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

    Good post Kristen. I’ve seen this happen to a lot of folks. One of the corollaries of this is getting too involved and too personal/ emotional. Always great to have a voice, but keep it tempered. If someone has something that makes them hesitate before posting, then walk away from it and return the next day and see if you *really* want that staying up “forever”…. sometimes it’s better not post in the heat of the moment than to regret later.

  2. says

    Thanks for the very insightful post (and delicious recipe). I have to agree that it gets a little obsessive. When we were going on vacation, I freaked when we decided not to bring laptops. I couldn’t help but think “all the other bloggers blog when they’re on vacation, shouldn’t I?” It ended up being great to leave technology behind like you mentioned.

    sharons last blog post..Homemade Pitas from the Archives

  3. pat/Mom says

    As you know, I am a new blogger and there are times when I feel guilty because I’m not blogging everyday. I enjoy your blogs and use the posts to keep up with your family. You are a great writer, but I understand what you are saying. Keep it in balance, but keep on blogging when you can. Love

  4. says

    I’ve only been blogging for six months and I love it, but I do think it’s easy to become obsessed with analytics instead of what I originally came to blogging to do–which is to record my personal journey, and if someone is interested in following along, that’s just great. Thanks for this post, and for the reminder to keep it all in perspective.

    Food Lovers last blog post..Eating Healthy Is Affordable: Believe It!

  5. says

    I started blogging because I wanted a way to document my quilt projects. That was three years ago. I started my At Home blog because I became a stay-at-home wife and I want to share my experiences at home. I write entries when I feel I have something to talk about. I don’t worry if it’s not every day, but I do try to blog at least once a week on both blogs.

    I agree blogging can get in the way of life. I simply schedule my blogging time. I read blogs in the morning with my coffee and then again before I go to bed. I use Bloglines to keep me updated and for the ones where I want to leave a comment I flag them. I generally leave comments on Tuesday nights when I’m home alone.

    It works for me.

    Paula in NHs last blog post..Call Me Mrs. Fix-It

  6. says

    I could not have said it better myself!!!! I’ve thought the exact same thing before. I have 2 blogs: one where I am very busy with lots of friends and lots of blogs and lots of commenting, and one where I have zero readers and get zero comments! LOL Its where I go when I need a break from the stress and chaos of constant blogging!!! However, I’ve always been afraid to state it because it seems like such a dumb thing to complain about!! I’m glad you put it down here. Thanks! I can so identify!

    Vacation without my laptop! Ha! Unheard of! LOL Even though I always say something like “I’m going to be gone for a few days, so if you don’t hear from me….” sort of like setting up a break for myself. But I ALWAYS cave in! Can’t wait to see Fireproof!

    Those quesadillas look delish. I lost my cooking mojo recently, too, and I’ve finally got it back.

    shelleys last blog post..Tomato Salsa & Spaghetti Sauce

  7. says

    Good job on this, Kristen. It’s so true. You always hear about how the Internet (MySpace, Facebook, etc.) are taking over teens’ lives, and it’s easy to see how . . .

    I agree with Paula (above) – scheduling is imperative, otherwise things easily get out of hand.

    Thanks for tackling this tough subject!

    Sandy Ss last blog post..Happy New Year! Roasted Plum Tsimmes

  8. says

    Great advice to new and old bloggers alike. I don’t think I’m obsessed with my blog, but I do get caught up with comments and hits I receive. I lose focus on the whole “writing for me” part. I sometimes get discouraged when I see newer blogs suddenly get noticed and get 50 comments on one post and everyone links to them. Sometimes I have to step back from my “Blogger Envy” and realize that comments and hits aren’t the be all and end all of blogging.

    Tanyas last blog post..Cool Kids For Take The Cannoli

  9. says

    Wow Kristen. That was completely and totally true. I realized a few months into my blog that I was writing for an audience, and not myself… I try really hard to remain true to the ME in all of this and not someone I think everyone wants to read about. My real life as a military wife and home cook may be boring to some, but I really don’t care anymore. I just want to remain true to myself and have a REAL document of me behind all of this.

    I personally, LOVE your personal attention to everyone. You make us all feel like a community, and that might just be something we’re all lacking in our OWN communities. I hope you find the balance, I for one know you care… so if it’s a choice between saying howdy to me… or spending time with the family- I’m all about you spending time with the family. I know all too well that time is a very precious thing.

    Take care,
    Cat

    The Cat’s Pajamass last blog post..A Man and his Jewelry

  10. says

    You’re so right. I’ve been spending a lot of time with my computer lately. Actually, I told myself I would quit looking at blogs 10 minutes ago. Will.Walk.Away.Now.

    Oh…thanks for the rec on Firewall…I’ve been curious about that. :)

    Bridgets last blog post..*A*M*A*Z*I*N*G*

  11. says

    You know, I really needed this post. Lately I’ve been noticing that I spend the majority of my day at the computer, while the kids run wild and the housework remains undone. Thanks for reminding me why I started my blogs – in my case, one to let my family know what we’re up to, and one to share our favorite recipes. Comments are wonderful, but I shouldn’t be living and breathing solely to get the most comments I can.

    Stephanies last blog post..Some Like it Hot!

  12. says

    Thanks Kristen! You are right – as a fairly new blogger it is easy to get caught up in the comment race! It’s good to hear from someone with more blogging experience under her belt that it isn’t the most important thing!

    Mariss last blog post..Fruit Beer

  13. says

    Oh, Kristen, I know exactly what you mean. I wrote about this very topic a few months ago. It is so easy to become obsessed with blogging. As my readership grew, the pressure to be bigger and better became oppressive. I was spending almost every waking moment on blog related activities. I gave up all of my other hobbies and I ignored my family and friends! I was drowning! Finally, I had to step back and set some boundaries for myself. I don’t post or comment as much as before, and my traffic has suffered a little for it, but I am much saner. Thanks for posting about this.

    Susan at Sticky,Gooey,Creamy,Chewys last blog post..TWD: Creme Brulee

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