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I had planned to do a post about outlines and story process this morning, but a most peculiar thing has happened, and I feel it’s an issue I have to address. 
 
Yesterday, someone unfriended me because I didn’t include their blog entry in my Friday ‘Interesting blog posts about writing’ list. I got a message in the morning, asking why I hadn’t chosen their post. Here’s my reply:   
 
Hi [Name removed],

Now I feel bad. Please don't feel like I 'turned it down', it was nothing personal. Your post was interesting, sure, but so were many of the other two thousand or so blog entries I read last week, which aren't included in this week's batch.

My selection process is purely subjective. There's no scientific formula. It has nothing to do with how many comments they generate, or my relationship with that person.

I pick entries that are helpful, or make me stop and think, or promote a worthy idea, like
cloudscudding*'s Asweibe market lists, or ones that just make me smile, like bogwitch64*'s 'Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!' (about a partial request) from last year, or your own post about [Description removed] from a few months before that.

It's more than likely that some posts which make the selection one week might not have made it the week before, and vice versa, so again, please don't feel like I've 'judged' you or your post.

Hope that makes sense.

Jon

A reasonable response, or so I thought, but when I emerged from the basement a few hours later (where I’d been recording the music for the new Fur-Face trailer), I saw an LJ notification telling me that the person I’d replied to had unfriended me.
 
I confess I was surprised, especially since this person is someone I’ve always gotten along with, but I double-checked my earlier response and it still seemed perfectly reasonable, so I sent a ‘Sorry you feel that way’ message and moved on…only I haven’t.
 
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t feel I should have acted/responded differently, and it’s flattering to think that someone actually wants to be included on my list, but I’m concerned there might be other folks who feel upset with me for not adding their posts to my Friday selections.
 
If there are, and you’re one of those people, please understand that I read about 2,000 blog entries a week. I only pick about a dozen of those, which means I can’t possibly include every good article about writing. That’s no reflection on you as a person or as a blogger. I don’t base my decision on whether I’m on your f-list or how many times (if at all) you comment on my own blog. I just pick the ones that appeal to me at the time I read them.   
 
How about you?
 
If you were doing a ‘Picks of the week’ list, how would you decide which ones made the cut?
   
 
ETA: I don't normally worry about the subject of comments, but in this case, I'd appreciate it if we could all take particular care not to say anything which might cause embarrassment or offence to anyone (especially the person in question).  I'm not looking to upset anyone, either by my own comments or through those made by others.  I just want to make sure folks understand why they might not make my list, so as to avoid a repeat of this situation.


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( 129 comments — Leave a comment )
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asakiyume
May. 29th, 2010 03:08 pm (UTC)
Wow, inadvertently you've become an editor of sorts! You've developed a feature that people find so valuable that they aim for inclusion, and if they don't make it, they feel rejected!

That's quite an accomplishment and shows how highly regarded your Friday picks are.

As for how to choose, I think doing it exactly as you're doing it is the only way. You're collecting a list of what personally has appealed or interests YOU. That's a very simple, understandable guideline, and if anything, it ought to reassure people. What you said in your note to the unhappy blogger was very sensible and friendly.

There's no knowing what's going on in other people's heads. Stuff in the blogger's life may have made him/her invest being on your list with extra importance and significance, so the chance experience of not being included may have been magnified to a huge thing. But *you* haven't done anything wrong.
jongibbs
May. 29th, 2010 03:12 pm (UTC)
Thanks. I'm sure this person was just having a bad day/week/year, but I'd be lying if I said it didn't make me feel rotten.
(no subject) - mylefteye - May. 29th, 2010 03:16 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jongibbs - May. 29th, 2010 03:22 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - asakiyume - May. 29th, 2010 03:17 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jongibbs - May. 29th, 2010 03:22 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - msstacy13 - May. 29th, 2010 03:34 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - asakiyume - May. 29th, 2010 03:35 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - mnfaure - May. 29th, 2010 04:44 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - msstacy13 - May. 29th, 2010 04:47 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - mnfaure - May. 29th, 2010 05:07 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - msstacy13 - May. 29th, 2010 05:10 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jongibbs - May. 29th, 2010 05:13 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - msstacy13 - May. 29th, 2010 05:20 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - mnfaure - May. 29th, 2010 05:18 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - b_writes - Jun. 6th, 2010 07:32 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jongibbs - Jun. 6th, 2010 08:10 pm (UTC) - Expand
smeddley
May. 29th, 2010 03:12 pm (UTC)
You've never included one of my posts! I make great posts all the time about cookies and crafts and... oh, I think I might see the problem... You're anti-cookie! *flounces*

In all seriousness, it's like playing ljdq. Even when you think you're brilliant, sometimes your answers aren't featured. There's no rhyme or reason, but the rarity of getting picked out makes it all the more 'Eeeeeee!' worthy when you do. Obviously, you'd featured this person before (unlike, say, moi! :p) so I don't see why they should be so upset about it.

