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Sunday, January 20, 2013

Are you a Slave to your Blog?

I've been blogging for a couple of years now but I've never seen or felt such a shift in the energy around blogging as I'm seeing right now.  

Bloggers are using words that we've never heard used before.  Words like tired, frustrated and lacking.  There's a shift in the content and every day I notice another of my go-to blogs has packed up and gone home.

WHAT'S HAPPENING BLOGGERS?

I started a few conversations with bloggers that I really trust and here's what's being said.

1.  Too much time has been spent on building their own blog without any financial gain and it's time to pull back and look for ways to make money elsewhere.

2.  Too much of the same thing in every blog category.  It's hard to be fresh and unique without feeling like "been there, done that".

3.  Too hard to maintain the pace of a post every 3-4 days.  Burnout!

FIND YOUR REASON FOR BLOGGING

One of my biggest motivations for continuing to blog regularly is that I use my blog as the inspiration to get things done.  I have a penchant towards spending too much time researching and studying when I should be doing.  The blog forces me to "just do it".  I wouldn't have completed half of the projects that I have in the last 2 years if it wasn't for the blog so I"m sticking with it for that reason alone.  Here are my thoughts on how we can maintain the balance and still love blogging.

WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?

1.  Love It or Leave It - Focus on what you love about blogging and do more of that and less of the other parts.  

2.  You Don't Need to Write Their Blog - Blogging takes up enough of your time but being asked to guest blog is another time sucker.  Only do guest posts if you have a relationship with the blogger asking and if you know that there will be a reciprocal agreement if you ask.  Otherwise, save your energy for your own blog.  

3.  Get paid -   I have a sponsor that I love.  They are encouraging and respectful and they pay me an extremely fair price for blogging about them.  I would never blog about a company or product that I didn't  love using but if I'm going to use the product and talk about it I am thankful to get paid to do so.

In the past I've written about how Bloggers are the Best Kind of People.  It's a community filled with support and encouragement and the people are really amazing.  Why not just remember that and be brave and speak out.  If it feels like too much just pull back and know that you're not going to be forgotten.  You'll be missed and you'll be welcome as soon as you feel like coming back.  If it's not fun, don't do it.


35 comments:

  1. i was feeling that way and decided to take control! the reason i blog is for me, selfish hobby and pure fun! i was saying yes to too many "blog responsibilities" and decided i just needed to cut back and do what i want and i am much happier!

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  2. I've thought about this a lot lately, too. I've been blogging for three years, and the landscape is completely different now than it was when I started. I have some theories:

    - So many people are trying to be (blog)famous and make money that they tailor their content to showcase products that will bring commission or show off free things they received in hopes of getting more stuff or sponsors. Reading these blogs isn't that enjoyable, and it's easy to feel like you're failing if you don't have an inbox full of sponsor offers.

    - Pinterest has turned bloggers from creators of content, to curators of pretty images. It has also made readers harder to impress since we're constantly bombarded with similar images, and they have access to the same source of inspiration. I often have an idea, and after a quick search, see that someone has beaten me to it and pinned it already. Creating original content is hard, and it takes a long time.

    - The social media responsibility that accompanies blogging has grown exponentially. Now, you pretty much have to be active on FB/Twitter/Instagram/Disqus/Pinterest to get the exposure you want. That is a job in and of itself and it's exhausting, especially when sincere interactions are few and far between.

    - Trends are being beaten to death, and if you follow lots of blogs you see the same ideas regurgitated over and over. For example, I've seen no less than 20 roundups of emerald green things since Pantone made their announcement. It's hard to stand out.

    Sorry for the novel of a comment. Clearly I feel strongly about this... :)

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  3. very timely. My life is too busy so I need a short pause until I feel I can blog about what I want. It's all a balance really. But my blog is my little hobby and that's pretty much where it stands for now.

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  4. Great post...makes me think more deeply about the WHY or reason! You are right about too much of the same content!

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  5. Great post with some insightful information. I've had some lapses in my blog; new baby, deployed hubby, etc. However, the virtual friendships that I've formed and my unbridled love for blogging keep me going.

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  6. Love this post Carol. I actually just put a post up today that echoes your thoughts. You can read a million and one things on how to be a successful blogger, but in the end it comes down to doing what your gut tells you. Readers can tell when you aren't being authentic or don't love it anymore. But I do have to say, it's hard as a newbie blogger to not get sucked into it....it's pretty easy to be lured and then before you know it you've lost control of your own space.

