When Blogging is a Burden

Updated February 27, 2016

In 2000, when my daughter was less than a week old, we landed in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit because she was lethargic and wouldn’t wake up.

When blogging is a burden

To appreciate the fear I felt, it might be helpful to know that my earliest memory is the day my 8 month old brother died of SIDS. I was 3 at the time. I vividly remember that he just wouldn’t wake up, so seeing my own baby in the same situation was terrifying.

The doctors didn’t know what was wrong with our daughter. They ran all sorts of tests, X-rays and even a spinal tap to test for meningitis. In the end, thankfully, they determined she was severely dehydrated. Once we figured out the problem, she bounced back in a few days.

Me? Well, it was a rough initiation into motherhood, and it still makes me want to throw up when I think about it. It scarred me a whole lot more than it did her.

But I learned some valuable lessons.

The background

(I promise this is related to blogging.)

My daughter was born on a Saturday morning. We were sent home from the hospital on Sunday. By Monday night, my God-given mother’s instinct (it really does exist) kicked in and I knew something was wrong.

I called the doctor. He listened to my description of her symptoms, assured me all was well and basically said “give her some formula and call me in the morning.”

So I hung up, telling myself that he’s the doctor, he sees newborns all the time, he’s the one who has training, he knows what he’s talking about. It must all be in my head.

Suddenly and unexpectedly, something very mother-bear-ish was ignited. I didn’t care what the “professional” said. I didn’t care an ounce about his training, his medical degree or his experience.

Regarding my daughter, I knew he was absolutely, completely and totally wrong.

I also knew waiting overnight was a bad idea. So, very uncharacteristically, I called him back. I don’t think I yelled but I certainly raised my voice and clenched my teeth. “I DON’T think you heard what I said. SHE IS NOT WAKING UP.”

His response? “Oh! Take her to the ER right away.”

So what does this have to do with blogging?

Sometimes the “professionals” don’t know what’s right for you and your blog. Conventional blogging wisdom isn’t always the best advice. Sure, we should learn from the experience and training of others, but we’ve also got to listen to our gut.

Sometimes YOU really do have the best idea. Not the gurus.

Burdened or free?

If there’s one thing I always make time for online, it’s reading. I read and read and read. I try to glean all I can from the gurus, the “big” bloggers, the people who have been blogging for years and are now making incomes that completely blow my mind.

But sometimes it paralyzes me. Because they must know, right? Surely my ideas are always totally lame.

Sometimes I feel burdened, constrained, overwhelmed and like I just can’t keep up with it all.

A few questions

If money was no object, what would your blog look like? How would it be structured? How often would you post? Would you do things differently than you do now?

What do you love about blogging? What do you hate? If you could cut out any part of it, what would it be?

Do you feel like you “have to,” “should,” or “ought” to do certain things? Do you feel like you have to “keep up” lest you fall behind or miss out on something? Are you breathlessly trying to stay ahead or get ahead? Are other areas of your life suffering?

But most importantly…

Do you feel free? Because if you don’t, what’s the point?

This post was originally published in February 2012.

58 thoughts on “When Blogging is a Burden”

  1. Amy,

    I love the personal touch to this powerful post. Frequently I ask myself why I am doing this. It’s not for the money obviously because I haven’t tapped into any.

    I am passionate about reading, learning, and writing, and if it benefits others, I am willing to continue. Sometimes it’s hard to tell if I am even accomplishing that.

    I am upbeat in my posts of course, but the truth, it’s hard to continue when I see little reward other than my own enrichment.

    Thank you for getting me thinking.

    Darin

  2. First of all, I’m so sorry that you had to go through that with your daughter! How scary! Those are all good questions. I don’t even make enough money to warrant the amount of time I spend blogging. I keep hoping it will payoff one day and things have increased some, albeit very slowly. I tried to quit blogging twice and finally decided that it was just something that I HAD to do for some reason. It drives me crazy sometimes, but it seems to be in my blood or something.

  3. Yeah…the story of your daughter makes me want to throw up? And SIDS? My greatest fear ever. I pray every night that the Lord will keep my son safe. So glad you listened to your instincts and that she is okay!
    And as far as blogging goes, yes I do think it’s burdensome sometimes. I have been doing so many things to try and “grow” my blog like contributing on other blogs, designing my blog, being active on Pinterest/Twitter/Facebook, etc. that it has kept me from posting on my own blog! I feel stuck!

