Let’s Keep Blogging Fun

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I’ve recently been reading some posts and messages on social media where people are asking for advice because blogging has got to the stage of stressing them out and/or making them feel guilty.

I’ve written about this subject before, and know exactly how these bloggers are feeling, having been through the whole blogging ‘feeling guilty’ trip, myself.

One of the reasons why I signed up for WordPress was because I thought blogging would be fun.

One year in, and I found myself becoming very stressed and feeling guilty because I wasn’t able to keep up with reading all the new blog posts being published by the bloggers I was following.

Some days, I was finding myself doing little else but reading and leaving comments on blog posts. Some of the bloggers I was following were publishing more than a few blog posts a day, and I soon found myself apologising to people for not reading their posts or for not being on WordPress 24 hours a day!

Then it struck me that I was not doing the main thing that I’d come here to do – to write!

Now, although I do possess a few super-powers, I’m afraid that one of them is not being able to read every single new blog post from bloggers whom I follow.

I began to see this as a problem, and my blog as a monster that was doing everything it could to make me want to fight it.

Then, one morning, I woke up, switched on my computer and got that horrible feeling I would get when I didn’t want to go to school or go to work.

I soon realised that I had two choices about blogging. Either I gave it up, or I had to change the blogger I had become.

It didn’t me take long in making my choice. After all, I’d created my blog so that I could write and share my thoughts with anybody who stopped by and wanted to listen to what I had to say.

I decreased my reading time and began to write more.

I took some time to make a list of the people who were commenting on my blog posts and who were sharing my posts on social media.

I stopped following back every single blogger who followed my blog. If they didn’t have an ‘about me’ page, so I could find out more of who they were, or they blogged about subjects that did not interest me, then I passed on by.

As time went on, I began to unfollow bloggers whose blogs changed into content I didn’t find interesting anymore.

I stopped reading blogs posts that did not interest me regardless of who had written and published them.

I unfollowed some bloggers who continued to fail to or respond to questions or acknowledge comments other bloggers and I were leaving on posts.

I didn’t feel guilty about this because it was freeing up time for me; time which I could either spend writing or supporting those bloggers who took the time to read and comment on my posts.

If you find yourself in a situation where blogging is making you feel guilty and/or stressing you out, then you need to face the questions I was asking myself.

I’m afraid there’s no magic answer. What worked for me may not work for you but, whatever you do, ensure you do all you can to make blogging fun again.

Isn’t that the reason why you came here in the first place?

Take control of both your blog and your blogging habits and stop feeling guilty about not reading and commenting on every single blog post or unfollowing blogs that you no longer have any interest in.

Sure, you may lose some followers along the way (don’t we all?), but it’s not going to finish you off as a blogger.

In fact, most of those that do unfollow you probably don’t comment or read your blog posts anyway, so it’s no big deal (unless your only interest is as a ‘follower’ hunter).

If like me, you decide to stay (and I hope you do), the passion you had for coming here in the first place will come back and put you back on the right blogging track.

Have you ever found yourself feeling guilty or stressed out because of blogging?

Are you somebody who keeps apologising because you’ve not been able to spend as much time as you like reading and commenting on posts?

What did you do to get over feeling guilty or stressed out by blogging?

Leave me a comment and join in the debate.

Hugh's Views & News

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292 comments

  1. Thank you for this post Hugh, I do feel terrible if I don’t get chance to read or comment on all the blogs I follow, and I follow such a lot of great blogs now. As you say, some post quite often too which makes it even more difficult. I’m so busy at the moment with looking after my mum, I find it hard to catch up with writing, never mind reading. Yes I think I’m a little stressed out with it all 🙂

    1. You should never feel terrible about it, Sam. It’s a sure way to a slippery slope that usually ends in giving up blogging. Read and comment as and when you can. Don’t feel you have to read and comment on every single blog post of somebody who reads and leaves comments on all your posts. If they have a problem with it, then leave that problem with them. There are many more important things in life (like looking after your mum), and you should never feel guilty or feel you have to apologise for not blogging. Just remember (as I did a few years ago) why you started to blog in the first place. For me, it was all about the fun and enjoyment. As soon as I realised that, I change the blogger, I’d become, to one that I originally was when I first started to blog.