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  7. Such a great post. I've been pondering many of the same issues myself. I blog because it motivates me to get things done and it is a great place to air my photos that otherwise would never be seen.

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  8. You hit the nail on the head--this shift in energy.
    For me, it has been about deciding whether I want to grow (and all the work that would go along with it), or whether I want to worry less about growth and just do what I want with my space. And I decided (for now) to be happy with what I have. So I won't be learning to take better photos or become a slave to social media; I will post what/when I am inspired, and my audience will be what it will be! Hopefully this will lead to less frustration. We shall see. :)

    Heather
    loveyourspace.blogspot.com

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  9. After 2 years, I closed my blog about 2 months ago. Done. Just felt like too much pressure. Also, the comments of support I got began to feel kind of 'fake' and 'false'. Started to feel like just a lot of auto-cheering, really just a way to get more views for the bloggers themselves, rather than about what I was writing. And to be honest, I started to feel like I was doing it too.

    So now as someone who still loves blogs, I can continue to read and find inspiration and fun and 'community' as someone who doesn't have my own blog to 'promote', just as someone who's interested in what you have to say.

    YOU will always be on my 'Follow' list!

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  10. Great insight Carol. I'm feeling it for sure. Wanting to grow and experiment creatively is what keeps me at it, albeit slowly at the moment. :) Thanks for opening this up for discussion. I love hearing what people have been saying in the comments so far.

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  11. Thank you for this post Carol! I am going to have a little heart to heart with myself after reading this... I love my new blog but there are decisions to make about focus, time and energy spent and most of all personal growth.
    Cynthia

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  12. Agreed! People have to learn how to hone into what they enjoy blogging about and not be swayed by what others are doing. For some its an impossible task. It's a beautiful thing when it all comes together.

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  13. Your #2 under "What's happening?" is it for me. I don't want to just be the same as everyone else, so that combined with I just have other things to do with my time are why I haven't been blogging as much and never will blog several times a week. I get tired of scrolling through my feed and seeing the same old same old. But, I guess it goes with the territory. :)

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  14. I've felt like that for some time and even walked away from my blogs for 6 months! I've started this year fresh and ready to be serious about blogging again. : )

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  15. Great post Carol. I go through ups and downs with my blog, should I quit, keep going, ??? I try very hard to not follow the crowd and just post about things that are meaningful to me and hope readers learn a thing or two. Blogging is a huge time commitment and you better enjoy it or you will burn out so fast! I might have a whole new attitude in a month, just taking a day at a time.

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  16. Way to tackle a tough subject Carol but one that is certainly swirling around in all bloggers minds lately. I started my blog on a whim and then I started my business. My focus of my blog has changed a little bit as an extension of my business, but anytime I'm not feeling the blog - I just don't do it. I took a break before the holidays and it was great. I have really enjoyed the friends I have made and the colleagues I have gained through blogging - I hope to meet them all in person one day and tell them how much I enjoy reading their blogs. I've also never been one to follow the crowd, so I enjoy writing about my latest project and hope that someone gets something out of my posts. Even just today, I showed a before and after of my lamp in my LR and it makes such a huge difference - hopefully a quick fix like that might motivate someone else to do the same. We could go on and on about this for a while...I still enjoy it and enjoy reading your posts so I won't be going anywhere anytime soon :)

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  17. PS - your profile photo is so nice!!

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  18. Yup - you nailed it! I have pulled back from 5 posts a week to 1 or 2, and my time is still so full, all I can say is blogging that frequently was taking away from the people and things in my life that mattered most. Now blogging is taking a backseat instead. I blog because I love to learn! And what I love to write about most is anything vintage that catches my eye. Sure, I'll feature moments from our life, maybe a DIY or two, but at the heart of why I blog is because I learn so much from the research I do, and for anyone interested in reading what I write, I hope they learn something, too! Sending you a virtual hug that is heartfelt and real for saying it like it is! Great post!!!

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  19. I could not agree with you more. I do think that many people start blogging to make money....bad decision. I am like you, my blog is what forces me to get things done. It is also my sanity during the winter months. It should not feel like a chore. Take a few days off, and come back when it feels good.

