Monday, June 26, 2006

How blogging can ruin your life (Personality For Sale, part 2)

Tidal waves swept through cyberspace this weekend, with the assertion that Laura Lippman had implied author Martha Laurence is dead.

Before you read on, let me warn you. This post is going to get back to what I was thinking about when I asked if people should change who they are to succeed in their career. It isn't one of my chipper days on the blogs.

This is an excerpt from the interview Elaine Flinn did with Laura Lippman on Murderati on the weekend:

EE: Which writer would you love to have all to yourself in a cozy corner of the bar at the next Bcon? We'll keep this from David. Sorta kinda honest...
LL: Martha Lawrence. I miss her. Or James Crumley, but you need a stick to beat off all his fan boys.
EE: I wish I'd had a chance to meet Martha Lawrence.

There was nothing wrong with what Laura said. She did not say Martha had died. However, in the context of the statements, it is also understandable that someone might think that. In fact, people did think that, and questions popped up, in the comments thread and elsewhere.

I’m not mentioning this with the intention of embarrassing either Elaine or Laura, both well-respected authors, Elaine a regular on the popular Murderati blog. I’m mentioning this because it demonstrates one thing: even written words can be misinterpreted.

Before I became a full-time writer, before I worked in education, I studied communication theory. I’m convinced that the main reason people have trouble with any medium is not understanding it, it’s power, and it’s intrinsic “message” – the medium is the message (McLuhan) - but that’s a tangent I shall not indulge myself in for the moment.

When I studied communication theory, I had the privilege of reading and writing a paper based on Neil Postman’s fantastic book, Amusing Ourselves to Death. In it, he discusses a case example, where a scholar was rebuked for attempting to cite an oral reference. He was told by professors to replace it with a documented, written reference.

Pg 12 “The candidate argued further that there were more than three hundred references to published works in this thesis and that it was extremely unlikely that any of them would be checked for accuracy by the examiners, by which he meant to raise the question, Why do you assume the accuracy of a print-referenced citation but not a speech-referenced one?”

“The answer he received took the following line: You are mistaken in believing in the form in which an idea is conveyed is irrelevant to its truth. In the academic world, the published word is invested with greater prestige and authenticity than the spoken word. What people say is assumed to be more causally uttered than what they write.”


Any of us will say things we’ll later regret. We’ll shoot off our mouth, especially when tempers flare, or when we’ve been drinking, or if we feel comfortable with someone. If you’ve never regretted something you’ve said, you must come here just to laugh at me, right? Glad to be of service…

How does this tie in with my post about changing who you are to succeed in your career? Well, I was thinking specifically of the public careers – author, musician, actor.

Apparently my internet presence has been overestimated. Now, let me back the train up and explain a few things. Okay, one. I participate on a few forums. I’ve been on Val McDermid’s 2004, 2005, now it’s 2006… I’ve been on DorothyL the same amount of time, give or take, although I don’t consider it a forum. It’s a listserve. I am on another author forum. I was asked to help get it started, and I was happy to do that. It was easy. In order for people to think a forum is a happening place, there needs to be discussion. Especially when a forum is new, people don’t care so much if there’s a small number of people posting – they know more will come. So, I employed the basic strategy – generate a number of different posts, a fair bit of discussion. Get the ball rolling. Give people something to talk about. And it was very easy to back off because when the forum went “live” people jumped in and I didn’t need to generate discussion.

But what if people think I’m just participating on forums and commenting on blogs to promote myself?

It is a vicarious benefit of having a blog, yes, that people will hear about you who might not otherwise have. But that was never why I started blogging. I tend to say I started for the hell of it, but in truth, I thought it would be good discipline to focus my thoughts on one cohesive topic and write about it on a regular basis. If I’d really thought about marketing, I would have had that I was with Spinetingler on here from the beginning, I never would have called my blog Sandrablabber, and I would have touted myself as an editor, for sure. People would have listened to me more.

But I was just, foolishly, me being me.

