After nine months of blogging, I’ve finally given birth to a whopping case of blogger burnout. Although I still love blogging, there are aspects that I used to enjoy that have become an effort, if not a downright chore, and my “real life” has suffered gravely in the process. Here’s a few examples.
What season is it?
I’ve literally let several seasons go by, hardly noticing, because I’ve spent so much time indoors blogging. There was a time when this kind of home-bound lifestyle would have horrified and depressed me, but this past year I blithely blogged the weeks and months away as spring became fall and fall winter. In NYC, we’ve been having unseasonably warm temperatures day after day, week after week. A normal person would be outside every day reveling in the sunshine and mild temps. Not I.
Blogging has become hazardous to my health.
I’m not exercising, I’m not eating right, and I’m smoking so many cigarettes I have no idea how many packs I’m going through each day. I feel like absolute shit physically, and wake up every day feeling lucky that I haven’t keeled over.
My ex-boyfriend’s brother in law actually dropped dead in front of his computer several years ago. His wife found him there in the morning. I don’t think he was a blogger–all I know is he was in his fifties, and he was interacting with a machine instead of being in bed with his wife. It’s not the most glorious way to go.
My attention span is shot.
As a writer, when I discovered Blogger it was like I’d died and gone to writer’s heaven. When writing for print pubs, feedback from readers was not a routine occurrence. But with blogging came the technology which allowed readers to respond, and me to respond to them.
My initial posts were very long, and one writer acquaintance who didn’t blog pointed that out to me. I didn’t care though–I eventually built up a modest number of blog pals who would slog through and comment to my posts. I gradually began to shorten and edit down my entries, and was often surprised to see that a short post could generate as much of a response, if not more, than a long one. When I started to put myself in other blogger’s shoes, I understood why this would be so.
Trying to keep up with other blogs and post to your own regularly can be arduous. I also am very anal about trying to answer all comments, and to comment to other blogs.
But as time went on and my link list grew, I found it harder to devote the time to blogpals’s good but longish posts. When I did my blog rounds, I found myself sometimes skipping over other bloggers who, like me, wrote longer entries. What used to be fun started to become a chore, and I found myself with less and less patience in terms of reading everyone’s entries. And forget about perusing the archives, even though I knew I was missing out on some great stuff. Blogging is kind of like newspaper publishing–anything below the top post is yesterday’s news.
Instant gratification will bite you in the ass
Although I prided myself on the number of comments I was beginning to get on my blog, as time went on, every time I received one I quickly noted it and then impatiently waited for the next one and the next. If a post didn’t amass as many comments as I was now used to, I’d be crestfallen.
I’ve become petty and spiteful and self centered
Any bloggers on my list or off who didn’t comment to my blog or didn’t respond to my comments to their blog were on my “shit list.” There were a few that I still visited anyway, and I was mindful of the fact that more popular bloggers couldn’t possibly respond to all comments, and some didn’t respond to any. But I found myself becoming more and more of the “what’s in it for me” mindset, which is very messed up, isn’t it?
Print media? What’s that?
I have stacks of great books that I’ve been meaning to read that I haven’t had the time or inclination to dig into. I’ve let my subscriptions to New York Magazine and the New Yorkerexpire, since I wound up with piles and piles of unread issues I didn’t have room to keep. I hardly ever read the paper anymore at all.
So what’s my plan?
Well, I still love blogging, and writing my personal blog along with posts for Blogcritics is still very rewarding to me. But I have to begin to realize that the lifestyle I’ve developed is literally hazardous to my health, and I have to take definite measures to balance my life in a more healthy way.
Eating better, exercising regularly, cutting down on the chain smoking, getting fresh air and sunshine are essential. I live in New York City, and there’s really very little excuse for me to not take advantage of all the city has to offer. My 83 year old aunt, one of the coolest people I know, suggested that I schedule myself–devote a few hours to blogging, then turn the computer off and devote the rest of the day to living. Then in the evening, I can blog some more.
This sounds like a great plan. I’m going to start asap. Um–maybe tomorrow.