Friday, June 19, 2009

Guilt Free Blogging

For a while now I've been really struggling with how to balance blogging with the rest of my life. Some of you may have heard me refer to computer use (and blogging) as a giant "time-sucker". When I started Pam's Perspective back in early February, I had absolutely no idea what I was embarking on. Believe it or not, I had not even read a single blog. I kid you not. I didn't know the the first thing about followers or comments or blog hopping or promoting your blog or... well, anything. I was clueless. As I figured the whole thing out, I got really excited about it and began to spend a lot of time reading blogs, blog hopping (mostly from the SITS roll call), commenting on other blogs and becoming a follower of blogs that appealed to me. Not to mention writing daily posts. Soon all of this blogging activity started to take up every waking moment. And for a while I was happy with that. I knew it wasn't a good thing, but I was thoroughly enjoying it. And I still do, but I just can't keep up the pace. I was quietly and inwardly struggling with this. Then a few days ago, while blog hopping, I found an illuminating site - Blog Guilt Free. It is simply a single post that talks about this very thing and encourages bloggers to join the Blog Guilt Free Revolution. I am now a proud member and you can see my very own Blog Guilt Free Button on the bottom of my sidebar.

The following is a direct quote from Blog Guilt Free:

After a lot of soul searching, you realize it’s not a waste of time but it can be a time waster. So (and this is where the you become I, except for the record, it always has been) you decide to join a revolution of sorts. A way of bringing it back to the beginning. You vow to blog for yourself, to post when you want to and to not feel guilt if you can not comment on other’s sites.
Because let’s face it; There’s a good chance everyone else is thinking the same thing and that’s what a community is all about, right? Understanding? Reaching out? Moving forward?
So join this community and find others who understand. There’s life to live out there, y’all. One forgotten blog post at a time.

When I read this, a light bulb went off in my head. I realized that I'm probably not alone in feeling this way. The part highlighted in red above, is the part that really spoke to me. Back in February, I was blogging for myself. I wanted to create a record of sorts of my thoughts on books I'd read and my life as a wife, mom and wannabe librarian. I originally told a couple of friends and family members about the blog and figured they might read it occasionally. I had no idea I would become so sucked in. Now please don't misunderstand me. I am beyond flattered that other people follow and read and leave comments on my blog. I've met some amazing women and enjoy reading their thoughts and commenting on their blogs. And I'm certainly not planning on stopping. I'm simply realizing that blogging has begun to take up an inordinate amount of time. And that I want to get back to basics. And blog guilt free. No (self-imposed) pressure.

Tell me. Am I alone in feeling this way? I wonder if any of you have struggled with this very issue and how you've dealt with it. Are any of you tempted to join the Blog Guilt Free Revolution? Are you already members? I'd really love to hear your thoughts on this.


Isk8Jewel (~Julie~) said...

I think that's great! Now that I have a few followers that I don't even know I feel obligated to post more but then don't know what to post. I'm still so new at this. Perhaps I will join the revolution, too. Thanks for posting. :)

Gamma Sharon said...

I know how you feel. I have felt really guilty about not getting to all the posts of the FB's over at SITS. With taking care of my Grandson and all the construction going on in my house I haven't been able to, and I want to... it is fun to see what is going on in others life and to be a part of it by commenting. I have met some amazing people, you being one of them, and I love this bloggy world. So I am going over to this site to see what it is all about. Thanks for your post today.
BTW, I got "The Gargole" yesterday and I am almost done reading the book I am on... so I will probably start it tonight.
You are wonderful Pam, do not feel guilty!

Alex the Girl said...

You left out the part about feeling obligated to follow someone because they are following you!

Pam said...

Julie - Thinking of things to post can be a challenge. I wonder if it's better to post something - anything - every day or post
"quality" posts less often. Something to think about.

Sharon - I agree, I've met some wonderful people in blogville and I LOVE reading what's going on in their lives. It's such a dilemma. So glad you got The Gargoyle. Can't wait to hear your thoughts.

Alex - Yes, there is that too. How about following someone and later realizing that you don't really enjoy their posts as much as you thought you would. Do you stop following? I lost my first follower yesterday (I have no idea who. I don't keep track of that) and I had to force myself not to take it personally. Heck, I've stopped following a hand full of blogs myself. My reader was getting out of control. Now I will think twice about it. I know how it feels to be on the other side of that. Who knew blogging would be filled with so much angst.

