17 June 2015

Bad Blogger.

Two of the kids who run me ragged - my boys.
Sometimes I lose sleep at night berating myself for being a Bad Blogger.  It worries me when I haven't visited someone back who has commented on a post I've written.

Sometimes it takes me ages to return the compliment.

And sometimes I never get there at all because I've completely lost track and am by now oblivious to the fact they've slipped through the net.  But least there won't be any sleepless nights over them, therefore!

Throw in an inset day, one of the kids off sick, half-term or the holidays and we're done for.  Haven't got a clue what's going on - on my own blog!

#Useless.

However, at least I try.  There are many others I know who choose not to for one reason or another - and that's their prerogative obviously, yet there are still some of us that do.  We appreciate the conversation that occurs - indeed, find it rewarding.  It makes our honesty worthwhile.

Because isn't that what it's all about - the chat, the connection with others, the give and take?

Call me old fashioned, but as social media explodes into areas we can't fathom and is spammed inexorably, is there anything wrong with good old basics?

When I first started blogging it was the done thing to reply to something someone took the trouble to say about what we'd written and good etiquette to respond in kind.  I've found some amazing relationships through doing just this.  Despite the phases we all go through there are often points where we click with others and, for me, as long as we remain authentic, what we write will resonate.

At the beginning of this year, for example, I was completely overwhelmed by having to deal with my ex-husband directly for the first time in years.  We've either gone through solicitors or another third party, if and when he deigned to be on the scene and I was, frankly, too traumatised to do much else than get through the day looking after the kids and our Foreign Language students - people who pay to be here and for whom much is required.  They are also children, most of the time, and my commitments are massive, but they provide an income that keeps a roof over our heads and I'm grateful for that.

The conversation is cr*p - lots of nodding and smiling from them and me thinking they understand, but events transpiring that make it evident they don't - all of which is rather frustrating and not least because it provides plenty of fodder for witty one liners for Twitter and entertaining Facebook statuses or blog posts that don't make it to fruition either because a) I'm too wary they're already following me (they know a scary amount about us before they get here) and/or b) there simply isn't time to find my glasses and get the madness up.  (Although this is something that must be remedied since my new young Libyan man showed me his 'thing' - a whole other story!).

This all makes everything on here more meaningful than you can imagine, so when I felt ready to emerge from my little blogging hiatus and much of what was occurring was court - ordered confidential, what was I going to say to you aside from the truth?

I couldn't put on a brave face.  I was wrecked.  I didn't want to moan, but I did want to re-connect.

And after much deliberation and tackling it for ten minutes at a time, initially, before I got into the swing and it all spilled out, my post about being married to a sociopath came.  The response was phenomenal, which was a surprise, especially considering it nearly never got published at all and without my friend Liska's encouragement it wouldn't have seen the light of day!  I felt scared exposing my vulnerability when it was particularly raw and she was right to say it might help other people, but mostly, it was completely cathartic and helped me to come to terms with things that have happened and belong in the past.

Private messages poured in, comments on it still come and I try to respond to them all.  Heaven knows whether I've managed to though.  Lots of people have reached out and it seems I was far from the only one who fell for the ruthless, manipulative charm of a person like this.  The exchanges that take place - privately and publicy - are enormously validating all round.  We can obtain strength from one another, appreciate how far we have come, draw a line under events and move on, or begin to get out of an unhealthy situation once it's been identified as such.

In this instance - and I find there are many - there is an awful lot to be said for heartfelt dialogue, no matter the form it takes and lots of us feel the same way regarding this.  Michelle - Mummy from the Heart will tell you a bloggers work is never done and Helen - Actually Mummy  is another lady who gives herself a hard time, believing herself to be a Bad Blogger until she's fulfilled the similarly self-imposed same etiquette criteria.

We all know she's nothing of the kind (and not just for this!), but what do you think?  Do you care for the converstion or do you think the basics are now past their sell by date?

