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My Blogger Burnout

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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.

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About Elvira Black

  • http://www.clatch.blogspot.com A.L. Harper

    Elvira –

    I have only been blogging for about 2 months and already understand some of what you’re saying. I am going to log off early tonight and read something and get some sleep.

  • http://asouthernbelle.blogspot.com Susan Reno-Gilliland

    Hey Girl – get out of my head!

    I have ALL of those same thoughts! And, I feel guilty, but not guilty enough to turn the computer off. Talk about an addiction *sheesh*

  • http://jeliel3.blogspot.com JELIEL³

    Elvira,

    I started blogging while on medical leave for a work burn out. I blogged like a mad man, getting aquainted with it’s protocols, discovering BC and so on. Then real-life came back online. I’ve greatly reduced my blogging. But it’s all good. If you feel obligated to blog, the quality will easily dwindle.

    You don’t need to be the top-blogger, don’t need to be omnipresent. I never do things out of obligation or feel like I’m obligated. Just do your blog-thing when you feel like it. Otherwise, where’s the fun? And if it’s not fun, what’s the point?

  • http://www.thebluesmokeband.com Brian Sorrell

    I was going to say something about your comments regarding attention span —

    But I forgot what it was….

    ((i.e., you are right.))

  • http://kevinsview.com/ Kevin Surbaugh

    There has been time, I have felt burnt out, but at the same time I fell disconected somehow, if I don’t type something at least once or twice a week.

  • sr

    Elvira. That is the most intelligent blog I have read on BC. Life is short. Take time to do all the things you have missed. Go fishing, climb a mountain. Well maybe not, since you smoke. So do I. Blogs/comments do not change the world as I see it. Did a search on blog addiction recently. Interesting stuff. Some of the comments I read on BC are as long as Gone With The Wind. Wish you much success for a great life. sr. PS. Take time to listen to your name in song.

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com/ Elvira Black

    Thanks for the comments! I will respond a little later–right now I’m feeling a little too…well..burnt out…

  • http://www.futonreport.net/ Matthew T. Sussman

    It’s just like any other hobby. If you jump in with both feet at the beginning, then you’re gonna get sick of it after a while, a lot like love a first sight. (Or what you think is love at first sight, but is just a hot body.)

    Pace yourself. Write when you can. You can’t take it all in.

  • http://www.thewebzine.com David M. Brown

    I think when we weary of blogging we can afford to take a break. The blogosphere will keep spinning. David Sifry tells us that Technorati is now tracking over 27.2 million blogs, that the blogosphere is 60 times bigger than it was three years ago, that, on average, a new blog is created at the rate of one per second, that Technorati tracks about 1.2 million new blog posts a day. We’re covered. We’ll be okay. Unless something happens to Instapundit. Then we’re all doomed.

  • Shark

    “I have nothing to say and I’m saying it.” — John Cage

    = coulda been said about 99.999% of blogs.

    Blogging on a computer is like sex with a new partner; at first, you love it, you do it as many times a day as possible — and later, you taper off, finding reasons to postpone it — then you end up hating it to the point where you want to dismember it and put it in a Hefty bag.

    End result:

    — the same as with every loving relationship: you take a hammer to your “lover”, the neighbors call the police, and a video crew from COPS ends up outside your mobile home.

    PS: Speaking of which…

    SWM over 50 looking for SWF between 12 and 40. Enjoys chain smoking, long walks through Pokemon, and romantic dinners ordered over the internet.

    send letters to shark @ san_quentin.net

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com/ Elvira Black

    A. L.:
    “I have only been blogging for about 2 months and already understand some of what you’re saying. I am going to log off early tonight and read something and get some sleep.”

    That’s the thing in a nutshell: I think as soon as one starts blogging you start to “get” it. It’s hard to explain to someone who doesn’t blog (or, like my b/f, doesn’t even use the internet) what it entails and why it should be so darn irresistible. You just “have to be there.”

    As far as logging off early and getting some sleep: technically I’ve been doing that, but blogging seems to have messed with my sleeping patterns radically too. For instance, I went to bed early, got some sleep, and now I’m wide awake at 12 am, which is when I usually go through comments since my blogger brain has been “recharged.” Then I typically collapse from exhaustion about 5 am and go back to sleep for a few hours, rinse and repeat. Oy vey. But it sounds like you’ve got the right idea!

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com/ Elvira Black

    Susan:

    Guilt? Don’t even get me started! There’s never enough time to do everything I want to do blogwise. It’s like housework–it’s just never, ever done. My biggest guilt thing is when I don’t answer comments in a timely manner–as if my blogpals are all feverishly waiting for my further pearls of wisdom. But I feel like a timely response is good blog etiquette, so I try.

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com/ Elvira Black

    JELIEL:

    You mentioned getting acquainted with blogging’s protocols, and if I get your meaning, this can be a whole obsessive compulsive thing unto itself. I’ve learned at least a middling amount about stats, search engines, the power of linkage, Technorati, TTLB, tags, etc, and it’s all been fascinating. I love metablogs that give you the scoop on what’s happening in the blogosphere or provide tips, like ProBlogger, The BlogHerald, and so on.

    I really do enjoy writing posts, so my sense of obligation doesn’t really come out that way. It’s more, as I said, along the lines of the commenting, visiting those on my link list regularly, etc. that gets to be difficult, though I do love this as well. It’s just hard to keep up with both sometimes–only because I’m a self-professed “comment whore” who’ll do anything to elicit feedback..

