Wednesday, June 3, 2015

A Blogging Epidemic: Is quitting the cure?

There seems to be a bit of an epidemic among bloggers lately. Many of them are quitting; dropping out of the blogosphere; walking away from their blogs. 

In the last two weeks, I've read about two bloggers who, after blogging for years, have given it up. I've also read posts from couple others who have gone on a  break for an undetermined amount of time. Finally, I was part of a conversation in a small group of blogging friends in which several of us confessed that we are (or have) seriously considered throwing in the towel.

Why are so many retiring from the world of blogging? It primarily boils down to one thing: TIME. 
I started my blog a little over five years ago which, in the whole scheme of blogging, is only a medium amount of time. In that time - actually in just the last year - blogging has changed a lot. 

Many of us started out writing just to record memories and cute stories about our families. Our blogs were meant to be virtual family albums. Then, with the growth of social media, blog readership started to grow. Therein was born a competition in the blogospehre. For the most part, it was (and is) a friendly competition. It also was (and is) a fight that individual bloggers fight largely within themselves. As with any game, everyone is striving to be the winner. 

So what does it mean to win in blogging? How do bloggers measure success?

We measure success by the number of page views our posts receive and the number of comments our readers leave. We gauge our accomplishments through social media shares and followers. But, those things don't just magically happen.

Of course, it starts with the writing. We have to "find our niche" and "find our voice." Then, we have to write good stuff that somehow stands out from all the other "stuff" everyone else is writing. We have to devise catchy titles and create Pinterest worthy graphics. We proofread and tweak and, finally, hit publish. Then, the rest of the work begins. We have to "promote" ourselves by sharing links to our posts on all the social media channels - Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, StumbleUpon. We join Facebook groups for bloggers where we can share our links even more. We spend hours reading, commenting on, and sharing other blogs in the hopes that those writers will return the favor by visiting, commenting on, and sharing our own work. Some of us (myself included) have jumped on the bandwagon of submitting our work to larger sites - Scary Mommy, Huffington Post, etc. We do this to get our names "out there" to a larger audience and to receive a virtual pat on the back. It's great, but it requires more writing, more sharing, more interacting. Some bloggers do sponsored posts that require communicating with vendors and posting on a deadline. The proverbial "cherry on top" is attending blog conferences where you spend a long weekend networking with other bloggers and learning how to be a better writer, a better image designer, a better social media participant, and an overall better blogger.

And, it all takes time - lots and lots of time.

For me, one single post can take as much as a couple hours to pull together completely including writing, editing, and graphics. Then, to get people to read it, I need to share the link on multiple social media channels multiple times as well as maintain an email subscriber list and a service to send out my new posts. I honestly could stay on Facebook all day clicking links to blogs, reading, commenting, sharing. Then, there are all the blogs (and bloggers) I follow regularly. I could spend hours and hours more reading their blogs and interacting. That does't even count organizing linkups, coming up with post topics, tracking my stats, or trying to figure out SEO. Even when I'm not doing those things, I find myself thinking about them. What is this week's linkup topic? Did anything blog-worthy happen today? How I can I write about that particular current event in a new and different way? I need to take pictures of this dinner before I serve it so I can make a blog post!

It can be all encompassing and overwhelming, for sure.  

Every minute I spend doing all those blog-related tasks are minutes I am NOT spending doing other things like hanging out with my kids, chatting with my spouse, cleaning my kitchen, reading books, or sleeping. 

So what's the answer?

Well, I think that depends on the person. There is no single right answer. Obviously, some have decided the cure for them is to hang it up. Others have decided to simply take a break to reevaluate and reexamine. A few take the opposite approach and go "all in." 

Me? I think I'm somewhere in the middle. I won't lie - there are times when blogging has just been one more stressor in life and quitting has crossed my mind more than a few times. While we were in London in April, I didn't even take my computer. For five days, I did absolutely nothing blog-related and I didn't miss it. Not one bit. That was an eye opener for me and really made me think about why I was even doing it in the first place. So what kept me from walking away? Two basic things: writing and relationships.

