I’ve been blogging for going on five years now, and I can honestly say it has been one of the most enriching experiences of my adult life. It has expanded the breadth of my natural history interests, fostered connections with a broad range of entomologists, biologists, naturalists, etc. that I would not have had the pleasure to know otherwise, and indirectly led to my now full-blown interest in insect macrophotography. That is not to say, however, that it has always been easy. Through the years, I’ve persistently committed myself to a consistent new post frequency of once every 2–4 days—not only for the benefit of readers who want to know what to expect, but also for myself to ensure that I reap the long-term benefits of regular engagement. While my cup of ideas always runneth over, there are times when motivation wanes and I question whether anybody is reading or if I’m really making an impact. I draw on discipline (some call it stubbornness) to carry me through these dry periods until—inevitably—my motivation returns and I get on a roll again.
One thing that rekindles my motivation more than anything are the occasional emails that I get from readers who have something nice to say about my blog, or my photography, or how I’ve helped them become fascinated with, or at least more appreciative of, the world of insects. A couple of days ago I received one such email from a reader named Sue that just made my day. Sue has graciously allowed me to share her message here:
Just a note to tell you how much I enjoy reading your blog. The photos are incredible! You helped me identify the white spotted pine sawyer a while back, and now I have a whole new appreciation of the insect kingdom. Yesterday I noticed a praying mantis on the side of the library. I was able to get really close to it, and when I moved, it tipped its head (and compound eyes) and watched me. Most of your beetles are truly fantastically beautiful. It amazes me that all my life, I never looked closely at them. Thank you.
No, Sue—thank you!
Copyright © Ted C. MacRae 2012
17 thoughts on “A Day Maker!”
Quite coincidentally, this just happens to be my 600th post!
Awesome Ted. I may be a little slack with my commenting of late, but you should know that your blog was one of the ones that inspired me to start my own! And I echo pretty well everything you said about fulfillment and motivation, so that must mean it’s pretty normal, right? 😉
Thank you, Morgan – I’m honored!
I think commenting on blogs in general is in decline, so no need to feel guilty. Twitter and G+ have taken over as the preferred media for interactions, leaving blogs more for information dissemination and consumption (which they have always done) but not so much as triggers for conversations as in the past. I know you’re a big fan of Twitter, but I find the extremely ephemeral and abbreviated nature of the interactions on Twitter not very fulfilling. I still prefer FB for the short quips, updates and snapshots, while keeping more substantive content here at BitB. I suppose that makes me a bit of a social media dinosaur (irony of that statement notwithstanding!).
Almost five years and 600 posts—that couldn’t happen if I wasn’t getting something out of it!
Few bug blogs can hold a candle to you and your consistent and substantive posts, Ted. Thanks!
Kind words from one of my blog short list buddies!
So Im reading blogs because even though I love to write, I am humorously dumb at it and perfer to read instead of write. I also dont think that too many will find an interest in anything I wrote about. However when I came across your blog not only was I blown away by the interest of yours in beetles ( Im terrified of any creepy crawly ) but also the fact that you have wrote 600 blogs. Bravo! I look forward to reading more in the future.
If you leave here no longer terrified by any kind of “creepy crawly” I will consider my job well done 🙂
I’ve always found your writing, images, ability to capture in words the passions so many of us share, humility, humor and perspective make your blog an exceptional read, Ted. I agree with you regarding blog commenting to be on the decline, but I do not think it reflects a decreased interest. I think people use blogs more broadly as resources than was previously the case, which in many ways makes writing of blogs even more useful.
I’ve fallen behind on blog reading, but know that after the first few frosts I’ll have a chance to catch up on your blog (as well Morgan’s and Adrian’s!) as I settle in for a long winter’s read.
Keep on writing, Ted!
Hi Dave – I appreciate very much your kind comments and unfailing support.
I agree that the decline in commenting is not a sign of declining interest in blogs. I think it has to do with the maturation of blogging and saturation in the market—there are literally millions of blogs now, and even for a specialty subject like entomology there are so many blogs to choose from that just reading them all is impossible. People pick their favorites, line them up in RSS feeds, and scan through whenever they’ve got a moment. Just getting through all the posts on a given day is hard enough without clicking through and leaving comments. Twitter, FB and G+ have taken over to fulfill the social interactions that blogging used to fulfill. It’s a new world, and it is what it is.
It has been a year since my last blog! Keep up the good and prodigious work Ted! And I hope that our paths will cross again soon!
I’m so glad we had the chance to spend time together in May. I hope next time we can meet up in the field.
Well I’ve got an idea Ted, why not come to the Entomological Society of Ontario meeting in Ottawa this September! Dr. Evans will be one of our special invited speakers, and Bruce Gill, myself and TGIQ will all be there as well, plus plenty of other interesting talks and events. Oh, and the meeting is being held in an outdoor education centre with plenty of habitat surrounding it. Come on, you know you wanna! 😉
Boy, do I ever wanna! Let’s see 9/4-6 in IL/TN, 9/10-14 in AR/LA/MS/GA, 9/18-20 in IL/TN (those are all work), and 9/22-30 on the FALL TIGER BEETLE COLLECTING TRIP!!!
I don’t think I can swing it…
At least we’ve got ESA in November!
Well then, it would seem you’re a little busy! Can’t wait to hear more stories of your travels, and we’ll definitely catch up at ESA!
Well i’m glad to hear this, and you couldn’t be more accurate of the consistancy spectrum. When i haven’t checked out your blog for a few days I always wonder what the new post is about 😉 On another topic, many of the views on my blog were due to a link from your blog. Thank you. I recently started a new blog (for several reasons) but would you be so generous to change the link to http://shieldwinged.blogspot.com/?? Thanks, and best of luck for future blogging!!
Hi Jon – I was wondering why I wasn’t seeing any new posts coming through. Link update will be done!