Friday, September 26, 2014

The Joy of Blogging

Did you see the article in the New York Times entitled "When Blogging Becomes a Slog"? You know there is something in the water when it warrants an article in the New York Times. 

I have been sad to see some of the top bloggers find blogging too much and press the pause button. One of the first hints of trouble in blogland was when I read about Erin's plan to embrace the Slow Blogging Movement  on Design for Mankind a few years ago. Erin had been blogging for years and found she wanted less - less keeping up with the internet and more story-telling from the heart. Then there were lots of rumbles about how other social media was taking over and spelling the death of blogging. And most recently, I was sad to read about the blogging break that John and Sherry from Young House Love (one of my faves) needed to take. They were finding it difficult to produce as many posts following the birth of their second child in April. I read YHL daily so they have been sorely missed. Even more disturbing, however, were the negative comments left on their blog bashing them for everything from their taste in decorating, to their attitude, to the supposed decline in quality of posts. I have yet to understand why someone would read a blog they didn't like and appreciate and take the time to write a comment stating their opinions.

When I started blogging four years ago things seemed a little different.  Blogging was more relaxed, the relationships seemed more like you were chatting over the fence with a neighbour. Over the years I've seen things change around blogland.  I've noticed things are more competitive, more perfect, and busier these days. Now a blogger is expected to not only create quality original posts on their blog, but also keep up with all the social media platforms as well. When the expectations are so high it can only lead to burnout and frustration.

At the same time I see lots of bloggers wanting to change things - make it simpler and more personal. I don't know where blogging will be in 10 or 20 years, but I do know that there is lots to love about blogging.

I've recently embraced Pinterest and love it as a place to collect ideas and inspiration. I love to follow some of my favourite bloggers on Instagram and get little glimpses into the day-to-day business of their lives (okay I'll admit it, I'm nosey). I don't really know much about Twitter and I avoid Facebook as it is so confusing and there is so much negative stuff on it. Like blogging though, all these social media platforms to a greater or lesser extent allow you to tell a short story, post a photo or two, document projects/life/inspiration, and engage in some interaction with followers. 

So what does blogging do well? Why do I keep blogging? Where is the joy in blogging?

Blogging allows for a place to write about what I'm creating and to find inspiration at the same time.  Blogging (unlike with other social media) allows you to expand on your ideas, to tell a story, to teach something, to put a personal spin on the inspiration

This past winter was a difficult one for me. I blogged like it was my second job right up until my father passed away just before Christmas and then I stalled. I had ideas, but no energy to focus them into a post. The weather was terrible and our dog was sick (and then passed away) and I just seemed to need to cocoon. My husband and I spent our time (when we weren't at work) engrossed in watching Korean dramas together. We shored each other up together in our mutual obsession with a nation on the other side of the world and with actors and actresses we didn't know. When summer came and life settled down, I was ready to blog again. I realized I had missed it, I wanted to take pictures with a purpose. I wanted to go through the creative process, and do fun projects around the house, and make things pretty on purpose. 

Blogging for me is just a hobby so I'm not under the pressure that John and Sherry from Young House Love are, but in order to remain motivated for over four years I had to ponder what engages me and makes me want to blog. Here's what I came up with:

1.  I blog to learn - I love learning new things, whether it be computer skills, photography, or how to do things. I love that blogging pushes me in new directions. For many posts I Google background information about the history of a town or house or area so I'm learning something new. I'm often having to learn a new recipe or craft that I want to make for the blog. I love being a life-long learner and blogging encourages me to do this.

2.  I blog to be inspired - There are so many ideas out there. It can be overwhelming and humbling, but it can also be so inspiring. I challenge myself to find new ways to do things, new recipes to try, new ways to decorate the house, new solutions to problems. I love putting my brain to work.

3.  I blog to be motivated - It gets 'er done! Yay for being motivated. I'm really slow at finishing any project, but blogging has helped me set goals for myself and light a tiny fire under me to get them done (still slowly, but not quite as slowly as before).

