Blogging Malaise

Overwhelmed is the word of the day. It’s not just the nuttiness of the holiday season, although that is challenging enough. Dragged in various directions, I feel like I am doing many things moderately and nothing very well. Work, blogging, dog training, communicating with friends and family, I am barely getting by with each of these things. Everything on my list is half-finished and nothing is crossed off.

 In preparation for the Pet Blogger Challenge – and as a way to procrastinate even more – I have been going back and reading posts from last year. It’s been an interesting experience but a little disheartening. Fundamentally, I don’t think this blog has changed all that much. Which is a good thing. Yet I have noticed differences in tone that make me wonder if I am losing track of why I started this whole thing in the first place.

If I directly compare posts from last December with this year, right away I see that last year I was much more personal. Much more open. I almost cringed at reading some of the things I so easily revealed just twelve months ago. It’s hard to say why that is. I’ve never really edited myself. But I wonder now if blogging came more naturally back then, if I had to lament over it as much as I do now. I wonder if I am more inhibited now because more people in my “real” life are aware of this space.

I miss my dog. It sounds silly as I see her every day. Yet I don’t feel as connected. Perhaps I am over-thinking things. That is not a rare occurrence for me. We don’t work together as much as we used to, but that could just be because agility classes have been on hiatus for the season. Or it could be because Shiva is just so much better behaved she doesn’t demand as much of my time. That’s an interesting thought. Maybe I need a second dog?

What worries me is that I often find myself pushing Shiva away when I have a blog post to write or a comment to respond to or a Facebook status to update. “Give me a second”, I’ll say. “Later”. “In a minute”. “Just wait”. In the past she would ignore these words and bug me until I paid attention. Now she’ll often curl up on the other side of the couch and go to sleep. It’s crazy to be whining about such a thing, but at the same time…

Am I missing out? And what I am wondering the most lately: are my blog posts suffering because I spend too much time on the computer and not enough time living my life? I mean, the other day, for lack of any better ideas, I almost wrote a post about our aquarium. Is that what I have come to? Sharing stories about my fish?*

I probably need to learn how to cut myself some slack. No doubt I am too hard on myself about blogging the way I am too hard on myself about everything else in my life. While logically I know this, secretly and deep down I don’t think I am hard enough. No one in the world is capable of doing it all perfectly all the time. But I like to tell myself I should. It’s not a positive way to live, is it?

What I think I need to do in the coming year is force myself to take a break. Instead of losing sleep every night over what I am going to post about the next morning, I am going to try to blog just a wee bit less. Maybe only four days a week instead of five. Maybe only three. The last thing I want to do is push myself so far that I don’t want to blog at all. After all this time, I don’t want to end up just shutting the whole thing down due to exhaustion.

What I need is a reminder of how much fun it all is. Not too long ago I looked forward to writing. The idea of going on Facebook or Twitter to see what everyone else was up to used to be a guilty pleasure, not a gigantic chore. So I am going to work on rediscovering that. If it means I don’t have a post up by eight o’clock in the morning every single day, then that’s just the way it is. If it means I’m not perfect, I’ll have to learn how to handle that.

 Thank you for listening. I do feel a little bit better already. It may not be as easy these days to be as honest about my inner wranglings but when I am, it helps. If’ I’ve bored you, I apologize. If you would rather have read about my fish, then I apologize again.

 As a reward for being so kind and so patient, I am going to offer a fun giveaway! A short time ago Mr. Chewy, which is a terrific online source for pet products, offered me a $50.00 gift certificate for their website. Since they only ship within the United States, I cannot take advantage. Major bummerage. However, since the majority of you probably do live Stateside, it means I get to give the coupon to a lucky reader! Yay!

In order to win $50.00 worth of Mr. Chewy products,  leave a comment below. It can be about anything. Why you love blogging, perhaps. Or maybe, why you dislike it. Maybe you have a favourite fish-related blog you want to share. You’ll have until, say, Sunday at midnight – January 1st – and I will announce the winner on Monday via Random.org.

Sound good?

Thanks to Mr. Chewy for helping me thank some of the best people I know!

*Not that there is anything wrong with that if you are a fish person. I am sure there are some excellent fish-related blogs out there.

33 thoughts on “Blogging Malaise

  1. Oh, Kristine, you’ve already written the post for the Pet Blogger’s challenge here! What on earth is there left to say?

    Just kidding.

    I’m feeling the same kind of malaise, if it’s any consolation. I think it’s that time of year — not quite out with the old, not quite in with the new.

