Why I Might Give Up Commenting On WordPress

A chat box created using coloured and crumpled paper

As someone who champions commenting as a means of growing your blog, I figured I should also point out the negative side of things. So what better way to do that than by breaking my regular habit of commenting on blogs?

After all, I’d just published this post about being consistent in my blogging duties, so there’s no better time to experiment than now.

And while it may seem like I impulsively arrived at this decision, I have to admit that I’d been pondering the practicality of this practice since the start of the New Year, especially seeing how the workflow has evolved since my humble beginnings.

In this week’s post, we’ll be exploring what’s involved in being a regular commenter, and what happens when you quit, so grab a cup of coffee, get comfortable, and let’s talk aabout all things commenting.

Opportunity costs

Before we move on, let me just throw out the 80/20 rule, or the Pareto Principle. This is the observation of how 20% of your activities contribute to 80% of your life, which is meant to be taken with a grain of salt.

Yet, I’d see this principle in action throughout my life, like the time I managed a salon, and noticed how 20% of the hairstylists were bringing in 80% of the revenue. Or during my time as a mentor, how 20% of the students asked 80% of the questions.

Why I’m bringing this up is because I want to highlight the importance of knowing our goals as writers.

What activity would you say contributes to the majority of your craft? For me, that’s writing and reading. In fact, my biggest writing goals cannot be achieved any other way, as inspiring as they can be for the craft.

That includes watching movies, seeking solitude, or exercising. And you know what else doesn’t bring me closer to my writing goals? Commenting on WordPress.

A classic weighing scale

Gotta weigh the pros and cons to everything you do in your day. Photo: Piret Ilver

The cold, hard numbers

Want to know the least amount of time I spend commenting each day? Two hours. But that’s the bare minimum, and those days are rare.

On average, I lean towards four hours, sometimes five after I publish a post and need to handle incoming comments before I head out into the wild (that’s the Reader).

Why so long? Because I’m a slow reader, and besides the 20 new comments I put out every day, I also make sure to reply to every comment on this site, plus leave a comment on their blogs. That means I can easily reach 60 comments a day, reading excluded.

Therein lies the problem. I’m spending half a workday on comments, every day.

And while I pride myself on my work ethic, I have to put my foot down when it’s eating into my actual writing time.

I quit!

And that brings me to the present day, where I’ve eschewed commenting for six days at the time of this draft. I still reply to comments (it’s only good manners), but I haven’t been browsing the Reader for new blogs, and I have to say that the initial impressions are pretty encouraging.

For one, I’ve started work on my sixth novel, one which I’ve been putting off for most of the year. Secondly, I actually get to connect better with awesome readers like you who take the time to interact with me.

But most importantly, I’m less distracted now, which is a low-key danger when you have 20 other voices and stories in your head each day.

A monk walking in a train station

Wanting to pursue the spartan life. On the blog, at least. Photo: Ryan Tang

Information overload

You know how I always say that the early morning is the best time to eat your frog? Yeah, I’ve started to realise that maybe commenting shouldn’t be part of that. That’s because it’s not a good idea to bombard yourself with all that information before you’ve even woken up.

After all, isn’t that why most productivity enthusiasts recommend you not to browse social media or check your e-mail first thing in the morning?

I’d notice that on the heavy days, that I’d go through the rest of the morning in a state of fugue. It’s the exact same feeling you get from bingeing on an entire season of Friends. You just feel mentally spent at the amount of faux stimulation you’ve been receiving.

Delaying the process doesn’t help either. I could do it after lunch, but then I’d lose my evenings. Or I could do it at night and lose sleep.

At a certain point, I’m starting to realise that perhaps this information overload is doing my craft a disservice, despite the amazing growth my blog has seen over the years.

So what have I learned, then?

a. Busyness does not equal productivity

We all have our hierarchy of goals, and writing a thousand words per day might be great for me, but terrible for others.

That’s were constant self-examination comes into play. Because growing your blog on a budget might be a priority for you, and in that case, commenting on 20 posts a day would be in line with your goals.

For me though? I’ve had to take a honest look at my own goals and realise that I haven’t been writing as much fiction as I should have. Even my reading has taken a hit, since I already exert those muscles so much from reading blogs.

So it’s important that we constantly define what busyness and productivity means to us, and that we don’t mix the two.

b. Attention residue is real

One good thing about reflecting on this habit is that I’ve also learned the importance of avoiding the social media vortex.

Because distraction in the modern age has transcended the radio, television, or even Solitaire. And their effects are much more felt throughout the day too.

In fact, it’s scientifically shown that seeing a stranger travel the world (or a kitten video) then trying to focus on your task at hand makes your life just that much harder.

And rather than blame myself for being too lazy to write, I’d like to say that my drop in word count comes from the constant switching of contexts as I flit from blog to blog.

c. People change

What works for one person might not work for another. Likewise, what’s worked for me in the past might not do the same in the future.

Just like how I’d pivoted through my various careers, so too should I be willing to leave previous practices behind. The only reason why I stumbled upon writing as a career was because I was willing to make a change. Maybe this could be the start of something awesome too.

Maybe I’ll start focusing on SEO, or social media marketing. Heck, maybe I’ll finally give Pinterest a try.

d. My views dropped

Perhaps my biggest fear was losing all the momentum that I had built. But I quickly learned that wasn’t the case, because it wasn’t as if I was snowballing the numbers with each passing day.

In fact, commenting is just like cycling (I sure have been using this analogy a lot lately). Stop pedalling and you’ll come to a halt. Start pedalling and off you go again. Sure, there is some momentum involved in cycling, but you generally get immediate feedback from your actions, or lack thereof.

And while my total views have dwindled, I could probably get things rolling again by picking up where I left off, so it’s not exactly an irreversible loss.

A screenshot of Stuart's WordPress data showing dropping views

Screenshot of my Stats page.

e. The regulars stayed though

This includes awesome people like you. I’ve since realised that it’s the regulars that keep this blog (and me) going. In fact, in my previous post—during which I didn’t embark on a single comment run—I still saw a respectable comment rate, most of which consisted of returning readers.

Say what you want about traffic, but quality engagement and relationships are where it’s at. Which brings me to my final and most important point.

f. I have enough

I had 300 subscribers after blogging for six years. That was 2020. And after two years of comment runs, that figure has grown to 4,000.

Imagine 4,000 people. That is five full Airbuses. Do you know how big those Boeings are? And you know what? I’m starting to feel self-conscious, having each post read by that amount of people. Would I offend anyone? Would I do them justice? Would that number drop to 3,999?

But that’s besides the point. The point is, I’m grateful for the positive vibes I get in each post. The e-mails I receive. The chats we have. I’m grateful for you, you familiar stranger. And right now, that’s more than enough for me.

Moving forward

I hope this post has served its purpose thus far, and that’s to encourage any of you wanting to give comments a go. It’s a great way to grow your blog for free, provided you’re willing to pay with your time.

But I also hope that it sheds some light on the effort you need to put forth, and that you should always return to your why to see if you’re making the most out of your time.

So what’s next for me? I’m not too sure, but I’ve shortlisted a few ideas:

  • Set a cut-off time each day
  • Reduce quantity but increase quality
  • Abandon comments entirely
  • Batch comments a few days per week
  • Cry in the fetal position because I have nothing figured out

What’s great is that my mornings are now dedicated to actual writing, and I’m already a few chapters deep into my latest novel. And who knows? With all this extra time, I could even up my publishing schedule to twice-a-week. Maybe that would be another solid way of growing the blog.

If you have any techniques that have worked for your blog’s growth, I’d also love to hear about it. Until then, I’ll see you next week. Same time, same place.


Having more time to write means being able to focus better on the newsletter. So do join the community if you want more exclusive content like this. Also, you’ll get a free guide on how to grow your WordPress blog as a welcoming gift!

