Motivation logo

I love comments and community

Why Vocal's comments feature brings us together and is a gift to creators and readers

By Erica WagnerPublished 7 months ago 4 min read
Nathan Lemon on Unsplash

I was 19 years old and I was crying. I had a window seat on a train travelling through the French countryside; a love affair had ended and it hadn’t been my choice. The gorgeous terrain blurring beyond the window seemed to accentuate my heartbreak; I leaned my head against the glass and let the tears flow.

A few rows behind me a man got up and walked past me, out of the carriage. In truth, I probably didn’t even notice him go: why would I? I was absorbed in my own sorrow, and he was a stranger to me. It’s only in hindsight that I think I sensed his departure.

He had gone to the café-bar at the front of the train and he returned carrying an espresso, strong and dark, with two sugar cubes set on the cup’s saucer. He didn’t look at me; he didn’t try to meet my eye. He simply set the coffee down on the little tray in front of me and returned to his seat without speaking.

A cup of coffee isn’t the cure for a broken heart, but it lifted my spirits and — as you see — I’ve never forgotten the gesture. Did my benefactor know, when he handed over his gift, how much better it would make me feel? Well, he must have hoped, or he wouldn’t have bothered. But a recent study in the Journal of Experimental Psychology has shown that these kinds of acts have a much greater impact than we might give them credit for; a little, as they say, goes a long way.

Which brings me to the point of this piece — which is to celebrate the comments on Vocal. It’s been about four months since we introduced the feature to the site; since then, I’m told, over 50,000 comments have been posted. Sometimes they’re dead simple: “Well done on this piece!” or “Great job!” Sometimes they get straight to the point: “I felt this with every fibre of my being!” Luna Lee Bear wrote in answer to Jeffrey A Ayers’ story, “Do You Still Love Her?”Jill (Conquering Cognitions) wrote a story called “It Was an Unseasonably Cold Day for a Funeral” which drew a strong response. Manisha Dahlani was just one of many comments: “This is heart-breaking and moving. Wishing you peace.”

I’ve pulled these examples from recent top stories — it wasn’t hard to find this kind of warmth. I also love reading comments on the work of our Challenge winners; Ally North was the winner of our recent sci-fi New Worlds Challenge with her terrific story, “The Hourglass Academy”; beneath the piece is a slew of comments — from before and after her win. “HOOKED,” wrote Jay Williams when the Challenge was still open. “Cannot wait to read more of this story. Good luck in the Challenge!” And then came Ally’s win. “All right, you deserved it,” wrote Kendall Defoe with good humour. “This is really a clever and exciting narrative and I want to know more... ;)”

Nick Fewings on Unsplash

I know how much it means to have a fellow creator support your work. It’s completely different from praise or encouragement received from a friend or a partner. You know that your work has gone out into the world and reached someone in the way you had hoped it would. Your heart just lights up when this happens, doesn’t it?

For me there’s a connection between the stranger who bought me that coffee decades ago and the sense of community I can now see on Vocal. We’re all in it together, aren’t we — thought so often it can feel as if we must battle on alone. But then there are the times when kindness reminds us that we are part of something larger. Any creative act is an act of kindness in itself, if you ask me: a generous gift to the world. Those who respond with a thank you, with encouragement, show that they know how to receive the gift that was given.

So here’s a huge thank you — to each and every one of our Creators. I love to see you all urging each other on, boosting each other, flying the flag for creativity and kindness. I’ll buy you all a cup of coffee, if I could.


About the Creator

Erica Wagner

Lead Editorial Innovator, Vocal. Author, critic, friend, parent, cook. New book: Chief Engineer: Washington Roebling, The Man Who Built the Brooklyn Bridge. Twitter: @EricaWgnr, Insta: @ericawgnr

Reader insights


Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

Top insights

  1. Heartfelt and relatable

    The story invoked strong personal emotions

  2. On-point and relevant

    Writing reflected the title & theme

  3. Easy to read and follow

    Well-structured & engaging content

  1. Expert insights and opinions

    Arguments were carefully researched and presented

  2. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

  3. Eye opening

    Niche topic & fresh perspectives

  4. Masterful proofreading

    Zero grammar & spelling mistakes

  5. Compelling and original writing

    Creative use of language & vocab

Add your insights

Comments (27)

Sign in to comment
  • HandsomelouiiThePoet (Lonzo ward)19 days ago

    ❤️❤️😉I Like the Mug❗

  • Donna Renee25 days ago

    You are absolutely right!! I definitely feel that genuine comments are like little random acts of kindness 😊. ☕️ so glad that the train stranger was able to help you feel a little bit better and less alone that day!