    I wouldn’t mind some pet nummies. Mr. Chewy’s sent me a coupon, too, but I feel too guilty to use it myself but too selfish to want to give it away. If I win it on your site, that would resolve my problem.

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  2. Blogging is difficult as a whole. If you blog a lot then you are in the mindset of worrying about what to blog about next to keep it up.. If you have taken a break you are worrying about losing readers and the fact that you are not blogging as much. The best you can do is to blog for the right reasons as that will keep most of the worry away. I hope to actually complete a 52 week project on my photo blog, maybe the prize at the end will motivate me to keep it up. I also want to blog more on Luna’s blog but have not figured out much of a direction or goal yet for that in 2012. I don’t like my blogs taking over all of my free time as it has in the past, so I need to be sure when I start back up again that I can keep it all balanced.

    Hope you and your blog have a wonderful 2012
    Anna
    http://www.akginspiration.com

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  3. I think you are definitely too hard on yourself, but I also understand the self imposed goals/timelines that can get to be more difficult to live up to as time goes on. And like you said, it’s the holidays and things are more than a little crazy. It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you get pulled in so many different directions. This time of year we all spend a whole lot of time doing the things that we have to do and the things that we should do, but the things that we WANT to do go by the way side. I think this has a negative effect on creative outlets like blogging and other areas. In a nut shell, I feel your pain!!

    And I wouldn’t worry too much about Shiva. I think that dogs enjoy our company in general and being near to us is sometimes enough. Though again, I get the same way and when I have packed days and don’t get to work the dogs like I want to, I feel like I’m not doing anything with them at all. The up side is that breaks can be good and you both come back more refreshed . I’ve found that my dogs will have a greater enthusiasm for something afer they’ve had a break from it. So really, you’re doing Shiva a favor.;0)

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  4. I can relate to what you are going through. I haven’t written on my blog for quite some time, even though with a new dog in the house you’d think I’d have a lot to write about. When it gets to be a chore instead of a pleasure, taking a break or even just slowing down is a good idea.

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  5. I don’t think I know of a single blogger who hasn’t felt this way too (including me). I think it’s normal. Some people choose to power through and continue at break-neck posting speeds, but others give themselves a little slack and relax. Neither way is wrong. Like you, I choose to post a little less when I need to. For what it’s worth, I think it’s actually worked to my advantage. I give myself “permission” to post less and I usually find that I post higher quality stuff and get a better reaction from readers. Plus, I tend to post more than I thought I would anyway, so it all works out 🙂

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  6. I can understand – maybe it is the time of year. I’ve felt really behind this whole month and feel super guilty that I haven’t been reading as many other blogs, even though it used to be my guilty pleasure! I think it’s just good to take a step back and not put so much pressure on ourselves… I need to work on this one myself!

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  7. 1) Thank you for forcing me to look up the word ‘malaise’. Goes to show there truly *is* a hole in my brain where information is slowly leaking out.

    2) I feel the same exact way. And I’m glad you wrote about it, so that I can simply share the link to your blog post instead of writing my own, with the words “I totally agree” attached to it. 😉

    c) So many of my posts from 2010 could have been like your Social Media Fail post. But unlike you, I was too demotivated/lazy to even write about not writing. So kudos to you, no props to me. 😉

    6) This time of year always leaves me hopeful that next year will be better. When that feeling goes away, I know I’m in trouble for reals. Until then, the Pet Blogger Challenge serves to motivate me for the upcoming year’s posts. I’m looking forward to it and reconnecting with all my fellow bloggers. 🙂

    Thanks for sharing. 🙂 You’re not alone.

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  8. I think lots of people have been there and you need to do what you need to do! When I don’t feel like writing a post, I post pictures or a video to distract everyone LOL! I think all blogs evolve as their writers evolve and I definitely feel like the more we expose our inner dialogue, the more we value privacy. It’s really interesting I think–I once heard an interview with a reality TV star who signed up thinking she was a pretty open person, not too private, didn’t mind letting people see into her life but with the cameras on her 24/7, she quickly began to value her privacy and really closed herself off to the cameras.

    Be true to yourself and what you want (and what you want your blog to be)–nothing else REALLY matters.

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  9. Maybe you are putting too many restrictions on yourself. What is fun about blogging to me is that no one tells me what to write about or what my deadline is. While my blog is “all over the place” as one of my critics said, I enjoy writing it and some people enjoy reading it and that is all that counts.

    This is a crazy time of year. We’re trying to finish parts of our lives to have a clean slate for next year. The sun is coming back, days are starting to get longer. We tend to grow dissatisfied with what we have been doing.