190 thoughts on “Why I Might Give Up Commenting On WordPress

  1. Even tho I have only 17 or 18 followers (depends on how we define “follower”) and most of them don’t say much I still struggle with this. Can’t imagine what it like for you to stay current with >4000 people! Yeeeeow. No need to reply to this. Write some writing! 🤗👋

    • It definitely is a juggling act, for sure. At least I’ve learned what I’m comfortable with now, because if replying to regulars take too much time, I don’t go out looking for new blogs to comment on anymore. That has freed up SO MUCH time for my novel writing. Anyway, you know I’m going to reply to you because there’s no way I’d leave someone who’d taken the time to comment hanging. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Fabulous post! I wondered how you did it…turns out the answer is LOTS of hard work and energy! Who knew! ;D Glad you’ve found a good place to settle with this. And stealing the phrase “faux stimulation,” for my personal life. If that’s not the best description of what it feels like after a scroll vortex.

    • Scroll vortex is a great term too! Your comment is a reminder for me NOT to mindlessly surf today, but for some reason, I still can’t resist picking up the phone sometimes, even when I know it’s going to lead me nowhere. Thanks so much for stopping by!

  3. Writing is one of my weakest skills. Reading these is quite overwhelming for someone like me but it’s very informative and positively challenging. Thank you for this tips.

    • Thanks for visiting! Of course, your circumstances will be super unique to you, so who’s to say that finding your own way to do things wouldn’t be better? Wishing you all the best regardless!

  4. I glad you took the time to read and respond to my latest blog post. The information you shared in this post is most appropriated and very helpful especially for a new blogger like me. Thank you so much for sharing.

    • And I’m glad to have stopped by your site! Thanks so much for taking the time to share your thoughts, and I’m sure you’ll nail it here on WordPress. Take care!

    • Ha. Joke’s on you because it took me ten seconds to read that, and another minute to reply.

      But you can be sure I’ll be returning to my writing soon, because I just learned that Michelle Yeoh is one of the judges for this year’s novel competition, so I gotta be everything everywhere all at once!

  5. Honestly, it took some time before I actually sat down and thought about how much of my day it takes up when I could be reading or finishing a project I’ve been abandoning for months on end. As much as I love visiting blogs regularly and leaving comments, they can be draining. I think over the years as I got busier and started getting more responsibilities, I’ve batched up on responding to comments and visiting blogs, and it’s freed up the time I spend commenting for those other things.

    While I’ve noticed less engagement overall, it’s like you mentioned with the regulars staying and keeping the blog going. Personally, for myself my views haven’t changed all that much but have surprisingly stayed steady (though it did drop down slightly) – I do think it may be because the vast majority of my viewership don’t comment though they’ll read posts. Perhaps it may have started out that way, so they stayed that way, or perhaps it was from me focusing on SEO more. I also think the biggest thing I realized when giving up on commenting regularly and batch commenting for a set time/day, is that I’m not getting paid to blog, so I should put myself first instead of draining myself.

    Thanks for the post, I appreciated your thoughts and insights!

    • Wow, these are amazing thoughts, and one that I truly share, especially after taking it easy on my end.

      It’s so true that something we’re doing for fun shouldn’t be taking over other bigger priorities. I mean, I go into every hobby hoping to do my best, but when that eats into my actual creative time, it’s good to take a step back and see how this is helping with my life goals.

      And after a month or so of chilling out, I’ve also noticed that my views have dropped, but the engagement is still there, thanks to the lovely regulars and awesome readers like yourself.

      Most importantly, I’ve still found time to interact on WordPress, but now that’s been relegated to actual free time, instead of a non-negotiable daily task. So I now get to focus on my novel writing once more, while still maintaining some level of networking. Win-win!

      Anyway, glad that you shared these thoughts! I love it.

  6. I love your honesty with how you share your growth in all different aspects. Your work is amazing. And while its important to take time to engage with others, its essential to remember that there is a journey ahead of you that only you can take.

    • Comments like yours remind me why I should continue sharing about the steps (and failures) I’m making to better myself. And it’s also the reason why I’m reluctant to let go of commenting completely. Thanks so much for your kind words!

  7. I don’t know if this has been said or not already (Stuart, your posts are too good and garner so many comments!) but I for one like comments sections on blogs. It’s the old web 1.0 way of communicating versus social media. Also, comments are much more cordial.

    • Yup. I’ll always stand by the effectiveness of comments. Now if only there was a more feasible way to go about it, lol.

      Thanks so much for your support, Brad. Great to see you here again!

  8. It’s taken me more than a week to get to this post, but I saved it in my email because I wanted to get to this post! I so feel you. I mean, you’re doing an amazing job, way better than I am. I *should* grow my following the way you have, but it’s totally the time factor. Still, the fabulous friendships that come from blogging relationships are real. I often feel guilty when I post something without having first made the circuit of reading and commenting on others’ blogs. In fact, there have been a few times that I’ve apologized at the end of a post, saying, essentially, “thanks for reading me since I know I have yet to read you.” It’s true what you say about the stalwart friends being there no matter what.

  9. You do you, Stuart! I do admit that commenting takes up a chunk of my time too. I try to comment whenever I am on the move (I need to wait for that bus anyway) so instead of browsing through random Facebook posts, it think commenting will be a much productive choice. (There goes my cute kitten video indulgence!)

    So, I’ll comment, find new blogs to read even write 😱 if I am in a queue, on a cab, waiting (& yelling) for my daughter to get dress; basically, any time I am not near enough to my laptop.

    • Lol yas! Commenting while waiting or commuting is a great way to spend the time, though I have to admit that it gets pretty frustrating to type on the phone. But that’s the only reason why I could maintain my commenting routine when I was injured and in the hospital, lol. Great to see you again, Kally!

      • Oh dear! I do hope that you are much better now.
        I do love typing on the phone. In fact, sometimes I prefer my phone to my laptop because my phone is always with me when inspiration struck. Lol!

      • The only time when I find typing on the phone acceptable is when I use swipe keyboards. But you seem like you write down your inspirations, and I can NOT compromise not having a keyboard for that, lol. But it must be amazing to be able to write from anywhere though!

      • It is strange I must admit to be furiously typing into my phone when inspiration stuck. My friends have asked me if I am pissed off at something/someone while texting. Lol!

  10. Stuart, I’m here because you took the time to comment on my website blog. To be honest, I thought that blogging was a bit dead. So, it was wonderful to have you leave a comment. It’s obviously something that you take a lot of time and care doing. As long as you’re enjoying blogging and commenting, I say go for it. But there’s no reason you can’t concentrate on your novel writing and let this take a back seat when it needs to. The important thing is that you’re writing.

    • Oh yeah. I feel like I’ve made the right choice now that two weeks or so have passed. The hours I used to spend on commenting have now been reallocated to writing my novel and staying fit. Now commenting goes around my schedule, instead of the other way around. Anyway, thanks so much for stopping by. I’m glad you enjoyed our interaction on your blog, and I’m sure it won’t be the last!

  11. I enjoy comment and reading others blogs and getting feedback back. I’ve been researching writing clubs in my area and looking for classes to help me grow yet have some up empty. Knowing a blogger who’s experienced as you and getting to read YOUR advice from things you’ve learned has really helped me! I’ve been MIA for a few weeks because I injured myself (more on this on my blog later this week) and I’ve missed being able to comment on things I’ve read.

    • That explains your wonderful streak of comments here. Great to see you again, LaShelle, and for sure I’ll be waiting for that post about how you got injured. Sounds pretty serious if we’re into ‘weeks’ category. Take care!

      • I’m recovering it’s just slow. It was a super stupid injury but kinda funny 😆 typing takes a lot longer to do now but at least I can finally write again!

  12. I’m reading this post today because you chose to comment on one of my first posts. So, I’d say the comment cycle is worth it! Just figuring out how to make it most efficient for you is the hard part. Great post!

    • Oh yeah. I don’t think commenting will ever be an efficient thing, but that’s why it works so well, because it’s the most sincere form of interaction. You either get one-worded replies or proper comments, so it’s easy to distinguish between them too. Anyway, thank YOU for stopping by!

