Rejuvenating the Blog

It’s been a wonderful weekend, mainly because I’ve been spending a lot of it figuring out why I’ve slowed down in my posting, why I seem to avoid my blog, and what can be done about it.  What I figured out is that quite possibly the reason I’ve become a little alienated by blogging is that I’ve lost touch with the people who READ what I post.  Blogging is a two-way activity.  Or at least, the kind of blogging I’ve enjoyed over the last three years is.  I like people.  I like to hear what they’re doing.  It energizes me to think that maybe Becca or Archie or Emily or Gail or Diana will be coming over here and reading something I’ve written.  I can hear their voices as I try to think up what  might entertain them, amuse them, get them going.  

This year has been a sadly one-way year.  I’d put up posts, and people looking for things like “love is stupid” (I never said that!) would sneak over and then retreat, probably shocked to learn that I mostly think books are wonderful, writing well is hard, and it’s important to be good to people.  For those who stuck with me when I was largely absent in their blogs, I can only say you are incredibly kind people. 

Anyway, I am mostly powered by what’s fun, and I had a lot of fun figuring out how to use the google feed reader, and then feeding it incredibly delicious bits of blogs  — and then I visited all the many people who have come here recently or in the past, not seeking to learn about the idiocy of love, but about whatever thing I happened to have on my mind.  

And it was great!  It used to be that I’d visit people sort of randomly, by clicking on the links on my sidebar, and I’d feel like it was just a huge amount of work, finding where people were in their lives.  But now, all I have to do is check that “feeds” bookmark I created and I can see whatever someone has most recently written.  I feel more connected — and it’s only been a day.    

I was so enthused, I actually posted over at my moribund blog about lunch food, which has  morphed into a blog basically about the stuff I eat.  And I took pictures!  I commented on blogs!  I thought of  how I could compare Brittney Spears to Milan Kundera!    

I’m awake again.  

And now, you should go over to Archie’s blog and give something to help the many people in Australia who are reeling from floods and fires.  Because as  much as we blog to amuse ourselves, we also do it because it we all like being part of a community.  And when some of us are hurting, the rest of us must help.

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38 thoughts on “Rejuvenating the Blog

  1. It is work keeping up. And time consuming. The Readers solve one problem and create another. I find myself stuck, feeling obligated to read new posts on the Reader and have no time to explore, to discover new blogs, old one’s I’ve not yet been able to visit.

    The Great Library problem… walk in, look around and despair… just never going to be able to read–not just ‘everything,’ but even a fraction of the good stuff.

    I wish I could pick three (arbitrary number, but less than 12) blogs to put on my reader, then do serendipity… limiting myself to no more than an hour a day blog reading–total.

    Way too undisciplined, too given to procrastination and distraction to ever make that work.

    “Ah duty, why hast thou not the visage/ of a sweetie or a cutie?”

  2. Thank you for the link (and the donation), Lily. As for rejuvenating blogs, I had to make some very hard decisions when I began this job back in August. I lost almost all my blogging time. I don’t use a reader so I used to visit mt blog roll as a whole over about two days. Suddenly I found I had time to visit maybe four or five people and I was doing almost all my blogging on Saturday night – pre-publishing fore the whole week. As I have grown into the job my spare time has increased a little and I am now able to visit much of my roll over a week. Of course, that eats into my time to reply to comments. Ah well, “retirement” beckons in around ten months 🙂

  3. I think you’re quite right about the blogging dialogue. When I lose touch with my regular visitors, I also lose the impetus to communicate.

    I haven’t quite gotten the knack of “feeds” and “readers.” Perhaps I should look into that.

    At any rate, I’m always glad to visit here and see what you’re up to 🙂

  4. I tend to read regularly ‘only’ those blogs whose feed I’m subscribed to. Goodness knows there are a lot of them now. And it is, as you say, time consuming. I suppose I carry on because I invariably find something which nails me to the screen.

  5. Jacob, It’s so true what you say about how difficult it is to find time for everything! I’ve decided to start every day new in the feed reader — I just mark everything “read” and wait for more to come in. Also, I wanted to say that those essays you have been writing lately, the ones about Alice Munro, are so sophisticated and have so much breadth that I literally had not a thing to say when I finished. Congratulations — you actually shut me up!

    Archie — TEN MONTHS! That’s, like, basically tomorrow. Anyway, I’m just happy to know that I have a constant source of puns in you and I’m going to guess that will never stop.

    My dear Mr. Rochester, Love itself, and the pursuit of it, can never be stupid. People, on the other hand, demonstrate all the time how to love stupidly. But where would we be if no one ever tried and failed? There’d be no fiction, that’s for sure. In fact, it’s always cracked me up when people say they don’t like Madame Bovary because Emma is such an idiot. And where would Shakespeare have been if he hadn’t had all those silly lovers to set straight?

