The hills are alive with the sound of blogging….

The hills are alive with the sound of blogging....  By The Thinking Closet

Blogging is an interesting bird.

It’s one of those things that I’ll admit I had no real concept of before taking a leap to start this blog in September last year.  Sure, I knew that all of those purdy pictures on Pinterest had to come from somewhere, but I didn’t really know all of the time, effort, and heart that one pours into blogging if you really commit to it.  It’s an investment.

And I find the “bird” metaphor fitting because I see blogging as something very much alive.  I have watched my little blog grow and change and spread its little bloggy wings in these past four and half months…and not just because of me, but because of so many of you!  Many times, a comment will give me an idea for a new post, or a question will spur on an interesting dialogue.  I do my best to respond to each and every comment because that conversation, that engagement with other people is why I even bother to share these projects and musings in the first place.

So, thank you, dear readers, for your comments!

In church this past week, our pastor told us all to look around at the people sitting near us – – to make eye contact and see them.  He then reminded us that every single person in this room has some sort of struggle that they’re dealing with.  We’re not alone in our struggles, and we also must never think that just because you don’t see someone’s hurt, it’s not there.  We’re all human.  We’re all broken.  I’ll admit that I can be so self-focused sometimes that I forget that simple truth.

And that tenant holds true in blogland.  There are real living, breathing, loving, hurting, feeling people behind each blog.  When I click over to a new blog, I need to remind myself not just look for what can serve me, but to look to serve the bloggers I encounter.  For me, this is often by leaving a comment.  And not just a “Great idea!” comment, but specific feedback that affirms the blogger and her work.  Like this one:

The hills are alive with the sound of blogging....  By The Thinking Closet

Bethany, you are a comment queen!

And I don’t know about you, but I love clicking on that “About” tab to learn more about a blogger.  Where she comes from, what delights her, who she loves.  My “About” page is yearning for a renovation, and it will come.  As I shared in my Blogging Dreams & Goals for 2013, in my new “About” page, I want to show more of me and what makes me tick.  More of my goofball side.  Okay, so what am I waiting for?  Release the kraken!

The hills are alive with the sound of blogging....  By The Thinking Closet

(Hope I didn’t scare any of you away with that.)

Welp, this post ended up wandering in different directions than I intended when I sat down to write it.  In fact, I never even reached my main purpose, which was to talk about blogger puberty (yes, it’s a thing), so I’ll be back with that in another post.

But to close, I’d like to get practical with a few questions to spark some discussion in the comments.  I’d love to know your thoughts on one or all three!

  • How have you loved or been loved by another blogger?
  • What kind of comments are your favorite?
  • What makes a strong “About” page?

Happy Saturday, friends.  Thanks again for bringing so much life to this strange bird of a blog.

{I link up here.}

This is Lauren, signing off.

Lovely comments so far...

  1. says

    I love you, Lauren! Haha!

    I love all the pictures of you. I just feel like I have gotten to know you so much through our blogs and comments back and forth. When I jumped into blogging, I thought it was a one way street. That I would be sharing to readers. Boy, was I wrong!!! The best way to grow a blog is to bring other bloggers into your world. It has been such a fun journey.

    Oh, and I TOTALLY need to redo my about me page. It is from when I first started blogging and I had no idea what I was doing. Ugh! Another thing to add to my to do list.

    Hugs!

    • says

      You’re so right about growing a blog through bringing others into your world. It’s not a solo endeavor. I actually have another post in the works on practical ways to do that…a lot of which I have just been discovering recently.

      Looking forward to more back-and-forth comments with you, dear Bethany!

  2. says

    You endear me closer and closer to you everyday. I am amazed at your insight and creativity with craft projects and writing alike. You blog is very wonderful indeed. Also, I love your song parodies and references. Right.up.my.alley. :)

    • says

      Aw, thanks, Christine! And I had a hunch that you of all people would appreciate this particular title. (I went through about 20 ideas before I landed on this one. I couldn’t get that song out of my head once I thought of it, so I figured, it would at least be a catchy title!) Ha ha. Glad we see eye to eye the value of incorporating song parodies into blogging as much as possible.

