Monday, January 24, 2011

Blogging and Not Blogging

I was very saddened today when a blogger I follow and consider a friend decided to stop blogging.  She did it suddenly and deleted her entire blog.  I spoke with her afterward and offered condolences.  She explained she was upset by insensitive treatment from other bloggers and needed to step back for a while.  She said she might return to blogging later on, but needed to nurse her emotional wounds and re-assess whether blogging was good for her.

I'm not going to mention her name.

Her decision was rare but not unprecedented.  In the year I've been here, two other fashion-bloggers I followed closely ended their blogs.  They also did it suddenly and with apparent emotion behind the decision.

Now, none of us has to blog; it's an entirely voluntary activity.  And all of us are free to stop anytime we want.  We don't owe anything to the blogging-world.

I respect and accept these decisions to stop.  I am also saddened by them, both for the pain the bloggers felt and for the loss of their blogs.  When you hear someone talk about their life on almost a daily level and then they disappear, you feel their absence acutely.  At least I do.  I'm an emotional person and I get deeply attached to people, even people I've only met online.  Perhaps that's a flaw, but I accept it as part of who I am.  I care about my friends.

I plan to stay in touch with my blogger-friend and I hope she'll keep in touch with me.

The experience of the other two bloggers is hopeful.  In both cases, they returned to blogging after a month or two, but with a difference: instead of blogging about fashion, they shifted the focus of their blog to something else.  In one case, the blogger started reviewing old movies which are a passion of hers.  She's very knowledgeable about that subject and seems to enjoy posting long essays on it.  Since I share that passion for the cinema, I'm happily enjoying her new blog.  She posts less frequently and that's probably a good thing for her.  Many bloggers complain that their blog takes on a life of its own and becomes more of a chore than a joy.  If you feel pressure about posting frequently, that's probably a sign your blog isn't adding happiness to your life.

The other blogger who left and returned also posts less often now.  Her outfit-posts used to be daily; now she reports biweekly on her personal life.  Because those reports are incredibly raw and honest, she restricts access to her blog to a select few readers.  I'm honored she invited me to be among them.

Blogging can create joy or pain.  If it isn't making you happy, you can change it.  I'm sad my friend stopped today and I hope she will re-think what she's doing and come back later on, possibly with a new approach that suits her better.  Ultimately, I want her to be happy.

Are you happy with your blogging?  Have you ever thought about stopping?

26 comments:

  1. I have also known a few bloggers who decided to stop blogging. They had their reasons but it made me sad to see them go. So far I am enjoying blogging. Earlier I was blogging sporadically as and when I got time, slowly I started outfit posts and started blogging daily. Now due to lack of time and the amount of energy it takes to blog as well as maintain a relation with other bloggers I blog alternate days! I do not know if I will ever stop blogging ... I hope not! :)

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  2. This is very well written. Thanks Ralph.

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  3. This makes me so sad :( people are so cruel! I mean if you dont like their blogs then don't read them. No need to make hurtful comments. I personally love blogging, I feel like it's a warm and friendly community :D I just hope I don't get any a-holes being mean to me later on.. x

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  4. Like you, I get attached to people to. Especially those I read regularly. Isn't it funny how much you can get to know a person? I hope I am not naive and wrong in my belief that people blog honestly. It really would be easy to create an entirely fictional persona.

    I have thought about stopping on a few different occasions. It does take time and effort to keep a blog going. One of the most disheartening things for me is when people don't bother to comment. I know not every post is worthy of comment. And I don't want people to comment just for the sake of commenting. But to a blogger, comments are the only way you know people are reading. I really treasure people like you who actually read my blogs and have frequent, thought-provoking comments.

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  5. I wrote this post because I believed we shared the views in it. I'm heartened to see we do. Your comments, as ToadMama points out, give us that feedback. I value everyone who makes the effort to think about and respond to a post.

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  6. I have actually written two blogs before this one. One was a blog on the local professional hockey team. I would review their games, provide up-to-date information, etc. It was fun but time-consuming. When school got too intense, I quit after the season. The other blog was a personal blog about my life. I think I had it for a month or two before I got bored with it. I felt like no one cared to read about my stupid crap, even though it was funny as Hell.
    I don't know if I will ever stop my fashion blog. I can't see it happening anytime soon. I love blogging. I love making friends with people online. I love feeling the support of my blogger friends. When my grandfather spent a week in the hospital before passing away in December, some of the best, most supportive messages came from my followers. It was amazing and so inspirational. It's like a little family here.

    http://glamkittenslitterbox.blogspot.com/

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  7. Yes I was just visiting her blog and saddened at the fact that it was so blunt, there must be a reason. I do not think its fair.
    I have not thought about stopping... but then again you never know.

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  8. These comments are Great. I love hearing feedback on this issue. Thanks again Ralph for writing this. I will probably start back up again and this is because I realize that there are good people who care.

