Though it can often seem like a one way stream, blogging is far more complex than that- every blog post I write is researched and involves checking sources online and speaking to people- and in return, I get comments and respond to them. Through researching what I write I end up on a lot of different blogs- some science, some lifestyle and through this all I get a general picture of what other people are writing and thinking about. Problem is, for every blog that contains poorly placed graphics and bad spelling I’ll find one amazingly lucid and eloquent one written buy a fourteen year old with photographic skills which are far more advanced then mine.
For every event I go to or party I discuss someone else will have been to a better one in a cuter outfit doing something zanier- and I get serious green faced blog envy. My flat is a not a showroom, I haven’t dusted in a long-time and my photos aren’t arranged in cutesy artistic spreads on the wall- they’re placed wherever I managed to find some Blu tac. My life is not a showcase of aspirations, it’s comprised of mundane things like getting Boots Advantage points and moaning about excess Easyjet charges. My real life doesn’t compare to all these whimsical day in the life blogs, and don’t even get me started on ‘Outfit of the day’ posts as sites like Chictiopia and LookBook lead to massive feelings of inadequacy.
When you add to this the amount of blogs which enormously emotionally over share, you’re bound to feel a little bit stressed whenever you venture online.
Think of it this way-when I read certain blogs I expect certain things. I love the twee cat stories, boyfriend drama, casual sex flings and then- bam. A bloggers mother dies, their dad gets cancer,they try BDSM, all fine and above board for you to write about should you wish to, but when it’s very out of tone with your blog* it throws me. I don’t know what to do. My light reading has unexpectedly had a heavy veneer placed over it and though I want to comment I’m out of my depth. You own the blog- you can put whatever you wish on it, but as a reader it sometimes feel like you’ve overblogged- shared too much with the anonymous public and we don’t know what to do. I cried over someone’s blog post last week- in context**-and though that was understandable, I don’t want that to happen when I’m expecting a discussion on the merits of tea cosies versus towels (note: I don’t actually care about this topic).
So, I’m reading these tales and I’m feeling fraught by these blogs and then I feel compelled to write some sort of reply. And read the comments. And click on some of the best commenter’s related links. Before I know it I have twenty tabs open and my internet addiction is in full swing again once more, and now it’s 3am and my eyes are rimmed and sore. Now it’s time for me to blog, but considering my huge doses of blog envy and blog stress from other people’s overblogging I’m looking at a blank page-the curse of blogger burnout. Anything I say will have been said before, funnier, smarter, with better images. A point I want to make has been made by someone with a PhD and a story I liked has been written about on Wired. How do you play catch up- and do you even want to?
A blog like AlmostZara doesn’t need to chase Google Traffic like some of the larger blogs out there (who make serious money based on their stats) but I still want my voice to be heard, and no one likes a copycat. The sheer volume of blogs and resources and noise and voices and links, mini blog, Vlogs, Tumblrs, Instagram editors- all of it is this bright cadescent cacophony of sound that’s giving me overwhelming blogger burnout. What can I say that hasn’t been snapped, documented, discovered? Will my unique sarcastic witty blog posts really be all that different to those from sites like Cracked, The Hairpin or a myriad other sites? What do I do? Cower in dark room and remove myself from all outside influences so I can try to be original? These are the blogging diseases of our times, and I have to wonder if there is a cure.
Again, I’m not the first to have spoken about Blog Envy or Blogger Burnout, as other bloggers have also shared these fears- hey; they even have the definitions on Urban Dictionary! Still, I feel generally overblogged in general, and want to get my Mojo back. Blogging used to be so much fun- you’d read cool stuff, write about interesting things, share and comment, but now it feels like a constant game of catch up, of blog statistics, of worrying about what other people think. We all know that worrying is a vicious circle and it’s hard to break the pattern.
I’m determined to overcome my blogger burnout and these are my action points
1.Writing about what I really like. I do this at the moment, and you can probably recognize a distinctive tone to most of the posts, so I’m not going to change anything. What I am going to do is be even pickier- it’s my blog and I can choose the content. Hopefully, this will mean that I’m 90% or above passionate about what I write rather than the 80% it might be now, so posts will just zip out of me.
2.Not worrying about word count It’s often tempting to make every post a masterpiece and have long top ten lists and interesting factoids everywhere (with lots of pictures, I know how the web works!). I’m almost averse to short posts sometimes, thinking, hey, wouldn’t people prefer something weighty? The pressure of this means I STOP posting and that has to stop, so I’m going to allow myself the occasional short Tumblr style post on the blog- to help me get back into the swing of it.
3. Setting a realistic schedule I love AlmostZara- it’s the one writing outlet I have that is completely controlled by me and where I can write about Mermaid conventions one day and geeky science fiction whales on the next. However I am a freelance writer and as such have a bunch of other commitments, and these need to come first if I want to pay rent and afford pretty shoes. This doesn’t mean AlmostZara needs to be forgotten, just that I can’t expect to have a story up daily. By setting myself a goal of TWO stories a week I feel I’ll be able to give the blog room to grow, whilst not stressing myself out. So, every Sunday and Wednesday- let’s see if this plan works.
These are my goals, and I’m now going to do my best to achieve them, as I miss blogging here! I’ve accepted I’ll always have some level of Blog Envy and will just try and move on from that-it’s some small comfort that other lifestyle bloggers have talked about the pressure they feel when reading blogs, and how that so called perfect life is an illusion. As for handling those who overblog- well, that’s really my personal judgement call. Yes, a sudden sad story can really confuse me, but that’s not going to stop me reading blogs I love and I feel honoured that someone I admire has chosen to be so honest in such a public manner. I can always click away- but they are dealing with their issues full time, so I have no real grounds for complaint.
* I’m talking in context- if I’m on Belle de Jour, BDSM is to be expected
** The very talented Lisa Lynch revealed she had discovered cancer.. again. Devastating- and I’ve never even met her IRL.
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