The Only Way I Can Keep Blogging.

I remember coming out of a deep pit of depression, a breakdown, really, in high school, after my parent’s divorce. I was fortunate that through therapy and medicine I was pulled back from the darkness. God also practically shot a lightening bolt at my feet as well but that is another story for another day. The point is, I was coming out of it and feeling lighter by the day. Finally, I felt like myself but a much more fragile version, as if I was made of glass.

I knew I had to take special care with myself.

It’s one of the first and only times in my entire life where giving myself grace became my sole (and soul) focus. I was so desperate not to return to that dark hole that I heaped grace on myself. I lived it. Eventually, I began to thrive.

What did protecting myself look like? I did not do things that caused me even the slightest bit of anxiety or pressure (physical or emotional).  Because I felt so fragile, the boundary was clear and strong. I told people “no” for the first time. My focus was not on being “the best,” in competition with myself, a competition I am bound to lose before I begin.

For the record, I am nowhere near feeling as if I am made of glass or anything like that (although there are probably a few lessons I could take away from the story I’ve told when it comes to self care). But what made me think of that time was how I have been feeling about blogging lately. It’s come to the point where I need to protect my creative drive.badblogger1

Inherently, I love blogging. I love writing. I love being creative. I love growing in my photography skills and playing with graphic design. And so, why is it that I feel a bit like Eeyore when it comes to the whole thing?

I think it’s because blogging has become more than the things I just listed. It now also includes sponsorships here and on other blogs, giveaways, guest posts here and on other blogs, SEO, branding, an extremely long bloglovin’ feed to get through, and those blogs to comment on. It also means staying on top of pinterest, instagram, twitter, and more. I manage sponsored posts for companies and networks. I have to come up with “pinnable topics.” I am not complaining about these things. Some I love more than others. The point is these are all additions to the why I love blogging in the first place. If one allows them to be, they can be distractions. It’s different for everyone.

Now though, out of protection for my creativity, I have to examine some of these extras. It’s a process. In a way, the timing is good because I can ask a lot of questions now and answer them for 2016.

Once identify I things that are pressuring my creativity, I need to remove them. It’s become this sludge so thick I don’t even want to try to walk through it anymore, even the parts I love. This sludge has me wanting to throw in the towel on this creative venture (something I know would be a mistake).

There are things that are actually killing the fragile amount of creativity I am holding on to now.

I guess you could say I am starting to treat this blog as if it is made of glass.

I guess you could say I have to be protective over my creativity.

I want to surround myself with likeminded bloggers and blogs, who let their creativity take them on a trip of wild abandonment.*** I don’t want to read about how pinterest works when I can find the same info in a million other places, especially when I could be reading about you, about your passions, books you love, artists you admire, things you create (and are not recycled from pinterest). If you can infuse creativity and passion and your own point of view into teaching me about pinterest then that’s a different cup of tea.

So with this fragile, glass-like creativity, I am going to be honest and truthful about things I’ve only talked with certain bloggers with one-on-one. The thing is: we are all in agreement. The blogging world, as a whole, is currently not conducive to creativity. The majority of bloggers are concerned with writing content that will get them re-pins and page views.

Is there anything wrong with that?

No.

But it means my bloglovin’ feed is filled with titles like these, all on the same day: How to Make the Best Blogging Binder, Learn How to Quit Your Job to Blog Full Time, 5 Ways You Can Improve Your Instagram, and more. And that’s just the blogging related titles. It does not include the recycled DIYs I’ve already seen on pinterest by other bloggers or the recycled recipes or the bloggers who include sponsored content four out of five days a week.

This is crap.

I don’t use that word here often. I can’t think of a time when I have used it in fact. But it’s the best one to describe 80% of my bloglovin’ feed. It’s discouraging to see all this crap. It’s even more discouraging to feel as if you must produce crap in order to “make it” in the blogging world. On a less superficial level, this crap doesn’t push me to be my most creative self. Disclaimer: I define this crap as any of the idea I’ve mentioned here without the injection of point of view, creativity, and authenticity. Nothing is new under the sun, so of course, there will be overlap. But I need that infusion of creativity.

Instead, this community of crap encourages me to write on “pinnable” topics that don’t mean anything to me. (Remember, I never claimed to be innocent in all this). At first, producing this crap doesn’t affect me. But soon, my creative heart starts to wither up like a prune; it’s got no juice left to give this blog or other creative outlets.badblogger

I don’t want to point the fingers at everyone for producing crap. We’ve all been complicit. I also don’t think it’s wrong to make money from blogging (in some cases, it is a necessity).

Posts are recycled over and over again, as if bloggers pass them on to one another. I don’t want to read about it anymore and I don’t want to pretend to enjoy it anymore either. It is to the point, no exaggeration, that some days I want to scream, even as I read certain posts and comment on some blogs only out of loyalty*. Bloggers I love as people can’t seem to post anything other than this pinnable crap. I cannot take another tutorial I can find a million other places. My one-on-one relationship with them is great so I know they could infuse the “crap” with themselves and it would be magic!

(For the record, I adore pinterest. What I am referring to here are topics that are written because one thinks they will be popular: how to make a gallery wall, be more productive in five easy steps, why your blog will never be popular or why I hate your blog or why I won’t read your blog or 10 blogging mistakes you are making. Personally those are the worst for me).

I know there are bloggers who have been extremely successful writing this type of stuff. As bloggers we see that and we want it. But I am going to go out on a limb and suppose something: I don’t think blogs that are about blogging are going to be around years and years from now. Not unless they are offering something different.

What happened to authenticity? I miss it badly.

Who are you? Why are you doing this thing called blogging? That’s what I want to know.Does the “pinnability” of a post drive your editorial calendar? In essence, does page views drive your content? If so, and you are cool with it, then do you. I need to grow up and just remove blogs from my feed.*(Addendum: a friend commented to say that she feels like her calling is teaching and helping others and that made me so happy on so many levels because: she is doing her (yes!); she is living/writing/blogging out her calling; we are all different with different callings and gifts so if we all live them out there will be diversity in blogging community!)

The thing I is: I just can’t take it, especially when I’ve gotten to know you, and seen how lovely you are and how much you have to offer the world. So it’s just my personal opinion, but offer the world something other than crap because I have seen with my own eyes that you have so very much to offer! Crap is like eating a piece of chocolate cake, ingesting the calories, and being able to taste nothing. If your posts are authentic–whatever that means to you–and have a point of view then they are not crap. Offer the world this and it will thank you for it!

I know what you’re going to say because I’ve said it myself. But Nina, I need to do these things so I can get those coveted sponsored posts (no hate there…in moderation…we all need to cover the costs of our blogs and in some cases, make a living). Nina, I need to create “pinnable” content so my blog gets more views and comments and my social media grows so eventually my blog can be my job and enough money will come from it.

Nina, if I make allowances now, it will pay off in the end.

Do I think people can make a living from blogging? Absolutely. But I also think there is going to be a glass ceiling and I don’t know when we are going to hit it. When we do, I want to be unique. I want to be able to say this is what makes me different because I am Nina and brands who like the way I do things will continue to want to work with me. That doesn’t necessarily mean I am writing about completely new things (remember, there is nothing new under the sun) but it just means that I am writing them from a place of my calling and gifts, injecting them with my personality, and using my creativity.

Ask yourself, what makes you different than the next blogger? Really. I’m asking. Because I am looking at my bloglovin’ feed and I am not seeing it and seeing the same thing over and over again. My answer to that question (on your behalf HA and with much encouragement) is that YOU make yourself different than the next blogger. Write and blog from that place.

Hey, listen. I have done it too. I have fallen into the trap and lost all inspiration and creativity once there. I clawed my way out only to look around and see everyone is doing the same thing, feeling like we all have the same personality. And let me tell you, that does not inspire me to climb higher, to reach for true creativity. It makes me feel like this is all there is: double your instagram following, grow your email list, make this DIY, try this recipe with sponsored content inside of it. Again, I’m not innocent. And again, these things can be done in a way that can feel fresh.

