What Makes YOU Want To Quit Blogging?

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Last month I asked for a blogger to volunteer to write about wanting to quit blogging. When JoAnne told me she was interested, part of me said ‘No! Don’t quit blogging JoAnne!’ and the other part said ‘Yay! She will do this post justice, because I enjoy her writing.’  One piece of JoAnne’s I think back to specifically is 51 Tips and Tricks For Bloggers, a piece from her blog that had a lot more heart than a typical blogging how-to list. I thought it was important to share this because so many of us go through these same struggles and JoAnne is very candid and honest. If you have considered quitting your blog before or are currently thinking about it, Id love to hear from you in the comments and recommend the podcast interview I did with mega-blogger Crystal Paine on this topic. It isn’t necessarily meant to convince you to keep blogging, but might give you a different perspective as you make decisions about the future of your blogging.

[bctt tweet=”What Makes YOU Want To Quit Blogging?”]

What Makes YOU Want To  Quit Blogging? - Guest Post By JoAnne Applebaugh on Beyond Your Blog

Guest Post By JoAnne Applebaugh of I Try: The Additive Property of Happiness

I am thinking about quitting blogging. I have spent hours trying to figure out the best way to write the introduction to this post, but I eventually realized that I was burying the bottom line. This is the article about the blogger who is thinking about quitting, so let’s just save ourselves some time and get to all of the reasons why that is.

The Quality of My Writing

In case you missed it, I’m not terribly good at writing introductions. I’ve always struggled with that. Lately, though, I have been struggling with conclusions as well. Oh, and also the body paragraphs in the middle. It’s not exactly writer’s block because I CAN write, but I don’t feel like I’m writing well. What would that be? Writers Yield? Writers Molasses? Writer’s Why-Have-The-Words-Forsaken-Me? I don’t know, someone please come up with a clever turn of phrase to describe it, I think I’ve effectively established that I am not able to.

As if struggling to get all of my words to play nicely on the page isn’t painful enough, I see those bastards having parties with other writers. Big, glorious bashes with ice sculptures, chocolate fountains, and music by your favorite artists. Oh, The Words are getting along swimmingly with Lou, Ali, Nina, Melissa, Jenny, Glynis, Susan, Smash… and all of my other blog friends (who you should totally go check out), but they’ve totally started going to fun events without me now, and I’m pretty sure they’re doing the friendship fade out. The Words, not my blog-friends, in case my metaphor got too florid to follow.

Extended metaphors aside, I think that is one of the hardest things for writers to deal with – the perceived success of others. We don’t talk about it much because we’re all nice people who want to graciously support our friends, but I would be lying if I didn’t say that I wish more of the writing gigs were floating my way. On the one hand you’re thrilled that your friend is doing so well, but on the other hand you have brief visions of the old days when people wrote on actual paper that you could drop in the dirt and stomp on several times in a manic gesture of frustration. Oh, that’s just me? Never mind then. Moving along swiftly.

Life Gets in the Way

I’m sort of feeling a vibe right now. Like maybe some of what I’ve written so far isn’t total garbage and may, in fact, even be a little funny. That’s a great feeling, when you can feel the flow. At the same time, though, I was supposed to go to the store to get bread, milk, and eggs. It’s the one thing my husband asked me to do while he’s at work and it’s not going to get done. Wife Fail. One of many. My counters have crumbs all over them, I can’t remember the last time I vacuumed, I didn’t get the mail yet today, and dinner is little more than an idea. My husband is the understanding and supportive sort, which I appreciate a great deal, but isn’t that all the more reason he deserves better? I don’t have another job, what the heck is my problem? As for the people who do this with jobs and/or kids… well I imagine that you are either meta-humans or highly caffeinated. Sadly, I cannot drink caffeine. I sometimes wonder if I would be able to be a super hero if I could have a cup of coffee without the near-guarantee of a panic attack or severe insomnia. I secretly think I would be able to rule the world… or at least have pristine counters.

The truth is that things in my life are extra messed up at the moment. I’ve been going through infertility treatments for a little over a year now – with a couple months off in the middle of that because we moved and had to switch doctors, get some new tests, and generally stress ourselves out about the fact that I am rapidly approaching the point of Advanced Maternal Age – which is a phrase that you should read in your head with a very dramatic voice. None of this has been a good time but, recently, I switched medications to one that has shown better results in cases like ours. For most people the side effects are minimal, but for a small group they can be terrible. I am one member of that small group. Yay.

Anyone Can Blog, and Other Myths

I’m on record saying that there should be some different terms for bloggers. There seems to be a commonly held belief that anyone can blog, and all blogs are created equal. Both are dirty lies. Another dirty lie? Blogging is something “cute” for bored stay at home parents to do. I’ve had people say to me, “I wish I could just stay home and write all day.” The only [non-explicit] way for someone like me to respond to that is, “Yeah, me too.”

