Thursday, April 14, 2011

Selfish Blogging

On Monday night, I wrote on Twitter: "That's it. I'm officially quitting blogging."

In my mind, this was a big deal. I've had this little site since October 2008, and I've crafted a large part of my identity out of being a "writer." I like it when friends mention things I write, or when they share thoughtful comments. These words of support are like little Christmas presents under my virtual tree.

And yet, the main response to my announcement was, "Do whatever makes you happy."

So what makes me happy? It makes me happy to come to this space and write about my life. To record the things that matter to me. To make my words dance like a stone skipping the surface of a lake.

What doesn't make me happy? The hustle. Returning comments. The I'll-read-you-if-you-read-me game.

I don't like the games I play with myself, either. Why doesn't [insert blogger I admire] like me? How come more people don't read me? 

I have my father's engineering mind, so I applied some logic and determined that people are busy and when they don't read what I write, it's nothing personal. And yes, there's a chance--a very real chance---that when I write about things that matter to me, it may not matter to anybody else.

I might be okay with that..

I'm not quite going to quit blogging. I'm just going to be selfish about it. Meaning, I will write about what I want to write about. My kids. My life.

I'll probably stop writing fiction unless I feel like it.

I will read other blogs when I am inspired and fully attentive. And I will probably do it in a very haphazard fashion. But I am not going to spend one minute worrying about the status of my reader.

I started writing because I wanted a creative outlet. So that's what I'm doing. Writing for the pure joy of it. Writing because it's what makes me happy.

And if that's being selfish, I am okay with it.


Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

That's the only way to go as far as I'm concerned. I do a lot of posts of family, jump in memes but only if I feel like it, and toss up a fiction post every couple of weeks. It works :-)

Formerly known as Frau said...

Do it for you and you only.

Jessica said...

THIS is a great post. I need to read it about 20 times over. I have a hard time with this too. I love the writing part of blogging but get so caught up in the rest of it. The stats, the comments, the commenting, we all need to just give ourselves a break and remember why we did this in the first place. Great post, write whatever you want to write, we will all keep reading.

tracy said...

I love this. Perfect. I can get caught up so easily and then it's not fun anymore and I hate my blog.
xo said...

I think we all must deal with these questions, and whenever someone mentions them, I feel better that I'm not alone. I don't have a ton of time to "advertise" my blog, to read others' posts and hope they return the favor. So there are nights when I catch up and find something interesting and add it to Google Reader, and other days I don't visit Google Reader at all in order to see what others are saying. And when I write, I get fewer comments, but I am writing for me. That's the thing I keep reminding myself. If I'm proud of what I write, that is what matters. (Though when it's good, I really think others need to read it. Don't we all?) :)

Ilana said...

So so true. It's so easy to get caught up in building traffic that we forget why we are writing in the first place. We like to. But do we like it enough to do it without an audience? I hope so.

Mel said...

I read your tweet and my first thought was I'm going to miss your voice. So I'm glad you're not quitting, just retooling.

It's odd, the transition that happens when you start out writing letters to yourself and end up desperate for commenter validation. It gets twisted, and I've thought about quitting too, but for now the good outweighs the bad.

Honestly, my favorite posts of yours are the real ones. Your family is precious, and you have a way with words that makes your posts resonate. I don't always comment, because I often have no words, and have no wish to babble. I read too many blogs these days. I'm trying to be more selective, but I wanted to say that as long as you're posting, I'll be stopping by. Happy writing!

Muliebrity said...

This makes me happy. I agree with Mel, I adore your "real" posts.

Nancy: Keeping her blog real since 2008

TKW said...

Well, selfishly, I'm glad you're still going to be around!

Kim said...

I also wanted to say, it's hard to understand this blogging thing. On one hand there is the writing - it's a brand new platform that writers in the past didn't have and it's easy to get caught up in it. I have a hard time differentiating it now - my need to write and my need for a reaction. I'm so grateful that you write about what you do, it's authentic, excellent writing and it's the kind of stuff I want to read more of.

Kelly said...


Cheryl said...

Huh. I didn't even see the tweet. I was too busy fretting over The Google Reader and statcounter.

I'm sorry you are so burned out. I will miss your fiction. But I'm glad you're not completely giving up this space. You have a voice that should be heard.

Lori said...