Even graphics are starting to look similar. If this was fashion instead of blogging, I would tell you that a fad is a fad (and also all fads are not for everyone). I think jumpers are adorable but they look a bit strange on me. If this was fashion instead of blogging, I feel like 80% of people would be wearing the same exact thing.

I can’t do that anymore, not if I want this blog to last. Because the way things were going, if I don’t make a change, I can see myself throwing the towel in. Goodbye, Flowers in my Hair.

I don’t want to read the same thing blog after blog and I don’t want to write the same thing either. I want to do me. I want to be authentic. I want to protect the fledging creativity I have left.

When I am writing, I like to start my session by reading some of my favorite authors. My style is completely different from most of them and yet I read them because they pull creativity out of me. Sometimes writers will type F. Scott Fitzgerald and Hemingway just to see what it feels like to type those words. It all circles back to their own work and creativity.

So, that’s why I have a problem with the crap. Even if I stop doing it, everyone else is and I can’t take it.
badblogger3

And so, the thing is: I cannot continue to commit creative suicide by partaking in this. If something I want to write about happens to be considered pinnable, like the hostess gifts yesterday, fine. But that cannot and will not be my primary thought. I can only control myself and so that’s what I will be doing. But I also am not holding back what may be an unpopular opinion.

I wouldn’t say a word about any of this except I am inspired by great bloggers who are just doing what they do (they do exist!). I am inspired by their creative approach to whatever it is they blog about. Their creativity pushes my own. I think a lot of these other cookie cutters once fell into that category once. They can be unique again.**

Just because this is my opinion does not mean I am right. It doesn’t mean you have to change. It doesn’t mean you have to agree. I hope it does have you asking questions like: what is the purpose of my blog and how do I live out that purpose in a way that is unique from other bloggers around the web? Maybe you are just in it solely to make money. Okay. I have my own theories on that because I don’t think it is truly sustainable but I won’t judge you.

Creativity breeds creativity. And right now, for many of the blogs I read with bloggers I adore as women, the ground seems pretty infertile. So I’m going to go where creativity leads me and I am going to try and seek out other likeminded people.** We’ll see.

*The hardest thing for me to stop doing is going to be to stop commenting on the blogs written by the loveliest of ladies who, for whatever reason, are recycling old tutorials or not sharing any parts of themselves with the world. I feel such loyalty and respect  for them as people.  And yet…it’s like a dementor is sucking the creativity out of me when I comment and read just to be a good friend. And I have known for months (!) that just going and reading and commenting was depressing me on the state of blogging and yet I have not managed to cut the chain. I don’t know when I will manage it. I can tell you even as I write this that I couldn’t do it today and I don’t think I will be able to do it tomorrow.

**If you believe your blog falls into the category where you are offering the world something in a unique way OR you have a list of blogs that fall into that category, can you please, please, please share them? I am in dire need of creative spirits in the blogging community. Don’t feel funny leaving your own along with a list.

***A very wise person commented and to tell me that her purpose is teaching and helping others. She feels this is her calling. I love that so much. And so I do think there is a place for tutorials and how-tos and all that (how could I not? I love pinterest). But write them because you truly have a passion for them and a unique point of view.

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68 thoughts on “The Only Way I Can Keep Blogging.

  1. Anne

    I love your honesty and views on this topic. I agree that there seems to be an abundance of recycled material and information out there. There’s tons of tutorials, recipes, and even posts on overcoming some struggle or obstacle through perseverance and faith. What makes each one unique is the view, the experience, and the presentation of whatever it is. I think what it comes down to for me, is that say, for example, with blogging tutorials I have truly enjoyed knowing that when I share them I am helping someone and opening a door for them if that makes sense. As someone who has struggled with creativity her whole life, as in I feel that I have none, I find my joy in helping others. Some people find theirs in sharing a DIY or baring their souls for all to see. I enjoy each one bc whatever a blogger posts, helps me to get to know them a little better. Do I follow them every day? No…but I do appreciate seeing a glimpse of their world.

    I’m learning to open up a bit more and be more open but as a mom that is so hard bc, right or wrong, my world revolves around my family and kids and what I share may reflect on them, their lives, or their situations and my blog now has tinges of them and I often wonder is that fair? Did they sign on to have their lives shared with everyone? No.

    I think this opens the door to some great conversations. You are entitled to your opinions and should not make any apologies for having them. Blogging is supposed to be fun and enjoyable and when any aspect of it becomes more a task than an enjoyment, then you have to stop and reevaluate. Love that you are doing this and sharing it with us.

    1. Nina Post author

      So many good thoughts…

      I would argue that my issue with the recycled material is that there is NOT an abundance of view points or creative approaches. Recycling material isn’t bad but if there is not a fresh POV then what is the point?

      I would also tell you that you are creative 🙂 your love for graphics and stock photos and fonts prove it. And if your calling is to help others, then do it! My point is that I feel as if a lot of bloggers aren’t asking by themselves what their calling is and writing that recycled material and pinnable content out of need for popularity, boredom, laziness to be creative or a lot of other reasons. If your calling is to teach and help others then you are living it on your blog. Which was exactly one of the points I tried to make.

      You are right. People find their joy in different places. But the more bloggers I spoke with the more it became clear that I wasn’t alone in feeling as if some of this “pinnable content” (for lack of a better word) appeared to be done joylessly. If you recycle something with no fresh POV what are you getting out of it, let alone the reader?

      Again, I want to point out I never claimed to be innocent in all of this.

      I admire the way you handle your kids on the blog. In a world where everything is shared, you are protective and being a good mom. I’ve always said this about/to you.

      I wish more bloggers were clear on their calling and what brings them joy. I think it would be a different blogging culture.

      I’ve had too many conversations and seen too many bloggers hang up their hats for the reasons I outlined.

      Thanks for dialoguing with me, Anne!

      1. Anne

        So happy to read your reply and the comments below…whether one agrees or disagrees starting a dialogue is what it’s all about and you have done that. So thank you. Someone mentioned below that they are more comfortable sharing personal stories rather than tips per se. I am the opposite….perhaps I worry about being judged? Or feeling bare and exposed? Who knows, but I love that throughout the blogosphere you can find anything and can relate to so many strangers on a given day. Isn’t that amazing?

        I am glad you see creativity in me…I find it hard to see at times but I keep trying to find ways to flex those creative muscles. 🙂
        XO

        1. Nina Post author

          I have to admit, I was very nervous to post this. I don’t like controversy if the focus is on me but if I feel like I have to say something, it’s hard to turn away from going through with it. I had a few people read it to make sure I was communicating myself all right beforehand and even here in the comments, I’ve thought more about things and realized things. But anyway, so far the dialogue has been amazing. I think when you write something like this and expect everyone to agree with you, you will be sorely disappointed. So I didn’t expect that. But I also didn’t expect for it to be a real back and forth dialogue with learning on both sides.

          Some people may completely disagree with me and others may completely agree with me and there are some in the middle. And I think that’s awesome. People have raised some excellent points. I’m just impressed by everyone, basically.

          I can see what you are saying. That most people fall into two categories: fear of setting themselves as experts or knowledgable (tutorials) or sharing about their lives. For me, I feel a little more comfortable because I am more aware of boundaries. I had a blog in college when my family was going through some S T U F F. And I hurt some people. So now, I feel safer sharing because I know that line (and honestly, I could still make a mistake). But as a mom, like you mentioned earlier, I think your approach, to more tiptoe towards a certain place, is a lot safer for your kids than the opposite choice. Long before I knew you as a person, that was something I respected about you!

