Bloggers malaise – four key causes

Monday, September 9, 2013 Permalink

I’ve discovered a new ailment that seems to be sweeping the nation. Or perhaps the world…

Bloggers’ malaise.

It’s just as the name suggests – an unidentifiable problem which prevents bloggers from coming up with creatively brilliant ideas and (indeed) renders them glassy eyed and almost comatose at the thought of having to write a blog post.

I thought it was just me. (Given I’m so special… 😉 ); but there seems to be a theme popping up on social media and elsewhere on the internet that leads me to believe there’s an outbreak of some sort.



My recent struggle to move outside my comfort zone and my increasing reticence to push the boundaries has been obvious in my posts. I love that I’m getting into yoga and considering health and wellbeing to be about more than my weight and fitness, but… I’m also concerned that I’m just struggling to care. At all. Have I given up all hope, I wonder?! I’m not sure. And I feel it’s reflected in this blog.

However… like I said, it’s not just me.

My ‘Reader’ (a tool which allows you to subscribe to blogs and keeps all new posts – by a range of bloggers – in one place) hasn’t been as overwhelming of late. I subscribe to A LOT of blogs and it was generally the case that – if I ignored it for a day or two – I had over 100 unread posts glaring at me when I next logged in. However… in recent times, it’s been amazingly quiet. Even those peeps who used to blog daily don’t seem to be doing so. It’s a bit of a relief – as I stress about keeping up (whether I’m just reading or reading and commenting) – but, it’s so obvious I started checking out Facebook and Twitter feeds of bloggers-I-follow to see what’s happening.

Is everyone disillusioned? Do they – as I do every so often – wonder if there’s any point? Do they think / realise no one cares and decide to spend their time on something else? Or, are they just tired?

After much scientific analysis (not!), there seem to be a number of factors involved, and – for many – a combination of several.

1. Why do I bother?
The honeymoon phase is over for many bloggers. I’ve been blogging for over 4 years and still feel like I’m going nowhere. Fast. I write because I enjoy it, and I do… but like someone who’s toiled away over an extravagant dinner and received no thanks – I often wonder why I bother. I mean, does anyone actually care? (BTW – that’s not a call for reassurance, just an observation! I don’t believe we SHOULD expect others to care! We have to convince you to care.)

2. The comparison trap.
We all tend to fall into the comparison trap – bloggers or not. Indeed I often look at those who’ve been blogging for far less time and who have far more followers and comments and wonder WTF I’m doing wrong? It’s easy to doubt your content or your writing. It’s easy to doubt yourself.

3. Being creatively stifled.
And then there’s the difficulty of coming up with something new and different each day. I use blogging to work through issues and write about stuff playing on my mind. It helps. But… sometimes I get tired of writing about the same stuff. Again and again. Readers surely get tired of reading the same stuff. If we blog about something specific and we’re not growing, what is there to say?

I’ve also been struck recently by the number of bloggers struggling with depression and anxiety and occasionally wonder if blogging is a help or hindrance.

4. So (so so so) tired
And then there’s just the tiredness. This year has flown. I cannot believe it’s September. But… to many, the year has been busy and stressful. They’re tired. Like kids whose batteries run down in the lead up to holidays each term, adults can only sustain so much before… They. Just. Don’t. Care. Any. More.

Is there an answer?
I bloody well hope so!

Indeed, several people I’m in contact with have commented about the ProBlogger training event this coming weekend. They’re using it to refocus, they’ve said. They’re using it to re-energise, they’ve said. And I’m with them.

I feel stale. Writing is my passion. Writing and reading (AND watching television) are the things in life that give me the most joy (don’t forget I’m single and childless – before you judge!). When I haven’t read for a while, I’m beyond excited when I open the book. There’s excitement. There’s anticipation.

I used to get that when I wrote. I HAD to write. The words were literally bursting out of me. (Which is actually still kinda the case with my Debbish blog incidentally!)

I want that back. I too am hoping that being around other bloggers at the blogging conference and those passionate about writing, helps rekindle some enthusiasm*. So fingers crossed I come back next week with renewed vigour and passion.

