Comments 26/31 #sol23

When I’m out and about on the Internet reading slices, I always read the comments others have left before I write my own, even though reading the comments first absolutely influences the comments that I write.

Sometimes I’m not sure what to write (I’m a slow processor, but who has time to linger for too long while writing a comment? There are so many more slices to read!), and seeing what other people have said quickens my thinking.

Sometimes a comment unlocks the piece for me or shifts my perspective in a way that changes what I planned to say.

Other times, a comment expresses exactly what I want to say, better than I could possibly say it, but I don’t mind repeating the same thing in my less effective language.

I’m often in awe of fellow slicers’ ability to zero in on what makes a piece so effective and to articulate their noticings in incisive and insightful language. The comments are so often a lesson to me in how to provide meaningful feedback as a teacher.

I’m lifted up by the encouragement I see in the comments–to keep going, to keep writing, yes, but also to keep living, working, teaching, familying.

I love it best when the comments themselves become a kind of conversation, not just with the slice itself but with other comments. Commenters commenting on each other’s comments: proof of the power of this writing community.

Commenting can’t help but be a secondary genre of writing during the March slicing challenge. But I can’t imagine slicing would continue to be a beloved March tradition without the comments. They are the true gift of writing this month.


This slice is in conversation with Juliette Awua-Kyerematen’s Comments. I was also inspired by her blog title and motto.






39 responses to “Comments 26/31 #sol23”

  1. arjeha Avatar

    I so agree with you. I know that the goal of the month is not to write for comments. but it is the comments that keep me going. Not sure I would try to write something every day of the month if people didn’t leave a comment. I also read the comments before I comment. It does help me focus my thoughts and sometimes hits on something I didn’t pick up on. Yes. commenting is as much a part of this challenge as daily writing.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      The comments feel like hanging out with the very best community of teachers and writers! I know the comments aren’t the point, but since they’re where the community lives, I don’t think I’d slice without them either!

  2. Trish Avatar

    Absolutely true, and relates to the FOMO that some blogger wrote about at the beginning of March regarding her decision to participate. Love this post (and this community!).

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Yes! I think I’d have serious FOMO if I decided not to participate. I know I’d be sad seeing everyone else hanging out together while I was home alone LOL.

  3. Suzanne Avatar

    I love all of this conversation. I think also that without others’ comments we would feel alone! Alone in our thoughts, alone in our feelings, alone and unwilling to express ourselves. When someone comments a thought I was thinking I feel validated! And Elisabeth, your piece nailed it!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Validation is a perfect word for it! We’re validated as writers and also as human beings, I think.

  4. Glenda Funk Avatar

    I’m honing in on this: “The comments are so often a lesson to me in how to provide meaningful feedback as a teacher.” Comments are tiny mentor texts. But I also see comments as listening. A thoughtful comment says, “I see and hear you.” If all one does is write a post, that person misses half the conversation. I read all comments left for me, but I don’t comment on comments often because we only have so much time, and I want to devote that to what others are saying in their posts. I “like” the comments at the end of the day, but when I moved to Word Press, I forgot to “like” most of the time. I’m still learning and getting a costumed to this platform and the jetpack app.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I always forget that “liking” is an option, LOL. So I never do that. Even though I DO like all the comments! In past years, I have tried to respond to all of the comments I receive, but I haven’t been able to find the time this year. Like you, I’m trying to prioritize reading and listening to what others say and making sure I’m leaving comments on different blogs each day.

  5. carolannclark Avatar

    Yes, you are right. The comments are so valuable. I wrote a comment yesterday but read the previous ones after I hit sent and noticed that the person before me wrote almost exactly the same thing and then I thought, “Oh maybe I should read the other comments first?”

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Ha! I think that’s why I started reading the other comments first!

  6. beckymusician Avatar

    So true! Both the learning from comments and acknowledgement. Getting a comment makes me feel “seen.” Someone read my post! And cared enough to comment!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      It’s really quite amazing to have readers! It’s so lovely to feel “seen” as a writer!

  7. WOWilkinson Avatar

    I like how meta this slice is. To comment on the comments! I agree that the encouragement we get from other folks’ comments is a really vital piece of this community.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I love writing a meta slice but didn’t feel I had much to say about slicing this year. A 31 day writing/publishing challenge really does require some encouragement to make it through!

  8. Teachingnest87 Avatar

    The comments are what keep me going during the month. You nailed it for me in your paragraph about being in awe of other commenters. It takes time for me to come up with meaningful feedback and I often feel others have said it better than I could. I often comment because I have made a connection to what has been written but commenting on how it has been written is so much harder. I need to do more reading of the comments that come before mine. Thanks for the reminder.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I am truly in awe of some of the other commenters in our community. They say brilliant things in their feedback, things I’d never even notice–and if I DID notice, I wouldn’t be able to articulate how and why it’s working like that. I learn so much from reading comments!