  3. says

    What a great post, Lauren! I’m pretty sure I say this every time, by the way. My favorite comments are those that create a connection between a blog author and reader. i read on a blog advice board to make sure your blog is about your reader and not you; I think it would be better to say make sure your blog is welcoming and inviting to your reader, but still gives them a taste of who you are. That’s how connections are born – we have to know something of the person behind the blog to really be drawn in. I have been loved by many bloggers, new and old, just by having them follow me and leave a comment! When I started a link party after a very short time blogging (somewhat foolishly, perhaps) I felt so loved by those first few people who actually linked up and came back each week! I’ve also felt loved by you, Lauren. You are a comment champion, always coming up with something to say to bring a smile to the person who has worked hard writing. Thanks for that! Last question – my favorite about pages have pictures, are about a real person, and give me a glimpse of why you’re blogging and what makes you passionate. Thanks for the conversation!

    • says

      Wow! Thanks for responding to each and every question I posed, Jessica. You rock.

      I agree about the importance of giving your reader a taste of who you are. I love doing that through photos and “voice.” That’s why I write with slang and colloquialisms. I want my readers to feel like we’re sitting across the table, not in a lecture hall. I love how you put it, “That’s how connections are born – we have to know something of the person behind the blog to really be drawn in.” Amen to that. (You did that SO well in your most recent post. My absolute favorite of yours thus far!)

      And your stories of feeling loved by other bloggers is heart-warming; I’m so glad you’ve felt love from me because I have DEFINITELY felt it from you, girl, by the bucket-load. I meant what I said in my comment on your blog that you have a real gift as an encourager.

      And when I finally sit down to re-write my About page, I’m going to refer to your comment. I think each point you make is right on…I need to share more of my story and why I blog.

      Thanks for being such a supporter, Jessica! Hugs!

      • says

        I can feel the love right through my computer screen! Here’s a virtual hug for you, my dear. Early on I avoided writing about myself for fear it would be too vain, or self absorbed, or just downright boring. But I’m learning as a blogger and reader of blogs that people want to learn about each other, not just an aseptic project without any life of its own. So give the people want they want! And that, my friend, is exactly what you do. Especially if the people want awesome puns and song titles along with pictures that make them laugh :)

        • says

          It’s so true what you say. We want to know the person behind the project…otherwise, we might as well be reading textbooks! (If they even are printing textbooks anymore, ha ha.) My college theatre professor used to say, “bring more of yourself along,” in reference to acting. But I think we can apply that charge to blogging, too! Let’s you and I, Jessica, continue to bring more of ourselves along.

          And I’ll keep those puns and song titles and goofy pictures coming! (Seriously, I don’t know if I could avoid them if I tried.) :-)

  4. says

    Mmmmm… to answer your questions…. ANY comment is my favorite kind, at this point! I am watching my stats go up lately, but I can never seem to actually get any comments! I have quiet readers, I think. LOL. Any ideas on actually getting readers to comment?

    And for the About page, my favorite is when people use humor. Makes it interesting. But when writing my own, it’s hard to come up with something on the spot!

    • says

      Katie, you ask a good question. I have been blessed with many faithful readers who love to comment. Let me share some of the ways I have been able to foster dialogue on my blog.

      -I try to respond to every single comment on my blog. It can be time-consuming, but it is worthy investment. There’s no better way to engage with readers than through that one-on-one conversation. When readers see that the blogger is going to respond to them specifically, they’re more likely to keep commenting.
      -I also try to visit the blog of everyone who comments on my blog. I hop over there, find one of their posts to comment on, and thank them for their comment. Not only is this polite, but it can be a great way to forge a lasting relationship with your readers.
      -Also, in the beginning, when I wasn’t getting many comments, I initiated a LOT of comments on other blogs. Many of those bloggers then returned to my site to thank me for my comment and leave a comment on one of my posts.

      So, those are a few practical suggestions. My circle of commenting followers has been slowly but surely growing, so hang in there. I’m sure yours will, too!

      I couldn’t agree with you more about the ABOUT pages that use humor. Those are my favorites, too! I love seeing their quirky side (and trust me, I have quirks for days), so I’ll be sure to share more of that when I revamp mine.