          I can tell you I do worry about being judged. I do feel bare and exposed. It’s not comfortable. I guess what I am saying is don’t mistake my being open for being fearless Haha! Sometimes as a writer I just feel compelled to do it and I know I have to go all the way. Still there are things I safeguard (my family, depending on the situation…my health, which has infuriated a few people). As a writer though, I can tell you it can sometimes be worse. Because you feel compelled but I’m young yet. My skin is not so thick and some of the greatest writers never seemed to get any skin at all.

          I guess what I really need to do is find more “writer-y” blogs to mix up with the great ladies I follow now and have more a cornucopia because you are right; you can find anything!

          And you are creative.

          Write more in the email back to you. 🙂

        2. LIndsay

          I’m stalking comments. But I am with you… sometimes I feel like I’ll be judged for sharing parts of my personal life. I TRY but I don’t know if I always feel like opening up that part of myself…

          1. Nina Post author

            I think that is such a fair feeling, Linds. Do you know that’s all I call you now? Ha. And I am glad you are stalking the comments because the comments are just a part of this post as anything else.

            That IS such a fair feeling. Like I told Anne, I made massive mistakes and so I feel like I have a little better awareness of boundaries. But honestly in that case, the fear is about hurting people I love.

            When it comes to fear about people judging me? Oh, man. I feel that way all the time. When I have written about my past abuse…there are still days I want to take it down. And this morning. I woke up and I thought, “Oh my gosh. I have honestly torpedoed my own blog with Thursdays post. I am going to not only lose readers but they are going to hate me and think I am awful.” And that was AFTER a nice dialogue.

            But in blogging just like life, we are going to be judged. If we live in fear of it, we don’t really live do we? But it’s hard, man. It’s so hard. You want to protect yourself in a HEALTHY way but also be vulnerable in a HEALTHY way. Um. Okay, someone tell me what that looks like!

            But I’ve seen you put yourself out there, Linds. Just this week. Or the post you wrote on women’s health. And lots others. As someone who has corresponded with you one on one and seen more of your heart and who you are, I can’t see people thinking badly of you. If they do, they are just not your people.

            Of course, none of this makes any of it easy. That’s the kicker, right?

  2. Diana

    Nina,
    I really appreciate your honesty and candor in this post.

    I too feel this way a lot about the blogging world. I scroll through my feed reader and I see post after post that is not really anything new for me. I then question what I’m writing because it often feels much different than the norm. I try to weave my posts with stories about me, and new analogies even when I’m offering advice to my readers.

    I think as bloggers, we are often are trying to find out how to be better at our craft. And that craft is blogging which as you pointed out is so much more than just writing. I’ve talked to bloggers that don’t actually like to write at all, but they blog, and they’re fairly successful at it (posting the type of posts you mentioned). To each their own I guess. Because of that, we get into this micro-community where it feels like everyone is posting the same thing. A person outside to blogging may not think that is the case at all.

    I got into blogging to 1)write 2)Share my story 3)hopefully help others that are struggling it helps me keep my focus when I think I should write about social media or blog about blogging. However, that’s not what my focus is, so no matter how many times it pops into my head because “everyone else is doing it” I try to remind myself of the above three things and move on.

    I always enjoy reading your posts, even if I don’t comment on them (which I’m bad about doing…yes blogger bad, but I only have so much time in the day, and I just can’t do everything. I have to pick my priorities). So I look forward to see where you take this blog.

    1. Nina Post author

      Diana,

      Thanks for commenting. So far, there has been a lot of good dialogue which I so appreciate it on any subject!

      You make a very good point of the bloggers where the writing isn’t what necessarily what interests them. Anne, a commenter below, made a similar point in saying that she feels as if her calling is to help and teach others. And I am all for that because I think authenticity comes from living/writing/blogging/whatever-ing your calling out.

      “Remember why you started” is something I try to keep in mind in all aspects of my life. It sounds like you do too. I lost my way for a bit but I am so glad to hear about your focus. You inspire me!

      And you don’t need to comment on every post! I love commenting because I like forming relationships but there shouldn’t be pressure. I think that is part of my own problem…I have put pressure to comment on posts where I really have nothing to add or a post that I feel is recycled without a point of view infused into it.

      Thanks so much, Diana!

  3. Angie

    While I admire your drive for authenticity, I think the problem is that nothing is unique. Everything has been done before… I’ve seen posts just like this one on many other bloggers’ blogs, the only difference being their language or the way they tell it. Same story, different voice. I think we’d be hard pressed to find anything out there that hasn’t already been done twelve times or more…

    There’s a quote my photography professor used to tell me, he’d say “Steal like an artist.”

    What he means is, since nothing is unique or new anymore, take an idea and make it your own. Present it to the world in a voice that is truly yours. That is all you can do.

    Personally, I like the blogging tips. I like teaching other people and offering tricks I’ve picked up along the way, and I like hearing of them from other readers. It’s okay that you don’t, but I don’t think we have to label it “crap” exactly. Everyone is entitled to their own likes and dislikes, and everyone follows the blogs that they feel speak to them and they enjoy.

    1. Nina Post author

      Angie,

      “Steal like an Artist” is actually a book by Austin Kleon (a really good one that makes some of the points you do). There is a Bible verse from Ecclesiastes that there is nothing new under the sun. I agree. I don’t think at any point in my post did I demand or write that people should write about things never written before but rather that creativity and point of view needs to be infused into the recycled ideas. Without that creativity or point of view, I do find it to be kind of useless and yes, I did use the word crap. But as I said, if I hadn’t spoken with and communicated with and met a long of incredible women and bloggers WITH points of view and creativity and so much to offer the world then maybe I wouldn’t be so frustrated with all of us (Please remember, I never claimed to be innocent. In fact, I did the opposite).

      You write, “Take an idea and make it your own. Present it to the world in a voice that is truly yours. That is all you can do.” I completely agree. I wish more people were doing it.

      Yes, of course everyone is entitled to their own likes and dislikes. I was very scared to post this because I knew it could be controversial. But I know bloggers who have quit or want to quit for some of the reasons I’ve listed. People should read what they like and if they don’t like, they shouldn’t read it. That’s why I said that I could only control myself but that I wanted to encourage all of us (including myself) to offer the world something special because I believe we all have that, no matter what the topic.

      1. Angie

        I agree. 🙂 Also, I totally do get where you’re coming from. It’s hard to grow as a blog when the world wants one thing and you want to be authentic in a different way. I’ve actually started rethinking what I’m posting lately because I’m kind of tired of feeling like I fill my site with stuff that doesn’t mean a whole lot. I love blogger tutorials, but it’s really something that I only want to post once in a while and not every day, and I want to open up more and be real a little more often.

        1. Nina Post author

          That’s awesome. For the record, I’ve never seen your blog as unoriginal. Not that I am the baseline! ha. But really, that’s all I am asking or really wondering (because I can only control myself). I just want more people to do them. If I see you doing you, I can get behind that.

          And maybe I am missing it. Maybe most people are doing them. Maybe it is just me who feels like I have drifted from doing me. Maybe it is just me and you who feels like we could mix in a little more authenticity with what we are already producing.

          Does that make sense?

          1. Angie

            Oh yeah totally. Honestly I’ve seen a huge increase in the amount of people doing them from when I started way back when (not to be all “I was doing it first” because I certainly wasn’t) and to be honest, I read some that I feel like are just totally regurgitated or it’s written by someone who doesn’t know enough to offer help and is really doing it for the attention. I usually end up rolling my eyes. lol but we are all just learning…

            And I get it. Thanks for not seeing my blog as unoriginal. I have just felt like I was leaning too heavily on sponsored content and linkies, and so I’ve started limiting what I take (I’ve reduced my ad quantities and offerings a bit and turned away a lot of sponsor opportunities and reviews) and I’ve stopped with all the weekly link-ups that are just filler.

            I really want to focus more on my writing and creativity, so I totally get it!