  4. You are so right with your advice. I had an epiphany in one business venture when my leader said, “If I didn’t love this, I wouldn’t do it.” I took her advice and got out of the business because I didn’t love it, didn’t really like it. Life is too short (especially since I’m in my 6th decade) to keep doing what I don’t like to do. And I do like blogging though I am sometimes slow at it. I want to learn from other while still being myself.

  5. Amy, your blog is one of the few blogs about blogging that I am still reading. Partly because you don’t have a high pressure sales pitch. And partly because of your honesty. I really like that. I run several (er….too many?) blogs. Most of them (except my art blog) are informational and I post when I have some information. But on my own personal blog I sometimes get stuck because my blog post would read, “I wrote a lot of blog posts for my other blogs.” Ha!

  6. Thanks so much for this, it was just what I needed to hear. I have struggled the last 2 weeks with keeping up my very new blog. Everyone was sick then all our activities seemed to fall at the same time. I got overwhelmed! Hang in all! and happy blogging!

  7. We went through almost exactly the same thing when our son was 12 days old. When I told his doctor that he wouldn’t wake up to nurse, and even if I could wake him, his eyes would roll back in his head and he’d go right back to sleep, the doc. said he’s just growing! I knew that wasn’t right so I went to a nursing specialist and found out that he had lost almost 2 pounds. Long story short, he went straight to Vanderbilt Children’s Emergency. He was dehydrated. (As a side note, if anyone ever tries to make you believe that every mother can produce enough milk to nurse, it’s just not true). Anyway, I too am glad I didn’t trust the “professionals”.

    This post is timely for me because I’m really trying to find my online identity. I have so many things I could do but I’m not sure which I could do really well. Today I’m asking myself which one would be the most satisfying, even if money had nothing to do with it. It’s turning out that the easiest thing to pursue isn’t really what’s going to bring me satisfaction for very long.(doesn’t that figure?) So, I’m trying to decide what will I enjoy for the long run, not what do people want. Hopefully thinking it through this way will help me get a grip and get moving!

    Thanks for all you do here, I love your willingness to be vulnerable and honest.

  8. Love LOVE this post. I am a new blogger. I am with everything you said. I do feel free when I share my knowledge and information I learn. Just the teacher in me.

  9. Amy – I’m so glad you followed your gut. This is something I’ve been thinking of over the past few days too. Who cares what the ‘experts’ say about blogging? We got here to write our own ‘stories’ and we should do just that.

    I’m so glad I was led to your blog by Sarah from The Blog Guide Book. I’ll be here again.

  10. Thanks so much Amy, I feel as though God has just used you to say the same thing He’s been trying to tell me over and over. I guess He figured I might actually listen if it came from my favorite blogging guru, lol! I know what I need to let go of and it’s really just a small part of blogging, so why have I been holding on to it so tightly anyway!?!

    1. I am so glad I’m not the only one who holds on to those types of things! (Thank you for your kind words.)

  11. Loved this post, Amy! I love blogging! The time I get to invest in it is some of my favorite time! When my writing muse checks out … I play with design. And the relationships! They’re the best! The only thing that’s a bit of a drag is trying to recruit readers! I want more … Not to stroke my ego … Just to be able to invest in more lives!

  12. Yup, I hear you. I feel that way when I keep hearing “build an email newsletter list, build an email newsletter list!” Well, I don’t really want to.

    So, I don’t. I have a plain Jane feedburner account that people can sign up for to receive my posts, but that’s it.

  13. “Conventional blogging wisdom isn’t always the best advice.” Self-imposed pressure results when I think of the “shoulds.” For what? For whom? I’m also (slowly) learning to match what I DO with what works best for who I AM and what God wants me to be doing with my online presence.

  14. Wow, Amy, we’re about to have church up in here! 🙂 I feel like this everyday. I love to write, but I don’t feel like my blog is making a difference to anyone. (And maybe my Mom, my only reader.) But then I keep saying well everyone has to start from here just keep pressing on. Then throw in feeling like I’m neglecting my kids when I get on the computer and you’ve got one stressed out Momma. I love your blog Amy, so just keep doing what you do, and so will I! 😀

  15. Totally agree with your post. I find that when I focus on things I like, I get more responses and more feedback. I tried focusing on the “money” part of it, and it just felt like another boring job. I think so many people starting blogs fall into the trap of trying to be like that other blog. Who cares, just do what you want. Setting a blog schedule has helped me a LOT. It allows me to focus on the posts that have to happen, but allows me time to work on other features. Thanks for all the great tips!!

