This post was first published in 2014 and updated in 2018. Events happened back then, but sentiments and lessons remain true to this day. 😉
There’s been a quiet buzz about blogging burnout going around recently, that is, if you still consider a 2,100+ word essay published in The New York Times a “quiet buzz”.
Blogging burnout is real
Blogging burnout is not new to most of us. It’s real, it happens all the time, and it often ends with some bloggers taking a long break and reconsidering their blog’s direction, if not quit blogging altogether.
The New York Times article begins (and ends) with the story of Sherry and John, the bloggers behind Young House Love, a popular DIY home renovation and design blog that’s been around since 2007. The gist is, Sherry and John received several comments from their regular readers, criticizing the quality and quantity of the content they’ve been publishing recently. Some expressed disappointment, others expressed concern, some reacted in Sherry & John’s defense.
And so, in an emotional post, the husband and wife tandem apologized to their readers for repeatedly not meeting their expectations, and announced that they’re taking a nice long break from the blog and their social media accounts, re-assessing their career choice and all that jazz.
When first generation bloggers (who blog for a living and are awesome at what they do) get burned out and take a break from a “job” that many of us can only dream of, you bet the New York Times would report the story, causing more discussions among bloggers and readers alike.
Now, bloggers are a funny breed because we work on projects and then we force people to look at them by shouting it from the social media rooftops. By putting ourselves and our work out there we are subjecting ourselves to judgment, for better or for worse.
As someone who’s been blogging for over a decade, there are so many layers to this topic that resonate with my own experience blogging. Although my blog’s readership and pageviews are nowhere near Young House Love’s, I pretty much make a living through this blog.
If it wasn’t for blogging, I wouldn’t have been introduced to the career I now have. I write and read and study and analyze blogs every single day and I do know how it’s like to love the job one minute and hate it the next.
Chasing Dreams may still be, to a large extent, a personal blog, but it is through that channel that I get to experiment what I learn, express myself, and showcase my projects which help me gain work. On top of that, this is where I share my passions and my faith, in hopes that others will find inspiration to live more meaningful lives and dream bigger dreams. That said, it is important to me to keep updating this blog.
I’m not planning to rephrase thoughts that were already so eloquently expressed by these bloggers, so I’m just pointing you to the direction of these blogs which resonate well with how I feel. I mean, how many of us, bloggers, can relate to this really?
- This is the post that started it all, from Young House Love.
- This is the New York Times article, in case you missed the link above.
- Brittany has something beautiful to say.
- Holly raised some valid points and questions about the NYT article.
I love what Erin said. (I love Erin, period.)
Rest your weary heads, bloggers, if you’d like. Breaks are good and healthy and constructive, and a fresh perspective changes everything. And sure – when you return – you might have less of your readers. But you’ll have more of yourself. ~Erin, Design for Mankind
Like Sherry & John, I’ve had moments when I braced myself and held my breath when I hit that ‘publish’ button. Moments when my fears take over my vision, and I become anxious about criticisms, or trolls making their way to this blog (the fear is real, people!). I would wonder for hours what people would think, if not say.
Ironically, all these blog posts going around about blogging becoming a ‘slog’ has reinforced in me the reasons why I still blog after all. It has given me a renewed love for the craft, the motivation to keep going, and the assurance that I am not alone in this journey.
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Fast forward to 2018
Today, Sherry & John are back stronger than ever at Young House Love, incorporating a podcast to capture podcast-loving audiences too. If there’s anything bloggers can learn from YHL, it’s that bloggers need to take some time away, or sometimes quit if necessary.
I personally went on a prolonged period of creative drought, almost throwing in the towel and quitting blogging altogether.
But once a blogger is always a blogger. If you’re anything like Sherry & John (and okay, maybe me too!), being a blogger is already a part of who you are. Chances are, even when you quit for a while, you know you’ll keep coming back to this platform. And when that happens, you know you’re back stronger and more committed than ever.