If you write a personal blog — are you now, or have you ever been — a Burned Out Blogger? If so, how did you pull yourself from the ashes?
The signs of burning out on your intimate — not-for-profit — blog are the following:
- Less frequent posting
- Loss of inspiring topics
- A dip in readership
- Boredom with your past posts
- You don’t have anything new to say
There’s nothing wrong with burning out. It eventually happens to every personal blog by the very nature of the beast we are exposing — the questions then become: Do you retire your blog, do something else, or do you just keep your blog on life support as it slowly dies from your self-inflicted neglect?
I get the sense most people have a year’s worth of really important personal things to share — that’s 365 blog posts — and anything beyond that is either yabbering to fill space and time or a determined change in the direction of the blog that moves it from the world of personal reflections and bounces into the larger, reflexive, world of iteration and public exposure.
Some people write those 365 blog posts in six months and burnout — others write less frequently and burnout the 365 over a few years.
This Urban Semiotic blog has had many lives. When I get to feeling tired or lost or bored, I try to go back to the concern that ignited this blog: The danger of living a human life in the city core.
It’s important to keep your eye on the fire of your inspiration, and if that light dims or changes direction, you need to be willing to move with the whim of the wind and the will of your readership.
Recently, some of my all-time favorite bloggers seem to be at the end of their candle and on the verge of entirely burning out on their blogs as they wonder what to do next — or what the next big “Thing of Expression” will be in their online life:
Zia stopped blogging for a month:
I have actually let a whole month go by without blogging. Actually, I’m pretty sure it’s longer than a month, but I’ve been focusing on the fact that my February 2008 listing in the archives will be … missing. Oh well, such is life. And life is good.
Scott-O-Rama, a delightful blog with a wild eye on life, is going on hiatus:
Yes, as the title of this post implies, I am going to take another hiatus from my blog effective immediately.
Why? Well, I’ve been having quite a bit of internal debate recently as to whether or not to retire my blog. I just haven’t felt very inspired to write much recently, and it seems my political-themed posts have gone over like a lead balloon.
As I mentioned at the beginning of the year, I have been refocusing my priorities to concentrate on areas of self-growth and self-improvement that I’ve been neglecting. Right now blogging just isn’t high on that list. The weather here in Arizona is absolutely gorgeous right now, and I want to take full advantage of that before the hot summer arrives.
Sometimes I feel as if I could blog all day every day, and other times I feel like I couldn’t write another blog post if my life depended on it. At the moment I’m feeling a bit of the latter, as some readers might have intuited from the fact that for the first time in a long time, I blogged not once all last week.
Part of the blame for this goes to the disorderly state of my blogging software. I’m eager to move off of Movable Type and over to Expression Engine, but it’s a process that’s going to take lots of time (even though I’ve been receiving the generous help of some readers like Adam Khan in getting up to speed with the new software). In the meanwhile, it kind of pains me to continue to mess around with the existing platform.
I’m also a bit frustrated, I think, by the very form of Subtraction.com.
There is something about its presentation — the way the front page looks and the way it leads into the article page — that makes it very hard to do anything but publish articles — and therefore to blog anything that doesn’t take the form of an expository essay. To be honest, I often weary of having to hammer out the minimally well-articulated arguments that I post here (such as they are).
Even our beloved WordPress Genius Mark (aka “Podz”) is making changes to how he hopes to be viewed on the web in the future and how he now makes private what he left behind:
This blog started in it’s current form in January 2004. Between then and now my family has changed, we went through bankruptcy, my mental health went from up to down many times and has now settled somewhere closer to the norm, I have aged and now see certain things in a different light, much of my anger and frustration has waned (though it will return of that I am sure) and none of this is reinvention. It’s how things are and things change.
This domain is now wrapped around memories and choices which I made at the time and they were right at the time – but much like the haircuts we get, the clothes we wear, the foods we eat and maybe even the music we like our tastes over time change. We are no different than we were 5 years ago because we are still the same person but we are very different on the inside.
Just because it is on the net does not mean it has to stay on the net. Just because there is digital evidence at archive.org does not mean you should be able to come back to a site to see the same state. I’m not ashamed of what was here, I would defend what I said at the time, my family all know and have read whatever they wish it’s just that I will feel more comfortable without it around me – in precisely the same way that I left ‘podz’ behind.
What’s going on here?
Is the new trend in blogging not to blog — or is there a yearning to “blog different” now?
Do we writers get tired of looking at the same interface and function every single day?
Do we burn out because we’ve said everything important — or do we turn to ash because there’s too much to say and the memes of expression no longer suits the best of us?
I’ve dealt with my own Blogging Burnout here by dropping publication from 5 days a week to 7 days a week.
I used to tell personal stories based on my experience in the urban core. Now I try to expand the personal into public commentary on matters that affect a greater concern than just my own.
I also started changing the shape of my overall blog writing experience by extending my reach into new blogs to give me a greater writing challenge by filling personal niches in a public way.
WordPunk — is part of my polymathic personality to want to always keep learning something new — and so I signed up at TypePad and started writing about “Words in the Wilds.”
I then decided to take my Celebrity Semiotic domain and point it to Microsoft Spaces — and that was a giant waste of a great name on a really crummy blogging platform.
None of those other blogs have the power — or the popularity of — this blog because I don’t spend as much time in those places as I do here.
It took a solid 18 months of writing one or two articles here every single day before I received my first comment and readership started to pop.
I don’t have that overwhelming, all-consuming, fiery, dedication in my new spots that I once had here — sometimes a sustained, warm, glow is just as effective as fleeting, leaping, flames — even though the quality of the writing in those other blogs sometimes surpasses what I pass on here.
I am not disappointed the other blogs don’t get the comments or the traffic we get here because most of them are less than a year old. The quietness of those blogs is freeing because I can do and say as I wish without fearing a comments mugging.
I could’ve started all those blogs here on WordPress.com — but I needed a deeper mix of the established and the new — and so I decided to pull and stretch my experience in different backend directions to better understand the technical side of online publishing.
I have a few other interactive/meme/shaping ideas — that are concurrently simmering, boiling, and bubbling over — and those projects will be announced here as I continue to keep the personal fires alive without turning into public ash.