The Very Tired Blog

I have never, in my entire life, spotted a trend.  Never.  I didn’t invest early in things like Microsoft or Beanie Babies.  I began wearing big hoop earrings about two decades after they became cool.  I was pretty sure, in the seventies, that the whole “jogging” thing would go away because, face it, it hurts to run.  I’ve never picked out a writer who later became famous based on a little piece I saw in Parade Magazine or an actor who had a bit part in a road trip movie.  (Okay, I did know Obama was going to be big and I forced my children to watch his 2004 speech at the democractic convention — but then, so did a million other people.) 

But I think I’m on to something today — a bona fide blogging trend.  I have even given it a name:  Blogertia.  (It is not a good name.  I know that.  I’m not that Faith Popcorn lady.  Obviously.) 

These are its symptoms: 

  • The excitment of getting ten hits a day, or more than ten hits or any hits at all — totally wears off.  You don’t care.  All the hits are from people who got to your blog by mistake anyway, thinking you might be able to tell them about some lascivious topic they’ve idly googled, which is so dispiriting you can’t even admit to yourself that your blog has apparently become a resource for the depraved. 
  • Your technorati rating inexplicably goes from 100 and something to forty something.  You don’t really care.  Why shouldn’t it plummet?  No one reads your blog or links to your blog because you don’t actually exist, except in a shady corner of the internet where weirdos ask weird questions and think you might know the answer. 
  • Your regular daily visits to people you like and respect begin to slow down because you are — admit it — lazy.  After a while, you are too embarrassed  to leave any sort of comment because you don’t want to call attention to the fact that you’ve been MIA and someone you really like has had a fantastic thing happen to them and you weren’t there to say congratulations right when it happened. 
  • Your blog grows cobwebs and you don’t brush them off.  (See my “journal” page above, last updated in June.) 
  • You take a vacation, thinking that might help, but when you come back you think, “I can’t write about anything at all anymore.  I have nothing to say.” 

Etc.

I am not the only person feeling some version of this, I know.  What to do, though is the problem.  In an effort to be helpful to someone other than the guy who wants more specifics about carnal acts between a boss and a secretary (who cares, I say to him!), I offer you the following thoughts on combatting blogertia, at least one of which I might rouse myself out of the stupor into which I’ve fallen and implement.  I will even number these suggestions, because it makes me feel good. 

  1. Do something different.  Beyond spotting a trend that everyone else has already noticed a long time ago, you might try to write something that pushes you in a direction you’ve shied away from.  For example, If you’ve avoided writing about things that are personal, give that a try.  One tip:  Don’t go all confessional all at once.  You might want to dip a toe into the personal narrative.  Write one paragraph about something that you remember about being a child that has stayed with you your whole life.  Or you could do the opposite.  If you spend a lot of time, as I do, writing about your life, try writing about something that has nothing to do with you.  Try writing about a book or a current event.  Keep it short.  You don’t have to be the New York Times Book Review. 
  2. Okay.  I’m on number 2.  Inertia is setting in.  Why isn’t one thing good enough?  Because it is lame and it is not a list.  Let’s see.  Oh.  Learn a New Skill.  For example, it is not actually that hard to post a picture on your blog.  You do need a digital camera and you have to be able to follow directions.  If you have a digital camera, you need to post a picture of some kind.  Your favorite coffee place.  Your dog.  Your cat.  The book you’re writing about.  The mess on your desk.  People love pictures.  I’d be more careful about things that require people to click on a link to see.  I rarely do that.  But then I am lazy.  Others might be more energetic. 
  3. Woot!  Three definitely makes a list.  And that, in fact, is my third piece of advice.  Make a list.  Make a list of your six favorite short stories, piano pieces, weird movies, past bad boyfriends (names changed, of course!), top vacation spots.  Whatever.  A list is fun to compile, and easy to write and read. 