          2. Nina Post author

            That’s exactly the kind of evaluation I am in the process of doing, Angie. And like you, I want my focus on the writing and creativity. In the end, that’s what makes me happy and really, that’s my best work anyway.

  4. Lindsay @ Wild Ginger Blog

    Saving your post…It’s scary how quickly bloggers(I) will sacrifice our initial purpose for blogging for their(our) drive to INCREASE our circle of influence. I think I have officially come to a place where I’m ok with my low numbers because, I feel more comfy writing thoughts and about what’s going on in my life instead of How-to and “pin-able” posts. (I’m also just no good at those no matter how many How-to’s I read) And if I get a few followers out of the deal, AWESOME!

    (Or maybe that’s just my coping mechanism for not having enough followers to be a big-time blogger. 🙂 Whatever it is, I’ll take it.) Thanks for your transparency, Nina. I’ll take a blog from the heart over a “How-to” any day!

    1. Nina Post author

      Thanks, Lindsay. I was very worried to post it because I don’t mean to call anyone out or be negative but rather address an overall trend. I don’t think there is anything inherently wrong with tutorials or how-tos. How could I when I love Pinterest? Haha. But the thing that is hard for me to swallow is when those tutorials and how-tos aren’t infused with creativity or personality or that they are just recycled. You know?

      I love posts that are from the heart too! If I had to choose, I would choose them as well. But I also don’t want it to seem as if there is no value in the other things. Another commenter, Anne, talked about how she felt her purpose was teaching and helping others and I said go for that! If your calling and purpose is to help and teach, then do that!

      Like I said, my feed just appears to have the same posts (even on the same day!) My goal was not to cause controversy. I hope people see that.

  5. Sarah J

    Wow, just wow. I have you on Twitter and your post title caught my eye. And unlike many blog posts I read, I read every single word of this one. I found myself saying yes yes and yes again. I couldn’t agree with you more and I’m glad that I’m not the only one that feels the same way! I remember when I wrote my post “5 reasons you should go on a cruise” and the pinned it, only to get a slew of related pins virtually covering the same topic- that’s when j realized I was writing the crap that has already been written. And I feel like the longer I’m in my blogging journey, the less creative I feel. Sometimes it is SO discouraging… To write something and not see your blog grow like you wish it would. But then I write a post that is straight from the heart and have people tell me in person how much they liked it, and I’m reminded that this blogging thing is about my story and experiences and sharing it with others… And NOT about the numbers. This was such an encouraging post to me- thank you thank you thank you! I couldn’t agree more- less crap, more originality, and for me- not worrying about the numbers.

    1. Nina Post author

      Sarah,

      Thanks so much for joining the conversation. I love what you said here, “I’m reminded that this blogging thing is about my story and experiences and sharing it with others.” I love that. I feel very similarly and I also need to get back to that.

      Someone I respect a great deal made a good point too. She feels her calling is to teach and help others. And that’s what her blog is. And to her I say, cheers! Because really that is all I am wishing for: bloggers who are authentically living out their calling.

      There is nothing new under the sun. Tons of people have written about cruises. I would argue that doesn’t mean don’t write about it but to infuse your idea with your heart and soul. Maybe that’s not five reasons to go on a cruise. Maybe it’s funny stories from the cruise or maybe it is five reasons to go on the cruise and it’s filled with your personal anecodotes instead of just generalizations (I haven’t read that post of yours so I am just talking here). I have written posts like that 5 Ways to…And they are full of generalizations. Like I keep telling people, I am not innocent.

      And so no matter what I write about, I want it to be authentic and I have to get back to that place or I don’t know how long I will last!

      As for the numbers…it’s hard for them not to matter. Here’s my theory: it’s isn’t even about ego (although sometimes it is). It’s that blogging takes WORK. It takes TIME and EFFORT. We put so much into our little spaces. We carve out time out of our schedules and if it feels like you are in a conversation but no one is listening…well that does not feel nice. So give yourself grace in that area. I agree that numbers can’t dictate things but I don’t think wanting people to read your stuff is inherently bad. I want to encourage you, I guess!

      Thank you SO much for reading and for your thoughts!

  6. Christina

    We’re definitely on the same wavelength right now; I just scheduled a similar post on this last night (for next week). The only thing that ‘helps’ me is to step back and ignore my bloglovin feed with exception to the posts I get via email or choose to click on via Twitter. And unfollowing a lot of people; my feeds/follow lists are a lot smaller than they were six months ago.

    1. Nina Post author

      Haha, definitely on the same wavelength.

      I know that taking a step back, editing my feed down, unfollowing some people, and not reading/commenting on blogs would help me so much. I wouldn’t be so frustrated. And yet, some of these people of are my friends. I think very highly of them. And so…I just can’t make myself!!

      But I know I need to.

  7. Dollie

    Guuuuuurrrrrrllllll. Bravo! You are in the same exact spot as I was last year. I renewed my domain name in early November 2014 and then just hit a wall of absolute rage and disappointment with the blogging world. So I spent the last year mostly reading, not writing, and I noticed many of the true writers were slowly but surely throwing in the towel. Part of me is relieved it’s not only me, but the other half is so sad for what it used to be. And I realized that if I had this type of relationship with an actual person, it’d be much easier to recognize its toxicity and that it needed to be removed from my life. For me, blogging became the toxic high school boyfriend that needed a clean breakup.

    The idea of renewing for another year gnawed at me for months. I dreaded it up until I finally made the decision LAST NIGHT to pull the plug on Two Wooden Spoons. And while I’m grateful for what I learned during that time I blogged I feel SO relieved I won’t have the temptation to fake loving it for what it is now. So it’s really serendipitous that you posted this on the first day that my blog is no longer up and running.

    I’ll be cheering for you to fight through this…hopefully you’ll be able to champion some change. And if you do, count me in! Authenticity for the win!!!

    1. Nina Post author

      Dollie. Girl. I have missed my authentic writing sister. But I got it when you explained it on your blog and I get it now. As hard as it is for a reader to deal with :'(

      One of the things that compelled me to write what I did was that I was not the only one. If I was, I probably would have kept it to myself. But after talking to blogger and blogger who is fed up or burnt out or burning out or just done, I felt like…if everyone is saying this behind closed doors, maybe we should talk about it out in the open? And then I felt like, if I don’t address it in the open, then I don’t know how much longer I can blog.

      You are right when you compare it to a person. It definitely can be that. I go through seasons. Obviously I am where I am now.

      The timing of it though is so crazy! If there is a blog or 10 blogs that are on your must read list, will you let me know their names? I would so appreciate that.

      I miss your writing but I hope you will peek your face out now and again here. x

  8. Leeann

    Yes. There is so much sameness out there in blogging. I blog because I want to share what I am writing. I cannot imagine blogging to make a living. I have my real job for that.
    There is a huge catch-22 about blogging for followers or money that no one seems to be noticing. Gimmicks are only going to work for a little while. After that, one will need a real reason to keep coming back.
    Yet, after all the gimmicks, all the perfect pins, all the staged “instant” photos, and all the drama, there is something lovely about blogs and writing. And so I keep on, sometimes better than others.

    1. Nina Post author

      I do agree with you to a certain extent. I have seen some more “celebrity bloggers” try to make money off of programs and things and gimmicks. I even signed up for one once and…that one happened not to be worth it. I feel like when you read a blog, even a blog that does sponsored posts, you can tell if they are money hungry or if they either a) believe in whatever they are blogging about or b) actually need the money as opposed to want.

      I do take sponsored content. With the way my financial situation is right now, I need to. Still, I try to be choosy but that means different things to different people. I think what I am learning from this dialogue is that we all blog for different reasons and as long as that reason is genuine and true, no matter what the reason is, it’s all good. Those aren’t the blogs that are soul sucking. It’s when you can feel as a reader that someone isn’t being genuine in whatever their purpose may be that people tend to peace out.

