Saturday, November 22, 2014

A Week Off: What I Learned from Being a Fan


Merry Saturday, my good readers, and welcome back: Sometimes I’m a Story is back in business!

As you may remember from my last post, I’ve been out this last week, taking a break and focusing on being a fan more than a writer. I’ve got to say, it was a GREAT idea, and I am very, very, very glad I did it.

I’d like to share some of my experiences with you, if you don’t mind—if you’ve been following on Facebook you know I’ve run into some pretty cool blogs during my travels. But I didn’t exactly share what all happened.

So, without further ado, read my things.

  1. I must read every blog post I run into
  2. I must comment on every blog post I read (if I haven’t already)
  3. I must click on every link that leads to another blog post (videos, book sites, and other websites exempt)
  4. I must comment on the blogs of every person who leaves a comment on MY blog, regardless of whether they leave a link or not (I kind of forgot about this one so I’ll have to do apology comments later… oops)
  5. I must post at least 3 particularly useful or interesting posts on the Facebook page daily
  6. I must put all the links on Pinterest

On the first day I came up with a number of guidelines, and I was to follow them. They’ve morphed a little, but this is the gist of what I had to do—if you got a comment from me over the last week, you can be sure that I actually read your post and left my comment for a reason.

Likewise, I had a spreadsheet to keep of everything I read over the coming days. Every day I recorded where I had been, a little snippet to help me remember what was in the blog post, whether I had commented, and whether I had shared it. I also kept a sheet open for a reading list (for the days when I was crunched for time), as well as other notes and blogs I might be interested in following.

And, lastly, I set up a Pinterest board (look to your right) where I would put every blog post I read. I know it’s not the best platform, but the folder method works best for me. I’ll leave it up through Sunday night, in case you want to take a look.

Things I Learned
  • there is an insane amount of social media a body can use—the more you have, the greater a likelihood you will connect with someone
  • it’s okay to not comment, especially if you don’t have anything to say or you don’t think you would be welcomed there
  • a writing voice will either draw readers in or push them away—especially condescending voices
  • there is not a lot of blogging that happens on Sundays
  • spending a lot of time with people, even digitally, can be exhausting
  • blogging stories (‘how I started blogging’) are really, really cool
  • a blog post shared at the right time can change a person’s situation
    • (i.e. Imogen Elvis sharing a post that inspired me to write almost 2,000 words instead of giving up at 300)
  • I don’t know how to use Twitter and there’s a possibility I should use Bloglovin’
  • I love Pinterest
  • It’s excellent to have a blog to come home to, rather than ending this week with mere exhuastion 

Things You Can Do as a Blogger
  • write blog posts, so you can start connecting
  • connect with other bloggers—especially if it’s just a hobby, then one benefit of this work is to spend time with like-minded individuals
  • linkup with other bloggers, and if you linkup, then take the time to look at those who are linking up as well
    • I have found a good handful of blogs I’m interested in now because of linkups
  • promote other bloggers (and not just so that they’ll promote you back)
  • make your own posts easy to share, and be sure to have a suitable picture of yourself or a logo in your sidebar, in case the post pictures don’t come through
    • also, posts with pictures are more fun to look at
  • be yourself, tell stories, and share what you know
  • remember you never know who needs to hear what you have to say

Things You Can Do as a Reader
  • keep your hand OFF the mouse while you’re reading—actually take the time to engage in what you’re reading
  • if you’re going to say thank you, which I don’t have a problem with, be really specific about why you’re grateful
    • “thanks for sharing!” isn’t nearly as personal as “Using underwear as hats never occurred to me before. Thanks for giving me a new perspective on style!”
  • return to comments; you may be able to have a really great conversation!
  • share blog posts you loved with your friends
  • read posts in the right mindset—if there’s something else that’s bugging you to the point where you can’t even focus on the thing you’re reading, then save it for later and come back when you can leave sincere comments again
  • challenge yourself, hunt down the occasional odd post
  • remember you never know who needs to hear that you care 
Flickr Credit: United Nations Photo
Ultimately, on a blog we have the same kind of roles: writers and readers. And there’s a delicate balance between the two, even within one person. But the writer says something, and that’s why they post it. The reader gets something out of it, and that’s why they comment.