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  9. I am sorry your friend stopped blogging- especially that she received insensitive treatment! That doesn't sound like the blogging world that I know! I've only been blogging for a few months but I do sometimes feel pressure to post frequently and honestly I don't have the time sometimes! But I think that's ok and that our favourite and frequent followers will understand :)

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  10. I'm also pretty disappointed this individual stopped. IT truly angers me that there could be such cruel people out there. IT takes a lot to put yourself out there in the form of a public blog, and this should be applauded and encouraged.

    As for feeling "obliged" to blog, fortunately for me I've never felt this pressure. While I do feel a little guilty if I've been gone for a while, its never due to pressure. BLogging is somethign I thoroughly enjoy - a break from my everyday life if you will, and I've met some wonerful people. Hopefully if this individual ever decides to return to blogging she will have a much better experience.

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  11. I am sad when I discover bloggers have left too. I have not felt the need to stop blogging, but I have felt some sort of pressure at times. I do a lot of outfit posts and I feel sometimes that there are some sort of 'rules' to fashion blogging, and I am not following them right. But I never want to change who I am. I might try a different style, but I always come back to me. I do get hurt sometimes, but I am also kind of feisty so that is probably why I don't give up blogging.

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  12. I've had numerous blogs before the one I have now, so yup, I've stopped blogging before. I always feel like something's missing in my life when I'm not blogging, though, so I keep coming back. In most cases, I haven't stopped abruptly. It's a shame that people stop because of other people. I've been thinking about it lately, and I can understand why some people stop: too many negative comments, blog isn't growing fast enough for their liking, lack of a strong readership. All of these things have to do with other people, though. As much as I LOVE the people I've met through blogging, I still blog for myself. If I'm going to stop blogging, it'll be because I lose interest. It'll be because I don't have time anymore. It'll be because I'm "ready" to stop blogging. It won't be because of someone else!

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  13. Wow, even on my previous blog, I never experienced any negative comments. I guess I am lucky my readers have ended up being so nice, even after I abruptly ended my first one (which I always felt bad about..). That's definitely not right. I would probably say these negative people do not have the courage to share or express themselves, but that's only my view. I like what I am doing much better now. I agree with Sara in that I think there may be certain "rules" and "trends" to follow in certain parts of the fashion blogosphere. If that is true, it seems to take aways what it should even be about, in my opinion. It should always reflect the individual. We see "trends" everywhere else.

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  14. E is not very happy with my blogging and though he hasn't asked me stop (not that I would listen), he wish I don't spend much time on it which is funny, since I haven't blog for a few days now!

    I guess I'm new to this and have not seen this happen yet and I'm a bit confused on the harsh treatment these poor bloggers received. Nevertheless, I share your sadness.

    Please promise to always keep in touch my dear friend!

    Stay Happy and Positive!

    besos,

    ML


    20 YORK STREET

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  15. I've been blogging since 2002 - it's been interesting to say the least and I've made so many friends throught the net and had really positive interactions. I once had someone leave a real nasty comment on one of my blogs while I still lived in Germany, but I simply deleted her comment and changed from allowing anonymous comments to memberships - but it took up too much time. I've found that people, whom I'm sure in real life would behave differently, hide behind their 'anonimity' to a degree and say exactly what the they feel.

    On online groups, there have been such fights, it's quite unbelievable. Women are a curious mix of kindness and meanness - but when they're mean, well, Idi Amin almost seems a walk in the park.

    I hope your friend returns.

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  17. (Sorry to delete and repost - awful typos).

    I've had my fashion blog for going on 3 years, and before that, I was a poster in an movie site's forums since 2001. I loved the feeling of community there, but as Wendy above says the fighting got to be too much. I also found that I got overinvolved in it, to the suffering of my real life relationships. My blog has been a much healthier way for me to get to know people and form those connections. My husband reads my blog daily and enjoys it - it's such a creative outlet for me, and I love it. I don't know if I'll ever stop...it feels like an ongoing novel.

    Really enjoyed your post, Shy - you're a very articulate writer. Thank you.

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  18. p.s. Did I tell you I went to the post office for you last week?

    =)

    muah,

    ML

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  19. I have stopped participating in more than one message board that just got out of control with the drama and arguing (always over petty stuff, to boot), but I love our blog and thrive on it...sometimes it can almost feel like an obsession but not at all in a bad way. Maybe because we have such a strong purpose behind it, I don't know, but my mind is always going with things I want to blog about! It's so fulfilling. I think you know I have two other blogs, one I kept for my wedding planning and one dealing with the death of my mom. With those, especially the latter, I put no pressure on myself to blog and only add something when I feel the ol' geyser welling up inside. I blogged a lot more in the mom one in the beginning and have not found I need it quite as often as I heal more and more and more. I can't see ever stopping completely, though. I know it's helped people, and that helps me in return. I also like to go back and re-read old entries in all of them sometimes because it reminds me of the progress I've made.

