Thursday, March 22, 2012

SOLS #22: Your 2¢ Worth?

Being a part of a writing community that learns together from places very much apart is new to me.  However, I have felt such a part of this community as we move from blog to blog - or slice to slice - to learn from one another.  Reading, writing and commenting are all important in our work together.  "The short songs we need now are about to be written by voices we don't yet know.  We will need to be eloquent listeners to invite these songs forth, and share them all around."  Kim Stafford, The Muses Among Us.

Your 2¢ Worth

So here we are.  Maybe I should say, SO HERE WE ARE!!  Twenty-two days of writing under our belts.  Twenty-two!!  I find it intriguing that today is the 22nd --- two 2s (2-2).  So...I'm going to talk about our 2¢ worth in commenting.  OK, I know I'm pushing it here.  That was probably worse than the segue on the evening news, I know.

Writing, for me, has surely had its ups and downs.  Tonight I don't want to talk about the writing.  I want to talk about the thing that has probably mattered the most in keeping me motivated.  Tonight I want to talk about commenting.  This process has taught me some things about commenting that I think will help me as I confer with writers in my classroom (and when I teach students more about commenting on blogs).

Types of Commenting
1.  You have readers! (or the "I Stopped By" Comment):  Don't underestimate the power of this comment.  Sometimes it is just nice to know someone stopped by your post to read what you had to say.  (OK, be honest, who doesn't get excited to see Ruth & Stacey stopped by?  I really don't know how they keep up with event, their own slices, and commenting.  Kudos to both of them!)

Road Tripping with Dad
Girl Scout Cookies

2.  Celebration (or the "Yay!" Comment):  These are the comments in which the reader just celebrates with you.  Picture an audience and a standing ovation.  

Small Moments

Days Long Gone

3.  Connections (or the "Me Too" Comment):  Many of the comments I have received have been comments in which the reader identifies with my post.  Sometimes I have reminded them of something they had forgotten, they can empathize with my situation, or something similar has happened to them.  These are the comments that connect us together and help us to realize we are not alone.  
Backyard Birdwatching

Paradise When You're Seven

4.  Affirming (or the "I Agree" Comment):  These are the comments in which the reader affirms our thinking.  

Reading Together
Growing Up Small Town

5.  Growing the Conversation (or the "I've Been Thinking" Comment):  These comments are also helpful as they help build upon the thinking of the writer.  In these situations the reader adds to what has been posted.  After reading a post, the reader has had a little more to say about the topic to extend the thinking.  These comments are conversational in nature and are always interesting to read.  

Writer's Notebook

Girl Scout Cookies

6.  Questioning (or the "I Wonder" Comment):  These are the comments in which the reader is wondering something about what has been written.  The great thing about blogging is you can really just ask someone to tell you more or share something you've been wondering yourself.  

Slices of My Reading Time

7.  Craft (or the "It Really Worked When You..." Comment):  These comments have been very helpful.  These are the comments in which the reader has noticed something about the writing that has caught their attention or really strengthened the piece.  Sometimes they are comments about the structure, voice, or crafting technique of the post.  Sometimes the comments are about the words used in the post.  Perhaps the reader has discovered interesting vocabulary, repetitive words or phrases, or a line that has caught his/her attention.  These types of comments help me as a writer. 

Doors of Our Lives
It's getting near the end of this challenge and commenting is getting harder.  Let's face it, we've been devoting hours just to compose a post, then we go read, and try to leave comments.  I know I've found the comments to be so helpful, not only in motivation, but in helping me to improve the craft of writing.  I just want to thank everyone who has taken the time to leave such thoughtful comments.  I can't even begin to tell you how much they are appreciated.  

Now....I'm off to comment.....


  1. Cathy - I agree. Comments remind me that there truly are others reading my slices. I write them for me but comments are what keeps me going when I have a rough night. :)

  2. Cathy-
    I love this post! First, I totally agree with you about how fun it is to get comments! Second, I love how you sorted out the different kinds of comments and kind of created a framework. I've been thinking all week about how many of my comments are just my own stories, or "this reminds me of…" I have been feeling kind of guilty about it, like I should be responding to that writer's writing, not telling my own stories. But I keep telling them (I think I kind of am telling one now) I am either going to use your post to A) decide it's ok to tell my own stories or B) figure out some different kinds of comments to make! Thanks much!

