Mutterings of a Fool

Man, Dad, Runner, Chief dog walker

The difficult 4th year of blogging

Everyone talks to their blogs right? I’ve been having a lot of “it’s not you it’s me” conversations with mine, trying to find the writing seam that flows and feels natural. Trying to recapture the feeling you have as a new blogger when you can’t get the words out quick enough. As I approach the 4th birthday of my little piece of internet real estate I’m feeling mainly confused. Maybe this is just a part of the natural life cycle of being a blogger? It would seem though that I’m not alone and some of my fellow parent bloggers who I believe started their blogs around the same time as me are also at this inflexion point. Sarah wrote a post this week called it’s so funny, how we don’t blog anymore she has at least been scratching her blogging itch elsewhere though. Tom started his blog almost exactly 4 weeks before me and continuing the relationship theme said his writing is currently summed up by “I got married to my job and now my blog is bored”.

The parent blogging world is really in a boom time at the moment and the number of blogs has increased at an incredible rate since we started blogging. But if I’m honest I feel quite detached from it now, I’m not really interested in taking part in Twitter parties or linkies (with the exception of Me and Mine), there are few blogging conferences I would consider going to and I’m definitely not interested in reviewing things every week. I do miss the community feel that I experienced in the first couple of years of blogging, reading back old posts I remembered all the great bloggers I used to ‘talk’ to via blog comments every week, some who I realised I haven’t even tweeted with for a long time. Have I just become a grumpy old man and am missing the community feel because I’m anti social or am I just now the uncool middle aged uncle who isn’t down with the kids?

I’m reading a really interesting book by the Japanese writer Huraki Murakami at the moment called “what I talk about when I talk about running“, it’s interesting because it’s about running which of course appeals, but it’s about what it’s like being a runner rather than the actual running itself. In the book Huraki talks about his theory that writers have a finite amount of writing in their bodies so he paces himself with his writing so that he doesn’t use it all up too soon. I quite like that concept and wonder if that’s what’s happened to us as bloggers. Have we done too much in the first few years as a blogger and now those rich writing seams are harder to tap into?

At the start of the year I set out what topic areas I was going to write about with the intention that this would help me focus on the things I was really interested and passionate about. I thought this would help me focus my creative thoughts and also give this blog some identity, a core set of things it stood for, for the most part I think I’ve done that but now find myself questioning it. I’m a big believer in writing about what you want (hence the plan at the start of the year) rather than what you think you’re reader wants. But that lack of community I mentioned shows itself in the low level of interaction I’ve experienced over the last few months. It’s great when writing a post becomes the start of a discussion but I see very few people commenting on posts these days either on this blog or elsewhere. I know people read what I write (the stats and subscriber list show that) but would love to know what they/you think also.

Is 4 years as a blogger the same as turning 40? Is this a mid blog life crisis? Answers on a postcard please.

13 Comments

  1. I’m commenting!

    • I think moving to comment on Twitter is definitely a trend, which is fine, but the only thing I don’t like about it is it gets lost once the interaction is over.
      But I have to ask, how easy was it to comment on my blog? It’s something I’ve looked at quite a bit to see what comment service is best but none seem perfect and few work well from a phone. Disqus I think does let you comment with just a name right?

  2. I know how you feel. As you know I stopped blogging completely due to this. Not all blogs need to run and run, some, like mine, helped me through a new stage in life which I’m totally comfortable with now so don’t need to tell everyone about, or to write down.

    But if you want to keep it going, go for it. Reinvent, talk about what interests you. If it doesn’t interest you, it wont interest anyone else.

    I look forward to seeing what you come up with 🙂

    • It’s interesting having a 3rd child coming and looking back at all those new dad posts. Don’t think I could ever go back to that type of post but also don’t want to forget why I started blogging. Maybe that’s partly why I feel like I’m missing the community? Because I’m just not part of that part of the parent blogging world any more?

  3. I’ve been blogging for just over 2 years and have recently noticed a big shift in the community – probably for the first time since I started. I do think you have to work for comments/community and sometimes I simply don’t have the time or energy. I’ve taken a step back to focus more on the writing than the networking but that does cause less interaction and ‘popularity’ if you like. I wonder where I will be by my fourth year but I do understand where you are coming from. I started mine to get writing experience but despite the warnings that I will get stuck in the ‘blog rut’, I carried on regardless and am still here!

    • I’ve always been a big advocate of being a reader as well as a blogger so agree it needs some ‘work’. But feels like people maybe comment now just to get a response rather than because they read something they like. Or just don’t comment at all. I’d definitely take 10 comments over 100 page views.

  4. mummyofboygirltwins

    October 1, 2014 at 8:43 pm

    Ben, I am sure this is a common feeling. I just wrote something about being a rollercoaster blogger – i.e. it gives you such highs, but also many lows, (when no-one is reading or commenting). I have only been in it all for 5 months and I must say that it’s huge. The blogging community is overwhelming and consuming. I do love it though, and it is addictive. I wonder how I will feel though even this time next year. I hope you find some inspiration soon and get into to some great writing again 🙂 x

    • Definitely highs and lows, I often have a period of inspiration and motivation but then lose it when you don’t get any feedback at all. Blogging is part therapy and I love writing but for me it’s also a 2 way thing.
      Thanks for commenting

  5. You and I must have started blogging around the same time and I remember the frisson of excitement when I entered this amazing new world of blogs, commenting and community spirit. I lost the bug for a while but regained it thanks to this year’s Britmums conference where I made some new blogging friends that reignited my passion not just for blogging but for what started it all off for me – for the whole process of writing. Perhaps when baby comes along you’ll find you start blogging again – not as a new parent but just to share the new and wonderful memories. As one of your readers, I do hope so.

    • Thanks Michelle – it’s been interesting since writing this to reconnect with some bloggers who’ve been going a similar time. I think I may be actually finding that community again it’s just it looks and feels different.

  6. THIS! I so get this feeling. I’ve spoken to a few people that have been uncomfortable with the shift. Blogging has got bigger, inevitably more competitive and pushy, more commercial. there is more emphasis on ‘making money from your blog’ rather than community. I find that much of that doesn’t appeal to me. The community aspect has changed, I guess parent blogging got bigger and the harder it got to maintain a sense of community. I saw some stats on twitter, it has become more about browsing and less interactive, yet has continued to grow. I thought that was interesting. I certainly browse more, chat less on twitter. The spaces I inhabit in the internet have got smaller. I find myself drawn to blogs that are more visual but often I don’t comment. I can think of one I like, I know they never comments back and so while, I enjoy the blog, It feels pointless commenting. There is no shared sense to blogging and community there. I have been toying with the future of mine, I enjoy writing but these days wonder why I write. I am less inclined to write about my son, it no longer seems fair. I think blogging is a journey much like life, a blog is an outlet, and expression of you, of course that changes as you change, your priorities change. Blogging changes, it feels different. these are all things we have to balance. I think the hard part is, it’s a bit of a love affair and waking up and appreciating things have changed, its not the same anymore – is dis-heartening. I don’t have any answers, I’m pleased you are exploring the issue – you are not alone.

    • I do wonder if new bloggers find the community and excitement we did still? Or has it truly got so big that it’s harder? Part of it for me I think is I simply have less time to invest in blogging,2 (almost 3) children, work and running fill a lot of my time and also brain space. But I would hope that I can still have some community after all the percent of bloggers who can make money and win awards etc is tiny the rest of us have to be in it for the love of writing.

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