I first started reading blogs about a year ago, as research for an interview with Stuart MacBride. I’ve been commenting on his blog ever since. My own philosophy is, I was so excited to get comments here when I started blogging, I always want to acknowledge people. I interact. If I’m going to be away from my computer, I mention it. I try to answer everyone, for at least the first few hours following a post. And I do try – sooner or later – to track down the people who comment here and check out their blog. Because I want to get to know them. I’m interested in you guys.

I couldn’t possibly comment everywhere I visit each day. Simply, not enough time. Furthermore, some days I look at the referrals and see someone’s come off of First Offenders, or another blog, and I think, “Crap! I haven’t been there yet today!”

My friends, you stop by and read and I love you for it. I love those who comment. I completely understand those who don’t. I love all the people who’ve invested time, made this a regular stop on their cyberjourney, and made this a cool place to talk. I’m not dropping by your blogs to raise my profile. I think it’s considerate, first of all. Otherwise, it’s like being the person who gets phoned, but never bothers to call. Eventually, that friend stops calling you, right? Because it’s a one-way street.

My thinking is, if a friend has their latest book cover pix posted on their blog should I email and say, “Great cover”? Why not just post a comment – that’s what they’re there for. I don’t mean to criticize people who email, but sometimes, I end up answering questions twice, once in email and once on my blog. I don’t mind myself, but I don’t tend to do that, unless I have something really heavy to say.

The thing is, my internet activities primarily are about me as a person. Should I stick my nose in the air and snub those who’ve supported me by not commenting on their blogs or forums anymore? This isn’t an easy question for me. I feel very much like I haven’t wanted to lose myself on this journey. I’ve wanted to be the person I always have been.

Now, I’ve been on Val’s forum for a few years, DorothyL as well, and I’d bet money next to nobody knew it. Because they didn’t know my name, I was Joe Blow Nobody. Now, sometimes people notice. It’s that way for me. I used to get DL messages from people and I had no clue who they were. Then, I discovered they were an author, their books, magazine, whatever. And when their name ends up in my inbox, I don’t think, Goddamn fucking bitch is out there overpromoting herself again. I think, “Oh, (insert name here) has commented.” And depending on who it is, I might drop everything to go read their thoughts because (sue me) I’m interested in what they have to say.

I actually feel really uncomfortable with people who never speak up. Are they just a face? Who are they? Or are they someone who holds their banner in the air, decides which way the wind is blowing and goes with it until the weather changes? I don’t know those people. I’m not talking about people who don’t comment here, I’m talking about people who never express an opinion on anything, never share a personal insight, story, whatever.

If we went by averages, I don’t post as much at Val’s as I used to. I go through phases with DorothyL, where I post regularly, and then long periods of silence.

But I have always, always, always wanted my friends to know I love and support them.

I remember Ian Rankin making reference once to the difference with authors – they were people. They weren’t “celebrities” like musicians, so people could relate to them.

I’ll be brutally honest with you. I fear that if I stop commenting and interacting the same way I have for the past few years, it means I’m developing an artificial public persona, the mask I’ll wear to show my “acceptable” side.

This is something really important for all of you to think about. I never feel when Stuart or Cornelia don’t comment that they’re snubbing me. I know they’re brutally busy. And when they comment, I never feel they’re here to promote themselves – I LOVE IT! They’re welcome any time. They’re my friends - I love them. It’s that simple. And damn, if you haven’t bought their books yet, what’s wrong with you????

For myself, if I don’t take a minute to answer someone who addresses me on a forum or to post a comment when nobody else has answered a question, I feel rude. I have an obsessive-compulsive problem, and feel obligated to answer every email too. I have three main email addresses and I cleared one on the weekend – 1802 messages in 9 days. Dear GOD, someone shoot me now…

So, I have a problem. Because I want to keep it real - I mean, I’m a soon-to-be-published author, not some fucking rock star! I never want to be unapproachable. I love the fact that writers and bloggers email me, that friends email me, that people feel they can talk to me. Does it sound boastful to say that I’m shocked, and flattered, that 663 people read my post last week on Killer Year? Wow. I remember being so surprised back when I got 30 hits a day on my blog.

I’ve given you my perspective about my internet activities. I can honestly state for myself that what I primarily care about when commenting is supporting the blogger, especially my regulars here, and keeping in touch with friends.