Can you relate to any of these? (Even if you’re not a blogger!)
Any other causes I’ve missed or suggestions to help in my (our) recovery?

* I hope I don’t just feel like a very small fish in a very big sea – which I did at the end of last year’s conference!

  • Annaleis
    September 9, 2013

    I’m feeling very the same. Don’t think t helps that we are just so busy at the moment. I wish I was going t pro blogger to help with reenergising.

    • Debbish
      September 9, 2013

      Yes, I know it’s so far for you to come but I wish you were going! Perhaps next year you can coordinate it with a holiday again!

  • Vanessa @
    September 9, 2013

    Oh. My. God. Deb! You’ve just written the post I’ve had whirling around in my head all weekend!

    I’ve got so much I want to write but I can’t seem to get myself actually starting a sentence. I’ve got several posts started with just headlines and then I walk away and never go back to them.

    As you know, I’m one of the bloggers currently struggling with depression and anxiety and I guess I’m worried people are sick of my whining. I try to remind myself that my blog is for me – an outlet of sorts – but still I’m worried I’m coming across as self indulgent and spoilt. As Ned gets bigger I’m also worried about exposing his life in a way he may not appreciate. He also may not like the world knowing all his mum’s secrets either, even though it’s pretty much too late for that!

    I’m thinking of rebranding. I feel my days are numbered. I still want to write about the same sort of stuff (mental health, sole parenting, addiction) but I feel I need a new look to get some energy back.

    Looking forward to your feedback on Problogger. I wish I could have gone but, alas, it was not to be.


    • Debbish
      September 9, 2013

      Vanessa, I think you mentioned that you wondered if the blogging – or stress of blogging contributed to your depression and that’s something I think about as well. Although, on a different scale, I’m conscious that put pressure on myself re my blogging rather than always seeing the writing as something I enjoy. But… and probably like you, I get a lot out of writing about my feelings. Generally I get good feedback from others saying the understand and like that they’re not alone. I’m sure it’s the same with you sharing your struggles!

      As for the rebranding, I completely get it. I know a few people thinking the same thing and a couple of US ‘diet / weight loss’ bloggers I know have recently rebranded!

  • Jess
    September 9, 2013

    I have been feeling very flat this last week in life and in blogging. I think all of the above definitely contribute to my ‘meh’ness. I seem to go through cycles where I’ll be full of ideas, write a post in no time and be loving it and other times where I just can’t bring myself.

    • Debbish
      September 9, 2013

      I’m particularly struggling with Diet Schmiet and I think part of it is that I feel I’ve said it all and don’t feel I’m making any ground diet-wise / weight-wise OR writing-wise. And then there’s that existential crisis… what do I want from life and – in particularly – my blogging. Is it a job and I need to make money, or is it about my passion for writing?


  • Janet @ Redland City Living
    September 9, 2013

    I think we all go through stages like this. In my case it’s usually because I’m tired, and a nanna nap or good night’s sleep is usually the cure.

    I blog because I looooove it; as do most bloggers I think. Else why would we put ourselves through this LOL??

    Look forward to meeting you at #pbevent!

    • Debbish
      September 9, 2013

      I start to worry if the apathy (or meh-ness) lasts too long. Days stretch out and I think… “Why?”

      Looking forward to meeting you as well.


  • Char
    September 9, 2013

    I’d noticed the same re my Reader. Used to be that Tuesday was a mad rush of new posts that I had to read and comment on and now there’s a lot fewer. I generally try to post three times a week but I find that sometimes it’s only twice because I just don’t want to write the same post (about jumping into the bushes when there’s no toilet available or the joys of running) yet again. I’ve been denied some of my old material because my boys have banned my from exposing them too much in a public forum and fair enough too. So that leaves me with much the same stuff as you – writing, reading and watching TV. Hard to put a different spin on any of those.

    • Debbish
      September 9, 2013

      I’ve been struggling with Diet Schmiet for a while for that reason. In Debbish I do feel I can write about any old crap (but I just need to find my rhythm again there). I wrote something in this blog ages ago about shelving it – to get my mind OFF dieting / not dieting – but it has the bigger audience and its branding is a bit better….

