I’m not a jerk, but I am sorry

September 1, 2012 — 54 Comments

I received an email from a reader recently calling me to account over why I reply to so few of the messages, comments and emails I receive. He bought up the point that since so many people take the time to write such beautiful, thoughtful and sincere messages, that I should return the love and take the time to acknowledge each one.

I really appreciate that he bought this up, as it had been weighing on my conscience and I did wonder if this irritated the people that had in fact taken that time to write to me, and his email confirmed that it had irritated him at least, so it may very well be bothersome for others, so this is my apology.

It’s true that every day I get so many beautiful emails and thoughtful messages and comments through to the site and to every person who has ever written I want you to know something: The first thing I do every single morning is pour a cup of coffee, sit in my living room with the sun rising behind me and read those messages. Every. Single. One of them.

It is the best part of my day.

While the house is still cold and quiet, I sit right here where I am sitting now and I read through every word of every note and this means that my day begins with so much encouragement and words of support and love and as I have said before, I feel that this is possibly the best part about being a writer.

Some messages make me laugh out loud, and I have woken my children up earlier than I should have many times because of this. Others make me cry, either because you have written something that has so touched my heart, or because you have shared something with me that has broken it.

But regardless of how your messages move me, the fact is, they move me.

I wrote in my post ‘Torn’ about how I wished for more hours in the day because I always seemed to run out of time, and though I try to reply to as many messages as I can before my children come running out of their bedroom early in the morning wanting cornflakes and cartoons, I am always so behind.

I am sorry for this, because I don’t want to come across as being ungrateful, not ever, because not only has reading the correspondence from my readers been encouraging, it has actually turned this whole journey into so much more for me than just ‘being single’ for one thousand days, it has caused me to really believe that one day, I will find peace, I will achieve that ‘banging body, I will write that book, I will find true love. You guys just give me so much hope.

And yet, despite my efforts in fitting in reply’s where I can, I am currently 900 emails behind and I get several hundred per week. Please read ‘Torn’ and then tell me where I could possibly find the time to reply to that level of mail with any kind of sincerity.

So this is my apology, and also my statement of deep, genuine appreciation, which I hope can blanket those messages that I will never be able to respond to. Thank you. Thank you so much.
I write for people like you.

I swear I am not a jerk, I am just so darn short on time….Please keep writing and know that one of these mornings it will be your message that makes me smile, or laugh out loud or cry.

Thank you for your ongoing love and support. This experience has changed my life.

All my love,

Ness

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54 responses to I’m not a jerk, but I am sorry

  1. 

    when you receive the number of responses you do it must be impossible to reply to every single one, i make a point of replying to comments on my blog but thats because I have the time to do so, due to the manageable number that I get. You start replying to all of them and then you will have no time to actually write your blog. Maybe as a suggestion if one of the messages does make you cry reply to that one. The readers should understand.

  2. 

    I have been on many different type’s of board’s over the year’s and this is the scenario that always raises it’s head.
    Sadly there is no answer to the problem.
    We find that when we begin we have a couple of communication’s and soon after we are in full time employment simply answering mail.
    This is part of the reason little ” Like ” button’s were introduced – A simple acknowledgement in respect of the post-Saving time and allowing a reply of sort.
    But even the ” Like ” button is under debate as people moan that it is not sufficient.
    The best reply i ever heard in relation to the moaning was a guy who stated—-If someone goes to the trouble of visiting your page and click’s on the ” Like ” button this is better than not being visited at all.
    No one should feel that they have to respond to any post.
    Doing so under duress does not allow for an honest statement or comment.
    If you want to post a comment then it should be because you want to and you have something to say and not out of obligation to anyone.
    Many none English speaking people actually copy and paste a single reply to every post on a given day which may seem pathetic to some but at least they commented.
    It is a tricky situation But if people only comment on a post so that someone will then comment on their post’s what is the point of running a Blog?
    Just make one post and then sit back for the rest of time commenting on the post’s of those that commented.
    WHAT TO DO ?
    1) I don’t like the post – DO NOT COMMENT ON OR PRESS “LIKE”
    2) I like the post but have no opinion on the matter – “PRESS LIKE”
    3) I like the post and have an opinion to share – ” MAKE A COMMENT AND PRESS LIKE ”
    4) NEVER APOLOGISE FOR NOT HAVING AN OPINION….PEOPLE SHOULD ACCEPT THAT IT IS NOT POSSIBLE FOR EVERY POST TO BE COMMENTED UPON AND NOT EXPECT SUCH.

