To paraphrase Dorothy Parker:
I love writing, love having written, but getting read, well, that’s a little more complicated.
I started my first blog the same year that Facebook was born. Zuckerberg and associates went on to achieve fame and fortune, and I still work a 40-hour/week day job and make no money whatsoever from this part-time pastime called blogging.
But, I’m not bitter. Really. I’m not.
Seriously, Fish & Bicycles is the product of many precious stolen moments, painstakingly extracted from the crazy busyness of work, homeownership, husbanding, parenting, and other assorted pursuits and distractions. Consequently, I barely have enough time to hammer out the entries that I do post, and I could do so much more if only I had more time.
Of course, if it were as simple as that I wouldn’t be writing what you are reading right now. Instead, this funny thing happens when you publish your work out in public for all to see for so long: It just might happen that people might read what you’ve published — I know, crazy right? — some of those people might even like what you’ve published, and some might keep coming back for more.
And, however much you tell yourself that it doesn’t matter, that you adhere to the advice of a writing mentor of yours who said you should write as if no one will ever read it, it feels really, REALLY good when people ARE reading your writing and even better when they tell you that they liked what you wrote.
So, there were always comments to manage, but the vast majority of part-time, non-professional bloggers like me don’t get more comments than they can handle.
But now, thanks to Like and Follow buttons, readers are provided with a wider variety of ways to show their appreciation for your work, and bloggers are told in articles all over the web that the best way to build traffic early on is to engage with folks who take the time to read and appreciate your work, to respond to their comments, thank them for the Likes and Follows, and visit their blogs to reciprocate.
Well, if you’re a social creature like me, that all comes quite naturally. I enjoy the social networking element of blogging immensely, I love meeting new people and discovering great blogs, especially given that these great people and blogs are from all over the world!
And yet, remember that bit about stolen moments extracted from crazy busyness?
If Fish & Bicycles was my day job, if I was getting paid to blog all day, this would be a non-issue and I’d have plenty of time to write and engage with the blogosphere.
Sadly, finally arriving at the regrettable point of this long, rambling note, I’m having to make the painful decision to cut WAY back on my responses to Likes and Follows.
I hope to continue replying to comments left at Fish & Bicycles, and I hope to stop by the blogs that I follow from time to time, but I’m no longer going to be able to reciprocate every time someone Likes one of my posts or chooses to Follow Fish & Bicycles.
There, I said it.
I hope you all will understand, and please know that I’m deeply honored and touched when anyone appreciates what I do here.