Should I Hang Up the Blog? Blog Life Crisis.

I’m not going to lie.  I feel I’m at a turning point in my blogging career.  Truth is I really like writing, but last week I found myself dreaming about the day when I didn’t have to blog.  Yes, I can’t believe it either.  I do realize that I don’t have to do anything I don’t want too.

Should I Hang Up the Blog? Blog Life Crisis.

I decided to blog every day after spending most of the week with Rayanne in Austin for SXSW earlier this year.  She inspired me, gave me a kick in the pants, and blew me away.  Rayanne’s been blogging 5 times a week for two years, but I’m not Rayanne.  Although I am thankful that’s she’s writing her Bonus Track here on the site.

For those of you that don’t know, I’ve been blogging for over four years here at Blogging4Jobs.  I’ve written more than 600 blog posts and share stories like when I got caught shoplifting, my story on being a domestic abuse survivor,  the time I unfriended my mom on Facebook, and business related posts like my Job Seeker Toolkit.  We’re getting good traffic here at the blog, 35,000 visitors a month.  I have a competitive streak in me and I want more or maybe I want less.  I don’t know.

So recently I’ve been doing a lot of research about what makes a good blog meaning to expand the blog and grow it bigger and better than it is today.  Here’s what I found so far:

  • You Put Out 10 Posts a Day.  Like Mashable or some of the other large publications.  I’m not sure I’m ready to do that.  Kill your audience with content and drive crazy amounts of web traffic in the process.  I don’t know about you but I don’t have the time or the desire to write more here.  I prefer to write for clients as a freelancer and consultant.
  • Write About Very Personal Things.  I already think the style here is finding the business lessons in life and to me that’s pretty personal.  I won’t write about miscarriages or asking for advice in my marriage, very personal stories of my hippie childhood, or domestic abuse support like Penelope Trunk.   Penelope has had 750,000 views of her blog this last month.  I won’t do it even to get a free amazing purse/laptop bag from Alesya for which I inquired and was told no because I didn’t have enough RSS Subscribers.  Penelope got one though.  Not me, *sigh.*
  • You Hire Someone To Do Black Hat SEO.  I just won’t do it.  I don’t think that all the world is yet ready to hear about how amazingly awesome HR people are.  Hell, HR people aren’t ready to hear how amazing they are.  Plus, the downside is that if you get caught you get penalized big time like JC Penney’s did, and I’m not willing to take the risk or coughing up the cash.
  • Blog About Coupons, Swimsuits, or Sell My Mommy Blogging Soul.  I attended BlogHer this year and was blown away when a women led a panel saying she had 700,000 monthly visitors blogging about dollar store crafts.  Mommy blogging for those of you that don’t know is big business.  But I can’t imagine spending my days writing reviews about breast pumps and tweeting about coupon clipping best practices.  Is that even normal to want to do that?
That’s where I leave it to you.  I’d like your input, direction, advice, and suggestions are welcome.  Tell me why you read this blog, what you love, and what topics you’d like to see continue here for me, for Rayanne, and future guest contributors.  I’ve put together a little survey that I’d love for you to complete.  I want the blog to be about you and what interests you if I choose to continue on this HR blogging path.  Survey details are below.  I’m giving one randomly selected reader a $100 Visa gift card.  And that gift card may just come in handy especially since holiday shopping is right around the corner.  You can also access the survey here or complete it below.  Random survey winner selected by November 15, 2012 and must complete the survey. Each individual is limited to one entry.
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Jessica Miller-Merrell

Jessica Miller-Merrell

Jessica Miller-Merrell (@jmillermerrell) is a workplace change agent, author and consultant focused on human resources and talent acquisition living in Austin, TX. Recognized by Forbes as a top 50 social media influencer and is a global speaker. She’s the founder of Workology, a workplace HR resource and host of the Workology Podcast.

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Comments

  1. AvatarCrystal Miller says

    Jessica,

    I have to admit; I wasn’t wholly shocked when I read this. We all go through ‘burn-out’ and goodness knows yours is long overdue! I’ll do the survey; but in general? I say diversify topics to include what you’re dealing w/ on a daily basis – even if that extends beyond getting a job, being an HR professional, or social media. Because we all deal with more than that in our jobs – and our lives – each day.

    If you can’t bust out daily blogs right now… so what? That’s okay. Add some guest bloggers who have “complimentary” voices and we’ll all be just fine until you get your groove back… and I’ve no doubt that you will!

