very month, I write 100 web content articles. My deadline is the 25th of every month. I hate having a deadline hanging over my head, so my normal work mode is to slave at my computer double-time so I can hand in my invoice early. This time I earned four free days--more really--since I have yet to receive my May writing assignments.
I experience a marvelous sense of freedom each time I manage this feat, but rather than rest on my self-congratulatory laurels, I cast about for something else to do. I don't know how to not be busy. It makes me feel guilty to be unproductive. So I get to work on my blog which lies in sad neglect most days of the month.
Yesterday, I worked on a blog entry for hours. At last I decided it was ready enough to publish. Maybe I embedded too many graphics and it looked a bit messy, but I made a point--a heartfelt one--and I was satisfied. I published the blog and then waited in a state of expectant tension for the comments to come in.
I got one comment from a faithful friend who never neglects to weigh in, always with a great deal of valued insight--I suppose he knows how much a writer appreciates feedback--but a big zero from everyone else. I told myself that with the time difference, maybe it was too early to expect much. I went to bed thinking that perhaps in the morning, I would find my in-box flooded with notifications of comments on my blog.
But no. Not a one.
Folks, the writer's ego is fragile. A bruised psyche means we may retreat into a corner to lick our wounds and stop producing words. But encouragement has the opposite effect and makes the words flow from our brains to our fingertips to your screen.
I try to encourage my friends who enter the blogging world by leaving comments and then feel a bit sad if they don't respond in kind. I have decided that just as there exists a code of etiquette for the internet we call, "Netiquette," there needs to be blog etiquette or, "Bletiquette," too. Here's my version of Bletiquette:
1) If a friend takes the time to blog and lets you know of a new entry, take the time to comment. A lack of response is hurtful. Even a simple phrase like, "This was well-written!" can make a blogger's day.
2) Quid Pro Quo--if you comment on a blogger's blog and the blogger doesn't return the favor, you are off the hook and need not comment on their thoughts in future.
3) Be polite. I had a total stranger comment, "good grief - this is the most ignorant thing I've heard in a long while."
4) If you are the blogger who receives the hurtful comment, give a thoughtful response. The writer who called me ignorant had a point as I discovered when I looked into the matter. I apologized and she confessed she'd been a bit rude and apologized in kind. She appreciated that I took the time to research and retract my stance.
5) Always attribute quotes and where appropriate, seek permission before naming names. Do those people a favor by linking their names to their websites or blogs to give them a bit of publicity.
6) If you leave a comment, sign your name or otherwise identify yourself. We want to know who you are!