THE PROBLEM WITH BLOGGING

As a group, we spend a lot of time pumping ourselves up about the how great blogging is and what we can (should) do to keep enjoying it. There are a lot of great things about blogging or none of us would be doing it at all. It’s a place to be creative in our own way, time, place, and space.

Except the more successful you are at blogging, the less your time ceases being your own. Blogging takes over. If you are an obsessive writer, photographer, artist — whatever it is you do — the blogging takeover can be so gradual you barely notice it. First you’re writing one post a few times a week. Then you start posting every day. Maybe, because you write and take pictures, you start posting twice — once mostly photographs and another mostly words. You decide to try a few challenges. While you’re at it, you figure if you want people to read your stuff, you ought to read their stuff too. Fair is fair, right?

One day — maybe now, maybe a few years from now — you look back on the past and all you can remember is your blog. It has eaten your time. You hardly noticed from one day to the next, but when the lockdown arrived, your life hardly changed. That was when you finally realized your life is blogging.

It turned out everything I do is blog-related. The pictures I take, the stuff I write. It is all blog fodder.

WordPress is always urging you to follow other people’s writing. Except I have more than 15,000 followers. Clearly, I can’t follow all of them. Even the regular people who I consider friends, if I read just one blog from each of them, there won’t be enough hours in the day to write anything or take any pictures, much less process the pictures or edit the writing. Life becomes a desperate attempt to somehow fit everything into a day and include time to have a conversation, cook dinner, and occasionally do something non-blog related.

Impossible. Simply can’t be done.

I began to resent my blog — and whose fault is that? It isn’t like someone is forcing me to do it. It was my idea. No one is holding a gun to my head. No one was demanding I read every post from every blogger. I felt I should be reading all those blogs, that I owed it to my friends. That I should be writing, that I owed it to my audience, whoever they may be.

I’m a fast writer, but a slow editor. Today it took almost five hours to put together one post combining text and photographs. Writing a first draft, assembling all the photographs, figuring out what additional photos I needed. Processing a few new pictures. Reprocessing photos using better tools. Editing the text again. Changing pictures for better photos. And here I am, writing another post — and who knows how long this will take.

I don’t want to give it up, but I don’t want to continue doing the same thing the same way. I want the good stuff and I want some time to just “be.”

What’s the answer?

Taking a break is not an answer anymore than taking a vacation is the answer to an unsatisfying job. When your vacation is over, you are back where you were before. It’s not whether or not you can continue to blog. Of course you can. It’s about what kind of life you are going allow yourself to have other than blogging — or is blogging going to be your life?

I don’t have an answer. I love writing and photography. I also love reading and my online friends who really, these days, are my only friends. Nonetheless, I want to read, watch a movie, sleep. I’d like to watch a TV show and know what’s happening without asking Garry what I missed.

Sometimes, there are no simple answers. If the question is complicated, the answer will also be complicated. I read what other people say about this and I realize most of them are relatively new to blogging. I’m not new. I wasn’t new when I started this blog and now, ten years and just under 12,000 posts later, what do I want to do? And how shall I do it?



Categories: Anecdote, Blogging, Computers, Photography, Technology, WordPress, Words, Writing

Tags: , , , , ,

49 replies

  1. I remember with my old blog, I was obsessed. What began as writing for pleasure, and penning my thoughts turned into a crazy obsession. I had to write all that I could, anything, and wait for fellow bloggers to read, to talk to them so much so that it took away all fun out of writing. Moreover I wanted to read all that my blogger friends had written that if I didn’t I felt guilty and the reading became mechanic. I thus decided to delete my blog because I could not find myself in those writings and began resenting time spent here. But beginning this year, wiser (I hope) I will only write for happiness and read at my own pace. No correct answer indeed. The pleasure disappears when obsession takes over.