    Fondly, Crystal

    • Jessica Miller-MerrellJessica Miller-Merrell says

      Thank you Crystal. I don’t have a problem writing for others. I like to do the freelancing stuff for clients. It’s a new game and it’s fun. It’s the constant work of trying to be the best and SEO that takes so much time to put together. I spend a lot of work even today as I work through making sure I comment to everyone who has taken the time to write a note in the last few days.

      JMM

  2. AvatarBreanne says

    Dude?!?! WHAT?!?! You can’t quit blogging! Let me first say that you are much more than a blogger (which you already know) so if you did quit blogging you’d still be a rockstar. However, I think you’re focusing on the wrong metrics. Stop worrying about the hits and daily blogging. Do what you do best- write awesome content. The difference between you and most daily bloggers is that you “bring it” every day. Your posts are informative, meaningful, though provoking, and witty. You cover a variety of topics, life, HR, Social Media, etc and you do it with authority!
    I think everyone goes through a bloggers slump. I’m going through one myself. I don’t believe in daily blogging. I get it…it just isn’t me. I subscribe to the Scott Stratten motto of only writing when you have something awesome to say. If you force yourself to blog and then write less than awesome content, you’ll stop enjoying the process.
    So, here are my suggestions:
    1) Take a break….from blogging. Even a week off could refresh your energy.
    2) Get more guest bloggers so you relieve some of the pressure.
    3) Post more about Ryleigh. Seriously…pictures of her smile and curly hair should double your hits for the month. 😉
    P.S. You’re awesome and people would really miss your blog!

    • Jessica Miller-MerrellJessica Miller-Merrell says

      Breanne,

      Daily blogging is a lot harder than it looks. It takes time to think up this quality shit and on a regular basis. I don’t think it’s fair to be so random to my readers and community which is why I posed the question.

      Thanks for the suggestions and feedback. 🙂

      JMM

  3. AvatarRay_anne says

    Remember about 18 months ago when we sat around at TNL in Dallas and you whispered the words, “Anyone else sick of social media?” There will be ebbs and flows to what you do, to what you say, what you teach, what you share, what you learn. It is what it is.

    This is what you do. Do you not think that the high school English teacher isn’t sick of teaching English or that the health care recruiter isn’t tired of trying to fill that Oncology Manager position? Or that the mail man isn’t sick to death of walking or driving his route and stupid barking dogs?

    You work through it, just like we did 18 months ago. Just like you will do now. You do NOT give up. That is what OTHER people do, not you. I think, inherently, you already know this. It is always a challenge to write daily. Ernest Hemingway wrote every single day, EVERY DAY. But he only wrote 250- 500 words a day – Wimp!

    I love ya, and you know the wolves are waiting. You can outrun them, outlive them, because you know what you are doing, you know what you are talking about, and there are organizations that need you – or they “won’t be around in five years.” You know what your calling is.

  4. AvatarAnna says

    Absence brings inspiration. Surveys do not. If you’re dreaming of not doing it, quit blogging for right now. Write about something completely different. Do NaNoWriMo. Take up poetry. Or quit writing all together for a while. This would be a great time to get into oral storytelling or sign language (not a lot of writing in the deaf community!) I’m completely confident that after a break you’ll come back with 10x the zesty delight and new ideas than any old survey would generate.

  5. AvatarLars Schmidt says

    I really do enjoy your posts. They’re insightful, honest and cover a broad range of HR areas. I’m not a blogger so I can’t really provide advice there. What I do know is in a crowded field, you’re one of the best and a voice I respect. That won’t change whether your views come to me through your blog, tweets, FB posts, chats, etc. Follow your heart and your passion, you’ll do what’s best for you.

  6. Avatarshennee Rutt says

    Jessica- After I read this,I thought I would write you a song to the tune of Journey’s Dont’ Stop Believing.
    Just a small town girl, living in a Blogging World, Took the midnight plane, and train, every day.. Don’t stop believing… Blog when eva or where eva you want. Daylight, or Midnight,, whoa oh,,,, LOL.
    SERIOUSLY.. Do what you want when you want. I too am torn about dusting my blog off. I have a lot to say just not sure if I need a new place to blog. How about I submit a few your way..
    Just Breathe my friend.
    Love ya’
    Shennee

    • Jessica Miller-MerrellJessica Miller-Merrell says

      Shennee,

      You are too cute and thanks for the song and laugh. Much needed with this fall weather that has me in a bit of a funk. We’ll see how all this pans out. I have a lot to think about.

      JMM

  7. AvatarHRBR says

    I would miss your writing, but you gotta do what you gotta do. I did take the survey, cause you asked so nicely. Good luck with your decision and I hope I get to keep reading this site.