While I’ve looked at blogs and forums more as casual conversation, when you post something, it’s out there forever. It’s almost impossible to retract what you right, when you can smooth over what you say with, “What I meant was…” and clear it up. Gone. Unless someone has a tape recorder they can’t prove you said it. Over time, people will forget about it.

But it isn’t the same with comments on blogs or forums.

Sometimes, staying silent isn’t the same as selling out. It’s about showing common sense. Patrick Shawn Bagley commented on my Saturday post, "Did you ever fear that by speaking your mind and taking a stand for what you believed in that you’d kill your career?"Sort of. I know you'll find this hard to believe, but I have on occasion kept opinions to myself...if I thought expressing them would have repercussions in the workplace. I'm not talking about a fear of being fired, but merely trying to avoid unneccesary tension in a small office. In the interests of keeping the peace I sometimes keep my mouth shut.Then, to alleviate my frustration, I go home and post dumbass comments on other folks' blogs.

Aw Patrick, we’re kindred spirits. I vent through my keyboard all the time.

And we aren’t alone. My husband did a web search on a coworker and discovered she had a blog. And discovered she’d been writing about how much she, ahem, disliked evilkev. There were references to phone conversations he’d had from work, to “his wife”, talking about his stupid coworkers…

Kevin and I thought it was funny. Not everybody would. The story I started off with, with Elaine and Laura, demonstrates that even a sincere comment can be misconstrued, even in the context of an interview.

Sometimes, you have to think about how things sound, and how things look because, ladies and gentlemen, perception is often more powerful than truth.

I’m not going to stand here and tell you to change who you are. Fundamentally, in your core, I don’t think you should. No matter what you do, there will always be people who have the wrong idea about you. I recently went through this with a phone call, about someone spreading around a hateful email about me. I’ve never met the person who dislikes me, there are no allegations involved against me that I can answer to. They just hate me and call me names.

What can I do about it? Sweet fuck all.

Lisa Hunter put a reference to a quote in the comments of my Saturday post. H.D. Thoreau said to beware of all endeavors that required new clothes.

Consider this now, my friends. If you suddenly stop posting when you sign the book deal, some will think you’re a snobby jerk who needs to be taken down a peg or two.

If you don’t, some might think you’re working every angle to sell yourself.

If you jump up and down and gush on your blog about selling a story, some might genuinely be happy for you, because they know you’re enthusiastic.

And others might think you’re completely self-absorbed.

In the blog world, words are forever. even if someone decides to remove an entire thread along with comments, it can still show up if googled. i'm not saying that was done, i'm pointing out how words remain on the internet even though they are no longer on your blog. when you blog, think etched in stone. think possibly backed up in a file on somebody's external drive. you never know who's watching and reading. This quote comes from Anne Frasier’s blog. In the wake of many things said in anger or with heated emotions over the ITW controversy, Anne’s advice is good advice, something nobody should hastily dismiss.

In the discussion on my Saturday post, I talked about someone in my extended family that I try to avoid discussions with. It isn’t about selling out but, as I put it there (the comment has the context) “There’s no point shouting at a deaf man.”

There are definitely times when speaking out isn’t going to make a difference to the situation, and all it may end up doing is hurting you. I don’t necessarily consider staying silent then to be selling out, but that’s something for each individual to work out for themselves.

We can disagree on stuff, but if you’re my friend, I’ll still love you. Friendship isn’t about 100% agreement, and it sure as hell isn’t about one-way streets. There’s give and take, ups and downs, but end of the day it’s people who like each other and want to share in each other’s lives. I support my friends.

I did have a bit of a knee-jerk reaction to something someone said to me the other day, and I deleted some comments I made. Something I normally never ever do. I spent most of the weekend unable to eat or sleep and have been trying to work this out ever since in my own head.

Because it seems that, no matter the truth about my intentions, not everyone thinks my motives are sincere.

And what I hope is that you’ll tell me what you think. Should people pull back when they sign a book deal? Should people stay the same? Not just people with book deals, but in general. How much is too much? Do you feel I’m using you by dropping by your blog and commenting? If you do, feel free to email – I want to know.