  9. natashadomina Avatar

    I loved reading your description of your process of commenting. It really resonated with me. I also loved this line: “I’m lifted up by the encouragement I see in the comments–to keep going, to keep writing, yes, but also to keep living, working, teaching, familying.” Love that word “familying” and the whole sentiment of what you’ve wrote. I hope you also feel the encouragement to keep sharing cat photos and stories. 🙂

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Ha! Of course I’d probably force my cat content on others whether they encouraged it or not! I feel like one theme that runs through comments is this acknowledgement that teaching and familying are hard stuff sometimes, and we need encouragement, validation, appreciation for our efforts in those areas too!

  10. amyilene Avatar

    Yes! Recognizing that the comments are, in themselves, a genre to be honored and understood is such an amazing thing….and one that I hadn’t realized until this post!!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I hadn’t thought about comments as a writing genre all their own until I was writing this post. But many days of the month, I write more words in comments than I did in my own slice!

  11. Denise Krebs Avatar
    Denise Krebs

    Elisabeth, well put. I was tapping and humming along (figuratively) with your whole post about comments. I usually write my comment before reading others, but you have made sound reasoning for reading the others first. Like what you said here is definitely true for me, “Sometimes a comment unlocks the piece for me or shifts my perspective in a way that changes what I planned to say.” I have written a comment, and didn’t post it yet, but then read other comments and realize I didn’t get something from the post. The commenting certainly does make the slicing challenge sweeter, and, as you say, it is another genre of writing, a second March challenge, if you will. Thanks for the thoughts today.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I love thinking about commenting as its own second March challenge. There are so many wise thinkers and writers in this community–I learn as much from the comments sometimes as I do from reading slices!

  12. Amy Crehore Avatar

    As a first time slicer, the comments were a totally unexpected and welcome surprise, and absolutely what has kept me going! (Especially as I start to lose some steam toward the end of this month…) Thank you for bringing attention to this, and for describing so perfectly in words how I too feel before I comment on others’ slices! (Though I did scroll right down and comment on this without reading any other comments!)

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      There’s definitely a point in the month where we all lose steam, I think. I usually have a few going-through-the-motions posts, then I’m able to find the energy and joy again. I remember my first year slicing–how unbelievable it was that people were reading and commenting on my slices! Definitely keeps me going!

  13. aggiekesler Avatar

    You hit the nail on the head here. Comments fuel writers. Without comments, we might as well be writing in our journals. We blog to put ourselves out there, to have an audience. Comments show us we are seen and heard. We are not alone. Thanks for your thoughtful post today!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      And I much prefer writing in my journal! But the warm feedback and encouragement from others convinces me that it’s ok, at least for this month, to publish too!

  14. A New Community – Plan. Teach. Reflect. Repeat. Avatar

    […] a walk or a run before I settle in for the evening), but then I read Elisabeth’s wonderful slice about […]

  15. Trina Avatar

    You have such an interesting perspective – the comments being a secondary genre. In my opinion, it is much easier to have a conversation within WordPress than with Blogger. I have debated about switching platforms just for the commenting part!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      That’s interesting! WordPress seems easier to navigate than Blogger. I know a lot depends on the particular “appearance” or “theme” you choose for your WordPress. I had to change themes at the beginning of the challenge this year because the comments section wasn’t working as I needed it to. (I couldn’t find a comment button on my own blog!)

  16. Juliette Awua-Kyerematen Avatar

    This sentence really stood out for me, “I’m lifted up by the encouragement I see in the comments–to keep going, to keep writing,” Thank you for reading my slice and commenting on it.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Thank you so much for the inspiration! I love how this community lifts each other up through the comments.

  17. Zoe Smith Avatar

    I love reading the comments before I write my own because it helps me to think more clearly about what I want to say.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Yes! It really focuses my own commenting skills to see what others have said first.

  18. Amanda Potts Avatar

    Comments are the heartbeat of this month. I try to explain the community, the sense of support, that drives me to participate every March, but too often others see this as simply more work. And on top of all that goodness, the comments have helped me, too, become better at commenting on student work. Yay comments!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I can understand the attitude of seeing it as just more work. But commenting is really the key to unlocking all the goodness of this community! At this point, I think you and I are probably in the same boat–we have so many wonderful connections throughout the community that we’ve made through commenting that we could spend hours reading and commenting on other slices and STILL not make it through everyone we want to visit in a day! It’s really worth the extra effort to build a community and develop these writing friendships!

  19. karpenglish Avatar

    I love how you made your slice today all about noticing the craft of commenting itself. The sentence, “Commenters commenting on each other’s comments: proof of the power of this writing community,” absolutely perfectly sums up what is special about this March community.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      There really is an art and craft to commenting! And certainly feeling like I’m in community with so many other writers and teachers is what keeps me going in March.

      1. karpenglish Avatar

        Absolutely! I think missing the big community is why I never get far with my intentions to keep writing throughout the year on Tuesdays. Either that, or I really am better at writing every day than once a week. Tuesdays seem to sneak up on me somehow.

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