This month* marks seven years since I started this blog. This year marks a turning point in my life where I’ve thought about quitting blogging and even writing altogether.
It seems my relationship with blogging has hit the seven year itch.
Over time I’ve blogged less and less. When I started blogging, I blogged weekly. Then fortnightly. Over the last two years I’ve put up one post a month and scaled back freelance writing work. That made me realise, the less time you spend on something, the more time you have for yourself and the more time to think.
Remembering why you blog
Recently I fell sick and that put into perspective the important things in life. As the season swept from winter to spring, one day early in September I awoke with a painful throat. I went to work business as usual, business as usual for the next two weeks sounding like a frog. As the sun rose earlier and earlier with each passing day, the painful throat steamrolled into a bad cold, nose running like Niagara Falls round the clock along with oscillating body temperatures.
Walking around was impossible. Scrolling through my phone was such an effort that I gave up. There was nothing else to do but sit at home and do nothing. There was no blogging. No reading other blogs. No writing new blog posts. No writing at all.
I didn’t miss any of that.
In a world where success is constantly defined by popularity, what job you have and how much you earn, many see a successful blog as a blog with hundreds if not thousands of views a day. Or a blog with a large following and spruiking sponsorship deals. Through rose tinted glasses, a successful blogger or writer is someone who sells millions of books or is a household name.
Many live with the idea you should be remunerated for everything you do. Some bloggers blog for views and recognition. They feel deflated when they don’t get the readership they hoped for and quit. That’s not me.
It’s not that blogging is tough, like how some bloggers find the juggling act of blogging too hard and give up. There’s lots of work behind-the-scenes: drafting blog posts, editing posts, optimising posts towards SEO if you want to reach an audience, marketing your blog, coordinating your blog’s social media platforms and more. As someone who likes organised routine, I gladly stuck to a blogging routine.
It’s not that I don’t have anything to write and blog about anymore. Some bloggers get burnt out or bored of their content after a while and leave blogging at that. There are heaps of topics I want to write about: from ways to stand up to racism to why many of us drink tea to reasons why EPL is so popular all over the world.
It’s not that I don’t like writing anymore. I still love writing and it’s the best way I express my thoughts.
Reasons to not blog
After seven years of blogging and a lifetime as a writer, I want to do other things.
That is, there are other things I want to do so much more than blogging and writing. Hobbies I’ve never had time for. Other interests which I want to dive into. Going to places I’ve been planning for a while.
Writing and researching one blog post takes me weeks. It wasn’t uncommon for me to spend three hours on a blog post, five nights a week for a few weeks. And still not be happy with it. And spend more time prepping the post.
Earlier this year I had a taste of non-blogging by not blogging for a week here and there and went about a different normal. Different routines come with different ways of getting around, different trains of thought, surprises and a newfound appreciation of what you haven’t done until you’re doing it right now.
When you’re down and out and things take a turn for the worse, routine can go out the window. Being ill I felt that all too well: sitting in my room surrounded by four white walls, just sitting. Throat going from feeling like it was being stabbed with daggers to a burning raging fire. The chapter of being a writer had come to a standstill. Outside tiny yellow succulent blooms sprouted amidst the departing winter chill, their vibrant petals swaying with the blustery winds on summer-like September days.
When you put aside something you’ve always done, there’s more time for things that make life a comfortable one: doing chores, policing your health, spending time with those you want to see. Less blogging, more time for things I have to do. That includes scrubbing my bathroom tiles clean with a toothbrush.
Being overly busy is not cute. The more time you have for things you want and have to do, the more you do things with undivided attention. That brings a stronger sense of purpose for the things you do.
Less blogging also means less time spent online and more time offline in the private moments of reality. Often many of us are extroverted when we’re online, especially when we’re on Facebook or Twitter or on our blogs sharing our personal lives.
As you get older, you tend to become more introverted. The older you get the more you appreciate the small things. The quiet moments of waking up without pain and a day out become so much more special. Covert solitude becomes so much more special and something you want and need in the present.
The September days turned into weeks and the weeks turned into October. Trees adorned with green leaves dotted the streets outside, the leaves swaying in the sometimes warm, sometimes chilly Melbourne springtime air. Losing track of the days and timeline of 2019, the congested passages of heart and life within me eased. Waking up now feeling a bit less in pain and other affections less amplified was such a wonderful feeling.
With life changing moments surrounding illness, there’s no returning to what you called normal. As Ana Harris writes on re-entering life after chronic illness, ‘everything that should feel familiar feels new, scary and overwhelming’ such as swiping a credit card at the store. After being diagnosed with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome, Angie Ebba reflects on going through phases of grieving and acceptance of your ‘new’ body; you learn new ways to experience the parts of yourself each passing day.
Time for change
Life is a series of seasons where change is the only constant. There are times where you’ll feel stuck trying to figure things out or wondering why everyone and everything is against you. Other times, you take things into your own hands and do what you want to do.
A clearer mind doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve found what you want to do. It could mean you can finally manifest so many more options and possibilities ahead of you.
I guess that’s why some bloggers stop blogging one day: there’s more to life than blogging.
You might avidly follow a blogger whom you are a big fan of, be it for their work or personality. Then one day, they stop posting. However, they might occasionally pop up and read and comment on your blog – like how friends we’ve never seen in a while come around and say hi one day.
More often than not, these bloggers respect the time they put into blogging, respect the community within blogging and most importantly, respect their life and the things in life they enjoy. They don’t need to announce or explain themselves if they decide to stop blogging or put their blog on extended pause.
On a cool-again mid-spring day, I flipped the pages of my planner. Empty pages adorned the sections September and October. No blogging schedules. No book writing time. No grocery shopping lists. No exercise time. No normal everyday routine. None of it bothered me.
Posting online never appealed to me in the first place. My family and friends have to beg me to post on my private social accounts and yet, I don’t really. Funnily enough this free-for-all blog kept going for so long and it’s been quite a ride with these opportunities:
- Being featured on Freshly Pressed (now WordPress Discover).
- Invitations to guest post on other blogs.
- Freelance writing gigs.
- Speaking at conferences, magazine and radio interviews.
- Contributing to a book (Lady By The River) with fellow bloggers.
- Getting automated emails from marketing companies wanting to guest post on my blog and willing to pay me (Just no).
- Getting sponsorship deals and free stuff to review and promote (Never taken up).
- Having something strange to say in job interviews.
- Getting fan mail.
Having people read my blog means the world to me. The best part is when I get to talk to bloggers on here and on their blogs too. People are fascinated by what’s popular and ‘in’, and I’m not one to follow trends. Think online trends such as Nanowrimo, tag questions, room tours, what I eat in a day diaries and so much more. Yet people still follow along this blog – giving up their time to be here. Thank you.
The green leaves on the trees outside swayed in the fresh winter-like breeze. Sitting back in my chair and mustering every ounce of energy from within a body battered and wild, I turned the pages of the planner towards the months ahead. While writing will still be a part of what I do, blogging here will be different. Life will never be the same again.
When you’re passionate about something, it doesn’t mean you’ll want to do it all the time. Life is a season of changes where we all move on to different things to find what makes us happy in a season. At some point, some things end, some things are put on pause.
Some things you just never know how they’ll turn out.
Have you thought about leaving blogging behind?
*written October 2019