Don't take it personally, it's their problem, not yours. It's your blog and it's your right to pick whatever you want to feature, for whatever reason (or none at all) you want to feature it. I think your 'gut reaction' is the best way - what moves you to be repeated is what you should put out there.
jongibbs
May. 29th, 2010 03:21 pm (UTC)
Thank you, and also, Lol :)
(no subject) - msstacy13 - May. 29th, 2010 03:28 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jongibbs - May. 29th, 2010 03:31 pm (UTC) - Expand
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asakiyume
May. 29th, 2010 03:14 pm (UTC)
similarly
... I find recommending stories to be similarly problematic. If I were to give a shout-out on my blog for every story someone on my friends list wrote, I'd never have a chance to blog about anything else. So I tend NOT to mention people's stories on my blog--instead I try to comment on the story on *their* blog (because I know we all like feedback!)
jongibbs
May. 29th, 2010 03:24 pm (UTC)
Re: similarly
i know what you mean, and even if you do make regular recommendations, sooner or later someone will write a story that you didn't like and you're stuck.
(Deleted comment)
jongibbs
May. 29th, 2010 03:26 pm (UTC)
That's a great line, Irene. You should put it in a story :)
(no subject) - paulwoodlin - May. 30th, 2010 10:12 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jongibbs - May. 30th, 2010 10:42 am (UTC) - Expand
clarionj
May. 29th, 2010 03:22 pm (UTC)
I would do it in exactly the way you do it. I'd imagine when reading that many posts (oh my gosh, you read a lot!!!), that you'd have to go somewhat by instinct. You probably know what you've recently covered, what feels new, or what people have said they've found useful. Even if it's not in a wholly aware way, I'd think there'd be a sense of need that makes one stand out one week over another.

I'm surprised by the reaction you had. It has nothing to do with your process of selection, so I hope you're not doubting that. It doesn't seem you are. Editors have to reject many stories they like because their issues are filled based on their needs for that month. Writers learn not to take it personally, or if they truly want to get in, they look harder at what that particular editor's needs might be. Still, it's no guarantees. And there's nothing personal in the editor's choices.

I love your Friday lists. Keep up what you're doing just as you're doing it, please. It works. :)
jongibbs
May. 29th, 2010 03:27 pm (UTC)
Being an editor must be a tough job.
msstacy13
May. 29th, 2010 03:24 pm (UTC)
Have I mentioned that Ed Wood is one of my favourite movies?

Right now,
I'm reminded of another of my favourite moments in it...

-Ed isn't judgemental.
-If I were, I wouldn't have any friends at all.
jongibbs
May. 29th, 2010 03:27 pm (UTC)
Hehe, that's very true :)
xjenavivex
May. 29th, 2010 03:37 pm (UTC)
I agree with asakiyume's comment. It is a great list and it does have value. I like making it when I do.

Even so, it is just a list. We need to have thick skins in the writing world. I firmly believe this. I try to live it as well. I am a little surprised that the reaction would be that strong.

Of course on my end, I lost two friends this week because of my "spamming." And lack of personal content. It was fair enough. I understood and thanked them both for trying my LJ on for size for a while. You can't please everyone all of the time. Many of my friends like when I shout out about something that I come across, feel supported when it is something of theirs, and know eventually I will get back to a personal update. It's been a busy time for me. You know how much I struggle with balance.

I know you work to make this list comprehensive and informative. It can't please everyone all the time no matter the effort you put into it. I am just grateful that you provide it in the first place.
msstacy13
May. 29th, 2010 04:02 pm (UTC)
Have I chattered about Androcles and the Lion before?
See, once that Lion was relieved of the pain he'd been living with,
he became quite reasonable.
Yes, well, we never know what pain someone else might be living with
at any given moment.

Hmmm...
I must have had a point in mentioning that.

