On Commenting

I’ve been spending my early morning and late night time commenting.  Commenting on student written blog posts, commenting on student writing, commenting on Slices of Life.  In a recent survey of my students one of the things that they said made blogging worth while was the comments.  It made them feel like someone was listening to them.  I agree.  This year because of the sheer number of Slice of Life participants I’ve found commenting to be a little daunting.

You see I have old friends.  People who have sliced with me since the beginning, and even though I haven’t met most of them, they are near and dear to my heart.  So I want to comment on all of their posts.  I know if I miss a day or two they won’t mind.  But they have become a part of my life.  When I teach I hear Tara over my shoulder.  When I drink coffee in the morning sometimes Bonnie and Tuvia are right there reading the paper.  There are so many more.  People who I have laughed and cried with over the years.  People who have supported me in my career, life, and through tough times.  People who have never even met me.

But I’m so excited to make new friends too!  So, commenting has become quite the task every day.  Reading each others slices is one of the best parts of the challenge.  In some ways it can be harder than writing your own slice.  But these are the stories of our lives and when we share them we are connected forever.  So, if I don’t get to my DVR to catch up on some bad show that I probably don’t need to watch anyway that’s ok.  Because I know those comments mean something and that they are time well spent.  They mean something to me.

You don’t have to be a brilliant comment writer.  I know some people leave amazing in depth comments.  The little ones count too.  Your acknowledgement of someone’s hard work, your reaction, your support.  That’s all they need.  You just have to start with something small.  So dig into to those slices and leave as many comments as you can.  Not because you’re supposed to, but because when you do you validate someone’s work.  You honor their life.  Who knows, you might even make some new friends.

For those of you that have commented on my writing or will comment in the future.  Thank you.  Your comments matter.

Now I’m off to go leave some comments. : )

Categories: Slice of Life Challenge | Tags: | 46 Comments

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46 thoughts on “On Commenting

  1. I am new to this SOL writing community: however, I SO AGREE with you. I just told myself that I can comment on 2 blogs now….and then I have to finish proofreading my report card comments…for now…

  2. Wow Katy, you are reading my mind. When I saw the number of slicers this year I was overwhelmed. And I agree the reading and commenting requires lots of time but that is the point of the challenge. Taking time. By the way, I love your student blogs. Kidblog looks so much prettier now. 🙂

    • Ah thanks. We’re working on them. The kids really want creative control but are pacified with the new templates!

  3. You said it all, the writing is only one part of the process…the sharing and commenting is equally important. I can’t get to 100 + writers everyday but I am jumping around making sure to read newbies work as well as old favorites. I read and comment in the morning and again at night. It is tough to return to my book club book because my blogging is taking up so much of my reading time but…I love it!

  4. I’m with you girl, almost ready for that early morning coffee. I think that’s why it was easy to move out of my journal and go public. Reading for an audience, beyond just the eyes of the teacher makes digital writing so powerful and demanding and exciting and motivating.
    Love your post, old slicer friend,

  5. Kellee and I have been hosting the kidlit version of It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? at our blog and I try to comment on every blog every week when the links get posted. Last night I had 30 blogs to comment on and it took a long time! I’m the same way though, I really wanted to see what everyone had shared and to comment on their posts. Comments are so important, especially in writing. It helps to gauge what you have written and how you conveyed your message. And it does make you feel like you aren’t just blogging just go blog. Someone cares! 🙂

  6. Love this post Katie. Commenting is what keeps this Challenge alive.

    I, too, have some of the same feelings of guilt with regard to getting back to everyone and ideally basis. It is hard to get to everyone’s writing every day while still going about all of the responsibilities in our daily lives. I’m also trying to make that happen.

  7. SueB

    Thank you for saying it so well! Even at this age a comment seems to validate that my thoughts were expressed OK! It is quite the motivator.

  8. This is my first time to participate (first blog, first everything) so I decided to write and post a few of my own before reading others’ work. I guess I wanted to find my own voice before listening to others’. Now I am going back to catch up and I can’t quit. What an inspiration! Their (your) work enriches mine. I guess that’s the whole idea, right? Thanks for a good reminder! I totally agree!

  9. Yes, you are so correct! As a first-timer, I love to scroll down to the comments section and see a number other than “0”! 🙂 Every comment, no matter what it says, has been a boost to my self-esteem. And some have gone deeper, giving me hope as a writer.

