"When you put yourself out there as a writer--whether on a forum, a blog, or in books and magazine articles--you're going to get a wide variety of reactions".
Very true, Chuck. One can't please all the people all the time but I've often gotten good reaction to my writing - which isn't really writing in the sense of an organized approach to it. It is more making episodic and topical comments on a couple of websites. Still, as "it chose me" indeed, I have to do it in my own way. I read the regulars here and it wouldn't occur to me to rate them but it is fair ball for others to: when you put stuff out people will comment. Certainly though I enjoy reading all, and get something out of each. In my case, I try to taste a broad range of things but also to include other factors, e.g., I have always read way more (in terms of time) than I taste. My comments are driven as much by learning from others as anything else, and trying to put it all together, understand it. I try to come up with something valid based on all that. And it is all just my opinions...
We are all influenced, too, by different things. A lot of my early reading was in the 70's-80's when authors put out long books that studied these areas from A-Z, mapped it out (sometimes literally). There is less of that now I think, or less influence from it, because of the blogosphere and sites such as this. But it did affect the way I look at things, thus, books like Byrn's, Jackson's, Jim Murray, etc, etc., all those big textbook-like books had a certain effect. Later I found older sources in Google Books, different kinds of writing, that influenced further how I look at things. All to the good as I see it (of course).