Overcoming blogger burnout

Wired offers an interesting look this morning at how and why some bloggers suffer from burnout.

“When it’s fun and it’s going really well, you feel (great), and when it’s not fun, it starts feeling like … when you have to go to a job every day from nine to five,” said Jason Kottke, the author of kottke.org and remaindered links, popular blogs about technology, culture, photography and other topics. “You start to feel like the readers are depending on you, and … like you have to post something whether you feel like it or not, and that can be depressing.”

…Several bloggers contacted for this story noted that their readers seem to look at their regular, consistent posting patterns as somewhat akin to a sign of physical health. And any break in that pattern is sometimes seen as a cause for alarm.

…Other bloggers feel that even if their readers aren’t worrying about their health, they’re still expected to be coming up with the next post with little or no delay.

To all my fellow bloggers — especially those who may be experiencing this artificial pressure — let me offer a little gray-haired advice. Blogging is something you do; it’s not who you are. So many people in life confuse their identity with what they do. It happened to me in the TV news business, and I paid a heavy psychological price for it. We’re told (even in this article) that blogging begins as a labor of love. Let’s keep it that way. That is the source of its energy. We’re not on some hierarchical peak with vast legions of troops to lead. That’s just our ego talking, and our ego can produce deadly illusions and self-deceptions.

There have been days when I’ve felt what’s described in this article, and I’ve also been disappointed when a favorite blogger takes a day off. But it doesn’t last long, because I know we’re all just people, and nobody’s perfect (not even me). If my paying work takes me away from my blog for a day or even a week, I have faith that those who are interested in what I write will be there when I get back. That’s one of the beauties of RSS and why I don’t feel that people are knocking when I’m not home.

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