"Like cold water to a thirsty (writer's) soul,
So is good news from a (fellow reader)."
Proverbs 25:25, my paraphrase
To a writer, there is nothing more revitalizing than receiving a great comment from a supportive reader. It's the rejuvenating cup of cold water on a hot day. It makes me think of Mark Twain who once said he can live for two months on a good compliment. Yes, I can relate, as my own inner self thrives on words of affirmation, although I admit needing them more often than every couple of months.
Crafting a short, meaningful comment on a blog post, or any piece of writing, is sometimes harder than it ought to be. Writers aren't usually lost for words but even so, no matter how short the note, it takes time and effort to create something sincere and expressive. And sometimes it's just easier to click away. Or leave a remark so vague as to be disappointing: 'Great read', 'Nice blog', 'Interesting topic'. No one wants to read that! A single sentence in that case—'Don't have time right now to share more but please know your words spoke volumes to me'—will certainly do in a pinch. When I want to leave a note but need time to think, I'll go back when I'm not pressed for time.
It's certainly not about leaving a comment on every single thing we read. That's impossible, but when it's a piece that has touched us, that's when we should use our few available minutes to let the author know. When I'm about to click away, I often remind myself to be generous with both my time and my praise, especially when I know the writer could use some positive feedback.
As an avid blogger and a follower of many blogs, it's mainly in this context that I have cultivated the art of composing the tiny gifts of simple, meaningful comments. As I see it, leaving comments is part of my work as a blogger/writer. Not only do these tiny notes leave encouraging 'footprints' on a blogger's heart, they also leave traces all over the Internet of who I am as a writer. So, I edit, spellcheck, and put my best foot forward, as the old saying goes. I never say, 'it's only a comment'.
I offer a few tips that have helped me over the years - perhaps you'll find them useful as well:
1. Make a few notes while reading the post or article. It saves time not having to reread the whole thing to find the section you want to reply to.
2. Be specific. Avoid general, sweeping statements that don't say anything helpful. Zero in on one or two details to let the writer know what connects you to the piece: the line that grabs your heart, the turn of phrase you find startling, the book title or a quote mentioned that piques your curiosity.
3. Look for common or uncommon ground. Do you share similar traditions, experiences, feelings that you can respond to? Perhaps you have a completely opposite point of view. I remember the time when I wrote a tribute to my mom one Mother's Day, and a woman left a comment to say that Mother's Day was not special to her, for she had always had a horrid relationship with her then-elderly mom. I was taken aback by her comment; up until that point I hadn't come face to face with anyone who couldn't celebrate Mother's Day with any kind of affection. It deepened my understanding of the world around me... and the people in it. I was grateful for that woman's comment.
4. What if someone else has already said it? Say it again anyway. Maybe the author needs to know that that same spot in the piece resonates with several people. I get around reusing identical phrases by searching for descriptive synonyms to convey it in my own way.
Cultivating the art of leaving comments has great value. Not only do they support our fellow writers, but more importantly, they create a singular link between the writer and his or her reader. It's returning the favour—and who knows when our comment will lift a discouraged writer when it's needed most. Pour out a compliment on a writer today. And hopefully she'll return refreshed and ready to write more of what we long to read.5. Want to leave a critique? If you want to address something you feel needs clarification or you don't agree with, don't be afraid to leave a critique. I like what one writer suggests, "If you are anxious about leaving critiques, create a compliment sandwich. Start your comment with a compliment on an aspect of the work, identify your critique, and finish off the comment with another compliment." —courtesy of Christina Garvis, How to Write Good Comments on Writing, Jan 10, 2023, article on owlcation.com
(Top) Photo credit: Image by Fabi from Pixabay
It's A Beautiful Life and also posts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Her writing has appeared in FellowScript as a former columnist and in InScribe's Christmas anthology. She delights in books and reading, flowers and gardens, afternoon tea, and walks in nature.
Thank you so much for reminding us to bless other writers with kind comments.ReplyDelete
Dear Brenda, I almost gave up on the writing life so many times. But comments I received (especially on my Facebook Blogger page) helped me know God was still working through my faithfulness to show up with encouraging posts for readers. I love them. And they know it.
God works through the words we leave and receive. They matter.
Your tips are top notch.
Thank you, Wendy, for your kind note. I'm so glad to know your receiving that feedback from readers encouraged you to keep showing up. You have a beautiful way with words, which is especially evident here on our InScribe blog.Delete
Thank you for addressing this often overlooked form of writing, Brenda. Because writing is a solitary occupation, we need to hear from our peers about what we write. If commenters practice your five points on writing comments, the writer will definitely be refreshed and encouraged. I found these sentences from your post impactful, "As I see it, leaving comments is part of my work as a blogger/writer. Not only do these tiny notes leave encouraging 'footprints' on a blogger's heart, they also leave traces all over the Internet of who I am as a writer."ReplyDelete
Blessings as you write and comment!
Because writing is that solitary occupation, we do need to hear from our readers and our peers - it really does matter. I'm so glad for your lovely comment, Valerie. My heart is buoyed. Thank you!Delete
Oh Brenda! You have hit on something that is so important, yet I don't think I've ever heard it expressed before. (At least not this eloquently!) A resounding YES to everything you said!ReplyDelete
I'm as guilty as anyone of just liking or hearting something someone has said that touched me. The comments where someone actually took the time to say something meaningful really do matter and they stick in my mind! I also appreciate how you said you go back to spell check etc because it MATTERS. I confess I will need to do better in that regard! LOL!
This is one worth sharing!