  10. This is such an interesting process as I am going through it the first time. I noticed your comments on slices I was reading. Way to go Katie. You are pioneering the way for us newbies and sharing your thoughts here is helpful, too. It’s not just the writing or the reading. It is the connecting and becoming part of a community of thoughts and lives.

  11. You wrote my thoughts. In fact I was up after 11 last night reading and commenting when the post to link today came to my mailbox. I thought I’m not done, I have more to read and it’s time to start the next day. I love your sidebar of slicers (thanks for putting me there), I have in my mind to do that too, but don’t want to take the time to set it up yet. I must read, then comment, and get some work done, then read, comment, and the cycle begins. Comments always put a smile on my face!

  12. Well said – I am trying to comment as much as I can – it is a big job this year but the connections we make this month are well worth the time.

  13. You said it, baby! It’s the commenting that builds the community – we are inspired to keep at it because (in a way) we’ve come to depend upon it. The blogisphere seems such a vast place, but that little comment connects you immediately with someone far away (someone, say, in Chicago!) who shares the thought, nudges you forward and keeps you coming back to think more deeply and write some more.
    P.S. What a great idea to share old slices yesterday…I’m loving them…

  14. Katie–we really do think alike. I love to read and comment on people’s blogs, but like you, I felt like I was letting down my writing “partners”–those slicers who started with me last year. I decided I needed to start with them and then move on to others. And thanks for adding me to your slicer list. That’s a great idea!

  15. I agree. I wrote something similar on my first post last year. The comments do fuel the need and desire to keep writing. I find the technology gets in the way sometimes – for example since I have a wordpress blog…it’s easier to comment on other wordpress blogs. The feedback is important – gotta keep that positive non-judgmental feedback going for our kids too.

    • margaretsmn

      I am finding out that I cannot comment on blogspot blogs, only wordpress ones. Is there an easy way to solve this problem. I don’t want to be limited. Thanks, Margaret

      • I created a google account and that seemed to help me out. I just comment under that for anything blogger. It does make it tricky to track down my slicing blog which is why I will often paste the url in my comments.

  16. Thank you for commenting on the comments. This is my first time to blog, and the feedback has really made a difference. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment on my writing.

  17. Hi Katie–Thank you for such a thoughtful post reminding us all of the power of commenting and hearing from other writers. I have been TERRIBLE at this these first few days of the challenge. You are right–it’s overwhelming–but I do want to read and respond to so many….I’m just trying to get myself to WRITE every day! 🙂
    Yes, writing every day is important, but you’ve reminded me how much commenting every day is too!
    I love hearing from other friends and writers and how much I value their input, and they deserve to hear from me too. Thanks!

  18. A great post! I’m glad I’m not the only one who’s been feeling like I’m drowning while trying to comment on other blogs. I feel comments are so important because they truly keep me going, but I’m struggling to find time to make so many quality comments! (That this week has been so crazy at school is not helping at all!) I’m trying to just do 5 or so a day, and make sure I always comment back to people who wrote to me — within a day, at least! Your sidebar is a fantastic idea! (Plus, I feel important now that I see my own blog there, hehe!)

    • Yes that was my goal too. Comment on anyone who leaves me a comment, get around to my old friends, and then pick some random new people as well. I’ve been adding to my sidebar every day. Trying to build a list that I can use for myself. Maybe I’ll get everyone on there!

  19. I love this piece. You said something that not enough people will admit – comments matter. I don’t really believe people who say, “I just write for myself.” I have always searched for validation from my mom, my husband, my coworkers, my friends, even my grown children. I want people to like me and like my writing. I’m even a little jealous of those people who are getting 20 or more comments on their slices. Why don’t I get 20 comments? “Whine!” Seriously, you said something important and you said it in a clear professional manner.

  20. margaretsmn

    This whole experience is new to me, but it’s becoming like an online class. I am dedicating way too much time to it, but I am enjoying it. I feel sad today, though, because I am really low in the comment department compared to others I am reading. Maybe the more you blog, the more people read and comment. I don’t know. I don’t want to be a shameless beggar, but maybe some of you will head my way and give me a little encouragement. (http://reflectionsontheteche.wordpress.com/2012/03/06/bumper-sticker-evangelism/)

    • Some days it rains and others it doesn’t. It’s true. I’m sure you’ll get some more!