  9. Cass

    Thank you, Nina. I’ve recently been struggling with posting anything, at all, on my blog. And I think it has to do with the mind-numbing crap that is saturating the scene. My desire to write things that make me happy seems entirely at odds to what successful bloggers are advocating (pushing). In fact, it seems as though writing, for the sake of writing and sharing, is nearly non-existent in blogging. Your post has reassured me that this is not the case. I suppose it should have been obvious. It’s like music. Sure, there are musicians out there making millions off complete garbage. But it doesn’t mean there aren’t other artists making beautiful music, though it may be harder to find them.

    I’d love to hear some of the bloggers that you still enjoy. People you feel are writing from the heart and with talent. One of my favorites is http://muchtomydelight.com/ She’s a fantastic writer. If you aren’t familiar, I highly recommend you check her out – I think it will make you smile!

    Again, thank you. Somebody needed to say it, and many more (me included) needed to hear it.

    1. Nina Post author

      Cass. Thanks for speaking up! It sounds like your symptoms were similar to mine. I wanted to write and blog and yet..it was getting harder and harder, like walking through mud. I don’t want a numb mind either. I really want a stimulated mind. That doesn’t mean I agree with everyone or everything. Sometimes it means I am just entertained. I don’t need to cry for it to be a good post. I just want a little personality zapped into what I read.

      I wouldn’t have been able to write this if not for the many woman who I have emailed and talked with one-on-one who feel similarly. Otherwise, like you did, I would feel it was just me.

      I need to go through and cultivate a list of bloggers. I am not super comfortable doing it here because I would be afraid to leave someone genuinely awesome off the list; I’d also worry that if someone didn’t see their name on the list, they would assume they fall into the crap category, which is not the case; finally, I really have to go through my feed and edit and find those blogs.

      I am saving the one you included and also yours.

      I like your music industry comparison. Maybe a blog is like a whole album. Like I do sponsored posts because I have to and there is one going up tomorrow. Maybe that’s like how artists have to put one song on the album for the label brass so they can get there alternative single on it too? I don’t know. I haven’t figured it out. But I can say that after I wrote this I had to make sure my sponsored post was unique and a bit nutty. It definitely has personality? I rambled about that but all that to say I am not an angel. I am not saying that making money is bad. That’s not my problem with everything. Or again, like with music, there are popular artists making great music that are very much doing them and being true to themselves. I don’t know.

      I am super thankful for these comments because they ask more questions than give answers. Or at least they have me asking questions. And overall, I think that is the healthier way to go.

  10. jamie

    Nina, this couldn’t have been better timing! I just launched a new blog because I needed a fresh start. i felt like I was trying to “keep up” with other bloggers out there and focused too much on quantity, such as I have to post so many times a week. I am sick of mindless comments on my blog to get people to follow their blogs.. I love when I get 2 real reactions out of people than hundreds of “link-back” posts. Love this and of course, I love coming back to your blog because you do have insightful, original content. 🙂
    PS- since I am re-launching I might want to do a sponsorship soon on your blog. Have a great night!!
    Jamie
    http://www.jamieeverafter.com (of course I still link back… haha but you know what I mean when someone leaves the same post on 10 different blogs then plugs their website!)

    1. Nina Post author

      Jamie, I saw your new blog on my feed this morning and it is so pretty. Yeah, I didn’t address it but it is very obvious when someone comments on your blog just to comment on it. Again, I am not innocent of never doing this. But there are people who do it every single day and they comment on like a million blogs and then you go to their blog and they have a million comments from people who don’t really read and it’s like this circle of fluff/vapidness (I’m trying to avoid saying crap again).

      Quality over quantity is always the way to go. We just (myself included) get caught up because we have to post five days a week. But do we? I know at times it is healthy for me to do it because it forces me to constantly be flexing my creative muscles but other time it is NOT.

      And of course, I’d love to have you back as a sponsor, at your new home, Jamie Ever After!

  11. LIndsay

    Blowing up your comment feed. So I know I already told you, but YES. I’m really struggling with this right now. I am certainly guilty of the giveaway and sponsor madness and I’ll be REALLY honest: I have enjoyed giving blog tutorials because they’ve been popular posts for me. But they’re not my favorite to write! I write “how-to” documents for my job and honestly I’d rather play with makeup or discuss other things instead on my blog. And I skip so many posts because it’s the same! There are some blogs I will always read because I enjoy the blogger so much. I wanted to be a blogger that everyone would enjoy reading- not just other bloggers. I want to give you information and make you think but all I’ve been concerned with lately is making my blog a business. And I’m not a business-minded person. I just want to have fun. At the end of the day, this is my hobby.

    1. Nina Post author

      It’s okay to blow it up because I think the most interesting part of the post is the comments which is kind of cool.

      Yes, I did a couple of blogging tutorials maybe last year? (Actually I called them Blogging Basics haha but there were only 2, at most 3) I didn’t like writing them. For a number of reasons I didn’t like writing them and maybe it is me personally but I just didn’t. And yet, they are still popular posts. That’s why I didn’t claim to be innocent in my original dissertation on this subject.

      I skip so many posts but then I find myself, like you, reading because I like the actual person. And that’s what is really probably draining me too. I need to get over myself. Is it about hurting people’s feelings or is it really about wanting to be liked by people? I don’t know. But I also don’t know why it is so HARD to remove them from my feed or not comment.

      I don’t think there is anything wrong with your blog being a business. Especially because different people run businesses in very different ways (for example, some are the face of their business and inject personality into their brand and have personal relationships with customers). But I think you (we) have to decide what it is that are blog is. Is it a business? Okay go from there. What kind? Or is a fun hobby like you said? What is life giving to your soul? Which is cheesy but I swear when you find the thing that answers that question, you know it.

      x

  12. Katie Elizabeth

    I have a feeling my blog might fall into the ‘crap’ you are discussing here haha but that is honestly okay with me! I fell in love with blogging through reading others how to posts and product recommendations and that is what made me want to start my own – to share my own favorite things, if you will. Just kind of a mindless hobby in which I can email back and forth with my online friends throughout the day, not necessarily something I have to get deep about. So I think it’s okay to want different things out of blogs, but I don’t think that necessarily makes others crap… it just means it’s not your thing which is totally fine because we’re all different and that’s a good thing. Hope this isn’t sounding rude or anything, just wanted to make the point that there is another side to it!

    1. Nina Post author

      I think the other comments and I have made it clear that this is about a dialogue so of course there is another side to it!

      I made it a point to define the crap I was talking about (which yours does not fall into) because to me crap doesn’t include personality or point of view or creativity. And your blog does have those things. It’s funny and entertaining and those things are not crap in my opinion at all.

      I don’t think that topics in themselves or genres in themselves are crap. It’s when people jump on a band wagon for the opposite of the reason you just listed (you do it for you, you do it to stay in touch with friends, it is a light hearted hobby, etc) and you can tell it’s just not genuine. Your blog never even entered my mind. I like reading about your adventures in your new home and you know I love Brady. I don’t like reading the 100th post on “5 Reasons I Won’t Read Your Blog.”

      Hope that clarifies things. In my post I did clarify what I meant by crap. And it’s not what you describe and it’s not your blog. It’s also just my opinion and two cents on the matter. It’s something a lot of people have been talking about lately so I thought I would open up a conversation!

  13. Alanna @ Alanna & Company

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I’ve definitely struggled with this A LOT. My passion is where I live, what I do, my dog, and where I go with my friends. However, whenever I post a DC related post. No comments, no visits, no views. Then I write up a post on “Five Ways to Optimize your Blogger SEO” and it goes wild with comments/views. As much as I try to make it more personal, there’s only so far you can go with blogging tips or DIY or recipes, etc. I try to make sure I keep these posts balanced with my personal posts but it’s frustrating when the content that I’m really proud of and that means a lot to me rarely gets half as much traffic.

