The Blogging Plateau

canstockphoto23123007Over the last year The Green Study blog has hit a plateau. There’s been very little growth in readership, commenting activity has been slow to middling, and I really haven’t improved as a writer. This is interesting to me. If it were a diet plateau, I’d have to make a few more changes to see progress on the scale. If it were a career plateau, I’d go back to school or attain some new certification. What do you do for a blogging plateau?

The first step in defining any problem, if it is one, is to know what you are trying to accomplish.

Reasons for Blogging

My blogging goals go through a regular review once or twice a year. Since writing blog posts takes time and is not financially rewarding, the intrinsic reasons need to be solid. Generally my reasons have been that blogging has kept me writing regularly for 5 years and I have connected with a group of interesting, smart, funny, and thoughtful people. That sounds nice and reasonable.

canstockphoto11177261If I were to really going to dig deeper, it would be that because I write in isolation, having outside, regular input on my writing soothes my insecurities and urges me forward. And frankly, too much time alone makes me super weird. Not in a kidnap-strangers-torture-cellar sort of way, but in a way that when I enter the world, everyone else seems like an alien and I engage awkwardly. Take me to your leader. Meep-meep. Engaging with others online seems to take the edge off, because writing me can do.

Metrics and Engagement

I used to be more aware of the numbers, the stats, the pings. At least the ones I understood. Whether it be a development issue or spam season, there have been several periods of time over the last 5 years when every new subscriber was a spammer. You lose interest pretty quickly in your numbers when they’re a tourist company trying to drum up hits or to sell you knock-off handbags.

canstockphoto9986430My metrics tend to be engagement – the comment section. Two things changed over the last year on my blog. I stopped answering comments in a timely manner, sometimes missing them altogether because I forgot to return to them. Secondly, I wrote more political posts and decided to institute a comment policy. While I don’t think this necessarily had a deleterious effect, it did slow down the social aspect of engagement, by not engaging in real time and by suggesting that there would be some level of curating.

The goal was to be less distracted throughout my day. Stopping one task to engage in another or getting caught up in ruminations about someone’s comment could throw me off-track for a good hour. It hasn’t worked well. I’m still distracted by one thing or another and am coming to terms with the fact that those are hard habits to break.

I think, too, I’ve been less attentive to commenters. When people take the time to write a comment, it is my hope that I can give it my full attention and respond in kind. But there is certainly a degree of burnout in these exchanges. They’re not full conversations, just interactions that connect only briefly as we move throughout our day. I found myself adding “Answer blog comments” on to-do lists which is a sure way to take the fun out of anything.

The Changing Environment

canstockphoto19233296Culturally, social media is not moving in favor of long form posts. Instantaneous feedback, things that don’t require focus, click bait that revs up our emotions, and content that adapts easily to mobile devices is where we’re at. Perhaps we can hope, like slow living or tiny houses, blogging becomes this hip, retro thing to do for people who have a lot of time and disposable income (hence the time). It doesn’t seem promising, though.

I tend to hunger for longer thoughts, developed ideas, and something with a little more staying power. Maybe there is still room for blogging, as long as we don’t compare it to the lightning fast zeitgeist of other platforms and without the expectation of winning a popularity contest.

A Non-Conclusion

These are some of the things that I’ve been mulling over. I know that growth is important to me, but haven’t figured out what that means in terms of blogging.

Do I change content? To me, this is like trying to write for an audience. I like the organic approach – people come here for the subject and sometimes stick around for the voice. Until I write something that irritates them.

Do I run another contest? Contests can be labor, and sometimes dollar, intensive. I’ve enjoyed the five I’ve done over the years, but I’m a little burned out. As the number of readers grew, so did the number of submissions and while I enjoy promoting others’ work, I don’t enjoy “judging” it.

Do I start allowing guest posts? I’ve never done that because I follow blogs for specific reasons, mostly for a writer’s voice. I’ve always felt it better to provide a link to the original work and let it and the author speak for themselves.

Without a profit angle or a willingness to actively use Twitter or Facebook, there are really no gimmicks, click bait titles, or fads I’m willing to engage in that will promote blog growth. There are only a few areas that I can work on: engaging more fully in comments, visiting more blogs and engaging there and lastly, but most importantly, working on my writing game. If it’s not improving, that bit’s all on me.