  16. Thank you so much! I discovered your blog yesterday, and it has already given me so much encouragement and inspiration. I started blogging for myself, but the more I do it, the more I want it to be something more. I forget to stop and remember what it is about it that really makes me enjoy it.!

  17. Thank you for the great questions to think about. I really just blog as a hobby and I’m not making any income from it {yet}, but it is still easy to get caught up in the feeling that you have to be like everyone else. Whenever I start thinking “have to”, “should” or “ought”, I take a day {or two} away from the computer {i.e., blogging, pinterest, facebook, twitter, hotmail, stat counter, etc.} and just relax for the day with my children and find time to read a good book. One day last week I even took a nap! 🙂 It really helped to recharge my batteries and change my perspective.

  18. Amy ~

    I love it when you share personal struggles, but still make it fit in with blogging…you are definitely talented in that area.

    My husband is a Physician Assistant ~ they are human, misinformed, often times overworked and make mistakes. Every person should take their own health into their own hands ~ just because someone is a Dr./PA, they still don’t know your body as well as you do (my husband would tell you the same thing.) So glad that you listened to your inner mama-bear voice!

    My light bulb moment with blogging: I cannot focus on making money…if I needed money I would go and work at Dairy Queen (pretty sure I could still make the curly q on top of the cone!) When I look at blogging as a hobby my perspective changes and the fun is back!

    When I focus on making money, I do things that do not come natural for me. I am still trying to figure out how much time I should spend on my blog. My home definitely suffers when I spend too much time on it. Thanks for asking hard questions!!!

  19. This is a great post, I am new to blogging and the reason I got started has nothing to do with money. I started blogging to be able to track my weight loss journey, than as I started to meet other bloggers my blog became more about being a motivated mommy who has to juggle full time work, a house, two kids a husband and making time for me to stay healthy and reach my weight loss goal. I have met some great bloggers that are inspiring (you for example) and I love the freedom that I have to write what I want.

  20. Oh no, dear Amy, you are not alone…It’s reassuring to hear that someone of your caliber struggles with these issues as well…

    And…Wow…what a reminder to be sure and listen when our Mommy voices speak…

  21. Thank you for sharing! I needed to hear this with blogging. I have been getting really passionate about it recently with all of these long term goals; however, I tend to compare myself to other “big blogs.” I appreciate your transparency with your readers. Thanks Amy!

  22. Thank you, Amy, this is something that I needed to read today. I work full time outside the home and have a busy 4 year old at home and an especially needy husband so my desire to build a successful blog sometimes becomes a burden. There are times when I wish I could just hole up for weeks and make my blog exactly how I want it, but I also know that it is what it is and I can be who I want to be on my own little corner of the internet. Thank you for being so open and sharing your stories with us!!

  23. I love your blog! What you wrote today hit home precisely. I like to blog when I like to blog. And when I sat down to write a blog post last Thursday, in looking at some things I realized it would be more meaningful to write this particular post yesterday, Feb. 7th, because it would then be the three year anniversary of my blog’s birth. All that was well and fine, but you know, yesterday I kept thinking, “I’ve got to write a blog post today. I’ve got to write a blog post TODAY. I HAVE to write a blog post today. UGH UGH UGH!” I created pressure on myself that I wished wasn’t there.

    So, it’s a small case in point and it was no big deal and I propped my tired eyes open with toothpicks last night and wrote the blog post. But my creativity had already crawled under the covers and was fast asleep.

    All that to say…I want to post when I WANT TO POST, and I now realizing promising readers “every Tuesday and Thursday” would drive me bonkers.

    I’ll keep it scattered and random as I always have- I learned what works best for ME!

    1. PS – my infant daughter was back in the hospital 4 weeks to the day from when she was born with spinal meningitis…so I understand some of what you went through. Good for you trusting your mother bear instincts! Grrr!

  24. Hi Amy, I’m new to your blog, and this is the first post I’ve read. It was very powerful, and the way you tied your life story with blogging advice is fantastic. I recently started my 2nd blog. With the first one, the titles of each post just came to me; they were witty and clever. With this blog, I’ve been reading all this big deal blogging advice that your headlines must follow a format, such as “10 Best Ways to Blah blah blah” and must contain a keyword, and must tell the reader what they are about or no one will be attracted to reading them. So now, I can hardly come up with a title at all. Do I want to follow the “rules” and perhaps get more readers, or follow my muse and let my natural creativity and wit flow? Or is there somehow, with practice, a way to do both? What do you think about titles?

