I have to admit something I don’t really want to admit – I’m burnt out on blogging.
I’m burnt out on writing and reading blogs actually. Lately I’ve been questioning how and why we bloggers put so much work in and what we truly get out of it.
As a reader, I am so tired of blog posts apologizing for the authors’ lack of blogging. I’m tired of blog posts where the author justifies scaling back their blog to, you know, focus of real life. I’m tired of bloggers making excuses as to why they succumb to paid aids and sponsored posts. There are several blogs in my RSS feed that I love so deeply that I don’t even notice if they are on a blog schedule. I see that they have a new post and light up inside, eager to devour whatever they’ve written (Daily Garnish, The Everywherist, Back To Her Roots) – and yet all three lately have made posts about the aforementioned topics. It makes me sad. These women are so engaging, real, and unique – why do they have to justify their shortcomings as the focus of an entire blog post?!
Blogging has become such a scrutinized thing. It’s like, if you don’t blog for internet fame, money, or so you can become a full-time blogger and quit your day job, then you’re doing it wrong. But we created this pressure. It’s completely unrealistic to be a full time blogger and full time authentic person. I still can’t believe how much time it takes to be a blogger – thinking up original content, taking and editing photos, writing the posts, tweaking and editing, and lining everything up on a schedule. It’s another dark side of blogging: it’s back breaking work and no one ever talks about how hard it is. So ultimately it ends up looking easy and effortless, but it’s not.
As a writer, blogging is recreational but it’s a love/hate recreation. I feel a tremendous amount of pressure to keep it up and to keep my posts relevant, timely, and on a set schedule. But then I resent it because it takes me away from living and keeps me constantly focused on content.
I found myself stressing a few weekends back (after 48 hours completely unplugged due to camping in the woods) that I should have snapped some pictures, I should have written down something about it to share, I should have planned a blog in advance about camping – I should have, could have, didn’t. And then I realized that none of that matters – I was surrounded by dear friends, out in nature, playing board games. Living life and filling the well. And then I realized that the things that have made me the happiest this summer I haven’t taken pictures of or blogged about. Things like reading, hot yoga, camping, napping with my cat, working on me, journaling.
Someone recently asked me – What hobbies do you have that you do just for you? Just for the pure joy of doing them? – and do you know I couldn’t think of one thing. I feel like so much of what I do is out of obligation – to work, to this blog, to this mythical idea of perfection I seem to stupidly strive toward. It feels really inauthentic lately. I want to live my life for me and do things just to do them and not experience them through some lens of obligation or social media hits and likes and retweets and recognition.
In many ways I have changed a lot this year. Actively and with purpose. And I’ve learned a lot about habits and beliefs that have been ingrained in my brain for my whole life. Stuff that is misplaced or just plain wrong. Stuff like only doing things if I can get credit, upholding some unbreakable image of perfection, living in a world of unrealistic ‘I should’ statements, creating the look of a life I want to live rather than just living in what is real (and flawed and not picture worthy and not Pinterest-perfect). How can it be healthy to live my life around this blog and not the other way around?
This is not to say that I don’t appreciate readers. I do, I so do. You guys are the only reason I’ve kept this up for so long and I’m still amazed you are all here. And I want to continue to blog – just in a happier and healthier way for me.
So what does this all mean? It means I want to feel good about what I write here; I want to really be proud of it. I don’t want to churn out fluff just to get hits or to adhere to a schedule. I want the posts I write to mean something. So things around here may start to look different but I hope they will look better, with the real me fully behind them.
I was just catching up on your blog and want to say I hope you don’t let burn out stop you because I adore your blog. I will be excited to see you continue your blog in a way that allows you to do it your way without feeling pressure. That has to be how you started it. I found your blog when I was looking for ideas on how to plan a x country road trip and have been hooked ever since. Some days the links on Monday Mix have gotten me (and my husband) through long commutes. Some days, the recipes have inspired me to actually cook (which is saying something) . Some days I have read the blog and wondered how you do it all. Hopefully you will find a way to keep the fun in it and keep inspiring the rest of us!
Thank you so much – I really appreciate the support! And am so grateful you’re still here!
I’m slowly but surely starting to figure out what blogging will look like going forward and really, not much will change – I just plan to put less pressure on myself to churn out 3 posts a week just to hit certain numbers. So, less frequent posts but more quality posts!
I remember having this thought when I first read this post, but now that you re-linked to it, I remembered that I hadn’t actually shared — I worked in digital marketing for many years, and I can tell you absolutely that what you describe in this post – “thinking up original content, taking and editing photos, writing the posts, tweaking and editing, and lining everything up on a schedule,” — is absolutely, 100% a FULL TIME JOB description. “Content marketing,” and it’s doing all of those things for a particular brand as part of an advertising campaign, sure, but the point is that some people do it for FORTY HOURS A WEEK and it’s still not enough time. Imagining feeling that pressure when your life is essentially the “product” that you are creating content around does feel absolutely overwhelming, and I think you are totally justified in needing to take a breather every once in a while. :)
You’re so right – this is such a real thing. I cannot imagine doing it for work! Honestly, looking back on when I posted this I needed a break so bad and just allowed myself to have it for the last 4 months and it has felt so good to remove that pressure. Actually, it flew by – it’s kind of nuts. I miss blogging but I know it needs to come from a genuinely creative place.