  13. How true is this! I think blogging has really changed so very much over the last few years. As I dive into social media management I have realised that interestingly, we use similar techniques there too haha.

    • Right? I actually got this off GaryVee, who did this exact thing on Twitter when he was coming up, and the results speak for themselves. But then again, it’s such a huge time investment. Would love to hear your thoughts on networking over social media!

      • It really is! What I’ve begun doing now is really scheduling in ‘engagement’ time. I would try to coincide this with the time of posting but unfortunately it doesn’t always work that way.

        On networking over SM there are two very clear categories of people that you see: those who do a generic “good job” (lol) and the more elaborate ones that take time to read through your posts and say something meaningful!

  14. No hard feelings, Stuart! I have been grappling with this for what seems like months and months now…. I love my blogger friends and love the ability to show support but I find it so hard to keep up with… I no longer read (like read a book) because I simply don’t have time what with trying to live life and trying to get my post scheduled every Tuesday night.. it’s gotten nuts.. and at some point (i don’t remember when), I told myself I’d do what I could catching up on posts and commenting but I had to put myself first… I need to get back to writing regularly for the joy of it and reading again! I miss reading dearly!

    • So many great points, Jen. I just got done reading Pete’s story about how he just met a blogger friend, and I have to say the connections on here are real. Which sucks when sometimes we have to prioritise and cut down on the networking.

      But hey, if your reading and writing has faded and taking time for yourself means being able to jumpstart those habits once more, then I’d say it’s a great choice. I’m already 11k words into my latest novel thanks to cutting down on commenting, so that’s been a great choice thus far. Just need to up my reading now too!

  15. Pingback: PINTEREST IS A TERRIFIC BLOG MARKETING TOOL • THE GODDESS ATTAINABLE

  16. Thanks for sharing this🙂. I also started my blogs recently.. I don’t get comments on my posts. Sometimes it hurts like no one is commenting on my blogs. But now I understand what to do. Just focus and keep going….

    • Oh yeah. Even commenting doesn’t guarantee traffic unless you’re doing it in a sincere way. Hopefully you find your balance in increasing your readership. Thanks so much for stopping by!

  17. Hey, I’m sorry to ask a question in the post as it’s weird…
    But I just started with my blogging and sharing in WordPress. So should I engage with other people through comments or not?

    • It’s not weird at all. That’s the point of comments, is it not?

      It really depends. If you have the money and the expertise, you can go the advertising or SEO route. If you don’t want to spend any money, commenting is always a great way to build your readership, as long as you approach it from a sincere perspective.

      At the end of the day, try it out for yourself and see. You’ll be able to determine if it works for you within a week, so it’s not to say you have to invest too much time in it. Though I’d recommending browsing at least 10 blogs in your niche per day to notice any obvious results.

      Just ask away if you have more questions, and I’ll be glad to help!

  18. You’ve hit the point on the head, as usual. I’ve seen one person who blogged every day for seven years just drop off. I’m overwhelmed. I’ve felt all those things you said: numbers dropping, time spent, guilt for not returning the visit, etc.

    Anywho; I came over because I really enjoy reading your posts and because today is the day I quoted you. Yay! There’s no expectation on my end, though. You’re good.

    • Oh yeah, but don’t allow my post to affect whatever plans you had in mind. If you were considering commenting more, I suggest that you give it a go and see what it does for you. No better way to experiment than to do it yourself, right? Thanks so much for stopping by!

  19. Thank you for writing this post. I have always commented and the time I spend I am now realising has cost me finishing my second novel. Its hard though because I enjoy reading and commenting on the blogs I follow. Still, you are right.

    • I feel like commenting in moderation (hee hee, geddit) is a healthy practice, especially where it pertains to constant growth, but if it’s eating into your novel-writing time, then it’s time to consider which goal is more meaningful to you.

      I myself have gotten a pretty good start on my latest manuscript, so I’d have to say that my brief break from comments has been worth it.

      Thanks so much for stopping by!

  20. Honestly this is so relatable and actually really refreshing! I find it so hard to comment on blogs and bloghop nowadays. This makes me feel a lot better about that! Congrats on working on your sixth novel!

  21. Really interesting take on building readership and choosing how to spend your time. Great post

    • It’s just one of the many ways to build a readership, and I’m keen to explore more. Thanks so much for stopping by! And just a heads up, your link in your Gravatar account seems broken, so it’s not forwarding me to your site when I click your profile.

  22. That is one area I need to work on – networking. I prefer just writing, but if you don’t reach out, how are people going to know your existence? A balanced mix is key I guess.

    • Oh yeah. This is especially true for authors who might want to promote their work in the future. Sure, writing is what we do, but it’d be great to have an audience to share our writing with once we’re done. Balance is key indeed. Here’s to finding ours!

  23. I know what you mean so well!!! I used to host a photo challenge which, I’m proud to say, grew quite popular. Eventually, I had to tell my hosting buddy she needs a new partner, because with two small kids and a full-time job, I just couldn’t handle all the replies. And I will always reply, 100%, and appreciate every comment that someone thoughtfully left. But it just took too much time and became a duty! My views dropped but the regulars stayed, and I don’t regret it. Good luck!

    • The time it takes to reply one comment is deceivingly long, isn’t it? I could just read and reply to maybe five comments, and then realise that an hour has passed, lol.

      And you have children and a job too, so that makes things even harder, since any free time will have to go to more proper things, like keeping the house in order or making sure your kids eat their meals.

      I’m glad to hear about your positive experience from cutting down. I myself have been feeling less cluttered mentally, and that’s been a great help for my creative side.

      Thanks for your lovely comment!

  24. Interesting read, I wasn’t sure the effect commenting on peoples blogs would have in terms of connectivity but as you have proven it’s a valuable thing to do for both parties.

    Thank you for this post!

    • Oh definitely. As long as we’re not spamming others, commenting is a pretty legit way of increasing traffic and readership. Of course, while it’s free, you’re gonna have to pay for it with time, so that’s the downside. Wishing you all the best with your own journey!

  25. Four to five hours of commenting per day is a bit excessive. That is anywhere from 100800 to 126000 seconds every week dedicated to commenting. Smart move to cut back on that. Any time that you can free up for your own projects or mentally recharge is good to have. We wouldn’t want you to snap because of self imposed WordPress commenting obligations. That would suck.

    And for the Pinterest part. I have a Pinterest account, and you aren’t missing much. The only reason I have it is for drawing references, and even then I usually forget about it until Google reminds me through email about a Pinboard update.

    • Oh yeah. When you put it that way, I really am sinking too much time into something that’s basically a passing hobby. I wouldn’t mind if it was my main business or livelihood, but for now, it’d be more prudent to spend all that time actually improving my life.

      Interesting. I’ve been hearing different experiences on Pinterest, so I guess the best thing to do now is to give it a spin myself and see how it works out, lol.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  26. I just about fell over when I read how long you spend on comments each day! I do find that the commenting process enriches the whole blogging experience, but I definitely do a lot less than you. I do my best to keep up with reading posts, but sometimes four or five days go by and I get really behind and it’s all I can do to catch up. Comments are rare then because then I’d never catch up. Sometimes when I’m really behind like that, I don’t even really all the posts that are waiting. I just can’t. I can only handle commenting when I’m genuinely moved to comment. Otherwise I just leave a like, which to me is a way of saying, “Hey there. I read your post. Thanks for putting it out there.” I don’t blame you for quitting commenting, and if you haven’t fully quit yet, please, please, please don’t feel like you have to reply to this comment or comment on my posts – you need to eat, sleep, and work after all! :)

    • Oh yeah, commenting is deceivingly time-consuming, something I didn’t realise because the numbers crept up so slowly. Then one day I started my comment run at 6 a.m., got lost in ‘work’, and by the time I was done, it was already nearing noon.

      That got me wondering just why I was doing all this for, while my manuscript was gathering dust in my hard disk.

      Interesting to see your process. Whenever I trawl the Reader, I only click on posts that draw me in—both from regulars and new bloggers.