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  2. Does your blog make you happy? Are you proud of it? Does it speak to your purpose in life? If something is truly a chore, most folks find a way out from under it. I suspect the blog has a lot of meaning for you as a person – speaking as a fellow blogger who occasionally wonders what I would with the time I spend blogging.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It does mean a lot to me. It doesn’t mean everything, but I’ve always been a writer, literally back to the first time I could hold a pencil and put words on paper. My goal is to find a better balance so I can do what I do, but have time to read a book, have a conversation, correspond with friends who aren’t bloggers. I keep trying to find that balance. It’s elusive.

      Then there’s that little bell in my brain telling me to write. Apparently the bell isn’t going to stop ringing and maybe I don’t want it to stop. But I do need to set some limits. I’m not very good at limits or rules — mine or anyone else’s, so it has become something of a project. I do suspect that if I stopped blogging, Garry wouldn’t have any idea what to DO with me.

      There have been periods in my life when I put away cameras and didn’t take any pictures for years, but no time when I wasn’t writing. As long as my brain works…

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I got no advice for you. I have no answers.We all do the things that are most important to us.
    Maybe I do have a little advice. Do what you love, love what you do.Make time for your loved ones.

    How’s that for a bit of drivel from an old man?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yup, that’s where I’m at. The issue is, was, always was — exactly HOW? I’m not good at taking — or giving — directions. I hate rules, including my own. I don’t know how I managed to get through college or, for that matter, spend a lifetime working. I think they put up with me because I was good at what I did. Garry is even worse than ME, so together, we are not the cooperative people the corporate world was looking for — which also probably explains a lot of our career choices!

      Hey, you aren’t old. We are ALL old. Garry, at 79, is now the oldest of his colleagues. It makes him feel rather gloomy. He thinks anyone under 75 is still a kid.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Rules? What are rules? You sent me scrambling for my dictionary with that one. I admire Garry for getting through the USMC – they usually make life tough for people who don’t like rules. ooh rah!

        Liked by 1 person

        • He did a lot of KP and bathroom scrubbing. The drill sergeants yelled at him and he would laugh because it was just like the movies and Garry doesn’t scare easily. They didn’t approve of his attitude but somehow thought he’d make a pretty good officer. That was before they realized he wasn’t ignoring orders. He just couldn’t HEAR them.

          They sent him home. Too deaf to be a marine. He’s a lot deafer NOW than he was then. But he really WANTED to be a marine so I guess the desire to be one overcame his dislike of following rules. He was the only guy in the unit who wasn’t white, read books (books? BOOKS?) — AND he was the shortest guy in the group. Eventually, they became friends. Weird, eh? If he had been able to hear, he might still be there.

          Liked by 2 people

        • TN, I was that “Boot” that Drill Instructor rue in the USMC. The kid who doesn’t blanch in the face of intimidation. It wasn’t done on purpose. When they yelled at the platoon of young Marines, I laughed.

          (One of my favorite movie ‘heroes’ was Paul Newman in “Cool Hand Luke”)

          I always had a problem with people who tried to intimidate.

          Liked by 1 person

      • It’s snuck up on me. So used to being “The kid”. Now, I am the OLDEST in the group of old colleagues. Say what?

        It never entered my mind.

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  4. Hi Marilyn, I haven’t been blogging anywhere near as long as you have, but I quickly realised that I have to be disciplined about blogging just as I am about all other aspects of my life. I have set times during which I blog. That is the time I would probably watch TV otherwise. When that time is up, it’s up, and I move on to other things. That is they only way I can balance blogging, work, family, and writing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I suspect that IS the only way. i was very disciplined in the beginning but when my health started to disintegrate and the things I used to do became impossible, I started to blog more. It kept me busy between surgeries and ailments. But now, I really want that time back. I think I need a blogging 12-step program.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. I’ve heard you write about this very problem several times and I have to quote something you said earlier.
    ” Except I have more than 15,000 followers. Clearly, I can’t follow all of them. Even the regular people who I consider friends, if I read just one blog from each of them, there won’t be enough hours in the day to write anything or take any pictures,”

