Is it Time I Stopped Blogging?

I think it might be time for me to hang up my keyboard, pass on the WordPress, stop with the stats.  I think it might be time for me to stop blogging.

I had a lot of friends in High School who wanted to be actors.  Most of them  auditioned for years and years, waiting tables all the while, until they finally reached the point where they accepted they weren’t going to make it, and made a career change. Makes sense to me. It’s discouraging to keep on being rejected.  You might love acting, love performing, but if no one is watching, well, it just doesn’t give you that same thrill. And at some point, you have to face reality: not all dreams come true.

I’m starting to feel that way about blogging.  I love writing.  I’ve been writing my whole life.  My first “book” was a mystery which I wrote and illustrated myself in third grade.  I was editor of my High School Yearbook, had the featured essay in my college yearbook.  I’ve been in anthologies, and magazines.  I’ve ghost written books.  I’ve written copy for movie trailers, and  100’s of tv commericals, and countless episodes of Intimate Portrait on Lifetime Television. And I’ve blogged.  And blogged and blogged.

I don’t doubt that I’m a good writer.  It’s been reinforced by teachers and editors and publishers, and by being picked ten times for syndication when I was part of the SVMoms Group.  So logic would tell me that if I blogged, the readers would come, and that the more I blogged, the more readers I’d have. Not so. The more I blog, the more I pay attention to key words and linking and SEO – the more it stays the same.

Maybe I should look at blogging differently.  Maybe I should see it as an outlet – who cares who sees it?  Or maybe I should take a cold, hard, look at how I can use this blog to “enhance my brand.”  But that’s a phrase I hate — at least when it’s applied to my writing.  My writing isn’t my brand — it’s me.

I get the occasional boost.  This post, for instance, got over 2000 hits in one day when it was selected for WordPress’s Freshly Pressed feature. But overall, it’s slow. Not too many people are reading, and it can get discouraging. Maybe it’s because I don’t do giveaways, or product reviews, or tell everyone every personal detail of every aspect of my life.  I don’t send an email to everyone I know every time I post. (Yes, there are people who do that.) I don’t write about breaking news, or about subjects with big shock value.  Whatever the reason — maybe I’m just not that good – the numbers tell their own story. Every day, I watch my stats stay stagnant, and inexplicably – my Twitter followers rise, while my klout score decreases.

When I started blogging over at NYC Moms Blog, I had big dreams:  “Someone will discover me.  Someone will read my posts and offer me a book deal/magazine writing gig/nobel peace prize (hey, I said it was a dream!)”  That is not what happened.  But something else did.  I met a great group of women, and a few of us decided to band together to create The Blogging Angels, a weekly podcast about blogging, social media, brand/blogger relationships, and tech, targeted at women. In only five months we’ve come a long way, winning sponsorship from Microsoft Windows to go to CES, and averaging a 40% increase in downloads each month. I’m also days away from launching a new online venture with another friend met through the blogosphere. (I promise to tell you all about it as soon as it’s up and running.) The new website is a business, not a blog, and who knows where it will take us next?

So already, blogging has brought me to podcasting and a new business.  Maybe that’s enough.  Maybe my blogging has done what it was supposed to do: lead me to bigger things.

Yesterday, at a luncheon sponsored by Din Dins and Moms on the Move, Linda Swain said “You only fail when you stop trying.  So never give up.”   But the truth is, trying endlessly ends up feeling remarkably like failing. Only it never stops. If I stop blogging, it won’t be because blogging has failed me.  It’s brought me a new community, and two new businesses.  But my blog has failed.  Two successes, one failure. Not a bad result, really.

So why do I feel so defeated?

 

 

Comments

  1. says

    Ah, Nancy. This is such a personal question, one which i am sure you know, in the end, only you can answer. The point is to do what you love, and for me, feeling successful in that you are fulfilled because of it. What is that fulfillment for you? To be published? To have tons of readers? I don’t know. But I always say do what makes you happy, and if it doesn’t make you happy (and you don’t need it to survive), then don’t do it. Is blogging in any of those places for you?

    I would miss you though, but whatever you do, stop or continue, may it bring you joy.

    xoxox C

    • says

      Thanks, Carol. It’s hard to know. I can write without blogging, and then I won’t have the pressure of worrying about stats and page views etc. etc. Then again, then I won’t be part of the blogging community which I really, truly love.
      Maybe I’m just having a bad (couple of) days!
      Thanks for your lovely comment and support.

  2. says

    I kind of have to laugh when I hear about all you have accomplished. You are doing exactly what I want to do. You are living MY dream. I guess we aren’t ever really happy with what we do have. We all want more… but if we didn’t we would have no dreams at all. I would tell you to go with you gut and do what makes you happy. But be aware that YOU are the inspiration for people like me.