Anya XX

60 comments:

  1. Oh it's so tricky isn't it - like so many I do my best, but something always get forgotten. I do try to reciprocate comments, but don't always manage it - and if I manage that I definitely don't manage to reply to comments on my blog often enough - but then I rarely return to a blog post to see if I have had a reply to my comment so maybe I shouldn't worry about the fact I don't have the time to do it! I try to fit my blogging and commenting into the 9 hours a week of child free time I have and it just isn't possible to do it all, however full of good intentions I am. Hopefully one of the upsides of Syd starting school in September will be the time to do things properly and courteously! Xx

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    1. Reciprocation. That's the word! Couldn't think of it. Should have been the title! Shudda wudda cudde .... there it is again! It seems we all have a lot less time, the more it goes on and it's impossible to keep up! Don't know why I'm replying really though ..... ;) x

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    2. It's ok - I came back to check yours because I know you do reply! I think if it's a debate piece or opinion piece I do often return, and if I have posted something like that I do reply to comments. But responding to comments about recipes or nice photos where all I am going to put is something like 'Thank you, glad you like it' is something that currently I don't have time for - even though I consider myself a bit impolite for not doing it xx

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    3. Oh I'm completely with you on that - sometimes I just never get there, but it bothers me more when I haven't gone back over to someone else's - I dunno - can't do it all, as you rightly say xx

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  2. That post on your marriage was so honest and from the heart and I think it helped lots and of women who were in the same situation as you. I always think I'm a terrible blogger. It can take me weeks to reply to a comment or even visit a blog I love to bits. Life keeps getting in the way right now. Pesky life :)

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    1. Thank you Tas - and you're obvs not a terrible blogger - it's good to admit we feel bad about not being brilliant at it all when there's so much to be doing though, isn't it?! X

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  3. Exactly how I have been feeling! I switched off because it all just got too overwhelming. But then I really missed the community. So this weekend I cleared out twitter, and can see my friends again! I started looking at blogs I started this journey with, and ones I have never read. And the old excitement came back! I hope I can keep it up as I feel so much happier. PS you have been on my list to return comments to for some time x

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    1. My Twitter TL is full of people I don't know and it puts me off. I, too, have cut back and reverted to old mates and prefer it. PS Please don't worry about that - I don't judge and you're the busiest blogger I know probably! X

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  4. I've barely been online at all in the past 3 weeks. Really really behind but with a good secret reason ;-)
    I remember all of our many chats about that post, and I immediately saw the change in you as a result of its cathartic benefits. So very glad you hit publish. Can't wait to see you Friday. Thanks for the mention.
    Liska xxx @NewMumOnline

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    1. Thanks for your part in it and you're a good, loyal blogger XX

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  5. I always try to reciprocate on returning comments to anyone who's been kind enough to visit my blog. I'm noticing less and less interaction as time goes on though and I think it's a shame. I know everyone has busy lives - but I love the blogging community and can't imagine ever not wanting to read as many as I can. Great post Anya, so well put as always x

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    1. Thank you Izzie - yes, some of us are still around! X

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  6. Oh yes Anya, I'm all for the good old fashioned communication stuff. I LOVE that aspect of blogging. I do however find that sometimes people slip through the net and I feel that I constantly have a great long list of 'not yet dones'. Today I set aside time for blogging admin and by that I mean responding to comments, visiting other blogs etc etc. I really enjoy it but rarely do it well :( But I do try! x

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    1. I think you've hit the nail on the head there Suzanne - we must set time aside, we're glad when we do, but it's harder than we think. Thanks for coming by. See you at yours soon! ;) x

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  7. Anya I have been feeling this way for some time. I usd to be so good at commenting more and visiting blogs regularly. I do try to return the comment love as much as I can but I know i have forgotten. I rarely reply to comments on my blog either. i think the problm is real life keeps us busy and there are so mnay toher methods of social media that we are meant to interact on it all gets too much! its impossible to keep up, well for me it is. i know i need to rectify this and i hope i can because i miss visiting blogs like i used to xx

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    1. You're right - so much has changed in the last few years and we can't be everywhere xx

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  8. Don't feel bad. I'm not sure that there is such a thing as a Bad Blogger. There's blogger time out however, when you have to get on with your life.

