The Hazards of Blogging

May I be frank for a moment? Since we are in the middle of Adopt-a-Blogger, I thought that this might be the perfect time to write about something that has been on my mind for quite some time. The Hazards of Blogging. No… I don’t mean getting flour on your camera and cake batter on your laptop. I mean the physical and emotional hazards of blogging. You are probably thinking, “Well, that sounds silly. What kind of physical and emotional hazards could take their toll on a person blogging?”

Blogging, like any other hobby, can turn into something that is a bit more obsessive and can take over portions of your life. When people turn to me for blogging advice, one of the first things I ask them is to share their goals with me. 99.9% of the time, people want to attract more visitors and more comments to their blog. This is a very common desire. If you enjoy blogging, having visitors come to your blog and then having people leave comments on your post tends to give you that extra push of confidence you are seeking. You know, through comments, that people are listening and their comments help to validate the purpose of your blog. Most people start out blogging for themselves, but then easily get caught up in the desire for comments, links, and higher visitor stats.

I remember when I first started Dine & Dish way back when there weren’t nearly the number of food bloggers that there are now and getting your blog noticed among the pack wasn’t as difficult as it is now.  I would always pride myself in the fact that I tried to remain on a personal level with the visitors to my blog. I would always respond to their comments as well as visit their blogs. Dine & Dish grew and grew some more and keeping up that promise to myself has become more and more difficult. Visiting and commenting on other blogs is extremely important if you want to keep your blog in front of others. Responding to or acknowledging comments is something I personally wanted to do. By keeping up with all of the comments and blog reading, I one day recently realized that my blogging time was starting to take over my life. Balance was something I have always had trouble with, but more so now than ever.

This past weekend my husband and I went to a movie called Fireproof. It is a Christian based movie about marriage and it was probably one of the most eye opening, moving movies I have seen in a very long time and I highly recommend anyone (Christian or not) who is married to see it. During one scene, the husband (who had an addiction to internet porn) took his computer outside and crushed it with a bat. It was at that moment in my head that I thought “Wow… sometimes that would be so nice… to be able to just get rid of technology for awhile.” It was then that I realized blogging, commenting, reading other blogs had taken a place in my life that was not healthy. I was spending less time with my family and more time with my laptop. Between writing my blog posts, cooking for my blog, photographing what I cooked, reading comments, reading other blogs, writing posts on Twitter about my blog, etc. I realized that Dine & Dish was getting more attention than some of the most important people in my life, and that was unacceptable.

I wanted to write this post to all the new bloggers out there. Some of you can balance this and balance it well. Others may have a more difficult time with it. When you are blogging, I want you to remember the sole reason you are blogging…for me that reason is to document my life for me… for my children… and for my family. Everything else (the friendships, the connections, the information), which I appreciate so much from each and every one of you, is just icing on the cake. Live your life and then blog about it. Don’t let your blog become your life.

Because this is a food blog, I’m adding a recipe. I made this a long time ago for the 3-A-Day Blogher campaign, but thought the photo was not stellar so didn’t blog about it. Well, I’ve decided…who cares if the photo isn’t great? You are going to get the recipe anyway!

Chicken, Mushroom and Cheese Quesadillas from Cooking Light Magazine

45 min | 15 min prep

SERVES 4

  1. Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Combine ground cumin, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper; sprinkle over chicken.
  3. Add chicken to pan, and sauté 5 minutes or until browned. Remove chicken from pan; set aside.
  4. Add onion, mushrooms, garlic, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper to pan; sauté 5 minutes.
  5. Remove from pan; let stand 5 minutes. Wipe pan with paper towels.
  6. Heat pan over medium heat. Sprinkle each tortilla with about 1/3 cup cheese.
  7. Arrange 1/2 cup mushroom mixture over one-half of each tortilla.
  8. Arrange chicken evenly over mushroom mixture.
  9. Carefully fold each tortilla in half. Add 2 quesadillas to pan; cook 2 minutes on each side or until lightly browned and cheese melts.
  10. Repeat procedure with remaining quesadillas. Serve immediately.

