|“Das Schlaraffenland” – Pieter Bruegel the Elder|
It’s been over five years since blogs really exploded into the public consciousness, fueled by the rising popularity of WordPress and Blogger, which vastly simplified the process of creating places on the Internet where anyone could easily share their thoughts.
And dare I say people seem to be getting tired?
Natalie Whipple and J.A. Konrath were the latest to express blog fatigue, joining countless others who have gone on temporary or permanent hiatus.
For some it’s the negativity that comes with putting yourself out there. Some people have run out of ideas. Some people have taken a look at the cost/benefit and decided it wasn’t worth it. And some just forget to post.
I’m sure it hasn’t escaped the notice of regular blog readers that the posting on this blog has grown, well, a bit more sporadic. After posting every weekday for nearly five years, I’ve found it increasingly difficult to keep up that pace.
For me it’s not about running out of ideas or the occasional negativity (though that can be a drag), it’s just a time crunch.
It’s always been a balancing act to juggle busy day jobs, writing books, and blogging, but what’s really changed for me is that I made a very conscious decision to get out more. To spend more time with friends and people and exploring and finding a better balance in my life.
So if I’m hanging out with friends Thursday night there’s no This Week in Books on Friday. If I have a busy weekend it might be until Tuesday that I get a post up. I’ve chosen to make that tradeoff
Sorry about that! I care a lot about this blog and all of the readers, and I’m not good at letting some things slide. And this blog isn’t going anywhere any time soon. I hope you’ll stick around.
What do you think? Are you seeing more blog fatigue? Have you experienced it yourself?
As far as "fatigue" goes for me, what is stopping me from posting is either having work or having a lack of a writing prompt, the latter being probably what is easier for me to solve.
I actually do follow quite a few blogs where the author is/was absent, but perhaps we all simply have not found that balance that is clearly needed.
I've only been blogging "seriously" for three months, but during that time I have overcome and learned from two blogging crises. The issues were 1. investing too much time into research and writing (in comparison to the relevance of the outcome); 2. getting bored with my own writing.
I resolved both by letting go of the "how blogging should be" and instead turn to "how I can have fun with blogging" – and let it grow and continue naturally.
Sommer Leigh says
I am seeing a lot of blog fatigue, though I am not feeling it. I had it a little earlier this summer, but it has long since disappeared. I agree with Mira above in that blog fatigue is cyclical. Interest comes and goes.
I've always blogged when I had something to say, highlighting another author or was working on some sort of research. That means I could go several weeks without a post. I use my great-grandmother's receipt book for my lead-in. And that can take time too. Lately, a workshop I took suggested reposting on Twitter. Been doing that.
I'm seeing it a lot lately too. Personally, as a blog reader I'd much rather see thoughtful yet less frequent posts than a bunch of filler stuff and memes that I'd rather skip over anyway just to keep up with a daily posting schedule.
Carol Benedict says
I'm not even trying to post regularly anymore. It takes a lot of time to research and write a quality post, so I only do it when I have lots of free time–which isn't often. Ironically, since I quit posting as often, my blog stats have risen dramatically.
Most of my blogging friends have also been posting less, so I think blog fatigue might be contagious.
Mimi Hawthorne says
Amen, brother. I have always thought that blogging was like eating potato chips: a short burst of flavor, but ultimately unsatisfying and a waste of calories. I no longer do it. I prefer sinking into my novel, thinking deeply and broadly, struggling and savoring as with a good meal, and after the effort, feeling satisfied and sustained. The same is true for reading blogs …I only follow a few, then shut down the computer and pick up a book.
Darlene Underdahl says
And please stick around… I really enjoy your calm take on things.
