Navigating The Five Stages Of Blogging Fatigue

Filed as Features on August 8, 2007 8:42 am

Kent Newsome has a good post outlining five stages of blogging, from creation to abandonment at Newsome.org. They are:

  1. Excitement: While setting up a new blog, the blogger is full of great ideas, is inspired, and expectations are high.
  2. Expectation: When starting from zero, little things mean a lot and progress seems exponential.
  3. Frustration: Blogging meet diminishing returns, turns into inefficient work, and the blogger finds it harder and harder to get attention amid the multitude of other blogs.
  4. Alienation: Rejection of the blogosphere.
  5. Abandonment: A dead blog.

I could instantly relate to these stages as I usually oscillate between 2 and 3, while on a really bad day (perhaps after a blogger calls me a moron) I can drop to number 4. After one year, I have yet to give up on blogging completely, but I’ll be honest — I’ve come close.


Currently, much of my fatigue stems from the realization that blogging can be hard work, and if I were to pick a blogging metaphor, it’s that of a long, endless jog. I’m somewhere in the middle of the pack – runners passing me while I pass others – but nobody knows how long the race is or where’s the finish line.

My traffic is increasing but not at the rate it once was. I seem to have stalled out in terms of Technorati links coming in and feed subscribers. Many of the “wow” moments that inspired me in the early days aren’t especially motivating anymore.

But still, I persist.

So what keeps me at stage 2? Where do I find inspiration?

  • Comments left by readers. I really enjoy reading responses to what I’ve written, even if they disagree with me. A funny comment always inspires me to continue blogging.
  • Responding to what I read on other blogs via my own. It’s wonderful to have the ability to read a blog article and write a response on my own.
  • Setting internal goals that don’t rely on external validation. Stats like traffic, ad revenue, or page views are “external” validations. An “internal” validation might be challenging myself to write four posts on Sunday and publish them ahead of time so I can have a few weekdays off. Meaning, success is totally in my court. Mixing up goals keeps things fun.
  • Writing series of posts. I’ve experimented with writing several posts on one subject (Radiohead album reviews, James Bond movies, Battlestar Galactica) that provide material even when I’m not feeling inspired to write anything else. And when inspired, the posts can write themselves.
  • Giving back. I’m running a blog contest with a reader prize and have ideas for many more.
  • Striving to be a decent blogosphere citizen. Reading and commenting on other blogs and linking whenever possible helps me feel connected and hopefully inspires other bloggers by letting them know I’m reading their blogs. In a sense, I’ve struck up conversation with some other runners in the middle of the pack near to me, and through subtle blog behavior – we keep each other moving forward.

And the last inspirational tip: Honest blogging.

When I write something true to myself without any consideration as to the result, I’m usually pleasantly surprised. An example of “honest blogging” was when I nearly quit my blog, but decided not to. I wrote a post called Some Reasons Why I Nearly Quit Blogging. The varied reaction raised me from stage 4 to stage 2 over a few days.

If at any point you’re slipping down Kent Newsome’s blog theory from stage 4 to the edge of 5, perhaps an blunt, honest post about your feelings would slow the descent. How about an article titled: “I’m Tired Of Blogging And I Want To Quit”?

I have a feeling your readers – even if they seem non-existent and indifferent – and some you had no idea you had – will read the post and lift you back to stage 2. Writing in this manner can take the dark feeling of slipping down the blog abandonment scale and transform it into interesting content – and hopefully turn your blog fatigue back into a positive.

Just make sure to link from your blog abandonment post to The Blog Herald, so I can personally give you a second wind!

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  1. By Elaine Vigneault posted on August 8, 2007 at 8:59 am
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    You always put a lot of thought into your articles. It’s obvious. And it’s great.

    Reply

  2. By Webomatica posted on August 8, 2007 at 9:26 am
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    Thanks! I try, and am continually learning.

    Reply

  3. Linker Barn: Hump Day August 8August 8, 2007 at 9:40 am
  4. By J.D. posted on August 8, 2007 at 10:41 am
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    I’m naturally flakey, so after the adrenaline rush had worn off, I knew I couldn’t keep up the 3-4 posts a day I was doing initially with People You’ll See In Hell. I dropped down to two, but started writing longer articles, which was still too much.

    So I try to put up one solidly evil person a day now. The rest of what I post is stuff that interests me but still relates to my theme.

    Reply

  5. By Webomatica posted on August 8, 2007 at 11:57 am
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    JD, I as well was trying to do 3 posts a day in the beginning, and that was really tough. I think quality over quantity is a good thing to remember, and I’ve read over on Problogger that sometimes readers unsubscribe from blogs because there are too many articles. Finding a balance between enough blogging to sustain an audience and too much (risking burnout) is important to consider, that’s for sure!

    Thanks for visiting and commenting.

    Reply

  6. By Jennifer posted on August 8, 2007 at 1:46 pm
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    This is a great post. I write six plus blogs at any given time and blogging fatigue comes on huge. Like this month when everyone has apparently left the web in search of summer vacation before school starts back up. When one or more of your blogs is doing very well it’s easy to stay motivated. But a bad month for all of them… It’s tiring. You really wish you picked a different job. Your list of what keep you blogging is smack on and a good reminder to keep at it. Very nice; I’ll have to link this somehow.

    Reply

  7. By Webomatica posted on August 8, 2007 at 2:29 pm
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    Jennifer – 6 blogs? Wow, that number alone is impressive and has me a bit tired just thinking about it! I’ll have to check them out.

    Reply

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  9. By Vahid Chaychi posted on August 8, 2007 at 3:57 pm
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    Hello my friends,

    Please take a look at my last post, “Some Facts About Social Bookmarking Websites and the Traffic You Receive from Them”:
    http://www.weboma.com/some-facts-about-social-bookmarking-websites-and-the-traffic-you-receive-from-them/

    Best regards,
    Vahid

    Reply

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  11. By Carolyn posted on August 8, 2007 at 10:11 pm
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    Great post, Jason. Blogging is a lot like life — sometimes the days and weeks just suck and you don’t know why you press on, but you do. You know not to “check out.” But then someone comes along, and they are glad that you passed by. And you realize that you are here for a purpose. Personally, I am glad that you blog. I always learn something, and have a little fun along the way. Hang out as long as you can in stage 2.

    Reply

  12. By Webomatica posted on August 8, 2007 at 10:29 pm
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    Maybe someone could create a little stage widget for blog sidebars, so we can know how a blogger is feeling and when might be a bad time to poke the bear :)

    Stage 2 today for sure! Thanks for the comments.

    Reply

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