  3. says

    Blog. Don’t blog. Do whatever is best for you. You are a great writer either way (and I love your wry sense of humor).

    If it makes you feel any better…honestly MOST NYC area bloggers – with few exceptions – have huge traffic numbers. Perhaps its a regional thing.

    When I work on projects on the brand side, I rarely go strictly by numbers. Reputation and quality of readers are equally (if not more!) important. I know that it sounds cliche, but quality still trumps quantity. You, my dear, are a quality writer…

  4. says

    I think that the fact that your blog has led to a new business and a Blogging Angels is absolutely terrific.

    For me, blogging isn’t so much about how many people read my blog. I accept that my stats will never measure up the way other’s do. I started late, I don’t write about a lot of personal stuff, I’m not all that niche or funny…there are many reasons my stats aren’t that high. I’m also not the sorority type and I’m not good at competing.

    But it has led to so much more than clicks. For one thing, I am no longer just a marketing consultant, I do social media consulting. What got me my current client? My blog. They didn’t ask how many people were reading it, what was more important was the skills I’ve picked up. Another, the people I connect to on a whole new level as compared to the moms I meet and see at the playground. Finally, it’s got my juices flowing and keeps me on top of who I am, which more or less got lost in the shuffle after having kids.

    You are a terrific writer and I think you should continue blogging but stop taking it as seriously. If you think about it, it’s given you so much.

  5. says

    This month is the first time that I’d even considered quitting blogging.

    As others have said, it’s obviously a personal decision, and only you know what it right for you. But I was struck by your question of why do you feel so defeated.

    Is it possible that you’re defining blogging success too narrowly? If your “success” is a discovery by an agent, a book deal and a TV show, then yes, wave the white flag. But you list all of your accomplishments, and how can that be anything other than fantastic?

    I think for many of us blogging success comes in a way that we didn’t anticipate. I realized that it was true for me when I had some important news recently and my “blog friends” were the ones that I turned to first.

    • says

      I find it impossible to believe that you considered quitting. I guess perception is everything. And to me, you seem so well established, so well read and so well liked. I hope that my post didn’t make it seem like I don’t recognize that blogging has brought be success: fulfilling relationships, a successful podcast, a new business. It’s only that the blog itself was unsuccessful. I wish I could focus only on the things it’s brought me — and not on what hasn’t worked. (and it’s not about a book deal. just about a few more eyeballs) Then again, if I were a “look on the bright side” kind of person, I wouldn’t be the cynical, neurotic, New York Jew that I am!

  6. says

    Life is a journey that more often than not finds us in places we never expected to land. It’s easy to feel defeat when we focus on where we intended to be, instead of where we are and most importantly, where we’re going. Maybe this blog is part where you’re going, and maybe it’s not. If you can view it as neither success nor failure, but part of your journey, you’re on your way to a future that’s full of possibilities. And that’s cause for celebration, not defeat. To that end, I’d like to raise a virtual toast to From Hip To Housewife. It’s been a great read. And a toast to your future. I’m looking forward to seeing where it leads.
    xo
    BK

  7. says

    I’ll have to agree with the wise people who say this is a personal decision. To be honest I was a happier blogger when I didn’t know about SEO, google analytics, klout scores or whatever else is out there. I always say “I write for me” about what ever topic interests me on a given day. I have no expectations from blogging except to make friends. The rest of stuff that’s come my way is just icing on the cake. A few years ago I took 8 months off from blogging, I had run out of ideas, inspiration and words in general. I think it was a much needed break and when I came back to my blog the words came and readers were there, even more than I ever expected.

    My perception of you and the Blogging Angels is very high. You ladies have really gotten into another level of blogging. A success and an inspiration indeed! Best of luck in your decision.

  8. Dana says

    Not to sound like an ass (or Clinton during the Lewinsky scandal), but it depends on how you define success. It sounds like you measure it in terms of traffic stats. But if you judge it on new opportunities and meaningful connections, then it seems absolutely successful.
    I don’t have big numbers but I feel like my blog and the return to regular writing gave me my brain back. I’m fond of saying it helped me break out of my Mom Zombie state. Smashing success, in other words!
    Best of luck in whatever you decide. I, for one, enjoy your words.
    Summary
     
    31 Visitors (Past 24 Hours)
    213 Visitors (Past 7 Days)
    934 Visitors (Past 30 Days)
    44 Feed Subscribers (?)
    ?/10Google PageRank (?)
    Top Referrers 296 Total day  2 days  3 days  week  month
     
    great

    • says

      You don’t sound like an ass: just like someone who knows what matters.
      I’m not proud of the fact that I’m stuck on my stats….but I kinda am. And believe me, I realize all the blog has given me. I’m just wondering if now, it’s time to focus on those things, rather than the blog itself. Although I guess I could think “the blog has given me so much already, who cares who reads it?” I’m gonna work on that.

