Blogging can be fun, but it can also stir up insecurities. Negative feelings are why I almost quit blogging.
I’ve been blogging for over 7 years now, but it doesn’t seem like that. I’ve taken quite a few long “breaks” over the years. While I’d like to say I’m confident that taking those breaks was better for me and the blog, I’m not. Those breaks came from a place of fear and insecurity. They were the result of not being where I thought I “should” be. And from a few negative people who burrowed themselves into my brain. The truth is, over those breaks, I gave up and almost quit blogging. I never gave up completely because deep down I love blogging. But even now, those negative feelings and voices creep back in though. I want to address them head on, in case anyone else is feeling bogged down by the blog world.
Why I Started Blogging
When I started my blog in 2011 I was a newly wed and new college graduate. I started my first 9-5 job as a receptionist. And I was bored AF. The job wasn’t difficult and pretty slow paced, so I started seeking out things to do to occupy my time. A friend recommended reading blogs, specifically Young House Love. Next thing I knew, I was hooked! I read through all of the YHL archives. Then, I started seeking out other blogs to read. They inspired me to try to spruce up our townhouse and experiment with recipes.
I would talk about the things I read all the time, so Jesse suggested I start my own blog. I loved writing about our lives and trying different crafts and recipes. It gave me something fun to break up the monotony of my job. I was also thrilled when people who weren’t already my friends started reading my blog!
I worked with a free WordPress hosted blog for a while. Then my coworkers (all web designers and developers) encouraged me to get my own host and upgrade. A year later, I was taking pictures of everything to document for the blog. I started running sidebar ads and separate social media channels for the blog. I made a ton of “blog friends” and engaged with people around the world.
At that time, I didn’t have aspirations of turning the blog into a job. I wanted to make the blog self-sufficient with some extra money to pay for house projects though. So I started working with affiliate networks and writing sponsored posts. This exposed me to the more “business-y” side of blogging. It also started me down the path of comparing my opportunities and readership with others.
The Dark Side of Blogging
Around 2012/13 I was introduced to a “dark-side” of blogging. There are entire websites dedicated to hating and complaining about blogs. I had a few friends that ended up on these sites, so I shouldn’t have been surprised when it happened to me. Mostly, I was shocked that people read my blog and disliked it enough to actually post about it. I thought these sites were only for bloggers much more successful than myself.
Most of the negativity focused on my decorating style, or the fact that my projects were overly simple and underwhelming. I felt that I could handle this kind of criticism. Then, I stumbled across other posts about my body. Pictures of me from my Instagram (back when it was mostly selfies) were posted and criticized. As someone who has struggled with my body image for a long time, that was really hard to take.
I started second-guessing everything before I posted it anywhere online. I turned down sponsored posts to avoid looking like a “sell-out.” And I obsessively checked the negative sites. Especially after publishing blog posts because I wanted to see if they hated what I was doing. This was a time when I should have been focused on my actual readers and pursuing the brands that I wanted to work with. Instead, I fell down the rabbit hole of trying to make people who had already decided I wasn’t their cup of tea, like me.
Comparison Stole My Blogging Joy
While down in the black hole of negativity, I also started playing the comparison game HARD. Every opportunity someone landed I wondered why I wasn’t as good as them. I thought “I should just give up” on a regular basis. In retrospect, I was in a pretty good place blogwise. I had found my voice and developed an aesthetic. Plus, I was growing. But I couldn’t see it that way. So I did less projects, became more reserved and took a lot of uninspired breaks.
All of this unhappiness hit the breaking point in 2015. Jesse and I were trying to get pregnant and I suffered a miscarriage. So I just stopped posting. I posted every now and then to honor previous commitments. And I worried about disappearing completely. But the drive and the love of blogging was gone. When I got pregnant I thought that “bumpdates” and pregnancy could be my return. But with my sickness and lack of motivation I didn’t keep up with those either.
In fact, during this time I let my hosting expire and almost lost my domain. Jesse convinced me to renew everything and just wait to see if anything changed after the baby was born.
My Return to Blogging
He was right! I left my job to stay at home full-time with my baby. And I started feeling bored and desperate for a creative outlet again. So I returned to blogging in a loose “whenever I felt like it” kind of way. It was freeing and empowering. I felt great about myself and really tried to turn off the pressure. The pressure came creeping back in after a few months though.
I realized that during my time away my readers had moved on. And blogging had changed, a lot. I was filled with regret about quitting and just contemplated shutting it all down. Jesse stepped in, as always, and pointed out that blogging had me feeling good for a while. I worked on projects and spent my time doing something productive and creative instead of just watching TV. So instead of quitting, I did the opposite.
I revamped my entire site, stepped up my photography, and started coming up with content that made me happy. I also returned to my original aspirations for the blog. It is a creative outlet for me that I would like to be self-sufficient and pay for most of its own content.
I’m So Glad I Didn’t Quit Blogging!
Do I still get caught up in the comparison game? Hell yes. More often than I’d like to admit. But, I don’t use it as an excuse to quit anymore. Instead, I use it as motivation OR as a reminder that isn’t my goal. My goal is to share my life, my home and my experiences with others in hopes that they would feel less alone or more inspired. I hope that’s what I’m doing. I mean, that’s exactly why I wrote this post about why I almost quit blogging, for anyone else that has been there, done that. Don’t give up! Unless you really don’t love it anymore, then by all means find something else that you do love!