I’ve been really lucky with not only this blog, but also just the blogging experience, for the past year or so. I started this blog I think four, maybe even five years ago. I’d write a post or two every couple of months; really sporadically and oftentimes, not the best craftsmanship, either. It wasn’t surprising that no one really read it, let alone liked or commented on a post (and don’t even dream about something following this thing).
But, about two years ago, I really started using the blog as an outlet, sorta like an online journal that anyone could happen to read, if they wanted to. And though I didn’t make a theme to follow or brand it in any certain way, trends did start to pop up: writing, naturally. Appearance and weight and self-worth and body expectation and societal expectations and how all of those things play off one another. Your general nerdery or fangirling. Drooling over fictional characters.
I’d get a like here or a follow there, but I never really expected the blog to really go anywhere. I never really expected to get a following. That was never the goal. The goal of this blog was to be my outlet, because as much as I tried to get into journaling, I could never really do it. But blogging I enjoyed. So I went with that.
Let’s fast-forward to now.
The other day I called into work because it snowed and I’m a pansy when it comes to driving. I had “catching up on blog stuff” on the To-Do list that I’d made weeks prior, but was still suffering from my holiday hangover. I pulled up WordPress, made a glass of grape juice and went to work, catching up on comments from across all of my blogs that I had neglected to respond to for a solid month (again, the holidays were my excuse). It took me a better part of an hour to catch up and I don’t think it was until that moment that I realized I’ve…kinda accrued a following, of a sort.
I also didn’t realize how much it meant to me that I had.
But it wasn’t because of a number, which I still have no idea what the official number of followers are. It was because of the comments. The fact that I have comments to read and respond to. It’s because of that interaction and the discussions that result through the comments. The fact that someone took time out of their busy life to pause and offer thoughts of something that I had written. It doesn’t matter if I wrote it because I wanted to get it off my chest, if I needed to process something, to vent, to grieve, to fangirl, to celebrate, to nerd out. I wrote something and people were writing back.
It felt amazing.
Then, since I had the rest of the afternoon free, I scrolled through my WordPress feed and pulled up all the posts I wanted to read from the blogs that I follow, but missed due to eating too many sweet potatoes and getting wrapping paper stuck to my forehead. In the end, I had 20 tabs threatening to crash my computer if I didn’t start read and read quickly. But I was going to read them a little bit differently, this time around.
You see, usually, if I even have time to read all the posts that interest me or the blogs I try to keep up with regularly, I usually read it, have nth number of thoughts and reactions, hit “like” and then move on to whatever else life was calling me to do. I almost never paused to comment and actually write those thoughts down, even if they were as simply as, “Hey, I really enjoyed this post, because it resonated with me in X fashion. Keep it up.”
That was glaringly apparent as, when I was resolute about commenting after each post that I read this time around, I was continually greeted with the same message: “Your comment is awaiting moderation.”
There were some blogs that I have been following for months that I had never commented on once (as, to my understanding, that message only pops up when you’re posting your first comment onto said blog). And that blew me away, especially realizing how many warm fuzzies I get whenever someone comments on my blog and starts up a great discussion. Hell, I’ve actually formed entire friendships from discussions that sparked on blog comments. How could I get so stoked about people responding to my posts yet not even do the same thing for so many bloggers that I admire, who write posts I enjoy or sometimes even need?
I don’t think I’ll be able to write a comment every time I want to. Life and schedules are just not that kind. But I do plan to try and be more cognizant of the power of leaving a comment or a thought or a question; of taking that extra five minutes to put in a little more effort. Because what’s five minutes compared to someone else’s day being completely made?