Honesty, Space & Staying True: Why I Turned Off Comments
Comments are a blessing & a curse.
Human nature dictates that we all want to be liked, loved, ADORED! We all want to be doted on, we all want bouquets of roses & love letters. Especially people who create for a living. (We are a sensitive bunch.) This is true for everyone, but it is somehow magnified online. All this reinforcement is wonderful to a point, but at some stage, it becomes unhealthy. You start to rely on the feedback — need it, crave it. Comments feed the cycle of validation.
As a writer & artist your primary concern should be in creating work that you are proud of. When that work resonates with others, it’s wonderful, but after a while, that resonance becomes more important to you than anything else. That constant feed of approval becomes psychic baggage. It can be very hard to just sequester yourself & create when you are constantly thinking about your audience.
You start to think, Will they love it? Will they hate it? Will it elate them or upset them? How can I best protect them?
You see, you are always in my head.
I try to write the best things I can to serve you, to make your lives better, to make you happy — but when I realise I am writing in anticipation of a response, it distorts my own truth. It warps my voice. Maybe it is imperceptible to you, but not to me. Truth, integrity & being bold are the things I hold most dear, & I am clearing space in order to do that more fully, more wholly. Not just online — in all facets of my life.
The Hold Steady said, “You can’t tell people what they want to hear when you also want to tell the truth.”
This is my 27th birthday present to myself: making the space I need to create things that I am really proud of.
When I write something, I want it to stand on its own.
Call it a character flaw, but I can’t help myself from looking at my comments. I love them & check them obsessively, & it distracts me from my process. It hinders my growth & personal progress.
As much as I want to know what people think of my work, when I’ve finished a piece, what I really NEED is to go forth & create something else. Not dwell on my most recent creation.
I love it when my writing makes people feel something.
That’s the whole point, after all. But it’s not enough to just feel something — I want it to cause you to go out & do something! I’d rather you write a blog post about your own radical self-love journey than post a comment at the end of something I wrote.
Have an ego! Go big! You are important enough to stand on your own. Write about it. Make a big song & dance. Yodel it from a mountain-top. Whatever you do, however you do it… Create your own art. Don’t lose yourself in mine. You’re worth more.
Since making this decision, my vision has become clearer.
…& I feel good about it. Really, really good about it.
I’m going to continue spinning my world of wonder & sharing my discoveries with you. I’m going to keep on dressing up & showing you how you can turn your life into a pure lovefest. I’m going to pour more passion than ever before into Things I Love Thursday, & encourage you to conjure up your own, too. I’m going to keep doing my divine dance. Let’s put on our disco shoes & make this sucker sizzle!
Take the inspiration & run wild with it. Make it your own. Theory (alone) is worthless; action is priceless. Celebrate your sacred individuality & do it boldly.
You’re the best readers a playgirl could ever hope for!
You’re smart, sassy, sweet & compassionate. You’re eminently lovable & gorgeous. This was driven home to me even more when I spoke at Evolving Influence on Thursday, & afterward was able to speak to so many of you in person. Anyone who has met me knows how much I absolutely cherish my readers. You make my heart want to burst with joy.
I hope you won’t take this decision personally. It’s not you; it’s me. I adore you & thank you so much for your vocal support of me these past four years. It means more to me than I could ever express.
It’s not that I don’t care about your opinion — it’s the opposite. I care too much, & it’s messing with my work. I’m trying to coax myself away from my addiction. Cold turkey, & cold sweats.
I am taking the steps I need to in order to make myself A Better Gala (TM), & I hope you understand.
Baby, I’m still here!
This is not the end of communication! You can easily get in touch with me in the many other places I frequent. In addition to galadarling.com, I’m pretty loquacious elsewhere, especially on Twitter & Facebook! You can send me an email — I read it all (though replying to everything I receive is a technical impossibility). I LOVE conversations in the street, & fair warning: I will probably hug you! You can all still connect with each other, too — Gala Darling on Facebook is super-active, & even better, you can see each other’s faces! Love it!
So many amazing things are coming down the pipe this year! It’s time to evolve… & I’m so excited! I hope you are too!
More stuff on turning off comments which is eloquent, smart & sexy:
Why I don’t have comments (Seth Godin)
Making space for creative credo & 4 righteous bits on art & interactivity (Danielle LaPorte)
3 timeless & simple strategies to connect with anyone (Everett Bogue)
The end of conversation in social media (Mitch Joel)
Turning off the comment demon (Jeremy Wagstaff)
Proposal: A new kind of blog commenting system (Dave Winer)
Why did you turn off comments on Zen Habits? (Leo Babauta)