Blog Exhaustion

Nathan Bransford has a post up called Is Blog Fatigue on the Rise? He points out that more and more bloggers are calling it quits, and that he himself has been slowing down:

I’m sure it hasn’t escaped the notice of regular blog readers that the posting on this blog has grown, well, a bit more sporadic. After posting every weekday for nearly five years, I’ve found it increasingly difficult to keep up that pace.

For me it’s not about running out of ideas or the occasional negativity (though that can be a drag), it’s just a time crunch.

There’s no doubt that blogging takes more energy than you’d expect. WordPress and Blogspot are largely graveyards for blogs that fizzle out after a few weeks. The ones that survive are the exceptions. I’m not saying it’s incredibly difficult, but it is a commitment.

As for me, I’ve kept up this blog with a new post every weekday for over six months, with no signs of exhaustion yet. Which isn’t to say that the various Blogging Obstacles don’t rear their heads once in a while. It’s smart to keep your eye on these foes, and Nathan’s done a good job of listing the most common culprits:

1. Forgetting to post. Fortunately I’m safe from this one. I get up half an hour early every day for the sole purpose of writing the day’s post. I’m not likely to forget why I’m up.

2. “The negativity that comes with putting yourself out there.” (His words.) This one’s tough to define, but I know exactly what he’s talking about. Basically this comes in two forms: active and passive. Active negativity is when people send you nasty e-mails and comments, and fortunately I’ve escaped that so far – y’all are a nice bunch of people!

Passive negativity, on the other hand, just means that you feel like nobody’s listening. Do I have enough readers? Do I have enough followers? These questions are mostly silly and unproductive, yet I hear them in my brain more often than I’d like. I do my best to ignore them.

3. Cost/benefit is no longer worth it. Cost being how much time you put in, benefit being what you get out of it – and what you expect to get out of it. For me, this works out pretty well. Cost is minimal because, as I’ve recently mentioned, my blogging time generally has a hard deadline of forty minutes per day. On the benefit side, my expectations are modest: I’m looking to get some practice writing for an audience, meet other writers (and readers, and cool people in general), and establish a name for myself in public (even if it’s only in a small way). Notice that none of these is tied directly to money. As long as a reasonable number of people keep reading, it’s worth it for me.

4. Running out of ideas. This is probably the one I worry about most. In general, I try to keep my posts on-topic: writing, reading, publishing, books. I try not to stray too far into my personal life. However, that does mean I have to be constantly thinking of new ideas on a relatively limited topic range, which can be tricky when I’m posting every day. So far my ideas list has grown steadily, with new ideas added faster than I can post them, so it hasn’t been a problem. But I could still imagine the well running dry somewhere down the road.

Well, that’s me. What about you? Is blog fatigue taking its toll on you, or are you still going strong? Ever quit a blog before?

10 responses to “Blog Exhaustion

  1. I often get stuck with a mix of 2 and 4. It’s not that I run out of ideas, I run out of “good” ideas or if I don’t feel particularly motivated about a certain topic, I feel like I won’t give that blog post justice, so I let it sit for another day.

    As you know, I’m very sporadic with my posting. It’s difficult for me to do every weekday, so I’m trying to build myself up. Work every other weekday for 3 days a week and after that becomes easier, Try everyday again.

    Sometimes, when it comes to blogging, I’ve also noticed that people are giving it quits not just due to exhaustion, but because they’d rather be writing their books full time instead. I know at least two writers doing that currently.

    I think you pretty much have created a system that doesn’t take a lot of time and is easy to maintain. Good job πŸ˜€

    • Thanks. πŸ™‚

      Certainly couldn’t fault anyone for cutting out blogging to spend more time on their book. The good thing about blogging, though, is that it gets you immediate feedback on your writing. Goes back to the cost/benefit thing – everyone draws those lines in a different place.

  2. I found Nathan Bransford’s post quite interesting as well, but have to admit that I wrote it off a little. That’s not to say that I don’t think “blogger’s fatigue” is a real and genuine malady, but I think he missed the largest reason that his (and other people’s) blogging is slowing down.

    You mention that your reasons for blogging are “to get some practice writing for an audience, meet other writers (and readers, and cool people in general), and establish a name for myself in public (even if it’s only in a small way).” I can’t see you succumbing to “blogger’s fatigue” for as long as you continue to have those goals, and your blog enables you to achieve them.

