Blogging for Blogging’s Sake is Still Blogging. Or Something.

060It all started with a book review.

Things hadn’t been easy for a while. Burn out, I think they call it. I had just lost all semblance of motivation for extracurricular activities, including things that made me happy. Every task took supreme effort. If it didn’t have to be done, I didn’t do it. Sleeping, eating, and working were the only things I could manage. Barely. Those items were suffering as well. Truly, all I wanted to do was sleep until the world wasn’t so hard.

I was defeated. That’s really the only excuse I can offer. It is hollow, I know, but it’s all I have.

I had this job. An important job. An awesome job. The best one I have ever had and one I miss every single day. It was challenging and effective and exhausting. I loved it. I wish I was still there. At the time, this job was hinged to my identity. I was so proud to be a member of this fantastic organization that was making a strong, positive difference in my community. When I went to work every day, I contributed to something larger than myself. People noticed if I wasn’t there. I mattered.

The pressure became too much, I guess. Every day I needed to impress; I strove to be better. I wanted to do it all on my own. It was draining. When one lives in a constant state of overwhelmed for so long, things will eventually topple. There are only so many piles one can balance. I was at the point where it was either sacrifice a few stacks or let the whole thing come tumbling down.

The book review was a catalyst. It was due at the end of the week and I had yet to finish reading. I couldn’t pull together the desire to pick up the thing, let alone digest the written words. Quite honestly, I wasn’t enjoying it. I’ve done many reviews of many books and this one I just couldn’t get behind. I was in the minority. I’d read other reviews by other bloggers of this same book and every one else appeared to love it. No matter how much I read, I didn’t like it. I didn’t like the author and I didn’t like the purpose behind the book. If I was going to write a semi-decent review, I was going to have to work some serious magic. It weighed on me and instead of plowing through like I had in the past, I retreated. I turned off.

At first, I gave myself a week. It was just going to be a small break. Seven days where I could relax, focus on my life, and wake up in the morning without panicking that I hadn’t written a blog post yet.

I gotta say, it was a pretty fabulous week.

So I gave myself another. And then another. Before I knew it, a whole month had gone by and my motivation to blog had not increased. If anything, I felt even less interested in writing than I ever had before. So I kept my laptop closed.

Then I started getting emails. Heartfelt emails. Gutting emails.Β AmazingΒ emails. Emails that made me realize what I was missing. I was reminded of the community I had left behind when I chose not to blog. It was humbling and incredible and it made me cry. These people were my friends. Heck, they probably knew me better than my friends. By not writing, I was ignoring them. I felt like I had let them down. So I tried to start over. I wrote a few lackluster posts, told myself I would be better. I wanted to deserve the kindness I had been shown.

My attempts failed. The feeling wasn’t there. I kept thinking of that dang book review I had never written along with all of the other commitments I had made and then broken. I felt like a jerk. I was a jerk. It was easier to keep silent than to try to make amends.

030

There have been many changes in my life since then. I have learned more about myself and what is important. Blogging, for me, was never about making money or turning it into a job. It was intrinsically personal. I wrote because I liked writing and because it was a way of connecting with like-minded people. What killed it for me, I think, was the silly idea that I needed to keep up with others. When companies contacted me with products and ads and fun things to review I felt I needed to accept. That’s what bloggers do. I was lucky they had deigned to send me an email. Who was I to turn them down? Other bloggers were doing it all and keeping their style and wit intact. Shouldn’t I do the same? Isn’t that the point of all this?

The obvious answer is no. I don’t need to do any of that to justify the practice and expense of blogging. It’s a hobby, and a cheap one at that. What’s a few hosting and design fees when compared to the cost of ski lift tickets or green fees? There is nothing wrong with writing for the sake of writing, even if nobody reads it.