  2. Wise words, Hugh. I have officially acquired over 860 followers to my blog in the 6+ years I’ve been doing it, but a very small – albeit loyal and regular – hardcore appear to actually read and comment on my posts. I admit that the same is true in reverse though, like you, I don’t follow everyone back, and don’t read all of the posts that I am emailed about every day. I regularly read my favourites and pick up other posts to read either from the emails or the WordPress reader, when they pique my interest. But there isn’t enough time to read every post and it does rather feel a bit like cheating! Do I feel guilty? No! As you say, blogging should be fun and we all need to find a way that works for us. For me, that must include reading other blogs, commenting as I see fit, and I like to think that my regular followers are doing that for me. Commenting is key: without that interaction the whole process would be pointless for me, and I’d quickly lose interest in someone who didn’t have the courtesy to reply to my comment. I rarely leave comments on my blog unanswered, though hitting the ‘like’ button on a comment is always a good way to bring a conversation to a halt!

    1. It’s so good to hear from somebody who says they don’t feel guilty because they don’t read and comment on all the blog posts of the blogs they follow, Clive. When you start following as many blogs as I do, there isn’t enough time in the day to do so, and we should never allow it to make us feel overwhelmed. I’m strict when it comes to which blog posts I do read. For me, the title has to be eye-catching. If I click through and the layout of the post is not attractive and makes me cringe, then I’ll leave quickly. After all, I want a comfortable read. If by the first few lines, or first paragraph, I’m not grabbed by the content, then I will probably leave (It depends what the subject of the post is about). And I’ve stopped thinking that I have to read and comment on every single blog post of some bloggers just because they always read and comment on all of my posts. I’ve not only saved myself a lot of time by adopting all of this, but I’ve also become a better blogger (I think so, anyway).

      The ‘like’ button on comments is also a great way to stop further comments when the subject of the comments has completely changed from the subject of the post. Those kinds of comments should be taken offline. Likewise, I delete any comments that are nothing but a line of emojis. I can’t see the point of leaving a comment with just emojis, although I don’t mind seeing the odd one as part of a comment that is thoughtful and adds value to the post.

      Thanks for chipping in your thoughts on the subject of this post.

  3. You have nailed it Hugh! I began my blog in February 2013 … for the first 4 1/2 years, I had 18 e-mail subscribers, and no WordPress followers. Two people commented regularly – the other 16 yielded perhaps 5 comments in 4 1/2 years. All of a sudden in November 2017, someone on WordPress discovered my blog – I never tagged anything (stupid me), but all of sudden people started coming out of the woodwork. Just like you, I dutifully followed back each and every one of them, whether they were a genre like mine or not. Not so smart to do that and you and I have touched on the “liking” without reading in the past. Everything you said has happened and here I am about 15-16 months later and it’s hard to keep up … there have been days where I skipped writing a blog post as I was overwhelmed, having not delved into Reader in two days. I am trying to wean myself away from those who do not comment or interact on a regular basis, but at times the blog is still “a beast” … I’m behind in my sleep, in getting things done in the house – I have no words sometimes! I know once I have retired it will be more manageable but for now, it is an ongoing battle to tame the beast. I must say that since I live alone, work from home, have no living relatives and my friends are scattered around the U.S. – I basically live in a virtual world. I have met some wonderful bloggers here whom I feel I could sit down and spend an afternoon with them like I’d known them all their life. You are on point Hugh. I enjoy your perspectives on blogging – I have a lot to learn yet. 🙂

    1. Oh, how I remember those days of doing no writing and spending all that time on reading and commenting on other blogs, Linda. Of cousrse, I did so because I was so frightened that bloggers may take offence if I did not read, comment and share every post they published. Blogging lost it’s fun, and that was the time when I knew I had to either stop blogging or change the blogger I had become.

      Now, I try and read and comment on at least a couple of blog posts a day. However, if I fail, I don’t get any hangups about it. Life sometimes gets in the way, and blogging is now something I do as and when I have time. I admit that I’d be lost without it, but I don’t allow it to rule my life anymore.