    • Jessica Miller-MerrellJessica Miller-Merrell says

      Thanks @HRBR,

      Appreciate your comment and the survey. It’s funny how something changes you life so much and some days you start to dislike that very thing. I wanted to pose the question because I’m not the first or last blogger out there to have this problem. I don’t think that it is blogged about enough.

      JMM

  8. AvatarBeth Anne says

    This was actually the topic during #blogchat a few weeks ago. What to do during burn out. It happens. When I started blogging I was like oh I’ll just write about this and that and move on.

    It turns out there is SOOOO MUCH MORE to blogging than that. The idea that people make money, go to conferences, and have a business based on their blog was unreal. I always thought blogging was a hobby ppl did for fun.

    • Jessica Miller-MerrellJessica Miller-Merrell says

      Beth,

      Agreed. Blogging is great but it is a lot more work than I realized. It also has a lot more rewards than I realized as well. I’m at a crossroads and I wish I would have tuned in for #blogchat that Sunday night. Weekends are such precious time for me and my family especially since hubby is gone during the week.

      Thanks for the comment and visiting the site.

      JMM

      • AvatarBeth Anne says

        I understand. Sundays are hard for some people. Mack usually posts the transcript. Not sure how to find the one I mentioned. Probably can ask the moderator @mackcollier and he may be able to direct you.

  9. AvatarBill Boorman (@BillBoorman) says

    Jess,
    Do whats good for you. You can always get guests in and write when you want to. Become the boss rather than the main attraction. Make it your choice. What’s good for you and yours, and that’s it. No big advice. no sob story.
    Good luck, whatever your decision. (The big one: is it paying?). When blogging pays, even indirectly, it can become a job. When you write because you have to rather than you want to, then it can get hard. Thinking of you friend!

  10. Avatarjennifer says

    You’ve heard the stories. Winston Churchill lost every run for public office except when he was 62 and was elected prime minister of England. This inspired the never give up speech. Freud was booed from the podium, but returned to his office and kept on writing. Louisa May Alcott’s family told her she should find work as a servant. Later, she wrote Little Women. Edison made 1,000 attempts before inventing the lightbulb.

    Jessica, you’re a cut above. You’re not a blogger. You’re a strategist, thought leader, writer and innovator who happens to blog. Edison called those 1,000 failures “1,000 steps.” Your current burn-out is just a step on this amazing trajectory. Embrace and keep walking, my friend!

    • Jessica Miller-MerrellJessica Miller-Merrell says

      @jen,

      i’m so glad we met. you are one of my besties and it all started when you wanted to advertise your blog on my site a couple years ago. aren’t we the pair. thank you for your friendship.

      <3, JMM

  11. AvatarJames Mayes says

    I guess I’m slightly different as my blog remains a labour of love – web traffic numbers are fun, rather than important. Key thing for me (and it’s something I see from Rayanne every time) is you have to care. If you’re writing because you should, it’ll start to show. You’ll feel bad, because you know you’re capable of better – and because you want to treat your readers better.

    With Twitter, the more you tweet, the more followers you get. Direct correlation, I can link you the experiments that prove it. But we all seem to agree engaged followers are more important than volume followers. I wholeheartedly believe the same is true of blog traffic. More posts = more readers. Doesn’t always mean more valuable readers.

    Post less, learn to love it again. Post better, reap the rewards. That’s all I got for now – but rest assured, I continue to follow your journey with interest. J.

  12. AvatarStephanie @MingleMediaTV says

    I hear you – I’m not a “blogger” but I have a voice, an opinion and a blog is the best way to share it… and have it out there for posterity.

    You’ve got an awesome voice… leave your legacy, but take the time you need to have time for yourself too.

  13. AvatarJonha Revesencio (@jonharules) says

    Jessica,

    Thank you being human. Seriously, I didn’t know someone like you would feel the stress and pressure too. Yesterday I was planning to flip my blog so I could just focus on writing for clients then I realized I had some really precious thoughts in there. I thought about my desire that somehow my posterity would search something and would find my write-up. I know, I dream and imagine a lot. I guess it helps to get back to your reasons why you’re blogging in the first place. That same reason will keep us going when the going gets tough.

    I’m such a huge Penelope Trunk fan and amazed with her achievements. Being a super networker and genuine that you are, I’m sure there are lots of other things in store for you. Remember, you only fail when you give up. Took the survey, btw.

    Classic but thought I’d let you know:

    “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” – Thomas Edison

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