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Ohhh, the Pressure!

Barrel cactus

I wanted to talk about blogging angst because I’ve seen so much of it lately. But what I have to say really can apply to many things. Bloggers start blogging because they like it.People blog for their own reasons, but then discover an entire community of people interested in what they have to offer,  where they make friends with like-minded people, and find emotional and/or intellectual support for their challenges, triumphs, creative endeavors, and much more. Above all, encouragement abounds in the blogosphere. The more people like a person’s blog, the more they encourage the blogger to post more often.  So what’s the problem?

The Overwhelm –

After a while, many bloggers feel pressure – real or perceived – from their fellow bloggers to publish more and read everyone else’s blogs. Pretty soon, they are publishing several posts a day, reading other blogs incessantly, and struggling to fit in the rest of their life.  When it becomes too much, some bloggers take a vacation from publishing. Others stop reading their friends’ blogs. Some get overwhelmed and quit everything.

I think it’s easy to lose perspective. If we need lots of encouragement or need to be “liked,” it can become addictive. It’s easy to blog for the positive feedback rather than the joy of sharing our passion. For these people, I gently suggest backing off before they are blogging so much they don’t have the energy  for anything else. We may be your adoring public, but our inbox is getting pretty full. It’s okay with us if you back off to once a day or twice a week, or even twice a month. I’d personally rather get the best of your work – that is truly inspired – than several posts a day that are published  just to get something out there.

I follow some bloggers who publish four times a day. I’m sorry, but as much as I like them, I still have a life that demands attention. I don’t have that much time to read about everyone else’s. I’m usually pressed for time and have to pick the ones that seems to fit me best, judging from the title, and read it. The others I may not get to. It isn’t because I’m not interested; it’s because I’m time-limited. I want to enjoy everything I read, not approach it as a duty or obligation.

Path Forward –

Here’s the deal: I don’t have to do any of this. I can publish when I feel inspired; I can read other blogs when I have time. When I’m crazy-busy, I read less or not at all. I’m trying to adopt the philosophy proposed by Leo Babauta, that we treat our inbox like a river. As it passes beneath us, we sip what we want when we have a chance. We aren’t expected to, or need to, drink the whole thing. We take what we need, what is comfortable, and let the rest go.

I love the blogging community; I’ve made some friends here. Let’s just remember that it’s supposed to be fun. I’m determined to stare down the overwhelm and just read and publish what is comfortable for me. I need balance in my life – I have to spend some time doing it and some time thinking about it. I may only put out two or three posts a month. I can’t live for the “like” button. I want to be sure I stay in the sane lane, and enjoy the drive. I don’t want my blog to be an obligation.

22 replies »

  1. So well said! I don’t publish more than once or twice a week because I need to let life in. My blog Let life in practices is about letting life in. If I were to blog too often, I would be shutting life out. It really is about balance.

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    • Yes, I think all bloggers can relate in one way or another. We just have to keep it in check – yet honor that creative drive that puts us here in the first place! Glad you liked it – and thanks for the re-post!

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  2. Beautifully said. I agree with you 100%. I started out blogging once a day for the pure enjoyment of it, but as you say, it got overwhelming. I now post once a week, with a rare second post if I have time. I try to visit everyone’s blogs I follow, but can’t always manage it. I’m sure they all understand. I think it’s important to keep the fun in blogging and not turn it into a job; I already have one of those. 🙂

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    • Yes, also having a job, I prefer weekly or three times monthly. But you know, I always make a point to read your blog, because you seem to wait until you have something to say.

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  3. Hi KD,
    You have said it all and said it well. I write my blog once a week and that’s been my commitment from the beginning. I delete many messages in my inbox without reading because there are just too many to read. Like you, I skim the list and will usually click on my favorite writers, and if time permits I’ll check others out.
    One thing you didn’t mention that is a source of angst for me is the blog that is very long. There are some writers I really enjoy but I have to bypass their blog often because they blog every day and the article is long. I tend to stop by the shorter blogs, those under 1000 words.
    I write my blog because I’m a writer and I have to write. I journal every day, sometimes 2 or 3 times during the day. But I only write my blog once a week.
    I’ve been featuring guest blogs 2 times a week and I’m going to cut that down to once a week. I think less is best.

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    • Yes, as a reader, I also favor posts that are not overwhelmingly long. I don’t always feel up to a really long post, and when I do read them, I often wish the writer could improve his/her editing skills so that it would be shorter. If a long post grabs me in the first couple of paragraphs, I might skim to the next good part. Or I might just exit and run. It just depends! So I was reluctant to address this type of post. Thanks for taking it on!

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  4. Thank you for the encouragement you have given me, kd. You always add something honest and relevant to the conversation on my blog. And I always look forward to seeing what you have to say on your blog, quite regardless of frequency!
    Just as an aside, my views increased when I went from two posts/week to one post/week. I cut the frequency when I decided to change my approach (less essay based on my book, more personal, less comfort zone). I had no expectations but curiosity about how readers would respond. I have a hunch (but no hard evidence) that busy readers enjoy something that’s easy to keep up with MORE. Just a hunch. Interesting discussion. Thanks!

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