The Blogging Balance – Writing and Reading

Writing became such a process of discovery that I couldn’t wait to get to work in the morning: I wanted to know what I was going to say.
– Sharon O’Brien –

I try to leave out the parts that people skip.
– Elmore Leonard –

My blog is like a book, and each post is a chapter. I write – you read.
Some of you readers are commenters. You write – I read.
Many of you readers are also bloggers. You write – I read.
I visit your blogs and leave comments. I write – you read.
That is what makes blogging so interesting – all these two way conversations!

The QuipperyThis all takes time, and though I enjoy every bit of it, I’m going to have to make some choices as to how many blogs I follow and how many comments I make. I need to find a better balance between being a writer and being a reader.

So perhaps all you readers and writers could give me some ideas about how you have found your balance:

1 – How many blogs do you follow, and how do you choose them?

2 – Do you respond to each and every comment left on your blog or do you only respond to a few?

3 – The second largest number of views on my blog comes from subscribers to Google RSS Feed Reader (according to my referrer stats). I have alternated between full and summary view. Which do you prefer as a reader? Which do you prefer as a writer?

Readers – I value each and every one of you. It has taken me several years to find you! (I have never had the exposure of being Freshly Pressed). I have had to attract many of you by leaving a bread trail of word crumbs around the internet! Thanks to all of you for following that trail!

Easy reading is damn hard writing.
– Nathaniel Hawthorne –

Post 225

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28 thoughts on “The Blogging Balance – Writing and Reading

  1. 1. I think there is about 50 in my reader “netnewswire”, that I try to read everyday, every other day for sure.
    2. I try to respond to every comment left on my blog, but some comments don’t have a suitable response. They are really a more elaborate pushing of the “like” button.
    3. I really prefer a full view. There are enough in my feed that to push another button to see the whole thing slows down my whole process. I try to do this reading and write any comments within a half hour first thing in the morning with a coffee.

    Here is a tip for picking up more readers from wordpress, (I think) – schedule your publish at about 7 – 8am East Coast Time. It is still early enough GMT and the East Coast sees you first thing. Give it a try!

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    • Good Morning Christie – Thanks for the ideas.
      I agree that some comments don’t really need a reply – I would hope the commenter agrees.
      I don’t like the way the RSS reader formats the text and photos in full feed. But I agree that having to go to the website to see the page slows down the reading process. On the other hand, the reader has to come to your site in order to leave a comment, yes?

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  2. I understand what your saying. Sometimes reading & commenting can become overwhelming. I think that’s one of the reasons I like the ‘Like’ button. Sometimes I just don’t have time to post a proper comment, but I want to let the blogger know I’ve been there and acknowledge their post.
    However, If I had dozens of followers, I think I’d probably do what you’re doing with making choices, I think it’s necessary otherwise you would spend hours and hours blogging.

    1 – How many blogs do you follow, and how do you choose them?
    I have probably about 50 that I follow with rss feeds and bookmarks.
    I really like and prefer rss feeds because I can keep up with the updates and don’t have to visit everyday to know if there’s been a new post.

    2 – Do you respond to each and every comment left on your blog or do you only respond to a few? I try too. I want to let my commenters know how much I appreciate their visit. But sometimes, If I’m short on time, I’ll do one comment to all the commenters to thank them for their visits.

    3 – The second largest number of views on my blog comes from subscribers to Google RSS Feed Reader (according to my referrer stats). I have alternated between full and summary view. Which do you prefer as a reader? Which do you prefer as a writer?
    As a reader, I personally like the rss summary view. I want to go to the blog to read the entire post. It makes reading feel like I’m better acknowledging the time and heart the blogger puts into their blog. Also folks sometimes change their themes and pictures they post on the headers and blogs and I like to see that too.

    I wish you the best with sorting through and making choices. You have a great blog and that’s why you’ve drawn so many followers. Keep up the great work.
    🙂

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    • Thanks for commenting, EC. I appreciate all your advice, and agree that it is nice to actually visit the blog because most bloggers put a lot of time and effort into creating a ‘look’.

