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Blog Struggles: Blogger’s Depression

Blog Struggles Article SeriesIt happens to everyone, including bloggers. You work and work, filled with enthusiasm, eager to embrace each day. Then something happens.

For a blogger, it’s little things. A mistake found in a post months after publishing. You are embarrassed but no big deal. Then someone says something a bit sarcastic towards you, and not your post, and you blow it off. After all, everyone is entitled to their opinion. Right?

One morning, you check your comments and two dozen comment spam, selling casinos, porn, drugs, music, and mortgages, slips through, littering your blog. You hit the Mass Edit button and quickly deal with each evil nasty, worry about whether or not your comment spam fighting tools are really doing their jobs, then look at the hundreds they caught, compare the ratio, and stop worrying.

Then a blogger writes something not so kind about one of your blog posts, taking you a bit to task for overlooking or ignoring an important point. Oh, well, they are also entitled to their opinion. You look again at the post in question and realize that they are right. You did overlook something important, but that’s what having a good blog conversation is about. You don’t have to say everything. Let your commenters and other bloggers fill in the missing blanks.

Still, how could you have missed that?

Your blog writing slows down. The white screen of the Write Post panel stares back at you, more wall than welcoming mat for your ideas and thoughts. Hey, that’s okay. The experts tell you that you don’t have to publish posts every day. Skipping a day now and then is actually good and helps you avoid feed fatigue, overwhelming your readers with too much content.

Tomorrow looks better for blogging.

What was that thing you wanted to blog about? You had it clearly in your head a couple hours ago. It was a brilliant idea at the moment. Where did it go? Hmm, must not have been such a good idea. Oh, well.

Another commenter takes you to task for an issue off-topic of your blog post. They are so far off base, you wonder if they are reading from outer space. You debate whether or not to delete the comment, then just give up. Why bother?

Yep. Skipped another day of blogging. So what will you blog about tomorrow? Don’t worry, you’ll think of something.

Comment spam floods in again. Damn. Time to update , Bad Behavior and Spam Karma. Maybe consider adding a CAPTCHA or quiz? You know they don’t work, but this is getting ridiculous. You feel like you spend so much time getting rid of comment spam, sifting through porn, sex, viagra, mortgages, casinos, and useless crap in the caught spam list, searching for false/positives, there’s no energy left to write a blog post.

Tomorrow, you promise yourself, you’ll do it.

There is no tomorrow. There is a week and suddenly you think of something to blog about. You rush to the computer, start tapping away, and ten minutes later think, “who really cares about what I have to say.” Why are you wasting people’s time with your babble. You’re not really contributing, you’re just rambling. Why bother?

But you have to publish something. So you do a quick search using Google Blog Search for some thing interesting, or plow thorough your feed reader to find what someone else has said, then link and blockquote their point to share it with your readers on your blog. You can’t say it, so find someone else who can and share it with your readers. That’s better.

At least you published something.

Does any of this sound familiar?

Welcome to the joys of Blogger’s Depression.

Surviving Blogger’s Depression

If you have been doing this long enough, you will recognize many of these symptoms. We all go through it. I’ve gone through it many times in the more than 14 years of doing this web stuff. It’s natural, and normal. But few ever talk about it.

While I can say many things and offer great tips for surviving blogger’s depression, the truth is that there is only one bit of advice I can offer:

This too will pass.

Honestly, it passes. If you love what you blog about, if the subject truly stimulates your brain and is your passion, enthusiasm will return. Creative thoughts will kick in.

If you let them.

There, as they say, lies the rub. If you let the negative thoughts, the negative experiences, the constant work that blogging often entails, get you down, it will keep you down. You have to want to jump start your blogging energy, or at least wait through the dark days, until the creative juices and joy returns.

It will, but you have to be open and willing to let it back into your life. When it does, you can throw open the doors of your blog and fill it again with the sound of colorful thoughts and laughter.

Fake It ‘Til You Make It

However, I don’t have time to wait. When your blog is your income, direct or indirect, when it is your reputation and business communications tool, you have to keep blogging. This is when the fake it ’til you make it cliché comes through.

Knowing it will pass, you have to push through the depression. You have to keep slogging through blog content, in spite of your lack of interest.