    1. Leslie,

      I totally hear what your saying–and hope Amy comes back with a good reply!

      I’ve been hearing the same thing–that keywords are everything—but then it just sorta zaps the fun out of it, doesn’t it? For instance…my sister came up with the phrase ‘fly the coup’ to describe how she shops fast with coupons. I used that phrase in a post on my site (which is about saving money amongst other things). Yet I’m sure that isn’t search engine friendly at all!

      It’s kind of like—a catchy post title draws people in….but if they aren’t finding your website in the first place then it totally doesn’t matter!

      Anyway…anxious to see if anyone else has some helpful advice in this area!

  25. Thank you so much for sharing this. I recently discovered your website and I’m stickin’ around for the long haul because of how much thought and transparency you put into your posts. This one, in particular, jumped out at me because while my current blog is only a year old, I’ve blogged off and on for personal reason since 2004. This is the first time I’ve tried to be “professional” about it and the perfectionist in me wants this to look better and that to sound better, etc. etc. etc. Most days, it’s a joy and I can’t wait to work on it again. Then other days I wonder “what’s the point?” and want to crawl into a hole somewhere and be a writing hermit.

    One of those days was very recently, so this post spoke right to my heart.

    Thanks!

  26. Amy,
    I always SO appreciate your “realness” in this online world!
    I, too, get so bogged down with “I need to be doing THAT!” and comparing myself– it’s overwhelming at times.
    I love your advice to sit back and think about what your blog would be like if money wasn’t an issue.
    Thanks for the breath of fresh air this morning!

  27. Wow, what a scary story- it makes me feel a little sick just thinking about it. So glad your mother bear came out!

    Thanks so much for the make-me-stop-and-think post. I haven’t been blogging long and it’s all so overwhelming. I’d been an admin person for years, like everything neat and tidy (not talking about my house, but my blog), and it just isn’t happening. I get bogged down in wanting my blog to look “right” and don’t do as much writing and project-doing as I would hope. I have in my head what I want and feel frustrated that I don’t know what I’m doing!

  28. YESSSS!!! you totallly read my mind! There are times that I panic because I don’t have something done that I feel needs to be done in order to maintain my blog or gain more readers! I never thought of comparing it to the panic a mother feels when her baby is sick but I totally get it now!

    My daughter had jaundice and was admited into the hospital when she was only 2 weeks old. I too still feel like vomiting whenever I think about it. Thankfully all the professionals never treated me like one of those crazy moms and just sent me right to the hospital (we got to bypass the er, yay!).

    Thanks so much for the insight. I’m going to think more on those excellent questions.

  29. Yes, I agree with the previous commenter. Keep pushing forward because you are very much appreciated! I learn something from you every time I read a post. I don’t always comment because of time constraints, but you are such a valuable resource. Most of all, you keep it real and bring the personal issues to the forefront. Thanks for sharing your story about your baby. It just goes to show that we should trust our instincts.

  30. Hi Amy – Loved reading your post – so know that there are always others out there that care and are so happy that you do blog ! I have learnt a lot from you already…. I am more and more posting whatever comes up in my head and I felt a huge burden lifted since I did not try so hard to stick to my original content that I wanted to blog about. I am excited to have made this shift and will see how it works out….but I get almost NO comment on my blog.. which discourages me…and then I get SO much feedback via e-mail or personal comments or my personal facebook, that I always feel that the blogging becomes inspiration instead of burdensome again. But there are good days and bad days.
    PLEASE KEEP PUSHING FORWARD – WE NEED YOU !!!

    1. FYI – I NEVER comment consistently on blogs. I try to, but once I subscribe I rarely go to the blog and comment unless I have something to add. Instead, I try to share what I’ve learned from that person with someone else.

      It took me a while to realize that my writing was NOT validated by the number of comments I receive. On my blog I turned comments off…STRESS IS GONE!

      Hold on tight to the wonderful emails you receive!

  31. Wow, Amy. You’re so right. The professionals don’t always know – I have been feeling this for quiet some time. I also read and read, but sometimes I know I just have to go with my gut.

    Thanks for the analogy.

  32. Heart-touching Amy! So glad God gave moms those instincts—-and that you followed them!

    I started blogging while my husband was in law school a couple years ago, hoping to make money from my blog. Talk about stressed! Blogging was a burden and I finally had to stop (and found an online job to help get us through).