      On the plus side (and something which you touched on) I’ve made some wonderful new friends in the blogging world. I’ve even met some of them through The Bloggers Bash event, but I don’t read and comment on all their posts. The blogging community is a vital part of the blogging world. I’ve seen many give up blogging because they’d refused to be part of communities or thought they could go it alone in the blogging world.

      Thanks so much for your comments and thoughts on the subject in this post.

      1. Well this leopard must change her spots like you did Hugh. And, you probably had the same issue with me in regard to bloggers and the time difference. I can go to bed (and always late anymore – grrrr) being all caught up with Reader and comments on my own posts or others’ posts, and the following morning there are a slew of comments again. There are many fellow bloggers across the pond, but others in a three-hour time difference, i.e. West Coast of the U.S. and Canada. I try to address them in the morning, but then I have found myself running out the door, missing a few miles to be walked as I was trying to keep up here on WordPress. What a vicious circle! I started the blog to memorialize my walks as I am an avid walker. I began defeating that purpose as well! I’m glad I read your post as I do feel harried and terribly behind and am going to start being less diligent about commenting on each and every post as well. Just the main people I interract with.
        Life is way too short. Have a good day Hugh … I am off to walk, one of the few times I’ve had an opportunity to do so this last month. Too much ice here in Michigan to walk safely the entire month of February.

        1. Yes, responding to comments can be very time-consuming, Linda. Sometimes, I can take up a whole morning responding to comments, but I wouldn’t be without them. It just means I have less time to read and comment. Also, if one of my posts generates a lot of comments, I postpone publishing any new posts until I see a decline in the comments coming through. As you say, the time difference can have such an effect. I can clear comments before switching off my computer, and the following morning come back to lots more needing attention. However, as I mentioned, I wouldn’t be without them and I much rather have them than none at all.
          I hope you enjoy your walks. Take care when out in the ice and snow.

        2. Thanks Hugh – It was a little icier than I would have liked at the Park and I ended up walking on the grass down there. I have a following of squirrels at the Park and the ground has been so cold, they can’t dig up their peanuts, and I was worried about them going hungry. Most of the walkers have their own treadmills, or walk at the mall. I wouldn’t be without the comments either, especially after so many years of only two people commenting – what a difference. When I have a long post with a lot of pictures, it could take hours to get it ready to publish and back-to-back posts on the weekend will literally do me in. 🙂 Have a good weekend Hugh.

  4. Just as relevant now as it was when you first wrote it Hugh! We all need to take note of what we’re feeling when we open up the computer and if it’s dread at what is in store for us in blog land, well that’s a give-away that things aren’t fun anymore! I have flipped and Mixed this as it’s such useful and much needed advice for some bloggers. I’m happy to say I make my own fun these days and do it on my terms but there are times when I get a bit grizzly, lose my confidence and feel overwhelmed. Thanks again for sharing your tips.

    1. Thank you, Debbie. I appreciate you sharing the post on social media.

      I still sometimes get overwhelmed with blogging, but I now walk away when that happens. It seems to do the trick. And I have no hangups about deleting posts I’ve not had time to read. There will always be plenty more to read.

  5. This is a perfectly-timed throwback as far as I am concerned, as I have been feeling blogger’s guilt myself lately. I had to take a break due to pregnancy-related illness and, since coming back, about a month before the birth of my daughter, I have felt like I will never catch up – so many blogs to read, so much news to catch up on and very little time to write (all whilst severely sleep deprived 😉 ). I shall take a leaf from your book and just try to relax and enjoy writing when I can and to read what I can, when I can, without worrying too much about being the best follower possible. Thanks for the reassurance that I am not alone! You always give such good advice 🙂

    1. Thank you.

      I remember feeling like a hamster running on one of those wheels when I think back of how I felt guilty in trying to keep up with the number of blogs I followed. I still follow a lot, but now I only read posts that interest me regardless of how long I’ve been following a blog and who the blogger is. I try and read at least a couple of blog posts a day, but I don’t beat myself up if I fail to do that. Blogging then became fun again, and I’ve never looked back. If anybody has a go at me for not visiting and leaving comments on their blog posts, then I see it as a problem they have rather than it being my problem. Blogging should always be about fun and enjoyment.