You have to keep marking comment spam as comment spam, especially if you are using Akismet because you are helping others prevent those comment spam you mark on their blogs. Do it for the community, whether you feel like it or not.

You have to upgrade your blog, Theme, and Plugins when security issues arrive, whether you are in the mood or not. You have to protect your readers and your blog from harm.

If you keep pushing on, the blogger’s depression will pass and your long term faking will turn sincere. Remember, you started blogging for a very good reason, and the reason hasn’t changed. You’ve changed. Now it’s time to not just change back, but get better because you’ve learned along the dark road of blogging as well as the light road.

Blog Struggles Series

This is one of an ongoing series of articles on blog struggles, the challenges of blogging as I see them from 14 years of experience.

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Copyright Lorelle VanFossen, member of the 9Rules Network, and author of Blogging Tips, What Bloggers Won't Tell You About Blogging.

24 Comments

  1. Posted November 20, 2007 at 6:10 am | Permalink

    good post, but I think I will need a second read, since I am trying to relate it with my blog now.. trying to understand it more.

    PS: can u write something about difference between personal blog and business blog ? if u already have can you send me a link ?

  2. Posted November 20, 2007 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    Thank you for this post. It is so right on. I went through this with a semi-successful blog a couple years back and instead of dealing with it..gave up sold the site..and lived to regret it!

  3. Posted November 20, 2007 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    This is such a common thing that, like you said, no one ever talks about. So, you languish in self doubt convinced that you are the only person that it ever happens to.

    Nice to know that I’m not alone. :)

  4. Posted November 20, 2007 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    @dinsan:

    I don’t think I need to point you to such an article as it’s really obvious what the difference between a business blog and a personal blog is. If any form of income is derived from a blog, directly or indirectly, it’s a business.

    For the rest of you, thank you so much for confirming that I’m not alone – we are not alone, which is the purpose of this series on blog struggles. We need to talk about the elephants, snakes, tigers, and bears in the room.

  5. Posted November 20, 2007 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

    Lorelle

    I know just what you’re talking about…

  6. Posted November 20, 2007 at 10:38 pm | Permalink

    Ouh dear, Lorelle.. I should have read this before announcing that I will sell my Giving Hands blog. I don’t have time and momentum to periodically update that blog because somehow “something more important” pops up and I have to postpone writing on that blog.

    I will still continue blogging about the environment and stuff like that on my personal blog because that’s what I am too. And I am working on my turtle blog, which I think I have more passion in compared to the environment. Oh well..

  7. Posted November 20, 2007 at 10:41 pm | Permalink

    By the way, we need to talk about turtles too, OK? :)

  8. Posted November 22, 2007 at 12:32 am | Permalink

    Fake It ‘Til You Make It

    Yep… Been There… :)

  9. Posted November 23, 2007 at 4:47 am | Permalink

    My suggestion to avoid Blogger Depression is not to take your blog too seriously and not try to be too professional.

    If it is hard work to blog, then you are probably trying too hard e.g. by inserting professional-looking graphics into posts and doing things that take a lot of time. It doesn’t take much time to splat out a bunch of words, but if you start trying to coolify everything you do, then that will slow you right down.

    If you are trying to make money from a blog, then you may be interested to know that many high earners don’t make their money from blogging, they have other businesses that make the money. The blog is a primarily a publicity machine.

    All in my opinion of course :-)

  10. Posted November 23, 2007 at 5:43 am | Permalink

    For me, having a constant flow of potential posts “in process” helps stave off the blank page, because I can go to a page that isn’t blank. There’s sure to be more to say, or a better way to say it.

  11. Posted November 23, 2007 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    @Andy:

    There have been many many studies on where the “real” money comes from in blogging, and it ain’t from ads on your blog.

    Either way, professional or not, many bloggers suffer from blogger’s depression because the blog needs feeding and there are a lot of expectations, assumptions, and myths around feeding your blog. Saying “don’t take it seriously” is easier said than done. Blogging is a habit, and when the habit consumes the person rather than the person controlling the habit, depression lurks.

  12. Posted November 23, 2007 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

    This post is really helpful. Thanks Lorelle :)

  13. Posted November 26, 2007 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    I have dealt with depression for the past forty years and know that it often requires medical intervention. A cure can be as simple as fixing a chemical imbalance between Seratonin for example and Dopamine. Elevate one or both. Is blogging depression just about blogging? This post confuses me a little because thinking depression will just pass doesn’t really help a lot of folks. We all have different ways of dealing with it. Some won’t go near meds. Others like therapy. But I didn’t know it could be caused by blogging mishaps.

