share the content. I agree with Brian (not surprisingly so) on how most just want to rubber stamp your page, like earning another clip on their passport proving they were there. I get that though, sometimes I just don't know what to say.

    And that 140 character limit on Twitter? I can't handle that! ;)

    Thanks for linking up with S30+

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  6. I do the generic most when I don't know the writer or if I get the impression critique isn't welcome. Like Brian, I've belonged to critique forums. The settings and layouts were intimate nd more conducive to peer analysis. I am glad to hear others want same. I can't always offer an informed opinion but I can share a thoughtful observation.

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  7. And there are times when I wave and keep it moving but want more so it's time give more.

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  8. Oh, I'm a total comment whore, and I accept all kinds of currency!

    As for leaving comments, I tend to run the gamut. Not every poem that I read really appeals to my taste, but I still try to be kind and encouraging. I don't offer critique unless I'm sure (certain, positive, they've sworn on stacks of bibles) that it's welcome (then, I'm still hesitant, because I've had my head handed by me by people who claimed to want critique). I guess it probably comes down to how well I know the person and how comfortable I am with them.

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  9. My blog posts are almost totally drafts. I have to keep my garden of thoughts weeded or I become totally lost in all of my writing. I have one in-person critique group I belong to for works-in-progress, and that's all I can keep up with, so even though I've been tempted to join some online critique groups with random prompts, I never have time to develop them. One day...
    So anyway, yeah, I'm a total social blogger and love the interaction of comments, of meeting other bloggers out there, and I'm nosy enough that I love hearing about their lives! But I so admire all of you who share your work on your blogs and love reading them. So thank you!

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  10. I enjoy comments as well =) It seems the posts that I most look forward to receiving feedback for are the ones least likely to receive comments/feedback! It is just like when you post a question online that you really need an answer to (one that you have scoured the internet for previously in an attempt to find an answer) and no one answers your question (this happens to me constantly). I also understand about crossing the line when I leave comments I sometimes share personal anecdotes trying to get a conversation going and I get the feeling those aren't always appreciated. I personally don't mind personal anecdotes in fact I love them, when someone connects to my work on a deeper level that makes me really happy. I am quite shy and awkward socially in real life and I have found that online socially I am still awkward. I never imagined my social weaknesses would follow me even online when I actually have the chance to think before inserting my foot into my mouth but they have.

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  11. I am slowly developing the art of commenting. Have noticed my comments becoming more conversation since seeing the interactions on dVerse. But sometimes am at a loss for words or simply rushed so I let the person know I was there but have so much more to read so those who have visited me don't feel left out. Tough balance. I agree with Brian. I think the real gritty interaction that begins to bind friendship happens in email or ongoing messages just between the two. I'm all for that. Just let me know. I think we have a beginning ♥ Love how you used the prompt to work in providing a solution to your dilemma.

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    1. Maggie, I agree it is a balancing act. And online relationships like any other takes time to develop. The question is often: do I say hello, high five or pursue more? In a short amount of time, I've made connections I want to deepen and that makes me happy. Getting to know you better has been good. I, too, found at Dverse extended conversations and people who genieunly connect with each other. Real Toads is another space where my connection is more than casual. When I first looked for communities, often felt like the outsider not wanted. The circle had already been formed. The more I interact the more I began to write and rekindle my passion for writing. While the act is solitary, writing has always been at the core a need to connect and my experience has been that I write better in community. I used to feel embarrassed about that. Not now. I'm old and set in my ways. I like who I am.

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  12. I actually have the comments turned off on my blog. I felt myself holding back too much and editing too much to appeal to my audience. Now I feel much freer to write on a whim. I comment on other blogs irregularly myself, only when I'm seriously motivated to do so, when I have something more meaningful to say than "Nice post!" I like serious writing discussions too, but I don't think my blog is that type of place... So I guess I'll be coming back here for that - and perhaps participating in Confession Tuesday, too :)

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    1. Yve, way cool. I've been on your blog and I was bummed that I couldn't say I like what you do. :-)