4.  I blog to be creative - One of my greatest joys about blogging is how much I have learned about photography. It gives me a purpose for taking pictures of all kinds of random things like cookies and mushrooms in the forest and pretty clouds - so I can share them with you. I love figuring out new ways to do things and trying to challenge myself to come up with yet another advent calendar or front porch decoration or sideboard arrangement. I love getting those creative juices flowing.

5.  I blog to remember - Seriously, I have such a bad memory and blogging helps me remember what we have done and when things have happened. And probably the most important thing blogging helps me remember is the recipes I have made. I love that search button on the sidebar and use it to find my recipes all the time.

5.  I blog to connect - I love the interaction from blogging. I'm not the best at keeping up with the blogs I read and leaving comments, but I do enjoy the interaction and get satisfaction from getting to know people all over the world.

What's my take-away from all this pondering. First, I do like blogging for all the reasons I listed above.  Secondly, I should try shorter posts - one picture and a few sentences - since that seems to be the modern modus operandi. Blog like it is Instagram. And finally, I need to take the time to leave comments on blogs that I visit. You never know when that blogger friend just might need to know that they were doing a great job and are appreciated.

What are your thoughts on the state of blogging?  Why do you blog?


  1. Hi Grace! I totally agree with everything that you said (but you "say" it so much better than I ever could). I just tonight saw the article about blogging in the NYTimes. I don't have the time or the talent to do anything with blogging but a hobby (when I can get to it). I used to feel a little jealous of the "big" blogs but now I'm happy to just be where I am in life and in pressure (well, maybe just a little like you said to get projects done). Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  2. I have been thinking about this exact subject recently, as I watch other bloggers crash and burn. When blogging becomes your JOB, as it is with many of the ones that we read, there are expectations and demands that other bloggers don't have. I blog for ME, to share and teach, to document what I'm doing around here, to connect with others, and to have a place to offload all the 'stuff' that spins around in my head from time to time. This was a great post, Grace.

  3. I love this. It is well said and I agree with everything. Great minds and all that! I have been blogging for almost 4 years too and it is now my full time job (along with an online shop.) The blogging part is still amazingly fun. The social media part not so much. I try to balance but all the time something is suffering. I simply cannot keep up with all of it. That's the thing I'm struggling with right now. Making choices and trying to streamline things. I love Instagram and didn't know you were on. I'd love to follow you if you don't mind. My user name is onsuttonplace.

  4. Yes, very well said. I sometimes feel the pressure to be bigger and better but I know that I enjoy blogging at the pace that I do now. I like inspiring as well as being inspired by others. There are so many nice people in the blogging world and I feel so lucky to have connected with so many who share the same interests as I do. Thanks for sharing how you feel and have a wonderful weekend!

  5. I too miss young House Love...I always looked forward to their home reno progress and fresh ideas. Perhaps part of the stress of blogging might be the competition for advertising dollars, and as you mentioned, the negative comments. I am more of a reader than a writer, so my postings are few. I have made some good blogging friends and that is a great pay off for me.

  6. Second time round here....not sure what happened to my first comment....probably I just did not hit...publish? :) Anyway, this topic is very fresh for me right now. I have found myself slowing down a great deal these past few months. I think we all go through a period of feeling stale, not sure what we have to say of interest or if anybody is listening and if anybody always needs to be showing their listening. I guess what I mean by that is that I realize that blogging is about connecting but sometimes I write a post and simply feel great...liked worked.... now, let's see if anybody gets me. That might just confuse my comment even more for you but I think blogging is very personal. Perhaps that is what happens to bloggers such as those you mention in your post. I did not follow them, although I recognize the name and know them as big time commercial bloggers, I imagine after awhile that starts to become tricky, trying to be authentic in something that will naturally become less so as a blog grows into a business. I went over to read the last couple of posts where all the comments were creating a bit of a buzz.
    The comments about them running a business is correct, in my mind that is stating the obvious. That seemed to offend some of the people commenting which seems rather naive to me. And, I liked the fact that in his last post he comments that people should not get upset with those comments, people are being honest and that is what he requested. I know this comment will not be well received perhaps, but blogging (in some circles) does have a tendency to be fairly superficial at times. I guess that is what has kept me away from blogs that are operating more as a business than as a network participant.
    Anyway, great topic, relevant for many and certainly one that gets us all talking. :)

