where the writers are
Why Bother With Blogging?

Yesterday I was very excited to read that my blog entry Remembering Peace was featured in the recent Creative Challenge on the theme of World War II. That piece of writing was a re-drafted version of a piece I wrote last November, and it means a lot to me, for many reasons, which I won't devulge now. I was excited to be honoured in this way because I anticipated this would attract more redroom members to read that piece, and potentially leave comments. So I eagerly logged into redroom this morning, expecting to see an increase in my reader stats and at least a couple of comments. Sure, my stats had increased to 60 yesterday, but had dropped again to the average, which hovers around 30 whenever I post something. The number of readers is no big deal, but the lack of comments is somewhat disappointing, especially when Huntington invites people to leave comments on "blogs that move you".  So I find myself wondering if that piece moved anyone to respond.

In addition, I'm also revisting the question that many writers must face from time to time. Why exactly do I write? I know for certain that I write because I live and through writing I am able to capture, understand and relive that lived experience multiple times, on many levels. Essentially, I write for myself, to enrich my experience of living, but I blog primarily for others, to connect with an audience, to receive their perspectives so that mine might be further developed. And so, if I blog and no-one responds, am I still blogging? I am reminded of that koan: if a tree falls in a forest and no-one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?

When I first joined redroom, I was excited by the prospect of being a part of a community of writers, of the chance to read the everyday musings of gifted writers, to share our work and engage in a dialogue. I soon recognised my own role in this reciprocal relationship, realizing that it was equally as important for me to give feedback to others. Fortunately, I have a small group of members with whom this exchange is regular and mutual. You know who you are. If it weren't for this interaction, I'm not sure that I would bother with blogging here anymore. My gratitude goes out to you. I know we all live busy lives, I also know that we all value the process of writing and understand the isolation that writers feel. That said, I realize and respect that expectations differ for each individual.

Some days, I take the time to just leave comments, rather than post myself. For me, this is an important part of being a member of a community. Sometimes I comment on blogs written by people with whom I have not previously connected and I find it curious when these members don't take the time to acknowledge my comment. I can't help but wonder, is it because they receive so many comments that they don't have the time to reply to all, or is it because they can't be bothered? Again, it's probably a case of different expectations of the blogging experience. I also wonder about the members who rarely receive feedback, or have not gathered a little support group, how they must feel. Perhaps some people are content to write simply for themselves, for the sake of writing, regardless of whether they are read or receive feedback.

I would be super excited to read comments from people who I have never heard from. You know who you are. Go on, I dare you, take a risk, reach out to someone you have not yet connected with. You never know what new insights you might be exposed to, or what you might discover about yourself or me or the rest of the redroom community.

Thanks for reading.

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These Thoughts


(Sorry...it's just me; nobody new.) ;)

High praise for putting these thoughts and questions into a blog. I wonder about these things myself and also pick new people to respond to, post comments instead of blogging, etc...

Writing is a solitary profession but this brings up a very valid point-are we a COMMUNITY of supportive writers or simply a writing compound.


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These Thoughts

Jules, you pose an interesting closing question. And for the most part, I believe that Red Room is indeed a community of supportive writers. My  experience of a few days ago was multi-layered and more complex than I revealed in that post. I realize that members have disparate expectations of this site as well as different investments in their writing journeys, often dependent on their aspirations and intended outcomes. I accept that many members use this as a writing compound, and don't judge them for this (although I think they might be missing out on something). Finally, I am starting to see Red Room as an online microcosm of society, quite fascinating when you look at it that way. I am always thrilled to read your comments, so I laughed when I read your opening line.

Warm Regards, Cindy

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Writing and...

I don't know which category I belong to, but, ahem, I once posted a comment on one of your posts and got no response! Cindy, I can only speak for myself here: I do not look at the weekly blog results as a necessary vehicle for getting more people to read, although I am gracious for the couple of times I 'won'. These may not have been the ones I felt I deserved as compared to some of my other writings. It is, naturally, a matter of how someone sees a piece.

Re. comments: I am impatient online, so I usually leave responses to what is in my line of vision, although I read much more. Again, this depends on 'regulars' and the occasional discovery. I do not know what value my feedback is of, but I try to engage in some way when I reply and if there is a discussion I continue, even if it is delayed.

Re. your piece: I did not give it the reading it required, although I bookmarked it. I saw that it was exhaustive and had a lot going on, so I wanted to be able to reach that point where I understood enough. This is just me and am sure each has their own way of responding.

Incidentally, I go straight to my home page first! It isn't vanity but I am in a hurry to post and do so quite a bit. Then I scour around and finally reach the RR home page.

Finally, I agree getting comments is important and gratifying, but not getting them does not mean they are not read or you are not writing well enough. I do not look at the dashboard each time, but I found something strange. My podcast has a healthy number of plays, but there are more clicks on it while the plays remain static. What are people clicking for - to read the comments?

Excuse this long rant and thank you for stimulating me to write. I value your comments when you occasionally post them and I know you would be reading if a subject appeals to you. Perhaps, that's the way it is for many?