      Thanks for your comment, Katie! You’ve given me some great things to think about tonight.

  5. says

    I have learned so much and made so many
    new friends just by reading blogs… I’m also
    having such a good time with my blog.
    Good post and love your photos!
    Sandy

    • says

      Thanks, Sandy! Just came back from a visit over to your blog. I just felt so warm and welcomed there! I agree that I’ve learned a TON in these first few months of blogging and made so many bloggy buddies. It’s quite an incredible community, isn’t it? Glad to have “met” you!

  6. says

    I try to write my blog and About page in a way that I would enjoy reading a blog. That’s one of the best writing tips I think I can offer, is to try and write your blog overall in a voice that would enjoy reading it in.

    Commenting for me is very important. I’ve got to admit I have stopped following blogs that don’t respond to their readers (and I don’t mean directly to me just overall) b/c it feels like you’re having a one way conversation. And that gets old very fast. Blogging to me is about a community not a show and tell. But I realize that it is different for everyone that’s just how it is for me. I have met some amazing people from all over the world that I NEVER would have gotten a chance to meet if it wasn’t for this medium.

    Yes answering questions and comments gets harder the more comments you get. Big name bloggers have addressed this issue in that in the early days they could answer everyone and now feel terrible when they can’t interact with everyone and sometimes readers feelings get hurt.

    The way I see it, is that I am always happy whenever I get a new visitor and if someone took the time out of their day to say something to me, out of all the millions of blogs out there, the least I can do is reciprocate. I think part of the reason for the ‘big’ name bloggers success, is that they know their readers are the reason that they are there and they continue to interact with them from their humble beginnings to their now millions of followers. It is very important to recognize that any bloggers success is dependent on their audience and if you ignore it, they’ll find someone else. I am so appreciative of anyone that reads my ramblings and I know you are too. People can see when someone really gets it.

    • says

      Alex, my writer friend, I think you’re right to touch on “voice.” Voice was a new concept to me until I encountered one English professor at college who encouraged us to bring more of ourselves into our writing, even if it meant breaking some of the rules of grammar. I’ve very much enjoyed discovering my writer’s voice over the years…and trying to implement that more and more into my blog writing. Alex, you’re writing is a great example of voice – – though we’ve never met, it’s almost like I can hear you speak when I read your posts! Brava!

      It does mean a lot to me when bloggers take the time to respond; no one wants to feel like they’re commenting into a blackhole! It always makes my day to receive a comment, whether it’s on my blog or a reply from another blog. I think that extra effort and extra time is so worth it – – as you said, “blogging to me is about community, not show and tell.” Amen to that.

      My readers mean the world to me! (And to you! And to so many of us.) I don’t think I can say thank you enough.

      Enjoy these last few hours of your weekend, Alex!

  7. says

    I love this post Lauren! I’ve been struggling with finding my voice on my blog and opening up in a way to generate comments. I have a couple of bloggers that will respond all the time and I love them for that but I do get a lot of just “great idea, come follow me here” comments too. Which is great I love they came over to say hi but it never leads to any connections I think this year I am going to try and work on establishing those connections:) I also need to revamp my about me page too! I have so many ideas for it:)

    • says

      Ooo, I’d love to hear your ideas for an “About Me” page. Actually, I want to write a whole post on how to write a strong one (when I revamp my own)…so I’m curious to hear your thoughts on it. I’ve seen such a wide variety out there, and I don’t think there’s any one right way to do it, but I think a through-line is that the best ones give you a strong sense of who the blogger is…her quirks and passions and motivations and family…and use both words AND images.

      I think it’s a great goal to work on establishing connections with other bloggers. That’s by far the absolute best thing about blogging for me, so I applaud you for going after it! I’m still seeking after it myself (and probably always will as long as I’m blogging.) I hope our little Silhouette Challenge FB group proves to forge some connections for you. I know I’m thankful to have “met” you, Ms. Tori!