All right, then.  I’m going to see how it feels to write about something or someone other than myself.  And then I might try a couple of other things on my short, somewhat lame list.  But really, what I’m hoping, honestly, is that the people who’re here from someplace other than the corner of the internet inhabited by those who google desperately hopeful, lascivious strings of words will make some suggestions of their own, so when I reach the end of my three ideas I might live to blog another day.  That’s because, in the end, I like this blog, love having people visit, like the regular thinking it requires.  And the pictures, I like having a place to stick my pictures.

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46 thoughts on “The Very Tired Blog

  1. I have it too. I am a blogertiac too!

    For me the condition has arisen because I lost the discipline of a weekly deadline and because I’m STILL waiting to hear from a publisher about the possibility of a book contract (he says, pacing the floor of his office) and because my wife and I are making plans to leave the kids with my their cousins for a week so that we can visit Switzerland and Italy for a week in May.

    Besides it summer, and I’d like to write about the peregrine falcon the flew like a heaven-descended dove along side me as I rode my bike on Mount Hamilton this morning, but its hot in San Jose, and I’m going home to cook up some green beans and tomatoes that were a gift from a local gardener.

    Maybe I’ll blog tomorrow…

    Ben

  2. I think so many of us started blogging around the same time, and so the novelty has worn off to some degree, allowing boredom to set in. I’ve been feeling it a bit as well, and my ususal compulsion (start a new blog!) has helped a bit. Sometimes changing the design of the blog whets my appetite for posting things, but I always get myself in really hot water technically when I do that, and then have to call my son to fix it, which makes me feel like a doddering idiot.

    Alas, I think we all need a good brain tonic.

  3. Alas, I totally resemble this blog post. Another thing about blogertia: sometimes your blog activity is inversely proportional to your actual life activities. It’s not that I’m busy all the time, but I’m less likely to rush to the computer to catch up during the down times.

    January looks promising…

  4. I’m so there! Here’s an idea — post a list of all the great ideas that you’ve thought about blogging about but haven’t yet. Then, in subsequent posts, write about those things!

  5. Oh Lily, it’s okay. I think the blogertia that has set in is a symptom of the end of summer, and the general depression and ennui that the final days of August herald.

    But maybe that’s just me.

  6. You inspired me to follow my own suggestion (above) <a href=”http://camreading.blogspot.com/2008/08/antidote-for-blogertia.html”here Thanks for the inspiration. Still suffering the effects of blogertia, but feeling better about it 🙂

  7. Could blogging be like marriage; you go to bed with your Prince Charming and you (eventually) wake up with Mr. Here To Stay? I know that I started blogging to connect with family and friends far away. Instead of doing this, I’ve met a whole new group of people and that has been exciting. Now, that the honeymoon thrill is over, the task remains to make my blog posts meaningful without being too ludicrous or superficial. I’ve been reading your blog for a year or more and I have so enjoyed doing so. Please do continue to ponder on life, in some ways you might be surprised how much you are a role models for others.

  8. Well you KNOW I am suffering from this in a big way right now! So bless you, dear BL for a rescue post. Those are very fine and helpful suggestions you make and when I’m done with my holiday I’ll certainly be implementing them.

    Blogging is like any job, I think – two and a half years in you need some variety, some change, to keep the excitement alive.

  9. I hope this blogertia passes for you soon.

    I guess when I was coming up against it recently it was because I was feeling self-conscious. Like, what do people want to read about? Why can’t I write book reviews? I should write book reviews. People like book reviews. And besides, no one wants to hear me complain about my writing process AGAIN… etc. and etc.

    But then I realized why I keep the blog. I keep it for myself, and I love connecting to other writers and readers and artists, it’s such an inspiration, but you know what? I’d still want to write it even if absolutely no one was listening. So I just freed myself up to write about whatever I wanted. Yes, fine, a lot of it involves venting about my writing process and I’ve never done a book review, but it’s honest. I’m not forcing anything.

    So I don’t know if and how that’s related to your dilemma, but that was mine.

    Anyway, there is so much more I want to hear from Bloglily and I would be sad if your blogertia made you stop writing here. I can’t tell you what to write about. I just hope the ideas come. I’ll be here reading.

