Monday, November 17, 2008


Lately I've become a bit disenchanted with blogging.

When I first started my blog, more than two years ago, I used it as a substitution for the photographs and stories I'd been emailing out to my family. It was intended to be literally "the chronicle of Abigail." Gradually, it started to morph into a mix of photographic essays about what Abigail was doing, a forum for me to discuss my own personal thoughts and reflections on various topics, or the tale of what our entire family was up to.

I was pleasantly surprised to reconnect with many old friends through blogging, and I made lots of new ones. I loved reading about what everyone else was doing, and I got lots of fabulous ideas and tips from reading blogs. As I read more of what other people were writing, my entries started to be designed more to entertain...and to evoke comments. Most of you probably know the thrill of comments; it's exciting to check your email and have twenty people telling you how much they enjoyed your post and how funny it was and how they identified with x.

Lately I've been struggling with the dichotomy of writing what I really want to write about (stories from my day, what the girls are up to) and the kinds of posts that I know will get lots of comments. I don't like this feeling, and I don't like how I get a bit depressed when I write a post that I think was really great and there are only one or two comments on it. Since I can look at my stats and see how many people are subscribed to my blog via Google Reader, it's doubly depressing because I think,"Wow...forty people read this today, and they must have all thought it was dumb." I know that's not true, and I know I rarely comment on most of the blogs I read, just because I don't have time, but this is why I'm going to be turning off my comments (at first I thought I might just quit blogging and just go back to journaling privately) because I want to be writing for me and for what I want to write about, and not worrying so much about whether or not someone takes the time to comment.

I know that many of you have used the comments function in the past to ask me various questions--if a post inspires such a question, you can reach me at, which will also be posted in the sidebar from now on. And from time to time, I'll probably turn the comments back on temporarily.

Meanwhile, as sort of a last commenting hurrah, I'd love to know what magazines you read or subscribe to. We're to the point in the year where most of my subscriptions are ending, and I'm thinking about dropping some and checking out some new magazines. So what ones do you really like? Which always get read right away, which do you save, and which go in the trash as soon as you're done?

To start off the discussion, here's what I'm getting right now: The Ensign, Martha Stewart Living, Bon Appetit, Domino, Family Handyman, Reader's Digest, and Parents. Others that I've subscribed to in the past and really liked are US News and The Atlantic Monthly. When I'm at my parents' house I always catch up with their National Geographics and The Economist (no, Mom and Dad, I'm not asking for a subscription!), and I also like to check out Real Simple from the library (and I think I'm going to drop some of the others and get a subscription to that instead, because I find it much more practical than, say, Domino or Parents). My grandma often saves her copies of Gourmet and Country Living for me and I always like to look through those.

My favorite thing about magazines: if they've got a fairly big text-to-pictures ratio, they're GREAT for the treadmill. My preferred treadmill material is The Ensign, since it's mostly text (you don't have to turn the page a lot, which is very important when you're running!!). Least favorite is something big and bulky that will fall right off onto your toes. So I read a lot of back issues of the Ensign. (and if you're thinking about trying this, my experience is that you can read anything at any pace on the elliptical; reading on the treadmill requires more practice. Start off running around 12 minutes a mile and then gradually bump up your pace as your eyes get adjusted to it--through subsequent runs--I can now read comfortably at about 8 minutes a mile and start reading right off without any pace adjustment. It also depends on the length of your stride--I'm 5'7" and I can read just fine while running, but my 6'5" husband's stride results in too much "bouncing" for his eyes to focus. anyway, it makes the running go a LOT faster!)

Comment away! Last chance.


Elise Decker said...

Well, I LIKE the posts better that are about Abigail and Juliet and you and Neil and what you do...those are the posts that peak MY interest...and since I'm your family and your original audience....keep THOSE ones coming!! (i guess maybe i'm not mature enough to appreciate the thought provoking ones) anyway, do please turn comments on every once in a while, cause i try to comment on yours a lot cause i like the stories about your family!!

Mary Beth said...

I enjoy the family ones, but really I just like reading whatever you feel like writing. It's like having a conversation with you; if you're talking about something, I'm interested because YOU'RE interested (and you usually end up interesting me, too). I guess this is saying, write what you feel like writing, and I will always read it.

Sorry I'm a lame commenter, though. I often either need to think about things a little before I respond, or else I feel like I have a really shallow response that may not be worth posting, so I don't. But I do like having the OPTION of commenting. However, I totally understand your choice--I face the same thing, where I often find myself trying to tailor my posts towards my audience. (And it's even worse on LJ, because you know that your friends have your posts showing up on your friends lists, so they don't even have to come over to your site to read it--they see it whether they want to or not!) And THIS is all a round-about way of saying, I understand your choice and will support you in it, even if I would still like to have the option of commenting when I feel like it. I guess I could always be proactive and email you... Or even pick up the phone. What a thought!