Look, if you’re someone content to write an online diary or updates about Timmy’s recital for your family, good for you. That’s a perfectly legitimate, even practical, way to use the Internet. I’m happy with whatever makes you happy. What I’m not happy about is when people think that is what I am doing because, quite frankly, it’s not. Even when The Words are being difficult, I’m still trying to put something out into the world that will resonate or be of use to someone else. I am, first and foremost, a writer, and I work hard at that. Do you know what else I work hard at? Creating “pinnable” graphics. Optimizing my posts so that search engines can find them. Engaging with my audience on several different social media platforms. Reading, commenting on, and sharing the work of other writers. I’m checking my analytics and coming up with strategies to reach a wider audience. My blog isn’t cute, it’s part of my writing career, and I get tired of people not knowing the difference. I imagine it’s even worse for the “bored” parents – wherever they work — who are also wrangling children and managing households.

[bctt tweet=”‘My blog isn’t cute it’s part of my writing career, and I get tired of people not knowing the difference’ @ITryTAPH”]

Viral Vagina Vaccine Giveaways

I have not ever had a post go viral. Virality is the Holy Grail of blogging. We all want to go viral, gain a ton of followers, and have folks fall all over themselves telling us how awesome we are. If a blogger tells you that they don’t want that then they are either very Zen or a liar. The problem is, though, that in order to go viral you usually have to make a really big splash. The way to do that, more often than not, is through click bait or the chance to win something. Now I’m not saying that all posts about vaginas and vaccines are nothing more than click bait – a lot of them are actually quite entertaining and a few are even insightful – but it’s not my jam. Or bacon, depending on the article. As for giveaways… I guess it’s nice work if you can get it – but that’s mostly outside my wheelhouse.

I actually don’t have a lot of room to judge here. I wrote a guest post once about how Romance is Like Blowjobs. The post itself is pretty tame, even sweet, but I was immediately tweeted by porn sites. My point, though, is that virality usually requires something sensational, something controversial, or being able to give something for nothing. I haven’t a clue how to go about that and it’s just another way that I am stuck here in the crowd of millions.

No Money, Mo’ Problems

I blog for two reasons, (1) I am a writer trying to use my voice to make the world a little bit better place, and (2) I’m trying to contribute financially to my household. We’ve already established that I’m not so great at housework, so I have to be able to bring something else to the table. That’s the goal anyway. It’s not a goal I have achieved. I have made a total of $100, not including any of my hosting expenses, and that money was because I wrote two articles that were Syndicated on BlogHer. So it’s not, technically, even from my blog. In fact, the argument could be made that the time I spend blogging is time taken away from being able to concentrate on writing for paying gigs. It’s a bit mercenary, but we all have to pay our bills. Eventually a point comes where you have to look at things in stark terms and determine if what you’re doing is in your best interest financially.

Numbers

My views over the past month are a little over 1,000. My bounce rate is high and time spent on the page is low. I have 610 Facebook followers, 486 Twitter followers, and 268 Pinterest followers. I want to include these numbers because I feel like bloggers tend to compare ourselves to one another without accurate metrics. The numbers can’t capture everything, but I’ve spent enough time looking at my own numbers and trying to guess where I fit in that I want to put them out there for all to see.

These aren’t great numbers for someone who has been blogging for over a year now – especially someone who puts in the kind of time I do. Being totally candid, too, I think that it is important to note that (1) my followers overlap a lot from platform to platform, and (2) a significant number of them are other bloggers and small business owners that are exchanging likes for likes. That’s not to say that none of them are also actual fans, but I sometimes wonder if we’re all just talking to ourselves. What’s more, I know that a lot of those bloggers are all at least as busy or kerfuffled by life as I am, so they aren’t getting a lot of time to read my work and, honestly, it shouldn’t be on them to be the ones to keep be afloat. If I can’t get enough of my own actual fans, then maybe I shouldn’t be doing this at all.

Conclusion

There are a lot of reasons I’m frustrated with blogging and thinking about quitting. One core issue is the disconnect I feel between where I am and where I should be. I know that I should learn to accept myself where I am and all that, but there is a fine line between accepting yourself and settling. So the question, then, is am I getting better? Is this the best use of my time? Am I still getting something out of it? Am I still putting something worthwhile out into the world? I don’t know the answers to those questions.

[bctt tweet=”‘There are a lot of reasons I’m frustrated with blogging and thinking about quitting’ @ITryTAPH”]

The other core issue is whether or not this is in my best interests personally. Is it in the best interests of my family? As I said, I’m struggling right now. Physical health issues, mental health issues, losses, relationship dramas, stresses – there are a lot of days where I am just trying to get through the day without upsetting myself or anyone else. With everything going on, where should my blog be on my list of priorities? Should it even be on the list? I don’t know that either.

