Before beginning anew in this medium already oversaturated with blogs, I did a lot of research – a lot of browsing and reading and thinking. What draws me to a particular blog? Why makes one so successful over another? What do I want and expect from blogging? I think the answer to all these things is simple, really: an honest voice. I am drawn to blogs with personality, a strong voice, but also an honest one. I love beautiful images and creative tutorials, but there are literally hundreds – thousands – of blogs out there that offer these very things. For me, what makes one truly stand apart is the honesty it imparts, a dose of reality in an idealistic society, the Dolly Parton of blogs, if you will – a pretty package all tied up with bows that also offers depth and wit, humanity and humility, when opened.
I recently read this New York Times article, now making waves across social media, and my first thought was this: who gives a shit? As a blogger (albeit an amateur one) and reader of blogs myself, I’d much prefer quality over quantity, yes? So if a blogger is feeling “burned out” with too much content and not enough heart, shouldn’t we support the decision and just, I don’t know, move on with our lives, happy that the inter webs are gaining a little less mediocrity and a little more merit? What is it that causes a blogger to burn out anyhow? Is it the constant need to “one up” and impress? The desire for perfection?
Frankly, the article shouldn’t have been about the burnout from blogging, it should have been about the unrealistic expectations we place on each other and ourselves, not as bloggers, but as people. I feel like bloggers are no longer writing for themselves or for their readers, but for each other. Somewhere along the line, the stakes became higher, the competition stronger, and somehow, the resolution to this became more. More projects, more content, more photos, more tweets. But MORE really isn’t the answer, is it?
Burnout can apply to any job, particularly a job in which you decide to work harder instead of smarter. Instead of taking the time to clean your desk and organize your files, you spend an extra hour or two a day rummaging through the chaos and pushing papers around. That’s working harder. Or rather than taking the time to clear the head, breathe the fresh air, and find a new perspective, you sit with head down and nose to the grinder, day in and day out. That’s working harder. Any man or machine, if overworked, will burn out. Period. Blogging isn’t any different. Once it becomes a means of financial support, it becomes a job, and every job, whether or not it began with passion and heart, has the potential for burnout.
No, my friends and fellow bloggers, MORE is definitely not the answer.
I like Erin Loechner’s philosophy of slow blogging. Blogging with intent. Imparting the story back into the post. Curating with passion and purpose. And this “less is more” philosophy can be applied to every aspect of life. Instead of slogging through the ranks, slow down and enjoy the process. Sleep in. Treasure your time with family and friends. Instead of capturing that perfect photo or thinking up a witty tweet, or updating your Facebook status, put down the phone (and back away, very, very slowly), the tablet away, and just BE. And find joy in that moment.
Yes, I think I can get behind this whole slow blogging thing and really enjoy the best of both worlds.
Did you read the New York Times article? What is your opinion? Have you found yourself in a slog lately and how do you hope to resolve it? I would love to hear your thoughts!