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    2. Well, thank you :) Also, to your point about interaction and stats: in my case, I was editing the more personal posts - editing by not posting, in fact - because I will get up to 75 pageviews on them but comments only from my three or four closest "blogger friends", which is truly satisfying enough, that's not the issue, but (though I know this is the nature of the internet...) it would irritate me that people are out there kinda just feeding off someone else's despair posts or just pulling some peeping tom shit on someone else's family life (so I've always stayed away from posting pics of my daughter). Though keeping my blog private would defeat the purpose of having a blog to promote myself as a writer, turning off the comments makes me feel more in control :) And I've never explained this on my blog, so maybe I should copy and paste this comment into a blog post of my own :)

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    3. I have blogging/writer friends who find comments distracting or not helpful so they have them turned off. I respect that. In some cases, there is a notice explaining the decision. I don't think writers owe readers an explanation, but it does communicate clearly what the writer's aim is. I hear you on the personal issues. While I will share personal details of my life, my blog is not an online journal. It's writing as craft so if it's personal there has to be tie-in to my writing life. Don't get me started on how I feel about lurking for the sake of looking for a train wreck. :-)

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    4. I could go on and on too :)

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  13. I like giving and receiving comments. I tend not to think on the length of them because I know sometimes there just isn't time to give three paragraphs of remarks. it is enough that the reader took a moment to say *something*.

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  14. I like comments, too! Comments don't drive my post content or frequency, but I do especially enjoy comments that show the person actually read the post. My comment length has everything to do with what kind of connection I made with the piece, or if what I would write parrots other comments. Of course, time is an issue, too. I'm always behind on reading. I keep believing the illusion that I'll catch up, which prevents me from lingering too long.

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    1. Janna, when you figure out how to balance or can manufacture the time, holla at a sister.

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  15. Before reading this, I saw a comment from you on someone else's blog this evening, and I thought, whoa, so brave! You left an honest--but constructively critical comment--and those are as rare as krypton in my experience. I think I've had one unsolicited critical comment since I started posting stories on the web, and that resulted in what was (for me) an extended and highly productive discussion. It was pretty fabulous, actually.

    I tend to be cautious with the feedback I leave for authors in public forums, because, as you say, not every writer wants a critique. In fact, I'd venture to say that a high percentage would be mortally offended to be the recipient of an unsolicited critique, no matter how tactful or constructive. Puzzling, isn't it?

    Lately I've been thinking a lot about the good old days of mailing lists, and of the richness of some of the discussions that would erupt and flourish on a couple of the writing lists I joined. It was exciting and invigorating, and those conversations fed my writing in all kinds of ways. I love that this is what you're hoping to generate with your blog, but it's going to be a challenge to keep the discussions alive. People drop their comments and then flit off into the ether, rarely returning to continue the dialogue. Blogging does have a tendency to be an obnoxiously me-me-me medium.

    This was a terrific post, and I love your manifesto!

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    1. Kallan Annie, you remember writing lists?! They were haven and think tank for me as well. I think the idea of blogs, which for me essentially is an island is conducive to long conversations. Still, I'm putting out the welcome mat in this format. I am surprised and happy so many have responded. Thank you.

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    2. I know, writing lists feel like forever ago now, but really it's only been a decade or so. That kind of is forever in the online world, though, isn't it? It is heartening to see how many people have responded, and with more than a one-sentence "Right on, yeah!" :)

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    3. You know I was thinking the same, right? Way cool.

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  16. Thank you for linking up with Studio30 LaTonya. You reminded me that the Studio prompts don't just have to be for creative writing. I am also what I like to call a comment whore - I don't get much traffic or many visitors, but I do care much more about commenting and interacting than I do about the numbers. I remember back in the beginning days of blogging, back in the early 00's, before Facebook & Twitter, comments were how you got to know people on the internet. Just by commenting and then emailing and making friends. I miss those times quite a bit. I enjoy your blog, I will be back!

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    1. Welcome Cheney. I write more poetry and fiction. I'm purposely making an effort to write more non-fiction especially since this blog is about what this stage of my life means to me. And I, too, miss those early days.

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  17. La Tonya, What you said about greater access and less communication is so true. When I first started blogging, I didn't care who or where comments came from, I was just happy to have them. I also wasn't that discriminating about what I posted. Since I've decided to really "own" that I'm a writer, I find myself seeking fellow writers, and meaningful comments (like the awesome one you left for me-thank you SO much!!) and I strive to put my heart and soul into what I post. I think meaningful conversation benefits all of us, but unfortunately, it comes at a price. I'm not after a bazillion comments any more because I'm not willing to comment on a bazillion blogs. Quality, not quantity I guess is what I crave.

