Break the Ice

Our blogs are platforms from which we share our experiences, opinions, and views with the online world. This week’s writing…

  • Ready to write? We’ll give you a new challenge each Monday. Publish a new post on your blog that interprets the challenge. Include a pingback and we’ll list your post below. Learn More

Our blogs are platforms from which we share our experiences, opinions, and views with the online world. This week’s writing challenge is designed to help you connect with other bloggers who care about the same things you do.

Lots of you have said you’re really interested in building your readership and connecting with other bloggers, and our recent posts on commenting to build community have been popular. This week’s challenge, slightly unorthodox, follows up on that: we want you to explore and comment.

This week, find five blogs you’ve never read before, and leave substantive comments on each of them. Many of you have blogrolls of your regular reads and subscribe to blogs you love, which is great. Now step outside that circle, and see if you can broaden it.

To start, block off some time to fall down the rabbit hole of the blogosphere (for those of you in the U.S., this could be a good activity for your post-Thanksgiving tryptophan stupor). Head to the Reader and start exploring new topics. Maybe you write about health issues and normally visit other health and wellness blogs, but you secretly really love B-horror movies — poke around “Movies,” “Horror,” or “Pop Culture.” Are you an armchair political pundit? Check out some blogs from the other side of the spectrum. When you find a site you like, explore its blogroll and take a look at its regular commenters.

Then, when you read a post that speaks to you, say something. Not “Great post!” or “I disagree!” but something that adds to the conversation that blogger is trying to cultivate. (Insulting or belittling comments do not add to the conversation; this challenge is not a license to ignore manners and civility.) Your comment might:

  • Ask for clarification of a point you didn’t quite understand.
  • Introduce another post or piece of information on the topic and explore how it fits with the blogger’s take.
  • Share a personal experience you’ve had related to the topic.

Taking the time to do this is a bit of a leap of faith — there’s no way of knowing what will result. You could create a new friendship or gain a new reader. You might be inspired to write a post of your own, or find yourself caught up in a fascinating back-and-forth with other commenters. You might also watch your comments fall into a void, never to garner a response. But no comment ventured, no comment gained!

Since you won’t be leaving comments with links to your posts and there won’t be any pingbacks, we’re going on the honor system here. However, we’d love if you followed up on this exercise with a post about the experience; if you do write one, feel free to drop a link here and use the DPchallenge tag so we can find you.

Now go forth and opine!


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  1. Often I find I don’t have time or energy to visit other blogs. During my quiet Thanksgiving Day (we celebrate on Saturday) I might take the opportunity to follow through on the suggestion to comment on five blogs I haven’t visited before.

  2. And done! Thank you for an awesome challenge! At first I was quite scared to throw my opinions out there, but then I faced the challenge head on and found some great blogs I wouldn’t have found otherwise. It also forced me to really read other people’s material, and that’s me taking one step forward into being a part of the blogger community. I will continue to search and read more awesome blogs. Thanks again!

  3. I did this challenge – my first ever WordPress challenge – and I thought it was great. A really interesting experience and I ended up in a most unexpected place. I’ve written all about it. Will definitely be keeping an eye on the Weekly Writing Challenges from now on!

16 Responses Ready to write? To participate, publish a post on your blog that responds to the prompt. Include a pingback and we’ll list your post below. Learn More