    • 

      🙂 Best advice ever. This made me feel a lot better. I do try as much as possible to respond to people who really share encouragement and support with me, and if I had 48 hours in each day then it would be possible for me to respond to every single one, but you are right, if I were to do that now, I would have no time for anything else at all….
      Thanks for your input, it actually gave me a different perspective 🙂

  3. 

    In a perfect World, yes we can be perfect to the needs of every one else. Am I anymore of a jerk because I don\’t comment as often as I like to? Despite reading each and every post to make? No, I’m not.

    Make no apologies, you\’re a single mom, busy as hell, school.. You have no apologies to to make sweetie.

    – Amanda

  4. 

    To have approx 2000 readers after such a short time means you are doing incredibly well and inspiring a lot of people. Don’t stress about one negative comment.

  5. 

    I think The Depressed Moose raises a good point. Food for thought though…. If you got married and had a LARGE wedding, say hundreds of guests who all brought a gift, some of which you loved, some of which were just ok and some of which you didn’t care for, what would you do? Would you thank them all??? (I know this is different because it is recurring AND they are all still gifts that are being shared) Is there someone you trust who would be willing to help answer readers? Is there a way to involve your children in finding a creative solution (like a drawing you could post)? You can also send a response to several people at once, by way of acknowledgement. If you send a reply as you read them you will be surprised how quickly you will be finished. It doesn’t require a litany, just a word of thanks.

    It is a huge dilemma and responsibility. Thanks for transparently sharing your ability to wrestle with this.

    • 

      Sending thank you messages to each individual email, message and like related to this site would take at least an hour or two each day. Its just not possible. Thats why I wrote the post. Because I would love to be able to reply and acknowledge everyone, but I simply can’t, and that does bother me, but what can you do?
      I wrote the post so every reader would know that I do appreciate it, that it does matter to me, that it does make a difference in my life.

  6. 

    What a lovely post!

    And don’t worry too much about not writing folks back. People need to understand that although you’re a blogger, you’re also a person who leads a busy life. I remember reading a post of yours where you outlined some of your responsibilities. I thought,”My gosh. If that was me, I think I’d fall over!”

  7. 

    You’re forgiven, hee hee!

  8. 

    I think I’d have to agree with just about everyone else 🙂 Just don’t worry about it! You’re doing fine.

    Hey, I nominated you for the One Lovely Blog Award! Here’s the link – http://mickeysayhello.wordpress.com/2012/09/01/one-lovely-blog-award/

  9. 

    No need to respond to this comment as I think you are being far too hard on yourself. I come to your blog because I enjoy it. A blog should never become a burden and I think that trying to respond to the volume of messages that you get would become exactly that. Keep doing exactly what you’ve been doing. You have all these followers for a reason. If it “ain’t” broke, don’t fix it!! =)

  10. 

    You have done alot by taking the time to respond to one complaint. When you find the time to respond that’s great. When you don’t find the time don’t worry about it. Your blessing others already and your heart will guide you through the rest. Great post! Your the only one walking in your shoes.

  11. 

    I so admire the way you “show up” in your blog. You are very real, and it is refreshing. This seems to be a common struggle – how to respond to so many comments – and it is a great dilemma to have! As others have said, you are juggling so much – respond to comments as you can and feel so inspired, and try to let the rest go. Be compassionate with yourself. You’ve made it clear with this post that you deeply appreciate all your readers.

  12. 

    I guess it’s kind of like when you were a love-struck teenager and you wrote a letter to your favorite celebrity and hoped they would write back and sometimes they did, but most times they didn’t because of ALL the fan mail they got. It’s just not possible to answer all of them. Don’t worry about it and just keep on writing your terrific blog. You’ll get to them when you can. 🙂

  13. 