    Mr. Bransford, on the other hand, started his blog while he was a literary agent. His reasons, I assume, were something similar to “to promote his business, educate people on the publishing industry, and create a name for himself as an agent.”

    He kept up with his blogging schedule without any trouble while he was an agent. Now that he’s moved to a different career/s, he’s finding it difficult to maintain his blog. That’s not really a surprise. The reasons he had for blogging are no longer relevant.

    After blogging for years, I’d bet that many people are finding themselves in the same situation. Rather than blaming “blogger’s fatigue”, it might be worth looking at their goals in continuing to blog.

    (Disclaimer: I’ve only been blogging for 7.5 months. Ask me again in 5 years, and I may have a different opinion.)

  3. I’ve been blogging in some way, shape, or form for over a decade. Mostly because I have a lot of thoughts/opinions and like to share them. Not everyone is that way (thank goodness — a world full of me’s would be tiresome).

    But as I’ve matured and taken on more important responsibilities, I’ve definitely adjusted my blogging habits. No longer do I throw out any old post (especially not the ones filled with vaguely poetic angst, which was pretty easy to come up with in my teens) NOR do I let myself spend hours trying to come up with something “good” to blog. That’s not a good use of my valuable time.

    Now I try only to blog when I have something relevant, inspiring, or entertaining to say/share. If not, I give myself permission to wait.

    Of course, “relevant, inspiring, or entertaining” is relative, so there’s still a lot of leeway.

    I suspect I’ll blog forever — as I said to start with, I have a lot of thoughts/opinions and like to share them — but I consider my blog a reflection of me, and thus I expect it will continue to change and evolve over time.

    • Over a decade – wow! It’s great you can keep going on a “post only when I have something” mentality for that long. If I didn’t have a regular, calendar-based schedule, I would just quit before long.

      • Hehe, well like I said, the blogging I did early on is very different from the blogging I do now. MUCH more personal, versus now I try to be equal parts professional and personal. Also, I went through once-a-week or even a couple-times-a-month spurts, every-day-of-the-week-including-weekends spurts, and everything in between. Like I said, ebbs and flows, evolution and changes. I think that’s as natural for blogs as for people. πŸ™‚

  4. Reading the comments on Nathan’s post (and on to some other articles linked there) was very interesting.

    I have something like 4 blogs or more that I have started and then not kept up with. I like the idea of writing things and putting them out there, just as I like the idea of writing fiction. Unfortunately, I keep putting it at the end of my to do-list – something I am now actively trying to change, we’ll see if it works.

    However, what I found really interesting in the comments on that post was the talk of blog readers fatigue or overload. There are so many blogs out there that to find ones that you really like are difficult. You need to find one that not only talks about things that you are interested in, but also ones that you you enjoy reading. Then once you find them you want to keep up with them and if all the ones you like are written by people posting once a day – it gets really hard to keep up. I’ve culled my reader ruthlessly because of this, as I really enjoy reading blogs, but I only have so much time to do it in.

    Lastly there is the conversation / discussion part of blogging – the comments. I rarely comment. Partially that is to do with me – I am shy in some ways. I often start writing comments and then delete them thinking they are not adding enough to the conversation. On big blogs, I wouldn’t even consider commenting. If there are 100+ comments already – how likely is it that the original author or another commenter will read it?
    But there is also the technical limitation. I read blogs through Google Reader, which works great for me. When I have the time to sit down and catch up on blog posts, I can do that and instantly get served up with the new posts from blogs I follow rather than having to traipse through a huge bookmark list on the off chance that someone has updated it. This is great. However, it makes commenting one step further removed because I then have to go the actual site to see comments and possibly add one of my own. And on the odd occasion when I do actually leave a comment – I forget to go back and check the comment thread and so even if someone did continue the conversation with me I would miss out.

    • I know what you mean about “reader’s fatigue,” and like you, I’ve found that the solution is to cull ruthlessly. If I don’t like it, I take it off the list, and even for the ones on the list, I only read the posts I’m really interested in.

      I’m glad you took the time to comment today, even though you usually don’t. πŸ™‚

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