    I always respond to comments on my blog, unless I don't get notified by Blogger on my email of a comment on an old post (sometimes happens). I like getting responses on blogs I comment on too. Actually, if I don't, I tend not to comment after a while. I like the conversation.

    Don't feel guilty about your blog. Banish guilt from your life; it does you no good. :)

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    1. You're always full of wisdom Sarah and contribute greatly towards conversation. I appreciate that, thank you. I tend to stop visiting bloggers who never, ever come back! Will try to banish the guilt!

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    2. I think my eldest would say I'm full of something other than wisdom, so thanks! :)

      Of course, he only does it to annoy.... etc.

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  9. I have been thinking about this a lot recently. The community side, the commenting and support is why I fell in love with blogging. It seems to be about so much more than that now though; everyone seems to want, or expect, a slice of the professional pie, to make money, to hit the high stats. I am guilty of reading and not commenting, of not returning comments but I am making a more concentrated effort and I love it. It just takes a bit of time but it is definitely worth it because I know how much I like to receive comments too.

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    1. Thank you Rachel. I rarely read without commenting - has its up and downsides - but was recently covering for BritMums #MBPW and it was the only way to get through 50 posts. Much quicker and more covered so not all bad, but can't beat the convo! Thank you for coming by too :)

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  10. Oh gosh Anya, I think you are the opposite of a bad blogger, and the personal support you have given me as a newbie has been tremendous and so very much appreciated. I have only been around a few months but I am already finding it hard to fit in all the other bits that come with blogging as well as the actual writing. When I do have the opportunity to engage with other bloggers I love it and feel re-enthused but I am pretty hopeless at initiating contact which is something that I know I need to address. I can't comment on how things have changed in the blogging world as I am so new but I do know that friendly, supportive people like you who write authentic and relevant posts really do shine out among the sea of material that seems to be out there. If you are old school, then I like old school! I just need to improve my own etiquette and devote more time to the peripherals which, I am learning, are just as important as the posts. X

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    1. Thank you Clare - always happy to help. Yes, that's old school and thank you for such lovely words. You are a great voice and stand out too. You will find your own way xx

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  11. Conversation, definitely, even if it's just a one liner to acknowledge me. I have given up commenting on blogs whose owners don't respond to me and I read them less and less these days. I read almost everything else though, but don't often comment unless I have something specific to say. I love your blog, and really enjoy reading it. We all have busy lives, but I do appreciate the acknowledgement, and I always replied when people commented on my blog (although I'm not blogging anymore). Bit of a rambling comment! I'm out of practice.

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    1. Hi Polly, It's always lovely to hear from you and I'm touched you still read. I miss you and hope all is going well with the french and your life. Do fill me in if you see this! XX

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    2. Hi Anya x I always check back for your response, because I know you are going to make the time for it! xx Not doing French anymore, but still working voluntarily with a charity which helps children with their reading in school, and hoping to do a bit of temp (paid!) work after the summer holidays. I watched Vegucated recently and almost overnight became vegan, so that is my new project, finding and preparing lots of healthy plant-based foods for me and my family. All going well so far! Thank you so much for asking, I'm touched that you did xx

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    3. Thanks so much for that Polly - so glad that you're finding your way with things. Hadn't heard of Vegucated but just investigated a bit - and am definitely going to follow it up. Looks a bit scary but stuff is waaaaay out of control foodwise with all the chemicals and gm and forced hormone feeding that it's probably time for drastic action. I will follow your lead and, at least, watch it, thank you. It would be so much easier without my students to cater for! And, of course, I care what's happening with you. People become friends like this XX

