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?
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.
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.