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A Blogger’s Life: Why Blog and When Do You Stop Blogging?

Dr. Johnson’s Cat asks “So: Why Blog?”, a question that plagues many bloggers, wanna be bloggers, and wish-they-weren’t bloggers. Why do we keep on blogging when the fun drains away. And what keeps bringing us back.

Googling the phrase “stop blogging” gets 171,000 hits: Ten Reasons Why I Should Stop Blogging; Should I Stop Blogging? 20 Questions to Ask Yourself; 29 reasons you need to stop blogging right now; Why Bloggers Stop Blogging; How to Know When to Stop Blogging; Stop Blogging and Get to Work; etc. The tract “What Everyone Should Know About Blog Depression” (Loss of pleasure in the Internet; feelings of sadness, disappointment, anger, self loathing, hopelessness, dementia; passive aggressive moaning and a steady lengthening of the interval between posts) is now three years old.

And why shouldn’t people be depressed? According to a recent study (via Jakob Nielsen via grow-a-brain) visitors to websites on the average read only 20% of the text; 28% tops. People starting blogs only to abandon them within months, or even weeks, is such a commonplace that you’re surprised this hasn’t become a a ubiquitous trope on sitcoms. Where indeed are the reality shows where the participants, instead of holding out to the last “What have we learned?” episode, instead wander off seriatim, not so much called back to real life as completely unsprung by despair.

Which of course begs the question: why blog at all?

The first comment asks if blogs have a “good until” date stamp on them – and if they should.

The author, Chris Hodge, tells a lively and beautifully written story about his own path through the blogosphere, blogging, stopping, blogging, stopping, finding a sense of renewal, and then depression again. It’s a great tale of a typical blog experience and challenges you to think about why you blog, but most of all, why you keep blogging.

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Copyright Lorelle VanFossen, the author of Blogging Tips, What Bloggers Won't Tell You About Blogging.

17 Comments

  1. Posted July 18, 2008 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    Lorelle,

    I believe time (or the lack thereof) is the main factor in considering a blog-stoppage. We all want to have a great blog, but sometimes cannot carve out the time required to make it happen. I think you could search and find just as many headlines that read “sorry I haven’t posted in a while”. The “burden” of the unmaintained blog can make anyone want to stop.

  2. Posted July 18, 2008 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    @ Chris:

    Very good point. I personally don’t like it when a blogger says “Sorry, I haven’t been around much lately” as it isn’t “news”. What IS news is what happened to them, so a title of “New Job” or “Moving My Life to a New Level” is more interesting than “well, I’ve been of doing other stuff. How are you?” That’s a time waster for sure.

    Procrastination is the death of many blogs, but those who keep jumping back in with the “not around much” stuff is just as tiring. If you need to let it go, let it go. If you really want to make something of your blog, then go for it. Make a plan and take action.

  3. Posted July 18, 2008 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

    I stopped blogging because I was writing/blogging in the wrong direction. What I wrote about ultimately didn’t make me feel all that well.

    Now, I blog because I want to empower people. I derive joy in being able to share my experiences to lend advice and empower others. And it’s a win-win because blogging allows me the opportunity to reflect on myself and where I’m going. My recent creation (my new blog) is, well, new. But I’m hopeful that I’m now steering down the right path.

  4. Posted July 19, 2008 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    @ Ricardo Bueno:

    How did you know it was the wrong direction? What were the clues?

  5. Posted July 19, 2008 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    For me, when I don’t have time and passion I stop. If I have passion I’ll try to make time. But there’s not much worse than reading a blog where the author just doesn’t seem to care.

  6. Posted July 20, 2008 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    Chris Osborne makes a good point. You must care about the blog. You must care about your writing. If you don’t care, then why should the readers care? People are sensitive to the tone of writing and can easily detect sincerity or lack thereof.

    I think the issue of time affects many people. Perhaps they don’t realize going into the project the amount of time necessary to develop a good blog. Others may just use it as a personal diary and not care much for who stops by and what it looks like so long as it holds content and can be referenced again via browsing or searching.

    In the end, however, those who “sign off” may go back to blogging some day. It’s almost as though they are the procrastinators saying, “I’ll get around to it again. Really I will. Just as soon as I…” I see an analogy, though, with those blogs which just stop at a date.

    Those blogs are dead. Just as we die and cease to exist, so too do these blogs. No epitaph, no promise of a future post, no famous last words (at least not yet), but just a disappearance into the ether.

    Interesting topic to think about. Thanks for pointing me over there.

  7. Posted July 21, 2008 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    If blogging is started as an impulse, it will also stop that way. That is much like the two happiest days in the life of someone who buys a boat – the first is the day he bought it and the second the day he sold it. And then there is the fellow who loves sailing and the fellow who instructs you on all things sailing.

    I fit into the latter category, which implies a marriage between blogs and posts – the current and the cumulative. I still struggle with WordPress and how to meet both of my objectives, i.e. how to even configure my site to do that.

    When my cumulative work is done, I also will stop blogging, leaving only my footsteps in google.

    Now, if I could only configure WP I would be a happy camper. Presently I am suffering death by a thousand cuts – SOOOOOO much information about wordpress, it’s killing me. But at least I know why I even try.

  8. Posted July 21, 2008 at 10:33 pm | Permalink

    Hi Lorelle,

    I don’t see myself quitting blogging, but what does concern me is when some of my favorite new bloggers suddenly stop posting with no explanation, no final post, no good bye. As bloggers we grow to care about each other, and I worry when someones blog suddenly becomes dormant. It’s like losing a friend, but not knowing why.