Lori said...

I could have written this post word for word! You are certainly NOT alone. I've cut the number of blogs I read down to the bare bones, rarely comment on them and maybe post on my own blog once a week. It stops being fun when it starts to feel like a job.


Too many rules. Bloggin shouldnt be difficult.

Kay said...

I "get this". What a great idea.

Although, to be honest, I get such a thrill when people read my blog.

Gail said...

Pam -- I've been reading your blog since you started and to be honest I've been amazed at how often, how much and how well you write all the time. I've been wondering where you find the time with work, the girls, reading, etc. While I love reading what you write -- I haven't know this much about your day to day life since Freshman year! -- I think it's perfectly fine to blog when YOU want and to read what YOU want not just do it because you think you should. It won't be fun if you keep doing that. Like people tell you when your kids are little and you are struggling with things like nap time -- do what works for YOUR family and don't worry about what anyone else thinks.

Bethany said...

Absolutely agree!! I rarely have time to blog anymore, let alone READ blogs. I'm trying to catch up today, but only because I actually have free time-- rare! I'm in!

Sandy said...

Pam, as with everyone here, I say you are right on....again! I started my blog (which became two rather quickly) to just share a few things in my life that I think are interesting but soon wanted to know that people are out there reading. SITS has been a good option although, as you know, I probably don't have a ton in common with most of the women there BUT I have connected with some very cool and VERY talented women and I am enjoying getting to know them. But it is time consuming and I will probably scale back that you've given permission! My biggest struggle is commenting on my comments. We'll see how it goes.

Pam said...

Gail - First thanks for reading my blog from day 1 and for your nice compliment about my writing. I'm really flattered. Truthfully, writing the posts is the part I enjoy the most. I usually don't have any trouble thinking of things to write and I'm getting faster at getting the posts ready to publish. It's all the aspects of blogging (that I wasn't even aware of) that I spend the most amount of time on. I love it, but I'm quickly finding that it's taking up inordinate amount of my time. But, I'm working on it.

Bethany - That's my problem right there. I spend ALL my free time blogging. Not good.

Sandy - Blogging really does suck you in. It's hard to do it all - write posts, read and comment on other blogs, find other blogs to read, promote your own blog, and comment on your comments. As I've said, it's a time-sucker.

Sadiebug and her Mom said...

I love blogging partially because it's a nice little journal, but because I learn a lot from it. I read other blogs, learn about other lives, and I still have my little corner of the world. But I'll admit it... when people read it and enjoy it, a little part of my brain lights up and smiles.

Pam said...

Sadiebug's Mom - Oh, I completely agree with everything you said. I love the journaling aspect of blogging and meeting other bloggers. I've met someone wonderful and interesting people. And nothing thrills me more than when someone visits my blog, comments and even decides to follow me. It's so flattering. The problem is the amount of time I spend on blogging. I need to find that balance. But, it's so difficult.

Anita said...

Pam, I had to think about this..........for a whole day!! I have been up and down this delima, and I'm very mixed.
Since I joined SITS it opened up new blogs to me and it's like once I found X, I then found Y and Z and well then do I still read and follow A,B and C, because while nice people and blogs, not as compatible............its' SOOO difficult. I have felt almost obligated to follow anyone who follows me.......but I guess I really don't have to. I admit that having more than 3 comments a day, which is how my blog was for 6+ months, feels better.
With summer here I've had to scale back reading blogs. Then I admit I cut one out and wanted to remember some design links she had, but it was gone, my brain fried...LOL.
I believe the key is doing what is best for you. I would be sad if you posted less, as I gain wonderful insight and book reviews from you. I'd also miss if you stopped commenting, but I am a realist and I know my life is not in a computer, nor is it yours.
A friend did a cute little Meme relating to blogging, I'll try to post it, it might give us all some more time to think.
Forgive me I rambled.

Oz Girl said...

Amen sista. You read my mind. I just did a post on my blog earlier this week about the whole comments and responding to comments options -- wanting to know how people handle it. I had been wanting to do a post on this topic for a few weeks, then it was spurred by I Need a Martini Mom when she did that very post.

When I began blogging in earnest in January (I actually started my blog in March 2008) I enjoyed it so much that I started a 2nd blog devoted to a photo a day. I've already scaled back on that blog -- no more photo a day. Just can't keep up with it! I post a photo when I have a photo I feel is worth posting.

