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Have Your Favorite Bloggers and Blogs Run Out of Steam?

I’ve been so busy lately with personal and professional things, and with all the Mardi Gras events around the Gulf Coast and editing and uploading photographs, I haven’t taken time to catch up with my feeds recently. I made time today and found that some of my favorite bloggers are either not blogging, haven’t added anything new since fall or even January of this year, or their feeds are broken. A broken feed is easily fixed. Broken bloggers are not.

In the past six months, I’ve noticed that while there are a lot of new blogs out there, there are not a lot that last very long. According to David Sifry’s “State of the Blogosphere” reports:

We currently track over 75,000 new weblogs created every day, which means that on average, a new weblog is created every second of every day – and 13.7 million bloggers are still posting 3 months after their blogs are created. In other words, even though there’s a reasonable amount of tire-kicking going on, blogging is growing as a habitual activity. In October of 2005, when Technorati was only tracking 19 million blogs, about 10.4 million bloggers were still posting 3 months after the creation of their blogs.

In addition to that, about 2.7 million bloggers update their blogs at least weekly.

Okay, so those are the numbers, but what I’m finding is that some of my favorites are either shut down or adding nothing new.

I’m not alone. The Blogging Journalist reports on two popular bloggers ending their blogging career, Donald Sensing at One Hand Clapping and Cobb, known as the “Unconventional, Unreconstructed, Unalloyed, Unscented & Black & Republican & Civil Libertarian & Righteous & Uppity & Global Capitalist & Pro-Commons & Family Oriented & Provocative & Sometimes Worth Reading” blogger. Dave from Scripting News has also reported that he will stop blogging, another among many others who have publicly decided to stop blogging.

Reasons for Blogs Running Out of Steam

So why are so many quality bloggers running out of steam and not contributing to their blogs? And are you at risk of joining their absentee club?

I see several reasons:

  • Life interferes with blogging.
  • Work interferes with blogging.
  • Other interests interferes with blogging.
  • Loss of enthusiasm.
  • Novelty has worn off.

The first three reasons are fairly common. You fall in love, get a new job, things change in your social life, family pressures rise, the job changes, responsibilities increase, or you just fall in love with another interest and blogging falls by the wayside. However, while these are common, they aren’t the number one reason why bloggers run out of steam.

It appears that the novelty factor is top of the list.

Yes, the thrill is gone. The excitement of seeing your first post published, your words in print, visible for the world to see. It’s just so exciting. But then what?

Ah, yes, you have to do it again. And again. And again.

Do it three, four, or more times and soon it becomes work. It takes a lot of work to come up with more than four or five words or a short collection of links. After a while, even the links are hard work.

Maintaining a blog can grow tiresome as bloggers get bored with the topic, the effort, and the task itself.

There are other reasons some long time bloggers are giving it up: altruism and self interest.

So there’s the first part of my reason. Blogging doesn’t need me anymore. It’ll go on just as well, maybe even better, with some new space opened up for some new things. But more important to me, there will be new space for me. Blogging not only takes a lot of time (which I don’t begrudge it, I love writing) but it also limits what I can do, because it’s made me a public figure. I want some privacy, I want to matter less, so I can retool, and matter more, in different ways. What those ways are, however, are things I won’t be talking about here. That’s the point. That’s the big reason why.
Dave from Scripting News – Why I Will Stop Blogging

Some long time bloggers just want to do something else. I can totally understand and appreciate that reason.

They also want to open up the field for new blood. Like there is not enough room in the Blogosphere? I don’t think so, but it is just as much a reason as any other.

Do you feel those symptoms creeping up on you? Are you running out of steam?

Avoiding the Loss of Blogging Steam

I guess it’s Lorelle’s broken record: To avoid running out of steam, make a plan and stick to it. That’s the way to avoid a loss of your blogging energy and motivation. Make a plan. Keep it simple. Keep it focused. And stick with the plan.

