Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Why Blog Connections Really Matter

I have a story to tell you. You know writer Kristen Lippert-Martin? (You really should if you don't, she's mucho funny and sharp as a tack. Just don't sit on her.)  Well, we know each other from blogging. And we got preggers around the same time as one another and enjoyed nine (ten, actually) months of complaining to each other on Twitter. Also, KLM gives kick-ass critiques and is one of my trusty beta readers. She lives on the other side of the country from me. (Pay attention. That point comes into play later.)

She also is going to be saving me a lot of trouble when it comes to the death of my cat.

Alan Wilder in his younger,
more handsome days.
You see, I have a cat named Ally (short for Alan, even though she's a she, named after Alan Wilder of Depeche Mode if you must know; she was supposed to be a boy kitty but nature doesn't always work the way you want it to when you name animals in advance of knowing their actual gender). So Ally is 18 years old now and looks fairly skeletal. Formerly a portly tabby cat whose head was too small for her large body, she has now lost almost all her muscle mass, her eyes have shrunken in her head, and kitty arthritis has misshapen her paws and hips. But still, she lives and eats and meows (incessantly, as it happens). In other words, she's not yet ready to die. But we all know it's coming.

Ally is definitely on death's door (incidentally, the title of a nice Depeche Mode song). I haven't had her checked out because she hates the vet with a passion rivaled only by the heat of a thousand white hot suns. Last time she went, several years ago, she went crazy and bit the crap out of my hand--tore a chunk as I recall--and had to be sedated.

Taking her to the vet when it comes time to put her down is not what I want for her last moments on earth, no matter how annoying she is.

Ally in plumper times. She's about
half the size now. :(
That's where KLM comes in. It turns out that her best friend from grad school lives like two blocks away from me and our children go to school together. Amazing! KLM is on the other side of the country! Small world! And we found out because her friend, let's call her "Denise," recognized my name on KLM's blog, AND on our PTA website and put 2 and 2 together. "Denise" has a lovely young daughter who admires Rainbow Puppy very much, and we got talking one day about kitties, and "Denise" explained that they recently put down a very aged cat. "!!!!" I said. I'm always tuned into information about the demise of aged cats. Of course I asked "Denise" what she did with the cat and it turns out she knows a vet who will come to your house and put her down for you, so the cat doesn't have to suffer an apoplectic attack from a visit to the vet! Mein Gott! I said. Thank you SO MUCH for telling me! Seriously, it's a worry off my mind knowing I have that option. And the vet will take the body away. Even better. 

I'm going somewhere with all this, I really am.

Last week, Roni Loren posted about the "rules" some bloggers have about supporting one another. You know, you'll comment on my blog only if I comment on yours, that kind of thing. She mentioned how silly it was, and I happen to agree. I wanted to show you with my story above how making connections out of your fellow writers and bloggers can touch your life in unexpected ways. Quite apart from providing critiques that will most assuredly rocket me to fame and fortune as a NYT bestselling author, KLM has unwittingly solved a pressing cat issue through her connections.

I don't want to eat your cat,
I want to eat you.
This is important, people. This is what comes of actually taking the time to connect with other bloggers rather than miring yourself in a game of quid pro quo. KLM isn't the only blogger who has helped me in immeasurable ways. Lots of writing bloggers, both published and non, have reached out and made me a much better writer than I could have hoped to be without them.

I'm glad I didn't just play the game of reciprocity-on-demand. It'll make for a much better eventual passing for Ally.

How about you? Have you engaged in meaningful bloggy connections, or have you gotten mired in the quid pro quo game? You don't have to feel bad if you did. Just know there are wonderful things to be had when you let those games go and....connect.


Anne Gallagher said...

I had to have my dog put down, and the vet who came to the house was so unbelievably sweet and gentle. He even helped me bring her out to the backyard so I could bury her.

Believe it or not, Roni Loren and I became friends when I first started blogging, and she wrote to me once with advice on my daughter's illness, (because her son had the same thing) and I followed it, and my daughter is down from monthly doctor visits to twice yearly. So yay, for making connections.

Kristen Lippert-Martin said...

OH MY GOD. You are cracking me up.

Blog connections = cat euthanasia options. You read it here first, peeps.

"Denise" is not her real name, btw. I've never actually found out what her real name is but I suspect she might be the last descendant of the Romanovs. What else could explain her affinity for fancy enameled eggs and oppressing the peasants?