Now, even after my post re: comments and responding, and my follow-up post summarizing THAT post and what people thought... well, I'm still considering that I maybe need to scale back on my primary blog. I'm currently unemployed but searching for a job, so I have the time to do blog posts, read other blogs and comment, respond to comments on my blog, and try to promote my blog. But why am I promoting my blog if I'm already having trouble keeping up with it all?! AND I'M NOT EVEN WORKING YET. There is no way I will be able to keep this up once I'm working full-time again!!

Perhaps I need to do one more follow-up on my comments and responding to comments post, mentioning what you've found here. ;) I'm going to go check it out right now!

Thanks for the link, and the info.

Shelley/Book Fanatic said...

What a great thought! I can blog guilt-free!! Thanks, I needed this!! I have been feeling overwhelmed lately trying to keep up on all the blogs I follow. I just need to balance my time better! :)

Tammy Howard said...

I've been blogging over a year. At first - and by 'at first' I mean most of the first year - I was absolutely doing guilt free blogging. I blogged when I had something to say. I averaged once a week. I said whatever was on my mind. I rarely got comments. It was totally for me.

I get really excited when people started reading and I started getting feedback. But, as you've mentioned, turnabout is fair play. So if someone comments on my blog, I do indeed feel obligated to comment on theirs. AND to send a personal response. I slacked on that as we traveled over the last couple days and I feel kinda - what's the word I'm looking for? Oh yeah - GUILTY about it.

That's probably plain silly.

I need to ween myself off of the comments - the need for validation has become a drug of sorts.

My content has been affected, too, as now that I know people are reading - people I LIKE - I don't want to say anything that might offend. I self-censor. Not a lot, but more than I like. Maybe I should stop that as well. I'm not sure.

Thanks for a thought-provoking (and permission-giving) post!

Esther said...

Oh yeah, I think everyone who blogs reaches a point where they feel a little burned out and wonder whether it's taking up too much time. One theater blogger I read regularly only posts twice a week - Wednesdays and Saturdays. In between, she might Tweet once a day if she has something to say. So you don't have to do it every day but it is nice to have a schedule, even if you only post once a week. Or, you know, just do it whenever you feel like it! It should be "your" creative outlet - that's the important thing.

FranticMommy said...

wow! This is awesome. I too feel like that and I have been exhausting myself trying to keep up with the pack. I too started blogging as a record of my goofy thoughts and funny stories. But it seems blogging has become like a needy child. One that makes me (at times) ignore my real live ones. Thanks Pam!

Pam said...

Mommy - based on my comments and the emails I've been getting about this post, I don't think we're alone. Now the question is how do we make changes to fix it. It's very hard because I enjoy all of it. Quite the dilemma.

Gibby said...

I have TOTALLY struggled with this! Like you, when I first started blogging, I had no idea of the community that I would become a part of. I wish I could spend hours reading and commenting, but there's just not enough time. I'm going to go check out this community!

Unknown Mami said...

You are not alone. I started blogging this April and I love it. Like you I had never even read a blog. It's become a sort of addiction and although I find it feeds a part of my soul that was malnourished I am letting it take over. I think about it all the time and worry that I am getting behind on reading others' blogs.

Thank you for the reminder that it is not supposed to induce guilt.

bettyl said...

I started out the same way you did--from the bottom with no blog knowledge at all.
And, yes, there was a while [when I found out how to network groups] when I just wanted to get more profile views. But, that only lasted a couple of weeks.

It's quite alright to put your real life first. You just have to remember that the family has needs that only you can meet.

We bloggers are here whenever you decide to give us some attention. We don't expect anybody to amuse us every single day!

The Rambler said...

Gamma Sharon recommended me read this post after posting an exasperated sigh of not having enough time for play, life, work, and blog. Did I throw in parenting as well there? :)

Anyway,love your blog. And LOVE that you wrote this. Exactly how I feel. What started as a passion seemed to feel like an obligation at times.


Vanessa Rogers said...

I'm going to look into this. I have come to a similar realization recently!

gaelikaa said...

Oh yes, you are right. But I like to be read. And if I want to be visited, I've got to visit. And I do it without guilt. I do it to give support and to get support too.

Congratulations on your SITS day.


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