Give-ourselves-a-break Week

This week I’ve noticed a strange phenomenon going on in the blogosphere.  It seems like everyone’s gone into some sort of meltdown at the same time.

Either that, or everyone’s in a perpetual state of meltdown, and getting brave enough to talk about it.

The posts I read were illuminating.

First there was 4amWriter (who does, impressively, get up at 4am to write).  She did an analysis of her time spent Blogging vs Writing and the results were – astounding.

Let’s just say, it’s more than the average 21 hours most Aussies spend on-line in one week.

I encourage you to check out her blog, because in it are some great links to other posts and related conversations about blogging habits.

Most notable (and I hope she won’t mind my linking to this one) is a post by jmmcdowell that includes a live poll on how we follow blogs.  Did you know most people follow between 100 and 200 blogs?  I didn’t (though I am getting close to the 100 mark).

Right after I read these two posts, I saw another one by onethousandsingledays.  In I’m not a jerk, but I am sorry, she discusses the issue of life, balance and replying to blog comments.

There are other comments I’ve received, tweets I’ve read, and probably a hundred other posts I haven’t read, discussing a similar theme:

How to honour our followers
while also honouring our real life loves and occupations.

There’s no easy answer to that.  Everyone has different expectations and reasons for being here.  There are also numerous (and sometimes conflicting) rules out there about what one should and should not do.

I devoured those rules when I first started blogging.  Rules are useful – they help point me in the right direction when I haven’t got a clue.  They also (hopefully) stop me from making a complete nincompoop out of myself.

But here’s the thing:

Too many rules does not a happy blogger make.

Maybe it’s just me, but I start having what are affectionately referred to as ‘Alarna Dramas’.  I get paranoid, and wonder if maybe I did something that upset someone and maybe that is why I haven’t heard from them in, like, two weeks?

I’m no different than anyone else out there when it comes to a borderline blogging addiction.

I mean, who doesn’t feel a rush every time they log in to WordPress and see the little orange speech bubble gleaming in the corner?  Not to mention gloom when the bubble’s STILL a shade of grey.

But then I think back to those days, before blogging, when the Inbox was empty and the phone didn’t ring and nobody visited unless they were invited and I ask myself some simple questions…

  • How many meaningful real life friendships do I actually have?
  • How long do they usually last?
  • How often do I hear from them once a month, let alone once a week (and vice-versa)?
  • Is the conversation always equally two-sided?
  • Is the conversation always interesting?

When I compare that to the quality and level of weekly online engagement I’m expecting myself, and others, to adhere to, suddenly the rules fall away and I am just eternally grateful for anyone who ever bothers to come by, let alone RETURN…

So, in honour of all the faithful and not-so-faithful bloggers out there, I say, let’s give ourselves a break.

It’s like this tweet I fell in love with yesterday:

Presumably, there’s no one holding a big stick over our heads making us blog our hearts out, right?

Let’s do what’s meaningful for us, and let the natural laws of physics do their thing.

Life’s too short.  At least that’s my thought on the matter.  How about you?


Credit for images is as follows:

Emotiguy by farconville, courtesy
Signposts by jannoon028, courtesy
Friends by digitalart, courtesy


  1. says

    Wow! What a remarkable post, Alarna!!
    You are so right in every point you made! The tweet really is awesome! Life is complex and short yet beautiful – it can be either lived with freedom or regret to never analyse it!!
    Have a very good evening!!

  2. says

    As usual dear Alarna Rose, you’ve written a really thought provoking post. And it was so provoking that it took me hours to read, as I read all the other blogs you pointed to, instead of getting on with reading the fifty or so sitting in my in-box, and getting my husband’s dinner, and having a badly needed cup of tea!
    I was really fascinated by your reference to bloggers rules… where do we find these things.? Should I have read them? have I committed some awful bloopers because i don’t know the etiquette – heavens – where do I find these rules, even if I only read them and break them!
    And I don’t know anything about the orange bubble you mention at Word Press – I’m now on a hunt for it.XXX

    • says

      I must stop this habit of thought provoking posts! (Feeling slightly guilty now…) Actually, your questions are proof that this post barely made it to press – I was rushing 🙂

      To answer – I started off blogging following the sound advice of Kristen Lamb. Some other posts I’ve found useful are contained in the my post Welcome to My Rock.