Anne’s advice is really good advice. It’s something for us all to think about.

In fact, if I’d been a smarter marketing type, I would have thought about this blog long and hard before I started. Everything would have been strategic. I’m afraid I’m just not that savvy. But if your blog is about promoting yourself, then this is something you’ll want to think about.

JA Konrath has said there’s not such thing as bad publicity, but I’m not sure I agree. And, like it or not, your web presence can be construed as a form of publicity. So, even if you mean well, well, not considering all of this might amount to cutting off your nose to spite your face.

Not a good idea.

And thanks for bearing with me through these long, rambling thoughts. And you really should read Jason Pinter's post at Killer Year today if this speaks to you, because it's like he covered the thoughts and feelings in the other half of my brain.

37 comments:

Brett Battles said...

Sandra, you are one of the most considerate bloggers in blogland. The way you approach the whole process is to be admired. I only hope that I can be half as mindful about these matters as you are.

JT Ellison said...

Bravo, Sandra. I'm fascinated to hear the answers to your insightful questions today. I know this forum is filled with smart, reasoned people who will give their opinions freely, never to feel unwelcome, because you've been so generous with your time and have focused your web presence on making sure this is the place for discussion.

DesLily said...

I've heard said: Give 10 people the identical written paragraph and you will get 10 different responses to it...

and so goes the written word. (or so they say)

Steve Allan said...

Sandra, I wouldn't read your blog if it was all fluff. Keep up the good work.

Trace said...

As I've said before. My blog is like something written by Forest Gump compared to your's. I love your blog. I usually don't have anything insightful or intelligent to comment on about your awesome blog entries. Except maybe to say, "Life is like a box of choc-o-lates . . ."

JA Konrath said...

I'm sending you some Valium. And a puppy.

As entertaining as the blogosphere, and the Internet, is, it isn't really very important.

Life is too short to worry about mistakes you've made, or people who hate you.

And there is no such thing as bad publicity--I'm proof. :)

Flood said...

FANTASTIC post.

Your thoughts about not being able to win everyone over no matter what you do bear repeating again and again.

As a baby-blogger I am learning a lot from the high-profile bloggers, like you. Thanks for being honest and putting all of yourself out there.

JT Ellison said...

You know, Joe Konrath has hit the nail on the head. Who are we marketing to? Are we marketing ourselves to other writers? Yes, we are. Too much so, in many ways.
We really need to find ways to transcend this community and focus on bringing readers to our doors.
It sucks that this two way street exists. Let's find a way around it.

angie said...

Okay, I totally hate Blogger. Although, I'd written a long-winded post, so it's probably just as well. Here's the short version of what I wanted to say.

Thanks for being the first one to comment on my blog. Thanks for being supportive of your fellow writers and bloggers - and I'm not talking about me here. Thanks for bringing up pertinent topics for civil discussion. Thanks for being opinionated, but not a jerk when responding to an opposing view. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Thanks for standing up for what you believe.

It's okay to change - just means you're growing. It's okay to have healthy boundaries & not answer every last email as soon as you get it. Not everyone will like you or agree with you - or with anyone else for that matter - and that's okay too.

Hated the rude bx of last week - blogged about it last night - but loved that so many tried to remain civil in a heated debate. Am ready to get back to writing. And that's pretty much it.

Sandra Ruttan said...

Brett, you're so sweet!

DesLily, I've actually heard the saying that if you put 7 agents in a room you'll get 8 opinions. LOL!

Steve, love that picture! You have a great blog yourself, one I always enjoy stopping by.

Trace, you've had some amazing posts and you've been like a guide to me on my blogging journey! Geesh, girl, love your blog!

Flood, I'm glad you found it helpful. Your own blog is a force to be reckoned with, and you've done a fantastic job with it.

Now, JA, can you actually get the valium past the FDA? Or do they only care about what comes in instead of what goes out?

You know what I love about you? No matter if we disagree - and I love to fight with you - you know it isn't personal and end of the day are cool with people. You're one of the most unpetty people I know, if that's a word, and very supportive of newcomers in this business. I almost feel like referring to you as an Angel today instead of a Satanic Influence. Almost...