    1. Macy

      Alanna, I just started following you and I am so excited to read your posts about DC 😉 I am in Baltimore, and try to make it there often!

    2. Nina Post author

      Alanna, I can relate a lot. Maybe my passions aren’t exactly the same but they fall into the same realm. Or if anything they are, like yours, nowhere near as popular when I write about them than when I write other types of post, like you mention. And I know for some people page views and comments are about the money but really, I think for a lot of us, which you touch on, it’s about our hard work and our passions being appreciated.

      It is frustrating like you say. Not because you (or I) want fame or fortune but because we put a lot of time and effort into those posts. And also it’s like another sign saying, well, you should really be doing less of those posts that make your heart sing because what’s the point? So then we do less and our heart stops singing and then blogging becomes like walking through mud. That’s if we don’t quit altogether.

      I don’t have many answers for you. That’s why I have so enjoyed the discussions in the comments because they raise a lot of questions and that’s the first step before actually having answers, a willingness to ask tough questions.

      As for balance, I think it sounds great. Any tips on how to get there? I can never seem to find it. But I want to. I want to keep working on it and seeking it out.

      1. Nina Post author

        I’m telling you the comments and discussion are everything about this post that is important! 🙂

  14. Macy

    I am struggling with how to comment on this one. While I agree with you in many ways, I also disagree in others. I might be one that you are referring to, but I still try and find that balance throughout. Just because a few days out of the week I enjoy sharing helpful resources or ideas, doesn’t mean my blog has lost its voice or turned to “crap”, at least in my opinion. When I started blogging, I wish there would have been an abundance of information to help me along, but I couldn’t find it. Because of that, it took me a long time to find my own voice, I had no idea what I was doing, and it was frustrating at times. I didn’t feel comfortable sharing everything that I share now and I was clueless in so many ways. It honestly means a lot to me that there are so many other bloggers out there willing to share their advice and explain the mistakes they made along the way.

    The help that I have found over the last several months has led me to a desire to share the information from my point-of-view. I realize there is an over-abundance of advice coming from so many angles at one time, that it seems repetitive, but one doesn’t always have to read a post if they don’t want to. There are certain bloggers that I will read their posts about blogging advice, and others that I won’t spend my time on. And that is okay. I don’t unfollow them most of the time because I know there will be another post I will enjoy.

    I think it is also about audience. While there are a few bloggers that I am sure many people follow, is it unlikely that we all follow the same people. I don’t turn to Pinterest very often to read posts, so that limits the amount of repetitive posts I could be seeing. Then I also categorize my BL feed to have the advice bloggers in one section, and I enjoy reading them. I also have others that I read first thing in the morning in one category, then some I read somewhat often in another category. People have a different point of view on so many topics, and reading a variety of posts on the same thing is helpful to me.

    Something that does bother me lately is the amount of people telling others what they shouldn’t be posting. The “I don’t read your blog because…” type posts, which I have a response post to this scheduled for next week. It should be about community. If there are people that don’t enjoy posts of others, simply don’t follow them. (ps. I am not saying that you are doing this, just something that relates to the topic. I have found several posts over the last few months that are actually titled with that)

    With all of that being said, I applaud you for posting this. It has brought up such great conversation, and this is one of the main points of blogging. Get the dialogue going and don’t show fear for speaking to a certain topic.

    1. Nina Post author

      Macy, I read your post on community today and I loved it. Honestly. I don’t want people to think I am referring to them as crap (man, that word has become the buzzword of the piece and I would take it out but then I would feel like I was cheating and just editing so I looked better…I thought other parts would be harder for people to swallow but that word has been an electric rod. Anyway..). I don’t put your blog in that category and honestly I don’t even put whole blogs or whole bloggers in that category. Really my major complaint is when ladies who are so awesome one-on-one or in general choose to write posts (any kind really but tutorials and advice seem to be the current popular choice) because they think that’s what they are supposed to do and then they do it without injecting their passion, pov, creativity into the piece. If I didn’t think they had any of that, anything to offer the world, I wouldn’t have written this. Because you can squeeze water out of a rock (is that a saying?). I just don’t think that’s the case. I think there are incredible women who either feel pigeonholed or choose to be.

      But these comments and this conversation as a whole has me thinking a lot of things.

      I think you can definitely have a passion and a mission for giving advice (Anne put it so well earlier and really got me thinking–lightbulb moment– talking about having a heart for teaching and helping others…that’s her passion and her calling and her gift) and if that is your passion and mission than I want nothing more than to encourage you to do it. As you said in your comment, some blogs/bloggers are better at giving advice/tutorials than others. When I thought of Anne (or you too!) and how well she clearly communicates and teaches, I realized that’s proof that this is her calling and her gift (not that I need proof but it is interesting to see the advice blogs I actually respond to and the ones I…don’t).

      Because I think that’s what shows. Besides the definition of crap I included in my post…I think crap happens when any of us read something and we smell something funny. It doesn’t seem genuine. What I really would love in a perfect world is that people writing about the things they love whatever that is. Because that always shines through.

      But then there are bloggers even in this discussion (and myself too) who have admitted to writing the advice posts because they are more popular and who doesn’t want to feel as if their work is appreciated? It’s complicated. That’s why I think these comments are so much more important than the can of worms I opened with the original post.

      I will say one thing. It kills me when I see posts like “Five Ways You are Ruining Your Blog” or “Why I don’t Read Your Blog.” I am SO glad you are writing something against that. I will promote it like no other. It would be my PLEASURE to promote it! Because those kind of posts are crap of a different kind. I’ve had new bloggers or less popular bloggers email me or text me either upset or saying: well I guess I suck. No. Just no. My friend Liz wrote something that I just love about it. Mostly I think those types of posts are crap and mean because they don’t need to be worded that way. They could say “Five Ways You Can Improve Your Blog” or “Things I love about Blogs I love” (obviously these are not great titles; they are off the top of my head but you get the point). BUT the negative ones get more clicks and are therefore clickbait and I just. No. That doesn’t need to be the direction taken. I am glad you are addressing that. They are becoming more and more popular too!

      I was scared to post this. It’s scary to be so open about an opinion and then you have to hope you communicate it well. I am honestly just so glad for the discussion and I hope that anything poorly miscommunicated on my part is made up for by these talks that were brought up because of the post.

      1. Macy

        Nina, you are so full of grace and your passion for others shines through so much in these comments. It was hard for me at first to even comment because I hate making it seem like I am going against any of my favorite bloggers, but after reading your reply I actually completely agree with what you have said. I was just reading in through a different sense before you explained it further.

        I absolutely agree that there are many posts (and some bloggers in general) that have turned to the “dark side” and they clearly only want to make money from the “crap” they put out. They have lost interest in the readers, commenters and followers. I have reached a point where I unfollow them because there is nothing I dislike more than being forced into a sales pitch. Those circumstances break my blogging heart because that isn’t what it felt like when I was only blogging for a few months (when I somewhat knew what I was doing haha).

        Like I said in my first comment (and I will in my post next week, and has many have already said here) to me, it is about a balance. I get some weeks there might be 4 sponsored posts (because social fabric is crazy and the posting scheduled it haywire), but I can realize that the next week, the blog will be back to normal. It is a great way to make extra money, but even those posts can be tied into someones life.

        These comments and replies have opened my eyes to so many things, and I am thankful for you having posted the original conversation starter. Also for your continued dialogue throughout the comments. Have a wonderful Saturday!!

        1. Nina Post author

          Macy, thanks for the compliment. I think it’s important to listen, even more than it is important to speak (or in this case write) so I really do read and think about the comments. Not only because they are insightful (they are that!) but because you took the time to make them.

