Month: October 2009 Page 2 of 3

What you can do for the blogger you love

A recent conversation with my mom about why my friends don’t love me comment on my blog got me thinking about the various ways blog readers interact with the blogs/bloggers they love. Or don’t interact, in many cases.

Mostly I think people either don’t know what kinds of things make a difference, or else they are busy, lazy, and/or averse to putting themselves online. But really, supporting a blogger can be very quick, easy, and/or anonymous.

So, inspired by the post “If You Love a Writer,” I decided to create a short list of things that you can do to help a blogger you love.

  • Read their blog! This is #1, and a big fat duh.
  • Subscribe. For those of you who don’t know what that means, subscribing to a site’s content automatically sends anything new from that site to your feed reader. Your feed reader could be your browser (Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari, etc.) or a web-based service like Google Reader. Usually you can subscribe to a site by clicking the RSS icon that appears on its page, or by manually adding the site’s URL to your feed reading service. Not only does subscribing look good for those sites, it also creates a convenient one-stop shop for all your online reading.
  • Visit the site. At least for posts you really like. Because RSS readers are great (lord knows I love mine) but advertisers are concerned with the number of unique page views/visits a site gets more than they are concerned with subscribers. Also, some bloggers get really obsessed with excited about their stats. I mean, I don’t. Of course not. I could care less. It’s not like I do naked cartwheels around the house when my stats go up. BUT. Some bloggers do.
  • Comment. Real bloggers don’t just want to shout into the wind; we want a discussion! Even if you disagree with us. Although we’ll probably like you better if you agree. And send us brownies.
  • Link to them. If you have a website too, there is no better way to increase your audience than to find other blogs and link back. Whether once in a post, or permanently in a sidebar. Also, you should comment on those blogs and let them know that you linked, because they might return the favor. The World Wide Web is one giant sea of love, my friends, so start swimming! Personally I’ve made some great friends that way. (You know who you are!)
  • Facebook them, Tweet them, Stumble them, save them to Delicious. Whatever. Pick your favorite social bookmarking site and go wild! This usually results in increased/random traffic from people who would otherwise never hear of the blog. Some of them are bound to stick around.
  • If the blog has ads, click on the ones that interest you. I’m not saying you need to generate false hits for them — in fact, it’s better not to since many ad networks check for suspicious/fraudulent clicks — but if that new car looks good, or that recipe sounds tasty, go check it out! Ideally marketing is meant to inform you about products and services that are a good fit for you. Seriously.

I think that’s it… Is there anything else y’all can think of?

In my opinion, all of these things are a relatively low commitment. For those who prefer to limit their online presence, reading, subscribing, visiting, and clicking ads can all be done anonymously. Personally, I do all of these things for the blogs I love (though not necessarily for every post, of course) because I know what it’s like to be on the other side of the screen. I guess that’s my motto: “Do unto other bloggers as you would have them do unto you.”

Believe it or not, this was not intended to be a pathetic attempt to generate more activity on my blog. But hey, if that’s how it works out, I certainly won’t complain!

(And if that isn’t how it works out, it’s fine. I’m used to how things are now. And as for my mom, well, I’m sure she’ll forgive y’all someday.)

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Beautiful North Carolina (no Photoshopping required)

Several nights these past two weeks, I’ve had nightmares about taking my laptop near water and ruining it. Fortunately in real/waking life, I am not so dumb. When we went to North Carolina a couple weeks ago for Andy’s cousin’s wedding, Gatsby (my MacBook) stayed safely inside the beach house.

Simone (my camera), however, was forced to take some risks.

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The wedding was beautiful, and appropriately themed:

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And, since the entire back half of our plane had come to North Carolina specifically to golf, we thought maybe we should set aside a couple hours to take advantage of what is apparently some of the best golfing in the country. We had to rent clubs, and I played in my glasses and flip flops, but whatevs. Totally worth it.

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Last but not least, I present Andy’s family. Or like, 1/4 of it.

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They clean up nice, don’t they?

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Really freaking good stories

Since it’s almost the weekend, I figured this might be a good time to drop a few links to awesome stories I’ve recently stumbled upon. Because, you know, you’ll actually have time to read them, and thus WILL.

I discovered Angi Becker Stevens through Eric’s link to a contest at The Collagist, and I absolutely fell in love with her stories. She writes short fiction the way I want to write short fiction. Check it out for yourself:

I plan to read more of her work (listed on her blog) but already I predict and hope for great things for her.

Speaking of great things, Sherman Alexie rocks! I feel like an idiot because he’s been around for a while and I never bothered to read him. Also because I keep mixing his name up with Salman Rushdie. Whoops!

Anyway, Sherman Alexie is a hilarious-but-literary writer, and I highly recommend his story story “War Dances” in the New Yorker. I plan to check out his book of the same name.

That’s it for now. More of my own writing coming soon (!!) in the form of a new episode of Twenty-Somewhere.

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"You were supposed to do years of this. I could barely handle it for two hours."

David Dickerson writes greeting cards. Specifically, greeting cards for awkward situations, like the wedding of your former fiancee or a birthday that falls on September 11th. In his memoir, House of Cards, Dickerson talks about why he turned away from the “traditional” path of a writer, and toward the Hallmark aisle instead.

But even in writing stories for money, the way I was told to go about it was to submit to small nonpaying literary magazines, then get enough published that you could get a story collection with a small press, and then — on the basis of that or of whatever small-press novel came next — get a teaching job at some obscure college no one much cared for. Yet even this simple plan seemed impossible. I could barely manage to submit ten copies of a story and send them off to various magazines (writing a different cover letter every time, making sure you got the editor’s name right, including the SASE that was properly weighted, etc.). Just thinking about it made my limbs heavy, and my brain gasped for anything more exciting to occupy it. Mailing off stories involved actual suffering. And for what? For ten rejections to trickle in over the next nine months. And even if I made it (I’d succeeded once in the six mass mailings I’d managed to shoulder through), you got no money and no one noticed you were in this stupid magazine that only other MFA students had ever heard of. You were supposed to do years of this. I could barely handle it for two hours.

Uh, yeah, I HEAR THAT.

And yet I’m sticking with it. I must be insane.

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My little guy's not so little anymore

Dear Riley,

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Thanks for putting up with me.

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And cheering me on when I stay up late to write.

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I’m not going to say too much more, because I wrote you a letter just last week, and you can’t even read. But I wanted to let you know how much I cherish you, how much you’ve enriched my life, and how even though I’m sure lots of people will think, “Omigod it’s just a freaking dog,” I don’t care. Watching you mature from a puppy into a dog this past year has been an incredibly rewarding experience. You’re not perfect, but you’re a lot better than I ever could have hoped or expected, considering I was partly responsible for raising you.

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You make me laugh. You keep me company. You create adventure. You remind me not to take anything too seriously.

Thank you. And happy 2nd birthday, buddy.

Love,
Momma

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