When a Blog Becomes a Slog

September 25, 2014

So I read this article, When Blogging Becomes a Slog, over on The New York Times today (thanks for sharing, Gregory!) and I wasn’t sure what to think other than bless writer Steven Kurutz for shedding light on the topic to the outside world. Yet for those of us blogging (who number into the thousands), well we have battled with all of what he speaks of and more for years. Yet when you read about it in The Times it suddenly feels like it’s hot-off-the-presses brand new. But again, it’s not. Blogger burn out, sponsored content love/hate, feeling overwhelmed, post performance, stats, reader expectations, maintaining our pace… These have always been major blogger concerns. Attend any blogger conference or listen in on what bloggers talk about when they gather for lunch. It’s always on our minds.

When a Blog Becomes a Slog

And yet so many questions are on the table today after reading that article, for many bloggers. Because I think it raised a lot of interesting questions that, though didn’t get raised by Mr. Kurutz, seemed to come to mind after I read his take on blogger burn out. Here are questions that popped into my head:

  • As advertising dollars slip away for those “annoying blinking boxes” so does the income that bloggers relied upon to keep producing 5 star content full-time. Many have moved on to sponsored in-post content. But lots of readers hate it and says it affects “our voice”. So what’s next?
  • Are your readers really the ones pushing you so hard or is it voice inside of your own head along with fame, money, etc.?
  • Should our readers be all that matter because at some point, shouldn’t we as bloggers care about finding pleasure in our work? For instance, Are teachers, vets, cafe owners, doctors heading off to work each day to only please their customers or do they genuinely enjoy what they do? Isn’t that the bigger part of it all?
  • Are some bloggers simply too ambitious and it’s causing them to lose balance?
  • Is the future of blogging in paid content – in other words, if readers don’t like ads, sponsored content or anything that they feel makes us less “authentic” or trustworthy, then should we have some of our blog content be stuff they pay to see? And the less intense-to-produce posts can remain free?
  • And in all fairness, doesn’t everyone in every profession battle with burn out and fear and everything else – why is it that when bloggers do it becomes a NYTimes article?

My blogging mantra has always been to use blogging as a catalyst to live your best life. To let blogging drive you to do great things so that you have interesting content to share. I also think you have to think ahead and always expect that nothing today will be this way tomorrow. Especially online. Blogging (or any profession) cannot suck our souls or make us feel like losers when we miss a few days or when our last DIY post didn’t generate as many shares or comments. When that happens you have to step back and wonder what the hell is happening to us, right?

What are your thoughts on all of this?

(image: design for mankind who was one blogger featured in The Times article and had a few interesting things to say.)


  • Reply Caitlin September 25, 2014 at 8:26 pm

    Yes, yes! A thousand times yes!

    For me, the slogging became too much. I was listening to the voices in my head instead of my voice. For a while, I tried to fake it but nothing good came out of that.

    Last night, I wrote a farewell blog post. I’m closing up that dear place and opening something that is less musty and more of a joy for me.

  • Reply H is for Home, Adelle September 25, 2014 at 8:31 pm

    You’ve put into words what we’ve been doing unconsciously…

    “Use blogging as a catalyst to live your best life… let blogging drive you to do great things so that you have interesting content to share”

    I bake a lot more, photographing the process, ditto every time we do up a piece of furniture.

    Sharing so much of what we do day-to-day makes us up our game. Thanks for sharing – I’m off to read the NYT article. :-)

  • Reply Adorngirl September 25, 2014 at 9:09 pm

    I completely agree. Burnout comes with all lines of work. When bloggers whether new or established hit that wall it becomes a topic that arises again and again because it makes us think about what we are really getting out of it. I am seeing more and more solutions and checklists from other Bloggers to combat the dreaded burnout.

  • Reply Mithra Ballesteros September 25, 2014 at 9:10 pm

    You raise some excellent points. I couldn’t put my finger on why the Times article bugged me but it did. Seems like a tempest in a teapot. Because as you say, who doesn’t face fatigue — in work, parenthood, building and maintaining relationships, caregiving, etc. In other words, anything worth doing can cause burnout from time to time. The way to deal? Your mantra is spot on.

  • Reply Giulia September 25, 2014 at 9:23 pm

    I think many bloggers set the bar very high for themselves and in turn the expectation is high with readers. Back five or seven years ago they were writing 2 or more posts a day, great content week after week. It was a pace that a news outlet has that isn’t a one woman/man show. It has to lead to burn-out.
    Also many bloggers start their success story at an age where they usually don’t have a family. Once other priorities are more prevalent they need to step back and re-evaluate what they really want out of life and their job. Are 5 million hits a month really the thing they want?
    Lastly, I think readers have become viscous at times and expect the world. The tone in comments and ‘service’ they expect for content that is FREE is unbelievable to me. It’s a sign of time that many want constant stuff for free and when a blogger needs to shift gear or decides not to share something then they get knocked down.
    Yes, news providers used to give us everything for free, now they have free content and paid content and maybe that truly is where we need to go.