    By example, I try to read every post you send .., but I can’t respond to them all.., and you’re just one person, and a good friend. Personally I think you could stand to cut down your frequency a bit, maybe 1 or 2/week which might give you time to enjoy some of the other things you enjoy doing.., not to mention, think about some topics you like to address in more detail.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m going to try. I don’t know how I’ll do. It really IS an addiction. There’s probably a 12-step program for it. I’m going to try for one written post a day and if I have pictures, one photo post. Ironically, the photographs take me much longer to produce than the writing. I get very nit picky about processing and I’m trying to get better about deleting pictures rather than spending half a day trying to “make them work.” Let’s see how I do.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Ben I know you are very much appreciated at this address — a faithful follower of Marilyn’s blog who always gives a thoughtful comment.

      That takes time and effort.

      Muchas Gracias!

      Like

  6. I totally agree with this, it’s a dilemma indeed. I’ve got a schedule now which I’m more or less comfortable with I log in every Friday, Sunday, Monday and Wednesday to prepare posts and reblogs. I log on for between half an hour and an hour most evenings to read posts, whilst my son watches night garden and has his bath. This works for me and still allows me the family time I need. My novel WIP has stalled though. It’s finding a rhythm that works for you. KL ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have to try something like that. I also have to stop feeling guilty about what I’m not doing that I think I should be doing. I seem to have lost the fun part and kept the work part and it’s obviously my own fault because I started it, I continue doing it, and I can’t figure out how to even cut down, much less stop. I’m almost afraid to stop because then, what will I do with myself? Definitely a dilemma!

      Liked by 2 people

    • Do any of us NOT have a novel that is WIP? I must have at least a dozen first chapters and another half dozen following chapters. The truth is that I like blogging better than authoring. Moreover, I know a lot of published authors including several who have had multiple best-sellers — and they are just as poor as I am. If all that work isn’t going to make money — and I don’t have a really brilliant idea waiting in the wings — it just seems to me to be an awful lot of work for very little reward. I’m glad I finished one book and I’m glad I published it, albeit on my own. But more? I don’t think so. Or, at least right now, I don’t think so. Tomorrow is a new day.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I agree, it’s good to take breaks when you want to do something else but it doesn’t solve the problem. I think it is a bit like any addictive behaviour, we just can’t help ourselves. I guess you have to put yourself on a blogging diet and try to spend less time on the computer a day, easier said than done I know.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. This is a dilemma that all of us who love blogging face. It’s like crab grass that takes over a lawn. How do we ensure it doesn’t completely dominate our lives? I wish I had an answer.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yup, me too. Every day I plan to cut back, do less, take a break … yet somehow, I don’t. I think it’s possible that I was always like this and that’s what made me a good worker. The thing is that I’m supposed to be retired and instead, I’m following the same path I used at work. And I see so many other people doing the same thing. It’s as if we are afraid to do nothing.

      I think I really AM afraid to do nothing!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Wish upon a star…

      Liked by 1 person

  9. One post a day should not be very time consuming.

    Liked by 1 person

    • No, it shouldn’t, but I’m so obsessive about writing that even a short post can take me hours. And I still miss 100 typos for every 200 words I write!

      Liked by 2 people

      • I enjoy writing on my blog. It gives me something to do with my time. The connections I made with people in our community are amazing. Maybe that’s the reason you spend so much time on your blog as well.

        Liked by 1 person

        • So many people in my life have died or have lost their minds in other ways that the friends I’ve made blogging really ARE my friends. Even the very few that live close enough to visit have physical issues and/or other obligations (sick children, mates with serious physical limitations), that we have trouble getting together too. And then there’s driving. The long drives of yesteryear are not in our future. I barely drive at all and Garry gets tired pretty fast. We both have a lot of correspondences, though. Not everything goes online. Need time for that, too.

          Liked by 2 people

          • These are very valid and relevant concerns. Meeting people physically is not easy for many. I really appreciate our WP family for the friendship and support it offers.

            Like

            • I think it’s the best part of blogging.