Ironically, I found you because you commented on Jessica's site. I am a selfish blogger too, and proud of it. :)

tulpen said...


All of it. I might just copy and paste this post on my blog.

I've pared down my blog reading and commenting. I have time to either write my own, or keep up with everyone else. I chose my own.

Cause I'm a selfish bitch. Like you!!

Yay us!!

Anonymous said...

Hi sweet Nancy. I completely concur with this post, except for having an engineering mind, as I can't calculate my way out of a paper bag. I think we all have to step back from our blogs and remember the reason we started it in the first place. Sure, it's great to get comments, but I'm slowly learning that the folks who really enjoy your writing will come around when they can. I don't sweat that anymore. I do what I can on the reading others blogs, especially my faves. There are some blogs (yours for example!) that can make my whole day with their wit and wisdom and writing talent. So I visit those more often. Yea, I'm selfish too.
Hugs, my friend, and godspeed on your writing journey!

Rebecca said...

I'm pretty sure that is what Aunt Becky from mommywantsvodka says. To write for YOU and not any other reason. I love reading what you write, don't always comment but I almost always visit and read. (Except for the past two weeks when Joey was in the hospital and recovering from surgery but that's my free pass right?)

adrienzgirl said...

It's a freeing feeling no? I can't blog all the time anymore. It's literally impossible with a baby running around. At first I missed all the comments from people I couldn't visit on a regular basis, or didn't comment on every single day. Then I got over it. Now, I comment when I can, where I can and I blog when I want.

I'm glad you decided to continue writing. Your tweet broke my heart a little. You are such a lovely writer, especially when it comes from the heart about the things that matter to you! :)

Anonymous said...

I honestly think that's the only wya to blog. If it isn't fun, what's the point? (Unless you're making tons of money I guess - that's it own point, but I had no ads or whatever on my site.)

Paul said...

I #!$!%@$^@ hate the comment boxes here. I've lost my last three 4000-word comments on this post. For better or worse.

So I'll simply ask What if it isn't all just about you? How would this change your writing?

Anonymous said...

Yeah! So glad you've come to this decision.

I struggled with many of the same issues before I made the big blog change. Life is so much better now that I gave myself permission to live it.

Yuliya said...

Nodding my head yes with you every step of the way. The hustle makes me question doing this at all, but then I look back at all of my (selfish selfish me) posts and am SO glad I wrote each and every one, they are memories that I am so glad I captured. Keep doing what you do.

Amy said...

I am so with you. And ironically, I've been blogging about as long as you (July 2008) and started for the same reason -- as a personal outlet.

My first big "I'm doing this for me" was my decision to stop blogging about the Biggest Loser every week. Now I only write about it if I want to.

I don't keep up with all the blogs I used to b/c I just don't have time. But I do stop in places from time to time and comment if I feel moved to do so.

Blog on the way you want to, but blog on.

michelle said...

tell me about it!


lisleman said...

I compare this to Forrest Gump. You saw the movie right? one of your favorites yes. Remember how he was running across the country and got a following. He just stopped running in the middle of nowhere and told the crowd he was tired and quit. I did a post titled Blog Forrest Blog about my opinions of it. Your blog your words your plan - it's good and bad.

Ash said...

You're not selfish. You're jumping off the treadmill to run in the sunshine.

Never a wrong move.

I will miss your fiction though. I learned a lot from your style. I've actually learned a lot about being a better soul from you as well.

You're a good egg Nancy, through and through.

Galit Breen said...

I adore this post for so many reasons. It's reflective, honest, transparent, yes.

But importantly, it claims what you want. And I so admire that. As women, as mothers, we just don't do that very often, do we?

Thanks for voicing, resonating, feeling- it's refreshing actually.


MamaRobinJ said...

Good for you. I've only been blogging for about 3 months, and I had no idea this whole visit-for-visit and comment-for-comment thing existed. I sometimes try to head back to people who have visited me, but I don't always get there, especially lately. And that's okay.

I struggle often with the nature of my blog and whether anyone will want to read it. But in the end, I started it for me and I'm continuing it for me, so I write what I want and need to write.

Here's to selfishness! ;)

Beth Zimmerman said...

You GO girl! Proud of ya!

Coby said...

It's not selfish. It's just not. Go back to your roots, girl. ;-) (Geez, that was cheesy. But I mean it)

erin margolin said...