Which is pretty much discussion.

Both roles matter on a good blog: I’ve noticed that some of the best bloggers consistently reply to their commenters, go the extra mile to approach their readers, and even go so far as to write posts with their readers in mind. And the best readers are there to respond, give feedback, and to be the writer’s biggest fans.

Fancy that.

Other Things That Happened
  • I reached the halfway mark in the superhero novel I’m currently working on (50,000 words on Friday :) )
  • I’ve been reading a manuscript from a girl in my GTW critique group
  • I paid some attention to Wandering in a Blur
  • I watched Meet the Robinsons
  • I thought about stuff… and with that will come some changes 

SIAS Impact
  • I’ve realized that I don’t want SIAS to be a book blog, per se, but rather a story blog, which means I’m probably not going to post Thursentaries as often
  • I really kind of want to do an ‘Ask a Character’ post, because those look fun (chimeras, maybe?)
  • Reading people’s blogging stories is kind of awesome, and always gets me—it might be cool to get a collection of the reasons people blog and how they got here
    • not sure how much interest level there would be in that
  • I think I might want to do more book analysis than review, because that’s what I usually fangirl about
    • again, not sure how much interest there would be in that sort of thing
  • there’s a lot of material out there, and once again, I feel like I’m grasping at the threads of a possible idea
    • but the balance between what is interesting and what I am good at writing again eludes me


So… 200+ blog posts. 7 days. Too many stories to tell. But, if you’re curious to learn more about my adventures you can definitely check out my spreadsheet and the Facebook page, and ask me questions because blogging is indeed about conversations.

Oh, and one more thing:

Thank you for reading.

Whether you’re just visiting or you’ve suck around the last several months, this last week has shown me that blogging is infinitely more fun when it’s a reciprocal event. And if you weren’t here, then I’d be reciprocation-less.

So thank you. It's good to be back.


  1. I looked at your spreadsheet, and wow, you read a lot of blogs. I'm sure all of the bloggers really appreciated your comments and social media shares. I know I did! Thank you so much for sharing my blog and commenting on my posts! It looks like you had a ton of fun and learned a lot from this experience. I agree that blog posts about blogging are really cool. I love reading posts about other bloggers' experiences, and similarly, I like reading posts about other writers' experiences. I think you should check out Bloglovin' and claim your blog on there. I'm actually following you on Bloglovin' right now because people can follow any blog with an RSS feed if they have Bloglovin'.

    1. I did read a lot of blogs—and I know that it was probably a little too many, I was completely exhausted by the end! But I'm glad I had the chance to connect with you this week, and so sharing and commenting was no trouble at all. :) It sounds like we're in agreement about blog posts about blogging! And I actually just did claim my blog on Bloglovin', because it's getting to the point where it is becoming necessary. Thanks for the follow!

  2. I know exactly what you mean about spending time with people even digitally being exhausting. There's always such a lot going on online! But it's always good to get involved even so. I really enjoyed seeing your finds on Facebook. I'm hoping to take a blogging break sometime in December, and I might try exploring the blogosphere for a change instead of writing. I doubt I'd be as god a fan as you, but it would be nice to just be a reader for a change instead of having to come up with new content all the time.

    1. Absolutely! Being an introvert can be quite exhausting, even in a room by yourself. :) I'm glad you got something out of it—once again, if you're going to share something there still has to be another someone to read it! And I would really enjoy seeing where you go, if you do end up taking a break in December. But I'm sure you would be a great fan! I was a little aggressive this week, especially since I made it a goal to comment on every Beautiful Book post and spend time looking at what others had to share; but even leaving a short comment on the blogs you already follow consistently is enough to show you care. But be careful: spending that much time in the blogosphere is sure to generate at least a few new ideas. ;)

  3. What a beautiful post! You're a much better blogger than I am, I think...I've gone back and read some of your posts and can I just say that your writing is absolutely beautiful? I don't know, I just love it. You definitely have some wonderful insights, including this post :-) Talking with people digitally IS exhausting a lot, and I'm a people person usually.