I don't get any magazines; I used to get the Ensign, but our bishop gives the apartment a copy now so I let my subscription lapse. When I have a permanent address, though, (and a lot more money!) I look forward to getting Bon Appetit, US News & World Report, Consumer Reports, and National Geographic!

Ruth Decker said...

Maybe that's why I find it hard to read while running...I "bounce" too much! I would recommend the Wall Street Journal...not a magazine, but the best news/travel/fashion advice I've ever found. (In the Personal Journal and Weekend Edition)

Elise Decker said...

p.s. it not like you're trying to "sell" your blog---you started as a way to keep open communication with your family/friends, so just keep it that way! we want to just read about you and your life (haha, as you may have noticed, my blog is never filled with anything very insightful...just what i do every day)

Adrienne said...

And I'll comment cause I almost never do but I do check your blog all the time. It's just that I'm usually short on time. And I like all your blogs. I wish mine were more like yours. Thought provoking, funny, cute pics, . . but I just can't seem to find the time yet. Or when I sit at the computer, my posting topics dissapear.

And I lately like the family fun magazine. And we read Money and Popular Science. Like those too.

The Waltz Family said...

Personally I like all the posts. I think what you may consider the most boring posts, are actually some of the most interesting ones! I am guilty of reading blogs through google reader and then not directly going there to comment. I agree with Mary Beth though, I like reading something because you're interested in it!

As for magazines, I only subsribe to the Ensign, and I also flip through Baby Talk and American Baby because they're free. I like a few others but I am not really subscribed to anything. I do like Real Simple though.

Kritta22 said...

I agree with everyone else I love your blog. But I totally understand about comments and your thoughts. I get the same way. I'm thinking about why I'm blogging too. It's just weird how things evolve. I haven't ever thought about turning off my comments. I'll have to think about it.
I love it when you use words I don't know like dichotomy. I had to look it up and I LOVE that. Thanks.
I have subscribed to Rachel Ray and Taste of Home. I didn't like Rachel ray because she uses things that I don't buy. Or that we don't like, like mushrooms and fish. I loved taste of home but I ran out of my subscription. Maybe I'll ask for that for Christmas.
My hubby gets JP (Jeep) and Classic cars and another car one. They sit on the back of the toilet in his bathroom.
We get the Ensign and Friend. (My hubby likes looking for the CTR ring in every Friend issue! :))
I also get Good Housekeeping. It has some good ideas but I'm not going to renew it. Their articles are too short for the stuff I like. Book reviews and cleaning suggestions. And too long in other stuff like politics.
Our doctor's office gives Parents away so I get it every couple months. THat's enough for me.
Wow! Now that I have written you a novel...
I totally support you in whatever you do. I heart you. I will continue to read your blog.
I wish you and your family happiness and I'm so glad I found you!

Heatherbelle said...

Rachael, I read your blog everyday, but ususally don't comment because I feel like my comments are dumb and repetative and I'm just echoing what other people say.
I love, love, love "Cuisine at Home". If you want to check it out I have about four years worth of issues you can borrow. You would love it! Very gourmet and it usually has some fun ethnic dishes in each issue!

Katrina said...

Rach, I totally get what you are saying and support you. Awhile back I just decided not to care anymore about comments-- as in I enjoy getting them but don't worry if I don't get many. Since I now do most of my blog reading while nursing, it's just a lot harder to comment. But I do always read and love what you write. And I'm really grateful blogging got us connected again. Love you!

Crapos said...

Hey, I'm commenting for the first time in forever! I hardly ever comment anymore - I can barely find time to post once or twice a week. Life's just become so busy. And a lot of times I never end up commenting (or posting) because the topics loom so large that I'm not sure I can adequately express my views. That happened a lot with the election. I kept wanting to say something, but it was just too much.
Anyway, I don't get any magazines because I'm cheap (other than the Ensigns). But I'm asking for Newsweek and Money for Christmas. I also like Real Simple, The Economist, Atlantic Monthly.

Rachel Mae said...

I also am a lame commenter, who as you know, loves your blog. Sorry.

As for magazines, our problem is that they stack up and Josh never likes recycling them, which means I'm waiting anxiously for our Newsweek subscription to end (it's renewed everytime we donate to NPR, which is often). The New Republic has a good text to photo ratio if you're really into politics.

The Jones Family said...

okay okay. i always read your blog but never comment. probably for the same reason you don't really comment. but i love your blog :)

i enjoy Family Fun magazines. Maybe not so much for Brooklyn write now but there are so many cute crafts and ideas for things to do with your kiddos. I'm sure Abigail would love it.

And about the running on the treadmill thing...I always used to read the Ensign as well :) Good choice. It did take some getting used to but I love being able to feel like I'm multitasking while I'm running!

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