    Hello dear Becca, I resisted the feed-read thing for a long time because it seemed complicated. It’s really not. Google reader so badly wants to be used that it makes the whole thing pretty painless.

    Dear John, Exactly! I love that.

    Hey Susan — I will! I will! I love being your facebook friend, by the way. And of course I love being your blogging friend too. xo

  6. Now there’s something to ponder… you mean if you get too ‘sophisticated’ there’ll be no one left to talk to?

    Like one of those trick poisonality test questions: Would you rather get all A’s or have friends? Really smart people settle for B’s!

  7. Aw! That was a compliment. I liked what you wrote very much. But don’t worry, there will always be a lot to talk about with you — precisely because you ARE so smart. xo

  8. Your reflexions on the flux and flow of blogging ring very true. I don’t know if it is possible to make that dialog lively. Yet, I do appreciate your tenaciousness and hope that you continue, for you always do liven the day.

  9. I’ve also got ridiculously moribund about my own blog. Still wondering how to manage it. And the Tiffin Tin is back! I actually, regretfully, dropped it from Reader on the 7 Feb, convinced it was gone forever. Will reinstate immediately! Maybe I should kick my music blog back to life…

  10. blogging definitely has an ebb and flow to it, I think. I’ve fallen into a sort of reliable pattern of blogging and reading blogs…one that works with my lifestyle, but I still tend to feel blogger “guilt” over not posting as much as I would like. What I’ve learned is blogging has to be an enjoyable thing, for me, outside of the confines of anything else I do, and if I only post once a week, and read other’s blogs twice a week, well – that’s okay. Glad you’ve found the fun again!

  11. Courtney, You’re exactly right. It has to be fun. The trick is figuring out how to make something fun after it has stopped being fun. I’m thinking this has to do with change, which isn’t always easy to figure out.

    U-Dad — The Tin is, indeed back. Ish. I love that blog. It’s just that sometimes getting the pictures taken, and then posted does me in. But still, it’s easy and fun. And I’m glad you read it.

    Oh Gentle-one, This morning, it took me about 45 minutes to read through the new posts on the feedreader. I have that much time. For some reason, it just seems easier this way. And thanks.

    Edwin, dude, you always, always, make me laugh.

    Hello Ms. C — Thanks. Me and the reader are now best friends.

    My dear litlove, You’re so right. I’m busy writing about Milan Kundera. And thinking about Debbie Freedman, whose interview is coming later this week.

    Lilalia, I feel better when my blogging involves both writing and reading. I know there are some one-way blogs — the ones I read that are written by literary agents, for example, are almost entirely made up of posts and then comments to which the agent rarely responds. That’s legitimate too — but I like the two-way thing.

  12. Glad to hear that you are feeling rejuvenated in terms of your blog and blogging! I have been through a bit of a dry spell with my blogging lately and am starting to pick up a little now I think. Looking forward to reading more from you!

  13. Lily, I just wanted to tell you how much one of your posts to Sandi Shelton’s blog has meant to me this past weekend as I mourn the loss of my beloved Holly dog, 13 years old, that I had to euthanize last Friday. She was in a lot of pain with no hope of recovery, and it was the right thing to do, as hard as it was to separate myself from that unconditional constant love. My house seems to have lost its soul. Thank you for these words to gave to Sandi, they had new life again this weekend.

    “The thing about being a dog owner is that they never become independent of you, and that you care for them through every phase of their lives, including almost always, their deaths and it is the hardest thing humans have to do, I think, to bear that with their beloved dog and to make the difficult decisions about this, knowing they will be separating themselves from all that love because it is the right thing to do. It’s the last gift you give to your dog, that kind of caretaking, and it is heartbreaking to have to do it. But it is fair and right, given what they mean to us.”

  14. Dear Bora, It is entirely mutual!

    Oh Gail, that is just the kindest thing for you to say, and particularly gracious and lovely considering what a difficult time you are going through. Thank you. All the best to you.

    Hello Karen, Ups and downs and dry spells — totally typical. Thank you for coming by! (And I am looking forward to more bookbath posts. xo)

  15. I do not use any of the feed reader, but I try to make my way round the blogs on my blogroll. It’s time-consuming but I’m enthused that someone will blog about things that so hit home for me. Or a great book recommendation. Comments. Comments make it easier for me to decide which blog I’ll read first. I work my way through the ones of which the bloggers have left recent comments.

  16. LOVE that you’re rejuvenating your blog (’cause, well, I love your blog), and am here to reconnect. It is ridiculous that we’ve never managed to get our lunch plan together and to meet in person. Shall we make that a new-blog-year resolution? Perhaps on one of your furlough days you can trek to Oakland and I can take you out for lunch?