JT, this is something to consider, for sure. I think of blogs as being more about networking with other writers than networking with consumers. It is true some people may buy your book because of your blog - I've bought a few already because of blogs - but I don't think that's the prime focus of them. We seem to be selling ourselves more to agents, editors, publishers, authors than anyone else.

Stephen Blackmoore said...

Nicely put. I have to agree with Joe on the importance of the blogosphere. Yes, it's gaining populatiry, it's going out to more and more people.

But it hasn't reached a level of maturity for it to be taken too seriously, yet. As long as serious (I'm thinking mostly news and intelligent political discussion here) blogging gets lumped together with things like Myspace and LiveJournal, the general perception that it's not all that serious is going to persist.

At the same time, it comes down to who's reading it and whether or not that individual takes it seriously.

Most of the people that are being marketed to aren't necessarily reading a blog. I don't know how many people have read his books specifically because of his blog, but I suspect that Joe has had more luck outside the blogosphere than in it.

I write for a Los Angeles blog that just got the So Cal Journalism award for Best Group Blog from the LA Press Club. Sounds neat and prestigious, but ultimately it means bupkes. Much like blog and listserv flamewars (or sexist ITW controversies), it's going to be forgotten very soon. The day after it was announced, I suspect.

Yes, blogging is recorded writing, and it can easily come and bite us all in the ass. But in the grand scheme of careers, I don't think it's a huge hit.

Now as to this comment:

"I have an obsessive-compulsive problem, and feel obligated to answer every email too."

You are so lucky we like you.

Julia Buckley said...

Hi, Sandra.

Anyone who is overwhelmed has every right to pull back. Offer a polite explanation if you wish. If you're overtaxed you'll have nothing left to offer others. I see no reason why you would have to justify anything. This is my motherly advice of the day.

Julia

JamesO said...

I don't really have a problem with people using their blogs as self-promotion, as long as they're up front about it. Promoting yourself through the comments sections of other blogs and forums is a different matter, but I haven't seen you doing that, Sandra. And anyway, if you worry too much about what other people think of your every utterance and action, you'll never write or do anything.

The best you can do is be honest and try to get your facts right (both of which you do far better than me). Even so, some people will take offence and others think you a pushy self-publicist, and some will dislike the way you use the word 'obligated'. In the end, that's their problem, not yours.

Patrick Shawn Bagley said...

Tried to come up with a good dumbass comment for you here, Sandra, but "I got nothin'." Sorry.

For what it's worth, I'm with jameso on the self-promotion issue. Publishers like it when an author is able to get the word out, and blogs are one way to self-promote, but doing it on someone else's blog would be tacky. I can't see you ever doing that.

Flood said...

I think of blogs as being more about networking with other writers than networking with consumers.

I had a debate with a friend over this very issue on the weekend. I've been seperating the work from the blogging, thinking the latter more of a social, community act. I still want both to be successful though, right?

My friend makes the point that the blog means nothing if the the work isn't any good, and that's true. To me though, they can't be compared unless the blog is specifically for promotion.

Bill Cameron said...

I have been posting around the internet for seven or eight years now, but I've only just taken the step from "guy who can't stop talking" to "guy who can't stop talking and also occasionally mumbles, 'Please notice me.'" It's not been a completely comfortable transition. I just like talking to people. I've drifted around, and of late have been chatting in some new venues, but it's not like I'm doing anything fundamentally different from what I've been doing for years.

But, yeah, I have this blog thing now, and part of the reason it exists is because I got this book coming out and I hope people buy it. I want people to be able to find out about me on the internets, you know, which means establishing a presence here. But the thing is, if my blog is just me going, "ohmigawd lookie me ain't I the coolishest?!?!11one!!11!" then even I will think it's not worth reading. I hope I can make it interesting on its own merits, and if people read it and chat with me through it, that will be its own reward, even if it never sells a single book.