    It’s probably time for you to get a second dog.

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  10. I definitely understand. Sometimes I can’t stand the computer, at all. This past week, I posted pictures for myself, but also to take a break. I have been reading and commenting less. I don’t know how many times I’ve stayed up until 5am trying to catch up on others blogs. For a while it started getting really insane. And here I am missing time with the dogs to blog about them. I am also neglecting projects I would really like to try and think I will do after I write a post…yeah, right.

    So I’ve been allowing myself a certain amount of time on computer, at certain times (like during down time) and I feel better. No I can’t get to everyone’s blog or comment on everything, but I am enjoying the extra time that I’m actually spending with the dogs.

    It isn’t easy, I still fret over what to write, but if I really look at why I am blogging, I want to keep a record of this incredible time I am in with 6 dogs. A place I never imagined I would ever be in and the unique circumstances that have felt so privileged to be a part of. That’s where my heart is at. That’s what matters most. Because someday they aren’t going to be here and want those memories etched in my own little stone.

    What are your desires Kristine?

    Thank you for reminding me. 🙂

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  11. I think we all feel some malaise this time of year! It’s sort of the after the holidays hangover. There’s not much left to look forward to besides cold, grey winter days.

    I had the epiphany a while ago that we had to get out and live life if we were going to have something to blog about. I only have so many opinions on things! 😛 When Lilac started declining, I realized I needed to spend some special time with her, and when the puppy got here, that was another major shift in focus. Right now, having him here requires a certain amount of our time. This year over the holidays, I had to just let reading blogs go some days. And it turns out that the world kept spinning and people kept reading my own babbling. I guess my point is that we all have times when we can’t make the rounds to other blogs, and there are times when we read others’ and they can’t get to us. It’s not a race or a score card. I’d rather have comments on the blog that reflect that I touched people in some way or made them think or laugh rather than just an obligatory few words that they think makes me have to come to their blog and leave a few words.

    Blogging is like any other creative endeavor. Sometimes you have more ideas than you can keep up with and sometimes you have dry spells. Just go with what works for you! You may find that in a few weeks you have a lot more to say than you thought.

    Oh, and I got the book today! I went to pick it up at the post office and kept wondering what I’d ordered at Amazon! lol Thank you!

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  12. Being a dog owner and foster mom myself I too find myself with less time and less focus then I would like, but it’s becasue of our dogs that I remember what’s important. There is nothing better then coming home from a long stressful day and being greeted by three tail wags and licks. Nothing more important then a good belly rub or snuggle time or a round of find the toy in the blanket to make me forget the stress of the day. Too often we live life running (the kids, dinner, shopping, working) and always pushing aside what we think we can do tomorrow…but dogs don’t live like that. Dogs live for the today. So my thoughts for you are to carve out that extra 15 -20 minutes of dog time for yourself…let yourself have those moments of fun and peace…enjoy them. The bills will still be there tomorrow, the emails, phone calls and mail can all wait…they will still be there when you are done. But your time with your dog and family…that’s building memories that unless you make you won’t have to remember. My favorite moments are when we as a family are all together with our dogs and enjoying each other…time is a gift that we have to make the most of and when we start feeling like we don’t have enough time that’s when we need to re-prioritize what’s important.

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  13. Hi Kristine, I have experienced what you are experiencing now. Sometimes, I am out of focus on what to write for my blogs. I just relax and ideas will just flow… Don’t be too worried, find time to enjoy. I remembered my dog, he passed away several months ago and until now, I can’t decide if I get another pet because I can’t easily get over with Cash (my dog).. Anyway, have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year everyone!

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  14. AHHH! I hear you! I feel like Kol’s Notes has gotten way off track of what it was meant to be. I honestly find the social media aspect of blogging really overwhelming. My resolution for 2012 is to get back to the basics. I am setting myself 1 goal per month of a post I’ve been meaning to write for a while – nutritional posts. Food posts. AND I am going to make an effort to find one dog event or outing at least every month that we can go and enjoy. We need to be less style more substance over at Kol’s Notes – and if that means I don’t post every day…so be it. The one thing I am grateful for with our blog is our “You Had Me at Woof feature. A few word, a couple of sentence – just one thing I love about my dogs. It takes me less than a minute to write and post and strangely, they are some of our most popular. Sometimes simple is beautiful :0)

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  15. I am so glad I am not the only one feeling the malaise (not that I wish you to be suffering from it as well). I can’t figure out if I’ve been blogging so much it’s not fun or if it’s because I have so much icky crap going on in my life right now that I it’s distrated me and made blogging a chore, but I do know that my passion and the fun I used to have blogging is no longer there. I noticed it soon after Lady returned. I didn’t blog for days and I was fine with it. In fat, I felt like I had to force myself to blog for a while (how fun is that?).