Have you reached a blogging plateau? Have you made changes to deal with it?

52 Comments on “The Blogging Plateau

  1. Interesting. It’s happened to me twice. The first after my first year with my current blog was done and I switched from blogging daily to weekly. I saw readership and comments drop off but it’s coming back, albeit slowly. So my way of dealing with it was simply to stick with it.

    This time it’s me. I’m not getting the same thrill out of it as I used to and some weeks I find myself struggling to find something to say. I’ve been blogging since 2008, on a myriad of different topics and themes, so I guess that’s not surprising.

    I started blogging on Huffington Post twice a week about 10 months ago. I think that contributed to my burn-out. That’s a lot of blogging, in addition to doing client work and writing my book. I’ve taken a sabbatical from Huff Post and I’m hoping that helps.

    I enjoy blogging on WordPress, I enjoy the interaction with fellow bloggers, the conversations, the encouragement, the advice, the glimpses of other peoples’ lives, the “friendships” that have formed over the years.

    Sometimes I think about taking a break, but I know myself too well, and inertia will set in quickly. I also know I need an outlet, when I have an idea, when I have something I want to share, when I need to let off steam, I’ve got to have somewhere to do it. So I’m treating my WordPress blog like a boyfriend I’ve had for a very long time.

    After all these years is it fair to expect my heart to flutter in my chest at the mere thought of him? I’ve decided I won’t worry — or do anything drastic — until we both sit in the same room, at the same time and have nothing interesting to say to each other.

    Liked by 7 people

    • Wow – that’s a voice of experience. I think I’ve gotten lackadaisical about it and it has been showing in the writing. Whatever outside factors might be attributed, I’m looking for the things I have some level of control over. But, you’re right, the new car smell is gone.

      One thing I’ve noticed about long time bloggers is that they’ve accomplished a lot of offline writing. Blogging is merely an extension and not their sole body of work, so they get affirmation from other places, leaving blogging to be whatever it will be.

      I’m not surprised about your burnout relating to The Huffington Post. The few times I’ve read posts there, the comment section is like a lightning rod, with an array of the good, the bad and the definitely ugly.

      I guess at this point I feel like I need to up my game and maybe shift gears a little bit, just to get some spark back.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Makes sense. You have to try things and see how they feel, change stuff up, feel challenged. That’s what usually gets me going.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. I find that blogs lose readership if they stop posting regularly or do nothing to attract new readers…many readers quit WordPress sooner or later. Commenting on other blogs helps as well especially on more popular ones.

    Blogging can be a source of income and it doesn’t appear to be as difficult as one might imagine. It’s possible to not have to sell yourself out at the same time.

    http://retireby40.org/how-to-start-a-blog-why-you-should/

    That guy claims he made $200,000 over the last 7 years. I found it to be inspiring because it seems so doable.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’m in the “do nothing new to attract readers” category. My philosophy has always and likely will always be, slow and steady wins the race. Except that I don’t know what winning the race might mean.
      Since monetizing has never been my goal for the blog, I generally gloss over articles on how to make money from them. Statistically speaking few bloggers break away from the pack to become superstars – like most writers. But if that is your goal, there is a lot of information out there about how to do it.
      You make some good points about the cyclical nature of readers. Thanks.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Michelle,

    Such good questions you raised. I suspect that each of us has very different reasons for blogging, as well as different goals and satisfaction triggers, so one person’s priority might be another person’s “meh.” I’m going to confess something I’ve never confessed to anyone: in nearly 2.5 years of blogging, I’ve never once looked at my stats. I do know how many people follow my blog (not a lot), because it’s set up so it tells right on the site. I am thrilled when a new person signs up to follow and I always go to their site to check it out, and often follow if I am interested or intrigued.

    I started my blog because I had an idea (kindness) I wanted to explore for one year. At the end of that year, my readers encouraged me to continue, and I saw that kindness is a lifetime pursuit not a been-there-done-that project. I love interacting with commenters, and have never once had a rude or malicious comment (a benefit, I guess, of near invisibility!).

    I love being able to pursue and explore an idea—whether through my own writing, or reading the meaty blogs of others. Yours is always among my favorites because you make me think, you write with intelligence, depth, and wit, and the quality of your writing is superlative. You also have a distinctive voice, one that I look forward to reading. I have said to myself several times, “When this woman’s novel is published, I will buy it, because I can tell she’s going to knock my socks off.”