          The “dark side” haha. I will say it’s hard to watch and they aren’t my favorite to read but I try not to judge them either. I hope that the need for money comes from a genuine place. People have to make end’s meet etc. But then there are a few where it feels like it’s Vegas and they are raking the chips in. I need to take the step to unfollow them. It’s just that I started to follow them for a reason and so I guess some part of me hopes they come back? But I can’t control them and it is draining so I need to do it.

          I totally get what you are saying about sponsored posts. I am in a situation where I need to make rent and so this month I had an opportunity for three sponsored posts and I am thankful because I need to make rent. At the same time, I was kind of laughing to myself because I wrote this on Thursday and then on Saturday I was/am writing about Kotex. I wondered, will they think I am a hypocrite? And then I had to remind myself that I was very clear that I wasn’t saying anything about not taking sponsored posts. I see the need for them (even honestly to pay for your domain and costs of your blog at the very least).

          You are right that those posts can still be creative. There is a food blogger who does so many sponsored posts but her recipes seems to be original. I tried to be funny and real when talking about Kotex.

          I originally wrote the post because my blogging heart was breaking too. But I have been so inspired by the thoughtful and respectful comments. Thank YOU for being a part of it and bringing your own take on this to the table.

    2. Anne

      Macy I have to jump in here bc I agree with you. I think you and I had the same start with blogging and turned our experience into something to help others. As for the why I don’t read your blog posts I despise those. They’re judgmental and harsh. My blog is my space and I will share what I love and enjoy sharing despite people telling me that it doesn’t fit into their mold of a great blog. If you don’t enjoy it simply move on. I guess I’m also not understanding how what others post brings them down and makes them want to give up blogging. Blogging is personal and about you and your interests. If you don’t like something stop reading it. I guess it’s like putting blinders on. Unfollow and forge ahead. Out of sight and out of mind to an extent. You should not feel obligated to support a blogger (unless uou took the mom as a sponsor then yes you do…you are being paid for a service). We as bloggers understand that not everyone will enjoy reading us daily. And that’s ok. The feeling goes both ways…there are days when I can really relate to a blogger and days I can’t. It’s all good though. I keep saying in my mind, you do you. And along the way you will make great friends with bloggers and have mature conversations and learn from others opinions. You will build a community of women and friends who support each other despite differences and you will realize that this is what blogging is about. And you’ll also realize I ramble on. I’m sorry. Much love to you both and lots of elephant emojis Nina!

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  16. Amanda

    I see what you’re saying, and I do see this a lot in the blogging world, but I don’t feel this way about my Bloglovin’ feed at all. About two years ago (give or take) I decided I wasn’t interested in following anyone who didn’t blog primarily about their real life. I find recipe posts and tutorials helpful every once in a while, but if a blogger isn’t mostly talking about themselves and their day-to-day life, I just don’t care to read it. I follow very few bloggers, and almost every single time one of them posts, it’s something I’m excited to read! You are so right about the same tutorials and “how to” posts that I’ve seen a dozen times. Ain’t nobody got time for that!

    1. Amanda

      * I should add that like someone in a previous comment said, true lifestyle bloggers really don’t seem to get as “blog famous” as others, and the majority of bloggers I follow have a relatively small readership (including my own blog). But since I don’t care about making tons of money and having thousands of followers, it doesn’t bother me. Sure, I wish my blog were growing at the rate some do, but I really enjoy sharing about my life, and right now that’s what makes blogging fun for me 🙂

    2. Nina Post author

      Amanda, I need to edit my feed. There is no question that it would take a load off my shoulders. I know it and yet I cannot cut the cord because a lot of the women are friends or acquaintances and I like them OR I hope they will return to why I originally followed them. I just need to get over myself, right?

      As for you * comment, I think building something in your corner of the internet doesn’t always translate to dollars and cents. I am sure (certain) that for some people that’s exactly what it means. But this dialogue that is happening on this post? That counts as building something in my personal book. I am thankful and I am learning. That also counts for me.

      When I wrote the original post, it was because blogging wasn’t fun and I was trying to figure out why especially because I found the individual elements fun: the writing, the photography, the rest of what I listed. But this dialogue? It makes me so very hopeful!

  17. Michelle

    Yes, yes, YES!!!! Girl this speaks to my soul. I have been increasingly frustrated about blogs and social media lately for this exact reason. It has made me more firm than ever in my stance to never write sponsored content, to keep my blog as a storytelling outlet, and to write about my life and thoughts and embarrassing moments as if I’m telling them to my best friends. I am done following bloggers who keep trying to tell me how to do this, what I’m doing wrong, why I should do this, etc. I’m done. I cut the cord with a lot of blogs I used to read and started following people who use their blogs to write REAL content, and I’m telling you, it has drastically improved my life.

    1. Nina Post author

      Michelle! It’s funny (or not really) but if I hadn’t had one-on-one or private conversations with people about this issue where they said the same thing as you, that they were growing increasing frustrated over the state of blogs and media, that even some of them were become bitter, that some were taking a break, that some were quitting, I wouldn’t have written this. But when I voiced it and they agreed (or vice versa) I realized this actually not just me. It’s taking good bloggers, great bloggers, artists, writers, teachers, etc out of the game.

      I admire the way you have taken a firm stance. For me, in order to make ends meet, I do take some sponsored post. In fact, today, there is something sponsored and I just had to make it as much of my own in my own voice as I could. I hope people can the difference between bloggers who do sponsored content out of necessity once in awhile and those who do it out of greed. I hope that this place can still be authentic and genuine while a few times a month (at most) including something sponsored. I really hope so.

      I NEED to cut the cord. I would love a list of blogs you read and if you aren’t comfortable sharing publicly feel free to email me (ninawearsflowers@gmail.com). Like I said in the post, I haven’t been able to cut the cord because I LIKE these women. But in a lot of cases, I don’t know that I can continue to have them on my feed and continue to blog.

      I’ll be following you based on your comment alone 🙂

      1. Michelle

        I completely understand doing occasional sponsored posts. I have no problem with that! I just personally never got into blogging to make money from it, so I’m keeping a firm no-sponsor policy. I think lots of people seem to use them as a crutch sometimes, and they use the subsequent giveaways to lure readers. It feels like buying blog readers and it really turns me off. What bothers me is when bloggers aren’t straightforward about a sponsor, and they trick you into reading a post and then turn it into a sales pitch. That drives me CRAZY. I’ve read this post several times and sent it to some friends of mine because I just love it so much. It is SO BRAVE to write something like this!

        Here are some blogs I love and adore:
        megfee.com
        makeminedecaf.blogspot.com
        ohlauradarling.blogspot.com
        thetaleofamermaid.com
        theladyokieblog.com
        itjustgetsstranger.com

        There are more, but these are the ones that come to mind at the moment. They are all fantastic writers, and I always leave their blogs feeling good and inspired. And most of them are quite funny as well 🙂

  18. erin (everything with love)

    lady, you know I love you on Instagram, but this is the first post that has really made me go, “YES!! preach!!” I have been getting more serious about blogging the last couple months, and now that I’m paying closer attention, I’m noticing the same things as you. and I’m wondering how to avoid being one of those who just blends in with the rest of the typical bloggers. everything says I have to fit into a box to make money blogging, but I don’t want to. This post just touched something in me and I wanted to say thank you. keep doing you girl.

    1. Nina Post author

      I am wondering how to avoid that too, Erin! And I don’t know that I have the answer or that anyone here does but what does inspire me is that people desire to ask the question in the first place and that a lot of people, here alone, are asking that. I wrote the post from a frustrated place but these comments and the way they have made me think give me lots of hope and inspiration.

      I was scared to post it but it was worth any black lash because of the dialogue. There are a lot of different opinions and I am thankful for that.

      I want to tell you: there isn’t a box. I want to believe there isn’t a box. Still, I think it would be naive to say that it doesn’t exist at all. So how does one balance any of it–being true to themselves yet building something important (whatever that means to someone…it can look very different for everyone)? I don’t have an answer!