    I don’t know what the cure is, but I do know that using my blog to distract me from the stuff I really need to deal with is not helping. It just makes me feel more guilty that I spent time on my blog and that makes blogging less fun.

    Maybe blogging less is the answer. Or, maybe just quitting altogether would be better. I just don’t know what the answer is for me, but I hope your malaise ends soon.

    BTW – I find myself making my dogs wait too and I don’t like it. In fact, I feel guilty for it all of the time.

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  16. Sorry to hear you are feeling overwhelmed with blogging. I think you should definitely take a break then. I think forcing yourself to write is counter productive anyway….it just saps the creativity right out of you. I’m actually drafting a post for New Years explaining how I’m going to be blogging less because I want to finish my novel, walk my dogs more, and lose a few pounds – none of which I can do while sitting in front of the computer coming up with blog posts. Sometimes, less is more anyway. Two of my favorite bloggers (Suzanne Clothier and Luke the Greatest Dane) write very rarely, often less than once a month, but as soon as I see a new post come up, I rush to read it. When people blog every day, its actually harder for their readers to keep up with them. I can’t say that I get to read other blog posts every single day, that would be a lie. I try to read when I can, because I don’t want that becoming a chore either. I want to read posts for reading sake, not because I have to read every one. Hope that all makes sense. Anyway, I want to wish you a very happy new year, and enjoy your well deserved break. I look forward to reading the posts you DO put up when you do feel like blogging – because those will be the best blogs of the bunch!

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  17. I think we all put too much thought into what our readers will think. Your loyal readers keep coming back for various reasons and I am confident that none of us care if you don’t get a post up every day! Honestly, I don’t even notice how often the blogs i read post. I subscribe, and then just click on my reader to see the updated blogs. So give yourself permission to blog only when you feel like it!

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  18. Writing is hard work! We all read your blog because we enjoy your writing (even if it is about your fish!) I think committing to writing the way you have makes you an even better writer, but you deserve breaks when you feel like you need one 🙂 So quit being so hard on yourself and go snuggle with Shiva (and then tell us ALL ABOUT IT!) Happy New Year! I hope 2012 is a wonderful year for you, Shiva, and your PH!!!

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  19. Just last night, our Beagle got under my desk and kept lifting her head to be petted. The process pushed my keyboard tray back to where I can’t type. C looked over at me and suggested it was time I stopped blogging/twittering/reading blogs and pay attention to the dogs.
    It can be hard. I write 3 blogs and run a writing contest. Sometimes, I just have to go the easy route and post pictures (that’s what Life by Pets is doing this week) in order to give myself a break.
    While I would miss reading you 5 days a week, go down to 4 or even 3 posts a week if that will help you enjoy it more.

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  20. You have said what I have been feeling for the past few months perfectly.
    Blogging has become such a big part of my life that I realized sometimes I am missing out on my life! (if that makes any sense) Just last week I sat down to write a post late at night and all I did was stare at the screen. I was so exhausted I just couldn’t find the words, then I turned the computer off and went to bed without writing anything.
    I had no desire to blog.
    After taking a few days off and just stepping away I got my groove back, this happens from time time and it sounds like it happens to a lot of us.
    For the upcoming year the plan is slow down a bit and focus on other things happening in my life with the dogs. The blog will still exist, but my life will too!
    Anyway, that’s the plan-we will have to see if I stick to it!

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  21. Hi Kristine, you actually blog a lot and I’m envious. My dad usually helps me write my posts although sometimes my mom does the writing. In any case, they don’t blog as much as you do. They usually write about what happens to me while you have a much wider range of topics that you write about. My dad does not get “bored” reading your material and you write well so that’s good too. But if you’re feeling pressured, write when you feel like it and write 2 or 3 three posts at a time. Saving a couple so that you can post them when you don’t feel like actually writing. You’re a good cookie Kristine, so if it’s a choice between walking or spending time with Shiva and/or your PH and blogging. Look after the “former” and don’t worry about the “latter” (blogging). Okay? Now go take Shiva for a walk.