  17. Fabulous idea Genie– I’d love to do just that. End of February?

    Hey Matt, I’d never thought about that — but I do really like to read the comments threads.

    Dear Ruth, I was around when you first started putting couplets at the end of your posts and I so like reading them. But now, I will actually SAY SO!

  18. This is so true! Without meaning to, I lost touch with the blogger community for awhile–and I didn’t blog much either. After reading your post, I realized the direction of the causal relationship: losing touch–>not blogging. Rather than: not blogging–>losing touch. It’s the community that keeps me blogging, not love of seeing my words online. So thanks!

  19. You’ve shed a new light on my own blogging malaise, and I wonder (not for the first time) if I simply have too many that I’m trying to read. I’ve lost any sense of intimacy or community by attempting to read, I don’t know, 300 blogs? More? It’s become a blur. I might need to weed out the ones that I’m just not getting to and try to get back to a manageable circle of blog-friends. That was when I was having more fun.

  20. Dear Lisa, I like your causal flow chart. It seems exactly right to me.

    Hello Diana! 300 Blogs! wow. That’s a lot. I think it might be okay to get that back to a more manageable number. I know that’s a different number for everyone, depending on how much time they have mostly. Still, 300 would do me in totally.

  21. I miss you when you’re gone and I love it when you reappear.

    Blogging *is* two-way. thanks for saying that. I find that if others arent’ posting I’m not nearly so interested in posting on my own blog either.

    blogging differs from other writing because I always hope that people are visiting and will comment, and join in the conversation…. not writing for an unknown, unheard from audience.

    I love it that you’re just a bloglily click away –op

  22. Actually it’s not just two way, but multi-way since i read everybody else’s comments and depending on what they say i visit their blog, and then i see other’s i know over there and it’s like a very busy neighborhood.

  23. One thing that’s always impressed me is your conversations with your readers. I admire the way you carry on those conversations right here on your blog, and we readers know we can come back and see your response to our comments. I haven’t solved the dilemma of how to respond on my blog. I usually try to answer questions there, but to click back over to visit the blogs of people who leave comments. But I often don’t have time to do that and to visit the other blogs I like to keep up with. And I have so many blogs in my feedreader that I can’t even get through them all in one shot. So many riches, so little time!

  24. Dear Jana, It’s so true about how rich the blogging world is. What I’m realizing, three years in, is that it’s also a place where people aren’t actually going anywhere — not most of them, anyway. And that means that even if there are ebbs and flows, bloggers you connect with and enjoy are there to catch up with, when you have time. xo

    OP — You’re right! It is like a busy neighborhood. Sometime it would be interesting to see all the connections in a graphic way — a web of relationships! And I love it that you’re just an op click away — and of course, sometimes we even get to have tea together.

  25. Oh, Lily! This is exactly right, and so perfect. I have no idea what google reader is or a feed, or any of that. And I have felt so out of touch with blogging lately that my blog actually frightens me now! I sat down tonight thinking I would write…but first an inspirational visit over to bloglily, and sure enough, you inspired me to go back! All these comments are so wonderful, and I’m so appreciative of all your blogging friends and commenters who have come to visit me over the past year too. What a nice community of bloggers we have now. And I’m with open palm: when one of us stops posting a lot, then it’s harder to find the energy ourselves to post. But I’m re-committing! Just have to think of something to write about. 🙂 xoxo

  26. I’m glad you’re feeling re-energized about blogging as I love to visit here and read your posts. I agree about blogging being a two-way activity but I also agree with Jana above. Visits to other blogs aside, you have, more so than on most blogs, made the interactive nature of blogging front and centre through the conversation and sense of community you foster in the comments sections following your posts. I’m going to try to emulate that!

    I haven’t experimented with feed readers as yet, but I’ve recently taken advantage of a blogger feature which allows me to link to the latest post of each person on my blog roll, and to arrange it in order of most recent posts. That way I find out quickly who has just posted something new which prompts me to visit. And thinking about other people operating the same way has inspired me to post a bit more regularly to give blog friends a reason to stop by and see me. Speaking of which, I’ve enjoyed your recent visits!

  27. Hi Kate, I’ve seen that blogger widget — the one that displays links to current posts from your blogroll. It’s terrific. And I’ve enjoyed my visits to your blog too! I love the excerpts you post from the things you’ve been thinking about. They’re always interesting and thought provoking.

  28. We want traffic and yet when we get it sometimes it feels crowded, overpopulated and there is the pressure to perform and keep up with comments and write something new at the same time. I get blog burnout and slow down my posting or just post something pretty light like a photo I took or even a quiz or meme. I don’t like to leave it on empty for too long. Sooner or later I remember how much I love blogging and then I start up fresh with new ideas all over again. 🙂

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