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Comments

  1. says

    Oh, I am right there with you! I feel obligated to the blog yet it is just for fun and to work on writing. And I do ignore some other things sometimes. I have just had to cut down on commenting and how often I post. Balance is always hard!

    Nicoles last blog post..Carpe Diem

  2. says

    Well written post! I have definitely seen and heard of people going through similar things while food blogging. It can definitely be tough to do with a family too. I find it easier as a single person to make the rounds and spend the time coming up with stuff for the blog, but the minute I start to ignore my friends I snap out of it. I have to have a life too. I hope you find your balance :)

  3. says

    Kristen – what a great post! I’ve been trying to balance blogging and life and am starting to get a handle on it.

    That recipe sounds wonderful, so I am going to have to give it a try soon.

    Patsyks last blog post..L’Shanah Tovah!

  4. says

    What an excellent post. It’s tricky deciding what the balance will be for a blogger, isn’t it? I love the feel of visiting a blog and leaving a comment and then knowing the comment is read and responded to. I always knew I wanted to have a blog that felt “small” in that my readers would be like friends. But keeping up with comments is getting tougher and taking far longer than actually blogging and cooking. I love it but I don’t want it to take away from what matters most. Thanks for the reminder to keep it in balance!

    Erins last blog post..Caramelized Onions Pear and Brie Crostini

  5. says

    That’s why I don’t post daily neither on weekends. I have set that as a limit, so I can enjoy my house, my husband.
    Of course that not having kids yet helps a lot, I don’t know if I would be able to blog if I had kids.
    I do work far from home, from 8:30am to 5:30pm, but since I work as an executive assistant and my boss is not around all the time I’m able to read the blogs I love at the office.

    Patricia Scarpins last blog post..Brioche filled with chocolate ganache

  6. says

    We try to have one day a week where we go home and don’t turn on the TV or computer. The past three weeks have been so busy at home that I haven’t had much of a chance to post or read blog stuff which has been nice but that feeling that “I’m behind” sticks with me :(

  7. says

    The only pressure as it relates to blogging is what we place on ourselves. The minute that the Pink Heels blog becomes a ‘job’ or detracts me from the things that are important to me, I will cut the strings.

    It is worth pointing out that my absolute favorite blogger only posts once a month! When the new post is up, I savor every morsel and wait in anticipation for the next one. Quality is far more important then quantity…in my opinion.

    Don’t be afraid to take a break from blogging and technology.

  8. says

    This has SO, SO been on my mind too. All of it. The time, the emotions involved, the sacrifices. But mostly the inner struggle it creates -it’s like a bad drug sometimes. It has so many positive things for me, it’s an outlet, it’s social, I get to be creative, and my ego is stroked because to some people I’m an expert…

    But sometimes the cost is really, really high. I feel sometimes like it does control me, and I’m a slave to it. I sometimes wish it was all bad, so I could just give it up, but it is mostly good, I just need to be better at letting it not control me. It is such a hard balance for me personally.

    I loved it so much when my blog was just my family and friends and for ME! But you only get about 50 hits a day and 3 comments off of that, which is hard, because the more you get, the more it validates you and all of the hard work you put into it. I, like you, thrive on it being personal, which is so hard to do once you hit that wave of sudden viewership beyond family, friends, and friends of friends.

    I don’t know what the answer is, I really, really struggle with it all though too. I wish it were easier to blog in moderation, but you’re right, to be successful you either have to go for it for real or be content with your blog being small-time.

    Oh the trials, I hope I can figure it out… I really do.

    This was a great post Kristin, really, really good. It is so good to know it’s not just me.

    Hot Garlics last blog post..Caramel Apples {cute as a button}

  9. says

    Thanks for the gentle reminder Kristin!

    I do remember reading Susan’s post at Sticky,Gooey,Creamy,Chewy a while ago.
    I even asked her if I could quote her words, because that’s exactly how I’ve felt lately.