It took me some time to learn this. In fact, I am not wholly sure I have learned it yet. But it is my new goal for this space, to find the joy I once had. That’s why I am making a commitment to myself only. Not to companies or people I think I should impress and not even to you, kind, lovely reader who is somehow still paying attention. I am grateful to you, everlastingly so, but I cannot owe you any more.

I recently read a quote by a celebrity and I wish I could remember the entire thing. I can’t even remember who said it. After spending the last thirty minutes trying to find it, I am giving up. It would have been an easy way to end this ramble and I feel less than perfect for not being able to share it with you but sometimes that happens. There are better things to do on a snowy Sunday than fight with Google.

Anyway, the quote was given in the context of providing career advice. It was given by a person, a woman, who had found her direction later in life. In essence, she came to realize that the thing she was best at was the thing she had loved doing when she was ten. That was the advice, to do the thing you loved doing when you were ten. It was a bit of an over-simplification as these things always are, but it knocked a bit of sense into my addled brain.

When I was ten, I loved to write. I didn’t produce anything of note and I almost never completed a story. The genre was never the same. I wrote mysteries, I wrote plays, I wrote research papers, and I wrote fictional journal entries for no one to read. I wrote because it was fun. The practice was its own reward.

033

I still have a need to tell stories. The bonus of not having written for so long means I have a backlog. This is what I want to do with this space I have been given. I don’t want to write reviews or talk about the politics of dog training or try to convince anyone of anything. I want to share my story. In return, I hope I will get to hear yours.

27 thoughts on “Blogging for Blogging’s Sake is Still Blogging. Or Something.

  1. “It’s my blog and I’ll write what I damn well please. Whether people like it or not is on them, not me.”
    That’s my opinion. It’s incredibly selfish, but once I start thinking too hard about how something might be received, I find the writing stalled.
    Of course there are times when other commitments take precedence and I think most find themselves taking a blogging break from time to time… but, as they (sort of) say: if you write it, they will come.
    I look forward to reading more stories.

    Like

    • Thanks, and I agree. We all do this crazy thing for different reasons, none better or worse than others. My mistake was substituting someone else’s reason for my own.

      Thank you for continuing to read even after all this time. I take that to heart. I am looking forward to connecting more in the future.

      Like

  2. There is something so tantalizing when all those offers start rolling in and all the boxes of free stuff start coming…i know i’ve over-committed myself at times…i’m trying to limit myself now to once a week for reviews and start writing more about things i care about…it’s a sea change because reviews are easy for me compared to speaking truthfully…i tend to worry about “will people still like me?” or “will they keep reading” …you’re taking a brave leap and i for one will be here reading

    Like

  3. I understand completely where you’re coming from, Kristine. I feel the same way. I started my blog for my own selfish reasons — to journal the time I have left with my sweet Golden Retrievers. Then, we added this crazy little Cardigan Corgi-Black Lab puppy to our pack. Our lives haven’t been the same since. So I added her to the blog. And that started me on a path I wasn’t prepared for — new readers, followers, and a new “purpose” for the blog. Before I knew it, the blog had become life with my shelter pup instead of her sisters. It had switched to being for my readers instead of for me. So, I started feeling overwhelmed — like you did, but not to the same degree — and guilty that I had strayed, for the most part, from my main purpose. I am very grateful for, and humbled by, my many readers. But I need to get back to journaling my time with Callie and Shadow, no matter how boring it may seem to everyone else.
    I look forward to more of your posts; and I hope you’ll read some of mine. Maybe one of these days I will get around to re-designing my blog. πŸ™‚

    Like

  4. I’m extremely fortunate to live in New Zealand. I don’t get sent anything to review so there isn’t any temptation for me πŸ™‚ I’m not interested in my blog paying it’s way let alone making money. To be honest I find it hard to stay connected with bloggers who do try and monetize their blog. Their personality and personal touch vanishes into cyberspace as they try and please everyone. They lose their identity. That’s just my opinion and it’s possible I’m the only person to think this way? Anyway, I’m ever so pleased you’re back and how is Shiva?????