    Your post is kind and thoughtful. It’s a good reminder to each of us that our words can and do make a difference for others.
    That said, it’s unreasonable for us to expect you to respond to every comment. I don’t think you even need to apologize for it!
    Here, on another blog I follow, http://www.rachellegardner.com/, the writer says up front that she can’t answer all questions or respond to all comments. Saves her a whole lot of
    time as well as angst, I imagine. Maybe she’s had to learn that the hard way, too.
    All the best to you! I admire your courage and determination in pursuing your 1000 days’ quest.

  14. 

    Good grief, in this day and age, who expects a reply to every single comment and message on a blog with so many readers? Especially when you’ve stated so clearly how busy your day-to-day life actually is. No apologies necessary! You’ve built an amazing fan base and you continue to write and inspire and engage with us and that’s more than enough. Enjoy your success; no guilt allowed. 🙂

  15. 

    I appreciate your message entirely. Fellow bloggers understand that it’s just not always possible to answer every message. It would take forever. A blanket appreciation post such as this one is perfect and you’re extremely kind for doing so.

  16. 

    Hello,

    Your post today is lovely and I do not think that anyone really expects you to persoannlly answer all of those emails. You may just want to create an email template something which says, “Thank you for writing and for your words of encouragement”, that you could send out as automatic response if you feel you have to acknowledge all of the emails.

    But this post is lovely and I do believe most people will understand.

    🙂

    Ivonne

  17. 

    What a predicament to be in. Who’d have thought this to even be an issue?
    I don’t comment on blogs with any expectations of reply. Mostly I thank the blogger for taking the time to write/post/share and I make a voiced connection. When I comment on your blog specifically I do so because you are special to me. Your writing touches me, makes me laugh, makes me cry and is truly a place of value to be respected. Honestly I never knew how many followers you had, I did however know how busy you are being a mother, a student, a writer and somehow you manage to live in between. I am not ashamed to admit that I look forward to a reply if you leave one, but certainly I would never be upset if you didn’t. The fact that you have touched so many with your gift is proof to me what a great woman you are. If a person is upset that you did not reply to a comment, well, so be it. There are plenty of us here that cheer you on regardless, we enjoy you, love your work, your passions and the strength you possess to make your life your own. Just keep being you please.

  18. 

    Are you serious? Some guy actually took the time to tell you that? It’s not like I have a lot of commenters on my own blog (more spam than actual comments), but if someone actually has the time to sit in front of their computer all day to respond to every single comment, more power to them. It’s not that I’m ungrateful, but personally, I have other things to do in the real world. You said you have kids, so I’m guessing you also have a life. My dear, you have NOTHING to apologize for. It’s great that people would comment on your blog, but it’s not like they have a right for a response. Next time that happens, send him my way and I’ll set him straight. 😉

  19. 

    No need to apologize ! blog comments are thoughts thrown into space…it is NOT like hanging up on somebody on the phone! we know you read them, we know you appreciate them. So keep writing and keep posting. Happy trails….Vera

  20. 

    I generally don’t answer every comment.It’s habit I formed on Myspace when I was trying to deal with 200 or so comments each time out. I think once the writer has posted they need to move away from the work and allow the readers to own it. It’s a zone outside the writers control. and you can’t afford to editorialize in the comment space (which, inevitably at some point you will) . It’s like – you have had your chance to be clever in the box up there, this box down here is for your readers to show how clever they are!The alternative is just the generic thank you note and I think intelligent people just see that as pandering.

    But each to their own, I say. Of course, I’d usually find a way to break my own rule if a pretty girl left me a comment… 🙂

  21. 

    No need to apologize…Better to put your time into your writing and leave a lasting impression than into a thousand thank you’s that nobody will remember tomorrow anyway.

  22. 

    I’m new to this, courtesy my daughter. I have no clue how a single person with children could do a blog, keep up with the tornadoes er kids and answer sometimes complex comments. I have a job too, and a wife. If I start getting comments in bulk I will do my best, but that’s all I got. You go girl.

  23. 

    I’m happy for you that you have been experiencing so much success. I think that’s wonderful!!

  24. 