    I was baking for TWD among other things, taking photos, and blogging about it. But it didn’t stop there. I still had to answer every comment and in the beginning when there were only 75 members, I could comment on everyone’s blog. Now it’s over 300 members and there’s NO way I can do all that. As it was, I was spending 2 days or more, just baking, photographing, answering comments and blogging. Blogrolls are great for perpetuating this obsessive phenomenon and I love to hate it. I feel like a crack addict, out of control and looking for my next fix. My life was going down the crapper!

    The more you comment on others blogs, the more comments you get and the higher your stats.

    It was bothering me so much, that I wrote a piece on it for an audition of sorts. I needed to back away too. I was competing against myself! Like Susan said, my comments and stats started to suffer.

    So, here I am I’m still sitting at my computer, reading YOUR blog at 1:00am! My hubby has long since gone to bed without me!

    Thanks for addressing this Kristen and Susan! It needed to be said!

    Donnas last blog post..CONGRATULATIONS To The Cookbook Giveaway Winner!

  10. says

    Thank you for posting this! I went to comment yesterday and I kept getting distracted at work.

    When I started blogging (granted only four months ago) I was determined to post every day, seven days a week. I would get stressed if I thought I wouldn’t be able to post every day. It totally took the joy out of it for me. Thanks for reminding me why I’m blogging and what’s important. You’re the best!

    Jessicas last blog post..Salmon Nicoise

  11. says

    Thank you for this great post. I think that any of your readers can relate to this. I have also noticed that there’s a high burnout rate among food bloggers and this explains it–a fair warning.
    It’s so important to get some perspective. Have a great weekend, Kristen!

  12. says

    Preach it, sister!

    I’ve been burning the midnight oil far too long, missing sleep and bedtime cuddling. It really saps your energy and will.

    But I realize that as a new blogger, it’s a stage you have to go through. Especially the stats addiction. I like to think I’m getting over that but not completely.

    Nates last blog post..Thien Long Restaurant (San Jose)

  13. says

    HI, I found your blog through a link in another blog. I so agree with what you are saying. I often wish I could type faster with less mistakes, since that would decrease the amount of time it takes to create a post. A good reminder that things like this happen slowly, and sometimes we don’t even realize it until it reaches the point you described.

    The movie Fireproof is such a good movie. I rarely purchase movies because there are so few quality movies. This movie, though, will be purchased as soon as it is released. I have not seen such a good movie since “A Walk to Remember”.
    Sandy O

  14. says

    Hi, Great post…I just started blogging and I am going a little overboard–not with posting, but with exploring other peoples blogs and enjoying their thoughts and lives.

    I want to keep blogging, but I will have to find a time limit. Thanks for the reality check!

  15. says

    You said it, Sister. I’m new to blogging (only been doing it about six months), but I easily see how consuming it can become. My husband came up with a rule that I cannot be on the computer when he comes home from work. Needless to say, I broke that rule many times already. While on vacation recently, he tried to keep me off his laptop, as I constantly wanted to monitor my blog or get on Twitter. It’s good to have a wise husband who knows that there is a real need for down time. I hope we all remember that. It’s good to be passionate and diligent about something. But it’s also good to step away from it for awhile to spend time on the real _ and real important _ things in life, too.

  16. says

    Just checked your mail.
    It’s so true! We do lose ourselves in blogging before we even realize it indeed. Only when your kids say “mom!! you and your blogging!!” and husband gets jealous of my blogs, that I realized how far I have gone! :D
    Glad you wrote this, comments and blog friends are like icing on the cake of course which we do enjoy. Everything tastes great in moderation!!

    Take care, see you next year! :))

  17. says

    One thing I have tried to do is not feel pressured to post to my blog just to post. I only want to post when I feel I have something meaningful and well thought-out to share with some wonderful new friends. I am so impressed with not only the content but some of the wonderful photography on other people’s blogs.

    LisaSDs last blog post..How Can You Help Families of Injured Soldiers?

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