    Like

  5. Wow, how many of us in the blog world feel this way? There are days I am ready to hang it up, never write another post, never worry about facebook again. But I do like the writing, and I especially like the blog world interaction. But I feel I lost my way on the blog, I have fallen into the review trap. I decided to reign the blog in, get back to what I want to write about. Take photos of what I want to and share the beauty I see. I will work with companies if they have a product I am truly interested in. But that’s it. Hmmmm, maybe I just started writing a post that I need to get out there.

    Like

  6. Blogging is the only writing I do that I have complete control over and that is why it has continued to be fun for me for the past 8 years.

    Whenever the blogging block hits, I find another great story about another great (or funny) dog that I want to share with my readers. I will still do book reviews, but product reviews take too much time and effort that I would rather spend doing other things that are more enjoyable.

    My passion from the beginning is to show how much dogs have contributed to the lives of everyone, even people who don’t like dogs. I’m delighted when people like what I write and I love the interaction with readers, not just of dog blogs because on occasion I get off into other topics because it’s my blog and I can do what I want to.

    Anyway, I am really glad you are back. The blogging world can never get enough insanity, rescued or not.

    Like

  7. Welcome back – in whatever format you choose; hearing from you, frequently or infrequently, is more important than not hearing at all. It is your voice to be read, pondered, and appreciated.
    I have never, ever, forgotten your term “blog fodder.” Going home to SD last spring, I taped messages to myself on my phone as “blog fodder.” Do I write all I wish? Heck, no. But, know this, you inspired me.

    Like

  8. This is a fantastic post and so inspiring. Congratulations on finding your way through this challenge. I think we’ve all been here in some way or another. My blog is my business, but I still find myself trying to keep up, and feel obligated to take on every review, promotion request, and more. I tell myself “It’s My Blog” at least once a week as a reminder that I don’t HAVE to do anything. I’m started this path, because I wanted to be the boss; so this year I’ve learned to stop giving control over to others.

    I’m very happy for you. So did you write the review? Did I miss that part?

    Like

  9. And here you are proving once again why I always come back to your blog. Thank you for sharing and for explaining. Your words resonate with me.

    A couple of months ago, I took down a section of my “About Me” page that said I welcomed reviews. I realized that I didn’t want to do them anymore. That’s not what I am about. I like writing too. It just so happens I like writing about dogs most times.
    I agreed to do one last review for a company I like and whose product I used as a pet sitter, but it won’t be something I do often and only when I really want to because I want to write for myself. I want to write because I enjoy it.

    Still sending prayers for Shiva.

    Like

  10. It’s nice to hear from you!

    But you really should write whatever you want and whenever you want. It’s supposed to be fun, not a task. You don’t owe us anything πŸ™‚ The important thing is that you feel comfortable with your blog and writing, even if it means you won’t post regularly or at all. And it’s the same thing with life generally. Burnout isn’t a nice thing and sometimes you just need a holiday from everything.

    I send you a lot of strength and happy days!

    -Lilli-

    Like

  11. There’s no point looking back. all you can do is look ahead and take the first step to the rest of your life.

    Don’t put so much pressure on yourself. Most people will commit to doing something and then it doesn’t happen for countless reasons. No one should put you down for trying.

    When I first started blogging I tried to blog every day, but then I realised that once a week or even a fortnight was just fine. I write my blog for myself, but if others pop in and leave a message then that’s an added bonus.

    You take care hun, and cut yourself some slack.

    Like

  12. A very wise post, when I first started my blog I wanted to do it to make money, I don’t like my job and spent all day watching other people benefit from blogging and I wanted that myself – suffice to say I struggled with that I wrote and only did so occasionally as my heart wasn’t really in it.

    Then I decided I would use my blog as a way to sort myself out following the bullying that was still affecting my life, then when OH broke up with me it became a place where I could reach out and put down all my cluttered thoughts – there are posts that made me cry, posts that made me laugh and just so much that it has helped to just put out there.

