Author, writer and blogger Robbie Cheadle recently published a blog post asking, ‘How Do You Keep Up With Your Blog?‘
The title of Robbie’s post intrigued me, and I immediately clicked to read it.
To me, ‘keep up with your blog‘ made it sound like a bit of a chore, something no blogger should ever feel about blogging.
However, in the post, Robbie describes some of the struggles she faces in writing and publishing blog posts and reading and leaving comments on other blogs.
By the time I read the post, many other bloggers had already left comments, and many made as compelling reading as the post itself.
A call for help?
Some of the comments mentioned how stressed out and guilty people felt because they couldn’t keep up with reading and leaving comments on all the blog posts of the blogs they follow.
Other comments mentioned ‘skimming’ blog posts (especially long blog posts) because they didn’t have the time to read everything. To me, reading those posts made it sound like the reader was on some kind of time trial where they had to read and comment on a certain amount of blog posts within a particular time.
I also got the impression that some readers left short comments because they didn’t have enough time to leave longer comments, which may have given Robbie lots more feedback and answers had they done so.
Why did you start a blog?
One of the reasons why I decided to take up blogging was because I thought it would be fun and enjoyable. Some of the comments on Robbie’s post didn’t sound like bloggers were enjoying blogging.
I’ll be the first to admit that I have found myself stressed out and feeling guilty because I couldn’t keep up with all the new blog posts published by the bloggers I was following. It was a low point on my blogging journey.
Some days, I was finding myself doing little else but reading and leaving comments on blog posts.
Some of the bloggers I followed published more than a few blog posts daily. I soon found myself apologising to people for not reading their posts or for not being on WordPress 24 hours a day!
But did anyone care or expect an apology from me? I don’t think so.
So I know exactly how some bloggers who left those types of comments on Robbie’s post felt.
At that low point in my blogging journey, I knew I had a choice. I either had to give up blogging or change how I was blogging.
Blogging had become a chore, and I saw my blog as a monster doing everything possible to make me want to fight it.
I dreaded switching on my computer every morning to see the overwhelming number of new blog post notifications.
All of this had to end.
The turning point
While thinking about what I should do, it struck me that I was not doing the main thing I’d come to WordPress to do – write!
Although I like to believe I have a few superpowers, I’m afraid that one of them is not being able to read every single new blog post from all the bloggers I follow.
And you know what? Just about every single blogger I know thinks precisely the same thing.
It didn’t take me long to make my choice. After all, I’d created my blog so that I could write, have fun, and enjoy the experience of being a blogger.
I decreased my reading time and began to write more.
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 about them) or blogged about subjects that did not interest me, I didn’t follow back.
Best of all, I didn’t feel guilty for not following them back. Why waste my time reading something that doesn’t really interest me? I wouldn’t read a book that didn’t interest me, so why a blog?
Always follow a blog for a reason, other than just because they followed you
When we follow a blog, we do so because we enjoy reading most of its content. Therefore, when somebody new follows my blog, I know the reader has at least enjoyed reading some of my content (or so I like to think).
Hopefully, they’ll also occasionally engage with me by sometimes leaving me some comments.
As time went on, I also began to unfollow bloggers who changed the content of their blogs or whose content I didn’t particularly find interesting to read anymore. It happens, so get over it.
I didn’t feel guilty doing this. It freed up valuable time for me; the time I could spend writing and supporting those bloggers whose blog content I find interesting and which motivates me to leave comments.
If you find yourself in a situation where blogging is making you feel guilty or is stressing you out, ask yourself some of the questions I asked of myself.
Are there any magic answers?
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 started a blog in the first place?
Take control of both your blog and your blogging habits, and stop feeling guilty or apologising for not always being around.
You may lose some followers along the way (don’t we all?), but it will not finish you off as a blogger. And who cares if they lose a few followers along the way? It happens to all of us.