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  20. This is a great comment string... I'm enjoying reading everybody's thoughts. I find I am always reminding myself what my definition of success is, and it's not comments or ad $$ because I don't have many of either.My mantra is "I am a decorator who has a blog" and this keeps it straight in my head...it's not everything. I feel like there is an amazing community of kind, creative and thoughtful women out there who more than make up for the occasional bout of frustration and who will always be glad to see you again if you do decide to take a break. That's pretty awesome.

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  21. Great post, very well written! I am sure many bloggers go through a phase where they feel tired and uninspired to blog and I am no different. As long they are still people who enjoys my blog, I will continue to do so.

    Hope you had a great weekend, Carol! Enjoy your day!

    Jessie

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  22. I heard someone ask another person the other day if they'd still be doing something even if it wasn't for a living and the answer was a resounding "YES!" Although I have some sponsorship and receive freebies now and then, I blog because I enjoy it. Sometimes I feel pressure to do a certain number of posts and it can be difficult to keep content fresh, but I'd have a difficult time packing it all in. The process brings me joy and has formed connections and relationships with people I would not have if it wasn't for my blog.

    I agree with you Carol when you say it keeps you on your toes. As a solopreneur, it keeps me accountable- somewhat of a deadline enforcer. It also helps me feel like I'm part of a community.

    I think it's about being authentic and staying true to your own vision. Never sell out. People will follow your blog if what you write about resonates with them. If it's forced, it's probably time to take a step back or make some changes.

    This week I'm reflecting on everything I have learned through my blogging journey in a post about reaching 200. I'm a fairly new blogger, but I've grown so much in so many ways.

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  23. Such a great post - I agree, I'm not sure exactly what it is, but it is something out there! Maybe it's a wave...like a general timeline most people stick to this vs newbies coming on the scene...maybe it's other tools like Pinterest that give access to pretty pictures so much easier...whatever it is I agree that it has to remain fun and something you WANT to do. Great post!

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  24. Wow, you've obviously hit on some emotions with this post! Love all the comments and I agree with so much of what you wrote. I found myself stressed last year when I wasn't blogging "enough" and by the end of the year I decided that however much I posted WAS enough! I am not going to post just to post... I'd rather wait until I have something worth posting, and I won't let myself feel guilty about that anymore. Great post Carol.

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  25. I've been seeing the same thing and I can totally understand where bloggers are coming from. It is time-consuming and sometimes life just gets in the way. Taking an unplugged break once in a while is a great way to come back fresh.

    I guess it all depends on why you're blogging. Some blogs are so focused on sponsors and freebies and you can sense it in their posts. I've stopped reading many of them - many are just a sales pitch. I get approached constantly by companies wanting to do guest posts and giveaways and after almost 3 years, I'm still ad/sponsor free and that's how my blog will stay. My blog has never been about making money - it's been an outlet to share decorating inspiration, travel pics, DIY, recipes and other hodgepodge ideas as they come to me so I haven't wanted to throw in the towel. I agree, it does motivate me to get some things done. And without sponsors, I don't feel the pressure to blog which keeps it fun.

    I think Pinterest has taken the shine off of a lot of blogs since it's become so much easier for people to look there for ideas than to visit the blogs they used to. That's when I noticed the shift. So for anyone solely focused on showing decorating posts from magazines on their blog, I can see how the motivation would wane and they'd question why they are devoting so much time to it anymore since they're all on Pinterest.

    My favourite blogs are those that are more personal, with a mix of topics and projects. And the friends I've made in blogland are what keep me going. It's a lovely supportive world and I love feeling connected to wonderful people worldwide. It's all about staying true to yourself. xo

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  26. Great post! I blog when I want to, for a while the pressure to post, post, post was getting to me and so I took a deep breath and realized this is a hobby not a money making blog and I can't keep up with everyone else, the one thing I do miss is getting comments and replies, bloggers are busy I just want to make sure someone out there is reading and enjoying my projects.

    Have a great day Carol and keep on blogging.

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  27. Carol--I so enjoyed reading this post and the comments that went along with it. I think Haley (second commenter) hit the nail on the head the Pinterest thing. It does seem that in our realm of blogging that content has been forced to take a back seat to pretty images in hopes they'll get "pinned" and go viral. I'm not sure I love that shift... We all experience burnout. I find taking a few days off gives me a renewed motivation, but it also makes me panic that I'll lose readers. How silly! Thanks for the great post.

