Thursday, 19 October 2017

Why is blogging so hard?

Why is blogging so hard?

Is a question I ask myself, every time I take a break from blogging. I have had my blog for around four years now, and since it's conception, I haven't managed any sense of consistency with posting. I've made a lot of attempts, and failed spectacularly each time. I've considered closing my blog altogether many times, but somehow, I have never managed to take that step. Each time I've returned, I've invested in my blog, via its own domain or a makeover for example, convinced that by investing "real money" I will have to staying interested this time! but nothing seems to keep me hooked. (As a side note, this has never worked with mindfulness apps, slimming world, gym memberships etc, but somehow I keep using this technique...).

"We were on a break!" - Does taking a break always mean it's time to break up?

The age old query of Ross and Rachel's dramatic break up. Ross and Rachel got back together, but does that mean me and my blog should too?

It might seem strange to discuss the possible demise of my blog on said blog, but something I noticed recently, while I ponder my own blog's future is how many other bloggers are pondering the same. I have regularly had conversations with fellow bloggers who started out around the same time as me (coincidence, or is that an important factor? I'm not sure) about continuing on with the blog, and considering other avenues (such as micro blogging on instagram), and I have also noticed tweets from bloggers I don't even know considering the fate of their own blogs after a break. 

One thing to consider; is intermittent blogging really such a bad thing?

This is another question I ask myself when it comes to deciding whether to blog again, or not. I am completely aware that I'm not the only one to have large gaps in their posting history. Others chose to continue, and remain very successful, so why can't I? 

The event attending blog popularity hypothesis

Back a few years ago, I attended a fair amount of events, thanks to the kindness of others who got me "in". I had a great time, and I met some lovely people, people who I still talk to today. However, while I was blogging, working and being a student, my chronic illness got worse. I could no longer travel by train or bus for longer than ten minutes, and wasn't confident driving and parking in big cities where most events are held. 

The last event I went to (which I believe turned out to be a bit of scam) was the final nail in the coffin, for me attending events. Someone who I had connected with on twitter had offered to meet me before said event, and then didn't turn up, and ignored my messages (a better offer came along, or at the very least a more popular one). I ended up in town, lost, alone, in pain and having a panic attack (my mental health, in relation to my physical health, had taken quite the down turn) on the phone in tears to my mum, feeling suddenly completely lost in a world I thought I was a part of.

And after that, for obvious reasons, I stopped going to events. Not only because of this bad experience, but also because I was sick, a lot of the time. Events, unless on my doorstep, were completely out of the question. For a while, the invites continued to roll in, gradually fading, and then the blogging community became a bit of a stranger, and I felt this reflected in my blog's popularity. It could, of course, be coincidental, and the scientist in me would prefer to have real evidence, but let's just say I believe the ability to attend events, can be an important part of blogging, especially in smaller communities. 

But what does blog popularity have to do with blogging being difficult I hear you cry?! Well...

Comparison is the thief of joy

Never a truer statement in my case. I can admit, that I easily get taken in by numbers. Watching your blog stats can be excruciating, especially when you put a lot of time and effort into a post and your blog, and you just don't seem to be getting the response you were hoping for. For me, that leads to comparing my blog to others; my writing, my photography, my ideas, even my personality is on the chopping block, and that is good for no-one. Every time I start again with this blog, I remind myself that I am enough, that I am better being myself, but within a few months, I'm trying to fit in with those blogs around me, because to me, it feels like what I'm selling, nobody's buying.

And what if, that is not the only "flaw" that's holding you back? 

When anxiety gets in the way 

It may be extremely obvious, without paying much attention, that I stopped blogging around the time I found out I was pregnant. At first, I was super excited to share my pregnancy journey on my blog, FINALLY I had something to write about! I had a hundred ideas buzzing around my head. I just had to hit that magical 12 weeks, that magical scan and I could share all!

Except that's not exactly how it went. The anxiety and the OCD came, and clamped a hold of my head and my heart, and hasn't yet let go. I have decided to finally write the post about my experience of perinatal mental health, so I'm not planning to go into detail any further detail here. If you are interested in that, please do keep an eye out because it is on the way!

So...why IS blogging so hard?

Back to our original question. Why is blogging so hard? Unfortunately, I have come up with more questions than answers, and I still haven't landed on anything concrete. My reasons certainly won't match up identically with others, and there are also other considerations here that I haven't delved into (time management, photography skills, writing skills etc). 

I guess, if I was to sign off with the closest semblance to an answer, it's that blogging is hard because sometimes life gets in the way. Sometimes our heads get in the way of our hearts, and vice versa. Sometimes, we don't have time. and sometimes we have so much time that we overthink it, and still don't do it. At the end of the day, every time I start again, I think to myself, is this something that will make me happy in this moment? And if the answer is yes, it's time to try again. 


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