My Dressember Day 3 post is coming soon, and so is a massive rant, just to warn you. In the meantime, here’s this week’s Friend Friday, which is on the subject of blogging, and knowing when to quit…
1. How many hours a week do you spend blogging? Has that number changed since you started blogging?
Probably anything up to ten hours per day, five days per week: sometimes more, occasionally less. To put that in perspective, though (and, er, make it seem a bit less like an unhealthy obsession), blogging is my job, so it’s not like I’m sitting in an office from 9-5 and THEN coming home and blogging for ten hours. Blogging is my 9-5, even although I don’t keep anything like those hours (Becoming a small business owner turned me into a workaholic, and trust me, that’s not a word I’d ever have associated with myself before…), and I have three blogs to update daily, not including this one. That’s not all writing time, of course – I’m also including the time I spend researching posts, managing the sites, taking photos, and all of the other background stuff that’s part and parcel of professional blogging. I try not to blog on the weekends, but I will always check-in on comments, stats, Twitter etc, which is technically “work”, even although it often doesn’t feel like it. The presence of an iPhone in my life, and my compulsion to constantly check my email etc on it means that blogging is never very far from my mind!
The hours I spend on it haven’t changed too much since I started: if anything, I’ve reduced the hours a little because back in the early days I would work seven days per week, with very little difference between weekends and week days. After a while, though, I realised that was a one-way ticket to Insanity Central, so these days I try to keep the weekends blog-free, and I’ve been making a bigger effort to take some time off in the evenings too. And I also have Fi and Caroline writing for one of the sites too, now, which has been a huge help.
2. There is always more you can do, write, read, comment on… how do you limit your time spent on these tasks?
I have quite a strict blogging routine, which I try to stick to: it involves writing as many of my weekly posts in advance as I can, leaving me the rest of the time to do all of the other stuff. Sounds good in theory, but in practice the actual content creation frequently eats up almost all of my time (I can never predict how long it’ll take me to find something I want to write about: some days it comes easy, other days it takes hours) and I end up sitting at my computer at midnight feeling like I haven’t done even half of the things I’d wanted to get done that day. I’m working on ideas to free up more time, though: hopefully by next year things will be a little easier…
3. Have you experienced Blogger burnout yet? How have you dealt with that?
Yup, frequently. The only way I know of to deal with it is to switch of the computer and walk away – and by that I mean far away. This is why I value my holidays so much: if I’m at home I find it really difficult to switch off, because the compulsion to check comments, check email, or write one more post is always there, and because I have an overly-developed guilt complex which means that I feel guilty if I’m at home but am not working. If I don’t have a handy vacation planned, a day-trip or something will also work: anything that gets me out of the house and away from the computer!
4. This time of the year is always a lot busier than any other time. Will your blogging change as a result?
Ha! Yes! Because I blog for a living, I don’t have the luxury of being able to just shut the blogs down when I’m not here (well, I can, but if I do, people yell at me, and I also don’t earn much money, so it’s not a great idea), so I have to write all of those posts in advance. It’s by far my least favourite part of the job, but the holidays are always worth it.
5. Could you forsee a moment in which you are not blogging anymore? How would you you identify that it’s time to walk away?
I actually decided to give up this blog earlier this year, and didn’t update for over a month. At the time, I felt that no one was really reading any more, and I started to question what the point was of putting so much of myself and my life online if no one was interested in hearing about it. When I made the decision to quit I was pretty sure it would be permanent, but as the weeks passed I started to miss it: something would happen, and I’d think, “Ooh, I must blog about that!” and then remember that nope, I wasn’t doing that any more… it was a strange feeling because I think blogging had become such an ingrained habit by then that it was hard to give it up. So I started up again in September, and I think the break did me some good, because I’ve been enjoying it much more since then. With that said, if it did reach the stage again where I felt like no one was reading, or if it started to have a negative impact on my life, then yes, I would walk away. People always tell you to write for yourself, but it’s actually really hard to do that online: you always have to be aware of the fact that you’re ultimately writing for an audience, and if that audience were to disappear, then I would take it as a sign that it was time to go back to a private journal.
With my other blogs, the idea of giving up is obviously more complex because I wouldn’t just be giving up a blog, I’d be giving up a job, and in order for me to be able to do that, I’d have to have some other form of income. At the moment, I can’t really imagine what that would be: I know I never want to go back to a “traditional” job, but I guess another business idea could tempt me away from blogging – I just don’t know what that idea might be yet!
For more Friend Friday answers, click here.