  • I really enjoyed your story and how you connected it to this feature. It is so true. Sometimes the comments really can be so uplifting just like a kind gesture. I have loved the comments feature on here... and love that a stranger bought you a cup of coffee. So kind!

  • Paul Stewart28 days ago

    Why have I not read this yet? Thank you for it! This is a beautiful and heartfelt piece and makes a very valid point that I have noted myself with regard to the comments. The comments on Vocal are just a great connector between the creator and the reader (often other creators). I know how great it feels to get even the one-word comments and the more thought-out responses. I appreciate them all. This was a great article and was important. I love the community spirit among Vocal members!

  • Thank you for this, I love comments from my friends and audience and was shocked when I was graced by a comment or two of yours that was a really nice surprise

  • Tracy Willis4 months ago

    Thank you for the reminder to “feed the artists.” It takes so little but feedback is so important. ❤️

  • Julie Shetler4 months ago

    Sweet words and mesage, thank you for sharing <3 I am happy such a community exists for the benefit of writers.

  • Annelise Lords5 months ago

    Kindness is involuntary action for some of us.

  • Annelise Lords5 months ago

    You are right. Kindness is a need.

  • Annelise Lords5 months ago

    Your heart just lights up when this happens, doesn’t it? Yes, it does.

  • Annelise Lords5 months ago

    Any creative act is an act of kindness in itself if you ask me: a generous gift to the world. I agree. Kindness is a requirement for the survival of humanity.

  • Thai Sha Na6 months ago

    We urge each other, encourage each other, fly the flag for creativity and goodwill, and look forward to your coffee!

  • Simon Schmitz6 months ago

    Nice Read!

  • De Ji Yue6 months ago

    Agree with your article

  • Enjiva Shuhi6 months ago

    Lost love is not terrible, the future is still long, there are many to drink coffee with you, go

  • The Dani Writer6 months ago

    The sentiment expressed here is uplifting. Part of the takeaway is always remembering how sometimes the smallest gestures and fewest of words can make a world of difference to someone. If the introduction of comments on Vocal can do that for someone (and I know it has done that for many,) it's well worth it. Great piece!

  • Amy Hall6 months ago

    Great points thank you! I'm always checking for comments and I'm just starting out so I'm a bit discouraged when I don't see any! I subscribed to you! Looking forward to sitting down with some more of your work

  • Sunil Gangad6 months ago

    I love this a lot. It just tells the emotions of such small acts of support. We are all human type of thing, so treat each other as such and you'll feel good, and so will they. That's the vibes this gives me. Love products buy link:

  • Javed Baloch6 months ago

    There is so much to agree on here

  • Shadow James6 months ago

    Very nice! Reading it was like zooming in. You truly magnify the great aspects of community and comments. In doing so, you just may have awakened new appreciation from members who just didn't realize the importance. I know it's what you did for me. Thanks.

  • Call Me Les6 months ago

    Yes, Vocal has been a source of community for many for quite some time. We try and foster those comments on challenge pieces in Great Incantations. Many members read Ally's story going into the challenge, Ryan's as well. Vocal Social Society recently had its one year anniversary. It's been a privilege to lead both. Lovely anecdotes. I'm glad the camaraderie is noticed!

  • Kendall Defoe6 months ago

    Well, that was nice. I really did not think you would quote me...and if you want to do so again, here's another one: 'If you follow the herd, you will be treated like cattle!' Not sure how you'll use it, but good luck. And seriously, I really liked this piece. You got it right with how we need that feedback and criticism sometimes. ;)

  • Brian7 months ago

    It’s a great way to find like-minded creators as well. I’d like to be able to see who 🖤’d my stories as well, or who subscribed. It would be a great deal easier to network with other creators.

  • Heather Lunsford7 months ago

    My dad used to tell me "be nice, it doesn't cost any extra." It is a real boost when someone says something nice about something you have worked hard on. Love your coffee story. Thanks for sharing it.

Find us on social media

Miscellaneous links

  • Explore
  • Contact
  • Privacy Policy
  • Terms of Use
  • Support

© 2023 Creatd, Inc. All Rights Reserved.