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  3. Great post, Margie. I have a hard time following and commenting as much as I would like to most days. I only write maybe two posts an entire month on my own blog now as it all takes up so much time. But I truly love the blogging community I’ve been lucky to have found.

    1. I follow around 30 to 40 blogs. I try to read all of them. Sometimes, I’ll love a particular post, but I don’t have the time to comment, so I click the “like” button. I’ve found most of these blogs through other blogs and noticing their readers’ comments. Rarely do I subscribe to a blog because I found it on Freshly Pressed.

    2. I do respond to each and every comment. Must be the OCD in me. But I want to let every reader know that I appreciate them taking the time to read and comment. And I want them to feel welcome enough to come back again.

    3. I prefer the full view.

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  4. I have about 100 blogs i follow on a regular basis.
    I don’t often return a comment left on my page. But I will visit the blog who left the comment and comment on their blog.
    Question 3 confuses me. Im still new to this blogging this and I have no idea if Google RRS are what people are using to read my blog. But I do see Google Reader in my stats sometimes. 😉
    Great post.

    Like

    • Hi Jennifer – Here is some information from WordPress.com about RSS Feeds: http://en.support.wordpress.com/feeds/
      WordPress automatically creates a feed for all WordPress blogs. Anyone who opens an account with a Feed Reader can subscribe to your blog, and then see it (with all the other feeds they subscribe to) in their Feed Reader. I use Google Feed Reader, but there are a number of others.

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  5. I have about 45 blogs i always visit and comment in, hi Jennifer 🙂

    I always answer a comment left, as i think it is the right thing to do, because if they left a comment the person might expect an answer.

    I get most of my views from the web its self, i have no idea how to use goggle reader 😦

    I don’t think my blog would get into freshly pressed

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  6. Hi,
    It can became all time consuming.
    1. I have around 30 blogs that I follow, I also like the “like” button, if I haven’t time to comment, this lets the person know that I was there and read their post. I follow all blogs through my RSS feed.
    2. I like to answer each and ever comment, but there are occasions when a comment doesn’t require an answer.
    3. I prefer to click onto a blog and see the full post in front of me.

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  7. Margie, Your quotations are always the best! And what a great post. Very thoughtful and very much the same thing with which I (and I venture a great many bloggers) wrestle.

    1. There’s something funky with my account so alerts about new posts or comments to comments I’ve made on anyone’s blog don’t come to me, I have to go searching them out via my “I’m Following” tab. So I look at each new post every day that I can. If I miss a day, I miss a post for that day. And I NEVER know if anyone commented back to me on the comments I always leave. Frustrating!

    2. I respond to each comment I get. I want to encourage people to comment on what they think of my writing. How else do I know if I’m on the right track? But I’m road-testing material for an eventual, maybe, book. So my reasons for blogging are different than others’ reasons.

    3. I prefer the full view.

    A tip for getting more referrals from the web is to be clever about tags and categories that people may use as search terms on Google or Yahoo or whatever search engine they use. They may happen upon your blog and love what they see even if it wasn’t what they were orginally searching for.

    Just know that I probably won’t see your response, so you may not want to bother. I have to figure a way to fix this!

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  8. I think I have about 20 blogs that I follow on my WP reader, but only about 10 that I read everyday. I try to respond to every comment on my blog, otherwise, I feel like I am being rude. I am enjoying using WP to follow blogs as well as to write. I know there are a lot of interesting blogs beyond WP but I need to set boundaries or else I’ll spend all my time reading blogs! I enjoy your writing style and pictures Margie, and I am glad I found you 🙂

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  9. Hi Margie. This is my last blog post I’m reading before going to bed (very late, as usual!) So…

    1. I’ve lost count of the number of blogs I’m following… I’m subscribed to loads via WordPress ‘follow’ and loads via Google Reader and am overwhelmed by them because I just don’t know when to stop adding blogs I like! How do I choose them? There are a lot of criteria, but the major one for me of which ones I stay with are whether they reply to comments at all. I don’t mind ones that don’t reply occasionally, but tend to steer clear of ones that don’t reply at all. Except for a few, like photo blogs.