  9. says

    I agree with Dana. If you define blogging success as number of views/visitors/followers/etc. then perhaps you have not achieved success. In which case, you can decide to abandon it – not a bad decision, there are so many others things to do. Or you can start more aggressively “marketing” your blog – something that sounds distasteful for you.

    But maybe just take a break and see if you miss blogging and can get past the stats focus. I’m betting that you, as a professional writer, journal. And you probably don’t have any expectations of readership; most journals are private. Can blogging for you have similar rewards to journaling (writing practice, putting thoughts down on paper, whatever it is) but in a less private way…but with no expectations of audience size? You already have found rewards from your blog in, perhaps, unexpected ways – Blogging Angels, some new relationships, etc. Perhaps some time away will shift your focus and expectations.

    I, for one, would miss reading your blog, although I’m only a recent follower having found you because of Freshly Pressed.

  10. says

    IF you quit (and I hope you won’t) be sure it is for something that will serve your creative side. I heartily believe writing makes me a better wife/mom/woman. Without this outlet, I wouldn’t be fulfilled. But that’s me.

    Know what makes you happy. Don’t live for the numbers–we all get frustrated and hit plateaus. You’re doing good work and that matters.

    • says

      Thanks so much. All of the comments have been really helpful and thought provoking. I don’t think I’m going to quit…just going to reevaluate what I’m doing and writing – and what my definition of success is. Blogging has truly, deeply changed my life – new friends, new opportunities, travel….so if the blog itself isn’t getting the number of eyeballs I feel constitute success, so what?
      I’m gonna work on not just saying that, but feeling that way for real.

  11. says

    I know how you feel. I never got into blogging to make money or get a book/deal just as way to fill in my social media gap on my marketing resume when I got laid off.

    Something happened I never expected to happen, Pr folks discovered me, which led to going to blog events which led to meeting an amazing group of women I would have never met in my former marketing life, was offered writing gigs, even auditioned as an online spokeperson (I didnt get it but who cares, its nice just to have someone call)

    So now as much as Id like to be the new pioneer woman, I feel inspired by what I have evolved into as a person, mother, future entrpreneur and look forward to 2011.

    hang in there Nancy, if you stop blogging, I wont see you at events.

    http://www.nycsinglemom.com

  12. says

    The great thing about this new social media frontier is that it constantly evolves, and being flexible is really the key to making it work for yourself. Opps and motivation come and go, and social media priorities are constantly tweaked, so I think if you’re true to yourself and what’s making you happy wherever you find yourself along the continuum, things’ll take shape and just work for you.

    I keep coming back to my blog because it’s still the foundation that all of my other opps and assignments were built upon. It’s my touchstone and I can always adapt it to what I need it to be that works for me as I go along. I like that I have the ownership and flexibility to tweak my blog as needed.

    With that said, I’m grateful for you blogging as it’s the glue that brought us together! Although I understand if it’s not right for you to continue it with all that you have going on right now, and I know other places online where I can find you. 😉

    BTW, did you see this article today about bloggers getting out of the game? http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/20110115/ISSUE03/301159994/bye-bye-bloggers#axzz1BQ8dzAo8

    Good luck figuring it out!

  13. says

    Hello,

    Just found your blog through a simple search in Google. Congratulations on the success you’ve had so far. I also have a blog that lists free events New Yorkers can go to each day. We’re trying to help New Yorkers save money in any way that we can.

    Anyway, I was wondering if you wanted to exchange links with me so we can help spread some traffic around between each other. If interested, feel free to place my link on your site and comment on mine when you have so I can do the same.

    Jason
    Flierguy.com

  14. says

    You sound pretty successful to me. Maybe a little depressed, coming down from the high of that big meeting?!

    I found this post looking up why people have quit blogging. I feel a lot of pressure, with more than one, all out of date…

    I’m like you, and get obsessed with SEO and the stats. But it’s a game I like to play – just wish I could ignore it and do more of the content.

    I also think it’s hard to write for free when your writing gets paid well in other venues…

    But all in all, I got more inspired from reading your post than discouraged, so that worked well. 🙂

    PS. You have certainly done a number on the MistyLook theme! It’s great, but I never would have recognized it!

    • says

      Glad my personal angst could help!!! As a matter of fact, since I wrote this post, I’ve been re-inspired by Blissdom and by all of the comments on this post. It’s still hard not to focus on stats..but I’m doing better. And oddly, my stats are too.
      If you’re blogging for dollars, chances are it’s not gonna work. Hardly anyone makes real money. You have to do it because you love it. Sounds like you do.

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