              Liked by 2 people

              • Indeed! I don’t grudge my time to blogging because it gives me such good and caring friends.

                Like

                • i don’t begrudge the time at all. The problem is not that I don’t LIKE it. I obviously like it a lot. The REAL problem is that 24 hours is just not enough time to do all the things I feel I need to do. If I didn’t like blogging, I would have long since stopped doing it.

                  As we age, we give up a lot of things we used to do. While our physical body changes, our social self changes too. Our friends move to be near their kids or to warmer climates. Or they pass on. The casual comradery disappears. Now we make dates months ahead and hope when the time comes, everyone is still healthy. And of course up here in the north, we plan everything for warm weather because in the winter, you never know if snow will make driving dangerous or impossible.

                  Many things fall away from life. For me, the hardest ones were horses, walking, and climbing. Garry and I used to hike most of Boston. I wasn’t a runner, but I was a great walker. I’m not anymore. It wasn’t a choice. It was reality poking it’s nasty little head into my plans. I used to pride myself on my agility and ability to dash around the rocks by the water, clamber up mini-mountains, and I love riding horseback. Post heart surgery, all that stuff changed dramatically. My chest never healed, so it’s still in motion which makes a lot of activities impossible. It’s amazing how many things are connected to ones breastbone. Who knew?

                  And the arthritis has just gotten worse. No huge changes from one year to the next, but over the past ten years, it went from being annoying, but manageable, to far more extensive and fragile. And the asthma I’ve had since I was a kid is also much worse, though I think THIS year has been a bad one for anyone with breathing issues. Something about climate change and caused everything to produce mega doses of pollen. In this case, it’s not just me.

                  But, on the positive side, I’ve lost almost 15 pounds during the past year and a bit and I have not been dieting. I think finally the medication they pumped into me post cancer have finally left my system. Amazing how long those drugs last!

                  Liked by 1 person

                  • This is the process we pay for being alive, age and different diseases. I’m so sorry that you are not able to pursue physical activities. When I was advised to walk 2 miles a day, post bilateral knee replacement, I grudgingly adapted to it because I wasn’t a walker. Not I thank my lucky stars that I was forced into it. If nothing else, at least I walk every day.

                    Like

      • Godzilla versus The Typos

        Like

  10. 🙂 In spite of being a prolific writer, I publish content on my blog weekly (That approach to blogging has kept me sane and it also allowed me to remain in love with blogging).

    Realistically, you cannot follow everyone who has followed your blog because you will never have enough time for yourself.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know. I can’t even follow everyone who I consider to be a real friend. Sometimes I’m afraid to even OPEN their posts because I know I’m going to get all wrapped up in it and by the time I’m done answering, that will be ANOTHER post — except as a comment.

      I don’t have enough hours in a day. If ONLY I could cut out those wasted hours in what I humorously call sleep!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. It’s a really challenging and hard to find the balance over time. I still love blogging at this point but the time spent on it has definitely increased.

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  12. I post once a week for my Sunday Stills feature. Trust me that I obsess over upcoming image, themes, etc. In early 2018 after 4 years of blogging, trying different things, I wrote a farewell post but continued to read a few faves. Three months later I had a brainstorm to recreate Sunday Stills and post only on Sundays. I had been a big advocate of the WP photo challenge which ended right when I came back. That drastic change and the threat of not having a creative outlet for writing and photography re-energized me and my blog and I’ve been happy ever since. I hope you figure out what works best for you, Marilyn. Best wishes!

    Like

    • I really hated when they got rid of the weekly Photo challenge. And I too am afraid that if I stop, I won’t have any other outlet for writing or photography. I tried once a week, but that didn’t do it. I may try three or four days instead of all seven. It’s surprisingly difficult! You’d think something like this for which we aren’t even getting paid wouldn’t tie us in knots. I don’t think I was this dedicated to real paid work!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I took a day off from blogging and it may have helped, although it all gets jumbled up and maybe it didn’t.

    Like

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