    I think it’s important to remember that this is your blog, it has to matter with you and your followers are with you because they care about what you, not the products you review, not the frequency of your posts.

    If you don’t feel like blogging have a break, true friends will be here when you get back.

    Like

  13. Kristine, I completely understand. Thank you so much for sharing. I feel like you are telling my story, too. I burnt out on pet training & behavior after 20 years. I burnt out on writing the how-to’s. I burnt out on being all things to all people & animals – to everyone but me. I still love animals & people. But I needed to be creative & inspiring. I too am now writing my blog for the joy of writing. And yes, I wrote when I was 10.

    I know you’ll inspire so many with your honesty & your journey. Keep it up & have fun. Go, girl! ~Ruth~

    Like

  14. Can I steal this for a chapter in my memoirs? I’ll leave out the work part and reviewing part, since those aren’t issues forme.

    Seriously, congratulations on getting back to you! From here, it looks like you’re rockin’ it!

    Like

  15. Well said. I’ve always loved your blog because it is you. I’m glad that you don’t do what you think you’re supposed to do…but what truly reflects you. I have had to cut way back on blog visiting and commenting because I just can’t find the time to do my work too….but yours is one I always come back to, freely and without guilt, because I WANT to. So you must be doing something right. Keep on being you.
    And if I ever ask you to do a book review…feel free to say no! lol

    Like

  16. I totally agree with figuring out what you want your blog to be and being true to that, rather than doing “what everyone else is doing.”

    Anyway, glad to see you back, blogging again. πŸ™‚

    Like

  17. I think the difficult thing for bloggers IS trying to keep up. Not just the reviews or products, but trying to read and comment on other blogs regularly can get overwhelming. I no longer beat myself up when I can’t do it everyday. I also no longer beat myself up if I can’t get posts up regularly. If I’m not enjoying writing it, why would anyone enjoy reading it?

    As for your blog, I’ve always enjoyed it for your writing style and the humor you find in every day life – not for book reviews or product reviews or training advice – so I guess I can keep right on enjoying it. Lucky me. πŸ™‚

    Like

  18. Yay! I said it a couple times already in other comments as I catch up on your posts – but I will say it again – I am glad you are back. You write one of my favorite blogs and I will simply enjoy it again for as long as you feel like doing it. How’s that? πŸ™‚

    Like

  19. I really applaud you for writing this all out and sharing it. From the comments I can see you are not alone – and neither am I! I don’t do a lot of reviews, so that isn’t it for me. Google – what a mess it is and took over three months to get some of it figured out enough so I could blog. I call myself the Queen of Work Arounds, but I am not proud of that, nor do I want to have find a way to get through all the hoops on a daily basis. Between the internet foibles and all the “rules” of blogging, it is not much fun anymore. Posting, commenting, commenting on the comments, blah, blah, blah. It all works well for others, and they do a fabulous job of it. None of it is natural for me and I lose myself and my purpose in the time it takes me to keep up with all the things I “should” do.
    You just did something wonderful for me by posting this post. I have spent so much time blaming myself. No one else had complaints, or at least I sure didn’t hear any. I feel so refreshed right now after reading your post and the comments of others that I think I am ready to get excited again. Thank you a million times over from the bottom of my heart!

    Like

    • Rules of blogging, eh? I am pretty sure I have never followed those. The thing is, I don’t do this for any reason but for it’s own sake, that’s the only way blogging has any value for me. Sadly, it took not blogging to learn this. I don’t want to take away from any other blogger’s success because I think that is awesome and amazing and I only wish them the best. But those goals are not mine and that’s okay. It’s also okay if you have goals that are different than what appears to be the norm. There a millions of ways to blog, no point in forcing yourself to do something you don’t love. I have learned, or am trying to learn, to do only the things I value. The rest simply does not matter.

      Thank you for your kind comments! I am so honoured I could help!

      Like

Comments are closed.