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    4. There's only one scary bit in the middle of the film, which is the bit I didn't know. I've been veggie more or less my entire life (never liked the taste or texture of meat or fishy fish, but you have to eat it when your parents say so!) and the vegan bit had been kicking around in my mind for quite a while. Vegucated just tipped me over the edge. If you're inclined, have a look at foodmatters.tv. Vegucated is on there. It's a subscription channel but I think a free 10 day trial is available. Would love to know what you think of it. You have my email. Much love xxx

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    5. Thanks Polly - I will definitely follow this up xx

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  12. Sometimes it is very difficult, for me I take a step back and disconnect from Twitter and Facebook. I'm not on them as much as I used to be. Blogging is another story, I love it, and reading other people's blogs, so I do try and keep up with it. Do I see you as a bad blogger, gosh not at all, instead I understand and know one day you will drop by for a read and I enjoy it.

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    1. You are a star Catherine and always a pleasure XX

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  13. I do care for conversation more than anything else but I have an enormous problem labelled time. I have been jotting down a list of favourite blogs I want to visit once a week, it's part of a new plan so I am no longer a bad blogger, let's see if I can carry it through.
    PS You are sooo not a bad blogger xxx

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    1. Thank you Mari. So much to do, so little time! XX

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  14. This post would be my idea of a blogging manifesto, but I do think that too many of us who are uber busy beat ourselves up because we don't immediately respond to comments, sometimes it's just not possible. But it doesn't make you a 'bad blogger' x

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    1. Ah, bless you. It's just an old fashioned thing I realise but I could bang on about tonnes of that! It takes me ages to do it all, but I do try! xx

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  15. It is hard to keep on top of everything isn't it? You are by no means a bad blogger though!

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    1. I think we can only do our best and generally do this and that and thank you as nor are you! xx

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  16. You're doing a great job, don't be so hard on yourself. You're far from being a bad blogger - I've been on the naughty step for a while now. And yes, conversation x

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    1. Thank you jean. I know you know how it is. And it probably means more to us re the lack of conversation at home! xx

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  17. I'm with you, I love the chat. I have a blog list of regulars that I try to comment on regularly and they comment back on mine - most of them, some of them don't but that's ok as it's not tit for tat. I'm very bad at tryong out new blogs thses days unless I see something that really catches my fancy. And sometimes you invest a whole lot of interest in someone and then decide nnnot to blog anymore and you've lost a friend.

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    1. ,,,and then they decide not to blog anymore...

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    2. That's so true! I agree it's not tit for tat - am very happy with a general effort on both sides tbh - but, yes, there are people I now miss xx

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  18. Another co-incidental post. I did an experiment where, over the last month, I commented on more than 150 blogs. Less than a handful reciprocated. Does that make people bad bloggers? No, not for the most part, I don't think. It's just that people are busy, time moves on extremely quickly in the blogosphere and real life gets in the way. Blogging is about life. It isn't life itself.

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    1. That's interesting. Just shows I'm behind the times! Love that last statement :) xx

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  19. I'm nodding along Anya. I've felt totally lost in the blogging world this year, mainly due to things being a bit tricky in my 'real world', time just whirls and things fall through the cracks and it leaves an unsettled feeling in its wake. I finally managed to post a teeny bit on TS yesterday so I'm hoping I've broken the impasse and...guess what?!... all those lovely people were still there and they popped their lovely heads up. That's what makes it all so fab. Love to you xxx

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    1. Thank you Chris - that unsettled feeling is it - we know some things have fallen through the cracks cut can't be sure what they were! Could be age, too I suppose ;) xx

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  20. I swing so much with blogging and love it and hate it all at the same time. I love the conversation but I know that because I don't have much time at the moment to comment or even on social media, I don't get many comments. I think it is one of those things where you get out of it what you put in. You will always get comments as you always have such wonderfully wise words to say and i always loo forward to reading your posts and you make me want to comment. There will be other posts that I read though where I don't have anything to say or have time to comment, maybe if there were a few more hours in the day ...

