Thursday = Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop
Participate, read, comment!
This week I’m choosing:
4.) Have you thought about shutting down your blog? Why haven’t you and what would cause you to make that decision final?
In the past few weeks, it seems there has been a bit of a malaise around Blogland (or at least the parts I visit). Some bloggers have shut down shop altogether. Others are on an extended hiatus. Others have admitted to feeling a bit more blase about blogging. I’ve felt it to a degree too.
I recently read that the average life of a blog is about 6 months. At that point, many bloggers either run out of stuff to say or lose interest. I’m hitting the 6 month point about now, and I do feel a need to reevaluate why I am blogging and what I want to get out of it.
I think there is a definite “honeymoon” stage with blogging. When you first start, it is a fun little thing to do. Then you get a comment or follower outside of your immediate social circle. This is when the blogging addiction starts to infiltrate your bloodstream. During this time, you just can’t get enough — you spend your nights thinking of blog posts, you agonize over each post (“Is it funny enough? Will they like it?”). You watch your number of comments rise and your followers increase. You spend all your free time blogging or visiting blogs.
But, like any addiction, there starts to be some hints that not everything is as wonderful as it initially seemed. Perhaps your self-esteem begins to rise and fall depending on the number of followers you have. Perhaps you write a great post and only 5 people instead of 20 comment on it. Perhaps you find other bloggers that are “better” than you and begin to feel inferior. Perhaps you start trying too hard, and blogging becomes more of a chore than a fun thing. Perhaps you start feeling that you MUST visit as many blogs as possible so that they in turn will visit yours (the “Ponzi scheme” of blogging, as Mr. Jenners calls it.)
At this point, blogging might begin to feel overwhelming. For me, when the focus started becoming more on “how many followers do I have?” and “how many comments do I get each day?” I started to feel bogged down by blogging. I began stressing over visiting everyone who commented on my blog and leaving them a comment. I felt that I had to somehow recognize everyone who followed my blog to “thank” them for reading my blog. And it started to be a lot of work — and it felt like work. At night (with my two to three hours of free time), I would slog through my blog visits. The number of blogs I was reading climbed to over 150. Each day, I would face a Google Reader that listed something like 295 blogs posts to be read. If I skipped a day, the Reader would list 500 to read. If I went away for the weekend, the number could climb to over 800. It was ridiculous, and I realized I couldn’t keep up this pace … nor should I.
In the past few months, I have been struggling with this dilemma. BlueViolet and I even talked about it via e-mail. As you may know, BlueViolet decided that her answer was to delete her blog. I like the social aspect of blogging, but I’m finding it overwhelming. I want to visit every blog of someone who visits my blog, but I don’t feel like I can. I would love to read every post by every blogger I like, but I can’t. And I’m sick of having the house look like a pigpen due to my blogging obsession. In short, I think I’m facing the 6 month burnout.
So I’ve been asking myself: Why am I blogging? What do I want to get out of it? And the honest answer is that I enjoy writing and blogging inspires me to write in a way that nothing else has. I need this creative outlet, and I do like the social aspect of it too. But I need to stop the focus being on the “growing the blog” and put it more squarely on “writing the blog.” I need to stop posting for the sake of having a post go up. I need to focus more on challenging myself as a writer. I need to refind the joy I initially felt when I started blogging. And this means scaling back on the social aspects — the visiting every blog that remotely interests me — because that is the part that is getting a bit burdensome and tiring. I want to keep the writing part; I need to cut down on the visiting.
So, my friends, I absolve you from visiting my blog if you really don’t want to and you are just visiting in the hopes that I’ll visit your blog in return. I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, and I appreciate anyone who takes the time out of their busy day to read whatever I’ve put up here. But I just can’t keep up this pace anymore, and I need to cut back. My blogging “honeymoon” is over. I want to blog because it is fun and inspires me creatively. I want to grow and develop as a writer. I hope you enjoy what I put out there, and I hope you’ll continue reading. But I’m not promising to visit everyone’s blog all the time like I’ve been trying to do because if anything is going to shut down this blog, it will be trying to keep up with everyone else’s blogs.
So unfollow me if you want. Drop me from your reader. Unfave me from Technocrati (whatever the heck that means anyway). Say “The hell with you, Jenners. If you’re not going to have the time to read me, I’m not going to read you.” It is OK. I totally understand. But I’m not going to quit writing. I enjoy this too much, and I want to keep on going with it and see where it takes me. And if you want to join me, I’m happy to have you along. But if you want to get off now, that is OK.
Life is too busy to do stuff you don’t want to do or are doing out of misguided sense of obligation. And I’m not saying I’m not going to read anyone else’s blogs anymore. I will … I just can’t read as many as I’ve been trying to and I can’t always visit your blog if you visit mine. I’ve got to start going to bed earlier. I’ve got to keep this house clean. I’ve got to spend more time with my husband. I’ve got books I want to read. Movies I want to watch. Photos I want to organize. Exercise I’ve got to do. In short, I need a more balanced life — blogging will be a part of it but not as much as it has been. I hope you understand.