Don’t set outrageous deadlines or goals. A goal to write 25 posts a day to your blog is just plain crazy. That won’t last more than a week or so. Don’t set goals that will sabotage your efforts before you even get going. Set reasonable and attainable goals and then increase them once you get the hang of things.

Focus, focus, focus. It makes all the difference. When you are clear about your plan, your topics, your focus, and you stay on that narrow track, enthusiasm will last longer because you have fewer distractions.

Blogging about everything under the sun, or huge sweeping subject matter is also self-defeating. There is so much to cover, where do you start? What is your criteria for inclusion on your blog? How do you decide? Start with a narrow subject for at least the first three to six months, and then stretch it out as you become more familiar with the process.

And most importantly, do it because you love it. Blog about subjects you enjoy over the long term, not the current fad. Do it because it feels good. Do it because it brings you joy. Do it because it challenges you and continues to stimulate your interest.

If you choose to quit, then quit. If you choose to quit, think through how you want to step away from blogging. Do you just want to let it go, or do it more publicly by letting your readers, and maybe the public, know why you are stopping blogging? If you choose to leave publicly, be prepared to have fans ask why and plead with you to stay. If you choose to come back, then it’s your choice and just go with it. Don’t justify it. Just keep on blogging. Fans will return.

Either way, make quitting your blog part of your plan. Think about how you want to bow out, what your reasons are, and how to convey them. Remember, blogging is about you, but blogging is also a public showcase of you and your voice. You have some responsibility to your readers. How are you going to handle this?

What Can We Do About Losing Good Bloggers

With some bloggers leaving, there is always room for more. This could be your chance to tackle a subject now not covered. You can step into the empty space and maybe do it better. Do your research and look at your competition, then step up to the plate.

What can we do about the bloggers we are losing? We can respect their wishes and offer them congratulations on their new endeavors. We can pout and whine that we’re losing an important voice in the community, but avoid pressuring the blogger to keep on blogging past their expiration date. They might recover and find new enthusiasm, or just burn out totally.

What we must do is support those who blog as much as those who choose to leave blogging. Blogging is a choice, remember. And your favorite bloggers are constantly bringing you gifts of insights and information, expanding your brain and your world and getting you to look at things a little wiser as well as differently.

Support your favorite blogger, and they may continue blogging longer.

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Copyright Lorelle VanFossen

3 Comments

  1. Posted April 11, 2006 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

    Well…you’ve been writing longer than any of us, so you would definitely know better. I guess, it’s down to the point you said. It’s for the love of it. You blog because it does something to you. Same goes for love, life and even work. If you’re going to do them because it was a fad and not because it meant something to you, you’re not going to last very long in them and even so…you’re going to burnout very quickly.

    I’ll always support my favourite bloggers, but then again…since most of them are personal blogger, their reasons again are always their own. Nothing we do can convince them to do what they don’t want to do otherwise again…it would become a chore to them and that’s not the point of blogging.

    So I’ll all but hope and keep trying to find more good blogs before they disappear.

  2. Posted June 6, 2006 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    It seems it is the same for any kind of self-motivated project: when there is no external pressure, self-motivation comes and goes.

    I’ve been restoring an old 17th century farmhouse for almost four years now, and the first part (four rooms) is only just being finished. Probably it will take another ten to fifteen years (eleven more rooms) to complete. Lots of people wonder how I keep going with such regularity and how I have avoided divorce so far. I basically did what Lorelle says: I made a plan, I stuck to it ; after a while, constraint turns into duty, duty turns into habit, and sooner or later, habit turns into addiction. Now, I cannot skip more than one week-end without feeling awkward.

    The other important thing is to write down (or just remember) your motivations in the first place. When the steam cools down, this can boost your motivation, just like an old couple re-reading sweethearts’ love letters.

  3. Posted June 6, 2006 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    Beautifully said. Wow. Thank you.


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