      Thank you for reading and most of all joining the convo!

  19. Sheryl

    This is such a meaningful post. There have been times when I opened my feed and every other post was a tutorial or telling me what I NEEDED to be doing. Although I would love to have massive page views and be paid to blog, the reality is my space is where I try to help others by also sharing my own journey. I may share a recipe or a DIY because that is truly who I am. However, I also struggle with balance and where my time goes. I sometimes worry that there are too many people trying to “write” about life but not living it. With that being said, if someone is happy doing tutorials and creating ‘pinnables” then I am happy for them – I just don’t have to read their posts everyday.

    The truth is, we each struggle with comparison. We want to be alike but also stand out and often what happens is we simply fade in together. I feel that my most raw posts are my best and they were written when I was new and very few people were reading. My writing and graphics have become “better” but I sometimes miss when I would just sit down and write how I felt.

    Keep doing what you are doing!

    1. Nina Post author

      Sheryl. Yes, I think you put your finger on the true pulse with my issue with the tutorials and how to posts by some bloggers (not all)…the idea that I am being told what I NEED to do. And not only what I NEED to do but that I am a BAD blogger if I don’t. Most of the time, I am strong enough where I can shake it off but it would be unfair to say it never affects me. But then I hear from different bloggers and does get us all down to varying degrees. When I see bloggers burning out or leaving altogether for the reasons I talked about, that’s heartbreaking. And then I feel it begin to wear on me. If it was just me, I wouldn’t say anything. But I think people would be surprised to know the number of women who have reached out privately and publicly that stopped blogging for these reasons. So. I said something. Not perfectly. Not even well. But the discussion that followed was/is/has been worth it.

      Many months ago, I set aside Thursday where I would write. Just write about anything but that I would be vulnerable and authentic. These posts typically aren’t related to blogging (this week was an exception obviously). And to be honest, they aren’t my most popular posts (as defined by those previously mentioned posts). They don’t bring in the most page views or the most comments. All the “blogging experts” say to look at your analytics and then adapt your content. But I think a part of me knew that I personally needed a Thursday. So I keep writing them. It’s not that they are the easiest posts to write. A lot of times they are harder. But for me, I just need them.

      I don’t think there are such things as bad posts. I won’t label tutorials or DIYs or recipes as bad. Because I think some people have a true culinary passion and it shows. I think others have a calling to teach. I know you have a passion for helping others that comes into play in a different way than blogging tutorials (I LOVE your blog by the way). But when any of those posts are done without a pov or creativity or out of a sense of duty, I think as readers we can tell. And no one is innocent.

      I just became pretty depressed over the state of things when I saw that happening on blogs I really enjoy more and more until it took over what I originally loved about the blog.

      Your bring up a good point about how a blog does change as it grows. Suddenly you are aware that others are reading. And that does change what you write. How can it not? I said it somewhere else but it is HEALTHY to share your life with others but also just as important and HEALTHY to protect yourself, especially on the internet.

      Keep doing what you are doing!

  20. Rachel G

    I am with you 100% in that in general, recipes and how-tos and tips and advice just don’t appeal to me. What you said: “topics that are written because one thinks they will be popular”…that happens a lot, and I avoid those blog posts because unless I’m actually doing a google search for a specific topic/recipe/how-to…it’s just not interesting. Not nearly as interesting as a story.
    I do agree that some people can make a recipe or tutorial funny and interesting through their wordcraft and creativity, and I really appreciate that. I’ve never been able to do a serious tutorial. I love spoofs way too much, so one of my signature moves is to pick a title related to a popular style of post at the time, i.e. “What’s in my Purse?” or “How to Get Pinterest-Famous” and put an unexpected…typically goofy…twist on the topic. Here’s the Pinterest post, man, it’s so so so old, and I’ve improved at photography since, but it still makes me laugh: http://www.therandomwritings.com/2014/02/how-to-become-pinterest-famous.html

    I’ll admit, next week I have a post about my gallery wall coming up, but it’s no tutorial, at least it’s a tutorial for something hopefully most people won’t do with their gallery walls although it would be amusing if they did…

    Everyone is unique, but the problem is I think many people are scared to show how unique they are. I actually consider that my biggest area of gifting is simply being extremely comfortable with my own uniqueness, and encouraging others to be themselves instead of fitting in.

    1. Michelle

      I read Rachel’s blog, and I have to agree that she’s wildly unique, and I think she’s a breath of fresh air and a great writer. I think we should all embrace our individuality and stop worrying about fitting in in the blogging world.

  21. Amanda

    So much yes to this. I very much feel the same way. For a while, I went out of my way to produce those crap posts too, and it totally drained it. It’s so much work, and just adds to the noise. I’ve tried hard to take a step back, take the pressure off to be pinnable, and to simply be me. It’s been SUCH a relief. Yes, my numbers have dropped a bit, and that’s OK with me. I do have to remind myself that I’m not blogging for numbers; I’m blogging to share my heart, have some fun and make a few friends. When it becomes more than that, I have to slap myself on the wrist for getting caught up in all those rules so many bloggers shove down your throat and the pressure to be blogger perfect. So much crap. I’d rather be me, and I’d rather you be you. But yes, that’s my long-winded way of saying AMEN GIRLFRIEND.

  22. Emily

    I just love this post! I agree with you on being exhausted of all of this “crap” out there. There are blogs that I follow that exist and that I enjoy who exist solely for this information. (I see Anne posting above me in the comments here, and I just love her blog to pieces!) But I’m tired of seeing my lifestyle and travel bloggers being sucked into this hole.

  23. Meghan

    I absolutely love this. I’m definitely shying away from the “pinterest-worthy” posts that seem to be the norm lately, because like you I want to see the everyday lives of my favorite bloggers not just the clean, cut and polished parts.

    I started blogging because I wanted to have a record of my life and my thoughts on various topics. I have a dream to write for a living so my blog is my stepping stone.

    I started reading blogs because I love hearing other people’s stories and learning more about others. I hope we are both able to find blogs that fit that mold more.

    I like to think my blog is about my loves and my passions, if you want, check it out 🙂

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  28. Brita Long

    Yes!!!!! It’s hard for me sometimes as a Christian feminist lifestyle blogger. I want to write about topics that matter to me, but they don’t always drive page views. Each of my Feminism 101 posts takes about 12 hours to research, write, and format, but most of them only get me a few hundred page views each month. Then again, some of my “pinnable” posts didn’t really drive traffic either. I’ve actually found that updating my old posts to be more pinnable has positively influenced my traffic.

    It’s definitely been disheartening lately to have my page views down after several high months. I hadn’t realized how much traffic was for my one post on Cedar Point, which is only open May-October. But I’m trying to see this as an opportunity to branch out. Do I really want to make money from my blog in the same way as other bloggers? I’ve appreciated my few sponsored post opportunities, but it turns out, I really just want to write what I want to write. I’ve been slowing down my posting schedule and thinking about working on other writing projects for eventual passive income, instead of focusing on blog blog blog.

    I am excited about eventually publishing a few blog posts on SEO, though. I know a lot about it, and what many many lifestyle bloggers and SEO experts don’t realize is that an SEO strategy for a lifestyle blog is sooooo different than niche/business/marketing/etc. blogs.

  29. Brittany @ Everyday Thoughts

    I love and admire your honesty. I couldn’t agree with you more that there’s so much homogeny on blogs lately it leaves so much to be desired and a void when it comes to creative inspiration. I’ve fallen into the trap of sameness before and while it will typically boost page views for a day or two I’m never as happy with those posts as I’m am when I’m honest, authentic and share real pieces of my heart.

    1. Nina Post author

      “I’m never as happy with those posts as I’m am when I’m honest, authentic and share real pieces of my heart.” I could not agree more, Brittany!

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