I love to write. Without my blog, I suppose I could write for other publications, but I can't control what they will like and I'm not in charge of my words once they are posted on another site. My blog, on the other hand, is my own. Within some parameters, I can write what I want, when I want, and I control what happens to it. 

Some of my best friends are other bloggers. Through our websites, we know each other and we share our lives. I value those relationships and would be very sad to see them end. There is always social media and I could continue reading their posts, but I just don't think it would be the same.

So, I keep going. I am trying, though, to set some boundaries to keep it from becoming too much. I really don't look at my stats at all anymore. If you asked me to give you my average number of monthly page views, I couldn't tell you without looking it up. That lack of focus on the numbers means that I have really slacked off on promoting my posts. I have a core group of readers and I share a few links on Facebook and Twitter, but that's about it. I decided it just wasn't worth the effort. 

I am also trying to be aware of how blogging is impacting my life and those I love. For Mother's day, my youngest, 7, gave me one of those fill-in-the-blank sheets entitled "All About Mom." Out of eight blanks, she wrote something about me blogging in three of them. That's almost half. That's too much. Even though I know she didn't mean it in a negative way, it was a reality check for me. Now, I don't allow myself do any blog stuff at all on Saturdays and I am trying really hard to be aware of the time I spend on my phone checking social media. I'm trying to be present with my family without letting my blog be a constant distraction. It's a work in progress, for sure.
Finally, I am taking breaks when I need to. I even made that one of my resolutions for 2015 and I took that break when David and I went to London. I'll be taking a two-week break a little later in June/early July as well. 

I suppose everything in life has an expiration date and, someday, my blog will, too. For now, though, I'm going to keep at it and just try a little harder to make sure I own my blog and not the other way around. 


If you're a blogger, have you ever thought of quitting? What keeps you going?

*******************************************************************************
This post was part of the One Word Blog Linkup hosted by, Janine of Confessions of a Mommyholic, Marica of Blogitudes, and me! This week, the word prompt choices were Happy and TimeIf you would like to join the linkup you can find more information HERE, sign up for weekly emails HERE, and/or join our Facebook group HERE. Every Friday, two prompts are emailed. Choose one and write a post using that word as inspiration. Linkup up any time between 6:00am EST on Wednesday-9:00pm EST on Thursdays on any of the host sites.

   

    An InLinkz Link-up
   

 

39 comments:

Lisa @ The Golden Spoons said...

Ah, the elusive balance! I think hat will always be a work in progress! :-)

Lisa @ The Golden Spoons said...

Thanks for joining!

Lisa @ The Golden Spoons said...

I agree - it is both a burden and a stress reliever. As long as I can keep the scales tipped in the "stress reliever" direction I'll be here!

Lisa @ The Golden Spoons said...

I admit, I am a little too addicted to my phone! I'm working on it, though.

Lisa @ The Golden Spoons said...

When I started, I had no idea how much time it would take to really "do" blogging! It's great that the two of you can share the load.

Lisa @ The Golden Spoons said...

That keeps me going, too, Marcia. I sometimes think I could do without the stress of it, and I might be fine for a couple of weeks. Eventually, though, I would miss it terribly, I'm sure!

Lisa @ The Golden Spoons said...

Well, I 'm not planning to go anywhere anytime soon, but i'm glad we are friends in other places, too!

Kenya G. Johnson said...

Me too!

Dana said...

I feel much the same way you do, Lisa. I used to post three days a week, now it's two, and sometimes it's only one. And it doesn't stress me out the way it would have a year ago. I write, people read. I don't care how many.


I've noticed quite a few bloggers quitting lately too. It makes me sad to lose that connection, although for some I will keep in touch through FB, and that makes it easier.

Tamara Bowman said...