  7. I do not blog, but follow many of them. Actually, I am finding myself dropping alot of them from my reading list and email. There is getting to be too much repetition and a real lack of authenticity. I agree with your statement that blogs used to be more relaxed and the feeling was one of "chatting over the fence, with your neighbor."
    I want you to know that I enjoy reading your blog and it is staying on my reading list :) Thank you for posting and staying authentic!

  8. I agree with all your points and as Ann commented, well said. I do Facebook and have a blog page but I could just as easily do it on my personal fb page. It's mostly so my family and small network of irl friends can see my new projects. I love love Pinterest although we all know that it can use up a lot of time. Pinning helps me collect inspiration, ideas etc and in a place that I can easily find. When friends have a question I can easily show them an example. I don't watch a lot of TV so I can justify to myself some of the time I spend on Pinterest. I do not Instagram although I know that it is very popular. It seemed like just one more social media to have to keep up with. Great topic. Enjoy your week.

  9. I can really relate to this, Gracie. Remember when I hit the Pause button and had my "Stop the Blogger World, I Want to Get Off!" moment? You sent me the sweetest note, and I thought....maybe...just maybe....I still had a few things to share. I'm still grateful, my friend.

    Cheers, M-T

  10. I love this post and agree with you Grace!

  11. Those are some great reasons to blog!

  12. Grace, I always love your blog - I think mainly because you are so down to earth, in whatever you do. Sometimes life is tough, and yes, it's hard to focus and be motivated to put photos and words out for the world to see, but I know deep down when I'm writing something, ANYTHING, there is a part of me that just feels like that is good.

    You have great reasons to blog and do such a great job sharing with others. I love to blog because I think knowing different people out of our own little sphere here at home, helps us to understand one another, and I think understanding creates compassion and tolerance - for me it's a way to love others. Does this make sense? Sounds goofy, I know. Although I do believe that a coffee at my kitchen table will never be replaced, sometimes long lonely days on end, being cooped up, it gives me a sense of company and possibly someone who shares interests that I don't know in 'real life.'

    Ah, this was longer than I intended...

    All I know is I love your blog and think of you in my everyday as well. I hope that this winter coming up is a good one! A time for healing, rest, and fun things to buoy the spirits. You are great!

  13. Well said ... I mostly blog to keep friends/family updated on what I'm doing. Also I like to look back to see what I have done over the past year and this is a great way to keep track. I can see how people can burn out feeling pressured to publish every day. I only publish when I have completed a project ... and no way I could find one to do every day (thank goodness:-). I follow a list of blogs and it is not always about the content. You get connected to some bloggers ... I don't usually leave comments, but I'm going to make an effort to do more commenting.

  14. oh my goodness so well put. I have seen a lot of this as of late also. It is indeed sad but I know it is what is best for those individuals. Personally I have tried extra heard from the get to to NOT make blogging a job. I ONLY write when I am inspired. That may be a day, it may be a month but I feel its makes my words more true to my emotions. I know I will NEVER get a ton a readers this way... and that is okay with me. I think it might be a much harder thing to balance when it IS your job or only income. I might not get any money from it or a lot of readers but I know that at the end of the day, the people that matter most to me that are to far to share this little life of mine, find joy in hearing the intricate parts of my day and anyone who wants can join the journey too. :) I pray that you keep writing and allowing all of us to share in your beautiful life.

  15. Amazingly authentic post. I blog for a lot of the same reasons as you. And I've been sad to see some of the bigger blogs like Young House Love take a break. It feels like these breaks have caused a shadow of doubt over the blogoshere. It is helpful to see bloggers facing this head on and sharing why they still love to blog and want to continue. It's totally cool to take a break when needed but it's also super fantastic when bloggers come back. Here's to many more blog posts to come :)