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    1. You're one of my favourite bloggers Nikki and you have always responded when I've commented at yours. It's those who never, ever come back who offend and I don't want to be one of those! Thank you for such kind words. We're very similar in not writing until we've got something to say and although it's hard to keep up, at least we try and there is some conversation to enjoy! X

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  21. You are the least bad blogger I know! I try my best to comment and return the favour but some often fall through the net. It is so hard to keep up sometimes and I don't want to be on the laptop all day. The conversation is the most rewarding part of it all so I know I should make more effort.

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    1. Thank you darling. You've hit the nail on the head - we could be on the lap top all day doing it and as Tania says above, blogging is about life, not the other way round! Thanks for coming by XX

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  22. I enjoyed reading this, Anya, and the comments above. Seems like we all beat ourselves up about blogging and commenting so I'm sure we all understand when other bloggers forget to do the same! I do like a conversation though so I do feel it's worth catching up with people's blogs even when I've been lax for a while (like now for instance!) - good friends will forgive!

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    1. Thank you Trish. There really is nothing to forgive! I love going over to a blog I haven't been to in a while and catching up on half a dozen posts. I won't comment on them all as it's a pain for the recipient (although I might!), but I will want to have a proper catch up! Most of us get there in our own way, in our own time and I appreciate it when you come by :) XX

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  23. I too feel guilty about returning the favour, I do think it's the right thing to do but I totally understand that none of us can do it 100% of the time. When I do make time to read and comment on other blogs I always really enjoy it and feel much more part of a creative community than when I stay on the treadmill of writing and promoting my own stuff. I guess there's a balance to be found in there somewhere so I'll keep looking for it!

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    1. Ah, the guilt again! I even hold posts back until I've caught up on the last sometimes because of it. That's not always possible but it helps me maintain some feeling of control. When you've found that balance there's lots of people here who'd love to know how you'd do it!

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  24. Ahh I know what you mean! It's so hard to keep track some days if you hardly have time to go tot he loo. If I get a thoughtful comment, in an ideal world, I usually visit their blog and comment back or tweet them a thanks. But as I'm writing this I've just remembered I haven't done some recently....oh to have more time. I genuinely love that side of it all though, in fact it's the best part. xx

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    1. Thank you - I agree - it's the best part and I've decided to allow myself two late nights a week to see if that works! xx

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  25. See no way are you a bad blogger, look at all the love in this post and you certainly come visit me lots, I'm a lucky girl. Mich x

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    1. Ah thank you. I know you are a good girl and reciprocate as a rule. I am always happy to visit you XX

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  26. Hi Anya. I read this post a few weeks ago but didn't get a chance to comment, but it has been bubbling away at the back of my mind to come and visit. It really resonated with me. I'm finding it hard to find any time to blog - and when I do - then time seems to eclipse and it is ages before I may come back to reply to comments, which makes me feel bad as I love comments and I often see to see if people have replied to my comments on their blogs - as the chat is a real highlight of blogging. Is the world just busier these days? Or when we've been at it for as long as we have maybe we just prioritise other stuff more? I don't know. Very valid points and food for thought though, etiquette costs nothing. I think you exemplify good blogging etiquette by the way..

    I was rooting for you for the BIBs and so sorry you didn't get the accolade. I hope it doesn't stop you though - I may not always comment, but I always read your thought provoking and fabulous blog. x

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  27. I am definitely old school on this - always do my very best to comment on someone else's blog if they comment on mine. I think I've been pretty good at this over the years, and have made some wonderful friends like you, and her above, Mummy Plum, and I much prefer commenting on blogs than social media chat - it feels like I'm having more of a conversation, so yeah, Im old school me! X

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