  8. says

    My blog is really new and kind of raw, I guess, so I don’t think anyone has gotten the time to love it yet. But my love for my favorite blogs shows up on my reader. Sometimes I just can’t wait for some bloggers to publish a new post and so I go and refresh my reader every hour, every 20 minutes, every 5 minutes or go directly to their site:P And I like giving feedback just as much as receiving it. Maybe that’s what blog-love means to me.

    I pretty much love all comments. The ones that give me something to think about. But probably the best ones ever are the ones that share my love/enthusiasm/ideas about something:)

    A strong about page says who the blogger is, what are their goals and what they write about. So that a new visitor could easily understand the “being and breathing beat” of the blog.

    Oh and PS – I’m a goofball too and proud if it, he he he heheee :)

    • says

      “Raw” is a great word…and so true of the beginning stages of blogging. Although it probably feels awkward and like you want to figure out your focus and grow really fast, I’d encourage you to enjoy the process and discoveries as they come.

      It delighted me to hear how excited you get when other bloggers publish new posts! That sort of enthusiasm needs to be bottled up and distributed to those who are short on it. ;-) I’m sure you totally make a blogger’s day when you leave him/her feedback on a new post. I can testify that you’ve made mine!

      The “being and breathing beat” is such a beautiful phrase. Is it yours? I love it.

      Hooray for meeting a fellow goofball! Maybe we should start a club and be co-Presidents? We can wear fake mustaches to our meetings and talk in funny accents. Whadya say? ;-) (That actually would be extremely entertaining to me.)

      • says

        Yep, the phrase is mine :) Maybe someone else has said the words too but I just heard them in my head for the first time :P

        And I LOOOOVE fake accents! I wanted to become an actress when I was younger, I attended several different courses too, so it would be really fun for me :)

        • says

          Ha ha! I think we’d get along swimmingly. My sister and I talk in accents whenever we’re together: cockney, eastern european, southern, pirate, you name it. And I teach theatre! We might have to give this club idea some serious thought! Lol.

          And I love that you came up with such a poetic phrase. I might have to start using it, and quote you, of course.

  9. kelly thompson says

    I love your interest in you reader and that you make your blog so close to your heart its great…see, I am writing more than just ‘love it’ – I am usually knee deep in babies and coffee so I write quickly and to the point so they don’t spill something on me!

    • says

      I’d like to think of myself as open-hearted…and blogging has really opened my heart to so many other bloggers like your sweet self, Kelly. I love imagining you reading blogs and writing comments while juggling babies and coffee…it’s actually a beautiful image! Your comments are great. Keep ‘em coming.

  10. Diana Rambles says

    Bethany is a great commenter! I have “been loved” by several blogger IRL! It is so fun to meet up and cement that online relationship! Love your photos…not scarey at all!

    • says

      Ha ha! (Laughing at myself because I had to look up the meaning of IRL – – “in real life!” Love it. Gotta start using it.) And how wonderful that you know Bethany, too. She’s a dear, isn’t she?

      I’ve now met one other blogger IRL (proudly using that now) and have skyped others…have a phone date coming up with another. Taking it to that next level really makes a world of difference, doesn’t it? And thanks for your kind words. Glad you enjoyed the pics!

  11. says

    You are so clever with words and song titles…and your questions for us! I am not a blogger but I love commenting on blogs and I always feel loved back when you reply.

    I think having humorous things about you as well as some serious things is good in the About Me section.

    Loved the photos of you being silly with Lisbeth and the other ones, too! Your silly humor started quite early, didn’t it?! Love you!!

  12. navywifeypeters says

    I don’t have an about page. Hmmm… Maybe I should work on that! Thanks for sharing @ Submarine Sunday!

    • says

      Only if you want to! I like that every blog is different and every blogger has her own style. You do a good job of giving us a sense of who you are through your posts and pics, but I’d of course love to know more about you, T’onna!

  13. says

    Great post Lauren. I am so happily surprised at how much I have been affected by the blogging community. I have found a real kinship with so many people from all different areas of the world. And when comments go beyond “looks good” or “great post”, it really makes me feel that there is a connection. Love that you’re updating your ‘about page’… good inspiration for me to do the same and inject some more personal attributes into mine! :-)
    Kenley

    • says

      It’s wild, isn’t it? This “kinship” you speak of. I really had no idea…and if it weren’t for those connections with readers, I might have lost my blogging stamina by now. I had a blog years ago that was a private blog – – only opened up to about 8-10 readers who were my family and writer friends. I only posted once a month if that…and stopped after a small handful of posts. What a different experience it has been for me this time around, now that I’ve invited more people in to my process and also sought more people out. It has been FANTASTIC!