      PS. You know how much I love reading about your bush-jumping exploits! I wouldn’t have written about it if you hadn’t empowered me to do so!

  • Priska
    September 9, 2013

    Hi Deb,
    I have not blogged in forever. I have also not read others posts nor commented.
    But this post sure hit a nerve and got me commenting!
    My main problem has been that I have had the blues for a month, lost all of my confidence but have not given up.
    I just want to start all over again redoing my website.
    Though my site has been neglected I have been doing stuff, just not for my personal site.
    I’ve been doing facebook social media for local community events, practicing my presentation skills at Toastmasters and privately recording myself on youtube to give myself confidence to put myself ‘out there’ instead of hiding.
    So far it’s made me feel really uncomfortable and not confident at all, but that’s part of the process.
    I rang the local library today to ask if I could organize ‘meetups’ there. I was thinking of fortnightly meetups for midlife bloggers. If I can find others in the area in the same boat, we could let loose with our frustrations, bounce off stuff with each other then hopefully inspire each other to keep on blogging.

    • Debbish
      September 9, 2013

      Oh Priska, what a great idea (the meet-ups) I know of some and I went to a few in Brisbane when I was there. You’re right it IS useful to speak to those who ‘get’ you and what it is you’re trying to do / achieve.

      I love that you’re doing some speaking with Toastmasters; and practising via YouTube is a fabulous idea. I’d like to vlog, but it’s the ‘people seeing me’ (well… my body) that’s the issue.

      It sounds like you’ve been spread a bit thin of late, which is a common problem for so many – esp with your community work etc.

      I don’t have a lot of commitments but can relate in that I started a Frasercoasting blog when I moved and set up a FB page and Twitter account. Unlike my other blog FB pages I actually ‘do’ stuff on the Frasercoasting one and feel like it’s a bit of a community service – sharing info about stuff happening etc.

      But, it does leave less time for other things.

      Good luck getting a meet-up going. (Are you in FB groups like Blog Chicks, Australian Bloggers etc? As they’re handy for knowing about local events.)


      • Priska
        September 10, 2013

        Hi Deb,
        I did it.
        Went to the local library and they thought a mid life bloggers group was a great idea.
        I have been given access for an hour and a half per fortnight to the media room as its a free community service that a lot of people are interested in.
        You are right about me doing social media marketing for others leaving less time for my stuff but it has been of enormous benefit in making me feel that what I am doing is of value and getting to know the community.
        I am now taking another step with the meetup group.
        There’s so much work to do and like you said, it takes it away from other areas.
        Thank you for letting me know about those FB pages.

        • Debbish
          September 11, 2013

          Well done on the library visit Priska. I’m sure you’ll find there are others who feel just like you and are keen for the catch up with like-minded people.

          Can’t wait to hear how it goes!

  • Satu
    September 10, 2013

    Great analysis, Deb! 🙂 Because I don’t do feed readers (thank god! – I would go absolutely berserk if I had 100 blogs on my feed reader) I have no idea what is going on in general. Basically I suppose it’s just a stage people go through (repeatedly I think) when they blog.

    I regained my enthusiasm about blogging when I started my happiness project a la Rubin, but I’m also thinking about stopping to blog on BodyCapable and start anew with another blog. I could blog on both but I don’t want to spread myself too thin.

    I hope the Problogger conference brings new blood to your blogging. It might be just what you need.

    • Debbish
      September 11, 2013

      I think it will be what I need Satu and I’m looking forward to it. It’s a problem and – as I mentioned – a few bloggers I follow have made some changes to their blogging to take the emphasis away from weight loss etc (Skinny Emmie and Big Girl Bombshell come to mind!).


  • Donovan Nagel
    September 10, 2013

    I’m heading to the Problogger Event too for pretty much the same reason.

    Although I definitely expect to learn lots while I’m there, I’m just going there to get a much-needed burst of inspiration and energy.

    • Debbish
      September 11, 2013

      It does seem like there’s a bit of a theme Donovan. Hope to meet you there and hope you get a lot of the experience (conference… not meeting me! 😉 )

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