      Occasionally I’d head on directly to someone website because I was thinking of them. But a bulk of it is due to replies on my posts, not in a ‘comment for comment’ way, but naturally to continue the conversation. And if I’m going to chat, I’d rather it be with those who are already chatting with me than with strangers.

      So I’m going to head on to your site now, not because I feel obliged, but because I know you, and I want to see what’s been going on in your life recently!

  27. Wow so many hours commenting! I appreciate your comments even more now 🙏

    I must admit I find it hard to keep up with the faithful few who comment on my blog, and it’s definitely a struggle to read what I want to read while also writing what I want to write.

    I heard a quote on a podcast a while back that has stuck with me, ‘create before you consume’ and I think this is an ethos for any writer to live by.

    If I write in the morning then I might reward myself with a podcast in the afternoon, it’s working better than the other way round, totally agree about the state of fugue from information overload.

    Great post, thanks 😊

    • Whoa. ‘Create before you consume’ is a killer quote indeed, and I’m probably going to try applying it from now on.

      I actually believe in this quote, because I don’t get that fugue state after creating, but I certainly do feel it after consuming. So perhaps some rejigging is in order.

      And yes, we often underestimate how long it takes to manage comments, especially when there are amazing commenters such as yourself, so you tend to ruminate over your replies so much more to do their comments justice.

      Anyway, thanks for stopping by, and it’s so lovely to hear such similar thoughts!

  28. This is a big reason I gave up social media in 2021. It took so much time. I hate that so much of a writer’s job today is networking. Glad you’re always reassessing your priorities! I guess there’s probably a time to network and a time to write, and you always have to be aware of what you’re spending your time on. I feel validated in my decisions, so thanks! 😂

    • It’s weird how much social media is taking control of our lives. It’s not just in writing. Even in fighting, athletes are offered better contracts if they have a larger following on social media. Black Mirror much?

      Maybe in the future there’ll be a fringe group of people who aren’t bound by tethers of the internet.

      And thanks for feeling validated, because that makes me feel validated in return!

  29. I totally get coming to the realisation that something is taking up way too much of your time and isn’t pointing you toward your goals! I’ve had to think a lot about that too in different areas lately. Funnily enough, I’m trying to comment more on blog posts! But that’s because I’ve hardly done it at all and I want to interact with awesome writers and bloggers like you by intentionally reading and commenting on posts. Maybe you could set aside, say, one hour one day a week to read and comment on posts? That’s basically what I’m trying to do, though I’ve yet to be consistent with it. I think it’s worth it to interact with other bloggers, but, as you said, you don’t want that to hinder you from reaching your own goals and completing your own work. I hope you’re able to find something that works for you!

    • What a lovely comment. Your journey highlights exactly what I’ve always believed—that we all have our own unique journeys to take.

      I’m glad that you’re on this commenting path, even though I’m dialling it back. Who knows? Maybe in a year, I’ll be ramping it up again while you dial it back. What matters most is we find what works for us.

      And that yardstick will forever be changing. It’s up to us to define what success means, so that we can ensure we don’t bog ourselves down with the unnecessary.

      Thanks so much for your lovely thoughts!

  30. Everyday we get the opportunity to grow and change. It’s a good thing you’re finding your way around this.
    All the best!

    • Aw yis. And every day, we SHOULD seize that opportunity instead of letting it just slip by. I’m grateful that I get the privilege to dictate my day, and am going to make sure I don’t squander my time, that’s for sure. Thanks again for stopping by!

  31. Congratulations on making more progress with your writing! I completely understand the dilemma of splitting time between book work and platform work, especially when there’s so little time to go around. I hope you reach a point that’s a good balance for you!

    • Sadly enough, the life of an author involves building an audience too, so it’s not exactly prudent to forgo platform work entirely. I’m so glad you understand too, since you probably need to do the same balancing act yourself. ‘Balance’ is a nice word. Here’s to us finding ours!

  32. I don’t read many blogs, and I don’t write one, but I found your insights on commenting, productvity and overall mental health to be fascinating. THANK YOU!

    • Oh wow, that’s such a great thought to share, kind stranger. The fact that you took the time to make my day is already awesome enough. Sending good vibes your way, and thank YOU.

  33. Great release this week, Stu! If you feel burnt/stressed out in any way, I speak for myself (and, I hope, for numerous others) when I say that there is no problem in not commenting on my posts. I still love your content and will support it as best as I can!

    Regardless, though, this is a great post. Let’s-solve-this-together articles are amazing; I’ve written one or two and they’re some of my most popular.

    Two hours — at least?! That is a lot. My eyes would probably die if I stayed on screen for four hours a day. Just shows the dedication you’re putting into this is ginormous!

    Other random thoughts:

    1. Love the shoutout for the regulars. (Hurrah to me and the handful of other constant readers!)
    2. Good luck with your novel! Great to hear your writerly muscles are strong as ever.
    3. You just opened my eyes to the 80/20 like never before. Always thought it was some productivity sorta BS. It is, but it’s great to actually understand it. (Examples, bro, examples.)
    4. Subscribed to get the 25-page commenting guide, and I believe I am UP FOR A TREASURE. The amount of effort in everything from the form to (though I still didn’t receive it) the result. Might update you on it next week if I remember.
    5. Thank you for everything, and see you next week!

    xox
    Keep going, but make sure you don’t get depressed or something because of the commenting thing, but I believe this post’s organized your thoughts and I hope you reach a conclusion from your honorable list of next steps, lol. ‘Bye!

    • Always great to hear from you :) YOU should know the effort behind commenting because you leave such effortful ones each time, so you probably know the work involved behind each comment beyond three sentences.

      The good news about my decision is that nobody really loses. I still get to interact with awesome people like you, because it’s just the new (undiscovered to me) blogs that I won’t be browsing so much.

      Ah, that comments guide won’t re-send if you’ve already signed up prior to its launch, but just let me know your e-mail address and I can personally send it to you.

      And yeah, I didn’t know commenting took so long, until I started timing myself. Today, I think I’ve replied five people (plus visited their blogs), and that alone has taken me an hour. Crazy!

      Anyway, thanks as always for stopping by!

  34. Good luck with the novel Stuart. Focus on your own needs now and what keeps you happy 🙂 Also I would like to add that I enjoy your posts and 100% never expect you to hop over and comment on mine (seriously). It shouldn’t be about that at all. Starting off as a blogger it is great to build that rapport yes, but you should never feel the pressure. It then becomes a bit of “you scratch my back, I”ll scratch yours” Keep up your great work Stuart and thanks for sharing this 🙂❤

    • Yup. I never treat comments like an obligation too, but I still visit my regulars’ blogs to show my respect for those in the craft of blogging. Likewise, when I come across a post that I want to comment on, I never expect a comment back. I think that should be the way.

      I’m fortunate that I’ve been able to determine what my goals are and to act on them. Also, I’ll be revisiting my goals more frequently from now on, because who knows where else in my life I’m not making the most out of?

      Thanks so much for your lovely support. I appreciate your kind words, and I appreciate you for making my day!

  35. Hi Stuart, Wow you’re working on your 6th novel!! You know whenever I receive one of your new posts and newsletter, I don’t know how she does it by Allison Pearson comes to mind. That fiction is about how the main character juggles her time between her work and home. Of course you are juggling your time between completely different portfolios. I cannot multi-task , at the end of the day, nothing much gets done. Even if it is done, it is hardly satisfactory. Reading blogs and commenting do take up a lot of time. Truly appreciate the comments that you have conscientiously left all this while but I totally understand you will have to prioritize your time. All the best and certainly look forward to your next novel :)

    • Lol, no worries about WordPress friends like you, because you’ll always have my time. It’s the ‘browsing the Reader to find new blogs to comment on’ that’s going to be dialled back.

      I can’t multi-task either. Am learning that the hard way. And after I’m done with one task, there’s like a hangover period where I’m still thinking about it, so I can’t just instantly flow into the new task.