      But, Valerie, you’re doing just fine! The ‘golden rule’ I’m getting is ‘do unto others…’ ie. be decent, share the love etc. which you already do 🙂

      I’m perplexed about the orange box? If you’re on WordPress, you should get notifications in the top right-hand corner of your screen (next to your little Gravatar photo)? It flashes when someone likes or comments on your blog…

      • says

        Aha, I see the little grey box… now I know what you’re talking about. I’ve never actually caught it flashing, but maybe now I know to look I just might!!!!
        Thank you for replying so promptly, lovely encouraging message, thank you. I”ll check your suggestions out for interest’s sake – you never know what you’ll learn!

      • says

        Hope the little orange bubble blinks when you get this! It’s one of the surprising pleasures of the WordPress experience (for me, anyway) 🙂 Have a great day, Valerie xx

      • says

        And you. I wonder what you’re going to do for your weekend. I’m off to lunch with a friend today, and slaving over a hot stove for my husband’s birthday lunch tomorrow, with family.
        Hope your weekend is a happy one X

      • says

        I have just returned from retrieving my adopted second Mum from hospital today. Tomorrow I intend to spend some time catching up on some new seasons of TV drama (Boardwalk Empire and Damages) – just released this week!

        Hope you at least get to enjoy some good wine with the results of your labour tomorrow, and many happy returns to your husband 🙂

  3. says

    Thanks for the shout-out, Alarna. This is a wonderful post, so well thought out. I especially found your comparison between blogging friends and real-life friends intriguing. As an introvert, I never had the kind of widespread popularity that some people might have experienced, and blogging is a more comfortable fit for me, in terms of social interactions.

    You remind us of a very important point to remember–that just because we don’t hear from all of our followers all the time doesn’t mean we have done anything wrong. We have to give ourselves a break, I agree. Enjoy blogging for what it is and make sure we devote the time we need to our lives, both writing and non.

    Great post!

    • says

      Thanks, and I’m glad my thought process strikes a chord!

      I have to admit, I wrote this post as much to remind myself as anything! And I agree, as a fellow introvert, it is a much more comfortable fit for socialising – I really enjoy it.

      But since I was never good at managing a multitude of social interactions, there is another side to it. Whether the comparison holds up or not I’m not sure, but it makes sense to me 🙂

      Happy, guilt free blogging 🙂

  4. Coleen Patrick says

    I get that paranoia too–don’t like it!! 🙂 I typically have to refocus on what’s really important to me to squash my internal drama (and not look at stats, because that can deflate a perfectly happy day). I took a blogging break this week since Monday was a holiday here, but still did a lot of traveling around the blogosphere. Not having a new post out, I felt like reading and commenting was much more “organic” with less pressure. Kind of like the way it used to be before I had a blog. I think you are right about that big stick–it’s not really there. 🙂

    • says

      Funny, I noticed you hadn’t posted this week and even went checking in case I missed the email! But I know exactly what you mean…

      This week, I actually wanted to put out a very short post to say I’m on a reading sabbatical. But then I felt the need to explain myself and before I knew it, I’d written a post! I intend to do this in future, though, because I want to be able to keep in touch with people (and I’m a terrible multi-tasker).

      Hope you have an ‘internal drama’ free week 🙂

  5. says

    Loved that post, Alarna, and thanks for including my tweet 🙂 I was just in the mood to read Goins’ words yesterday and it looks as though many of us were as I had a large response to that! My words were: ‘happy writing is not a contest’ as a comment upon reading Goins. And something else I’d been reading, rather akin to your invisible ‘big stick’, made me think about the kinds of pressure we put ourselves under, and who are we competing with, exactly? Nice post and I will read the references to the other blogs. Cheers… Heather x

    • says

      Hi there Heather! So lovely to see you here – and I’m so glad you’re happy for the tweet inclusion (not sure if there is etiquette about that I’m not aware of, but it just seemed to hit the nail!) 🙂

      You’re right about the competition…I often wonder why we have to be so frenzied about everything. It’s surely up to us to choose a happier pace?