    I sure hope this isn't a blog I follow; guess I'll find out soon enough. :( I can understand and respect a person's reasons, but of course it's always a little sad. But people gotta do what they gotta do, and we have to wish them well.

    I agree that blogging shouldn't be a chore or a pressure you place on yourself. But if I were to take one down altogether, I might always wonder if someone somewhere might've gotten something out of my blog if I'd left it up, you know? I'm a big fan of a Doe Deere tweet I saved: "If you don't want to be criticized, say nothing, do nothing, and be nothing." Someone out there will always have something crappy to say because it's way too easy to say them when you're not face to face. The more notoriety you gain, the more you open yourself up to this risk. I say just be prepared for it and do the best you can to let it roll off if it happens because it's way too detrimental to the way you feel about yourself if you internalize it. Easier said than done, sometimes, I know!

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  20. Is there an award for Blogger Who Leaves the Longest Comments Continuously?? ;)

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  21. I love your long comments, Jen!

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  22. Hi, thank you for your thoughtful comment, and for this even more thoughtful article! It's really sad to see people leaving and it upsets me that they've done so because others in the same "business" of blogging have hurt them... it's supposed to be an open and tolerant and accepting community, and for the most part it is! I've considered stopping to blog a few times, and have left blogs lying dormant for a while, but in the end I've done the same thing as the two bloggers you mention - just shifted my focus, and in one case, opened another blog...

    With regard to your comment - I think my big problem here is the shopping ban I've put on myself until next fall. It also forbids thrifted and discounted items, the only exception I make is for souvenirs (cf. Cambodia) and basics (tights, underwear, maybe: waterproof winter shoes). So there are no new items except when I refashion some of my hand-me-downs, which I don't always have the time to do. And the combinations I find myself falling back to are really good combinations - they just aren't new or exciting. I think I'll challenge myself to break color prescriptivism sometime this spring :)

    Cheers,
    poet

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  23. I do not think I will ever stop ....maybe my blog will morph into something as I grow older. I certainly do not see myself blogging the way I do now when I am 40 or 50 but I have never blogged before and love it for the soul reason of the joy it brings me by making me explore my creative side.

    This is something that can not be replaced by anything. :) I am lucky that I have a very supportive and loving base of readers and I hope they will continue being the same. :)

    I am sorry for your friend. I hope her hurts heal soon and she is able to find another creative outlet for herself. :)

    Look forward to hearing from you

    Love

    Tashrin - A Toronto based personal style blog

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  24. Hi, I've found you through Ashelle... I've been blogging since 2004 and I often think about throwing in the towel. I don't have specific subjects I blog about, just about my personal life, what I do in a day, who I meet. My blog has been my outlet for my creativity and my voice, I've made some subsantial friendships through it and discovered possibilities I would have not known otherwise. Unfortunately coming up with content can be hard for someone who suffers from depression, when a day goes wrong I don't really want to share it with the world. Also, I have relieved some nasty comments and hate mail throughout the years which makes me wonder why I bother putting myself out there at all. I chose not to blog daily because I know it will burn me out and make me not enjoy something I have been enjoying for a long time.

    But discovering new blogs helps me spark up the passion again. Taking a break is risky in the blogging world but sometimes it's necessary to just step back and breathe freely for a while.

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  25. Sometimes an activity or an interest can simply run its course; for instance, the occasional negative comment might roll right off at first, but after awhile it could start to get under a person's skin, and they might wonder why in the heck they're putting up with rude comments when they're no longer as passionate about the blog anyway. I've been very lucky in my nearly 3 years of blogging, but I could imagine scenarios where the cons might start to outweigh the pros. The trick, I think, is to quit before it becomes a burden or is no longer enjoyable, which is the point it seems your friends got to -- so much so that there was no choice but to walk away.

    For me, the point to quit would be if I were getting bored or tired with it, or if it started to cut into the time I had for more important things. Right now I'm miserably bored with my job, so my blog is a source of fun and comfort to me (and it helps pass the dreadfully long work day -- shhh!), but if and when I find something better, the blog will at least have to be scaled back a bit. And that's definitely a trade-off I'm willing and prepared to make.

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  26. My favourite blogger got struck with some bad circumstances and stopped blogging. I understand why but it's been over a year and I still miss her blog and personality more than I can say. She left it up there to read until now, she's just made it private, hasn't replied to my friendly email and I doubt she ever will. She's moved on and decided not to tell anyone online about herself again. She deleted all of her social media which makes me so sad because I liked looking at her Instagram pics. However, I have to respect her decision, hard as it is. I can't see myself stopping blogging at all but then that's what she said (and she blogged almost everyday for 7 years) and after certain events happened, she lost her desire to do so. I hope that never happens to me

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