I've never thought about quitting, but it's been a strange journey. I think ultimately I still write the same way I always meant to write - on my terms and from the heart. I think even adding sponsored posts was purely for survival at first, but then just became a fun stepping stone to building my voice even more. It's all strange. And it takes a ton of time and energy. So far, I love it enough that it never feels like work, but can I maintain that indefinitely? I hope so but I fear anything else.

Kristi - Finding Ninee said...

I hate sponsored posts. And I used to post almost every day (every day at first, two and a half years ago) but yeah, I can't stand the pressure to write something great when on another site, or well ALL OF IT. I wonder about quitting but just can't. I love writing and I love my blog friends (:)) and yes. The SM part... yikes at times.

Kristi - Finding Ninee said...

YES to what Kenya said! When I think about quitting I'd miss you all so much!

christine said...

Well, I can't quit. My dad would disown me. If I only post thankful posts two weeks in a row, he gets on my case. Luckily, I like writing. These days, I have little time to really put into creatively writing. Your child's school paper was similar to why I gave up doing blog things when the kids are around. So...not much writing gets done. We'll see how it goes when all the kids are in school this fall.

Chris Carter said...

LOVE this Lisa!!! Gosh, you just nailed it! Just engaging in the many FB groups could take an entire day!! Oh this blog gig takes SO much time... and for me? The problem is feeling like I can never ever catch up, or do enough, or read enough, or write enough... SO I am constantly anxious about getting 'done' and that NEVER happens!!! I need to find my own limits and be at peace with the fact that I can't read all my friend's blogs all the time... letting it go and just like you so perfectly stated not letting my blog own ME... it's a bit like captivity at times.

I am trying to find peace in what I CAN do, and not constantly feel like I will never do enough.

Cam @ Gen-Y Mum said...

Great post. I agree, blogging is a ... job/beast in itself. It's very time and effort consuming.


Everything you described I'm also doing. However I'm a blog/post as content comes to me kind of blogger. I don't have a "blog post schedule" so when I'm feeling uninspired or not wanting to blog, I kind of disappear for days.


I think about quitting from a privacy perspective. I question whether I should've used their real names and showed their faces online.

Kim Steele said...

I haven't thought about quitting, but I have definitely changed along the blogging journey. I like what you said about running the blog and not letting it run you. I see myself there at the moment as well. I *LOVE* the writing and the connection, but I can't give it all of me.

Lisa @ The Meaning of Me said...

It's always reassuring to know that others out there feel so similarly about the whole blogging thing. I truly could have written every word of this myself - you described the dilemma perfectly. And what it comes down to for me is exactly what you said - the writing outlet and the relationships. I could never have imagined the relationships that would come from doing this and I wouldn't want to lose that. Honestly, I don't care much about the numbers (don't even understand half of them). I'm happy when the camaraderie and banter happen on my page (or other people's). Love the post!

Lisa @ The Golden Spoons said...

I think once I realized that my blog wasn't going to make me famous and that a viral post can't be created by sheer will & volume of writing, I let go of the numbers and that helped so much.

Lisa @ The Golden Spoons said...

I think that's the way everyone should write - on their own terms and from the heart. It does take a lot of time, though and, for me, it sometimes does become more work than fun. That's when I know I have to step back and re-focus a little.

Lisa @ The Golden Spoons said...

Exactly! When I first decided to take my blog to the "next level" (whatever that means) I was trying to post 3-4 times a week. It was killing me. Letting go of the numbers has been hard, but it has helped so much.

Lisa @ The Golden Spoons said...

Yeah - that paper was kind of hard for me to swallow. It made me realize how much I was letting the blog stuff consume me as seen through their eyes. I've got to work on that! BTW - next week's Tuesday Ten has your name all over it - 10 places I'd like to be a fly on the wall!!! :-)

Lisa @ The Golden Spoons said...

Yes! Yes! Yes! I am getting there - to the peace - but it's a work in progress. The past few months I have not been able to read and comment as much as I want to. I was worried that it would hurt my relationships with my blog friends, but I have found that it hasn't affected them nearly as much as I though it would.