Maybe I need another cup of coffee.
(no subject) - xjenavivex - May. 29th, 2010 07:09 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jongibbs - May. 29th, 2010 05:18 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - xjenavivex - May. 29th, 2010 06:31 pm (UTC) - Expand
wordsrmylife
May. 29th, 2010 03:48 pm (UTC)
Jon,

If I were going to do a "pick of the week" listing, I do think I'd use the same system you use--it would be the 10-15 posts that stuck in my head, for whatever reason. And that reason would vary from week to week, just as people's blog posts vary from week to week.

You dealt fine. The issue isn't with you, and so there's nothing you can do about it.
jongibbs
May. 29th, 2010 05:19 pm (UTC)
Thanks, Katherine :)
(Deleted comment)
msstacy13
May. 29th, 2010 04:04 pm (UTC)
It's possible someone felt they were owed a favour,
but whether they were or not,
well...

I guess anyone who can't play nice
can just go play somewhere else.
cloudscudding
May. 29th, 2010 03:55 pm (UTC)
Well, I *do* do a best picks list in Aswiebe's Market List, and it's pretty much ones that I thought were funny, or that taught me something.
jongibbs
May. 29th, 2010 05:24 pm (UTC)
And jolly good links they were too :)
msstacy13
May. 29th, 2010 03:55 pm (UTC)
But to answer your question.

Of course I'd remind people that it was an exhibition only,
not a competition. (Although if it had been a competition,
these would be the winners.)

But, honestly, I'm much more likely to mention someone
who has purchased or at least mentioned my books.

Both Oskar Schindler and Jean-Luc Picard
stress the importance of gratitude
and living up to the obligations it creates.
Who am I to argue with them?
(Deleted comment)
msstacy13
May. 29th, 2010 04:13 pm (UTC)
I don't want to accuse you of inelegant diction,
but "critically" doesn't quite seem to be the appropriate word.

All the same, yes,
there is a feeling of unease here,
particularly as more people comment,
and the anonymity of the deflister becomes moot
as the number of silent regulars grows quite small...

Still, it's something that merits careful discussion.
(no subject) - smeddley - May. 29th, 2010 05:25 pm (UTC) - Expand
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(no subject) - jongibbs - May. 29th, 2010 05:38 pm (UTC) - Expand
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(no subject) - rowyn - May. 30th, 2010 12:16 am (UTC) - Expand
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(no subject) - jongibbs - May. 29th, 2010 05:53 pm (UTC) - Expand
peadarog
May. 29th, 2010 04:21 pm (UTC)
Of course your list is going to be 100% subjective! It's *your* list and deals with *your* concerns and interests. Sometimes those interests will intersect with other people and sometimes not. Maybe I would have loved the post you didn't include, maybe I'd have included it in *my* list... if I had a list :-)

But mileage varies and anybody submitting to markets, or posting journals for other people to read, should know not to take it to heart.
jongibbs
May. 29th, 2010 05:56 pm (UTC)
I'm sure he/she was just having a bad day, but I thought I should find out how other folks would select their favorites, in case I've been missing something.
(no subject) - peadarog - May. 29th, 2010 06:10 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jongibbs - May. 29th, 2010 06:14 pm (UTC) - Expand
serge_lj
May. 29th, 2010 04:21 pm (UTC)
I recently wrote an absolutely brilliant post on my blog and nobody commented. How dare they? I think I'll unfriend you all. That'll show you. Hahahahahah!!!

(Maybe I should switch to decaf.)
smeddley
May. 29th, 2010 05:27 pm (UTC)
Here:

Generic 'oooooh that was brilliant' comment for any and all of your blog entries. ;)

Decaf: useless, warm, brown water. Stick with the good stuff!
(no subject) - jongibbs - May. 29th, 2010 05:30 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - serge_lj - May. 29th, 2010 05:58 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - smeddley - May. 29th, 2010 09:16 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - serge_lj - May. 29th, 2010 10:01 pm (UTC) - Expand
lol - slweippert - May. 29th, 2010 06:25 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: lol - serge_lj - May. 29th, 2010 07:31 pm (UTC) - Expand
darkspires
May. 29th, 2010 04:51 pm (UTC)
That is a no brainer. It would have to be what struck me, myself and I as the most interesting ones. It would be about the content and not about the personality behind the article.

I enjoy reading your selection. Sorry you got snarked at by this person.
jongibbs
May. 29th, 2010 05:33 pm (UTC)
Thanks, I wonder if it would help if I mayve put a little disclaimer at the end of future posts.
(no subject) - darkspires - May. 29th, 2010 05:41 pm (UTC) - Expand
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Things What I Wrote and Other Stuff

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