A thought occurred to me this evening while responding to comments on my gimmicks post: I write some of my best material in comments, rather in the posts themselves.
It seems odd to me. I mean, I typically draft and redraft posts, sit on them for days, remove great swathes and so on, all with the aim of hitting “Publish” on a piece of (hopefully) well-formed and well-reasoned prose. When replying to comments, on the other hand, I tend to let my thoughts flow more freely and don’t usually spend too much time on editing.
I think the reason why I personally feel I write better in comments is that I’m responding to something specific, which focuses my mind and forces me to really examine my thoughts and opinions in one particular light. When I’m writing the initial post I can find myself trying to corral multiple thoughts on a given subject down into some sort of coherent whole, sometimes in quite a short space of time, and sometimes there are inconsistencies and things I’m not 100% settled on that make it through.
Commenters are very good at spotting those, as well as throwing new thoughts into the mix that help crystallise things for me. Comments can make you ask “Did I mean to say that?”‘ or “How could I express that more clearly?”, as well as thinking “I really hadn’t considered that side of it before”. All of which makes for a better blogger.
Anyway, this is all a roundabout way of saying to blog readers that their comments are extremely valued, much appreciated and a hugely important part of the process, and to bloggers to embrace the dialogue that you can have with commenters even if they don’t share your point of view.