I wouldn't say that my first ICLW was a bust, but I certainly didn't make it what it could have been either. After signing up for ICLW, I came across, and signed up with, the Mingle - which is another commenting party - that's hosted by Indigo at That's My Answer.
I love the idea behind them. I love that they encourage conversation and that they expose people to new blogs. What I didn't like was the feeling I got when I didn't meet my "quota" each day - it totally turned me off. Several blogs that I found were written by people on topics challenging for me to relate to, and by people that seemed very attached to their particular stories. And there is NOTHING wrong with that! I have plenty of my own that I'm enveloped by! Stories are beautiful! They are the Way of It. But some of these were the kinds of stories that I personally wouldn't want to be telling, identifying with, or reading, that's all; it is just a personal thing. With many of them, I was uninspired to leave a comment that I thought would be worthwhile. And I didn't want to leave a comment just to leave a comment; that seemed kind of phony to me. So instead I simply left far fewer comments than was suggested we leave.
Maybe I was just lazy about it. The truth is: I think if we try hard enough, we can always find something in common with someone else, despite our different stories and circumstances - because we're human, and because we all experience the same kinds of emotions, regardless of what stirs them up. I also had in my mind that I had to provide something witty and insightful to every single blog that I read. (Yes, I loftily imagined that I might be one of those "Iron Commentors" - lol!) But it doesn't have to be so hard. What I loved about the ICLW in the first place is that it promotes comments as the "new hug." And a hug is a sweet, simple exchange. If I do this again, I'm going to remember next time that I don't have to be brilliant - as if I could pass for something like that anyway! Just stopping by to say "hello" is a really nice thing! I enjoyed it when people came to my blog. So why do I imagine that they would expect - or even want - something other than that from me? I won't let this stop me next time. A simple "hug" is plenty good enough for me. Why would I think it wouldn't be for someone else?
Reminder to self: Over-thinking is not helpful and a waste of energy!
I did find a couple of blogs that I plan on reading regularly, and that's cool, so I'm glad about that. Despite these simple misgivings, I really am glad I participated. Maybe I'll enjoy it more next time if I lighten up and am more patient. I'll also need to redefine what I think of as a "worthwhile" comment to be giving to my fellow bloggers, for I know it's a much broader scope.