I clearly have a lot of frustrations. I think that many of those frustrations are common to most bloggers, writers, and creative people in general. I think that these frustrations are enough to make most of us wonder from time to time if what we’re doing is worth it. Combining that with the personal issues, though… that is where I think things get especially muddled for me. I am in the process of an assessment, and I’ll let you know where I finally end up when I get there.

If you are considering quitting blogging or have had that thought before, leave us a comment and let us know where you are with that decision.

Profile PictureJoAnne Applebaugh is a writer living in the greater Twin Cities area with her husband and two cats. You can find her writing at the blog I Try: The Additive Property of Happiness. Connect on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

 

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21 Comments on “What Makes YOU Want To Quit Blogging?”

  1. I’ve been thinking about. It’s hard to keep up with everything *else* you have to do with a blog these days. I wish I were spending more time re-writing my book. It’s a tough call.

    You have my thoughts and hopes in infertility. Been there, done that. Horrid tests, drugs, needles, surgeries, breaking down, determination, tears – all of it. It’s overwhelming.

    1. Thank you for taking the time to comment, I appreciate it. 🙂 Yes, all of the additional things that you need to do are just exhausting. After listening to this week’s podcast, I am trying to figure out where I can cut back — shifting my focus so that I am not so overextended and overwhelmed.

      Thank you, also, for your well wishes regarding the infertility. It is, indeed, very difficult to deal with. Some days it’s all I can do just to go about my day without breaking down. Every kind word, though, helps so, again, thank you. 🙂

  2. I considered quitting my blog a few times. I’ve had others blogs in the past, and almost always leave them after a while, largely due to this strange fear that people will come to know the me I present and I’ll never be able to change. (I never claimed my fears were rational…) But for my current blog, the one I’ve been doing for 5+ years now, I’ve been tempted to quit a time or two. Once during a major health crisis where getting out of bed was difficult, let alone providing content. Another time when the responsibilities of blogging and providing said content seemed to get in the way of me actually enjoying all the things I actually write about there. There are a lot of factors, I guess.

    But I think everyone’s tempted at some point, no matter how long they’ve been in the game. Sometimes I worry that I’ve been doing this for so long and putting so much energy into it and not making a bit of difference, and that makes it seem daunting. Like I’m blogging in an echo chamber, and the only person who cares about what I do is me. No shame in thinking that. No shame in giving up blogging, either, if it’s no longer something you want to do.

    1. In my experience, fears are rarely entirely rational. If they were then they would just be considered “things everyone understands I need to watch out for”. Still, though, I can somewhat understand. When you write about yourself you put a lot out there. It can feel very vulnerable.

      Thank you for taking the time to comment and for your support. I appreciate both. 🙂

  3. Honest post and one I’m sure many of us can relate to. (Even if our names are in it!) 😉

    Your point about readers being mostly other bloggers… That’s something that I think about a lot. I’m not sure what the answer is… I don’t think the answer is just to submit our work to every site out there, many of which are seen by those same eyeballs anyway.

    I loved Susan’s podcast with Crystal this week who posed some excellent questions for all bloggers to consider.

    1. I agree, this week’s podcast was fantastic! I took a couple pages of notes and it has provoked a lot of consideration. It’s been helpful to have a bit more of a framework for some organizing some thoughts — and it has brought up more questions that I will benefit from answering.

      As for your name being in the post… I have to represent. I don’t know if I have a “tribe” exactly, but I do definitely have people whose writing I adore. I am fortunate that you have been kind enough to become my friend, as well as an inspiration to me through your work. 🙂

  4. Yeah, great, so that one passed. I don’t have the energy to re-type, but know that I feel you and appreciate your honesty. You are not alone and I thank you for giving me something to think about.

    1. Ugh, losing a comment (or your writing at all) is the WORST. Nothing quite like getting all of your words to line up the way you want them to only to have something prompt them to go marching off into the ether. That’s especially true if you’ve said anything personal, because that is often the hardest writing to craft just the way you want it. I don’t think everyone understands the energy that goes in to something like that — not just effort, but actual mental and emotional energy. I don’t blame you for not being able to type it all out again, though I do regret that I didn’t get to see it. Know that I appreciate the comment you were able to make that much more — especially the part about how you can relate. Knowing that one is not alone in a facing a challenge seems to make that challenge a little bit more surmountable.

  5. I think you touch on points every blogger has considered, but it comes down to one thing: write for you when you have something to say. When you start writing for others or to monetize, your message becomes muddied. People will read because they like what you have to say or the way you say it. You are not bound by a schedule. Write for you.