      And random aside, but I was just reflecting on your blog title and how aptly it fits you. You are such a hospitable blogger. Thank you for making me feel so welcome in blogland.

  14. says

    Lauren I love your blog! Your comments are very meaningful. I’ll never forget when I was at a crossroads (one of many in my life) and you so kindly presented me with the Liebster Award. At that time I didn’t have the energy to write anything about myself or to participate in the award but your kindness meant the world to me! I absolutely loved the way you accepted the award when it was bestowed upon you! You cleverly embedded a clip with the hilarious lamp scene from “A Christmas Story” I laughed so hard I almost cried! It was a refreshing. Your blog is growing in leaps and bounds and I love it!

    Comments are the best and it’s really nice to connect with readers. I’ve never been one to self-promote but my blog has been left in the dust because I’m so behind with social media. My about page needs an overhaul and so does my blog.

    You definitely think outside the box and your blog reflects this.

    • says

      Dear, dear Sandy, it warms my heart to know that you felt so loved through the Liebster award. I certainly hoped you would, but didn’t quite realize at the time all that you were going through. I feel fortunate to have been able to encourage you when things were tough. And I’m so happy to see you back in the races again, as the saying goes. Blogland is a much better place to have you in it.

      And as for social media, you’re not alone. I still don’t have a Facebook page for my blog (it’s on the to do list), and I’m not quite sure if I’ll ever hop on the Twitter train (just not sure I have the time or energy for another form of social media)…but I think that you have still managed to forge great connections with your readers through your posts and comments. I always come away from your blog with a warmed heart and sense of kindredness to you. You’re a gifted writer, photographer, and have a lovely way of inviting us into your process. I’m thrilled to have gotten to know you a little bit in these past few months.

      Have a lovely day, Sandy!

  15. says

    So glad I found your blog! I have been blogging for almost a year (really! has it been that long!!?) and I have learned so much in a short time! I think the biggest thing for an About page is telling a little about yourself and linking to your top 3 posts. Readers (and advertisers) for that matter want to know what they can expect from you and they don’t want to have to spend alot of time trying to figure that out. Another HUGE help is to have a contact page or someway for readers to get in touch with you aside from comments on a post. Blogging takes a lot of work to make it grow but it’s totally worth it. The reader comments are some of the best parts! ;) I hope to met some “blogging buddies” too, because you can’t do it all alone!

    • says

      That’s a great idea to share your top three posts; I hadn’t thought of that before, but that’s something I’d love to incorporate! And I agree about the importance of a contact page. I’ve really enjoyed some more in-depth interactions with readers through email. I’d love to visit your blog, Ellora! Do you have a link?

  16. says

    You are so right — if any of us had any idea how much time and energy it takes to blog before we started, there would be a lot fewer blogs! But, like childbirth, the rewards are many! Seeing something you created take off in unexpected ways, making new friends and getting new perspectives, new ideas, learning an unbelievable amount of techie stuff to make it presentable. It’s wonderful and I’d do it again in a heartbeat! As for the about page — just set down and let the words flow and write as long as they keep coming. Then read what you write again in a few days and you will see a pattern emerge of who you are. You may be surprised! But that pattern will be the basis of your “about” page — tweak, edit, add and subtract, but stay true to the essence of your first thoughts and it will be smashing! Thanks so much for linking on Busy Monday!

    • says

      Thank you for your beautiful words, Charlene. You’re so right about the importance of sitting down and just freewriting my ABOUT page first…I always recommend that to my students, so of course, I need to practice what I preach! I’m always amazed at the discoveries I make when I freewrite. It’s usually not final draft ready, but it’s usually chock full of creative ideas that need a little tweaking, editing, adding, and subtracting, as you say. Thanks for that important reminder.

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