  10. Pingback: At least there’s an official term for it « Daily Stitches

  11. I have to remind myself that I do it for me rather than for the few readers I get. But seeing the numbers dropping from about high 20s a day to low 20s is discouraging.

  12. Hello and welcome PHMerrill — Your comment slipped in there somehow and I missed it the first time around. Doing it for oneself is the best starting point. But it’s nice to be part of a community too — that’s one way in which blogging does differ from fiction writing — a larger component of blogging activity is about connecting with readers in a very direct way. So now you have to leave a link to your blog, so people can go over there and visit!

    Nova, That is such sound thinking. I do believe that with something like a blog, you should absolutely write what you wish and not try to assume a voice or take on a subject that’s not your own. For me, then, it’s a question of finding those subjects that interest me enough to write about them. After two years, I think it’s good to ask what else I might want to write about.

    Yes, exactly, litlove. I have noticed that our mood about our blogs is very much in synch, which makes sense, given that we started at about the same time. I like your idea of writing more personal essays — which is precisely why I began thinking that I might want to write more IMpersonal essays!

    Ingrid, it will pass. Totally. And I would also like to add that the pleasure of reading your blog is enormous. I can’t wait to put up your wonderful interview, by the way — in fact, there’s something new, right? I love this series of author interviews I’ve been doing.

    Lilalia, Your comparison is so apt. I love Mr. Here to Stay way more than his impermanent friend. One reason is that Mr. Here to Say is much more satisfying to be around.

    Cam. Yay. I liked your list of things to write about very much. I’d like to hear them all!

    Maria, You are so kind! And you are also correct. Some of this is, without question, about the time of year. Some of it is also about the blogging cycle. Like any sustained activity, you have peaks and valleys.

    Scott! January it is then. (But it’s good now, too. All that lovely summer food.)

    Dear Becca, I’ve been drinking a lot of gin and tonics lately, which do actually work fairly well as brain tonics. I also like very much the idea of doing a little technical work on the blog. At some point, but not, like, tomorrow, I do have to figure out how to do a blog that better reflects how I want my blog to look — something that’s not a template from wordpress. But that’s just in the back of my mind. It would be fun to know how to do that.

    Yogamum, I think Marie’s right about how August is just THAT kind of month.

    Ben, I’m going over to your blog right now to see what happened with the falcon. but I feel very lucky that you left this vision right here. Fingers crossed for the publisher, by the way!!

  13. Great thoughts! I don’t so much have blogertia as I do “I can’t believe autumn is already here and I didn’t do HALF the things I was going to do this summer” panic, plus an inability to establish much of a regular routine. I’ve noticed a definite lack of spark around the blogosphere lately but I sort of trust it will come back…I have faith the majority of us will find our way back to a new and different kind of blogging. Your post should definitely help with that!

  14. I hope you blogertia will pass because it is always a pleasure to visit your blog. I recently have heard another term related to the blog sphere “blogarrhea “, it has a bit of negative connotation in it but funny nevertheless.
    I noticed that my blogertia often coincidences with reading a great book or beautifully written entry of someone else’s. As non-native English speaker, writing in Enlgish, I tend immediately go, “There is no way I will ever be able to express myself so eloquent, why bother.” My choice of weapon against it is reading deprivation, which tends to calm and clear up my mind.
    All the best,
    Victoria

  15. WOW! I can’t believe that after my blogertiac summer vacation, this post is the first I read! I’d just been thinking, Oh, I need to get back into this…ho hum…maybe I’ll read some of my favorite bloggers…

    This is perfect. I’m so glad others go through the same phases as I do. Whew. I feel slightly inspired, which is more than I felt a few minutes ago.

    I might even write a short post right this second…Just to dip my toes in once again. Thank you!

  16. I’m feeling exactly the same way at the moment. I haven’t written a blog post for a week now, but I guess I could blog about this feeling like you’ve done.

