26 April, 2011  |   16 Comments

Healing from Feeling Ignored

Recently I’ve been writing about how to heal from the bad feelings that the internet can generate. Here are some of the posts so far:
Troll attack.
Disagreement.
Painful comparison.

Coming up, I’ll be writing about healing from unsolicited advice and healing from misinterpretation.
Today, I’m writing about how to heal when you’re feeling ignored.

alarm clock

I was lucky enough to start writing publicly when I was 23 years old. That’s 12 years ago.
At that time, the internet had about eighteen people writing about their lives.
(The rest of it was Windows tutorials, hamster dances and pot recipes.)

At that time, getting attention for what you wrote was relatively easy, there wasn’t much else going on. Many of those people have since found (relative) fame and fortune. Some, like me, are still plugging away, with day jobs. Some have given online writing the boot.

Today, there are, what, five hundred million English speaking blogs?
(not to mention non-English blogs)
How in the hell is your tiny little voice supposed to be heard in this GIANT swell of opinion?

Much more, how in the hell is your tiny little voice supposed to be heard by the people who matter?
Right?

You send your email and your comment to the “big” bloggers and you hear… nothing?
But blogging is supposed to be this big community!
We’re all in this together!
We’re supposed to be helping each other out!

Ouch!

fire engine

Also, everyone keeps saying it’s a small world, but it feels like a pretty big world to me. No one can hear me because there’s just too much content. Too many words flying out of the computer. Too many ideas to even let one take hold.

Where in the hell do I fit in all of that?
How do I get attention?

How can we get people to PAY ATTENTION AND LISTEN when everyone is saying things of great importance?

I see three choices.

1. I can write mean things.
Writing attack posts works for getting attention. The target probably has a Google Alert set up on their name, they’ll see it and rush to defend themselves. A shitstorm ensues, attention is garnered.

Problem is, that’s what four year olds do.

Not getting enough attention? Pull my sister’s hair. I’ll get a scream, parents will rush over, adults will argue about the best punishment. Look at all the energy I was able to swirl around me! I’m important now!

2. I can be a critic.
I can spend my time looking at other people’s writing and wondering why they got all those comments when it wasn’t even a very GOOD blog post.

I am so guilty of this.

Rather than do my own work, I’ll spend my precious, precious time reading other people’s work — not to learn, not to approach with an open heart, but to gawk at the hundreds of “ME TOO” or “GORGEOUS PHOTO” comments that their post generated.

That was a crappy post, I will think, who the hell does she think she is, getting all of those comments?

3. I can put my eyes on my own work.
Ding ding ding!
(This one’s the correct choice.)

It’s the way of the world.
It’s also the hardest choice.

Put your attention on my own work and make the work the focus. Focus on being a better writer. Focus on taking better photos.

Try it.
Do it.
Try it again.

And only when I’m comfortable with my own voice, with my own work, can I learn from my contemporaries.

Hurdy Gurdy

So what?
So I’m still feeling ignored, even when I put my eyes on my own work.

Here are three things I do to feel better when I’m feeling ignored.

1. Comment freely.
You want comments? Comment.
Set a goal of making 10, 20, 30 comments a day (or @replies on Twitter or comments on Facebook).
Most energy out has a grand way of finding its way back to you.

You want to join the conversation?
Converse!

2. Never assume malevolence.
The reason someone didn’t write you back is usually for one of two reasons.
a. There was nothing in it for them.
b. They are really busy.

I get a lot of requests on my time and energy, and most of them fail to have any benefit whatsoever to me. Rather than belabor that point, I find it easier to not respond. Unfortunately, most people assume malevolence or anger with non-response.
(Trust me, if I’m pissed, you’ll hear from me immediately.)

So I assume two things.
a. I assume the folks I’m reaching out to have no malevolence toward me. This makes being ignored much more tolerable.
b. Assume that maybe my carrot wasn’t the right carrot and reevaluate. Was there anything in it for them?

3. ASK.

Do you want to be asked to speak at a conference?
Do you want to be approached for a book deal?
Do you want giant audiences to throw roses at your feet?

I’m so sorry, but as I’ve learned from a lifetime of being ignored, it’s probably not going to happen.
You’re probably going to need to get active.