Karen A. Chase says
Blogs are like any other social media tool in that they must have purpose and consistency. Daily blogs are far too frequent–always have been–and often the writers wax on or rant instead of being succinct. My experience says blogs should be kept under 250-300 words, be relevant to a brand, published at most once a week, and certainly after a few-month run if the followers and comments are non-existent (which clearly doesn't apply to you), the author should cease the blog. Otherwise it's like posting what sandwich you ate for lunch. It has no impact on people's growth, so why waste everyone's time talking about it…
Sonia G Medeiros says
I've been feeling the blog fatigue lately too. Both with reading and writing. It felt like it was sucking a lot of the creative energy I needed for my novel-in-progress. I cut back from 3 days a week to 2 and it's helped tremendously. I don't feel as pressured throughout the week. I still think it's important to be conistent in blogging. I'm less likely to read another's blog if they're only posting here and there.
Stephanie Faris says
I'm DEFINITELY suffering blog fatigue. I was spending countless hours every day reading and writing them and I'm exhausted! Now I'm looking toward putting that creative energy toward creating a website my readers will want to visit once I'm published…really, when it comes to book sales, how influential is a blog? That's what I've been considering. But I've been using the time I used to spend reading blogs making money freelance writing. I think blogs will always be around; I just think people will have them a little more targeted. The energy we used to spend blogging our every little life detail is now spent writing 160-word status updates about our every little life detail!
Oh, I'm sooooo feeling blog fatigue.
I'm glad to find this issue addressed here, because blog fatigue has become such an epidemic. And it's weird, because you're the only one I've seen comment on the overall trend. The individual bloggers cite negativity, running out of things to say, etc.
Personally, I'm wondering if it isn't more industry-based. The closure of Borders, imprints closing, the brave new world of self-publishing – there's a lot of change in the publishing industry right now. While there can be a lot of opportunity in change, it's also stressful, and nobody is happy to read about businesses shutting their doors forever.
I think this blog fatigue is endemic to a malaise within the industry itself, and perhaps even to the broader economic recession. IMO, blogging is an inherently optimistic activity. I think it's hard for a lot of people to summon up the motivation to be optimistic about what they can achieve with their blog right now.
P. Kirby says
For me, it's more like social media fatigue, although regular blogging is certainly and effort and at times, a time sink.
It takes time to write a blog. It also to tweet and spend time on Facebook. Time, which, as you noted, takes away from other activities.
At the moment, I'm at about one posting a week. I've got a holiday art show to prepare for, a book signing around the same time, the weather is lovely, and sitting in a chair all day "socializing" is either a chore or a distraction.
At the moment, most of my social media time is done while at work. Because, meh, it's just work.
I write a humor blog with a vintage angle and only been actively blogging since April. Gone from a new follower every day to a couple a week and some weeks not that. Comments are down all over. Bummer because I'm not burned out. Was just getting going but in general, the energy is clearly ebbing across the whole blogging world, and it all seemed to happen since I started. Is it me? It's me, isn't it?
This topic just arose on Hacker News.
My own thinking is that people don't necessarily get "blog fatigue" per se—they get writing fatigue, since writing is hard, or, alternately they want to write longer, more substantial pieces than is necessarily optimal for the blog as a genre. The people who blog, I tend to suspect, are the people who really want to do it for their own pleasure and learning; the people who don't tend to move to Twitter or Facebook or whatever, since those are easier.
Totally agree. There has definitely been a retreat from the front line of blogging over the years. Less of my friends now blog regularly, my own blog is less frequently visited and (sadly) I'm less inclined myself to go looking for new blogs to read.
Facebook and Twitter are definitely partly to blame, along (perhaps) with natural burnout for some and miscellanous circumstances for others.
For the moment I have no plans to stop and I hope the same goes for you too.
Right now I'm down to a post a week instead of two to three but that could change in an instant (if only the goddamn bugs would let me out of this goddamner prison cell!!!). As long as everything I post retains the sheen of enthusiasm then I'm happy. What I won't tolerate is sticking to some kind of schedule when I've got nothing to say.
That said, my latest post is about take-away food. Do drop by.