    1. You’re so right Kelly. Now if I can just manage to overcome my insecurities and internalize that. 🙂 Thank you for taking the time to comment and clearly state something that I needed to have articulated for me. It really does help and it was kind of you to take the time. 🙂

  6. I not only appreciate your honesty but the way you “exposed” yourself. You laid it out there for all of us to ponder with you. I thought I was alone in this dilemma — thankful to see I am not.

  7. I tried to comment on one of your blog posts and could not. I would like to send you a personal message but do not see a way to connect on your blog. Can you please message me. Thanks

  8. Thank you for this JoAnne – every time I am about to pull the plug, someone comes out of the woodwork and mentions how much my blog has spoken to them, and I’m like, screw you universe! Why do you have to mess with me?

  9. Oh it’s an interesting world, is it not? I could spend an entire day and a follow up night reading and commenting on others’ blogs only to be faced with another 24 of same because each and every one has churned out another post. Or I could follow only those who really speak to me. I’m zeroing in on the latter. Finally. And I’ve managed to locate my vacuum and the Norwex cloths. Am trying to gain some balance. Lovely to read that I’m not alone!

  10. I was in the same exact boat a year ago, a sentiment that still lingered with me up until Blog U. Everything. You hit everything I felt. But the nagging need to blog wouldn’t go away. I really was planning to walk away from the computer forever, a few times, and I still came back and wrote. I still had some stupid idea I wanted to test waters looking for something that I can go viral with. I just kept doing it. I’m no where I want to be, but after Blog U, I have something I haven’t had in my entire career as a blogger and graphic artist: I have specific goals. Maybe I needed Blog U to help me find that. Maybe I didn’t. But the point is, if you keep swimming, you’ll eventually find a place that you like.

    I’m not really trying to self promote. I just know what I’m about to say on my one side blog that I don’t promote much. I know what was in the last article, and I think you would benefit from reading it. You and anyone else who compares themselves to other bloggers need to read this series. BloggingLearn dot com. check out Blogstyles of the Famous series.

  11. I think you climbed into my brain and captured all of the thoughts I’ve also had about quitting blogging. At first I blogged every day, then every other day, and then twice a week. Last February I took a few months off and now I’m back, but I only blog when I have something to say. Thanks for your honesty and letting all of us know that we’re not alone.

  12. The humor in this is uproarious! I’m gonna say what I get told (and always makes me laugh because I’m way too shy) but have you considered stand-up comedy? Somehow writing and stand-up don’t mesh (personality wise,) unless you travel to writer’s retreats and conferences and are introduced at banquet dinners as, “The Comic Who Used To Blog But Gave It Up Because She Didn’t Have a Viral Vagina.” Anyhow, that’s neither here nor there. I think this post was SPOT ON with the reasons why anyone would consider throwing in that soggy, foggy, groggy, sloggy, bloggy towel! One thing I always think about. There’s a difference between giving up blogging and giving up writing. For those of us who have always written far before “blogging” was even a thing and will keep writing if it turns out to be a fad that morphs into writing on the back of grocery store paper sacks, we’ll never give up the actual act. We’d be dead if we did. So really the dilemma becomes — Is “blogging” really the best method of transportation for our current Writing travels? If I want to get to Seattle (and I do!) I can fly, drive myself, take a train, hitchhike, etc. This is how I view blogging. I will now go read your many deserved comments and see if I’m alone in my thinking this way! Thanks so much for writing this piece!!

  13. Some days are really tough and I want to just throw the blog out the window…which I guess isn’t exactly possible. I started mine as a platform for my fiction writing. But, I am going to keep at it. Great post!!

  14. Such a great post, so true! You touched on a lot of issues that bloggers and writers have to deal with! It is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO much harder than it was when I started in the late 2000s! (I started in 2008 as a Montessori and homeschool bloggers and added mom lit parent humor blogging to my life in 2011.) And if you (or any blogger) calls it quits, I would not blame you one bit! There are only so many hours in the day! But then every venture is a gamble, a new business, a new creative endeavor, a new hubby! Good for you for being so honest!

  15. I haven’t been blogging long, but I have backed off from blogging lately due to not being able to keep up with all that is going on in the blogging world. I have a family and even though I stay at home and my husband is semi retired and my daily life gives me lots of material that I find funny, my big fear is that nobody else will. I follow and read so many wonderfully funny, witty and brutally honest bloggers I guess I get intimidated. I love to write and have so much in my head and heart. I just don’t want to come off as ‘fake ‘ just to compete with bloggers who seem to be more engaging. I have joined groups of bloggers but never really feel included due to not being able to sit and post all day and night. I enjoy spending time with my kids and husband and despite popping in to FB here and there throughout the day the groups I belong to seem to require so much time to even be noticed.
    I am rambling now, sorry. Thanks for the post and honesty. Good luck with your fertility treatments.

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