    Once my husband graduated, the desire to blog returned. This time there was no pressure to make money and blogging has been so much fun. (Almost too much fun, at times! Loved your post on choosing the sacrifices so blggoing doesn’t take us from the most important things!)

    Thanks, once again, for a wonderful post. Your transparency is such a refreshment!

  33. LOVE this post from both aspects… as a parent who struggles with identifying the nasty allergens that cause my children to be extremely ill and as a blogger who just can’t seem to follow conventional “rules” because I have never fit the mold so-to-speak.
    I keep the blog because someday I WILL have the time and energy to devote to it, but if I get too bogged down in the “shoulds” I lose sight of why I do it… because I love writing.
    Lately, I have taken a break from posting and have submitted articles to the local community newspaper. It gave me a boost to see my articles as front-page news and to get positive feedback from others. It motivates me to continue writing… no matter what format!

  34. Simply….Yes – to all the first questions. No – to the last question. There are many days that it feels like a burden and I don’t want it to be that way. I really appreciate how you always put the tough (blogging) questions out there. It’s nice that you don’t just focus on the mechanics of blogging here, but also the emotional/personal side of it too. So, now that I’ve admitted the burdensome of it, where does that leave me? 🙂

    On a side note, I have come to be skeptical with all doctors because of the One who did not listen to me. Had I taken her advice, my son’s life would have been in peril. Thank you for sharing your heart-wrenching story. I too get rushes of anxiety when I think of my son’s circumstances. (He has life-threatening food allergies.)

    1. Oh wow. Scary stuff. I know, before our experience I thought doctors were “it” and would never think to question them. Not so anymore. But I think that’s a good thing. 🙂

  35. Amy, I’ve just recently been introduced to your blog. I am finding you very inspirational. This terrifying story is a perfect analogy for what’s true about my life. (By the way, I am so very sorry about your brother, but so very glad your daughter’s story has a blessedly different ending.) I have spent years trying to figure out what I’m supposed to do in this world, usually at the behest of others – full of good-hearted encouragment, but not really full of what would make the most of Kathy – and I finally feel like I’m on the verge. Of what? Not sure, but I feel like my blog has led me to an important crossroad in life. I’m excited for the future for the first time in a long time.

    1. Kathy, I literally got goosebumps when I read this. I’m so excited for you and have also felt for many years that I have never quite figured out what I’m hear for. I know exactly what it’s like to be on the cusp of something—very exciting. Thanks for sharing!

  36. Excellent input, Amy. Your illustration shapes it perfectly. When I stick to what I know I can and should do, my blogging is a happy experience. When I struggle to jump through someone else’s hoops, even if they are the expert, I lose the joy and gain a whole lot of miserable pressure.

    Blessings,
    Lisa

  37. Wow–what an incredible story! Thank you so much for sharing something so personal and I’m so glad you had a happy ending and that you trusted your inner voice and instincts. So often we don’t do that.

    I am trying to find my inner voice–I can’t get my blog to “look and feel” the way I want and it’s causing me to procrastinate on actually putting in good content! UGH! Why can’t I just make the noise settle down and listen to what I want/need?

    1. Marie, I recommend you just write. I’m the same way with getting the design “just so” (I’ve gone through so many designs on this site and still don’t feel like it’s what I want it to be), but if I just concentrate on writing, it’s as though the writing needed to get out and suddenly the design itself isn’t as important. Just my $.02. 🙂

  38. What a precious post! It speaks right to my heart – maybe because I have a special needs child that lead me to begin writing (novels) or maybe because odd twists in life lead me to blog while I waited out a bad situation with one agent and finding another but in the end, blogging saves me. I bet people who read my silly blog would never guess it but being called on to find humor a couple times a week and getting supportive comments bring me back from the edge of downerville many times.

  39. Wow–very insightful! I know how you feel…my blog is very young and I feel that way a lot! I want to build it and do so many things with it..but I work full time and have a busy job outside of work too and sometimes its hard to get it all done. My # of visitors is still pretty low and so when I can’t blog I wonder.. ‘why does it even matter’? And I look at the successful bloggers in my niche and wonder if I can ever get there!

    I LOVE your blog and get so much good information for MY blog from it!

    1. Thank you Cheryl. While I never wish the struggles on anyone else, it’s always nice to know I’m not the only one who deals with this stuff!

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