  21. Katie, Comments are what fuel our writing. It’s just like the sharing time in writing, kids need to hear comments to keep them fueled with writing. (I am glad to have met you, even for a short time, as I can hear your voice.)

    • Yes I often wonder if my typing portrays my actual sassiness in real life. Probably not.

  22. It is so true. I love the comment about Bonnie and Tuvia. I can picture them perfectly! They would enjoy morning coffee with you. Happy commenting!

  23. i agree it’s the comments I always watch and wait for. I think you were the first person to comment when I first started slicing a few summers ago. It was the encouragement I needed to continue on.
    Thank you,

  24. Thank you, Katie, As a new slicer your comments and the comments of others have made me feel so welcome. Sometimes, once communities have formed it can feel funny being the new girl, but it hasn’t felt that way at all. I feel as if I’m in the biggest Writing Project group ever-so much to learn, to read and to savor and of it wrapped in enthusiasm. Thank you!

  25. It’s amazing how close you can feel to someone that you’ve never met “in real life.”

    I really slowed down on blogging a while back. It was really hard to get back into the swing of it (a lot of my bloggy friends are personal FB friends and we’ve kept in touch that way) but meeting all these new slicers (including you!) makes all the difference.

  26. You explained this so beautifully. I know how much my students (who are younger) often look first at “how many” comments. I think what you said about “the little ones count too” is so true. I am always anxious to see the number of comments increase on a post. Thanks for taking the time to remind me how important commenting can be. This, I will take to the classroom as well:)

  27. I find making more comments more intimidating than posting on my blog. I’m having a hard time learning who is who I sort of feel like a middle school kids at a new school.

    • Yes it can be daunting. I keep forgetting who I’ve commented on some days. Just jump in and do what you can.

  28. Each day I go page by page down the scroll of blogs to read. I tab the one’s of people I normally read, funny titles, try to get in a variety and before I know it I have between 30-40 tabs and my computer probably wants to explode. Today I did that again, you were my last tab, which I find quite fitting. Now I may need to go back and pick up some more links to tab that I missed the first time through, as I did when I went back up and grabbed yours.

  29. Thanks for the post – I so agree and think about when I comment for my students in their journals. It makes a difference it keeps them going.

  30. missmoyer

    You have articulated so much of my thinking!
    Thank you!

  31. Paul

    As a newbie to this, I’ve quickly come to realize that the commenting is at least as important as the writing. Was so busy this weekend, but now I’m just going to make time for it no matter what. There are so many, but am going to do my best to fan out as much as possible.

    A few days ago, I thought this was about writing. Now it’s clear to me that it’s just as much about community.

  32. Julie Crocker

    I’ve been thinking about many of the points you made in this slice for days now. My first post got 15 replies – it was so validating. I was on a high for hours. My second got one. I was deflated – almost defeated. But….I kept going. Last night I barely got my slice in before comments were closed. I knew I wouldn’t get any comments. Thankfully – I got two – and they were as important to me as the 15 were on my first day. Thank you for writing this piece on the importance of commenting. I will try to be better at it myself.

  33. Katie,
    I love, love, love your post– sooooo true. I’ve been slicing for a couple of years and am still trying to figure out the commenting thing. I have some “friends” that I have followed in my couple of years of slicing. There are some other folks in my Twitter community that I am really enjoying getting to know better through their slices. And then I try to comment back to people who comment to me. And to a few new folks every day. And then to some that just sound interesting in the comments. I love reading people’s slices, but it does consume a lot of time. But then I also LOVE when people like you comment on my blog…

  34. jee young

    I am definitely seeing the importance of leaving comments! I’ve been blown away by all the amazing comments people have been leaving this year for the challenge. I’ve been a bit slow in leaving comments, but I’m working on leaving more comments for people. Thank you for all your comments already on my posts. I really do appreciate them. 🙂

  35. Love it! I can agree with you on so many points. There are a lot of bloggers this year and I am having a hard time finding the “old friends” that I met last year. So many to read through and so many wonderful stories to tell. This is an amazing community and the comments make it even stronger. Thank you for the reminder to squeeze a couple more in. 🙂

  36. I love this line of yours “Not because you’re supposed to, but because when you do you validate someone’s work.”. The validating I think is powerful. Writing is a partnership with reading. I feel lucky to get to hear the other half of the conversation. Thanks for sharing.

  37. grade4wizard

    Thank you for this post and thank you for your comments.

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