In fact, some of those who do unfollow you probably don’t comment or read your blog posts anyway. Don’t worry about losing them.
How to save yourself some extra time
Only read the blog posts that interest you. Avoid skimming blog posts because it’s likely that you’re not enjoying reading them anyway. Save yourself some time and move on to the next post rather than read half a post and leave empty and meaningless comments.
Remember – Blogging is a marathon, not a sprint.
Never feel that you are obliged to read every single blog post of the blogs you follow. I don’t know any blogger who thinks all their followers must read and comment on every new blog post they publish.
Never force yourself to read blog posts. If you don’t feel like reading or writing them, then don’t. Spend your time doing something else. Forcing yourself to do something you don’t want to do will make you resent what you’re doing.
Are long posts worth reading?
Of course, they are. Don’t be put off by the length of long blog posts. Just because they’ll take longer to read doesn’t mean they’re not going to be interesting.
You may believe you can use the time you would have spent reading a long blog post to read a handful of other shorter blog posts, but they may not be as interesting as the one you deleted because it was too long.
Take some breaks from blogging.
As a rule, for every hour I spend on my blog or reading blogs, I take a 20-minute break.
I always come back feeling refreshed.
If I don’t get around to reading all the new blog posts in my email box, then so be it. I don’t allow myself to feel guilty for not reading them. And I certainly do not feel guilty deleting those emails without reading them. Life’s too short to worry about that.
If you don’t want to blog, it’s perfectly fine. You don’t have to.
If, like me, you decide to continue with blogging (and I hope you do), the passion you had for coming to the blogging world in the first place will grow and put you back on the right blogging track.
Let’s keep blogging fun and an enjoyable experience.
What about you?
- 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 do you do to get over feeling guilty or stressed out by blogging?
Join the discussion by leaving a comment that I can respond to with more than just a ‘thank you.’
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124 thoughts on “How To Stop Feeling Guilty Or Stressed Out About Blogging”
I found my way here through your Let’s get Inspired interview. You have definitely made a sticky topic very easy and straightforward. At times I have spent more times reading than writing or posting 🙂 Though I can say enjoyed it, I would love to see if I can reverse that and not feel guilty of doing it one way.
That’s exactly what was happening to me. Then I decided that writing took priority over reading blog posts. However, I still read them and comment on them, but only when I have no desire to write. I seem to read more during the afternoons, as mornings always seem to be my creative time. And I don’t feel guilty about it at all.
Thanks so much for coming over from Bella’s.
Reblogged this on The Reluctant Poet and commented:
Don’t Miss Reading this from Hugh!!
Really useful post Hugh, and for me personally, timely.
I’ve recently had a good run of writing but not enjoyed the process of preparing my posts and promoting them – promoting seems like a constant battle which doesn’t always feel like its worth the effort.
I’ve been debating my twice a week posting schedule, although I’m managing to keep up, I’m starting to feel it might benefit to just do one a week to allow more people to read.
I’m much more ruthless with what blogs I read now, I used to take the time to read everyone who liked my posts but often this meant I was reading things I didn’t care about and I’m noticing a lot of people who like my work aren’t even clicking to read the post!
Thanks for sharing this topic, a really good read!
I’m pleased this post was timely for you, James.
I think we all go through stages where blogging seems to become more of a burden than being of enjoyment. When I first went through it, I faced a choice of giving up blogging entirely or changing the way I blogged. One of the changes I made was to stop trying to read and comment on all the blog posts published by the bloggers I was following. Not only that, but I also took the decision to stop following bloggers who were publishing content I had little interest in. I was wasting my time reading posts I had little interest in.
And don’t get started on the ‘like’ button. From a few posts I published about the subject, I discovered that some readers click ‘like’ to show support even though they never read the post. To say I was gobsmacked by being told that was an understatement. Those comments, along with those who said they pressed ‘like’ on everything hoping it will get them noticed and get them more followers, really bowled me over. Now I take no notice of who has ‘pressed ‘like.’ For me, the occasional comment is worth a thousand of those ‘likes.’