    You are one busy lady Wendy, it made my day that you stopped by to read my blog post. Oh and enjoy the run.
    Cheers
    Laurie.

  25. 

    You’re a lucky guy and I think most understand your predicament. You have lots of thought provoking things to say.

    I reply to everyone that makes comments about my books or blog, but then I don’t have the following you have. Readers of any kind are important to a writer. Answer when you feel moved or when you can– I know I understand. I too have a backlog of ‘new’ email but there again I try hard to answer without seemly like it’s a form letter to individuals.

    Keep it going because what you are doing is working. Great to hear you read and are touched by people who care about what you write.

  26. 

    I don’t feel I need an apology. Although it is nice to receive a message back from one of my fellow bloggers. I also have noticed that some blogs get a lot of responses and I can’t imagine how one would find the time to read them all, let alone respond to them. I find it hard to just keep up reading all the new posts! I love reading everyone’s blogs. It is now a new part of my life that I enjoy and helps me get by. I enjoy reading you blog. You can only do what you can do until life takes over. Kat 🙂

  27. 

    Hey, look, there’s the ‘ideal’ world, and then there’s the one that’s actually achievable. There’s also that thing called ‘life’. In the blogging world, we call need to cut each other some slack, particularly because we all do it for difference reasons, and have different expectations.

    So, as long as you’re happy with what you’re doing, I’d say, don’t sweat it. The numbers speak for themselves 😉

  28. 

    I can only imagine the sheer number of emails you get and the daunting size it must present. I think you already do an awesome job talking with people on your blog as it is that any unanswered messages can be forgiven. as Ray Bradbury once said “You fail only if you stop writing,” so keep on writing ^_^

  29. 

    As a mother of five boys (four of which are age 5 and under), I completely relate to the visual you described.

    What a cool and powerful way for you to acknowledge your readers. Great post.

    You have a beautiful heart.

  30. 

    I, for one, would much rather read one of your posts than see a response to every comment I’ve made. I, as others have stated, have the “good luck” to never have more responses than I can answer. I do, however, attempt to follow way too many blogs and get caught up in the “OMG, I’m 300 posts behind” syndrome and end up reading more than I write (which is not necessarily a bad thing, lol). All I’m trying to say, in my usual meandering way is, keep doing what you’re doing and you will find balance 🙂

  31. 

    One of my favourite writers, Marieke Hardy, has disabled the comments on her blog. But it does sound like you love reading comments and while my blog is very small, I do like the small amount of comments I receive and generally respond. If my blog was as big as yours, I wouldn’t respond to all of them – I’d respond to the ones that hit me between the eyes and leave the others! Another thing perhaps to ask yourself (if you haven’t already) is why you even have your email address available. You’re getting the double whammy of comments and emails. Yowzer. Or you could hire me and I’ll respond for you 🙂

    PS – bring on summer…

  32. 

    I don’t send comments to get them in return, You don’t need to respond to everyone – your real friends are happy for you and know your heart. Sending affirming words from California, USA.

  33. 

    No probs Ness, you do what you can do.
    Sometimes some folks forget that there is a life outside a blog, it becomes all eveloping and real life takes a back seat to blog world.
    It’s very easy to become lost in this world, you should never apologise for having a real life… mind you it’s going to get worse once you get on tv, and I’m not talking about the horny alpha males we mentioned before / later ( thats a concept to get your head round 🙂 )
    And you’re not a jerk either.
    love n hugs xxx

  34. 

    I just received a ‘like’ on one of my posts from you, thank you, it means a lot. I understand how much it means to you to read all the comments and e-mails (whenever I receive positive feedback on anything, I feel warmer inside) and how hard it must be to respond to so many yet apparently not enough. I’m just thankful you took the time to read something of mine, and now I’ll read through your posts because it seems we have a bit in common.
    Keep on keeping on! L.

  35. 

    Never apologize for having a life or not having time to post. You made a decision to make a change in your life and share your personal journey with the world and your readers should be happy to have a glimpse into that. I don’t know how any of the people following my blog found it but I’m glad to have followed the link back to yours. Good luck with your journey and may it’s end find you where you need to be.

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