When Blogging Lost It’s Magic

Two+ years ago I told myself that blogging should always be fun for me. It should be a hobby, not driven by greed or popularity or money. It should always be a place for me to be open and honest. A place where I can connect with others. A place that was fueled by want and not overwhelming, unsatisfying needs.

And instead of sticking to this rule of mine, I was overcome by the idea of fame. Being a “big” blogger” and striving for more page-views, more followers, and more of everything that, well, didn’t matter. Sure, sometimes I took back what I wanted in the first place and pushed those thoughts aside, but it was only temporary. The need for success overcame my will to stick to the one rule I should have stuck to when it came to blogging.

As I sat here earlier in the week, doing anything I could to help Nathan feel better as he made his way through the aches and pains of the flu, it hit me.

magic

Blogging has lost it’s magic for me. Completely. And it’s not because of anything in the blogging community other than my own personal role in it. When I first started blogging, I knew nothing about reviews. Or giveaways. Or page-views. Or social media. Or anything outside of how to type up a post, hit publish and see that my words made it into a very public space. And maybe that’s where the magic was kept. Maybe by knowing so little, my goals and intentions were fueled by pure innocence rather than the greed that later consumed me. Because once I found the knowledge, I wanted more. I needed more.

So I went after it. I paid for advertising when it wasn’t beneficial for me. I offered advertising when it wasn’t beneficial for others. I held giveaways to increase the numbers and I watched my followers, my page-views, and my comments like online life depended on it. And at times, it truly felt like it did. I posted about popular things that I had little interest in writing about. I reviewed things that had no real impact in my life. I did a lot of things I’m not proud of, but I have no regrets because all of those moves made me realize what I didn’t want out of my online life. And more often than not, knowing what I don’t want is more beneficial than knowing what I want.

I did all of this because I thought that the role of a Blogger was monumental. But it isn’t. At least not for me.

Because now? My blog isn’t even a tiny percent of what I wanted it to be now. And it’s not aiding to a better well-being for me. The struggle for content. The lack of deep, meaningful and personal connections from it. The standards for posting that I’ve set for myself. The amount of time and effort put forth for little reward. None of it is what I asked for.

So when all of this was racing through my mind, my answer was to quit. Or at minimum take a break. A long, extended break. Leave behind the disastrous mess I made and wipe my hands clean of it. It sounded SO easy. It seemed like the perfect answer. But it made me feel like a quitter.

quitting

Like I was walking away from something I created just because I made a few, okay a lot, of mistakes along the way. But I’m not known for that – nor do I want to be. I’m not known for checking out when things get tough. I’m known for checking back in and pushing through until everything feels right again. And I don’t want this time to be any different.

So instead, I’m taking my blog back. Taking myself back. And all that it really means is something fairly simple: That this will become the place it was meant to be – a place for me to share my story and connect with others. A place for me to document my journey as an entrepreneur, as a studying Buddhist, as a foodie, as a dreamer. A place for me to share my story about my marriage, our plans to follow our dreams both in our careers and in our home, and eventually as parents. A place that I feel comfortable in with no pressures and instead simple understanding.

To do that, I’m getting rid of sponsors. Scaling back on the reviews and the giveaways. Cutting down on posts that are written “just because.” Preparing myself to say no when opportunities aren’t the right fit for me or this blog. Spending less time on social media and in my inbox. Knowing full well that by doing this, I may lose things I was striving for before. But I’m okay with that. For one simple reason.

bloglife

And my hope is that this blog – by doing all of this – will be filled with positivity, creativity, generosity, and a well-crafted story about a girl with a dream to leave an impact on the world.

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Comments

  1. So I mentioned you in a blog post today. I find you super inspiring as a blogger + business owner. And this post just kind of sums up why. I love your honesty. I love that you do the “wrong” thing (i.e. actually say that blogging has lost it’s magic) for the right reasons. You’re great.

  2. This is soooo good, Ashley. I know a LOT of people have been struggling with this lately- including myself. WHY do we feel like we need to be our own little reality show celebs or magazine cover stories? It’s so incredibly overwhelming. I’m with you, lady! Since last fall, I’ve really been refocusing and making changes. It feels so good! :) I’ve got your back!

  3. I love your honesty! I think we’ve all fallen into the numbers trap at one time or another, which is quite unfortunate. Going back to basics is the most refreshing thing I’ve ever done for my blog.

  4. As usual what you post is so inspiring. And true. I get it, it’s nice to feel loved and popular. But it’s much better to love YOURSELF.

  5. I love this post, Ashley and it’s all so true!!! I love your blog, because of who you are. I know that when you change up your posts, I will still love your blog just as much and probably even more. Cannot wait. <3

  6. I’m a relatively new follower (I’ve only been around these parts for mayyyybe a month) but I’m SO excited to see where this takes you and your blog. I think you have a great perspective, and honestly, that’s the way that I hope that my blog is/becomes as it develops (its still a baby blog). The best thing about blogging, in my opinion, is taking peeks into other people’s lives, getting to know them, and learning! Good luck!

  7. i find myself in this place a lot too. wanting to be more successful as a blogger, greedy, number driven, and then when i feel like a “failure” i want to throw in the towel. it’s so great to get back to that place where you can identify why you started in the first place and be content there. thanks for sharing!

  8. AMEN!! You take back what you want and need – nothing more. The rush for sponsors is something I often struggle with tbh and mostly (although not entirely) I have found that sponsorships rarely bring much traffic to you anyway.

    The blog world is a funny place really.