PS: I was told by at least two people that they were hesitant to post comments on my blog...so that's another angle for me, the vampire!

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Writing and...

Farzana, of course you are in the category of "regular reciprocal readers", a much valued member of that group in fact. Just to be clear, my point about people not replying to comments I post was actually directed at those with whom I have previously had no contact. As you correctly pointed out, I too do not always comment, nor do I reply to comments. In fact, I go through 'stages', dependent on many factors. I appreciate your comments and agree with everything you have said, especially your point about my piece being exhaustive and requiring time and the correct headspace to read properly. I also hope that my post about this topic did not come across as a "rant" (incidentally, I don't read your response in that way). I suppose I was curious to know how others felt about the nature of this community. Perhaps I was too carried away by my first experience of being 'recognised' for my writing and maybe that came across as indignation at receiving no comments. Thanks for your reminder that this does not reflect poor or uninteresting writing. I realise that this is a common experience for all writers. As usual, I have far too much to say about this, but shall leave it there for now.

Warm Regards, Cindy

ps. how on earth could someone be "hesitant to post comments" on your blog? They would be missing out on stimulating discussion for sure.

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I think it is sometimes a

I think it is sometimes a necessary exercise to let it all out. I have already told you earlier about speaking out, so in this case I was merely giving another point of view. There are, as you yourself have, many others that one has not yet talked about. I have gone 'off' for periods and I know others have. Sometimes, I have wondered how after putting in so much not only in the post - that is my headache, as I see it - but also in the responses, it all gets lost.

There are specific instances and not all is happy-happy stuff, so I shall not muck around here with it. 

I agree that Jules raised an important point. 

And Pat, hello to you too. I think when the humane and our writerly selves merge then it is a powerful coming together. Wish you well.

Cindy, I perfectly understand what you are saying. 

The hesitancy the couple of people had was to do with how I would respond to their response. I probably come across and a bit 'distant', a bit too blunt. We are so many kinds and the important thing is to live beyond a space. 

I shall leave you with just this for now and maybe you'll know when I post something!

Much happiness...


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Dear Cindy, You explain yourself with clarity and insight. You're honest, too. I used to blog a lot and had a wonderful community on Red Room, which meant more to me than I can explain. When I underwent open-heart surgery two years ago many Red Room writers lit candles for me, commented on my video wherein I talk about my impending surgery and comforted me. Dr. Jitu has become a true friend. He and his wife traveled from their home to Amaritsa to say prayers for me at a special temple Without a doubt the Red Room community helped me face extensive and serious surgery feeling loved and enveloped by kindness. I’m so grateful. However, since my recovery, which took a while, I haven’t had time to blog. I’m writing a book and as you know, writing is a big job. In fact my blog about WW ll you so eloquently commented on...THANK YOU VERY MUCH... is an excerpt from that book, or I wouldn’t have had time to write it. We are all in our own little bubbles, aren’t we? And writing is solitary. I love logging onto Red Room, reading a few pieces and moving on without comment, otherwise I would never get another thing done. The internet can eat us up and we don’t even know it, although thank godess for it....and hello Feranza, one of those who helped me through my dark night. Cindy, I’m so glad to meet you. Your writing is exceptional. In fact I thought, Cindy would be a wonderful reader for me. See, thinking about myself. Well, darlin’ at eighty-two I’m allowed.

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Our own little bubbles

Dear Pat,
Thank you so much for your lovely response. I read it last night and it left me with a warm glow. I wanted to wait until the morning to do justice to my reply. The innate wisdom expressed here in your comment serves as an important lesson to me at a key point in my writing journey, once again proving the truth of that Zen proverb, 'when the student is ready, the teacher appears'. You have reminded me of a truth that I seem to be forgetting lately, a truth about respecting individual journeys, trusting in people and the path we all take. In the past year I have spent more time on the internet than ever before, and I suspect this interaction has had both a positive and negative impact on my outlook. I am so pleased to read of your recovery and the fact that you were supported by this community. How fabulous that you are now writing a novel. Inspirational. I look forward to reading more of your work and responding whenever my own path allows.
Warm Regards, Cindy

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Invisible Girl to the Rescue

I had to at least post a comment, since many times I blog using my alter ego "Invisible Girl" as a mouthpiece to the many women putting themselves out there to what often seems like a silent world. Now that would be something to write about - Invisible Girl writes a blog that no one reads - I'll have to keep that thought in the creative idea book!

Thanks for reminding us all that reflection, feedback, or just being one of the "Who's" that remind those around us that "We're here, we're here, we're here!" is equally important to the creative endeavor.

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Visibility and Voice

What a wonderful alter ego you have created! Thanks for your response, Kelly. I appreciate your support. The irony is that I am often guilty of the inaction that I ranted about. So my piece provides a useful mirror for myself as well. I have since realised that just knowing that readers exist can be enough. Feedback is a bonus. Best wishes for your own creative endeavours.