    Also, I rarely take time to read the comments on other blogs I follow, but I generally do read your commenters. They are usually intelligent and thought-provoking. I’ve followed many as a result of finding them on The Green Study.

    I know I *should* be trying to grow my blog follow numbers (especially since I now have a book looking for a publisher!), but I’m not comfortable with seeking followers just so I can see growth. I want to engage with people and ideas and hope the numbers will follow—from people who are similarly inclined.

    You make a good point about blogging being replaced or at least evolving to a shorter form, becoming more like Twitter as people look for quick reads and less depth. Perhaps the form will split along multiple paths, one being the quick/provocative/reactionary post, another being the thoughtful, well-developed exploration of ideas. They’re not mutually exclusive and I know of several bloggers who manage to do both well. But I would be ever-so sorry to see the well-developed contemplative and exploratory posts abandoned. There will always be readers for such quality posts—maybe not legions of them, but give me a thinking, curious, discerning reader any day.

    Oh, dear, I see that I have written way too much and said way too little. Your question was about plateau. I’ve been on some beautiful plateaus. The views were lovely. Not a bad place to be….

    Liked by 2 people

    • I think you have something that I’ve never mastered – focus on a particular subject (and such a good one!). That is one of the pitfalls of not having a niche or focus for this blog – from one post to the next, a reader could be interested and then completely turned off, depending on what resonates with them.
      I’ve often thought that if I could dare step into the Twitterverse, it would gain my blog more traffic, but I have such a negative mindset about it. It’s something I think I’ll have to get over, especially if I ever want to sell a book. I just don’t think I’m witty enough, nor do I think that every blurt is something I should share!
      There are many good things about where I’m at and maybe that’s the perspective worth holding onto. The view from the plateau. If I look at it like that, then there is still a world of possibility.

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  4. I’m not a blogger, but I follow you. I don’t comment, but I admire your honesty and your writing. I’m sorry, but please don’t stop writing. I need you. Your thoughts, your insecurities, your ideas, your political views, your humanness. You don’t have to respond, but please don’t stop writing.

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    • Thank you, Sheila for popping your head in to comment this time. I know there are a lot of silent readers (or at least I want to believe that), so it’s nice to hear from one. I don’t intend to stop writing, but perhaps I wrote this as my own little wake-up call to shape up and fly right, as my grandpa used to say. And I wonder that this plateau might be a reflection of my lack of engagement and that is something I can fix.
      Still, I appreciate you letting me know why you read this blog and your kind words.

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  5. You just need to have fun with it I think. Sure, easier said than done, but how can you argue the fun factor? Truly, like you say, if you’re having to make it a ‘to do’ than there’s a problem with that (the comment replying). I haven’t plateaued creatively yet, because I really try to push myself and work it every day. But I’m putting all my chips into it, and there’s a fool’s quality to it, but perhaps no more so than other similar pursuits. It’s about the fun for me, surely the engagement, and a whole lot of denial. There’s gimmicks attached to this the same as other odd pursuits, I think.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bill, Bill, Bill – fun is just not my metier. Muted pleasure, benign tolerance, bemused regard, these I can find.
      I’m definitely not creatively stymied, but in this particular format I seem to be. I’ve never been a no-holds-barred writer online. It is something I’m trying to get to offline and maybe some of that will leak into the etherworld writing.
      I’m glad you’re enjoying it, though and your comment is a nudge to get back into the enjoyment of it. Thanks.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Say my name three times man, I’m in. I feel I’m either being punished or seduced or both. I like it!

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  6. Sometimes I have these fantasies that my blog is going to turn into this big, magical thing that will be almost like a job because so many people are liking and commenting on it. But then I get so busy with freelancing that I completely ignore it for months at a time, suddenly panic that I haven’t posted, and frantically try to resuscitate it. Overall, I think my blog is just for me. It’s an extra tool to get my name out there, yes, but it’s also just a nice place to stick the little bits that don’t belong in a big story.
    I also have to say that it drives me crazy that people won’t read anything longer than a meme. 😦

