Saturday, April 01, 2006

Taking deep breath, jumping back in


It's nice to be back. I've been blogging in my head all month, frankly. But it was good to stop for a while and think about why I started doing this, why I want to keep going with it, and, most importantly, how I'm going to garner the most readers and comments possible in order to feed my ravenous ego while not ruining my offline life or being a jerk.

Here's the thing. What we call "blogging" is really at least three four five distinct things:

1) Writing posts
2) Maintaining your own blog's design, sidebar, etc.
3) Reading other people's blogs
4) Writing comments on other people's blogs
5) Responding to comments on your own blog (within your own comments thread, and/or via private email, and/or via return comment on the commenter's blog, and/or by writing a post inspired by someone's comment and/or linking to them within your post)

During my hiaitus I took a total break from 1) and 2) and 5), but I kept right on with 3) and to a limited extent with 4). It was restful. Like getting to be a guest at other people's parties but not having to host my own, make runs to the store for chips, clean the house, get people to mingle, etc. I'm not a great party host in real life, but I missed it after a while here in the World of Text.

Turns out, I'm not so great at balancing all five of these Blogging Things. I'm especially negligent about 2) and 5), which are the most hostessish aspects of blogging. I apologize--retroactively and, I'm sure, in advance--to all of you whose comments I haven't acknowledged adequately. I always feel warm and fuzzy whenever someone takes the trouble to acknowledge a comment I left: like (to continue the party analogy) they haven't just left me alone on the sidelines with my drink, but they've drawn me into the circle of laughing talking people. I don't know how much better I'm going to be about this, but I'll give it a shot. Sometimes I can't think of anything to say except "thanks for commenting!" so just please know that if I say that, it's sincere, even if it sounds dumb.

The other comment-ish issue is that I mostly have time to post on weekends, when a lot of the blogosphere (especially the momly circles where I tend to run) slows down. So I have that tree-falling-in-a-forest feeling a lot of the time, like I finally made it to the party but all my pals are out at the park with their kids. I'm going to try seeing if I can save a post or two to publish belatedly on Mondays (though that requires me to be a little more organized and loses some of the spontenaiety which is what gets me to post anything at all), and also to accept that I'm not going to be one of those super-prolific bloggers; one or two posts a week is about the best I can do during the school year.

And I'll just to try to be less ego-driven and write without being so obsessive about comments.

(Hah! That said, let's see how long I can stay away from the computer this afternoon before I check to see if anyone's commented on this post!)

Okay; off to update my blogroll, and maybe see if I can change this color scheme without losing my customizations...


Blogger heather said...

hah! i so relate to this. part of this is why i stopped blogging as well, and just do 3/4 (read/comment) now.

i haven't commented here in quite some time, but i do read, when you do post, so keep up the good work. :-)

6:14 PM  
Blogger elswhere said...

Oh, cool, a comment already! Hey, Heather! You were actually one of the people I was thinking of when I apologized for not getting back to commenters. So I'm especially happy you stopped by.

10:08 PM  
Blogger Phantom Scribbler said...

(Waving furiously)

Hi Elswhere! I'm so happy to see you back that I'm even commenting on the sly from my parents' house...

I do think this is an excellent analysis of the five parts of blogging. It's almost impossible to keep all five balls in the air at once. The trick is to keep people from noticing the balls that you've dropped as their rolling away...

9:35 AM  
Blogger Patty said...

I don't have a blog (yet?) I'm really good at number 3 and horrible at 4. I read, read, read, and then form half-finished comments in my head, and never post them. I'd be horrible at number 5.


10:42 AM  
Blogger elswhere said...

Hi Phantom! Hi Patty! (waving back atcha both). It's funny, I have no problem commenting on other people's posts (except if it's something controversial; then I become eithe rtongue-tied or pompous) but often get Blogger's Block when writing my own.

Which is why, look, here I am, commenting away on *my own blog* rather than writing another post...hmm, very interesting...

3:59 PM  
Blogger susan said...

You know, Elswhere, you have a totally fabulous blog and a totally fabulous bloggy persona (which I'm sure is related to and a little different from a fabulous real life personality) and I like reading whatever you write, whenever you write. When you weren't posting I liked seeing your comments around in a few places, and I wondered how you were doing. But it's not like you owe me or anyone else out here a big explanation of all that..but still, you know, we get drawn into stories and I wondered.

I'm kind of shy in real life, often quite quiet at a party (unless I"m in a teacher/administrator mode, in which case I'm pretty good at orchestrating activities and conversations). I'm never sure how to respond to comments on my blog, but am similarly tickled when people leave their comments.

So really, however you want to balance all the five parts of blogging (great analysis there, btw) is fine with me. I'm just happy you're doing any of it, b/c I like what you write, and I like your stories. And I was really happy when I noticed you'd updated in my bloglines.

7:05 PM  
Blogger Jen said...

lurker here welcoming you back! love your blog!!

12:02 PM  
Blogger wen said...

Think about it this way: if you post on the weekends then all of us who are bummed that the other blogs aren't updated--what, these people actually have a life? offline? you mean the kids are real?--will be thrilled to come by and check out your writing. To continue your party analogy, it's like having a dance club that's open on Sunday and Monday nights, and plays all the coolest tunes for those of us who can't go out on Fridays and Saturdays.

1:41 PM  
Blogger witchtrivets said...

Glad you are back. I think you are excellent at the comment responding. I know, because I suck at it entirely. I can leave comments and I can write the occasional rambling post, but then when someone comments on my post, I can barely think of anything intelligent to say -- so I say nothing. Yet I love my comments on my blog so much (in an entirely appropriate way, of course, as some unnamed politician might say).

I think you do it all quite well. Did I mention I am happy to see you back? Yay!

7:33 PM  
Blogger elswhere said...

Aw, you guys are so nice! Thanks. I feel like I'm at that place, what's it called, where everybody knows your name, and they're always glad you came...oh, right! The Internet!

8:36 PM  
Blogger Psycho Kitty said...

I am SO glad you're back!!!

12:47 PM  
Blogger Anna said...

Hooray, you're back!

Been thinking about you lately...owe you an email.

5:11 PM  
Blogger Jo said...

I can't wait to meet you!

I'm not so great at responding to comments. That's the hardest part. I sort of THINK things to each person and then it seems like I've already said them.

I just told your mom I'm getting her a pony for her birthday.

6:26 AM  
Anonymous Kelly said...

I found my way here via milkbreath and me, and just wanted to say I really enjoy your writing voice. It's hard to find a balance with this stuff, I like the idea of posting your intention to blog twice a week. Lets your readers know what to expect and when to come back.

I know I'll be back.

4:59 AM  
Blogger That Girl said...

Im so glad you are back! I truly missed your voice and now i can move you back from my "check weekly" blogs to my daily ones again. (im truly a geek).

I could care less if you respond to my comments (unless i offend you by accident) or read my blog, just dont stop writing!

3:52 PM  

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