Once upon a time, in a faraway land, people wanted to write and read powerful messages. They wanted to learn, to meet people like themselves, and to have meaningful discussions.
But in that doomed land there were kings, and the kings understood but three things. Those things were frequency, word count, and backlinks.
And so it was that people with powerful messages, people who learned, people who discussed great things, were made to suffer. The greatest of the kings, Goloth, said unto them, "do as you wish with your messages and meanings, for those do not concern me. But beware: ignore the Three Things that are dear to me, and you will be less than serfs in my kingdom."
The people found that this was true. And so they paid their duties to the kings in the form of frequency, word count, backlinks. Slowly, these things consumed their energy. They struggled with the messages and meanings that once were their passion.
And one by one they asked themselves, "Which is more valuable? One meaningful conversation, or 1,000 inane conversations?"
They looked at their spam filters, and they were glutted on felled backlinks. They looked at their neighbors, who were losing their messages, or had disappeared. They looked at their bodies, and they were bent and rheumatic.
And one by one they said to Goloth, "take your kingdom and rot in it. You have built it on my labor and given me dust in return. I will take my labor with me, and leave you with the dust."
Many, many years later, the people had moved to distant kingdoms. Some had built new kingdoms to suit themselves. Goloth, who had once ruled them, was left with a kingdom of dust.
Carolyn L says
You've established a fantastic website with great archival blog posts. As a new writer, I find your topics helpful — yours is the only blog I subscribe to.
Posting twice a week on topics that excite you is much more valuable than trying to carry on a daily blog conversation.
You may want to consider posting a monthly rather than weekly publishing summary.
Thanks again for the wonderful insights and helpful pointers.
I have definite blog fatigue! I have my stock list of blogs which I visit, but I haven't looked at any of them in over a month. I used to have a daily routine, but then I realized I was reading about writing, not actually writing.
I decided to go on about my daily way and stop being chained to my computer. I'm also not checking Twitter as often. Does it ruin my life to not know what's going on in someone else's life? Ah, no. Turns out, the world still goes on. Who knew?
Claude Nougat says
I'm glad you're going to keep going in spite of the fatigue!
And the number of comments such a post elicited should be a real encouragement for you to keep going! I'm lucky if I get a couple of comments (but then I'm definitely not as good as you!)
All the best…and the hell with fatigue! The only way to go that makes sense is to post only when you feel like it and yes, move out of your niche too, if you're bored with the usual (publishing/books) subject! I notieced that you do, and that's a very good thing!
February Grace says
Seeing it, feeling it, tired of it all.
I blogged in another 'sphere' as it were for a long time before I started the blog I have now and maybe that's why.
I'm also tired of blogs just being book commercials in disguise.
I have limited use of my eyesight and I save it for the writers who have something to say not just something to sell- and so the list i read has dwindled.
far as my own posting- life has been bad this year- and so sometimes, there's just too much going on to come up with something fluffy to post about that people are going to want to read.
I have ten times more followers on my sidebar than ever actually read the blog. I'm thinking of going private for the people who actually care and making it more of a personal way of keeping in touch with them than anything else anymore.
Life goes by too fast to spend too much time in front of a screen: computer, or otherwise.
Rachel Ventura says
Thank you so much for this post, Mr. Bransford. At 19, I'm supposed to be part of this social media TMI generation that loves to share anything and everything every minute of my life.
But I don't, and I have long feared having to pour out expenses of my energy that I simply don't have while trying to get up the energy to write a novel (I'm working on a short story collection as a way of getting my feet wet).
I have never been a blogger for exactly this reason. Which is why it is so refreshing to hear major names in the so-called blogosphere and publishing in general — yourself as well as Konrath and Whipple — confess that blogging takes up a great deal of your time and that you are in need of some well-deserved time off.
