"Required reading" for today's smart writer.

"Required reading" for today's smart writer.
As featured on: Pro Blogger, Men With Pens, Write to Done, Tiny Buddha, LifeHack, Technorati, Date My Pet, South 85 Literary Journal and other award-winning sites.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Is it Time to Re-evaluate Your Blogging Commitment?

 

Blogging can be both a blessing and a burden.
Just like any other “relationship” it demands time, attention, consideration, commitment and a periodic “renewal of vows.”

Ask anyone who’s been at this for a while and they’ll attest, it’s harder than it looks.
Coming up with endless ideas, responding to readers’ comments, (or agonizing over the lack thereof ), maintaining a site, choosing images to display, and promoting posts via social media circles, can be a bit taxing at times, (no matter how much we love it).

And if you’re a professional writer with other things that tug at your time (book deals, clients’ deadlines, a regular corporate gig, etc.), keeping it all balanced can be a tall order.
Which causes many bloggers to ponder…“To be or not to be?”

In fact, I entertained this very question this year. Call it the “7-year itch” if you will.
(It’s a contributing factor to why I took a blog break from July to August).
It was important to re-assess. I’d advise the same for you too, if you’re struggling to keep going, if you’re feeling overwhelmed and under-valued, or if you have simply “lost that lovin’ feelin.”

HERE’S WHY…
Blogging on “auto-pilot” can cause you to lose sight of your creative vision and do more harm than good. When you’re not “invested” and committed, blogging becomes just another one of your endless activities and weekly routines.

Rather than it serving as a creative outlet that you enjoy, that adds to your quality of life and that of your readers, it feels obligatory and meaningless.

…”Lather, rinse, repeat.”

It’s also the reason that boat loads of bloggers have abandoned their blogs in the seven years I’ve been on the scene; and unfortunately, some have been among my favorite bloggers.

Here’s what I discovered during my hiatus…
 
For all its work and worry, blogging suits me. At least at this time in my journey. :-)
In a world that seems so disconnected; with random violence, uncertainty and upheaval,
I find that blogging can be a safe haven for me (and you) to express our thoughts, bond through commonalities, offer support, have a degree of constancy, laugh, learn, and build bridges not walls.

Wouldn’t you agree?

Still, blogging is not for everybody. If you don’t “publish” you won’t “perish.”

With this in mind, here’s why a blog project, (much like your body), requires a periodic check-up for optimal performance and longevity.

 
1. YOUR GOALS MAY HAVE CHANGED
Perhaps when you started, your objective was to garner the attention of agents or publishers; now you have a book deal. Or you moved to a new city, didn't have friends, and blogging helped you connect with other people. Fast forward, you've formed some neighborly connections. Do you continue?

2. YOUR LIFESTYLE MAY BE DIFFERENT
For instance, a single woman gets married and later has different priorities, a newborn baby, or limited availability. Or recent health challenges prevent you from communicating with your audience on a regular basis.

3. YOUR EXPECTATIONS ARE NOT BEING MET OR WERE UNREALISTICALLY BASED
Though you’ve monetized your site with the objective of making money, you have yet to sell a book, product, course, service, your soul... You're spinning your wheels in vain. "And time is money."

4. THERE MAY BE A BETTER USE OF YOUR TIME
Blogging should add to your creative accomplishments, not take away from them.

5. THE FUN FACTOR HAS DIMINISHED
I noticed, when I took time away from blogging, that I surprisingly missed it more than I thought I would.  Many of my readers (I’m happy to say) are not just “spectators.” Our association has evolved into important “connections” online and off. And I am indeed grateful.
While I was away, I found myself constantly taking notes and coming up with topics I was excited to be able to share with my readers, upon my return. (That's how you know it's in your blood).

How do you feel weekly about blogging? Is it a bore? A chore? Or a joy? Only you know the true answers.

6). YOU MAY NEED TO CHANGE DIRECTIONS
Don’t let your ego get in the way of your excellence. If you’re not making the progress you’d like, perhaps you need to change your niche, or your blog‘s focus, or your targeted readership. Be open to change. I say this respectfully, but many times I visit blogs that have absolutely no comments week after week, post after post. If your audience is not “speaking to you” in terms of comments, perhaps your writing is not “speaking” to them. Readers’ “silence” can sometimes communicate volumes. Listen.
 
If you’re still in a “blog fog” as to whether or not you should continue blogging or pull the plug, below are some areas you should examine:

A) YOUR BLOG’S OVERALL GROWTH
B). LEVEL OF ENGAGEMENT OF YOUR READERSHIP
C). CREATIVE GOALS FOR YOUR CAREER
D). TRAFFIC NUMBERS
E). FUN FACTOR
F). YOUR COMMITMENT

 
Word to the wise: Obligatory blogging is boring for you and your readers. Don't just Blog because everybody else is doing it. You're better than that.

Periodically look at the reasons you decided to become a blogger. Do they still exist?
Are your creative goals being met? Are your contributions adding real value to the blogging community? Or are you just going along for the ride?

Reflect. Assess. “Do you solemnly vow…?”



9 comments:

  1. I love your comment, Build bridges not walls. That was my main purpose for blogging. I enjoy blogging and have no desire to retire in that area. My joy comes from sharing writing info with others, as well as journaling my life experiences. So, I write as much for my reader as I do for myself. Once your discover the purpose you can make an informed decision. Not happy Blogger removed many of my followers, but that's water under the bridge I hope to continue building.

    Your articles are always insightful and thought provoking. You nudge gently, and I like that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lin,

      I can relate; it removed about 40 of mine too. I appreciate your time and input. Thanks so much for being one of my fav readers! :-)

      Delete
  2. Wise words, Jen. I've been mentally reassessing my blog (in my head) this summer. Fatigue and a crazy busy schedule has left little time and energy for my blog at this point. Heading into a break, where I plan to rethink and refocus. All that to say...this is a timely post. Thanks so much. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Karen,

      Choose what's best for you. You deserve it, hon. :-)

      Delete
  3. Thanks for another great post Jennifer, with my blogs I have taken a new direction more focused on writing about our design work, design studio, theme specific blogs, and online stores.

    We have a Focus on Nature Photograpy/Designs, frequently also with Cartoon Style Elements, like for example the lettering and actual (Customizable) text balloons!

    You can discover more at our

    Main Blog

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jennifer Brown BanksAugust 12, 2016 at 6:20 AM

      Thanks for sharing, H.P.
      Wishing you much continued success.

      Delete
  4. I Jennifer - This is a timely post for me. I've been in a "stop-the-world-I-want-to-get-off" mood for several months but just kept plugging away. The end of June, I broke my right wrist (dominant hand) and was forced to take an extended break once my scheduled posts ran out. I'm currently on blog break until September 12th. Now, I'm slowly building a group of scheduled posts. I'm also considering inviting more guest bloggers to ease the pressure. It's great to see you back. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Susan,

      Welcome back.
      You too, huh? :-) So sorry to hear about your wrist. What a bummer.
      Guest bloggers are a great idea. I'll try to send something to you along those lines.

      Lovely hearing from you today. :-) Be well.

      Delete
    2. P.S.
      I just left a comment @ your site.

      Delete