  17. To reassure you about Technorati, (not that you care anymore), I think as you are building up a blog, lots of people are adding you to their links which compiles your score. Then you reach a plateau where all your readers are your readers and you have created your relatively finite community. Technorati only increases as links do. Old links eventually get discounted and die. It doesn’t mean you are any less popular, even if it goes down to zero, which it will if you don’t get new readers or have all the old ones refer to you in a blogpost.

    As for blogertia, I kill off my old blogs (seven or eight so far) and start with a new identity, focus, and readership. It’s exhilarating, but clearly not for everyone. Like skydiving.

    Oh, and then you can start building up your Technorati score again (not that you care; nor do I).

  18. Another thing about blogertia is that like all kinds of ertias, it feeds on itself. The more days and weeks I don’t blog, the harder it is to return. After two weeks or more away from it, it takes a serious life event that I MUST communicate to bring me back.

  19. Make Tea Not War turned five recently so speaking as a crusty old timer I’ve found the blogertia comes and goes. I think I’ve kept going as long as I have by aiming low- lazy posts consisting of bullet point updates, free association, brief posts on interesting links all keep the spark sputtering on and every once in the while the urge and the time to write a better crafted, more thoughtful piece comes along and the blog is there waiting. It’s not for everyone but it works for me. I’d never type a word if I was aiming as high as some of you regularly manage. I’ve also been through the cycle of being energised by bursts of new readers and new bloggers a couple of times now.

  20. Pingback: We were at the beach, everybody had matching towels « Make Tea Not War

  21. Ms. Make Tea, Five! Good grief. Having unreasonable expectations never leads to anything good, as you say. Which is why it’s good to consider what you want to do with your blog. And it is interesting to see new readers, but always sad when someone just disappears.

    Patry, Last summer, I had a very hard time picking up again blogging after coming back from several weeks away. It’s a little like any writing a novel, when you do it regularly, it seems inevitable, but then when you get away from it, it’s hard to come back. I’m so happy that you ARE back, by the way.

    Why thank you Ella. Now if I could only illustrate it.

    Dear Squirrel — I didn’t know any of that! (Not, you know, that I care.) Thanks for the info.

    PJ, You certainly could! Writing about writing is a time-honored way out of a little writing lull.

    Lisa, Welcome back. Slightly inspired is pretty good. Sometimes that’s all it takes to get going.

    Dear Victoria, Thank you. That means the world to me. And I love visiting you in Iceland (at least virtually). x0, L

    Courtney, I know that feeling. Where DID the summer go? We get a few more weeks of it here in the Bay Area, because this is the time of year when the weather gets hot, but pretty soon it will be fall and schedules kick in. I like this time of year, and am ready for it to begin (I guess). Maybe it will indeed lead to more, different, possibly better, blogging.

    Hello RR Irwin, and Welcome! I’m so glad to hear you enjoyed reading this. Best, L

  22. I could have written this post on my blog, except that I haven’t written a post for months. Part of my blogertia has to do, I think, with finishing my novel, and spending the summer trying to get an agent, which was too depressing an endeavor to write about.

  23. I love your etymological creation: blogertia perfectly describes what I’ve been feeling this summer as well. I was thinking it was just because it was summer and I was away from the computer a lot, etc. but I think you’ve hit on the truth! Hopefully we will all get over the blogertia soon…

  24. I was feeling that lull for a while too. Also, kinda the triteness of it all? You know? Like, seriously, who gives a crap about what I am saying and why isn’t it just in a journal anyway. My friend Joe Felsco talked about blogging is like that friend tha t always overshares. When you ask, how are ya? they actually tell you versus the polite ‘just fine thanks and how bout you?’.

    I am having the exact opposite problem as I have latched onto a thread I can’t drop. But the problem is I actually need time to think and write versus the stream of bullshit I have so often slung.

    So, really, I have nothing helpful but wanted you to know I stop by. Read some and am glad to be one of the many.
    xx

  25. Hi, Lily —

    I absolutely love to read your blog, mostly because I share so many experiences with you: I’m a writer trying to birth a first novel and get some stories published, I’m a mother trying to negotiate kindergarten (gah!), etc. I started a blog just a couple of weeks ago as a deliberately navel-gazing endeavor, trying to expunge some of my own day to day stuff from my fiction. I guess I equate it with keeping a journal; I think I’ve had only one lovely visitor so far, and that’s fine with me, since the primary purpose is to get stuff out of my head.