Knowing that the "big names" struggle with the same dilemmas as the "little folks" surely brings a collective sigh of relief. (And no, I didn't call you Shirley.) I know I'll keep checking in regularly even if the posting frequency diminishes a bit. Quality over quantity, that's my philosophy. Or in the words of a certain Mr. Presley, a little less conversation and a little more action. 🙂
(BTW: I'm the one who asked about your experience with social media not long ago…and the platform-shy logo designer of Nathan's Famous Blog.)
Word verification? "Banol." Reminds me of what a lot of stuff on the internet (pleasant company excluded) happens to be, and that's "banal."
Sheila Cull says
good to hear you're sticking around…
Jacqueline Howett says
I have just got back online after almost six weeks. Balance is key. Its comforting to know we are all feeling the same. Yes evolution is taking place. There's a certain transformation going on anyway. As they say, enjoy life, for it is so fleeting!
I have a love/hate relationship with my blog. It's like a child – lots of work and little in the way of appreciation, but WOW, when the appreciation comes, it's worth it all.
I've been blogging for a little over six months, three times a day. I love it when I'm in the middle of writing a blog or when a reader tells me how much what I do means to them, but when I'm looking at my to do list, I'm hating the time it takes to be consistent.
Blogging was not on my top ten list of things I wanted to do. It was only after I'd been told repeatedly that any unpublished person that hoped to change their status HAD to blog. Funny thing is, I think blogging in some form and on some timetable is something I will always do – irregardless of my status in publishing.
It's pretty clear that "blog fatigue" means different things to different people.
It doesn't really sound to me like you are suffering from "blog fatigue", at least as I understand it, which is basically "getting tired and bored with either writing a blog, or reading blogs, or both". As you say in your post, you decided that some part of your time would be better spent actually getting out and experiencing things with friends and so on. But you are still going to keep blogging, just at a different pace.
It is a truism that people often tend to get tired of doing the same (or similar) things over and over for a long time, and eventually they need to change things, even if temporarily. So it seems to be with blogging. I've had weeks when I have posted every day, and other weeks when I've struggled to put one post up. I've had weeks when I've spent an hour or two every day reading other people's blogs, and weeks when I've only spent a few minutes doing that.
I actually feel more fatigued seeing people use the word "countless" when they mean "many". "Countless" does not mean "more than I can be bothered to count" or "a big number that's difficult to count" — it means "more than is POSSIBLE to count — an infinite number". It's just another example of the "ludicrous exaggeration for effect" plaguing much modern writing.
Now THAT'S fatiguing. — PL
Judith Mercado says
Just posted this poem on my blog:
I thought of a post
then found myself asking if
it really mattered.
Scheduled posting day
met social network fatigue.
Could I play hooky?
Real life trumps blogging,
even Nathan B admits.
I paid attention.
Claire D. says
Nathan, I happened here because I looked up 'how to write a sypnosis'and your answer was refreshing.
I don't blog and seldom read them. Now I think I may want to read yours.
I have a job, a husband, I'm working on a novel, have friends, have my issues/problems–I do not get it how people can blog so much.
Perhaps I can't because I exhaustively write a few writing colleagues?
To be really honest, I'm not sure I have enough to say to blog
. And writing is hard work, and I want to work on novel, not blog.
But I do have friends who blog and some, I believe, are really doing a service.
It sounds, Nathan, as though you have been offering a service. I'm glad you're looking for balance and also glad you've got the skill and interest in doing this.
Thanks for helping me with blasted synopsis.
Grumpy Grateful Mom says
I appreciated your post Nathan! I just started blogging this past January and I'm already feeling a bit "burnt out on blogging". That's even what I googled to find your blog. 🙂 Hoping to find a better balance.
Marie Gilbert says
I enjoy blogging because you do meet talented people who are working on amazing stories and also blogging allows me the chance to tell about the fun stuff in my life and gives me a chance to venture into a genre different than my paranormal stories, but blogging is time consuming and sometimes, I just don't have the energy to keep up.
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