      Likewise, I appreciate your comments too, which are always of substance, and they definitely do enhance whichever blog posts you choose to comment on. Always grateful for you, LH!

  36. I think it’s great that you’ve decided to devote more time to actual writing. Given how much time commenting was taking I can see why you’re giving it up. My blog is new with only a few followers yet and I still have trouble finding time to read other blogs and comment, but I do try. I’m still working on developing a good routine that works so I will be making time for the practice of commenting. Good luck with your novel! Are your previous novels available for purchase?

    Keep doing what works for you. I’ll still be stopping in here to read every week. You are an inspiration.

    • Yeah, I had to be honest with myself, since it’s super easy to just do things for the sake of being busy. Plus, any excuse to delay writing is always a good excuse, am I right? :P

      But the numbers don’t lie, and my reading and writing word counts have dwindled significantly, so here’s to hoping that freeing up more mental bandwidth will help rejuvenate those pursuits.

      Yup, definitely do what feels right for you, and do keep up your own comment runs if growth is your goal.

      I already do have a published novel called Tinhead City KL, but since the publisher is Singaporean, I’m not sure how distribution is like outside of Southeast Asia.

      Thanks so much for your comment and kind words!

  37. Golly Stu! You gave me quite a scare!! For a moment there I thought you said you were gonna stop ALL commenting. My heart nearly dropped to my feet LOL!! But yeah, I’m with you about consolidating resources man; after all, we’ve only got 24 hrs in a day to spend. Better to use the time to do other meaningful stuff like oh I don’t know, writing your 6th novel! Bravo!! You the man!! All the best to that and can’t wait for you to wow the book world once more. Onward!

    • Yup, am still going to be very much active here, unfortunately for the WordPress dwellers :P

      And yes, if this is the case for me, I wonder how you even post so regularly with a family and life responsibilities to take care of.

      Yup, even though only one out of five of my manuscripts have been published so far, I’m still proud of the effort more than act of being published, so I’m glad to be back into the groove of novel number six!

      And as always, thanks so much for always being around!

  38. You know Stuart, I saw this post last night and I just knew I had to comment, but I was too exhausted post-pub to be able to comment there and then. You have such a way of engaging your audience that it would be rude of me not to. Even my husband now knows about you – “My friend, Stuart. He’s another blogger, but he’s become like a friend, too”. So it begins!

    It’s truly amazing how commenting can affect traffic, and really, I completely agree that sometimes commenting on some blogs does better for my site than it does on others. I have to be a little bit select with my commenting (tsk, bad me!) because I have to weigh up what I have to gain out of that comment. Do I get along with this person? Do we normally have an interesting and pleasant interaction (I think that’s a given by now!)? , am I likely to get some readership by leavng that comment (do they have lots of followers who might visit me?), then I’ll comment. Even if they don’t have lots of followers, then I might comment anyway, just because I value that interaction. If, however, the ineraction is fairly superficial, and/or maybe they don’t have many followers for me to draw from, then I probably won’t waste my time and energy. A courteous like, and I’ll be on my merry little way. It’s not rude Stuart, it’s conserving time and energy. Nobody owes anybody anything, and the fact you’ve been kind enough to dole out reads and comments says more for you than it does for anyone else – it’s okay for you to be a bit select about it!

    It sounds to me like you’re burning the candle at both ends a bit (this is coming from someone with 77 items on her to-do list, but this isn’t about me lol). Personally, I made the decision to break blogging down into chunks a few days ago, and this might be something for you to consider, too? I have days when I post but do nothing else, days when I reply to comments (every other day, usually) and days when I work on SEO. This way, I’m able to do what I need to do and no more than. In a similar way, it might give you time to set aside time to write fiction, and time to engage and interact? Try it and see! We can take on this adventure together, something has to work in the end, right? Take care and stay safe, Stuart!

    • Whoa, I think you’ve now won the award of ‘Most Substantial Comment’, Helen! You shall now hold the crown until further notice.

      It really is amazing what commenting alone can do. Imagine if someone were to add things like ads, SEO, and social media platforms like Pinterest onto it. I credit my 1000% growth to comments alone, and I’m not even a particularly gifted person. But like you said, once time becomes a factor, one has to start plugging the leaks, and boy was commenting a major time sink.

      I have actually entertained the idea of doing different tasks on different days, and have only resisted it only because I like routine. But perhaps I could pretend this is routine, because it falls under one big umbrella of ‘blogging’, doesn’t it?

      Fiction is going to be a non-negotiable though. Every day or bust, lol.

      So yeah, maybe I’ll start determining the most important bits of my blogging process and draw up a schedule for it. And we can definitely go on this adventure together.

      Thanks once again for your amazing comment, Helen! What a treat.

      • Why thank you, thank you! I would like to thank… I’m just kidding lol.

        Here’s a little secret – I don’t use ads or social media. I can’t use ads because I’m “high risk” (yep, sex is still taboo in 2022, crazy huh? lol) and I’ve never really got along with social media, so I just rely on commenting and SEO. It does work though! And when you’re a chatterbox like I am, sometimes a comment or two is more than enough!

        How is the experiment going? Moreover, how is fiction writing going? I’m definitely seeing some improvements in my health and in the state of my home, but my stats are tanking. Have I found a winning formula yet or no? I think we need to compare it by weeks or months, rather than just days.

        But still, welcome on board with this experiment Stuart! Hopefully it pays off for you and as always, thank you for having me on your comments!

      • The experiment is actually looking optimistic, and I’m glad I took the time to pare down on my comment hours, since I’m 9,000 words into the story already. Stats are tanking too, but it’s worth it, because I feel more fulfilled fulfilling my life goals, which is to write novels (and to write, in general).

        I may go back to commenting soon once the lack of traffic frees up my commenting time to foray out into the wild (Reader) once again. But for now, I think I have a pretty solid routine going. Thanks again for the wonderful messages you keep dropping!

      • Yay! I’m so thrilled to hear that it’s working out for you in general. My home is looking pretty much spotless too, which is a change from the usual scenery. I’ve still got some errands to run today, but I’m not starting my day with 114 to-do’s anymore, today it was at 69. I didn’t get my 10 posts edited with SEO yesterday, which is a pain, but I can play catch-up today and know that I’m not going to end the day feeling consumed and with too much to do tomorrow. I’ve also got plans to start getting down some ideas for my first book today, though that will probably be something that I do tonight, when I don’t feel so rushed by the other stuff.

        Ooh the Reader is a wilderness at times for sure, but then it was an accidental thumb swipe that led me here Stuart! Admittedly it’s not every day you read something and think “yes! I want to comment on this!”, but sometimes you read a gem. Thank you for providing those gems :)

  39. Great post, I must say that was super nice of you to not only reply to comments but visit people’s blogs and comment on their posts too. Above and beyond I think, and perfectly reasonable to cut back!

    • Aww, likewise, it’s super cool of you to stop by and leave this comment too! I like to think of myself as a tiny contributor to making the world (of WordPress, at least) better, and sometimes that fuels my comment runs. So perhaps I could go back to my previous schedule sometime in the future, lol. Maybe I shall pass that torch to you, since you already made my day with your comment :D

      • It’s definitely inspired me to comment more, remembering how much it means to get a comment on your blog especially when you’re just starting out

  40. Great blog and I think this a very healthy way for you to continue blogging and giving your self time to focus on other goals. At a certain point you can’t give all of yourself away- your time is valuable and more than that, your life, your goals, your mind etc… all of that is even more valuable. Good for you.

    • The funny thing is I do want to give myself away. But in an area that my conscience would be happy about. Right now, for my blog, even if it were to grow twofold, I still don’t think I’d be as proud of myself than if I completed another novel.

      Anyway, I appreciate your support! Feels great to have someone having my back :)

  41. I’d miss you, but I completely get it. One reason why I took a blogging break, which was also a break from the lurking, reading, and commenting on other blogs, was because it was starting to feel unproductive. It’s great to have the self-awareness to know when something isn’t working for you any more. Good luck

    • Oh yeah. I mean, I have no qualms about continuing writing, even if that were to eat into all my personal time, but the attention residue from seeking out posts to comment on is what’s dulling my creative mind, I feel. I’ll definitely still be around. I just won’t appear in strangers’ posts as often. Was great to read what you thought about this though, especially since you just took a break yourself.