  14. Posted November 26, 2007 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

    @davidlind:

    Anything can cause someone to be depressed. It’s how they move from the depression to action that defines if the depression is “simple” and normal or clinical. Chronic or persistent depression is best handled by professionals, and blogging doesn’t cause that. It comes with the human package and baggage. :D

  15. Posted November 28, 2007 at 12:04 am | Permalink

    I think it’s not entirely about blogging, I think it’s about not having the support. This too happened to writers, entrepeneurs, musicians, and all other activities that require determination to create over everything else.

    I personally love writing with all the goods and the bads. It makes no difference whether I’m blogging or not, writing is still going to be hard. It can take over your life.

    Nothing that is easy has a meaning, that’s what I believe.

  16. Posted January 4, 2008 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

    I enjoy your blog and have one of your books. However, I’ve noticed you frequently use the more tag in your posts to link to the rest of the story. I almost NEVER click out of my RSS reader. With over 1000 news items to catch up on, I don’t have the time. I’m wondering why you do that. Keep up the great work. As a new blogger, it’s a bit overwhelming trying to deal with the technical and security aspects of running a WordPress blog.

    Sincerely,

    Ron

  17. Posted January 4, 2008 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

    @ Ron Frazier:

    I don’t do it for all my posts. I do it because the majority of my readers prefer it that way. I get very few requests, maybe 3-5 a year, to open up my feeds fully. I also do it because it keeps the content thieves from getting everything all the time.

    I write on a variety of topics on WordPress and blogging, some of which are of no interest to many of my regular readers. This way, they can choose what they read instead of overwhelming their feeds.

    And if you don’t click out of your feed reader, you are missing a lot of the web. There’s a whole world out there. :D

  18. Posted March 9, 2008 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    It really is not the end of the world if you miss a few days or weeks even. I have been writing and blogging daily for 10 years now and I have found that it is typically a lack of vision, confusion, or preparation that causes me to cease writing.

    Right now I have a number of family issues that are consuming most of my workday and am too tired most evenings to write.

    I am gearing up a new blog soon to align more directly with my vision, interests, and changing focus toward B2B marketing.

    Then there is the fact that I am collaborating on two new business books – one you can view at Gateway Blogging and the other project is growing into a series of eight books about small business.

    So I am busy and gave myself permission to let the blog sit for awhile. I have been consolidating and reorganizing my blog, besides, there are 800 or so articles that visitors can read and will satisfy most people.

    Thanks Lorelle, wish we could connect at SOBcon but I am busy that weekend helping family move.

  19. jemila95
    Posted June 20, 2008 at 4:12 am | Permalink

    I enjoy your blog have and one of books. it is very simple

  20. Posted December 22, 2008 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    I want what you’re going to send dinsan. lol I think my blog is legit…..can you check it for me or am I out of line asking?
    I’m new to blogging and all the stuff that goes with it
    What is it that Jemila95 is talking about? Sorry if I’m being too nosy

    • Posted December 22, 2008 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

      I didn’t send anything to anyone. What dinsan wanted was more articles on this blog about the difference between a personal and business blog. I write a lot about that on different angles, but basically, a personal blog is personal to you, whatever that looks like, and a business blog supports a business endeavor. From there, the basics are just the same, it’s the intent that is different.

      I can tell from your site that you are new to blogging. For instance, you are naming each blog post title for the name of your site not the name of your blog post. The content is also not very friendly and looks like a splog, a spam blog. It doesn’t represent you, nor your intent. It looks like an advertisement. The fact that it is on Blogspot/Blogger, a service enjoyed by spammers, doesn’t help.

      What Jemila95 was talking about is my book, Blogging Tips, What Bloggers Won't Tell You About Blogging.

      Thanks.

  21. Gabriela
    Posted December 7, 2010 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

    Dear Lorelle, thank you so much for this post.

    You are right, thinking that “this too shall pass” is the best antidote for blogger’s depression. What I also experience sometimes is blogger’s anxiety! I want to write about so many things so I will start many different articles at the same time and get caught in not finishing anyone :(
    Thanks again.

