Weekend Brunch: Can A Blog Die?
That's a depressing title, isn't it? I don't mean to be so sombre on the weekend (it's the weekend! Woohoo!) but this is actually a topic that has come up in conversation a few times the last few months. I blame it partially on the weather, but it feels like there has been a sadness, a 'heaviness' that has spread throughout blogland, like a stubborn cough you just can't shake. It seemed to have started just after the holidays as we all came down from our sugar highs and pulled our boot straps up and decided to get back to work. And blogging, well, it seemed like so much more work than before.
The tweeting, the G+ing and stumbleuponning, the pinning and FBing... blogging is so much more now than just blogging. I provide business consulting services to bloggers and where conversations once focused on what should I be doing they're slowly shifting to should I just stop doing what I am doing?
Should I stop blogging?
Is all this effort worth it?
I never used to think about the end of my blog. It's like I couldn't imagine my life without a blog. I still can't. But the difference now is that maintaining a blog comes at the cost of so much more. Up to now, I think the life of a blogger has been perceived as pretty idyllic.
You work from home
You choose your own hours
You spend your days crafting, creating, having fun
You get invited to media parties and receive perks
You work with fun and fabulous people
Playing with your camera is part of your job
But there is a reality that is seldom talked about. Why? Because I think we women want to hold onto the idea that blogging for a living, expressing ourselves creatively, doing what you are passionate about is not only possible but that it is enough... enough to keep us feeling fulfilled. Enough to fill those gaps that our daytime jobs don't. Enough to provide at least a part-time income we can live on.
But here is the reality...
You will work harder and you will work longer hours at your blogging job than you ever did in your traditional job
You will blog when you should be sleeping or spending time with your family or friends
You will have new sources of stress... worrying about things like page views and followers. You will spend much effort amplifying your content only to realize miniscule incremental gains.
Instead of measuring your worth with your contribution to an organization and the salary you command... you will judge yourself based on assumptions on how you stand against other bloggers. Do you have more readers? More visitors? More adsense clicks or affiliate purchases? And the difficulty is... you will never really know... so you imagine the worst. Comparison is a job requirement
The reality is...
You are trying to make an income in an environment where many brands still don't understand the value of a blogger and aren't willing to pay for your influence
You are trying to woo sponsors who still would much rather pay you in product than real hard dollars
And even if you don't bother with sponsors or monetizing, you are spending hours writing compelling content...for an audience that has an increasingly short attention span. And those that do stick around and actually read your words? Chances are they won't leave a comment to say 'good job'.
Then why do we do it? Why don't we just walk away and go back to living lives that are unencumbered with keeping up with 12 social media channels and writing posts at 10pm?
Because we are women
Because we have a need to connect and feel part of a larger community
Because we crave a space to express ourselves as individuals
When I think of what I love about blogging, I think about the community. The supportive comments. The other women who say "I've been there. I know what you're going through". I think about the women, strangers really, who feel like friends because I've watched them settle into their new homes and become mothers. I think about the bloggers I've met who understand me in so many ways. I can't think of anything that creates the sense of belonging that blogging does.
Have you thought about the death of your blog? Do you ever think that one day you'll just... stop?
I have no answers. I only know that, for now, one thing is for sure.
Blogs, I just can't quit you.