I’ve been feeling off since I started the new year in a funk. Tired. Depleted. Stuck. Uncreative. It might be just that winter and I don’t get along, or it may be that I need a blogging break. A writer friend recently pointed out that I’m one of the only bloggers she knows that has adhered to such a regular M-W-F schedule for so long. After thinking about it a while, I decided maybe that’s not such a good thing.
For the almost 7 years (!) that I’ve been blogging, I’ve always had a push-pull with the writer and blogger sides of me. What I mean is, part of me writes because I enjoy it, I want people to read my stuff, and that’s what writers do. Another part of me blogs to build my publishing platform, increase my traffic numbers and readership, and stay relevant. As a writer these days, you kind of HAVE to blog. It’s expected.
But these are some of the thoughts that have been rattling around my foggy brain lately:
Why bother? Seriously, why do I keep doing this week after week, year after year? To make other people feel better about their parenting and housekeeping skills? To impart lessons learned from years of doing things the hard way? To connect with like-minded people?
If my readership hasn’t increased significantly over all this time, is it because my blog sucks? Or because I suck at promoting it? Or because I don’t spend enough time on social media? (As if!) Or because there are 80 bazillion other similar blogs out there? Or because I can’t take gorgeous photos like these? Or because I’m not (very often) deep and introspective like this?
Do I have anything new to say, or do I just keep writing about the same things? I’ve covered – and covered and covered – the “parenting is hard” thing. And the “work-life balance is hard” thing. And the “my life is chaotic” thing. What’s left?
Is my blog balanced enough? Though I don’t keep an editorial calendar, I do make a vague attempt to balance the funny vs. serious posts, the parenting vs. writing posts, the useful/informative vs. navel-gazing posts. I’ll think, “OK, probably time to throw in a funny, upbeat post after the ones about guns and heartbreak.”
Am I fishing for comments or discouraging them? I don’t THINK I do this much – and I’ve claimed before that I don’t blog solely for the comments – but any honest blogger will tell you that after a few weeks of crickets in the comments area, you do start to question yourself. But on the flip side, it seems like a lot of my posts elicit the “hang in there and enjoy it because they DO grow up someday” comments, and I’m really not trying to beg for reassurance. (Though I never get sick of hearing that I’m not alone!)
I do think maybe I need to step back, regroup, and recharge. Maybe cut down to 2 posts a week. Somehow, I don’t think the world will stop turning if Monday dawns and there’s no post from me detailing our ill-fated trip to the shoe store. Although I do have a story about our first boy/girl playdate that’s begging to be written…
LINKS O’ THE DAY: I took comfort in this post by fellow longtime blogger Neena of Hooey Critic about what happened, and didn’t happen, when she took a blogging break. Interestingly, she did her PhD thesis on mom blogging, which culminated in the launch of Project: Underblog. She’s got a clear take on the “why bother” question.
And I SO related to this post, Anti-Frantic, by author Shauna Niequist. I think I need to get that printed on a T-shirt or fridge magnet.