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  22. Re: Shiva – sounds like you have reached a plateau. She is less the insane tornado and becoming the reliable pet/agility dog toward whom you’ve been working – and it is a change to see the training you now need to do is not the intense, stop the reactivity work of your beginning but work to build on the wonderful foundation you laid with her. It’s OK for her to go lay down while you are on the computer – as long as you get out with her daily; it’s OK to let go a bit this winter: everything needs time renew and sometimes, not striving allows one and one’s dog to renew.
    You are very focused in your blog and dedicated to getting it out on time. I have several “blog fodder” episodes in my brain waiting for me to catch up and post them thanks to you.
    I see and hear many bloggers taking off for a week or a month. We will be here – you are a treasure to us! and we need to see how Shiva gets on as a beloved, trained adult dog.
    Be kind to yourself.

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  23. Blogging is a difficult job if you do not know how to make yourself known out on the internet. I have not made any money blogging, but my father created his own blog. He actually does not have any ads on it, and he feels it is purely recreational, a way to clear his mind into writing.

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  24. It is exhausting to come up with some sort of content every day. There are some days when I just drag myself to the computer and there are other days when the ideas just pop out of my head! See what happens in the New Year, this is always a weird time of year for everyone.

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  25. You know, I do love blogging. But with my new job I have struggled, planned, tried, and yet continue to struggle to write posts. I am so tired when I get home from my long days and the days I am off are spent trying to catch up on chores and errands as work days are so long I get nothing done. I guess I have become a once or twice a week blogger even though I want to do more. I just refuse to give up on sleep in order to get it done!

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  26. Don’t quit… Just balance! Life is all about creating a happy balance. Don’t feel guilty about skipping a day or two to take time for yourself. But to quit all together would be giving up what you enjoy.

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  27. Apart from the fact that I don’t have fish, I could have changed some names and written this post (although not nearly as well!);) For various reasons Frankie and Beryl have been very neglected the past few weeks and I can’t say it’s because I’ve been busy doing my blog or reading other blogs! I feel very bad about that. I’m almost beginning to resent bloggers who post every day as I’m so far behind reading blogs (let’s not even talk about doing a post on my own!) that I know I’m never going to catch up. I’ve considered cutting back on the number of blogs I follow (but haven’t got time to read, let alone comment on lately) but I follow everyone for a reason and it would be like cutting friends out of my life. Facebook I’ve hardly looked at for days, Twitter for weeks. Blogging should be fun not a guilt inducing chore. I wish I knew the answer, but I have learnt that the world keeps turning if I don’t post even for a week or so. And I started blogging for me as a sort of online diary, I’m still excited by the fact that anybody else reads and takes the time to comment on it. Which also makes me feel guilty as I haven’t been able to do that with other blogs. It’s turned into a snowball and just keeps getting bigger. But reading through your comments I can see it’s not just me (or you) having these feelings. This is turning into a blog post of it’s own so I’m going to stop now … but I’ve got emails to answer, haven’t got time yet to read blogs, lol! Happy New Year to you all, I can see you’ve got another post after this one that I hope to read later:) Thanks for another great post, Kristine.

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  28. I think we all need to set rules for NOT blogging as much as actually blogging. I could very easily spend a lot (too much) time writing blog posts, but I know that if I go too hard, too fast, I’ll probably just drown. I try to post at least once a week and, if I blog three times a week, that’s cool, but I think any more than that and both me and my readers (if I have any) would get exhausted.

    I do use the queue function to my advantage. Very rarely are my posts written on the same day as they are made live – normally, I have a ‘spree’ and write several posts at once, and then this should cover me for one or maybe two weeks. It’s nice because then I spend time reading other blogs and getting inspired by their writing, but at the same time feel that I’m fulfilling my blogging obligations.

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  29. You really hit a nerve with this one, Kristine.

    As you can see from the comments, you are not alone. But it’s also obvious that people love what you write, your content has not gone downhill, and everyone will come by when they can no matter how often or infrequently you post.

    So it’s just a matter of getting rid of the guilt and just doing what you need to do. If I can figure out how to bottle guilt-remover, I’ll be able to quit my job and blog whenever I like. 🙂

    Happy New Year to you and your family!

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  30. Pingback: Pet Blogger Challenge, The Sequel | Rescued Insanity

  31. i do the same thing with desmond–make him wait when i’m doing something (that is usually far less important than whatever his needs are). and i feel terrible about it but do it anyway.

    i fully support taking a break from posting every day. a few posts a week is, i feel, sufficient to keep people interested but not make them feel like they can’t keep up, which is often how i feel because i follow so many blogs on my reader that post every day. i am way way way behind in reading and commenting on people’s blogs (as you can see…), and that makes me feel like a bad blogger.

    every so often, i’ll weed out some of the blogs i don’t really enjoy reading but then i’ll find new ones and the list grows again. it can feel a little like pushing that big rock up the hill.

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