I read an online article the other day about quitting the blog life. I read it because the thought has crossed my mind a few times. Presented as a series, part one was about a blogger who quit blogging after eight years and more importantly to me, a book deal. She had some really valid points. She stated that it's nearly impossible to churn out engaging content day after day, and blogging starts to take over your life. You begin to ignore other parts of your life to make sure your content is up, publishable and relevant. This becomes harder if you have a full time job. For many of us, blogging is a hobby and a way of life. I will hit five years in January and what started out as a hobby has morphed into a routine and a burden at the worst of times, and a joy and a blessing at the best. Some days it's hard to tell the difference but I still love blogging. Even on the days when my traffic is damn near non existent, I still love to write and hit that publish button.
But the idea of quitting has given me pause. The last year of blogging has been tough. I went back to work full time just about a year ago, and from that time on, my content and my consistency faltered. It is almost impossible to work full time, be a mom, a wife, and a blogger in my opinion. I like to read. I like to look at Instagram and Facebook. I like to watch television. Add those into the mix of dinner, laundry, making lunches, and homework, and it's a recipe for disaster. Since blogging has always been and still is very much a hobby, it was the first to fall off the to-do list. Pushing myself to the computer, cutting deals with myself to put up interesting content, made blogging seem more like a chore than a hobby I used to love. But I pushed through, because when I went more than four days without writing, my heart hurt.
It was then that I realized that I just needed to write what I wanted. That shouldn't be a shocking realization if you are a writer, but if you are a blogger it feels like suicide. Blogging, a lot of the time feels like "Keeping up with the Jonses", where writing for me never has. Blogging, for the most part, is about engaging content, sponsors, paid campaigns, and product reviews. Sadly, this blog isn't that kind of blog anymore, and truthfully it never was. In the beginning I was very interested in how this blog could make me a millionaire. I'm not kidding. I wanted to get big sponsorships, I wanted all the "big bloggers" in my sidebar. I wanted to be "discovered" and have my book written and on the shelves at Target by the years end. I had big dreams for this little blog, I really did. In the end, I realized that it was going to take a lot of time and a lot of hard work to get there. I was willing to do it, but as I dived into the world of paid sponsorships and affiliated campaigns, I realized that I was losing my voice. The voice that drove the traffic. I realized that my readers didn't stop by Absolute Mommy for the group giveaways or the review on carpet cleaner. They stopped here to hear about motherhood, messy kitchens, unfolded laundry, and fights with my toddler. I also realized that it was going to be impossible to keep up with it all and still think of and produce interesting content that sounded like me.
I know many bloggers who work endlessly to put up interesting and engaging content every day. They are mothers and wives and friends, and they do one hell of a job. I envy them. I commend them. I wish I had an ounce of their drive an determination. They work hard and it shows in their traffic and their sponsorships. One blogger I know has told me that she has stayed up well past four in the morning to make sure her "group giveaway" or "sponsored" content was up by morning. She has three children, and I was like how in the world? I even told her so, I told her that she was a rockstar, because she is. She has the drive. She has the determination. She has the sponsorships, the free merch, and the traffic to show for it. I'll be honest, on most days I do not have that kind of drive for most things in my life, let alone blogging. It was this discovery that I realized that I'm really not cut out to be a blogger, not in the traditional sense. I'm so thankful for those friends that have successful blogs, with new content daily, and new products and sponsors to share. I read those blogs, I engage with those blogs. They have also allowed me to ask them questions about traffic and SEO and sponsorships. They have offered me valuable advice and invaluable support.
With every year that I blog, I find myself changing faces. Recently I printed the majority of my content from the first two years of blogging. Please for the love of all things holy, do not go back in my archives. It's a bit scary. My writing is horrid, my voice, choppy, but there was real promise there. By my third year, my content was so much better, my voice so much clearer, and if I look at my traffic, it showed. I'm sad because I hit some momentum that I feel would have gotten me somewhere as far as traffic goes, but everything happens for a reason. Lately the reason seems that while my voice hasn't changed, how I blog is about to change. Blogging for me will remain a hobby for now, which will help cultivate my writing. I'm beginning to gain confidence in my writing, branching out and trying fiction. I will still write about what it's like to be a mother, the kind of mother who would rather (insert other activity here), but I will also branch out a little and write some fiction. I'm not ready to quit. Quitting seems like the easy way out. If I took away the ability to hit publish, I would never be motivated to write.
I know a few bloggers who have stepped away, and I've been wanting to reach out to them and ask they why. They were very successful and popular bloggers when I was starting out. I still see them on Instagram or Facebook, and they still lead lives that are blogable. Still, I wonder, what was it about this blog life that made them walk away, what was it that made them hit pause. Like with most things in my life, when I realized that I didn't have to be perfect, I finally realized I could be good (John Steinbeck said it better, I'm paraphrasing). When I finally realized that my voice is what drove my traffic, I started to use it again.
Today, my traffic is shitty. I haven't posted new content in over a week. Instead I've been ghost writing, and getting paid, which is amazing and wonderful. Hopefully a start to more paid commissions. I've been going over old posts from this blog to see if I have enough to compile into a book, even if I'm the only one who buys a copy. I've been cleaning out closets, packing up old clothes to giveaway, and taking my girls to get french fries at McDonald's. Because sometimes those things are way more important that sitting here.
And then I remember that I'm still a writer at heart. I'm still a blogger in my bones. I'm still going to write and hit publish, because even when the faces change, my heart doesn't have to.