Blogs can take over, can’t they? They’re social, fun, and ultimately addictive, leading many of us away from the activities that led to them in the first place. In my ongoing quest to get back to writing fiction, I’ve done more than cut back on my posts. I’ve taken steps to rein in my blog’s apparent desire to have things its way (that is, controlling all of my time). Some of those steps are small, like the one I’ll discuss in this post. Small, yes, but they can have unexpected benefits.
Close comments on your posts after a set period of time.
There are two good reasons to do this, one of which surprised the heck out of me. I did this originally with only the first reason in mind. And that is this—it’s hard to get back into the mindset we had on a post that was written 6 weeks ago, let alone 6 months. Closing comments lets us and our readers focus on more recent events. Even if few comments come in on those older posts, it’s a way to keep control. More so than I ever realized.
When I did this on my blog, I discovered another HUGE benefit of closing those posts, one that I think a lot of bloggers might appreciate. What was it you ask? (At least, I’m hoping you’ve asked!)
My spam queue is nearly empty. Every day. Yes, I’m serious.
Take a look at the posts the spammers try to link to on your blogs. I’ll bet you see what I did. Many of the posts are months or years old. The unexpected benefit of limiting the comment period was exhilarating.
Limiting the comment period closes the posts to spammers.
You can bet your last sweet dollar that a smile reached my face at that realization.
If you’re a WordPress blogger (and most of my followers are), here’s how to do it.
In your Dashboard, hover over “Setting” and choose “Discussion” from the menu that appears. Under “Other Comment Settings,” there’s a check box where you can close comments after a period of days that you select. I’ve chosen 14, but you can go higher or lower.
And if someone gets a comment in before the deadline, but you miss it before you can reply? Just change the setting to a longer period that will reopen comments. Write your reply, and then change back to your preferred number of days. Easy peasy.
You’re not only controlling your blog, you’re controlling the spammers. And doesn’t that sound good?
Just to prove I’m working on the fiction, here’s another excerpt from SATC.
She turned back to business, ostensibly comparing the fruit and vegetables while listening to the conversations between sellers and local buyers. As she passed from stall to stall, the subtle shifts from Spanish to the local Maya dialect as she and her crew approached reached her like scents on the breeze. Not that it mattered. She understood Ch’orti’ as well as she did Spanish.
A prickling sensation rose on her neck while she stopped for mangoes. The vendor excused herself, uncharacteristically leaving the transaction to her daughter, Raxka, the same who helped with artifact cleaning. Normally a talkative young woman, even when Vicente was around, today she was subdued and turned to the next customer as soon as she could.
Kat almost missed his whispered words.
Highlighting like you see here is where I’m marking word choices as I type, knowing immediately that they’re just placeholders. Other text will change, too, but I like to mark specifics as I think of them. This is, after all, still a first draft. But I hope the intent of the scene comes across at this early stage.
Limiting my blog posting and reading is hard! I miss you all!