I don’t really have a kingdom to give away, but lately I have been contemplating how I might elicit more written responses to my blog.
According to WordPress, I have written 158 posts since May (go, go, go Heather!) and I’ve received only 80 comments. 49 of those comments are from my wonderful friend Nan, who is so nice that she would leave a response even if I just wrote the same word over and over again one thousand times. And six of the comments were by me responding to other people’s comments. That leaves only 25 comments on 158 posts. That can’t be a good response rate.
It’s not that I’m writing simply for feedback. I’m writing to strengthen my skills and see where my imagination might lead. And because I’m enjoying it. It’s kind of like therapy, only cheaper. I’m also writing to reach my goal of blogging for a year.
But isn’t all writing about getting a response, really?
People don’t write books to have them sit on a shelf unread. They want people to enjoy them. And how do they know they are being enjoyed if they don’t get feedback from readers?
And there’s a reason newspapers and magazines have a “letters to the editor” section. They want people to respond to their articles and editorials.
The writing I do for work is certainly all about getting a reaction. When I write a grant or a fundraising letter, I’m hoping people respond with a donation. When I write brochure copy, I want people to react by coming to the show.
Even emails are written to get a response or call someone to action.
So, while I am writing for myself, it’s also nice to get comments.
I was going to say that even negative comments would be welcome, but I’d be lying. Negative comments would probably hurt my feelings and then I’d spend way too much time drafting a response that I hoped sounded flippant and lighthearted but would really just reveal the fact that my feelings were hurt and make me look pitiful.
Constructive criticism would be ok, though. As long it was softened with a compliment or two. Something like “I love your blog, but you misspelled animadvert in your post about getting more comments. Other than that, you’re absolutely brilliant.”
Yeah, I would wholeheartedly embrace that kind of criticism.
“Animadvert” was my word of the day today. It means to comment unfavorably or critically, which I thought was very apropos.
Of course, the best way to get more comments would be to write something controversial.
The trouble is I’m not a very controversial person. I don’t have extreme views on anything.
But perhaps that’s because I live in liberal New England. Maybe what I need to do is get some readers in Bible Belt states or Republican strongholds. Then when I write that I have my doubts about organized religion or that I believe in gay marriage my readers would get up in arms and comment.
I supposed I could pretend to have an unpopular view on some hot news topic. Let’s see… I could say that… oh, I don’t know. I can’t even make up a controversial opinion. How lame is that?
(On a side note, I just went to CNN’s website to see if I could find a news article to be contentious about. One of the headlines was “peanut butter prices are skyrocketing.” They’re going up 30 to 40%! What’s up with that? I just started liking peanut butter and now it’s expensive? Luckily they only mentioned Jif and Planters. I won’t buy anything but Skippy.)
Ok, I can do this. What is something that is universally loved? I know, baseball! I live in the heart of Red Sox country. I don’t really feel passionately about baseball or the Red Sox one way or the other, but I think I can come up with something… Let’s give it a try.
Tennis players are vastly superior athletes when compared to baseball players, both physically and intellectually.
Tennis players have to be in better shape than baseball players because, while baseball is made up of teams who play for a measly two and a half to three hours, professional tennis players have been known to play for four or five hours alone without a significant break. They don’t get to sit on their butts and rest while their teammates are at bat. They don’t get to stand around in the outfield waiting for a ball to possibly come their way. They are running and playing the entire time they are on the court.
Tennis players are also more intelligent. They can’t rely on coaches and managers during the match. Baseball players simply do as they are told. Hit this ball, run to this base. And even then they have coaches at the bases. Would they forget to run if the coaches weren’t there telling them what to do?
Tennis players are on the court all alone. They can’t get advice from their coach. They have to think for themselves, to use their minds to win the game. Tennis is like chess while baseball is like a game of go fish.
And by the way, the Red Sox suck and Yankee rule!
Hey… that wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. Maybe I can be controversial after all.
I predict that writing fictional opinions to get people riled up is going to get old, though. So I did a little more research to see how many comments some of my favorite bloggers get.
It turns out that, besides my friend Nan, other bloggers don’t get a lot of comments either. Or at least the blogs I follow don’t.
So maybe I should just stop worrying about comments and write for the hell of it. Who cares if I’m not controversial or terribly witty? I’m writing and I’m having fun.
Of course, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t comment if you feel so inspired. Especially if you think I’m brilliant.