    Take care,

    Sarah @ A Cat-Like Curiosity

  9. I very much enjoyed this post and what a way to be introduced to your blog, as I’m brand new to it (like today new). I don’t approach blogging in the “traditional way” and so I know I could have more followers if I did big giveaways, did link parties, shared stats, and the like but what I decided is that those aren’t me. I rather have followers, if I’m going to have them, organically. So my rule is I don’t do anything with the purpose of seeking followers. I just do me (okay, that sounded weird, but you get what I mean). Really great post Ashley!

  10. Amen! I am realizing that my biz & my blog is mine & I have created it. I don’t need to be a BIG BIZ or a BIG BLOG to be content!

    I do enjoy connecting with the person behind the small handmade biz & blog! I think it generates a connection amongst us!

    I appreciate your honesty & thank you for sharing! You are doing the right thing & this post reminded me that I am doing the right thing too!

  11. I miss you! And I have been having the EXACT SAME thoughts lately. And as I started writing this comment a blog post formed in my brain. So I wrote that. Thank you for always being an inspiration. I haven’t really been reading my favourite (or any) blogs as of late, but I plan to spend a little more down time doing just that. We need to catch-up sometime soon!

  12. i really love this post. my husband sometimes tells me to remember why i started blogging and it brings me back to reality for a while. i definitely struggle with you and i hope this turns out so wonderfully for you and helps you get back to how you want the blog to be.

  13. Good for you, Ashley!

  14. I like you and your blog. It’s fresh, simple, and unique. As a complete stranger, I say, great job, best of luck, and may honesty always be your inspiration, for it will always feel right. Thank you for sharing.

  15. Above comment

  16. I totally appreciate what you’re saying here. One of the things I’ve been thinking a lot about recently is how there’s so much pressure in the blog world to be monetized in some way…. Whether that be in doing reviews, having sponsors, or somehow blogging to support some kind of business… and thus, there’s pressure to be part of this artificial rat race to gain followers.

    And I dunno… Maybe I’m old school, but I like to see an old fashioned personal blog where people talk about the things that are affecting them with the hopes that they’ll connect with others who are like them. There just seemed to be so much less pressure when things were that way.

  17. I too have felt the need to be a successful blogger when all I really want from my blog is a quiet journal if my life. I’ve always admired you and this blog post reminds me why I come back to After Nine to Five day after day, year after year.

  18. The beauty of having a blog as a writing outlet (as opposed to, say, a book contract) is that the only one you have to answer to is you. Like it’s said in Little Miss Sunshine, “Do what you want and fuck the rest.” What’s the point in having a blog as an outlet if it isn’t making you happy? :)

  19. Love this, wrote a similar blog post yesturday. You are such an inspiration sweet Ashley. Talk soon!

    xo
    Ellie Coburn
    elliecoburn.com // wespeaknow.org

  20. I completely understand this and feel what you’re going through!
    I always say that my best advice for “newbie” bloggers it to remember why they started and to blog for THEMSELVES but I forget to take my own advice way too often.

  21. You put everything I’ve been feeling lately into words, thank you!!! Loved this post so much, I have stopped blogging on the days when I’m doing it just because I felt like I HAD to have a post up, and it feels weird, but oh so right.

  22. i really loved this post (and actually just started reading your blog) but i agree about questioning why people do things on their blog – i just had a shop contact me about wanting to do a giveaway but i need to like link this and put certain words in here and there. and i’m sitting there thinking ummm this isn’t worth a $15 gift card to sell myself out. i did it once before and not going to do it again.

    i currently have done a couple giveaways- but they are all etsy shops- i do interviews each week and allow them to offer discount codes or giveaways at the end of their interview. its a place for me to showcase all these amazing artists out there. i don’t ever want to again put a giveaway or write a sponsored post for some random crap corporate company.

    its all about staying true to yourself, finding your voice and doing what you want when you want. so good for you for the change =)

    trisha
    veranellies.blogspot.com

    • Thanks so much for reading the blog and offering your kind words, Trisha! I think it’s something that all bloggers go through and it’s just a matter of how much they want to be the change. Sounds like you’re doing the right thing with your blog, too. :)

      – a

  23. I feel like this is a lesson I keep learning. At the beginning of this year I started getting swept up in numbers and advertising. But it hasn’t felt right to me. So I’m in the midst of reevaluating what I’m doing and why. Remembering why I started blogging and focus on that.

  24. I so feel you on this post. I would really love to be paid to write about the things I write about (lifestyle journalism and life advice), and maybe one day my blog will get me hired for that, but it’s hard to pay for the lifestyle things I’m blogging about out of my own pocket and my blog isn’t big enough to garner sponsorship. The work that goes in to getting a big enough audience for that is soul destroying for me.

    Blogging should definitely be a labour of love while you have a steady income somewhere else and then perhaps your blog will become so popular that you can make it your full time income, unfortunately for me, that’s not the case and at times I just don’t feel like writing or doing anything to write about.

    Write for the love of it and it will be sustainable.

  25. Sitting here, reading your post made feel like one of those “V-8” commercials where the person gets hit in the forehead because they ate junk instead of having their veggies. ( I don’t know if I am making any sense at all.) Anyways, my blog that I have right now, is new. I just created it this month and although I have had many blogs since 2002 I find myself still getting bit by the numbers bug. I hope that I can find the same place in myself that you have found so that I can enjoy blogging and not feel like it is a chore.

    Thanks for this inspiring post. I look forward to reading more and watching your blog evolve in to what you desire for it to be.

    Many blessings.

  26. I could have written this myself! I’m slowly starting to come out of the fog, and feeling like blogging again, but this time, just for me. I have no goals for my blog other than a place for me to have a creative outlet, and possibly share something that may help or inspire someone else once in a blue moon.

    Thank you for sharing this!