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    • You’ve put a finger on the biggest thing about blogging – every person finds their own reason for doing it. I’ve often viewed it (much to the dismay of readers, I’m sure) as a clearing out of the pipes before I get to “real” writing. It makes me sound like a jerk, though! But it is a good place to put the bits and bobs that don’t have a home anywhere else.
      I feel like an old crank when I go on about short attention spans and long form writing, but I started taking magazine subscriptions for longer form articles and it’s such a different level of learning and comprehension. And don’t get me started on memes – an absolute blight on critical thinking. Now I need to yell at someone to get off my lawn or something.
      Thanks for taking the time to read and comment!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I have stopped checking out my stats….. I do still get a lot of likes, but they have definitely gone down significantly… from almost 200 to about 80 to 100 per post. And the comments have gone down, too. But then, I’m not a writer, and my blogsite is like chopsuey… anything goes. I write whatever’s on my mind. That’s why the title comes last.

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    • With the plethora of internet fodder, I wonder, too, if we’re not all spread pretty thin when it comes to picking content to read regularly. My blog reader is overwhelming at this point and I find myself scrolling through picking blog titles that interest me to read for the day. I’m sure I’m missing a great deal of good content and it doesn’t allow me to be a loyal reader of anybody.
      It sounds like you’ve been getting a lot of active readers. Good job you! I tend to write with an idea in mind, but as you say where it ends up by the end of the post could be something different. My post title changes quite a few times before being published.
      Thanks for sharing your perspective and blogging experience!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I had a review period earlier this year when an accumulation of family happenings meant I did not have the time to write poems suitable for posting, for a few weeks. I filled up a month partly by posting previous poems, partly by reblogging posts from other bloggers that I really enjoyed. There was not the interest in the other bloggers’ posts that there was in my own writing. I think guest posts are usually not the answer, except for a few of those following me. There was more interest in my early poems that I posted in the early days when I had few people following me. I also reviewed those blogs that I am following. First of all, some of them had closed their accounts, some had not posted for several months, so I unfollowed them. I also unfollowed a few which were getting repetitive and irritating – I now to make sure my own posts remain interesting to those who follow my blog ! I am watching my content carefully. Incidentally there is one blogger who I used to find quite interesting but is no longer so interesting. She had a structure to her blog which she no longer follows, and her enthusiasm is no longer apparent. She has mentioned various aspects of her life which must be very stressful, and it seems she may be right out of energy at the moment. She probably needs help but I am only guessing. This all shows in her blog. As you say, we all write for a reason, but she seems to be running on empty.

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    • I think you really nailed one of my great fears in regards to the blog. After writing for five years, I often feel like I’ve written something before and have to search old posts to make sure I haven’t! There are limitations to the navel-gazing I do and then I try to find outside ideas or interactions to write about. It still ends up a lot of me, me, me, but I try to be aware of it.

      Over the years, when I’ve found myself in the position of the blogger you described, I’ve simply gone on hiatus in the hopes of finding new inspiration. I suppose that has a cost in readership, but better that than a slow burn out. It’s the reason I’ve lasted as long as I have.

      From what I’ve seen, poetry and photography blogs seems to retain more traffic and I wonder if it is simply easier for readers to engage. It’s not a large investment of time and they’re not necessarily required to engage, so much as appreciate.

      I doubt I’ll ever go the guest blogger route. I’ve posted contest entries and in the framework of that, readership remained high, but people do tend to expect your voice when visiting your blog.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts – lots of useful things to think about!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Glad you found it useful. I think poetry and photography are definitely easier to read, and it is easier to keep people engaged with them. I am really concerned about the blogger who is running on empty and there is no way I can help her except speaking in a comment on her blog, which is too public. Anyway, I look forward to reading what and when you are able to write.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. As usual, a thoughtful and excellent bit of writing, Michelle!

    I don’t have much to add. But I will underscore another’s comment about the nice view from the plateau.

    Plateaus are naturally occurring features. The pause in a pendulum swing, the interval between steps. A chance to rest and breathe. For someone who is determined to move upward, always, plateaus might be perceived as hardships. The stillness, the non-movement can make someone uncomfortable if action is the preferred mode.

    A word about the professional bloggers – I follow, or used to follow a few superstar bloggers. But once I realized that they did not attend to the comments, I dropped them. I understand why: there is not enough time in the day to respond, and re-respond and moderate and muse over hundreds of comments. You’d need staff to deal with that. Which is all rather beside the point to blogging isn’t it? IMHO, blogging is a sort of social contract between the writer and her reader.