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  28. I've totally got blog burn-out. I've been blogging non-stop for over 4 years, and I'm tired and frustrated and out of ideas. I worked really hard for the first few years trying to build relationships with other bloggers and brands and sponsors, but nothing ever really led anywhere. I've been lucky enough to win some great blog giveaways and to be selected to be on the PARA Paints Blog Crew and Brizo has provided me with some awesome faucets, which is all fantastic and I appreciate very much! And I've also made some great friends through blogging, which is the best thing of all! But I'm ready to move on.

    I find that there's way too much pressure now to live up to not only the big & popular blogs, but to keep up with all the seasonal projects, etc. So I just do my own thing at my own pace - which is sometimes just 2 posts a week. But to be honest, that's all I have the mojo to write! And I've also gotten slack about visiting other blogs, which is bad. But again, the mojo just isn't there.

    It's hard to get up the energy to put hours into writing insightful posts when it seems that the fluffy ones get the majority of the attention. When I spend hours working on a project and then writing about it and explaining how I did it, and someone else posts a picture and writes "Oooh, pretty room!" and that post gets all the attention... well, it's frustrating to say the least! Not to mention having my submissions to some of the big blogs rejected...

    10 years ago, decorating forums were the big thing. Then blogs came along and took away their thunder. I think pretty soon, blogs will become "so yesterday" and there will be something new getting all the attention.

    I still love decorating and DIYs and writing, but I don't love blogging anymore.

    Whew, that's a load of my chest! :-)

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  29. I'm new to blogging, about 10 months in, and consciously decided that if the only person ever to read my blog was my mom, that would be ok :) I only blog once a week, which is about as fast as I generate content, and I can maintain that level of consistency without feeling burnout. It gives my facebook friends who are interested a chance to stay in touch, and it TOTALLY keeps me motivated to keep going on the various house projects!

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  30. Great post Carol! I have blogged for 3 years now and have learned to deal with all the changes that come along. I so agree with Hayley (#2), she has summarized it all so well. I still enjoy blogging and it too has forced me to finish projects I otherwise wouldn't get done. I have met fabulous bloggers who have become friends, like you! I have had great opportunities that I wouldn't of had before and I love the daily inspiration. I wish my brain wasn't torn between teaching and design. Both creative, but yet quite different. So I will keep plugging away at my blog, my life and see where it takes me!

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  31. It is posts like this that keep me on the blogs - there are so many clever, imaginative, inspirational, and thoughtful people posting great things. I definitely feel overwhelmed as a reader sometimes, that I just don't have the capacity for all the cool blogs out there. And as a blogger, it is hard not to feel as though you should be moving your blog towards being a business - it seems to come at me from so many sides. My blog reads are suddenly full of blog-as-business advice, improving your design, how to write proposal, etc. My husband is asking when I am going to start getting compensated for all the time I spend crafting, photographing, photoshopping, researching, and writing. And yet... whenever I contemplate bringing on advertising I never seems to actually move forward. I think deep down I know that it just wouldn't be fun anymore. I like not having to worry about numbers (although I do), posts per week (although I do) and constantly dreaming up new content (although I do!). Your post sort of solidifies this in my mind. I blog because it's fun, it pushes me to be creative, and it introduces me to so many fabulous and interesting people, such a great community of like-minded peeps - THOSE are the reasons I blog. So thank you Carol, I am going to let go of the blog stress and just enjoy myself again. :)

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  32. Great post and so well written! I went through a blog funk for a while and took a break, but I love it too much to ever stop for good. I started a blog because I love design, and I never knew where it would take me. I have been able to form great blog friendships and 'meet' so many inspiring bloggers (you!) that it will always inspire me to keep going. I do agree with other commenters that so many other social media sites make it hard to stand out. But if you keep blogging about what you love and write about what makes you happy, you can never be wrong!

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  33. great piece. thanks for the time and thought. I think a lot of us are re-thinking our blogging directions...donna

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  34. Great post! And so many of the comments really resonate for me. In the end my blog is just for me I guess and I need to get back to writing for me because I know I'll be reading. Does that make sense?

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