I'll miss your fiction, too, but I'm ever so glad to read this and know we're on the same page. Too much pressure, too much to keep up with makes blogging a dull, uh, thing.

Be free. Fly.

Anonymous said...

Well, yeah, that's what blogging is all about....YOU! YOU blog what you want to blog about. If you want to blog about a turd floating in your toilet bowl, go for it! I'd read it. One of your kids tied his shoes together? Cool. Don't let the other stuff bother you. You blog because YOU enjoy it. Some posts will be better than others. Sometimes you just need to step away for awhile.

It's your blog and you can cry if you want to! And rant, and rave, and have a temper tantrum....

SuzRocks said...

I just had an epiphany like this somewhat recently. It's nice when the people who read your blog still say they'll read it no matter what you write about. I've decided I don't care (all that much) if NEW people read my blog, but I really really enjoy the relationships I've made with the ones that already do.

The Empress said...

I hear ya.

I was killing myself, commenting back, because I didn't want anyone to think I was a bitch.

I worried so much that people would think that I thought I was something too great to comment or visit back, that I was going without sleep and not spending time with my kids, so I could visit every single commenter back every single time they commented.

I was up till 4 am doing this.

Finally, I realized, the more you do, the more work you make for yourself.

The more you do, the more you have to do.

Now, I visit as I can.

It's all I can do.

Kristy said...

It can get so big, can't it? I try to not get too crazy about it all. If I have a week when I just could not do all I wanted to be able to do, oh well. The most important thing is that you are giving your time to something you enjoy.

MiMi said...

That's the key. Writing what you want to write. The "game" of blogging can be a whole lotta b/s sometimes.

Misfit Mommy said...

It must have been the fates that brought me to your site in time to see this post!

I am very new at this, and while I don't think my posts have been awful, I was finding myself fretting over every little thing myself - until I came across another fairly new blogger. That person frets and laments over every last stat - publicly! I don't want to be "that' blogger, so I guess I am fortunate to have had that epiphany sooner rather than later, and just do what I can, WHEN I can, and the rest will follow. Or it won't.

{Namaste} :-)

From Tracie said...

I have been doing the "selfish blogging" thing for the last couple of months. I miss reading everything that everyone is writing (but I enjoy having sleep sometimes). I miss having those bigger numbers (but I enjoy writing without worrying about numbers even more).

I will miss your fiction (because it is so lovely!) but I enjoy all your words, even the life and kids ones.

I'm so glad that you aren't quitting, but are going to reclaim the happiness and creativity and fun of blogging...because that is what it should be all about! That is a good thing, and not at all selfish.

Unknown Mami said...

I liberated myself from my reader after the new baby was born. Now I visit when I remember to or have time to. I get less comments as a result, but you know what? The writing is still just as fulfilling.

Bethany said...

perfect and right on.
i feel guilty blogging when I can't read the blogs i love, the people who visit me, but that's silly really. we should write when we want to write and read and comment when we can.

Portugal said...

How could I have missed this blog! It’s incredible. Your design is flawless, like you know exactly what to do to do make people flock to your page! I also like the perspective you brought to this subject. It’s like you have an insight that most people haven’t seen before. Great to read a blog like this.

Anonymous said...

I have blogs in my reader and try to read all my faves (yours included).

I comment when I can and when I want to.

My blog is just for me and anyone who stops by is an extra gift.

Good for you for setting your intention. I'm happy that you're sticking around. xo

Andrea (ace1028) said...

I am glad you're not "quitting" but I am also glad you've found what works for you. :) It's the whole point of blogging, IMO. It's there for you, you're the reason it's there, and we have to be true to ourselves when participating in it. Ya know? I take days off when I need them, I take books to read when I feel like it, (my main reviews) and I do the random giveaway when it's something that strikes my fancy. Mostly I just write when I want to write and I'm me. Take me or leave me. You go, girl, and you be you! :D

Erin said...

Okay so I'm a little late getting here! BUT...I will miss your fiction, as I have told you before I love to read your posts!

This is exactly how I feel and the minute I became the "selfish blogger" I can't think of a thing to write about! It'll come I know....I guess my boys just haven't done anything entertaining the last few days!

I am glad you are staying around, I would miss reading about YOUR boys!