I do worry that if people see me showing up on their blogs they'll just think, "Oh brother, there's another one of those guys saying, 'Please notice me.' How crass." In fact, I know of at least one person who thinks exactly that about me, another writer whose work I really admire. I've mostly quit looking at his blog, and definitely quit posting there, as a result. That has brought to mind the question, "Will the fact that he doesn't like me personally influence my decision to buy his books the way it has my reading of his blog?" I mean, I really like his books after all. If it's a good book, it's a good book, whether the author thinks I'm a ninny or not. Right? It's weird, because before I had a book of my own to promote, obviously not everyone liked me. But now, there's this risk of putting people off because what I see as participating in a conversation is interpretted as Blatant Self-Promotion.

In the end, it comes back to what we talked about here over the weekend. What can we do but simply be ourselves? Use a measured degree of contextual filtering just as we do in the analog world, and let the chips fall where they may. For myself, it would be too much work to try to be something other than who I am. That may mean sometimes I put folks off, but what can I do? If I allow my filters to transform myself just to please others, the person I become may not be a person I like. At that point, what good is it to be liked by others?

And as if this post hasn't gone on long enough, speaking to the point about the influence of the internet, yesterday I stopped by my local mystery bookstore. I asked one of the owners, "What's your take on this whole ITW awards controversy that's been burning up the blogosphere this past week?"

She said, "What controversy?"

Sue said...

I understand where you're coming from on this. I recently made a comment on Robert Gregory Browne's blog, Anatomy of a Book Deal and afterwards I wondered if he or others might have thought I was responding just to get them to go look at my blog. That hadn't been my intention... I was merely using a review I had written as an example but others might not have seen it that way. I thought about going back and posting another comment, but then thought that might look even worse.

So at times like those I try to remember this quote from Dr. Wayne Dyer... "Be independent of the good opinion of others."

That's not an easy place to get to... but the alternative is driving ourselves crazy or worse, making ourselves ill.

After all, most people seem to think writers are crazy, though I prefer the term eccentric, myself. But no one benefits when we make ourselves ill over things that are really out of our control, such as whether others have a good opinion of us or not.

One more thing... the very act of questioning proves that you are unlikely to allow "fame" to change you in any fundamental way, except to grow as a person and author.

Aloha,
Sue

Sandra Ruttan said...

Angie, I think we were on simultaneously, and I think that maybe contributes to the hiccups. But fantastic post. Really enjoy your perspective. Good for you for venting it.

Stephen, LOL! You like me? That's just so damn sweet!

Julia, you're a darling. And welcome to the wild, wacky world that is blogging!

James, you're right. I have let fear paralyze me in the past. It's something I can't give in to.

Patrick, thanks for letting me quote you, and I hope you didn't feel I made you look stupid. Believe me, you aren't alone - I'm proof!

Flood, very well put. I figure there will be those who like my books who don't like my blog because I use four-letter words here, for example, and can be rather in your face, but that's not what my book is like. Still, they're separate entities that can feed each other, but not necessarily. I blog to connect, and blow off steam now, and because I enjoy it. If I didn't, I wouldn't be here.

Bill, you never need to worry about that with me. As to the author... There is one author why might have just got bumped from a hardback to a paperback purchase, for me. It's never happened to me before, but part of the thing is that there are SO many new authors I'm discovering, that if someone comes in my face and is a complete ass, well, I can wait an extra 7-12 months to read their book and still be well entertained in the mean time. And I'm not sure I've made that decision. It would be the first time, it's an author I only have four books by at this point, and you say "only four" but believe me, If you're in my love column I've got everything you've done. 4/4 is one thing - 4 our of 10 or 12, well, they weren't on top of my tbr list anyway, were they? So I guess that's where risk comes in. If you are a stallwart fan, it will be hard to change that. If you're just more of an appreciator tottering on the edge, you might be put off.

The thing is, I figure if they're such a jerk in cyberland, if I met them at a conference I'd likely despise them. Probably better to be put off and steer clear of them.

And I will go buy books by people I like, without knowing a thing about their work. I did that yesterday.