(Sorry about your crazy kitty.)

Steven J. Wangsness said...

I like my bloggy connections, though I don't have nearly so many as KLM and you. Sorry, but that's all I really can think to say on the subject.

Diane Henders said...

One of my bloggy connections was recently kind enough to nominate Never Say Spy for a Hugo Award (which is not the same as being a Hugo Award nominee, so no bragging rights there) and a John Campbell Award. It doesn't mean I have any hope of being a Hugo Award Nominee, nor even the remotest chance of winning a Hugo, but I was touched that he took the time.

And every time one of my blogging buddies comments on my blog, it makes my day. I try to get around to theirs as frequently as possible, but sometimes life gets in the way. I like to think they understand.

Koala Bear Writer said...

That's a great story! Last year, I got two free tickets to the Women of Faith conference in Seattle. As the conference approached, I had nobody to go with... and then a woman said she was interested. I literally begged her to come with me, and within a week we'd booked flights and hotels and were planning our trip. Then my husband asked me, "How do you know her?" Well, we read each others blogs. And we're part of the same writer's group. We once looked at each other across the room at a writing conference. But mostly, it's the blogs. We know each other that way. And we had an AWESOME weekend together, discovering just how much we know about each other. We want to do another weekend like that again. :) And it happened mostly because of our blogs. :)

Sierra Godfrey said...

Anne, Roni gets around :) she's also been enormously helpful to me in many ways. And she's a living example of great blog connections--that's how she got her agent.

Kristen, I've always suspected something dark and Russian about "Denise."

SL, well, you've done a great job of consistently staying connected and it's meant money in your pocket, hasn't it? I know many of us have purchased your book as a result.

Diane, see? I love it! (and congrats)

Koala, OK that's an awesome story! I love it. Thanks for sharing it. Makes all the difference going somewhere when you have a friend to go with.

Meghan Ward said...

I haven't read Roni's post yet, and I'm eager to. As for quid pro quo - I don't consciously comment only on the blogs of people who comment on mine, but when I comment repeatedly on a friend's or fellow writer's blog and they never comment on mine, when I'm pressed for time, they tend to be last on my list. Those who comment regularly are my priorities because I appreciate their time and want to repay them. I wish I could read and comment on all the awesome writing and publishing blogs out there, but I need to get some writing done, too. And laundry, and take care of kids and cook and shop and about 5000 other things we all need to do every day. Sigh.

Roni Loren said...

Sierra, thanks for the shout out and obviously I totally agree. I've made great friends through this whole blogging/social networking thing. I met Julie Cross through blogging and finally got to meet her at last year's RWA and it's like we've known each other forever. (*ahem* YOU should go to this year's RWA so I can finally meet you too. We're even going to be in your state. :) ) OH and to your other comment, yes I do get around. Rush Limbaugh would probably call me a...oh never mind. ;)

And Anne, so glad to hear your daughter is doing well! I can't even remember specially what symptoms we talked about (was it the milk allergy?) Either way, I'm glad whatever I said helped, lol.

Cathryn Leigh said...

I love Roni's Post (how funny she's right above me in comment eh? *giggles*) but I'm not sure left a comment. Blogs should have like buttons... I know some do. but anyway where was I going... Oh yes.

I've gotten into the habit of only responding when I feel I have something to add. I've actually typed in comments and then decided it really didn't say anything and I was babbling (which I often do). Now I try to stop myself befroe I start babbling tkaing a few second to think if I have something to say before moving on.

this is in part because I do most of my blog reading at the day job, in little breaks. Now that our goals are set for the year, it's back to the nose grinder and I need to make sure I get stuff done on time.

Hopefully I make a few friends - I'd like to think I have. I know I did over on an other site, now I follow therir blogs and nearly always comment, cuase their my friends and stuf and...

yeah now I"m babbling. *grins*

:} Cathryn / Elorithryn

Amalia T. said...

I'm not sure this is a post about blogging connections so much as it is a post about building relationships and forming friendships, but the lesson is still the same. In EVERY avenue of communication, we should be genuine -- not just looking for what the other person can do for us! That extends to blogging too, and twitter, and all other forms of social media, or at least it should. I think sometimes people just forget that social media isn't only about the "me" and that's where we get these silly rules that make no sense and don't actually help us to form meaningful relationships (which are the kind that really matter, and make everyone's lives better).

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