Apr 7, 2008

Blogging Yourself to Death

Once upon a time, I blogged for a living. I was lucky enough to land a coveted job at a respected blog and worked alongside some of the best bloggers in the business. Their passion and dedication to their career went beyond what I expected in my vague understanding of the blogging lifestyle from afar.


I've been blogging for more than 10 years, but until I took the full-time blogging gig, it has always been a side hobby of mine. It was more about writing about my personal experiences. Once it was my job, it was a combination of reporting and opinion, a pressure far exceeding that of a traditional journalist because it required both solid reporting and something to say about every piece of news.

Don't get me wrong, I'm an opinionated gal, but the pressure to always have something to say, and to still get the news first and get it out there wore me out fast. I definitely freaked myself out and got massive writer's block. I ultimately left that job. I lasted three months. My boss conceded that I had talent as a writer but a startup blog was not the place for me.

At the time, it hurt. I wanted so badly to be a great blogger. The blogging lifestyle was pretty awesome... I could work anywhere, say what I wanted (as long as it was supported by fact.) I was rewarded for creative thinking, and for page views. Well, mostly for page views.

The New York Times is aware of the pressure. "In Web World of 24/7 Stress, Writers Blog Till They Drop," asserts the Times. "the evolution of the 'pay-per-click' economy has put the emphasis on reader traffic and financial return, not journalism,' quotes the article. It just so happens I worked for a company the cared equally about reader traffic AND journalism. That was great for the quality of the blog, but awful for the quality of life for anyone who worked there.

My boss... well, he eventually got very ill. But he's still going strong. Unfortunately, other bloggers have literally died from the pressure. Others have had heart attacks and are now determined to make a lifestyle change.

But how much of a lifestyle change is possible? Once upon a time reporting required getting the news first... as in that day, by the time the papers went to press. Now, it's all about being first. Getting the scoop long before the thousand other people attempting to write the best blog get the story first. It's a dog-eat-dog world. It's not for everyone. The people who love it suffer as well. It's like training for the Olympics. You do it because you love it. But you sometimes wonder if all the stress is worth it. There are certainly other jobs that pay better and require less effort.

I'm personally happy that I left my life as a full-time blogger. Though I still dream of starting a love advice blog that would somehow take off and be my ticket to my next fifteen minutes of fame, I'm quite content with my current career working for a non-blog web startup.

For now, I'm blogging because I love it, when I feel like it. This blog certainly has gone in directions that I haven't expected. I try to keep my posts on topic -- either being about finances or career, but sometimes I wonder if my readers would be interested in a broader focus. In any case, I'm amazed that I'm now getting over 100 hits per day, I've made about $60 on AdSense, and I even have about 160 feedburner readers. It's fun that I can blog about things I'm really interested in and... find out that other people are actually interested  in hearing what I have to say. It's a very nice feeling. 

So thanks, my lovely readers. You sure all make my day. And I don't even need to risk having a heart attack to obtain that satisfaction.  



4 comments:

GL said...

Thanks for the link to the article - I had no idea blogging was such a health hazard! :) I always thought that dying in front of the monitor was reserved for hardcore gamers, but dying while blogging?.. That's almost poetic.

Oh, and keep up the good work! As one of your 160 feedburner readers, I like your style and really wouldn't mind if you blogged more often. :D

Fabulously Broke said...

I too.. blog for fun :)

TheLocoMono said...

Yeah, I caught the same article too. I thought it was hilarious, sad yes, but funny how the media hype things up. It didn't even say anything about those people's medical history. How true that is, I do not know. But I do know that a 24/7 "work life" is not healthy. I suppose it is a matter of drawing the line somewhere because there are other ways to generate additional income streams.

Christine said...

I just subscribed to your blog tonite because your style of writing is just interesting. I am actually thinking about becoming a pf blogger. I will just blog for fun. We will see how it goes.

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