Lisa @ The Golden Spoons said...

Yes - I've had the privacy struggle, too, and I don't use their names or post pictures nearly as often as I used to.

Lisa @ The Golden Spoons said...

Yes - the writing and the connections make the work worth it, but I have let it consume me at times. It is certainly a journey, isn't it?

Lisa @ The Golden Spoons said...

Thanks so much!

sacha said...

true!!!! indeed

sue said...

Great post and I know what you mean. I have only been blogging 3 months and it has taken over! It started as an interest as I had retired early and needed something to keep my mind active. As I'm a 110% person it hasn't taken long for the interest to turn into work but while I enjoy it I will keep doing it. I can appreciate the difficulty trying to do it all with a family so time out is a great idea if only we heed our own advice. Thanks for the opportunity to link up with you at #1Word.

Julie Jo Severson said...

Yikes! What did I get myself into? I'm only 4 posts into my new blog. Yeah, I debated for a long time. I finally decided to go for it because I needed something to hold me accountable for writing stories down. I'm going to try and go about it fairly casually. Wish me luck! Great to be part of the one-word link-up.

Deanna said...

My blog has had periods of inactivity for sure. But I don't know if I could ever just not have a blog. I've slowly started working on writing more over over the past few months but I've noticed that most of the blogs I used to follow, are no longer active. While I don't generally write for other people, it is nice when you have people commenting on your blog. It's nice to hear other perspectives on things you are going through in your life. I am now trying to find new bloggers to connect with and am having trouble remembering how I had done it in the past.

Stephanie Sprenger said...

I really do think the boundaries help the most. I made a resolution over a year ago to change the terms of blogging for myself, and it has made all the difference in the world. My engagement may be less (fewer comments and blogger interactions) but I write things that mean something to me and I do it on my own terms. MUCH less of a time commitment and less obligation. Good luck to you!

Lisa @ The Golden Spoons said...

:-)

Lisa @ The Golden Spoons said...

Glad you joined! Blogging can definitely become work if we let it!

Lisa @ The Golden Spoons said...

You will be fine because you are going in with the right attitude!

Lisa @ The Golden Spoons said...

I don't think I could really ever not blog either. I just have to keep my priorities in check with it.

Lisa @ The Golden Spoons said...

Thanks, Stephanie! I remember your post about cutting back and retaking control. I'm glad it has made such big difference for you!

Stacey Gannett said...

Awesome post, Lisa! I try to make sure that I focus on family, but since the kids are at the tween/teen stage they do their own things more often than not. I don't often look at my stats, but they don't often mean much to me. Now while I do enjoy making a few dollars from this blogging thing, I love the friends, most of all. Since becoming a SAHM, I have lost touch with the real life friends, which makes my online ones mean even more. Have a great weekend!

Charlene said...

Brilliant post Lisa!Thank you so much for sharing what a lot of bloggers are thinking (deep down). You took the words right out of my mouth! I have learnt that it (blogging) does take a good chunk of my time. Even though I do most of my blogging when my son has his naps or when the kids are in bed - it's time when I could be catching up on tv programmes I have recorded, ringing my best friend for a chat, going to the movies or filling in my son's baby record books *which I am so behind with -aaghh! We are moving soon, so I might take a mini break from the blog to spend time with my family and setting up our new home (wherever that may be)! I'm not ready to give up my blog - still learning and love sharing tidbits of my life, home and family!

Lisa @ The Golden Spoons said...

Thanks, Stacey! When I started blogging, I did't know you could actually make friends through it. Now, I have so many great blog friends. It's awesome!

Lisa @ The Golden Spoons said...

Thanks, Charlene! I used to do some blogging while my kids were napping or in school. Now, with working part time and other thing sin my life, it seems there is less time for it. But, I love it and can't give it up. Jus have to make sure I put the proper things first.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...