  22. Posted March 10, 2013 at 3:25 am | Permalink

    I have been depressed for 9 years :( And things keep happening which make me go back to square 1 of recovery. I can’t lose patience, I know. 9 years seems ages for me though, and I wish that I stop hurting … soon. :(

    Thank you – your blog helped me a bit :)

    • Posted March 10, 2013 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for your comment. Depression is a word we use for many things, many of them legitimate medical conditions, other times describing sadness and frustration. The issues of blogging that I’m talking about are not serious medical conditions that require treatment, just acceptance and moving forward. Congrats on your own personal story and recovery.


22 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. [...] blues at bay too. On a related note Lorelle of Lorelle on WordPress has written a good piece on bloggers depression in her Blog Struggles series. If you blog it is worth [...]

  2. [...] |   Lorelle of Lorelle on WordPress has written a good piece on the slippery slope of  bloggers depression as part of her Blog Struggles series. If you keep a blog the whole series is worth reading in fact [...]

  3. [...] out with all the cool kids but they let the kid stay anyway. Having a bad blog day it would seem. Lorelle wrote an article about bloggers depression and I think that explains it quite well. I do think that she actually meant more in context with [...]

  4. [...] Lorelle on WordPress [...]

  5. [...] time and energy on a blog post without moving to out of the draft bin, stop. This post is not only sucking away valuable energy and passion, it is a black hole you might never pull away from. It is draining your energy from other more [...]

  6. [...] Blog Struggles: Blogger’s Depression by Lorelle VanFossen… Another in this fine series by Lorelle, I included this one because as I read the post, I had to turn and look in the mirror. [...]

  7. [...] Blog Struggles: Blogger’s Depression [...]

  8. [...] Blog Struggles: Blogger’s Depression [...]

  9. [...] Blog Struggles: Blogger’s Depression looks at the rarely discussed by normal aspect of blogging: depression. When the enthusiasm for the effort is lost and apathy sets in, and how to overcome it. [...]

  10. [...] Blog Struggles: Blogger’s Depression [...]

  11. [...] Blog Struggles: Blogger’s Depression looks at the rarely discussed by normal aspect of blogging: depression. When the enthusiasm for the effort is lost and apathy sets in, and how to overcome it. [...]

  12. [...] Blog Struggles: Blogger’s Depression looks at the rarely discussed by normal aspect of blogging: depression. When the enthusiasm for the effort is lost and apathy sets in, and how to overcome it. [...]

  13. [...] Blog Struggles: Blogger’s Depression looks at the rarely discussed by normal aspect of blogging: depression. When the enthusiasm for the effort is lost and apathy sets in, and how to overcome it. [...]

  14. [...] Blog Struggles: Blogger’s Depression [...]

  15. [...] Blog Struggles: Bloggers Depression (lorelle.wordpress.com) [...]

  16. […] Blog Struggles: Blogger’s Depression looks at the rarely discussed by normal aspect of blogging: depression. When the enthusiasm for the effort is lost and apathy sets in, and how to overcome it. […]

  17. […] Blog Struggles: Blogger’s Depression looks at the rarely discussed by normal aspect of blogging: depression. When the enthusiasm for the effort is lost and apathy sets in, and how to overcome it. […]

  18. […] Blog Struggles: Blogger’s Depression looks at the rarely discussed by normal aspect of blogging: depression. When the enthusiasm for the effort is lost and apathy sets in, and how to overcome it. […]

  19. […] Blog Struggles: Blogger’s Depression looks at the rarely discussed by normal aspect of blogging: depression. When the enthusiasm for the effort is lost and apathy sets in, and how to overcome it. […]

  20. […] Blog Struggles: Blogger’s Depression looks at the rarely discussed by normal aspect of blogging: depression. When the enthusiasm for the effort is lost and apathy sets in, and how to overcome it. […]

  21. […] Blog Struggles: Blogger’s Depression looks at the rarely discussed by normal aspect of blogging: depression. When the enthusiasm for the effort is lost and apathy sets in, and how to overcome it. […]

  22. […] Blog Struggles: Blogger’s Depression looks at the rarely discussed by normal aspect of blogging: depression. When the enthusiasm for the effort is lost and apathy sets in, and how to overcome it. […]

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