Awww, thank you, Tracy! You've always given such great support to writers here on the InScribe blog. And for that I'm most grateful, for myself and for others. BTW, I'd say that the like and heart buttons are still better than nothing, right? but there is something about an actual comment that takes it up a notch.Delete
Brenda, thank you for such a thoughtful post. One intentional comment means more to me than five 'likes.' I try to be thoughtful about leaving meaningful comments, and you've outlined some helpful ways to do so!ReplyDelete
Hi Karen, nice to see you! I enjoy receiving and leaving comments. It's a give and take situation, isn't it? I just visited your blog and left a note for you. Thanks so much for stopping by.Delete
Brenda, as always, your writing speaks so clearly about the effect our comments, or non, can have on a reader. Sometimes it is too easy just to leave a few words showing that one has read the post, but how much kinder to express the feelings that the post has brought. Yes, it takes time, but I know how much I appreciate a meaningful comment on anything I write. Thank you for your insights.ReplyDelete
Barbara, thanks so much for your thoughtful note - it means a lot to me. xoDelete
This is a lovely reminder for all of us on line. Commenting is the only way to interact with the writer, and those words of affirmation mean much. I have to laugh when someone writes a comment on my blog that shows clearly their haste in reading and responding. Thankfully, those comments are infrequent. And I love the idea of comments as "tiny gifts". Thank you, Brenda.ReplyDelete
Haha, I've had to chuckle at similar comments. Reading them certainly stopped me in my own tracks - for I'd hate to have completely missed what was actually said. I am always appreciative of the thoughtful notes you leave, this one included. Thanks, Lorrie! xoDelete
Brenda, I hope I have let you know how very much I enjoy your writing. I fear that I am probably one of those who read and comment in haste. You know how to make the ordinary seem extraordinary.ReplyDelete
Nellie, I've always appreciated the lovely notes you've left me, they lift my spirits. Thank you for this one, too!Delete
Thanks so much for emphasizing how important comments are. How much they've boosted my confidence when I read how my words have had an impact on my readers! And comments are a part of our writing journeys. My biggest takeaway from your post was, ""As I see it, leaving comments is part of my work as a blogger/writer. Not only do these tiny notes leave encouraging 'footprints' on a blogger's heart, they also leave traces all over the Internet of who I am as a writer."ReplyDelete
Sandi, your reply makes me smile with joy. Thank you! xoDelete
Very interesting! See, I am already guilty of not doing it correctly. 🤦🏻♀️ My pet peeve about comments are those that reveal the commenter did not read the post. Oh well, I should be grateful that someone cared enough to take the time. Oh, one more thing...the failure of the platforms to correct those commenting problems...there are a number of them out there now. One never knows whether taking the time is going to fly or not. It discourages the process for sure.ReplyDelete
Thanks, Vee. I always look forward to your comments on a blog post. You often make me smile and sometimes come with a point of view that shows me something new. I'm glad for your presence in my life. Oh, and it is frustrating when platforms don't work properly, making it difficult for readers to leave comments. Thankfully, I'm having no problem here today. :)Delete
"Leaving comments is part of my work as a blogger/writer." I'm taking those words to heart, Brenda. Thank you for such a beautifully well-written post (as usual). I always love reading your words, whether they be in your posts or in your deeply encouraging comments. You are a treasure!ReplyDelete
Thank you, Joy. Your words mean a lot, and as I've said before, they hug my heart. xoDelete
Hello, Brenda. I am so thankful for this post as comments equal encouragement. Thanks for reminding us to be thoughtful and not just write words without consideration.ReplyDelete
Yes - comments equal encouragement. That's lovely. Thanks, Sharon.Delete
Inspiration is life-giving. Your post is inspirational. You have encouraged a practice that could singularly put wind in writers' sails who are a part of Inscribe and writers at large. Thank you.ReplyDelete
Thanks, Bob, for adding wind to my sails with your kind words!Delete
It is funny how a small comment can be so hard to write sometimes. I have for sure spent way to much time pondering over the words to try to say something meaningful, encouraging and fun to read. So your helpful tips are appreciated and the reminder that it is a little gift for the writer. I also like the idea of a critique sandwich when one has a difference of opinion. No need for it today. Just another excellent post!ReplyDelete
Betty, I saw your note elsewhere indicating it was you who left this lovely comment. Thanks so much for your note about comments being the little gift for the writer - yes, that thought also makes me feel happy.Delete
Thank you so much for this insightful and challenging message Brenda. I sometimes feel foolish for getting discouraged if I receive little positive feedback - especially for songs I have written, sung and posted - but I don't feel so foolish now, thanks to you! I am glad I am not alone in needing affirmation for my work.ReplyDelete
Dear Anonymous (I'm sorry not to know your name), Over the years I've come to a place where if I get little or no feedback, I'm okay with that. Mostly. But I admit it's way nicer, and more fun, when readers and listeners respond to the words I have poured my heart into... letting me know what touched them. I wish you grace as you share your life with others. I hope good people will come alongside to lift you up when you need it.Delete
Enjoyed your “Inscribe” thoughts this morning! They tell me that YOU, who “ I know” and appreciate through your blogs in “It’s a Beautiful Life” , do actually receive joy and/or meaningful “critiques?) from the comments that some of us leave.
I can’t imagine ever leaving a critique about your “thoughtful gifts) however, I do like the idea of the sandwich!
Helpful thoughts you bring in this “Inscribe” blog today!
( Also, I just might look into this blogspot.☺️)
Looking forward to your next “March “ thoughts @It’s still a beautiful life!!”💗~. Ann
Dear Ann, You always come along and give me so much cheer. I so appreciate your kind and affirming support. Thank you. xoDelete