  42. Aw man I’d really hate not seeing you show up at least once in a while! But I’ve got to agree, commenting takes a lot out of a person. I found myself spending far more time on other people’s blogs and my own suffered. I wasn’t even writing. Then I took a “break” but I’ve honestly not recovered from it. I didn’t realize that WordPress actually helped contribute some momentum to the work habit. I just lost the proper balance. Maybe don’t go cold turkey–try allotting a specific amount of time to do it and that’s it.

  43. I think it’s great to follow your instinct and do what works best for you. I don’t comment a ton on WordPress (or any social media, honestly), but I do enjoy interacting with the handful of blogs I follow regularly. It’s been a positive experience, and I’ve learned a lot from other bloggers, too, yourself included. I hope the novel writing continues to go swimmingly!

    • I don’t comment much on social media either, so WordPress is like my lone beacon of online presence. Without it, I’d have almost zero ability to announce things like a new book or something.

      Aww, I’m super honoured to be part of the positive-experience bloggers you interact with. Although you are one such blogger yourself!

      Anyway, I truly appreciate your well wishes!

  44. Thing is, you need not comment on everything — just a like will do. But use the like function in moderation; some often abuse it as an attention-seeking measure.

    Just like you, I take my sweet time commenting — especially when it comes to posts that interest me — as I seek decent, quality interactions. The practice has paid off; I get decent interactions and engagement, to the point that spam bloggers are attempting to hijack my blog just to get a piece of the pie.

    Nevertheless, best of luck in your next steps!

    • Whoa, hijacking blogs sounds like something I need to be wary of. How exactly do they do that? And here I thought spam bloggers were just bots who just automatically post comments on every site.

      The comment is the best way to show a blogger appreciation though, which is why I try to do that for anyone’s post that I find interesting.

      And yes, omg, the serial liking can be a pain to scroll through sometimes. Who knew that I’d be complaining about Likes?

      Anyway, thanks so much for stopping by, Monch!

      • No problem!

        Based on how they did it on my blog and those of others, they liked all the comments at the comment section. Of course, you can’t flag users for liking your comments on other blogs — and they used that as a loophole.

        The best thing to do is report their Gravatar for abusing the TOS, but apparently WP isn’t doing anything to stem the tide of abuse. One report may barely make a dent, but if many do – there might be a chance.

  45. I think it’s smart to pivot especially given how much time it was taking out of your day. I also have pivoted away from my beginning of the year commitment to posting on social media EVERY weekday (at least on some platforms) because it really is just too exhausting. You’ve probably built a readership at this time that will grow organically on its own, anyway. Also 4k subscribers?! I can’t imagine. That’s impressive!

    • Omg I remember the time when I tried being active on Twitter alone (on top of WordPress), and exhausting really is the word. I guess it really all goes back to our ‘why’. I can see how someone can feel burnt out, because this type of work does make me feel tired in not a good way.

      But I’d never feel burnt out engaging in my true passion, no matter how hard the work may be.

      Anyway, here’s to not wavering away from our north star!

  46. I’m glad you brought up busyness v productivity. I need to constantly examine this myself.

    I will miss your comments, but I’m happy that you’ve come to this realization of setting time boundaries to be truly productive.

    • I don’t think it’ll affect anyone else all that different, because it’s not to say I won’t continue chatting with those I already know.

      It’s just that I won’t be seeking out twenty other new blogs to comment on every day, lol. Which up till today, has freed up so much time for me to write my novel.

      Anyway, thanks so much for your kind words, and I’ll definitely be dropping by on your site from time to time!

      • Seeking out 20 new blogs is definitely very time consuming. Trying to comment on 2 to 3 blogs I already follow is a week is already a challenge for me in my teaching schedule 😆 it’s hard to find new blogs on the reader just by searching keywords. I find that it is easier to just check out blogs that comment on other blogs I already follow.

  47. And just like that, “you familiar stranger” got to me. Otherwise I have been doing all the things you decided of quitting. I am investing about 3 to 4 hours on WordPress (not writing). I am consuming as much content as I can. I am reading at 4 am in the morning. But then again, I need to get acquainted. But best of luck for whatever new adventures you a akin on having!🌟

    • It’s great that you’re doing what you want! Don’t let me, or anyone else, dictate what you think about your own routine. It sounds stellar that you’re investing hours into your blog, and it’s what I recommend people do for growth too.

      We all have different ships to sail and our own journeys to commandeer, but we’ll definitely meet each other often since we’re in the same sea.

      Thanks so much for your kind words!

  48. Thanks, Stuart. This blog gives one pause to consider: “Why am I doing this blogging and commenting? To what end? Is it for pure enjoyment of interaction with other like-minded people? Is it for gaining insights and knowledge? Is it for encouraging others in the art of writing? Does it feed my ego, or is there something altruistic about my interactions with others? I find that writing comments often makes me stop and draw deeply upon my resources – and it helps me find connections/insights I had not previously made.

    • Omg those questions are exactly what I’m asking myself. There isn’t one true reason more than it is a combination of all of the above. I myself enjoy encouraging others, but then again, how sustainable is it to do something that detracts me from my main goals that is to write?

      Anyway, such a thoughtful comment to leave here. This is what I aspire to do when I visit other people’s blogs too. So thanks for this fine example!

  49. Trust your gut on this one Stuart. Follow your intuition. Different things work for different people at various points of their career. I commented freely for a bit. Then I guest blogged. Then I blogged to Blogging From Paradise freely. Each stage or cycle seemed important for me at the time to help the most people.

    Ryan

    • I love the thought of each step being the most important at the time. It reminds me that nothing is permanent, and as much as I like to set non-negotiables in my life, things will change, and someday I might have to overhaul not just the way I write, but my entire life completely.

      All part and parcel of living, eh? Thanks so much for stopping by, Ryan!

  50. Always a great post.. Hey, did you get my last comment on your post? 😂 I think you missed it but I’m been in WP malaise and I’m not even from Malaysia 😂 🤷‍♀️🤷‍♀️ What can I say.. WP glitches you know. I actually contemplate turning off comments once in awhile and it might be fine for some. You try first and let us know how it goes.. 😂

    I actually don’t look for new blogs to follow anymore Stuart as their isn’t enough hours in a day but happy to meet new bloggers when they reach out to me.

    Yay on your novel!
    Love commenting etc but sleep blogging does not help me get to my book.
    The ongoing issue we face as bloggers! 💖💞

    • I did get your comment, and replied to it too. Unless that was a joke lol.

      Don’t think I’ll ever turn off comments, because the chats are always awesome. I’ll probably just stop reaching to new blogs, because the handful of friends I’ve met here, such as yourself, are already more than enough to make my stay on the blogosphere an enjoyable one.

      I have to say, having those hours back is indeed allowing me to move forward in a previously-stuck venture that is fiction writing. Anyway, always appreciate having you here, Cindy!

      • Oh My Stuart, you most likely did, my bad. 😅

        I get you but it might be nice to mix it up. For sure STOP reaching to new blogs unless it’s a like. Time is of the essence. Aww you’re sweet to say that and it makes the ride worthwhile for sure.

        Really happy to hear that. Keep modeling that… I’m watching, learning and offshoring a few kids … 😂😂
        It’s fun to be here my friend. Have a great day!

  51. I think there’s too much focus on growth. Everywhere. Always. It’s a shame, and people often get carried away.

    I never understood that you made 20 comments a day a goal of yours. It feels forced to do so, even if from my own experience your comments were always nice and not pushy in any way. I can imagine though that those comments take time. Unless you like going through the reader that much (I always struggle to find blogs that fit my interests), why would you do that? Growth? You’re already big enough. I’m convinced that if you continue to write high quality, people will find you.