      Thanks for explaining the tweet – I must also now check out Goins (and your blog) 🙂

  6. annerallen says

    Social media can be an endless time suck if you let it. We have to be our own cyberpolicemen and restrict social media activity to certain days or hours, or we’ll never achieve our writing goals. Thanks for the link to the 4AM writer post. One of her commenters referred her to my slow blogging post . Now more than ever, we need to keep it under control.

    And I’m so sorry that Feedburner has fallen down on the job! Your the second commenter who’s told me they’re no longer getting email notifications from me. Feedburner is a mysterious corporate entity connnected somehow to Blogger, but I have no idea how to contact them. If you do want notifications of my new posts (every Sunday around 10 AM Pacific time) you can write to me at annerallen at yahoo dot com and I’ll put you on my personal blogfriends list. Thanks for following the blog! (But take a break when you need it.)

    • says

      Anne, I really appreciate you taking the time to come here and let me know about the Feedburner issue. I will definitely email you, as I signed up months ago (after reading your slow blogging post).

      Reading that post was such a weight lifted! Thanks to you, slow blogging has become a bit of a mantra for me, so much that I included a link to your post as part of my ‘statement for being’ 🙂

      It may be I need to cut back more, so I can indeed read and write more. Will see what happens – and look forward to your updates. Thank you!

  7. says

    I don’t think there are any rules since everyone has different reasons for blogging. I am trying to build an author’s platform so it is imperative that I connect with my readers and let them know that I really appreciate the time they take by reading. The very least I can do is respond to their comments and if time allows I try to stop by their blogs..

    • says

      Susie, you are one of those people who has that amazing ability to make everyone feel welcomed, listened to and appreciated 🙂 I really love this about your blog.

      I don’t quite know how you manage everything, but it is obvious that you really enjoy what you are doing! You give me something to aspire to 🙂

  8. Deliberately Delicious says

    Once again, you’ve written a post that gives me pause for thought. I’ve spent the better part of the last seven months blithely writing to my heart’s content, without much thought for stats or visitors.My focus has been on writing for the joy of it. BUT I’m realizing now that I need to spend more time connecting. (Susie, above, is really fabulous at doing this!) After reading your meditations on slowing down – and going the the slow blogging link you mentioned – I’m trying to do that. Thank you for another thought provoking piece of writing!

    • says

      There’s nothing quite like writing for the joy of it, is there? I’ve seen plenty of bloggers who are mainly there for the writing – some of them still get tonnes of followers coming and commenting. So hey, why not?

      But engaging with readers does seem to give it a whole other dimension. Susie is indeed amazing at that! Such a natural 🙂

      Glad to have put you onto Anne Allen’s post and loving that we can be part of each other’s journey 🙂

  9. says

    Great post, Alarna! For sure I’ve been feeling like I’m melting down. Just one continuous puddle of meltdown! Great mashup of links and I love the tweet! It’s perfect. And that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it? Getting our writing written! I have to say I’m so glad I met you online and am happy to follow your awesome blog! Have a great week, Alarna!

    • says

      I was aware you’ve been feeling the pressure lately. Just remember, you are a treasured member of the community, Lynn. I feel privileged to have you in my world – so feel free to take a breather anytime you need 🙂 You have a great week, too!

  10. says

    I lapped this one up, Alarna. Making time to visit all the blogs I would like to is something I grapple with. I don’t know how people do it. I like to comment and that of course slows down the process. I’ve got the links up to check now. i think they might be very useful for me.

  11. Ralph says

    Hi Alarna. As a potential blogoholic, reading your post is like reading my mind. I glance at the little orange thingie from time to time with the same anticipation, a bit like fishing, wondering what, who or why is that little orange light going to bring up next. Sometimes I wish I didn’t have to sleep as different parts of the blogging world come online at different times of the day. A good post Alarna. Take care. Ralph x

    • says

      Hi Ralph, nice to meet you! It is rather like the blinking lights of the world coming on and off at different times, full of all kinds of surprises. I like that! Happy blogging – and I’ll be over to see you in your corner soon 🙂

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