Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Why I Quit Blogging (And What Brings Me Back)

In November of 2013, I posted my first Sunday Confession. From there, my weekly Sunday Confessions link-up party was started. I had 81 posts that year. The next year was even better with over 159 posts. I was cruising along.

But in 2015, I started to struggle and in 2016 I made a single birthday post. Let's not talk about 2017 to the present.

So how did I go from posting twice a week to a single post for an entire year? There were a lot of contributing factors, and it's hard to find just one.

Blogging Is Hard Work. Seriously. Some people are naturals, get lucky and create awesome blogs in a short period of time. The rest of us grind out content, learning and growing from what we're doing for years with a few dedicated readers. Most of us are doing it FOR FREE and some of us never really get the interaction we wanted when we started. The planning, writing, editing, sharing and promoting is work. It's even more work if you're using original photography. Putting yourself out there for people can be exhausting. Unfortunately, a good number of the bloggers I met and collaborated with when I started are not blogging anymore.

Blogging Is Expensive. Blogging can be an expensive hobby. I'm not talking about things like having an expensive laptop, photo editing software, or a DSLR camera. Those are not requirements for having an awesome blog. You can have an awesome blog as long as you have a working computer, an internet connection, and content. Blogging is something you can do from the public library. But if you want to start earning from your blog, you eventually have to put money into it. What I'm currently paying for: Internet access, my domain name, graphic software, link up programs, and business cards. I share products that I love and I try to receive either ad or affiliate credit for this when I can. I have been sent products to review in the past, but I am generally putting my money where my mouth is and purchasing the products I am reviewing.

Not being Content with your Content. I like to support other bloggers. I want to support other bloggers. After reading so much content other people wrote, I felt like I never knew what to talk about or it had been done better by someone else. I was spending so much time reading other's work that I felt like I lost my own voice. What I was putting out there didn't feel good to me anymore. I felt like my voice was irrelevant in a crowd of so many others. When you're not receiving the traffic you thought you would, it makes sense to look at other more successful bloggers and see what they're doing. I would then go back to my own blog and realize I wasn't doing anything "right".

Frustration. When I started, my blog was my baby. I had a ton of great ideas. I was writing what I wanted to write. Then somewhere along the line things got stressful. I was staying up late writing, revising and editing to get the post just right. I was neglecting my real life because I felt obligated to ride the inspiration train. I was spending hours on my personal Facebook page, on Twitter and in blogger groups trying to share and promote. I spent hours interacting on blogs and other pages hoping other bloggers would share and interact with me. I was trying to learn about HTML and how to interpret analytics. It can be a challenge to embrace the technical side, the social pressures and the financial constraints without wanting to stop!

Negativity. With all the awesome things that come with blogging, there is some serious negativity that comes with it too. Not all the criticism you receive is constructive. Sometimes, people will have a go at you because you've exposed enough of yourself they feel confident attacking your choices. For all the amazing interactions I've had with other bloggers, I've also had some pretty shitty ones too. Try as I might to avoid it, I've encountered drama a time or two. I've even had my content stolen.

I quit for over a year and I want to come back. If it is so much work and frustration, why do I miss it?

I'm not "huge". I'm not a big blogger. My financial goals are to generate enough income to at least pay for my domain name but there is no chance that I'm going to get rich from my blog anytime soon.

People are moving away from blogs. Video killed the radio star, right? It's hard to imagine that people are taking the time to read the written word when you can get the same story from a ten minute video.  But there is just something about sitting down, crafting a post, and (hopefully) getting positive feedback on it. There is something about writing your original thoughts and feelings and having someone reach out to say, "I grok this".

I could journal. I could keep a diary. I tried it for a bit. I even went so far as to buy myself a fancy fountain pen designated for the sole purpose of journaling my more personal thoughts and feelings. I lost it after two weeks.

I keep coming back for the people. There are people who still read, who still appreciate the written word, who still react to sentences and emotions. There are still people like me who want to read by choice and not react to YouTube click bait.  I keep coming back because I believe someone can get SOMETHING from what I'm sharing. I hope. Maybe.