To celebrate this blog’s one year blogiversary today, I’ve been writing a history of my blog broken up into several posts.Today I present the final installment.
Blogging Brightly Leads To Burnout
AKA If You Fly Too Close to the Sun Wearing Wax Wings, Your Wings Will Melt and You’ll Fall To Earth (Or I Start To Overdo It and Risk Blogging Burnout)
As I got into a blogging rhythm and began to develop a loyal following, I entered My Golden Age of Blogging. I posted regularly, and my number of followers and comments kept increasing. I was thrilled. I redesigned my blog, started my own meme and was reading and commenting on close to 250 blogs on a regular basis.
I kept this up for about 3 or 4 months and then one day when I sat down to write, I didn’t feel like writing anything. Then we went away on vacation, and I came home to something like 2,343 unread blog posts in my Google Reader. I felt overwhelmed. Blogging wasn’t that fun anymore.
I was tired of reading blogs that I didn’t really like just so they would visit my blog and leave me a comment. I was growing tired of running over to SITS each morning for roll call and then getting a few comments that all seemed to say the same thing “Stopping by from SITS.” (Nothing against SITS, but I personally found the experience a tad overwhelming.) I was tired of feeling pressure from something that had once been a fun and creative outlet for me.
It was at this point that I seriously contemplated giving up blogging altogether. But Mr. Jenners reminded me that I was putting this pressure on myself. “If you are only reading blogs to get a comment on your own, what is the point? Just stop it.” he said. “Just read the blogs you really like, and write when you feel like writing. And stop dinking around with your layout and focus on content.”
As much as I hated to admit it, Mr. Jenners was right. I was starting to lose my focus. My crack/blog addiction was starting to affect me negatively. I needed to scale back and find a healthy medium.
It was at this point that I started posting less. The pressure to post almost every day was getting too much, and I realized that I actually preferred blogs that didn’t post every day myself (so much easier to keep up with). I realized that if I wasn’t really enjoying a blog, I could stop reading it. The worst that would happen was they might stop reading my blog. I realized that I would rather have a small group of readers who really wanted to read what I wrote rather than a large group of readers who skimmed my posts and left generic comments hoping I would visit their blog in return. I realized I wanted quality comments versus quantity, and I wanted to build meaningful relationships with the regular readers of my blog.
So I cut my blog roll down to about 100 blogs (split between personal blogs and book blogs). I started posting about two to three times a week (unless I really had something to say). I stopped trying to grow my blog by frantically joining every meme I came across. I got much more relaxed about blogging and began to enjoy it more. It became fun again, and I found that I still had a lot to say once I took the pressure off myself.
And that is where I’ve been ever since. I post when I have something to say, I only add a new blog to my blog roll if I really like reading it, and I don’t pursue new readers with a maniacal gleam in my eyes. If I’m busy in my real life, I take a blogging hiatus and don’t worry about whether I’ll have readers when I get back. This change in attitude has made all the difference and is why I think I can keep this sucker going indefinitely.
It amazes me that I’ve been doing this for a year now, and I still feel excited about it. So, to thank you all for your wonderful support in the past year, tomorrow I’ll announce a giveaway. (As I mentioned before, don’t get too excited. It really isn’t anything all that special.)
And, because my mom is coming to visit for a few weeks, I might be taking a short blogging hiatus so I can focus on my visit with her. I know you’ll be there when I get back, and, if you aren’t, well, that is OK too. I’m still going to do my thing and be happy.