I read a strikingly good post the other day about the return to authentic blogging and one woman’s struggles as she sailed the turbulent waters of writing and blogging because she had to in order to keep her readers and sponsors happy and coming back for more.

I’m not naming her because she wrote it semi-anonymously, but I think that anyone who has been blogging for any length of time and has earned any type of income will empathize with the feelings of burnout.

Bûrn·out: a psychological term for the experience of long-term exhaustion and diminished interest.

It really resonated with me on so many levels. This summer marks 4 years of blogging for me. In that 4 years, I’ve had highs and lows — I’ve been in the top 25 and in the bottom 25. I’ve had tens of visitors a day and thousands of visitors a day. I’ve had ad networks featured on my blog and I’ve removed ad networks on my blog.

Through it all, I’ve struggled to maintain integrity and stay true to who I really am, instead of who I want people to think I am. As the numbers climbed and the ad networks paid more and more, my stress inched its way up the scale a bit. Anyone that knows me would laugh at the thought of me worrying about numbers. I couldn’t pass a statistics class if my life depended on it, but I became obsessed with numbers and metrics and optimization and socialization and and and…the list goes on. The need for perfection grew (out of my own silly insecurities) and I often felt that I wasn’t good enough because I wasn’t getting noticed like some of the “other” bloggers were.

For someone who is as competitive as me, that’s quite a tough pill to swallow. I was never a stellar athlete in high school, but I had some game in me. All that changed after one little innocent comment left on my blog by Sophie. I was discussing the pros and cons of watching your metrics and the little counters in the sidebars and she simply said, “Oh, I never watch any of that stuff…in fact, I don’t even have it on my blog – it would drive me nuts.” {insert screeching tire sounds here} What? The Boo doesn’t watch her metrics? How can that BE? So I began to think about it…and the more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea of not looking at those things. So I took them off.

The pressure to post daily was gone almost immediately. I began posting three or four times a week and then tapered off to twice a week, then eventually whenever I felt like it. When the ad network began sending me emails asking me to post, instead of succumbing to the peer pressure, I removed the ad network. Then life took over and I all but quit blogging through some personal issues (which I’ll blog about eventually – when I’m ready to share). And here I am, one full year later, a recovering statistics addict. With no blog income a page rank of ZERO and no readers.

The bright side? I can write whatever I feel like writing about and say whatever I feel like saying whenever I feel like it. I have no rules to follow, no disclosures (for the most part) to worry over and I can finally be ME again. Plus, I now have a thriving little design business and am tickled pink whenever I think about the prospect of blogging again.

How I’ve missed you, little blog of mine. You may be small, but you’re mine. And I shall take you home with me and hug you and squeeze you and call you George. Because no one loves you as much as I do, which is why I’ve returned home. Home is where the heart is.

Look on the bright side! Subscribe via my RSS feed.

15 Comments on A Return

  1. Renae
    January 16, 2010 at 2:05 pm (8 years ago)

    Karen,
    Welcome back!

    I've come to realize it's not about the numbers, too. I'm more blessed by the relationships that spring out of this thing called blogging.

  2. Ashleigh (Heart and Home)
    January 16, 2010 at 2:12 pm (8 years ago)

    (Insert deep, cleansing breath here.)

    Wow, Karen. I could have written that.. having been on the same journey, in even a lot of the same time frames. And I've come to the same conclusions. I remember Sophie's comment and the resulting conversation among some of us on Twitter that day, and even the screeching tires. I'm happy to finally be back to blogging… just for the love of it.

  3. Jeni
    January 16, 2010 at 2:51 pm (8 years ago)

    Welcome back!! I don't worry about my stats, either – I found myself getting WAY too caught up in them, so I quit.

  4. Jennifer @ Conversion Diary
    January 16, 2010 at 2:58 pm (8 years ago)

    These are great thoughts! I know what you mean about stats being addictive — it's amazing how it's never enough, no matter how much your numbers are increasing.

    I'm glad you're back to blogging — I look forward to reading more!

  5. Dana
    January 16, 2010 at 3:01 pm (8 years ago)

    Welcome back! And I like George. 🙂

  6. Kim from Hiraeth
    January 16, 2010 at 7:11 pm (8 years ago)

    Ditto!

    Glad you're back and happy!

  7. Megan@SortaCrunchy
    January 17, 2010 at 10:09 am (8 years ago)

    I'm glad you are back, too, Karen!

    I have to say that the brief period of time I ran Blog H er ads was pretty miserable for me. That is truly the only time I've cared about stats and page views and how often I post. I LOVE having the freedom to take a week off or two from posting with no one breathing down my neck.

    As Renae said, blogging is so much more fulfilling when you focus on relationships rather than self-promotion and all that it takes to have blogging "success."

    I always look forward to hearing your thoughts and I am excited for what is in store here!

  8. Mzzterry
    January 17, 2010 at 9:05 pm (8 years ago)

    i count you as a cyber friend. Someone I "met" through blogging, have prayed for and watched go through some ups and downs. I have missed you. So happy your back. I enjoy reading your blog. I know george loves you right back. Hugs to you.

  9. Emily
    January 18, 2010 at 5:09 pm (8 years ago)

    I'm so glad. Blogging shouldn't be a stressful thing… I also don't read my stats or what have you. I'm not blogging for other people – I'm blogging for me and for my family.

    BUT when I get to meet great blog friends (like you) then it's all the better!

    Hope you are doing well. 🙂

  10. Kim Moldofsky
    January 19, 2010 at 7:13 pm (8 years ago)

    I read that post, too and agree it was fabulous and thought-provoking. Good for you for going with your gut and keeping it real rather than getting stressed out.

  11. boomama
    January 19, 2010 at 10:09 pm (8 years ago)

    The analytics stuff really will wear you out. And I totally get why some people pay attention to it, because if your blog is a brand or a business, advertisers want to know what's going on. But when I started feeling competitive – and when I realized that I was comparing myself to other people way more than I was actually reading and writing – I knew the measuring sticks had to come off of the sidebar. It was the single best blogging decision I've ever made.

    Glad you've gotten your mojo back! 🙂

  12. Heather {Desperately Seeking Sanity}
    January 25, 2010 at 3:33 pm (8 years ago)

    based on the comments, it looks like you still have readers.

    write when you want. it took me a long time to get to the point that we both seem to be at now, but you know what?

    i want my blog to be what it was when I started blogging three years ago… an outlet.

    not a money maker, not a traffic jam, but an outlet.

    because once it becomes more than just that, how authentic am I really going to be?

    if i'm going to be a sell out, it's going to be for Jesus and Jesus alone. Besides, I know he's gonna pay out blessings upon blessings because of my blog…. i just need to be patient… :d

    welcome back… 😀

  13. Anonymous
    February 3, 2010 at 11:19 am (7 years ago)

    My friend and I were recently talking about the prevalence of technology in our day to day lives. Reading this post makes me think back to that discussion we had, and just how inseparable from electronics we have all become.

    I don't mean this in a bad way, of course! Ethical concerns aside… I just hope that as technology further develops, the possibility of transferring our brains onto a digital medium becomes a true reality. It's one of the things I really wish I could encounter in my lifetime.

    (Posted on Nintendo DS running [url=http://knol.google.com/k/anonymous/-/9v7ff0hnkzef/1]R4i SDHC[/url] DS OperaV2)

  14. Anonymous
    February 12, 2010 at 4:28 pm (7 years ago)

    Amiable fill someone in on and this enter helped me alot in my college assignement. Thank you for your information.

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