I vary between how many posts I publish a week. I never tell myself that I must publish posts. I write and publish them as and when I feel like doing so. Don’t pressure yourself to blog because it will take away all the enjoyment of blogging. Go with what feels best for you.
Thanks Hugh for your thoughts.
I feel pressure is the key word here – I enjoy writing and like having my blog as its helped as an outlet to express my thoughts and grow as a person.
I’ve got much better controlling what I read, I used to feel obliged checking out the work of everyone who gave a ‘like’, but realise now a lot of these aren’t genuine.
I agree comments are worth a thousand likes -often I look at the ratio of comments against likes. It gives me a good idea how successful I’ve been writing something people relate to.
this was such a well written post….thank you for evoking so much emotion and response Hugh..there’s so many looking forward to such inspiration….and I trust you will continue to inspire us all and help us glean from your wisdom…..i certainly look forward to so much more from you
Thank you, Sophia. I think I touched on a subject that many writers and bloggers don’t want to talk about because they believe they are the only one suffering from the stress and guilt that writing and blogging can sometimes bring with it. It’s good to talk about it.
I understand Hugh. Lets find a way that allows those silent sufferers to get more at ease in sharing their burdens.
Thanks for this Hugh. Sometimes it’s good to know that others are feeling the same or similar! I took a whole year off blogging and came back on early this year, and it was definitely good for me. I don’t have a large following, but what’s interesting is that I had exactly the same number when I came back as when I took my ‘sabbatical’! Seems that everybody was still around even after a year. What I also find helpful is to take a break from my Followship from time to time and just follow the tag option in the Reader. Its quite fun to make your own list of tags of things that interest you (type in Blogging or Nature or Baking, or whatever) and just see what comes up for you.
You’re welcome, Amanda.
I think one thing that many bloggers are terrified about when thinking of taking a blogging break is that, when they come back, all their followers will have disappeared. I’ve taken several breaks from blogging over the years and have never come back to an empty theatre.
Yes, I occasionally use the search bar in the WP Reader to look for some new blog posts to read, and always end up having great success with it. In fact, last weekend, I found two great new blogs to follow, one of which has already linked back to some of my blog posts.
you are so right about all that you said…..i can relate to it.
I know what you mean about blogging feeling tiring. This post is a breath of fresh air, filled with great reminders.
I’m glad it’s helped so many, Nicola. Thank you.
you’re right Nicola…when I started and there was a gap i did feel drained…..
Thanks for sharing your great advice with us at The Blogger’s Pit Stop! I know for me I would see other bloggers posting at least once and sometimes more per day and I felt like I should do the same. I created my blog to share things I’ve created as well as information about my health. I finally came to the realization that I just need to post when I have something to share and that I don’t need to keep up with others.
You’re welcome, Roseann.
You’re absolutely right in what you say. I often see bloggers giving advice to other bloggers that to be a successful blogger, they must publish content daily. It’s a complete myth and does not work like that. I’ve seen many great bloggers give up blogging entirely because of the stress they encountered with it. It doesn’t have to be like that. For the majority of bloggers (myself included), it should always be about the fun and enjoyment.
i echo your thoughts fully roseann…it’s not quantity but what you are really compelled to write that will leave a bigger impact with your readers…..i too try focussing on feeling the urge to write and only push out something when I know it will help someone…
This is a great post, Hugh. I try to keep a good balance between writing and reading and working. Blogging can’t be work, but it can easily become that way if you’re not careful. Now I only engage on blog posts that interest me, and that feels more genuine. Since the stay-at-home, I’ve started writing 3 blog posts a week for my library job as well as running the Twitter account, so doing my own blog and social media have become a chore at times. I find when I feel that way, I stay away and don’t force it until I’m ready to go back. I think other bloggers feel the same way. It has to be fun or it’s no good!