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    • You make some good points, Maggie. I think my particular plateau has gone on a bit long, so it feels worth it to me to think about it and if it is actually a problem or not. Still, as I mentioned to another commenter earlier, I’m in a pretty good place with nice readers, a forum that works for me, etc.

      I do follow a couple of big bloggers who usually do not answer comments – Chuck Wendig and John Scalzi. Mostly because their commenters seem very smart and engaged and the comment sections are interesting reading. It also serves as a reminder to me of what working writers look like in blog form.

      I agree with you, though, blogging is a social contract. I’ve run into one or two bloggers that simply don’t allow comments on their posts and while I got their reasoning, lacking the human connection meant a post was less likely to keep my attention. It meant that the writing and/or ideas had to be stellar to keep me there. Who wants that kind of pressure?

      Thanks for sharing your viewpoint on this – very helpful!

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  10. My blogs seems to hit plateaus and then–for no apparent reason–grow again. There isn’t enough time in life, or at least in my life, to attend to the thousand forms of social media that might build it faster. All I can do is write what I write, do the bit of promotion I can manage while still writing a book and a blog and carrying on a real life, and hope people find it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • My blog grew quite a bit early last year and then it simply stopped dead in its tracks. I wonder if the political season really burned a lot of us out.

      Time is a huge factor in managing all of these venues. I don’t see the pleasure in it and I don’t like working quickly. That’s likely a personal thing, but time is a definite issue.

      You have a very healthy attitude about it all and one I should adopt. Thanks!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I have been going through much the same soul searching.

    My stats have dropped off too and while I tell myself that numbers are not important, I can’t help asking myself why. Is it just the ebb and flow of the seasons? Is it the natural entropy of the blogsphere? Is it something I have done? Am I becoming to formulaic?

    I enjoy entertaining people. I like getting a laugh while trying to say something about humanity and when I think I have done a good job of doing that – and my post lands with a thud, it hurts.

    I tell myself not to worry about it, that rejection and disappointment are about as much a part of writing as drool is to big dogs…. still it wears on you.

    I remind myself of what Karen Blixen (Isak Dinesen) said — ‘Write a little every day, without hope, without despair.’

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    • I think there is something larger at play than our individual blogs, because I’ve seen activity slow in general when reading other people’s work. One of my thoughts is that people were glued to the news for the last year and a half, so burn out on not just political writing, but online writing in general is pretty high. Many forums have also just been poisoned by partisanship, where no matter what the subject, someone drags their politics into it. Another burn out factor.

      I’ve also wondered about WordPress. I know a lot of people disliked Freshly Pressed, but it did make accessing other blogs a little easier and often in the comments on a Pressed post, I’d find other blogs to follow. I don’t know that the Discover feature, which also features high traffic blogs (Time Magazine, etc.) is giving people as much intuitive access to new writers.

      You’re like me in that you don’t want to pay much attention to the stats, but it’s simply human to take notice. When they really bug me, I give myself the “focus on the writing” speech. I guess I’m thinking, too, if other people are experiencing these issues, it might be time to launch a weekly post about other people’s blogs. More thinking to do on that.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Fascinating meditation and one I can very much relate to. Know what you mean about spammers, I’ve had quite a few recently. I read that social media have taken a hit recently, wonder if the international situation is depressing the situation. There seem to be so many mountains to climb … the only thing I’d add is that blogging sure beats the hell out of Facebook, etc. Best wishes.

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    • I’m with you on the Facebook deal, but I’d throw in Twitter for good measure. It likely makes me an old codger, but I hate sorting through so much garbage just to find a few nuggets worth ingesting. And time is a definite factor.
      The spam follower problem seems to go in waves, where I get one after another and then it stops. I don’t know if the WordPress wizards are trying to get things sorted or it’s just the way it goes.
      Best wishes to you as well, Dave.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I think another question that bloggers face when the feeling of been-there-done-that-ed-ness raises its unwelcome head, is whether my blog has gone stale? Am I saying the same thing I’ve said before? Have I fallen into a rut of non-creative bibble-babble? (Have I started inventing words because I’m too lazy to squeckti-dorset them?)

    So many questions, so little time. Sadly, it’s more fun to invent words than it is to take a long, critical look at the content of my blog and attempt anything more than a bandaid fixative! Dash blast it.