    And by the way, I'm so glad to have found you and your blog!

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    1. Glad to hear it, Valerie. Help me keep it honest, too. It took a minute but I've found my way to writers and poets who I enjoy and I admire their work. It's all good.

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  18. Oh you know I love comments.. and I love receiving them to. which is maybe why I do it. But lately I have seen I love the writing itself.. to try out new things. And there are so many great prompts...

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  19. I really love the conversations that happen online, but have been mostly on FB and twitter this year, as opposed to writing my own blog things. I am a reluctant writer at best, and prefer to edit non-fiction work ... but mothering takes up most of my time and procrastination comes a close second. When I was writing last year, the comments piling up, especially generated through Trifecta, were pretty thrilling.

    For the record, critique of my work is always welcome, as are comments about the subjects I write, especially if the person doesn't agree with me or has more to add to the things I write. I think I've spent more time on the more interactive social media this year in part because I really needed the conversations to challenge my thinking and help me break out of some defaults ideas I had about the world.

    I'd like to push my fiction bits a bit more ...

    Great post. Made me think. I value that very much.

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    1. Karen, I entered the online world before the social media explosion, but, I, too, sought out feedback and interaction for the same reasons you mention. In the early days, we fostered community and created intimacy trust via discussion forums and email. I also want to push my writing.

      We have the ability to create what we want so instead of mourning the past or complaining, I'm building what I want. Very happy we connected.

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  20. Like this 'comment whore' ... !

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  21. I polish each entry in my blog and don't post unless I'm satisfied with it. I don't presume perfection, and appreciate feedback. Comments allow you to read what works and what doesn't, even if there are no actual "critiques".
    I offer critiques where I am fairly sure they are warrented. So far, no one has told me to fuck off. I assume we are all here to test our writing and improve it.
    Trifecta is an uber positive place, and I think this is a good thing. I hesitate though, to get involved in major criticism in the comments, so sometimes offer to email for a more in-depth discussion.
    Also, I often forget to come back to see if there are replies to my comments : ) kymm59@gmail.com

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    1. appreciate your response and thanks for your addy. :-)

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  22. Playwright Richard Foreman contends that we are all becoming "'pancake people' – spread wide and thin as we connect with that vast network of information accessed by the mere touch of a button." I think this relates to connection as well. We make so many more connections now than before the pervasiveness of online communication, that it has become hard to truly deepen any of those connections - we find ourselves spread too thin. So we 'like' a post - a hand extended in the dark - like you said, just to let the person know we were there. Sometimes that's all we have time for, or as someone else pointed out, we find ourselves at a loss for words. This isn't ideal, you are right. Those deep connections are difficult to cultivate

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    1. Glad to hear I'm not alone in my frustration. Appreciate the playwright's analogy aptly describes what it feels like to connect. Thanks for weighing in.

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  23. LaTonya! Ah, music to my ears, my new friend :)) First, I too enjoy getting comments but I would be very appreciative if those who commented felt comfortable leaving critiques, insights, constructive criticism. I've learned so much from other writers as I've started down this path. But, I've had to learn by example. I have two people, dear people, who will email me with such things and I could squeeze them breathless with my thanks for doing so. How else can we improve?

    All too often, we tippy-toe around new writers, encouraging ideas rather than substance, style rather than quality. I definitely would never want to hurt anyone's feelings (because I sure don't want mine hurt) but then those writers never realize they need work, they need structure, they need editing, grammar etc...

    So, I don't mean to use your most lovely blog post to meander, I just want to say: please, please, if you or any of the Trifecta community read something of mine and would like to critique, I would really appreciate it.

    Thanks, LaTonya! You've obviously come into our writing community exactly when we needed you! :))

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    1. Jo-Anne, girl you can meander all you like. I'm loving the conversation. Know that you came along exactly when I needed you. Drop me your email, please.

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This is an interactive site. Dialogue is the aim here. latonya.blackandgray(at)gmail (dot)com

Thank you

Thank you
I know what I think. I write to hear what you think. Let's talk about it.