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this subject.

  6. Yes it is easy to develop guilt and also lose time reading everything and commenting, sometimes I will be absent for a certain period of time, long and short, because of work, either job or art….one is providing $$$ the other is costing $$$$$, and other period I am trying to update my sites and blog and found myself spending lot of time doing that but not producing art….like right now, for me blogging is a good way to share my art, maybe I should go to my studio and work on a painting, since the job is quiet these days…:) sharing is important, and leave it for people to find interest or just pass by.

    I guess it is a question of balance and as you said, learn to drop a few things or be more selective, still learning that…we should almost set up a schedule, like some freelancers do, allotting periods of time for work, art or whatever is your interest and managing things, including household….the latter being for me the easiest one to forget…so on this I will take my leave and get those brushes…:D

    1. That’s what I was trying to get over in this post – that we all have lives outside of the world of blogging, so we should never feel the need to apologise for dealing with what everyday life brings us. I get frustrated at reading a blog post that starts off by saying ‘I apologise for not being around…’ week after week. It’s almost as if we’re doing something wrong by not being on our blogs 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year. That’s not what blogging is all about, is it?

      Finding a balance is key. And if we can’t find one (or take our time finding one) not to keep apologising for lack of blogging. And, of course, blogging isn’t the only thing in our lives that should be fun.

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this subject.

      1. Yes I tend to ‘apologize’ sometimes…I will not do it anymore…will find another way to say it 😀

        Blogging should be like many other things, take it when it is there…

        1. The only thing I’d ever apologise for in the blogging world is if a comment of mine was seen as rather rude. However, I rather not leave a comment at all than leave one that is seen as rude or nasty. We should all leave those types of comments to the trolls.

  7. Hugh we writing bloggers have ulterior motives for blogging, we require a platform and love to share and connect. I sometimes, in fact a lot of my time go to my blog to procrastinate from my W.I.P. So a guilty feeling of blog or write hangs like a wet dog, too weighed down to shake dry .. When I blog, a guilt for not working on my book flops thickly over my soul. A balance is needed and I just knew it would you who would make me see clearly what I need to do. Thank you my wordy hero. X

    1. Thanks, Ellen. I’m so glad this post has helped.

      I never want to go back to those days of allowing blogging making me feel stressed or feel guilty. I came to blogging to not only write but to also have fun and to enjoy the experience. Why do something if it does nothing but make you feel like it’s a chore?

      Once you find that balance, it should never make you feel guilty or stress you out ever again.

      Happy blogging.

  8. Hi Hugh,
    You nailed it again. It is so true that we can, at least I did, get obsessed with making sure I read all my follower’s post. The ones that held an interest, I made sure I made a comment. Next thing I knew, four or five hours had elapsed and I hadn’t done anything else. Thank you for the wise advice to put my priorities in order. I like the idea of weeding out those followers that never reciprocate. Now that my book is launched, I need to make my list of “To Do” and prioritize the task. That should also include some time for my husband. He has been so understanding and patient these last weeks while I got the book out. Thanks again.

    1. Hi Chuck. So pleased you found this post interesting. I had to write it, simply because of all the posts, tweets and messages I had read where people kept apologising for not reading and commenting on blogs 24-hours a day, or where they had posted an article late because other parts of their life got in the way! We shouldn’t have to apologise for anything on our blogs unless we’ve perhaps published something which we then have second thoughts on.
      And yes, make sure you give your husband some of your time, as well as the rest of what goes on outside of the blogging world. Every one of us should cherish every moment of life and make time for it.
      Happy blogging, and keep on making blogging all about fun. 😀

  9. Hello Hugh – yes I have gone through all these things so I completely get what you are saying. It is really important to put some distance between you and your blog. I do it to relax and think through my real life. When something big in the real world requires my time, I turn off the blog. I always know that my true blogging friends will be there when I get back. That said, when I have the time I do become a little obsessed! Thank you for sharing these important thoughts…and happy blogging!