  3. I am not sure where this comment falls, maybe in multiple areas, maybe a new category all-together. Maybe an I wish...
    I wish I had followed all slicers consistently, I wish I would have left more comments, MOSTLY; I wish i would have taken this challenge with all you wonderful slicers! Reading and listening to what you have learned about writing and begin writers has me searching for the "Jealous" button.

    Thanks for taking this journey and making it visible for all to see.

  4. Ok. You are awesome! Always thinking! I love how you categorized and labeled the various types of comments we received or leave -- and the samples too! Like you, I love the comments, it's motivating to know someone is reading (and yeah! If a Ruth or Stacey leaves a comment -- yippy!). I love how you took the idea of commenting to a higher level! I'm still processing your thinking. I'm saving this one. Thank you for breaking it down so clearly!

  5. Wow - what a great analysis of the various types of comments. I am going to reread and think about how that applies to my teaching. Thank you for being so specific and giving examples.

  6. I agree with the others, I like how you broke down the types of comments. I love to see the people who stop by every day, and the people I've only "seen" once or twice as well.

    I wonder if we'll all have some "mini-circles" once this month is over and done.

  7. I love this post. If it weren't for the comments I would have stopped this challenge by day 3. I've never been confident in my writing but hearing what people have to say has pushed me to keep trying and improving. Cathy, you are in inspiration to all of us, constantly stretching our thinking and encouraging us to look at ourselves in different ways.

  8. Yep, you are so 'write' Cathy! (haha) The comments really do motivate me too. Getting into this challenge, I never really thought about commenting but it's been a fun part of the whole slice challenge. Great post you 'Commenting Wizard!'

  9. There's a reason your other blog is called Reflect and Refine - I love the thinking you put into categorizing all the different comments. Like you, the audience piece has been huge for me. Even while on vacation this week, I eagerly look for comments awaiting moderation.
    You're right that not only do we leave pieces of our heart and soul in our own posts, but we do the same with our comments, and hopefully, we help our fellow slicers grow as well.
    So very grateful you're in my writing community!!

  10. Great post!
    (still waiting for the answer to my question...)


    1. Mary Lee,
      You make me laugh. It was The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman. This challenge is making it hard to keep up with my reading. It's hard to get around to blogs to read and comment. There are so many interesting posts out there.


    2. I only nagged you for an answer because I saw my comment in your post!

  11. I want to ditto what Karen said. All of what she said, especially the last line. I also want to say that even when I was pretty sure that what I'd written would inspire zero comments, my fellow slicers have been there to cheer me on. This community is bound by more than just writing now.

  12. Cathy, Once again we are on the same wave length. Participating in the Slice Challenge has given me much food for thought in my own teaching and I just did another lesson on comments with my students this week. Then today, I read an entry from one of my young writers (who doesn't really like to write very much) wondering why I hadn't written a comment to him. The comments are so powerful and motivating. I'll be writing about AJ and power of commenting in tomorrow's post. Thanks for your wonderful reflection.

  13. I don't know what category I fall in here, but I am a sucker for the "reflective writer" posts, particularly with Slice of Life. Your analysis of the kinds of comments we get was very interesting.

  14. The beauty is when someone has missed a post you can go back, catch up and comment. I (heart) your post and thinking!

  15. Wonderful writing about comments, & your organization of them is terrific. I never thought of them in that way, mostly just enjoy that someone has read & enjoyed my writing. Julie J. just sent me to your post, BTW. I'm sorry I haven't been reading as many posts as I used to. I just love seeing everyone's ideas, & I do believe so strongly that this has informed my teaching too. Thanks for the new look at comments, Cathy!

  16. Cathy,
    I'm on spring break now and taking some ore time to go back through the blogs and think more deeply about what really happened with all that went really was a great experience and I really did learn so much...I wrote about how it was like going to a buffet-everything there was my favorite food and I couldn't get enough of any of it...but then reality hits and your eyes become bigger than your stomach and you realize you have to stop or bad things will I walked away full every night and returned for more each day but now going back to revisit some things I missed. I think it is so smart how you started grouping the comments. I plan to share your post with 2 teachers I am working with on teaching students to blog. Thanks for your awesome sharing and insights!


My One Little Word for 2019

Let's say this year, I've had a little trouble finding my new word.  Last year, I chose reach  and, to be honest, I never quite fo...