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    • My blog definitely has some stale aspects to it. I’ve retained the same format and theme for five years. Every time I go to change it, I don’t find anything that I like better. And as I mentioned to a commenter above, sometimes I have to research past posts, because it feels like I’ve written something before.
      There is no end to learning, so I don’t really struggle with subject matter. Life as prompt. But I have to actively crawl out of my own navel to find more to write about.

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  14. I haven’t read all the comments, but I’ve read some. I like What Donna Cameron had to say – enjoy the view from the plateau. More importantly I think is that you only make your blog for you, and for you alone. It is your creative outlet and can be whatever you want it to be and readers will come and go, and you’ll get comments answered or not, and none of that will matter as long as you write whatever you’re inspired to write and then put it out into cyberspace. Share it simply for the sake of it – for the sake of writing it, and for the sake of giving it away even if only one person reads it.

    I had the grand dream that my blog would attract multiple thousands of followers and worked really really hard at engaging with other bloggers as part of my “attract followers” strategy, and it worked, but it was exhausting. *And* it led to me making many wonderful online friendships that I now enjoy maintaining. I won’t change my content to satisfy some SEO algorithm even though I know that the posts I write about Don’s and my personal journey are far more popular than the travel posts. I love creating the travel posts, and it’s part of the whole engine of the blog for me so they stay. It must above all else be what I’m inspired to create. If not what’s the point. And it will attract followers or not. I’ve been blogging for over 5 years now. In that time there’s been a shift in how I hold it. So much more relaxed about it now than I was. I used to post weekly. I still try to maintain that but if it goes to 2 weeks that’s okay too. I have never understood the benefit of posting daily. Maybe I’m at a bit of a plateau myself, but it feels comfortable enough. So I’ve come full circle – enjoy the view 🙂
    Alison

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    • I don’t know that I ever had grand designs for this blog. Since there are many aspects of social media that I don’t enjoy, this is likely just about the right amount for me. There was a long period of growth, for which I am grateful, but I became accustomed to that and when it stopped, I noticed.

      There is something to be said for less is more with blogging. I have a hard time following people who post daily. If they can manage quality, that’s great, but in most cases, the posts end up being watered down to fit the schedule. I like to savor things – to read a great post and let it sink in for a good week.

      Your point about your personal versus your travel posts is interesting. It really goes back to what draws people to a blog – curiosity about others and their perspectives. I am much more likely to follow someone if I get a a sense of who they are or at least who they believe they are.

      I, too, am more relaxed about when I write posts, but am still pretty uptight about the writing itself. This is a good and bad thing. My perfectionism means I place a lot of value on what I post and that leads to expectations that are unrealistic. It’s something I have to unravel every once and a while to return to a more reasonable perspective.

      Thanks for sharing your experiences, Alison. I think you write a great blog – I often travel vicariously through you and Don!

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  15. I love your thoughts and your honesty as it speaks to my heart. Sometimes we don’t always say what we’re really thinking. It’s like a breath of fresh air reading your post. I loved every word because I feel the same way at times. Keep writing and speaking the truth from your heart.

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  16. I think you know where I stand on this blogging business. After 6 years of writing about my experience of bipolar disorder, I don’t post now unless I’ve got something new to say or some new direction my self-management is taking. That means I may not post for a month or more. And more often than not, now, my posts are about what I’m experimenting with in my art—which is my favorite form of therapy.

    I never have thought much about readership. I knew starting out that my audience might be nonexistent to teeny. That I have over 1000 subscribers boggles my mind. That I’ve found friends, true friends, like you, Michelle, is what keeps me coming back.

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    • I love that you explore creating art and then share it. It is also a reminder that we are complex individuals, with the capacity for all kinds of creativity, no matter what current frame of mind we’re in. Your blog posts have made me think about how to be creative even when the odds are in my favor to just lie in bed with the covers over my head.

      I would be lying if I said I didn’t care about readership, so I won’t. I just need to keep it in perspective and remind myself frequently of what my intrinsic reasons are for blogging. And I am so grateful for meeting people just like you – smart, funny, creative. It definitely has made my world a better place.

      Must stop now. Feel like I’m going to belt out “We Are the World” at any moment.