Thank you, Barbara.
I agree with what you say. If blogging becomes a chore, then it’s time to step back and rethink how we blog, otherwise the fun and enjoyment it brings can be lost forever. If it continues to become a chore, then I think most people gave it up and move on to something else they enjoy.
Agreed – for me, if I take a little break I feel refreshed and excited to get back. You have to listen to yourself and not get caught up in the statistics (though I do at times!).
that was such a nice way of explaining your work style…so much to learn from your experience, thank for sharing this
Your blogs are always so useful and helpful. You also write in such a calm way and make us all feel that we can cope. Thanks, Hugh 😊
That’s excellent feedback about my writing style, thanks so much, Esther.
so well expressed…and so true
I don’t feel guilty or stressed out right now, but when WordPress switches its editor on June 1, I’m going to be wishnig I had followed your advice about learning it in advance. You can bet I’ll be returning to your post soon for more help!
From what I read, they’re only retiring the classic editor, Michele. It’ll still be available to use, although they’ll be slowly withdrawing support for it. Therefore, any bugs or further problems with it may take a longer time to fix. At the end of this year, they’ll remove support for it completely. So, you still have some time to practice with the block editor before using it.
A very wise post, Hugh. I remember you have written about this before, and I think most of us who have been blogging for a while have reached a similar point at one time or other. There are only 24 hours in a day and far too many things to do, blogs and books to read, and well, life in general. No good becoming a slave to anything and losing any enjoyment we got from it.
Thanks, Hugh. And keep safe. ♥
Yes, I wrote about this subject several years ago, Olga. Robbie’s post prompted me to revisit the topic. After reading some of the comments left on her post, I knew it was time to send out another reminder to everyone that nobody cares if you don’t read and comment on all their blog posts. Blogging should be all about the ‘fun’ and enjoyment. It should never turn into some kind of monster.
Take care, and keep staying safe.
I think I finally learned a couple of years ago that I can’t follow and read every blogger I’ve come into contact with, Hugh. As you say, many bloggers change their content to something different as time goes by, I know I did. We also should not feel obligated to read a post from someone who likes, reads, and comments on ours. While I do thank each person who’s commented, if I don’t follow their blog, I don’t click to read just to reciprocate. Great advice as usual!!
Totally agree with you, Terri. It’s good to hear what you say. I hope many reading your comment take your great advice. I’ve seen too many good writers and bloggers give up their blogs because they couldn’t get over the stress and guilt of not reading and commenting on everything.
well shared thoughts Terri
Thanks for this post, Hugh. It felt like it was written just for me. I have experienced all of those feelings of guilt that mention because I have not been able to read all the blogs I want and leave meaningful comments. Your post gives me a little more confidence in being more selective with which blogs I read and comment on, as well as with how much time I spend doing such activities.
I’m glad it’s helped, Jim. I think a lot of bloggers go through this ‘guilt’ and ‘stress’ feeling at some stage on their blogging journey. Nobody will care if you don’t get around to reading and commenting on all their blog posts – I promise. Now it’s time for you to put back all the fun and enjoyment into blogging and to get rid of any remaining blogging stress.
Thanks for such comforting words, Hugh!
Love this, Hugh. I really resonate with this, actually. I was really productive with my blog at the beginning of lockdown, and now I’m falling behind with having content pre-written and ready to post. Recently, my motivation to blog has become much lower, and I do definitely feel guilty about it. I think you have definitely made a good point about thinking, “why did I start this in the first place”. Thanks for the reminder!
I’m glad my post has helped, Joanna. It’s strange, but at the bargaining of lockdown, I lost all my motivation to write and blog. Once I found out what was causing it, I soon bounced back. It seems the lockdown has affected many of us in different ways.
Thanks so much for joining the discussion.
You’re not wrong there! Fingers crossed I bounce back soon! Thanks Hugh 🙂 I look forward to reading more.