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So. One week ago, I was dragging. Full of doubt. I was also a puddle of exhaustion after an early morning flight home from South Carolina. Last Monday, I published a tricky post, about a decision I made not to respond to a particularly troubling blog comment, a decision that I continue to think about, and doubt. The bottom line: I found myself at a decision point. That decision? Whether (1) to walk away from blogging and its concomitant stresses; or (2) to change my approach to blogging to make it feel fresh and fun again.

It didn't take me very long to choose. As you may have noticed, I'm still here. More so than ever, actually. Yes, things look and feel different at ADR. I'm posting more. In addition to words, I'm using photos to tell small stories, stories about my life. I'm mixing it up. And it feels tremendous. And here's the really cool thing: There are more of you here reading than ever. A lot more. And I know that this is largely because of an incredibly exciting mention over at Stroller Traffic. To be in such company continues to make me smile. But. This is not the only explanation. I think that there's more to it. I think some wonderful new readers are clicking over from the Huffington Post, but also? There is simply more going on here at ADR (and on Facebook, and Twitter and the aesthetic wonderland that is Pinterest.) I think you guys can feel my momentum; I'm getting my bloggy mojo back. Yay!

Here's the plain truth: I've been blogging for almost four years. And this is nutty to me because four years? That is a long time. And I know that most bloggers burn out before that. And, believe me, I've felt the fizzle. But I've decided, again and again and again, that this place is hugely important to me, professionally yes, but mostly on a personal and existential level. And so. I will keep at it. I must.

But. The weird thing is that I'd fallen into a rigid schedule of posting. For some reason, I got it in my head that I had to post five times a week at 5am. This is weird because no one told me I needed to do this. I put all the pressure on myself. And it was beginning to feel like icky, standard-issue pressure. Last week when I hit that wall and I really forced myself to rethink all of this, I said to myself: This is my place. I have the freedom to do whatever I want here. And this simple realization made me smile, and I began to buzz.

I can post deep, thinky posts and short bits about my girls, my days, my city. I can post once a day or six times a day. I can talk about candy or grief or writing a novel or identity or Kindergarten or buying a Christmas tree. Anything goes. I can use this place to be happy and to be sad and to be deep and to be light and to to be a mom and be a person and to be a philosopher even. I can use this place to ask questions, to feel less alone, to be bold, to share snips of fiction, to memorialize my tiny moments with my babies that would otherwise wash away in the sea of Time. I can do what I want.

All of this felt, and feels, immensely empowering even if it should have been obvious all along. Of course this is my place; it has my name in big, bold, egocentric letters up top. Of course I can write what I want to write and do things in my own way. Somehow, someway, I lost track of these simple truths. Now I have them back. And I feel inspired. And free.

But a dilemma lingers. And that dilemma is about blog comments. I love your comments, especially the really thoughtful, human, meaty ones. I love when you make me think in new ways or answer one of my serious and silly questions or tell me that it is okay that I am confused or fearful. Days when real conversations unfold here are really wonderful days for me; I've said this before and maybe it's odd, but for me happiness is conversation. This past June, I wrote a post about how important comments (even when they consist of only a few words) are to me and to so many of us.

But. There are a few things to consider. Some more logical, some less so. First, there is the emotional component and if you are a blogger, this will probably make sense to you. When I write something, particularly something vulnerable and heartfelt, and I get very few comments, I often get sad and feel insecure. I shouldn't, but I do. After almost four years in this gig, I still feel icky when I don't get the comments. Alas.

Second, if I am posting all the time, I can't really expect people to keep up. It's one thing if I post one piece per day, but if I am publishing several bits per day, there isn't as much time for people to read and weigh in. And admittedly some of these posts (pictures, quotes, drive-by links and questions) won't necessarily be the kinds of things people feel compelled to comment on.

So. The big question would be to keep comments on or to turn them off entirely. I read this fascinating post on Think Traffic last night about this very debate that I encourage you all to check out, but the gist was that there are really strong arguments for allowing comments and also for turning them off. Simply put, comments enable interaction, the formation of a community and of conversation. Turning comments off minimizes the stress and time-commitment of the blogger.

I'm not sure exactly what I'm going to do, but I do want to know what you guys think. Many of you have been here reading for a long time and I know you have opinions and they matter to me. Some of you are newer and I'd love your take, too. My gut is to take the middle road; to allow and encourage comments on more thoughtful/personal posts and then to disable them on more token posts. That way, I'd preserve the sense of conversation that has in many ways been the heart of ADR, but also focus that conversation where I think it should be.

Anyway, the upshot is that I'm really excited and so thankful you are all here, reading, listening, witnessing my as-ever insecure, but also very real, evolution. This place is growing and changing. And isn't that we all want for ourselves and our babies?

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Do you feel a sense of freedom in your personal or professional life? As a blogger or blog reader, how do you feel about blog comments? Do you enjoy them or find them extraneous? Do you have any thoughts on what I should do with comments here at ADR? Do you always read comments on blogs? Does the nature/amount of said comments affect your impression of the blog or its author? {PS - This is one of those posts where I'd really like comments; no need to leave your two cents on the holiday photo shoot post that's coming up later!}

Holiday Photo Shoot 2012

My Life at the Moment