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I’ve been blogging for a long time. Not as long as some, of course, but long enough that I feel I know my way around this blog “business” (the reason business is in quotes will become clear soon enough). This is my third incarnation of this writing blog (and on this one alone, I have tallied up more than 400 posts). Around the Inter-webs, I also have a travel blog, a gamer blog and a toy review blog. Plus, I teach an online class via blog.

So when I say I’ve given a lot to blogging, I mean it.

Blogging takes up a lot of my time. This is true for everyone who blogs, not just me.

Which is why I get so irate when I get inconsiderate, rude, nasty or thoughtless comments (especially if they’re anonymous). Or when I get even more irate when people that I like get similar responses from readers (examples: Alison Tyler, Tess Gerritsen, Neil Gaiman… And I have to admit that it was Alison’s most recent bout with this that got me up in arms enough to write a post about it).

Now, constructive criticism? Sure. Thoughtful disagreement? Please. A spirited debate? Bring it on.

But pure and utter nastiness? F that.

Here’s the thing: Blogs, as I mentioned, are time consuming. They take time away from work that pays. Blogs, for me, are the only thing that I still write that I don’t charge money for. Sure, they’re good for promotion (maybe?) and yes (most importantly) they bring me into contact daily with writers and other creative people that I cherish and adore. But for the most part, it is work on my end. For nothing. Not a red cent. I am giving readers my words for free.

Now, I’m sure there are some readers who would say, “You get what you pay for,” and that’s okay. Some of the words in this blog AREN’T very good. They’re rambling. They’re not edited. They’re disjointed or confusing. Welcome to the first draft 🙂 To those readers, I say, please, find somewhere else to go and read free stuff. Stuff that you enjoy, that makes you happy or inspires you.

If you go to a writer’s blog and it doesn’t work for you, then it doesn’t work for you. Why take the time to post and say, “I expected xyz. You gave me zyx. I’m so disappointed.”?

This, I think is one of the things that the blogging movement has created, this “something for nothing” mentality. Not only are writers nearly required to have a blog (“What?! She doesn’t have a blog?!”), they’re required to entertain us with it, agree with all of our opinions, teach us how to be better writers and just plain give us everything we expect. All for free, and at our convenience.

I can’t imagine the hours I’ve spent writing blog posts (nor do I want to. My bank account would probably cry at the lost hours). But think of it this way: I typically charge anywhere from $50 to $200 per hour for freelance work, depending on what I’m doing. This blog post alone took at least half an hour (time spent thinking about it, plus finding image, plus links, plus writing). At 400 posts, that’s 200 hours. Not chump change.

Of course, you can’t count satisfaction in the monetary side of things. Thus, I earn lots of things that aren’t dollars: friends, fellow writers, support, an outlet for my successes and failures, an opportunity to share things that I find exciting or good (or even awful)… that list goes on and on.

But what I want to say is this: If you’re reading someone’s blog, please remember three things:

  1. There’s a person behind the blog. A living, breathing, hurtable person who is going to read your comments and take them to heart.
  2. That person has spent their time and energy to create this thing. They’ve taken time away from something — family, friends, their work, their garden, their duties — to make a blog post.
  3. You don’t get to have something for nothing and then complain about it. Especially not anonymously.

Kiss kiss bang bang, s.

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“Kind words do not cost much, yet they accomplish a lot.” ~ Blaise Pascal

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