    For me, I comment on a handful of blogs I read regularly. I do answer my own comments section as well. Anything more than that would make me hate the process, and I’m certain my blog would soon die a quick death.

    Curious to hear about the novel!

    • The number 20 was purely arbitrary, lol. There was no rhyme nor reason to it. Probably the same reason why people do the ‘post every day’ challenge. Just to see if they can.

      But yeah, not only is the crafting of the comments a time sink, but so too is the reading and sorting through the Reader to find posts I actually enjoy.

      I guess that was my ‘marketing’ strategy, since writing alone doesn’t always promise an audience.

      But just like you said, the 20-comments thing is making me dread the process. It’s a great tool for growth, but terrible for the long-term, unless you actually enjoy that part of blogging.

      Novel is just another cyberpunk story (with humour though), and I really appreciate having the time to write this past week!

      Anyway, great to read such a quality comment from you, Robin. Always is a pleasure having you here too!

      • Haha – I’m guilty of pushing myself like that too, but only with things I enjoy. There’s nothing wrong with a little push. But an evaluation from time to time is not a bad thing either. Hope your new novel flies onto the pages! Good luck!

  52. The first time I heard about it was at my previous workplace where the CEO called out how 20% of our advertisers are our biggest spenders! Later on I started noticing this rule in a lot situations that I’ve come across. I just love how universal the 80-20 rule is!

    Also, currently I’m stuck in the Netflix vortex where I’m in the just-one-more-episode-before-i-write phase. Currently clicking on the “next” button seems much easier than actually writing words in the WordPress tab that I’ve kept open. Hoping to get out of it soon!

    Thanks for always keeping it real, Stuart! :)

    • Yeah. I’ve seen 80/20 being mentioned as unscientific, but it seems to appear pretty frequently in my life too.

      Gah, the usual ‘choose the easier path’ method of procrastination. I can’t get on YouTube exactly because of this. Because even though I never truly remember what I watch, I still do want to do it. Maybe the nuclear option would be to just write my first drafts with paper and pen. Less distraction.

      And thank YOU for stopping by!

  53. I said this before but I really love blog posts about blogging! I also fully support you throwing commenting out the window. Other than replying to comments like mine 😬 I think I mentioned in my last comment to you that I was going to give the 5 comments a day a try (I dropped it from your suggestion of 20). And I tried and I just couldn’t! It felt too forced for me. And I have a piddly following of about 350. However, I’ve noticed the quality of my followers is nice and I tend to have a nice amount of meaningful comments in proportion to my likes. Like you said, quality over quantity. Again, I WISH I had the stamina for commenting. But I totally understand why you’d be fatigued, and I had no idea it took that long every day! Also YES to Pinterest. I definitely get traffic from my Pinterest posts. Not sure how much you know about it but yes (maybe I’ll do a blog post about it!) Lemme know if u have questions in the meantime. Anyway, I do love your blog and love what you’re sharing about! Thank you 😊

    • For me, writing the comments themselves weren’t as tiring as the aftereffects I’d feel later throughout the day. During the actual act, I’d just approach it the same way I do exercise—one foot in front of the other.

      But whoa does it feel like a hangover after each run.

      And yes, commenting isn’t for everybody, yourself included, but you also have a legit marketing strategy, which is to use Pinterest. I have zero idea how to even begin using that platform, so yeah, there’s a lot of learning to do on my end.

      Would definitely look forward to a post on Pinterest by you!

      Anyway, thanks so much for your meaningful comment. I appreciate you!

  54. Please Stuart, you needn’t reply to my every comment, I promise I won’t cry,
    Selfishly do reclaim your time, reduce the distractions and work on your novel.

    • Lol, I have all the time in the world for regulars like you, Kevin. But perhaps I won’t be commenting on strangers’ blogs as often anymore. But yes, it definitely feels great to have all this extra time now. I’m only now realising just how much time it was!

  55. Great post, I turned off the comments on my professional website in 2014 and no regrets. I have not experienced any negative effects SEO-wise and the discussions have just shifted to other social media platforms such as Twitter. I even upped the odds by dumping the FB page as it was getting out of hand. Comments also mean monitoring for appropriateness and of course, bullying. Deleted the page and no drop in SEO. Google still loves Defrosting Cold Cases and my loyal readers know how to find it. One thing I did notice: it is a lot calmer in my head.

    • Gah, I can totally relate about dumping your FB page. Even if it’s for professional reasons, adopting another social media platform means having to dedicate those extra hours to understand and fully utilise it. And I feel optimistic hearing your experience, because having a calmer psyche is definitely one of the reasons why I was planning to ditch social media entirely (for personal reasons, not the blog).

      Thanks so much for sharing your perspective, Alice!

  56. Stuart, I’ll keep commenting on your post. Not because I expect you to comment on my own posts in return, or because I found you through comments. If you remember, it was me who commented on your blog at first, when I was just starting out, and you convinced me to write a journal.

    I do think that commenting is a great way to increase and spread the word about your blog, when you start out. But at your current level, I don’t think you need it as much. You can focus on other things regarding this blog, or just focus on your writing.

    Just tell me when you release that novel. I would love to read and review it.

    • Haha, perhaps the reverse has happened for me and you, yet that also proves how effective comments are in connecting with other bloggers.

      I’m so glad to see your kind words, and I’m thankful that you’ve always been so generous with your time and support.

      Hopefully someone publishes the novel, and I’ll definitely let you know when that happens. For now, there’s my debut novel called Tinhead City KL, though the distribution on that one is a bit limited outside of Southeast Asia.

      Anyway, thanks again!

    • I agree, comments do connect bloggers. I also check every now and then who like my posts to read something from them. Found some lovely people that way!

  57. Stuart, good for you for devoting more time to your writing, and I respect your decision. I can’t imagine how I would find the time to comment on so many blogs and finish my own posts on time! But I think writing should come first if that’s your passion.

    I haven’t been blogging long, and I’m not as active on social media as I should be, but I’ve had encouraging results with Pinterest so far. Plus, I think different social media platforms suit different types of content. For instance, my content seems better suited to Pinterest than Twitter or Facebook. I’ve learned a lot by experimenting with different strategies, though.

    • It’s super interesting to see how many bloggers have successfully used Pinterest, and I guess that just means I’ll have to learn the platform now, if not for growth, then at least for the knowledge.

      And yes, writing should always come first (or any creative pursuit), because growing a following should only be done once you have the actual substance ready.

      Thanks so much for your support, and for taking the time to share your lovely thoughts!

  58. I know I’m relatively new to WordPress, but I felt this in my bones- not for commenting, but from running an Instagram. Has it gotten my blog views/followers? Yes! Enough views/followers to justify the time I spend? No! I’ve practically stopped writing for fun and only read the books for my blog. It’s definitely something I plan on cutting back on in the future. Reading your post solidified that for me. Thanks!

    • I totally relate to this. Even though the platform is different, the struggle is the same. And the important question we need to ask ourselves at the end of the day is: so what?

      Sure, it’s reassuring to see your blog or social media profile grow, but is it something we’ll be proud of at the end of the day? Or are there other creative goals we’re neglecting in the meantime?

      Thanks so much for your lovely comment, and for making me feel less alone!

  59. That’s very fair! I can imagine it would take a toll, spending so much time commenting. I’m still a newer blogger, so I’m not sure if I should focus on commenting or not. I would recommend social media marketing or Pinterest. I’ve gotten a few views from Pinterest, and it could definitely help. Best of luck on your novel writing! That is a great way to spend your energy. I may have to check it out!

    • Don’t let my situation affect how you want to approach your blog, and if you find yourself with the energy to comment a little, then please do so. Besides growth, it’s a very rewarding way to meet new friends too. And if you ever feel too taxed, you can always take a break like what I’m doing.

      Am definitely going to check out Pinterest. Gotta keep learning, am I right? Anyway, thanks so much for your comment!

  60. I used to read other blogs and comment in the morning, but now I spend my mornings on other things. I usually get to the reader later in the day. Some days, I don’t get there at all, but I do try to go back and catch up on my favourites.