Apply for those call for speakers.
Let conference organizers know you’re interested.
Develop a specific niche, one you care passionately enough.
Let friends know you’d like to be heard.

In taking my own advice, I’m going to tell you more about my illustrated web site, HJEntertains.com. I want to help people become better home entertainers with practical entertaining tips. I’m open to partnerships with brands and bloggers when it comes to HJEntertains and I’d love to hear from you if you’re interested in either (helenjane AT hjentertains.com).


16 thoughts on “Healing from Feeling Ignored

  1. 1
    Heather B. says:

    Timely. I’ll just leave it at that.

  2. 2
    Mir says:

    I just want to say that I am loving this series so much, you have no idea. When I see there’s a new post from you in my reader it’s like Christmas. 🙂

  3. 3
    Mai says:

    Thanks lady. Being a *pro* blogger and chugging away can be a lonely thing. This series makes it seem less so.

  4. 4
    Nicole says:

    I’ll agree with both Heather B and Mir.

    And I totally struggle with commenting… it scares me because I’m pretty sure no one wants to read my thoughts on a particular thing. So, there’s that.

    And I totally deal with being ignored by shrinking and feeling awful about myself. I suppose it’s something I should work on, huh?

  5. 5
    agirlandaboy says:

    Biggest amen on the comments thing. When my inbox is feeling lonely (hey-oh!), all it takes is a look at how many emails I’ve *sent* that day to make me realize that if I want feedback/attention/conversation, I should be the one to initiate and pursue it. Yes, it’s work to be active, but that’s what it takes.

  6. 6
    rhea says:

    i like this series.

  7. 7
    kambrose says:

    How do I deal with being ignored? Well, last time I felt ignored, I set my blog to private and stopped blogging. I think that’s about like a kid holding her breath until she’s blue in the face. Only nobody much cared. So, I got over myself and tried again. Now, I don’t take it personally when I don’t get a response (though it’s very, very hard). That’s mostly the truth. I totally don’t hit refresh every 10 seconds to see if someone has responded to my post or comment. I swear. Mostly.

  8. 8
    allison says:

    I’m a reader not a commenter – guilty of perusing and not contributing. I confess and now I will make up for my lack of letters and get to work. Ohh, and I’m throwing my six year old a wicked bash this week so maybe I’ll keep up with this commenting kick and visit HJEntertains.com

  9. 9
  10. 10
    Ris says:

    I just love this series. I had a crisis of the “no one loves me!” kind a few months ago, and really looked long and hard at why I blogged and what I got out of it. Thing is, it’s about me and for me. It’s my diary of my life and maybe a few people read it and maybe they don’t, but I write for me, and I really love it. That realization helped, as does your advice.

  11. 11
    daisy says:

    Ah, wise woman, you are.

    And your entertainment tips make me want to want to be an entertainer. And one day when I finally start doing it, I will have learned a ton from you.

    Oh – and HI WORLD, I WOULD LIKE A BOOK DEAL. (Am I doing it right?)

    xx.

  12. 12
    Amy says:

    One of the weirdest mysteries of blogging remains that when I put the most effort into a post, it gets the least attention and when I put up something I’m “meh” about, it goes crazy with comments. And sometimes, it’s the opposite, but the point is there is NO rhyme or reason to why posts succeed or not. That helps me take things less personally. It’s also helped me really learn to follow my heart and just write what feels good, not what seems cool.

    Again, this series has been awesome. Kudos to you, lady.

  13. 13

    It is sadly true that I spent years trying to blend into lockers, trees, walls or park benches – now that I no longer want that anonymity (and am willing to drag my family along on this cruise) it is difficult to break that mold. This was a great post to keep me plodding, skipping ahead. For the record I too am guilty of judgementally reading a post!

  14. 14

    […] with them without resulting to a series of passive-aggressive tweets and posts. Helen Jane wrote a series all about that. Definitely worth a […]

  15. 15
    Francine says:

    Thank you. I needed to read this and I love your suggestions. I am especially guilty of reading lots of blogs and rarely commenting. I promise to do better 🙂

  16. 16

    […] with them without resulting to a series of passive-aggressive tweets and posts. Helen Jane wrote a series all about that. Definitely worth a […]

Hooray for replies!