    Anyway, I think blogging is like any other kind of writing: for most of us, it comes in waves. It’s not enough to have a blank screen in front of us and a promise to ourselves that we’ll write something, anything; I think writing is worthwhile when it comes with the urgency of caring, of exploring a topic, of thinking things through. Having blogged for mere days, I can tell you I’m already growing weary of the sound of my own little voice. It’s okay to take a break. It’s okay to feel shiftless, even rangy.

    I love reading your blog, but I hope you don’t force yourself to write when you don’t feel like it out of a sense of dedication to your visitors. Maybe you can reframe this space as a personal luxury to indulge in, rather than feed for the clamoring masses. (Or, maybe that kind of energy is best reserved for writing fiction.)

    With love,
    E.

  26. Sometimes it can be a symptom of the Real World making an appearance. Or just plain old cognitive overload (which is what happened to me over the last month). In which case, taking a structured sabbatical might not be a bad idea – I stopped writing on Relaxed Parents because I just had no energy spare for that kind of practice. I did take a lot of pictures though and became quite the Flickr addict.

    The thing (well, one of the things) I love about your blog is that you write when you have something substantial to say, rather than (as is all to often the case on my own blog) a need to fill up ‘dead air’.

  27. What a coincidence. My husband and I were talking about what we call ‘blog fatigue,’ although I like ‘blogertia’ much more. I’ve noticed that a lot of people start blogs, then realize the upkeep is actually a good deal of work. Some get discouraged from the lack of comments and/or traffic. Most people who have told me they’re quitting or frustrated say that they just can’t think of anything new to say on a regular basis. Personally, I try to post twice a week – once about cookies, once about writing – so that I have some kind of regularity in my life. As a freelancer the words “regular” and “schedule” are almost non-existent. So blogging has been a nice way to remind me what day of the week it is, and to connect with people I might not meet otherwise. And believe it or not, a way to sometimes get hired!
    I agree with (un)relaxeddad: you write about topics that have meaning not just for yourself but for all of us who read your blog, and I don’t think I’ve dropped in here feeling that you’re filling up dead air. So just keep doing what you’re doing!

  28. Hello Mari, You’d think that something you do regularly — like writing a blog — would, after a while, become very natural. But the thing is that you DO have to have something to say — and sometimes you just don’t. A do-able posting schedule certainly helps. Cookies help even more.

    U-Dad — Real life, cognitive overload: I’d like to raise my hand and claim some of that. But I think that is clearing away here. Or at least it had better.

    Elizabeth, What wonderful observations you make. I know how that feels — to be a little tired of the sound of me/me/me/me. I’m thinking about that some, and maybe I’ll get some new flash of inspiration.

    Cole — I know. Sometimes you’d just like to write (or read) one sentence and move on. The trouble is that it has to be a GOOD sentence, worth writing and worth reading. That’s hard. It’s easier sometimes to write six paragraphs. And sometimes to just not do it at all.

    Dear Melanie, New school clothes, sharp pencils, a non-smelly lunch box: all that helps, even if I’m just buying it for other people.

    Lucette — The agent thing? Sucks. You have my sympathy. But cheers for finishing the novel! xoxo, L

  29. Great post… you’ve hit all the telling moments of meh! (And also the bit about visiting other great people’s blogs…) And the suggestions are good too for trying different directions.

    It is tough to write a lot on a regular basis and keep it fresh, even if just for yourself. One strategy I struggle to follow: I try to keep tabs on my stray thoughts, reactions, and attractions and sometimes that way find new and wonderful things to write about, although it doesn’t happen often enough.