Sue, very good advice. Rob is a great person, and while I'm loathe to speak on his behalf, I'm sure he didn't think that. I'm sure he's happy to hear from readers - otherwise, why have a comment section at all?

anne frasier said...

wow. i've had this comment window open for a hour. fantastic post, sandra. there's just so much going on here and my brain is so scattered. well, first off we like hanging out with you, plain and simple. and thanks for the quote and link. i sound rather wise, but is a person wise if she can't follow her own advice? :D

anne frasier said...

oh, and i absolutely don't feel you're using me by commenting on my blog!!!!! WTF???

you go out of your way to make everybody feel a part of the blogging community. that's what's going on.


shame on you.

Sandra Ruttan said...

Is a person wise if...

LOL Anne! It is part of what makes us human, that we can set a standard and then fail ourselves to live up to it. CS Lewis said that he learned to forgive others because he realized his whole life he'd been able to forgive one person: himself.

If we look at our shortcomings and say, "I'm a failure" then we quit, don't we? If we look at our shortcomings and say, "Yeah, I need to do better" and work damn hard at it, we're growing, and that's all we can ask and hope for. Maybe I won't get it right today, but tomorrow's a new day to do things differently.

Mary said...

Sandra

You don't need to change - you'll naturally evolve as your life moves through it's various stages ... and I hope that you'll continue to share it with us.

You inspired me to have a go at blogging (very patchy attempts though - I must try harder)! When you have posted on my blog, I know that it's because you're the kind of person who wants me to know that somebody out there is reading my ramblings - nothing to do with self-promotion at all.

Through reading your blog and your postings on various sites, I feel that you're the kind of person who I could chat to quite comfortably, if I were ever to make it to Harrogate (even if you are a best selling author by the time I get there - I just know you'll still mix with us mere mortals).

Keep doing what you're doing - you do it so well!

Sandra Ruttan said...

Mary, you'll get there! And I do drop by every so often too, to see if you're back. But life gets in the way sometimes, and I understand that too.

You rock! Thanks for your comments. They mean a lot.

Rob Gregory Browne said...

Sue, rest assured that the thought never entered my mind -- re your comment on my blog. Let's not get carried away and take this blogging thing too seriously. All comments are welcome, no matter what your motivation may or may not be.

I, on the other hand, am definitely commenting here so you'll visit my blog. :)

Much to my wife's chagrin, I'm one of the lucky ones who has achieved Dr. Dyer's ideal. Until, that is, the reviews start coming out...

Rob Gregory Browne said...

By the way, Sandra -- great post!

Sandra Ruttan said...

Thanks Rob! But if you comment here so I'll comment there, I guess we're just playing ring around the rosie, right?

I'll make it easy and wave a great big flag tomorrow that says, "Read Rob's blog!" just to make it easier for you.

Sue said...

Thanks Rob, that does make me feel better. So much for me being independent of the good opinion of others... lol. But I do try.

And your commenting here plus seeing your link in Sandra's list of links was how I ended up finding your blog... so it's working. :o)

An old Irish blessing (that I just made up):

May all your reviews be good ones!

Amra Pajalic said...

I don't think there's anything wrong in posting comments on other blogs in an effort to get noticed and get people interested in your blog, as long as your posting genuine comments that thoughtfully reflect on the discussion taking place.

People who are posting and the subtext is "Look at me, look at me," are very easy to spot. The reason I think there's nothing wrong with using it in some small way to promote yourself because the whole reason of blogging and commenting is to be read and to interact. By this interaction we grow as writers and and as individuals.

I've learnt so much by reading your blog. It took me a long time to find my voice and post about personal things as well as things in the world that interest me. While I'm not a person who has trouble saying something, I was too scared about how I might be perceived that I held back so much and came across as having nothing to say.

Your blog is a wonderful resource and a great read because you mesh your personal life, professional life, social commentary as well as clue newby writers in on the process by leading through example and are selfless in promoting other blogs and writers.

I'm in awe of your blog presence and it's not ever contrived because you don't just post for the sake of posting. You read and think about whatever the person has posted about, and then come back and interact further as the comment discussion develops.

Your only flaw is that sometimes you care too much about what people might be thinking, but that's also part of your charm. Your dilligence comes from the fact that you want people to know who you really are and not misunderstand you.