    Commenting is an odd game. I comment because I want to, and only if I feel I have something worthwhile to say. I did fall into the trap of commenting for the sake of commenting, and hoping I would get views and engagement on my posts in return. I’ve given up on that dream.

    • I fall somewhere in the middle, in that I have a set goal of 20, but I also comment only on posts that I’m interested in (which we both know takes a long time to find on the Reader).

      And yes, I think visiting the Reader is best done later in the day, because it’d be a waste to tarnish a fresh mind with so many thoughts first thing in the morning. Things like morning pages work as a great substitute.

      Anyway, thanks so much for sharing, Michelle. Always appreciate seeing you here!

  61. I can dig it.

    I’m on the opposite spectrum, in that I focus so much on mine that I don’t reach out and engage others on their own. It makes me worry that I miss out on some much needed inspiration, and possibly find friendly voices and resources I had not thought available.

    Still, balance is key most of the time, and you recognising it is a solid breakthrough that probably a lot more of us could emulate.

    Kudos sir, and I hope it spins things in the right direction!

    • I realise that we need both to best perform on WordPress. I’ve read so many posts by talented writers that go ignored, which is a waste, but I’ve also read a ton of drivel with lots of engagement, which is also not ideal.

      If you’re too focused on writing, perhaps you could look into the distribution side of things. We all need different things in different points of our lives after all.

      Thanks so much for your lovely comment, and for your support. In fact, you’re already reaching out now, which is a sign of you taking the necessary steps for your own situation.

      p.s. What’s your blog address? The link on your Gravatar right now seems to be broken.

  62. 4 hours a day for commenting on other blogs is too much. If your one hour is of $100 then you letting go the opportunity of making $400 per day. That’s the least amount I can imagine. Maybe you were eyeing for long term and stable traffic, so maybe not a bad idea but still as the time is a scarce resource so we need to treat it that way.

    • That’s a good point to convert hours into possible earnings. I mean, I don’t have that much of an earning power (or even a mind capable of that), but that’s time that I’ll never get back. And I’m kinda sure that I won’t be regretting growing the blog when I’m on my deathbed. Thanks for the reminder that I need to take time more seriously!

  63. As usual, I could relate to many of your thoughts. I think I share many of your beliefs. I enjoy blogging mostly for the experience of simply meeting new and interesting people. The problem is the more people we meet, the less time we have to focus on ourselves. I rarely add a new blog these days because I already follow quite a few, and I don’t want this to become similar to an unfulfilling job.

    I’ve gotten more serious about my writing in terms of writing novels in the past couple of years. While I still like to blog, my primary focus has to be writing, reading books about getting better at the craft, and reading books from my genre. (middle grades) What has naturally evolved is that I’m spending less time blogging, which is okay.

    I just took a two-week vacation to visit my three older brothers. I’ve always been the guy who believes in spending time with the people in front of me rather than disrespecting others by spending time on my phone when I’m with someone else. I promised I wouldn’t blog for more than 15 minutes on my vacation, and I kept that vow. Many days I didn’t blog at all. I had a better trip because of that commitment. We shouldn’t feel guilty about any of that because it’s not selfish to want to care for ourselves.

    • Oh wow. It’s amazing to read such similar thoughts, Pete, ones that I didn’t know I could share with someone halfway across the world. But what you wrote was so true. That the list just grows and grows until we cannot find the time to maintain it.

      My solution is to look for a more scalable channel, one that doesn’t change even as the list grows, such as growing an e-mail newsletter. Still, between writing newsletters and blogs, I also have to remind myself that my main goal is to tell stories through fiction, and whenever that takes a hit, I know I’ll have to rejig my life.

      And I know you know how I feel because I’ve seen you everywhere on the blogosphere, so you definitely have been making the rounds, with well thought out comments too.

      Anyway, here’s to finding our paths in our craft and in life!

  64. Stuart, you’re right when you say what works for one doesn’t necessarily work for another; and the same things may not work for you all of the time. The fact that you’ve taken the time to conduct your little experiment, and have freed up writing time for your long term goals, is a win in itself.

    There are only so many hours in the day, and not being able to get everything done we want to is mentally exhausting; and our own work suffers most.

    I completely understand when you say your fiction reading and writing has taken a hit, because when you’ve spent the entire day reading and writing online, it’s hard to switch over to the creative side of things.

    Sometimes stepping away from just one thing can make a world of difference, says she who needs to practice what she preaches a little more often.

    Once again, you’ve given us regulars thoughts to ponder, and to reassess just what our efforts are providing. Thanks for another great post! :)

    • Oh yeah, it took some honesty to admit that what I’d been doing before wasn’t working for me today, but that was a good thing to admit, since I can expect the same thing moving forward.

      At the end of the day, it’s all about making the most out of my days, since the only person I’ll have to answer to is myself.

      And boy do I now believe in attention residue, because after leaving comments behind (or at least spending less time on them), I can say that I’m regaining a bit more of my mental clarity.

      Am always thankful for regulars like you, Diane. And I truly appreciate your support through the lovely comments you leave here!

  65. Stuart, I’m not going to stop following you because you stop commenting – I didnt find you via any of your comments so we are good. When anything becomes intrussive it becomes toxic and changes are needed.

    • Oh yeah, and we connected through interest too, which is pretty rare since I tend to browse productivity and writing niches.

      But once in a while I’ll cross paths with a fountain pen blogger, or a bullet journal one, and it’s great to be able to enjoy content based on my hobbies.

      Thanks so much for your support, Danny. It really means a lot!

      • Thanks. I find your blog educational and entertaining. It appears we browse some of the same or similar blogs (writers, journals, journaling). I appreciate bullet journals, hate the ‘discipline’. My latest is a doodling journal. It makes trying new inks and pens more fun.

      • Speaking of which, I’ve just started embracing the messy journal. So I have elements of bullet journalling, and long-form journalling, and doodling and whatever else I want in it. I even mix print and cursive writing in the same entry. So liberating yet functional!

  66. Thanks for this post. I struggle with the same issues right now. Love the engagement with those who comment on my blog and with bloggers I follow, but but my writing suffers. Although I would love to have more followers, I dread the thought of more comments. Looking for balance…

    • Oh yes! Things get murkier when we realise that getting more subscribers may not even mean much in our long-term goals.

      Maybe you could also benefit from pursuing other channels of growth and marketing. Commenting is only one piece of the puzzle, and perhaps you could even revisit this puzzle in the future.

      Either way, it’s up to use to find our own unique equation, and I hope you do in your blogging journey!

  67. Stuart, I so appreciate you sharing your experiences and insights. The struggle to manage time and effort is real!

    As a divergent thinker, I am constantly coming up with worthwhile projects … which can lead to completion issues. Writing my first book seemed to (did) take forever, so finally I swore off all the recreational side projects, like painting, quilting, etc. And—surprise!—I finished the book.

    This is a lesson I seem to need to learn again and again. I’m now focused on a new manuscript and fighting the same battle. What helps me stay somewhat on task is to regularly ask the question, “Is what I’m doing right now part of my calling?” Another question I ask: “Is what I’m doing right now a) necessary and b) something that no one else can do?”

    All the best to you, Stuart, on your experiment! And to all of you working through these issues!

    • Gah, as someone who collects hobbies, I too can relate to having so many things on my plate that I can’t even pursue my original life goals anymore. Maybe I too should take a play out of your book and pare down on my life a bit.

      I love the questions you ask yourself. Asking if what I’m doing is part of my calling is something I need to do every day, because I have this tendency to do things just for the sake of doing, which don’t contribute to my end goals.

      Still, there’s a lot of turning inwards to do. Anyway, thanks for sharing such a lovely comment, Sarah. It was a treat to read!

      • Belated reply here … BECAUSE I’ve gotten scattered with doing too many things!! I clearly need to regroup and ask myself those key questions I mentioned. Yet again. As they say, “the struggle is real” ;) .

        Hope your efforts to focus are going better than mine!

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