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How to Write Blog Comments that Inspire

December 13, 2010

And help yourself at the same time.

How do you feel when you get no comments on a post you sweated over? Or get the common comment, “Great post! Thanks for sharing.” Nice of them to comment, but does it help you become a better blogger?

I was inspired to write about how bloggers can help each other grow as writers after reading a fantastic article on literary criticism sent by my step-sister, Julie. It is called “The Care and Feeding of the Work in Progress” by Catherine M. Wallace and was published in The Writer’s Chronicle in March/April 2008.

Wallace begins the article with a fabulous story about the difference between harpies (those who criticize) and muses (those who inspire). Constructive literary criticism is not about finding errors. It is about inspiring the writer to continue and to grow rather than crush their spirit. I encourage you to read the article in its entirety to appreciate the arguments she makes.

What does  this have to do with blog comments?

Well, in her article, Wallace asks readers to notice “words, phrases, or passages which strike them as memorable, evocative, effective, or just plain fun.” Then tell the writer what struck you. This will help the writer know where they are making contact, the “growth edges” as Wallace says. It is also very helpful if you can explain why it struck you a certain way. Everyone is different, so reactions will vary.

She writes,

This kind of feedback, whether given or received, helps all of us to hear the voice of the Muse. Just as writing reaches deep into the unconscious, so does sensitive reading. In such underlining, two souls can meet at an intensely creative level. The spark of the sacred in me can connect to the spark of the sacred in you.


I had that kind of feedback this week from a friend, Cheryl, who wrote that my post inspired her inner Thoreau. I told her that it was great to get that kind of feedback because that was my intention for the piece and it was revitalizing for me to know that we connected on that level.

For a writer you know well, it is also helpful if you let them know, preferably in a private message, areas that were question marks for you – where you were confused about what they were saying. Wallace explains that these areas are not something you need to fix for the writer; rather ask the writer to clarify their expression, and something profound may result.

But here’s another cool thing.

This type of sensitivity to what you are reading and the resulting comments not only helps the blog writer but the reader as well. It is a generous and compassionate act which comes back to you.  A thoughtful reader feeds his or her own writing.

So, the next time you read a blog post, take the time to notice what strikes you. Think about why it struck you that way. Give feedback that is thoughtful and inspiring and see what happens.

Related Reading:

Nine Muses of Greek Mythology for Artists

Care and Feeding of the Work in Progress

Notice what you don’t Notice

7 Comments leave one →
  1. December 13, 2010 9:16 am

    Kim I was just thinking about this same thing today. As a way to help contributors and readers on one of my blogs I am going to start a series called Did You Know? This very subject, of leaving thoughtful comments versus the common “nice page”, is actually going to be my next (2nd so far) post. I’ll make sure to reference the ideas from here…they meshed with what I am going to try to express. Thank you!

    • December 13, 2010 1:41 pm

      Correen, thank you for commenting! Let me know when you get your blog post up. I would love to see it.

  2. December 13, 2010 12:49 pm

    This post is inspiring, indeed. I hadn’t really thought about the comments that we leave for others helping to inspire them to continue, but you and Catherine Wallace are right.

    Often we are so busy that we don’t leave a comment or if we do it seems it is mostly just to let the writer know we stopped in. It really is much more encouraging when the comment left lets the person know that what we read connected in some way.

    You have inspired me to be more encouraging with my comments in the future.


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