Saturday, May 21, 2011

"Haven't written much lately," blah, blah, blah

I'm not going to promise to do "better" because I've been rethinking the way I approach blogging.


I do have long term serious writing goals, and having a blog is an expected part of making a name for yourself as a writer these days. So building a platform and a readership base are part of my goals here. I've read various articles on tips for building your blog, attracting and retaining readers, maintaining high traffic. Two of the points that always get repeated are to post regularly and to be faithful about replying to blog comments. So I have tried to do these things, with varying degrees of success.


But I've discovered something when I try to get really ambitious with the blog: It's psychologically not good for me. I get too attached to checking my stats, checking for new comments or new subscribers. I start feeling anxious if the numbers aren't where I want them. At the risk of sounding pathetic, I let my sense of self-worth get caught up in how well my blog is doing. I end up wasting large swaths of my life sitting in front of the computer hitting "refresh" and in between refreshing pages, mindless internet memes keep me occupied. At the end of such a day, I feel utterly unsatisfied and depleted. 


I was offline for several months immediately after I separated from my husband. It was good to go through an internet "detox." There were many reasons why I decided to get reconnected at home, but one was that, while one of the reasons I hadn't gotten internet was to try to save money, I was worried that it was actually costing me more not to have it, because when I'd go to Barnes & Noble to use the WiFi, nine times out of ten I'd walk out of the store with a book in my hand.


But when I didn't have internet at home, I actually read almost every book I bought. All the time hitting "refresh" lately, like a rat hitting a food bar hoping for a pellet, could be time spent reading, journaling, praying or meditating, exercising, giving fuller attention to my children, gearing up for graduate school, working on writing pieces to submit for publication in places other than my blog. I know I felt clearer in my head and lighter in my heart when I wasn't online so much.


It's hard to blog about a spiritual life when you don't feel like you're living much of one.


So I'm not going to promise to post more frequently, in fact probably less. I'm not going to publish minimal effort filler posts just to keep traffic up. This will probably be bad for my Alexa ranking, but good for me. The feedback I've gotten from several readers is that my writing is what keeps you coming back, not the videos or links that I post, and wow, thank you for that. Trusting solely in the strength of my writing runs contrary to all the advice I've heard about what it takes to get your blog noticed among all the millions of other blogs out there, but I'm gonna give it a shot. I want to keep posting comment highlights, because I feel like it's a way to show my appreciation for my readers. I may share some external links here and there, but that's not going to be my focus. As I've said in my newly posted Comment Policy, "I do my best to reply to all comments and am usually successful, although a reply may be delayed by several days. Your patience is appreciated."


So my new blogging philosophy is less is more, quality over quantity. I'm hoping to work my way into a regular posting schedule, probably once a week, but I'm not sure when or if regularity will happen. The easiest way to be sure you don't miss anything is to subscribe. There are links at the bottom of each post that will tell you how to do so. And you know what, if you do miss something, it will still be in the archives when you get around to it. I don't want to contribute to internet obsession and, besides, I trust that you all have the ability to lead full and meaningful lives without visiting my blog several times a week. If you really, really miss me that much, as of this writing, there are 265 posts in the archives for your perusal.


Ah, I feel better.

Related Post: 5 Tips For Spending Less Time on the Internet

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9 comments:

  1. "At the end of such a day, I feel utterly unsatisfied and depleted."I know exactly how that feels.  And I've gone through a similar realization that I have to not stress so much about the blog.One of the things I like about writing for Main Street Plaza is that it's OK to go for weeks (or longer) at a time without feeling inspired to write something.  There are always people there keeping it warm so the audience is still around when you do feel inspired to write something.Just something to keep in mind, to encourage you to continue writing for us when inspiration strikes. ;)

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  2. I envy your ability to step back. Even though I don't blog, I find myself doing much the same thing -- refreshing blogs to read the new comments, refreshing Facebook to see my new notifications. It really is draining and unhealthy. It takes courage and self control to back off without going cold turkey (which I can't do because of our business). I need to set a similar goal for myself.

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  3. Chanson, thanks! Yes, MSP is a great platform and I will definitely post there when inspiration strikes. I've noticed lately that fewer and fewer of my posts are related to Mormonism. Perhaps when I do get the urge to write Mormon-y stuff, I'll save those ones from MSP.  :-)

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  4. Melynnak, Facebook is another hole I can easily get sucked into! I've had similar thoughts about wishing I could just give up computer altogether, but in our modern society, it's just not possible. Alcoholics can go cold turkey, but I suppose for us, it may be more similar to someone who has an eating disorder. You can't just give up food. Somehow you have to learn to have a healthy relationship with it.

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  5. Edin Villalobos MoraMay 22, 2011 at 8:15 PM

    Two years ago, I began my blog. Two months after that, my blog dies...
    Is quite difficult to decide what things to share with the world with your blog, and I know is difficult. I appreciate your compromise with your writing, your decision to not fuel our "junkie" desire for most posts, I'm one of that junkies who always want more and more posts.
    I'll try to do the same with my blog, maybe I'll start tomorrow...

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  6. Edin Villalobos MoraMay 22, 2011 at 8:15 PM

    Two years ago, I began my blog. Two months after that, my blog dies...

    Is quite difficult to decide what things to share with the world with
    your blog, and I know is difficult. I appreciate your compromise with
    your writing, your decision to not fuel our "junkie" desire for most
    posts, I'm one of that junkies who always want more and more posts.

    I'll try to do the same with my blog, maybe I'll start tomorrow...

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  7. Hi, Edin. Yes, deciding what to share can be difficult. I strive always for honesty and sometimes put more of myself out there than may be wise. I'm felling my way through as I go with what works and what doesn't.

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  8. I LOVE to write! I write whatever is bursting out of me, whenever it happens to happen. So my posting can be pretty sporadic. Sometimes I reply to comments, sometimes (if I am too tired, to emotionally charged about the topic, or just don't feel like it) I don't. So when I found this poem I thought it said it well.
    http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/16549

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  9. Young Mom, I can't NOT write! I write constantly, but not all of it is blog material.

    I'm learning to let go of the ambition to have a Super Big Blog. If someone doesn't like me anymore because I don't reply to their comment, or don't reply fast enough, then that's unfortunate, but, oh well. 

    The checking for comments and checking stats and whatnot is an instant gratification thing for me. It's a bit of a rush, frankly, and I think I've focused too much on blog writing because of it. I'm trying to branch out, be more disciplined and get my writing out in more place. Super excited to be a guest contributor at NPR yesterday! :-D  http://blog.onbeing.org/post/5763399528/wishing-for-less-time  It was an old essay I'd had on my hard drive for a few years and had been rejected from a couple other places. It occurred to me last week that it might fit well at Being, so I made a few edits and sent it in, and, yay!

    I'm glad you love writing, because you're good at it! I hope you'll stick with it. Who knows? Maybe we'll do a book signing together someday!  :-)

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Religion, skepticism, and carving out a spiritual life post-Mormonism