Furthermore I follow up on people's blogs because of their comments. They might sound like a fuckwit and I want to check them out for evil reasons or they might sound like a kindred soul and I want to connect. So while the comments are an opportunity for people to post their 2 cents, they are also an opportunity to get to know people.

I feel like I've got a little tiny community happening and am getting more and more addicted to blogging and reading blogs of people who I'm interested in hearing about-and you are to blame!!! But that's not such a bad thing. I've grown so much in terms of thinking about my writing, marketing myself as well as just enjoying the process of being a writer wich all the different opportunites to interact. It's a lonely road sometimes and all these opportunities are a way of easing the burden.

Thank you darling Sandra. Be yourself and keep up the wonderful posts. I'm addicted.

Andrea at Lochthyme said...

Sandra don't worry about what everyone else thinks! You can't please everyone no matter how hard you try.

I love reading your blog because you have such interesting thoughts and ideas...gets me to think. There are some blogs out there that are all about promoting and others that are not. I've always though of your blog as more of a journal than a way to promote yourself.

And as for commenting on other people's blogs please feel free to comment on mine anytime you want. :) Course it would help if I would post more often on my blog but sometimes ideas just aren't there. :0

Like others have said tell something to 10 people and they will hear 10 different things. Happens all the time especially on the internet. Not much you can do about it, just be yourself. And remember there are those of us out here who think you are great just the way you are. :0

Sandra Ruttan said...

Sue, I discover a lot of writers through comments! That's how I got to be friends with Cornelia, and I never once thought she did it for that reason, but I just liked her style so I decided to check her out (from Miss Snark's blog, actually).

Amra, your sentiments are great ones. Yes, it is an interactive community, and I could do a whole post on "the medium is the message" as it relates to blogs. I understand people who have day jobs and kids who're too busy to deal with a lot of comments and don't interact as much, but blogs that don't allow comments? It's like a one-handed piano player. Not saying someone with one hand can't learn to play, but, well, they do have an obvious challenge.

"Your only flaw is that sometimes you care too much about what people might be thinking, but that's also part of your charm."

Caring too much what people think has always been a problem of mine. Always.

Andrea, there are days the ideas aren't there for me either, believe it or not! In the beginning, I didn't blog every single day. It took a while. I like the discipline of saying, even when I'm not "writing fresh" but busy with edits or something else, that I'll sit down and write a post today. Keeps me sharp!

And I appreciate all the support! I've got sharp cookies reading my blog, and you guys rock!

S. W. Vaughn said...

???

Think I missed something again. Not sure what set you off, but if someone commented that you're selling yourself here, they're dead wrong.

I'm always amazed that you find the time to respond to so many comments here. I'm with you on the guilt too, though I don't field nearly as many messages. :-)

I love coming here, and I love hearing what you have to say. And I still won't think you're a snob if you cut back after your book comes out.

Bill Cameron said...

I am a peanut butter cookie. Rounded, with fork marks in me, but coated with sugar! ;)

For The Trees said...

Goddammit, Sandra, you're not promoting yourself or your forthcoming book on my blog enough!! I have all these hundreds of highly influential agents and editors reading my fabulous blog, and you aren't taking advantage of it because you're so damn reticent!

C'mon, Girl, get your head out and do some POSTING!! You're so INTROVERTED!! And don't be giving us that old shite of "I don't have anything to say!"

* * *

I'm always so amazed at your comments on my blog. You have never and probably never will put up nasty verbiage, and you're often so erudite it makes me wonder just what the hell I'm doing taking up space. I'm irreverent to a fault, so glib and off-the-wall as to be a nuisance, and often thought of as a total fuckwit. Oh, well, I'm the way I am because of my past history, and until I get enough new history under my belt, I'm gonna be the way I am.

Buy my books!! Buy my GREAT books!!

Love your mind. It's so wonderful.

Get the new Elephant Penis Extender!! 36", 48", and 60" models available at affordable prices! And if you order right now, we'll give you the starter kit, the 24" model, absolutely FREE!

Have I gone off the deep end far enough yet? Thanks for being here.

Anonymous said...

hey! lovet his blog!

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