    Also Pinterest. So addicting. Congrats on all the accomplishments! This is a super neat sort of project.

    Aimee @ To the Barricade

    1. Thanks for the compliment! *blushes* But I've got to say, I'm investigating your blog more thoroughly (it's a lot easier now that I don't have to comment on every. single. post.) and I think you have an excellent focus on your blog! And I admire that a lot more, just because it's something I struggle with a TON.

      But yes, the amount of stimulation can be overwhelming sometimes—there are times when it's better to grab a book and a cookie and pretend you're the only person in the universe.

      Yes! Pinterest! Addiction! Joy! XD Thanks for taking the time to check it out, as I said before, I'm so thankful I have people to reciprocate with.

  4. Wow, wow, wow, wow, WOW. That is a lot of blog posts! I'm amazed at how many you managed to read! Your spread sheet is amazing- an organiser's dream ;)

    Taking the time to reply to comments is something I'm not always great at, so I'll definitely be trying harder with that! Yay for reaching half way on your novel! That must feel great :)

    As for your post ideas, I would be especially interested in a collection of stories about why people blog, and ask character posts, plus all your other ideas.

    Thank you for reporting back what you learnt, because now we can learn from you :) Also, thank you for sharing my blog and reading then commenting on my posts :)

    1. Yes, it is a lot of blog posts! (And you know how I know? Because I read them all. Honestly it's a little bit like I just ran a marathon and I'm like, "give me bananas and leave me alone" just because I've touched so many blogs these last few days.)

      I'm glad you like the spreadsheet; I love organizing, so I suppose that's why I've made it so. Boxes are so much fun...

      *nods* I know that it sometimes seems like comments aren't worth replying too, but what I'm finding is that this box here at the bottom is here for CONVERSATION, not just for admiration and fangirling. So checking back is worth it. :) (And yes, I'm really excited to be halfway through!)

      If so, then I'll be interested in hunting down people who wouldn't mind sharing their stories... And, of course, I'll find time for the rest, as well. :D I'm glad you got something out of the lessons I learned, and it was no problem to read, share, and leave comments on your blog! I really enjoyed spending extra time over on Opal Swirls this week. :D

  5. WELCOME BACK! And your experience sounded really cool; can't wait to see the new changes in the blog. A book analysis would definitely be interesting, for me at least.

    Oh, and Twitter is great for connecting with people. I was a bit dubious about it, but just in the last couple days I managed to start a collab blog series with a few other awesome people. I'd definitely recommend it. I'm also thinking about Bloglovin', but probably won't implement it until next year at least.

    By the way, your sharing-why-other-people-blog idea sounds like it could be turned into a link-up or the like; just something to think about :)

    1. THANK YOU. And yes, I have no idea how I'm going to do a book analysis, but we'll see how it goes. It's worth trying out. :D

      Twitter sounds cool, I just have trouble figuring out how you can find these great ways to connect with people and internships and all these other things when there's so much stuff to read and how do you know what's important? I feel like this is what it is to be sixty and you don't know how anything works—except I know how it works, and I don't know how it works to my benefit. Bloglovin' is nice, I've discovered, but it's definitely up to you if and when you want to do the implementing.

      A linkup, hmm... I don't know how it would work out but it might be worth a try. :)

  6. Wow. There is a lot of cool stuff in this post. ^ ^ And thank you for the comments on my blog. I really appreciate them. :) Social media interaction can be really exhausting. It is work trying to maintain several social media accounts. People who haven't done that really don't understand it lol. This was a really good read. ^ ^

    1. It was no problem; I've enjoyed a lot of your posts, and the exposure to the soundtracks on Sundays. :) It's definitely hard to keep up with it all, but it works to take a break sometimes and learn from what we can. I'm glad you liked it, and thanks for reading!


Check it out, comments and stuff. I love to hear from readers, and I always respond to commenters! Here's the fun part—if you leave a link to your blog I'll show up and comment back. I have just one rule down here: Don't Be a Problem. This spans the entire umbrella of rudeness and crudeness, so I reiterate: Don't Be a Problem. Thanks for stopping by!