    This issue was on my heart so I wrote a post about it. Surprisingly, several of the bloggers showed up and gave me an update; their personal lives got too busy.

  9. Posted July 22, 2008 at 6:51 am | Permalink

    I’m about 9 months or so in and I definitely went through a dip for a small period where I told myself, “this is rough keeping to a schedule, following certain blogging rules, knowing how to blog and tell stories, etc., etc.). But then I realized as I blogged about stuff I already knew, I was learning even more.

    I think part of what I feed off of is the learning process. Learning how to craft a blog article and marketing my blog has helped me in so many other areas in business.

  10. Posted July 23, 2008 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

    Everyone blogs for a variety of individual reasons, I believe. Some for business, some for money, others to have somewhere to express an opinion or show off.

    My own reasons are to teach myself about xhtml and css, image creation using Fireworks and improving my writing and brain function.

    I don’t have a stats counter and am sincerely not bothered whether people read it or not. It’s for my own entertainment. I aim not to offend and try to make my site a pleasant experience for anyone who does come accross it.

    I do, however, find it fascinating that so many people tie themselves up in knots about something which is, after all, fairly trivial.

  11. Posted July 26, 2008 at 1:55 am | Permalink

    I deeply enjoy blogging. I have a photoblog with some ideas or thoughts going with it. Sometimes it’s hard to go for new pics, or to select one which I think could be of interest or joy for others. And of course it’s hard to stick to a schedule. But since the time I know some people are following my blog via RSS I look forward to give them something to look at.

  12. Posted July 31, 2008 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    I’ve written a journal for eleven years. I used to write in it daily but I stopped doing that. Soemtimes I will not write in it for months at a time but something always draws me back to it.

    Writing a blog is the same but also different. I feel compelled to write a keep a more constant schedule because I have readers other than just myself.

    But I think writing is a compulsion that many people just have to do. I know that I need to write. As such blogging is important to me. So is my journal.

    I don’t think we should have expiration dates at all. I just think anyone that starts a blog should work hard to continue it, even if it is only updated once a month.

  13. Posted August 8, 2008 at 7:24 am | Permalink

    Many times I wanted to stop. I think I’ve stuck with it just to prove that I’m not a quitter. I don’t want to be one those bloggers who posts her “last post” only to come back the next week calling it a false alarm, either. The best advice I can give is that unless blogging is your livelihood, try not to take it so seriously that it becomes a chore.

  14. Posted August 10, 2008 at 1:18 am | Permalink

    Whenever I feel like calling a halt to blogging I take a break for a little while. As yet I have not seriously thought of not blogging and I have been doing so almost daily since Jan 2004.

    I think if my readers really dropped off and I felt it was not being read then I would think about it. That said I keep a daily journal and have done so for 19 years – its part of my life and a habit like taking a daily shower.
    Perhaps a question about not blogging would be more a question of wanting to change my daily routine rather than stopping blogging.

  15. Posted August 21, 2008 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    This is an interesting discussion thread. I maintain both a personal (www.gilandvicki.info) and a business blog (www.biztrek.net). I see more and more people using personal blogs as an easier way to stay in touch with friends and family. I have friends and family spread all over the continent. I use Facebook to stay in touch with some. However, our personal blog allows picture and news sharing to anyone who wants to check in and “subscribe”.

    My business blog on the other hand, is designed to communicate with people in my business circle of influence. They can subscribe to my posts, “hear” my thoughts and plug-in as desired. It would be hard for me to stay connected to 2900 people any other way. Indeed, sometimes I have nothing to say, and sometimes a lot. When I am vacationing (which I do often) I stop writing. I think it is okay not to feel forced. Then the content degrades to junk. But, if you discover something, or have a unique thought, then blogging is a nice way to return to the modern day version of the front-porch dialogue that our society lost many decades ago.

  16. Posted May 7, 2013 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    I thing there are 3 kinds of blogs: personal (as diaries), business ones (also two kinds, real blog business), and supportive ones – including pure SEO blogs. Well, there are 5 years since previous posts, so anybody could say this right now, but this species is evolving cause is in direct link with human nature to express it self to others… Why? Because is in our nature to be part of a… network, a social one… thank you lorelle for your blog, even after 5 years… :)

    • Posted May 8, 2013 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

      Ah, five years young. You are very welcome. I have no idea when exactly to start counting my “blogging years.” I started publishing on the web somewhere around 1988-1990 but the first websites came out as homepages in 1993-1994 and I had one of the first ones as part of testing them. When you have been doing it that long, you learn a few things along the way. Luckily, I’m constantly surprised at the changes and evolution of web publishing, so I’m with you.

      The further apart we think we are from each other, the closer we are heading into each others’ arms. An old Up With People song was called “The Further We Reach Out.” “The further we reach out, the closer we become…” That is so true today with social media. Thank you for reminding me.


4 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. [...] figures that right after I restart raise this blog from the dead Lorelloe has a post about why people stop blogging.  I guess it could be sad, but I prefer to see things another [...]

  2. [...] stuff to think about, and by extenssion write about. I was readingLorrel On WordPress where she was highlighting a post on another blog called “So: Why Blog”. The post was by Dr. Johnson’s Cat and was [...]

  3. [...] A Blogger’s Life: Why Blog and When Do You Stop Blogging? There comes a time when you may choose to stop blogging. Before that time comes, ask yourself, really, why do you blog? [...]

  4. [...] A Blogger’s Life: Why Blog and When Do You Stop Blogging? There comes a time when you may choose to stop blogging. Before that time comes, ask yourself, really, why do you blog? [...]

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