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  17. I’ve been blogging for almost two years. It has been a very slow but steady increase from 0 to 600+ followers. The things that I have found to increase readership are: 1. photo challenges, 2. blogfests and hops, and 3. book reviews. But I wouldn’t want to do any of those things just to increase readership. I enjoy them for themselves first. I love taking pictures of my not-quite-so-new-anymore home in California, and I’m using that to spread awareness of what we will lose when climate change worsens. I’m doing book reviews to get myself to keep reading and analyzing books.

    Honestly the thing that seems to attract the most followers is just posting new content. Weeks in which I slack off and only post one (or zero) times, I don’t get many visitors or new followers.

    I have also been trying things like Pinterest and Twitter and I’m not sure how many new viewers they bring to the blog, if any. So I’m enjoying those for their own sake too.

    The biggest problem I find with blogging is that it is taking away from the time I have to write my novel (and the interest I have in writing it, because I can only sit in front of the computer for so long). I still haven’t really figured that one out.

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    • You make a lot of good points. All the things that you’ve listed like the photo challenges aren’t my cup of tea. I’m realizing as I read this comments that I am very stubborn about what I’m willing to do, so perhaps stagnation is my due. But you’re absolutely right that posting new content is key.

      I set up Twitter and Facebook to link to the blog, but since I don’t actively use them, I don’t think it makes a difference.

      The balance you mention between offline and online writing is a crucial one. Sometimes I mistake writing a blog post for productivity, but it’s not contributing to a longer term goal of getting published. I agree about the computer sitting – made much worse here by the beckoning of spring outside my window.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, I get it. I happen to like photo challenges, and they integrate into my overall goals, which include writing about geocaching and the environment, and learning to take good landscape pictures, so I do some of those. And the book reviews have gotten me reading and analyzing books again, which was an area I had really stagnated. But there are other bloggy things, such as virtual parties and book launches and endless “answer these 10 questions about yourself and tag 15 other people and make them answer the same questions” events that aren’t my cup of tea either. It sounds to me like you’ve got some clear boundaries, and that’s important so that blogging doesn’t become a burden or the tail that wags the dog.

        Liked by 1 person

  18. So I’m sitting here tonight, my wife and son are out of town and my daughter away at college. So what do I do, open up wordpress (after a year or more!) and I look through my subscriptions and you are one of the few left that I ever really connected with. So, I don’t have the answers to your questions but glad to see you are still at it!!

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    • You’re becoming blogland’s Puxatawney Pete – sticking your head up once a year to see what’s what! I’m still at it and going through my own annual tradition of blog questioning. So glad that spring is here – lots of meditative time in the garden gives me new material. Glad to hear from you!

      Liked by 2 people

  19. Oh, I’ve been blogging almost constantly since 2004, so I’ve hit so many plateaus that I’ve lost count! I hear ‘ya.

    My conclusion is that paying attention to any metric or article suggesting how to increase your readership with gimmicks and SEO manipulations is counterproductive. You’re giving your power away to something outside of yourself, instead of focusing on your own awesome self.

    Blogging I’ve come to believe is all about enjoying the process of creating content, which means following your own muse. Today I continue to blog for for 3 reasons: to keep my brain clicking, to keep my heart open [I comment everywhere], and to start conversations via my blog posts that allow readers to feel appreciated and understood.

    Don’t know if my experiences will help you decide what to do about your blog and/or how to do it, but there you go. Wisdom gleaned over the years. You asked, I answered.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I appreciate your wisdom, Allie. I will have to say the commonly used phrase “creating content” gives me the heebie-jeebs. I’m going to pretend I put these posts together with a feather quill and parchment and then run my treadle generator to get that internet thing to glow.

      I don’t have a muse, unless her name be Procrastination. But I still enjoy the conversations here, so I keep treadling away.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Since 2011, when I began blogging, there have been plateaus, pot holes, dank bat-infested caverns – you name it. One thing I have noticed about other bloggers, including you, is that they are much more engaging than I am. Conversations don’t happen on my blog. I suffered from comment envy for a while. It passed. My blog gets all but abandoned from time to time, but my seventeen steady readers come back when I show up. If you keep writing, I will keep reading.

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    • Is “engaging” code for “blabby”? ‘Cause I have that in spades. Thanks for keeping a hand in the game – you’re one of the first few people I “met” online. So many have disappeared. I suppose it happens, but I’m not going anywhere anytime soon.

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