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com/ Elvira Black

    Brian:
    OK, now, what were you saying?….lol…

    Kevin:
    “Disconnected” describes blog-withdrawal for me very well too.

    sr:
    “Life is short. Take time to do all the things you have missed.”

    Wiser words were never spoken! I have a “to do” list a mile long as far as fun things I want to do if I can tear myself away from the computer and learn to walk amongst the living again.

    As far as blogs and commenting, and “Gone with the Wind” length comments–well, I always saw comments (like yours) as half the fun of blogging, and I have to admit that I love the comment frenzy here at BC.

    “Take time to listen to your name in song”–sounds very Zen. I think I’ll do it–with both of them! lol….

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com/ Elvira Black

    Matthew:

    I guess I am experiencing the “love at first sight” thing. In the throes of my addiction, I actually could/can feel those “feel good” endorphins rushing through my brain and body as soon as I wake up and turn the computer on. I even have, heaven help me, blog dreams…

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com/ Elvira Black

    David:

    I guess the fact that there are so many blogs being created all the time makes me afraid that I’ll be even more lost in the “noise” of the blogosphere if I take a break. However, interestingly enough, I’ve read that a very small percentage of adults blog or even read blogs. Right now, teens seem to be the biggest group hopping on the blogging bandwagon.

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com/ Elvira Black

    Shark:

    As usual, you made me ROFL all over myself. Chain smokiing together is very romantic–especially when you have to keep the “flame” going and you’re out of matches– which I imagine they don’t supply in bulk in the joint…lol…

  • http://sterfish.blogspot.com/ Sterfish

    I’ve had a couple of the symptoms you mention here (especially skipping the sort of long posts I write) but I haven’t officially burned out on blogging yet. I started blogging when I was unemployed and since I got a job, I don’t blog nearly as much.

    There have been stretches of days where I don’t know what the hell to write about. I also plan to write more posts than I actually do. My night owl tendencies have been taken to extremes as I may take hours to write a single post. However, for some unknown reason, none of this has ever made me sick of blogging.

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com/ Elvira Black

    Sterfish:

    The funny (?) thing is, that I seldom blog every day. I am in awe of those who do–though if they’re super short posts, I guess that’s easier. But a lot of bloggers I know write fairly long posts on a daily basis. If they work full time as well, this is doubly amazing–though I suspect that there’s lots of people with private offices who are sharpening their “communications skills” by blogging on company time–lol. Hey, what do employers expect when they provide you with free access to the internet?

    I love to see fellow night owls out and about–it’s 3 am and I’ve been up three hours, mostly putzing around on what my b/f refers to as “that stupid toy.”….

  • http://alienboysworld.blogspot.com/ Christopher Rose

    boyfriend doesn’t use internet? is he broken? lol

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com/ Elvira Black

    Christopher:

    I know! Can you believe it? But you’d better believe he sings a different tune if he wants me to look up Lower East Side bars that have happy hours or liquor stores that stay open on Sundays (uh oh, I’m not making my b/f look any better here, am I? Well, we’re having some issues…lol…)

    He’s just never had any exposure to the internet, and he’s wary and jealous of my relationship with Herman the Mac. Go figure…

  • http://alienboysworld.blogspot.com/ Christopher Rose

    I think you need to get him a nice laptop wifi PC and let him find his own bars – so he can take you out! win win, ;-)

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com/ Elvira Black

    Christopher:

    Ah yes, I can picture it all now…lol…

  • Scott Butki

    Good piece, Elvira

  • http://somethingaboutchelsea.blogspot.com Chelsea Snyder

    Oh Elvira, been there, done that. Blogging is a great thing, but in moderation, as I’ve discovered. Sometimes a sabbatical is not a bad idea. I was totally burnt out a few months ago and retreated to only the occasional (once a week at the most) short blurbs in my personal blog. Once I realized that I missed the drama and keeping everything to myself, I came back to blogging with a vengeance. I’m sure in a year or so I’ll get burnt out again, and take another couple-month break.

    Blogging is not meant to be a full-time job. But for the true bloggers who are always finding themselves surrounded by bloggable material, it’s a 24-7 operation.

  • Scott Butki

    Elvira, take a break from the net.

    or find an internet addiction support group online.

    But I think the former idea is better than the latter.

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com Elvira Black

    Scott:

    Thanks! As far as taking a break from the ‘net, I’m kinda sorta doing that. I’m finding that the “thrill” is gone just a bit, but I know it ebbs and flows. I am working on the idea of not using blogging as an endless excuse to not live my non-virtual life.

    As far as an internet addiction support group online–sounds like a juicy oxymoron to me! I’ve actually joked about that one before…

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com Elvira Black

    Chelsea:

    The idea of taking a sabbatical actually reminds me of the fact that a fair number of bloggers I know just up and quit altogether. I don’t think I could possibly do that, but I think some people try blogging and either find that it’s not really their cup of tea, or they get sick of flamers, or whatever.

    Ah, the drama–you put that so well! And since I’ve started with BC, I think there’s more drama than ever–especially in the political posts and comments…how can I resist reading and writing here?

    I see myself as slowing down a little but probably not taking a sabbatical altogether…good to know you have been there and can relate!

  • Scott Butki

    Yeah, its a joke but also a test to see how far gone you are.
    you caught it so it’s ok. that means you’re not too far gone… yet.