    2. I respond to each and every comment, though I do miss a few by mistake – often because people are replying to different posts over a period of days and I just lose track. However, I try to stagger how many I reply to at any one time as I don’t really have the energy or wherewithal to reply to all at the same time. Also, some comments make me want to reply in more detail than others, and I like to take my time over those, often leaving them for a while while I think about what I want to say.

    3. I prefer full view because then I can see at a glance which posts I feel I want to visit straight away and which I feel I’d prefer to leave til another day. Not all posts call to me, it depends on my mood. I find excerpts annoying though I do understand why some people prefer them, and I’ve experimented with only having excerpts myself. I think I have the excerpt view on one of my image blogs as I prefer people to see them on site, but my main blog (Absurd Old Bird) is full view as I’d much prefer people read the whole thing rather than look at an excerpt and perhaps not bother to come along at all.

    I think unless one has just a small number of blogs that are favourites (and I don’t think I ever could as much of it depends on my mood and my energy levels), that it’s important to pace oneself with blog reading and commenting in blogs. For me, blogging is about making connections and if I find I’m visiting blogs in which this isn’t happening at all, I tend to lose interest.

    I hope you find the type of balance you need. For me blogging and visiting blogs is an ongoing journey – and it changes as I change.

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  10. I am subscribed to about 30 blogs that I follow. Of those though, some are not actively publishing posts, so that leaves maybe 20 that I look at regularly. I’d like to find some more, but I just haven’t had the time, as you allude to.

    I try to respond to most comments. Sometimes a post warrants only a single response to many of the comments. i.e. thanks for all the great comments, or something like that. But occasionally I miss some.

    I don’t understand the Google question. I have seen that in stats, but not very often. I use the wordpress reader function often when reading my subscriptions.

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  11. Oh..I’ve struggled with finding this exact same balance. I – somehow – can’t spend my days reading blogs..commenting..returning comments left on mine. I do what I can do..when I can. And – I expect that others are struggling with the same…that we’re all doing our best to simply keep up!!!

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    • Hi Marcie – It is so easy to get caught up with reading and writing. I think it is quite addictive because it is an involvement with a community of people doing the same thing – blogging. Very few of my family and friends are as interested in what I am doing as all my fellow bloggers are.
      But, I still need to find the right balance.

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  12. I’m still rather new to blogging. I only started in May and I sure haven’t found a stable balance between reading and writing yet. My time for fun blogging is limited, most of my “blogging time” goes into photography.

    I think, if in doubt, I write before I read articles and I have few subscriptions (some 15) on the WP reader or by email if the blog is hosted elsewhere. I somehow stumbled across them and I occasionally cancel subscriptions to keep the amount managable and adjust to my changing interests.

    I cancel subscriptions if the blogger generally ignores my comments.

    I don’t read every article of every blog every day. The only blog I really read instantly is one that has very short and very funny articles. I don’t want to miss a chance to laugh or smile, I guess.

    My commenting habits are changing. I started out answering every comment, but somehow I feel this isn’t the best way to do things, so I watch what some fellow bloggers do. One lady answers some comments and when she does, it is interesting. I like that.

    Another lady seldom replies to comments on her blog, but visits her commentators and sometimes leaves comments there. I like that too. I am getting tired of writing boring replies. I think in many situations a return visit and the “Like” button says more than a lame “thank you”.

    For me the “blogging enthusiasm” phase is over now and I have entered a “blogging habit” phase. I’ll see, where this will take me.

    Margie, I think the balances that are best for us change from time to time. I wish you all the best finding a new balance, so you will continue to enjoy writing and reading.

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    • Hi Sanetes – I appreciate all your observations. They are a nice round-up of ways that people respond to being both a blogger and a reader. I agree that each person finds their own balance, and it certainly changes from time to time, or in my case season to season!

      Like

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