    1. Thanks so much for your comments, Barbara. So pleased to hear that you have managed to get that balance right between blogging and the rest of what life presents us with. It can be a difficult hurdle to jump, and many people fall because they become a stats hunter and/or the guilt of not reading and commenting on blogs 24 hours a day become overwhelming and end up taking out all the fun. Keep on enjoying the blogging experience and ensuring that blogging is all about fun. But, most importantly, keep on enjoying life outside of the blogging world as well. The blogging world always has an open door.

  10. I figured this out with my last blog,I discontinued than apologise happened twice before I totally had to completely stopped I realised I was thinking a lot about posting and reading , blogging was not as it used to be.I have a new blog now I have decided on rules I will follow like what you said and happily I’m back.

    1. That’s great to hear. Welcome back to the world of blogging. Keep it fun and it won’t go wrong. I’m speaking from experience and am so glad that I decided to change what I was doing. Now, it’s all about fun and enjoying the whole experience.

  11. Hi Hugh,
    I realize this is an older post from March, but your post really made me reflect on the guilt I feel when I feel I neglect comments. A famous blogger, Adam Connell, turned off comments on his blog since it eats into the time he could be creating content. I am a teacher with papers to grade and a yearbook to make. So, I reflected hard. Guilt isn’t fun. I think you knew at the time I was wrestling with these issues.
    However, I realized that blogging is a community. It IS fun because it is a community. Instead of turning off comments, I dropped out of the Blogger’s Pit Stop. I still have my Monday Linky. I again felt guilty dropping out, but my overall mood is elation. Now, I have more time for the commenters.
    Janice

    1. Hi, Janice. Thanks for your comments. It’s difficult giving up on something or even saying ‘no’ to any invites we get to hold or join in a weekly challenge or feature. I gave up hosting my weekly photography challenge because I was struggling with the time I had to write, I also gave up on a number of social media platforms as I could not give them anytime and they were not driving any traffic to my blog because of that reason. For me, the interaction between author and reader is at the heart of blogging and we can always switch off comments with a click. I much rather do that than not respond to comments at all. I’m so pleased to hear that you have done something about it. Keep on having the fun that blogging is all about.
      Best wishes,
      Hugh

      1. Hi Hugh,
        Thank you so much for writing me back. Learning that you dropped your photography challenge makes me feel better about dropping out of the Linky party. I respect you so much I figure if you can do it it’s OK for me.
        Janice

  12. Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. I had to learn to stop apologizing, Then I had to learn that it’s ok not to be the best or most popular blogger on WordPress as long as I’m doing my best. There is a difference and knowing it relieves most of that pressure.

    1. Yes, I agree, Rob. The ‘fun’ element in blogging is so important, but can easily be lost. It’s easy to find it again, but the difficulty is not losing it again. I’ve seen people return to blogging, only to disappear again and again. Changing and adapting to the blogging world can be very difficult, but I also admire anyone who says it’s not for them and decide to give up blogging instead of keeping coming back and not changing the way they look at blogging.

  13. I think we all feel (as you described) same sometimes as a bloggers. And as you comment on ‘great post or nice article’ – this nothing but spam. I don’t have time
    But i have a question what do you mean “change into material” here?

    1. Thanks so much for your comments. What I mean by ‘I began to unfollow bloggers whose blogs changed into material I didn’t find interesting anymore’ are blogs that start out as one thing, and change into something else. For example, I once followed a blog that gave lots of great writing advice. Gradually, the blogger began to publish posts about ladies shoes, clothes, and makeup which, eventually, took over her entire blog. I guess she found a new niche, but it wasn’t for me, so I unfollowed the blog.

      1. Oh i see you mean change in niche. Yes off course anyone can loose interest. I joined your blog seeing your writing, it’s sharp. I liked it. Hope in future many useful things i shall receive to read and learn.

  14. Thank you for the important reminder, Hugh, that blogging is supposed to be fun! For most of us, we choose to blog (it’s not a job or life requirement), so why would we choose something that doesn’t bring us joy? I co-host a link party that was becoming overwhelming for all of us, so we recently made adjustments that should make it more manageable. As for writing, I’m trying to do it from a more relaxed space–writing for the love of writing again. This is my first visit to Hugh’s Views & News. I’ll be back for sure. I found you on the AIM Link Party. Have a lovely day!