    My fall back strategy is to write a book review, even if it’s an older book that once upon a time I was enthusiastic about…

    Regards

  30. Oh, it’s so not like me to be the least bit trendy, but I have most definitely jumped on this bandwagon. Now, let’s see, I sort of made a list in my most recent post. I’m experimenting with a post full of photos. Maybe now it’s time to experiment with posting something completely different (I guess that means no memes or challenges). A limerick or something, perhaps? We’ll see…

  31. Hello Bloglily! I’ve recently started hanging around your site and it’s not because I’m interested in the depraved antics of bosses and secretaries. I really enjoy your writing and am glad I’ve found your site.

    All your anti-blogertia ideas look great and so inspiring that I almost fancy starting my own blog just to try them out. But I think I’d rather read yours, heh heh heh!

    So, thank you for writing, and best wishes,

    helen

  32. BL!
    I think the answer to “why blog?” is here in your own Submissions tab:

    “I will paraphrase E. M. Forster because I don’t remember where I read this: How can I know what I think about something till I hear what I have to say about it? This is profound, I believe, and universal; when we speak from the heart, with no plan, no point to make, we discover truths we did not know that we knew.”

    The cool think about blogging is that it doesn’t all have to be perfectly finished…partial and emerging thoughts are also ok.

    The Dean of Arts & Humanities here just said in a meeting yesterday, that the value of the monograph (read this “story”, “novel”, “blog” too I think) is it’s support for the “slow-motion, in-print conversation”.

    blog on!

  33. I would love to respond to this brilliant post, but I can’t think of a single intelligent thing to say. I’m afraid I’ve come down with…yes…it’s Commentertia.

  34. I hardly think your readers fall upon your blog by accident! They are the most articulate commenters (love that last one by Tai!) on the web. I frequently ask myself why I’m blogging and whether it’s worth it. Then if it feels worth it that day and I have something to say or a picture to post, and the time to do it without sacrificing sleep too much, I go for it. I’ve applied a little tough love to that nagging voice from the computer saying “FEED ME FEED ME FEED ME.”

    I’ve also been spending much less time viewing, commenting and replying to comment salthough I always want to and mean to. You are so good about carrying on conversations on your comment section. Do you have a system for doing that?

  35. Heather. Good — I can’t wait to see what happens.

    Hello Jana. I’m so looking forward to stopping by your show — your recent paintings are so lovely! As for conversations, I don’t have a system really — I want to hear what everyone has to say, sort of like how you feel when you’re at a great party or something and the guests are so interesting and kind and funny and sympathetic and so you talk a lot and enjoy what people have to say. That’s it.

    Tai. Commentertia. Exactly. But look, you’ve broken through — you left a rockin’ comment.

    OP — Slow motion, in print conversation — I like that!

    Helen — Hello and welcome. How wonderful to hear from you — I love knowing that you’ve been hanging out and enjoying yourself.

  36. Yay Emily. I’ve just looked. This is wonderful stuff. I’m going to think up a similar list. When I pick myself up from the couch, I mean.

    Mike, I like that strategy. If I could only remember to finish the books I start. But yes, a review of something you love is such a fun thing to do.

  37. This comment makes 45 (if I did my math right… let’s see 44 plus 1 is…), which is a lot of people googling silly things just to come read something they weren’t looking for… and then they comment?

    Well, I came from 9Rules, and I like what I read, and so I’m commenting.

    I’d also like to add that I blog because I love what writing does for me–it seems to complete me, make me feel better about myself; it gives me a sense of accomplishment. I just started a new blog, and I know what I’ve written isn’t the best every, or really professional, but it’s my best–it’s my beginning. And little by little it will get better. Not that that matters to the readers, but it matters to me.

  38. LOL at Tai’s commentertia 🙂 .

    Over the past year, I have decided to worry less and less about blogging inertia. Curiously, this is not because I have come to care less about blogging, but because I found that I started to care a little too much about what would happen if I wrote a bad post. It reached a point at which I figured that I had to take my blog a little less seriously. Fortunately, other extremely enjoyable things were at hand, and I had the luxury of thinking that, eventually, I would have something to worthwhile to blog about and I would just wait for the opportunity.

    This means that the time between posts has increased, but then, my satisfaction per post is increasing slowly, and that is what matters!

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