    ~Christie

    1. Hello, Chistie. Thank you for your comments on this subject. I once ran a weekly photography challenge that became overwhelming to manage. Even though it brought lots of traffic to my blog, I couldn’t manage it as it grew and I finally decided to discontinue it as it was causing me stress and I was feeling so disappointed that I could not visit all the blogs that participated. Many of us came to the world of blogging to have fun. When that fun disappears and is replaced by guilt and apologises, it’s time to take action. It a shame, but I’ve seen so many excellent writers give up or abandon blogging because they allowed their blog to rule them.

      Thank you so much for visiting my blog and for leaving a comment. I really appreciate it.

      Best wishes,
      Hugh

  15. Hi Hugh! I did like this article, it struck a lot of chords. I must say I didn’t want to even start a blog, but was nagged at so much by agent and indie publishers and social media groups and Amazon and Goodreads etc etc when I first published my to date only novel, that I did. To my surprise I loved it, straight away, and still do! But maybe that’s because a) I only post once a week and b)I’m a little bit parsimonious about reading and commenting on other people’s. I do, sometimes, but a rule of thumb is never to let it take up more than 30 minutes of my time every day.

    1. Hi, Jessica. Thanks so much for joining in the debate.

      It sounds as if you have your blogging habit well and truly under control and don’t get stressed out by it. It seems to work in different ways for each one of us. The most important aspect of blogging is that we should keep it fun and never allow it to feel like a chore. When it starts to lose its fun appeal, then we need to think about changing the way we blog, or even giving it up.

      Keep on having fun with blogging.

  16. Hi Hugh,
    Did you see Debby linked to both of our Flipboard articles? Exciting! I really love our blogging community. Like your article says, blogging is fun! I’m stumbling your post.
    Janice

        1. I’m going to have to investigate, Janice. Ivan, who guest posted on my blog on Saturday, said that he believed the more you use Flipboard, the more results you will get from it. However, I also believe it has something to do with the title of the post and the name of the magazine you put that post into. It’s still early days for me and Flipboard, but I do intend on writing about it some more.

        2. Hi Hugh,
          I wrote you on your blog. Can I see the link to Ivan’s post? I tend to agree with you. I go in all the time, and I’d like to see my Flipboard traffic increase. I’m guessing it has to do with the magazine name.
          Janice

        3. I wanted to thank you again for the Flipboard tips. I went into Flipboard after reading your comments, changed some of my magazine titles and tightened up the descriptions. We shall see. I’ll keep you posted.
          Janice

        4. You’re very welcome, Janice. I hope you’ll see an upsurge in traffic from Flipboard. Since telling you my referrals numbers from Flipboard yesterday, I’ve now had 990 over the last 30 days.

        5. I compared our magazines looking for a difference that might explain things. We have 4 with the same titles. Are you commenting on people’s articles?

        6. No, that’s something I’ve not done yet. I’ve had a good look around and I haven’t seen many comments on other Flipboard accounts. I think it’s more about reading articles that interest you and then flipping them. For example, I found an article that told me how to increase the size of the font on my iPhone. I liked the article and then flipped it. The more ‘flips’ one of your articles gets, the more people will get to see it and, of course, as they are directed to your blog to read the article, they are more likely to leave a comment there rather than on Flipboard. That’s my thinking of how it works anyway, but I could be wrong.

        7. I have over a hundred followers while you are just getting started there, so it couldn’t be that. I often go in and flip articles, sometimes daily.

        8. I’m ‘flipping’ articles daily as well. I guess it’s like anything else on social media. If somebody shares it and they have a huge following, then that article is probably going to get a lot of views.

        9. On your dashboard, when you click the plus sign next to Flipboard, can you tell what article people are clicking? What topic are most of your Flipboard clicks for? Thanks so much!!

    1. Hi Claire,
      Great to see you here on Hugh’s blog. There’s nothing like a community. It’s the best! Thanks again for all your help with the stumbles from our StumbleUpon group.
      Janice

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