  • Reply Cassandra September 25, 2014 at 9:34 pm

    On one hand I like that the conversation has hit more mainstream since I don’t think all readers understand the amount of work it takes to put posts together and find a way to get paid, in my case, just enough to cover the cost of a few projects. On the other hand I wish the focus was less on blogger burnout and more on online etiquette. I’ve read so many comment threads recently that escalate to what amounts to verbal abuse and threats of bodily harm over topics that do not come close to warranting it. This is what makes me want to stop blogging…

  • Reply Lynne September 25, 2014 at 9:39 pm

    Holly, first of all I really appreciate the content you provide consistently without the annoying pop up advertising boxes, BUT I would still read your blog even if you had them. I follow some blogs that have them and I have gotten used to those irritating little buggers because it’s the content of the blog I want to get to so I put up with them. I don’t expect bloggers to post interesting posts day after day without compensation for their work. Who would work for nothing? No one worth anything. As far as posting everyday, I don’t think it’s necessary to keep your readership. I can only speak for myself, but I would rather read a good post now and then as opposed to receiving daily posts that are not really inspiring.

  • Reply Sarah September 25, 2014 at 9:52 pm

    I agree that your blog should be a catalyst for living your best life. It should be a showcase for all the things you love to do and want share with others. I think, like with anything, the problems arises when we start to care too much of what our readers’ or others think, and let that (along with fame, external validations, etc…) drive us instead of our passion for what we are doing. I’m sure many of us have been there ( I know I have), and when we get to that point, it’s a sign that it’s time to readjust our priorities.

  • Reply Sayeh, The Office Stylist September 25, 2014 at 10:03 pm

    I think every blogger sometimes needs a break to get inspired. Even if it’s for a day or two because yes sometimes one can get tired! Love your blogs btw! Keep up the great work!
    Sayeh, The Office Stylist

  • Reply B. September 25, 2014 at 10:04 pm

    It’s interesting enough to warrant a NYT article because it’s a new frontier of business, and raises many of the same questions (the ones you brought up) that journalism is struggling with now. I think there’s no question that the demand for content is there, but people have come to expect free content both on and off the internet – and there is generally no shortage of such content.

    Maybe the answer lies in fewer small, independent bloggers competing for individual recognition, and more networks forming to take some of the load off and also support each other in exploring new directions for revenue. Also, the fame you mentioned can be leveraged into ambassador deals with relevant companies. Really, in the end, isn’t blogging mostly about creating a public brand that can be leveraged?

  • Reply Darnita September 25, 2014 at 10:19 pm

    I think burnout is to be expected in many professions and roles, including the blogging field. I understand those questions you posed and there isn’t evidently going tobe clear cut answers. There is much gray. When I started blogging, it was really an online diary of sorts. I didn’t have much of an audience in mind. Then when it became too peronal. Years later, I still am left wondering why I am blogging. With so much business how-to’s for appealing to audience and having great content, I feel like my soul isn’t into it. Should I post everything related to business? Can I add a mix if post on random thoughts? Should the audience always be kept in mind? Should I have mulitple blogs? These questions result in not posting for weeks or months on end.

  • Reply Ursula Rosien September 25, 2014 at 11:15 pm

    I’ve been blogging for a year and few months and wonder where it is going to take me. I haven’t experienced any burnout because I blog as an outlet to be creative (I’m a designer/web/) while I’m also in the trenches raising our 3 children. I just wonder… So blogging for me is more of a passion but one of a few passions ;) Very good article. I wonder for how long I will blog.

  • Reply Jana Miller September 25, 2014 at 11:16 pm

    I think blogging is on the way out and much of the content is becoming recycled. Very similar to magazines. I think the blogs that will survive and thrive are the ones where people share a unique story or viewpoint. And even that may get old. The barrage of information and pretty pictures on the internet makes me less likely to appreciate each one.

  • Reply Libby September 25, 2014 at 11:33 pm

    In reality we all blog for different reasons. No matter what kind of blog you have, and whether it’s for profit or not, each one of us has our reasons. And those reasons change over the years, just as does our energy, our time available, our interests etc. I do no blog for money: I don’t think I’ve made a penny blogging. But I’ve been at it for over five years! I do it because I love it. And more than anything else it has opened up new worlds and people to me. I have gone into business with someone I met through blogging; I have been invited and stayed with friends around the world all of whom I’ve met through blogging.

    I don’t see why anyone is amazed or surprised that the NY Times should write this story: it’s current, it’s what’s happening, it’s trendy, it’s timely. Of course they would pick up such a story!

    And now, my only problem is finding enough hours in the day to do it all….

  • Reply Diane September 26, 2014 at 1:17 am

    Any person in any job can become bored, over-whelmed or simply experience burn-out. But when a blogger does it and “takes a break” it feels like you have lost a friend or been told you are no longer important as a friend. This holds true with all blogs, not just home decor or DIY. I do notice that many who have expressed these feelings are young in age and with young families. That is enough to burn anyone out! I honestly do not believe it has anything to do with trying to generate content, the amount of work required etc. If you have a passion for something, these things come easy.

    I am a paid blogger for many in the design field. This is due to the fact that successful designers often do not have the time or the ability to produce content in a format that is not only enjoyable to read but will also keep the Google gods happy. I too have days where I cannot possibly think of something clever to say about a piece of furniture, holiday decorating, changing seasons etc that has not already been said. But a day or two of staying away and something always comes to me. I do not make money on ads or sponsored posts but I do not begrudge those who do. If they exhibit poor business judgement in the amount of ads and sponsorships then I simply quit reading but harbor no ill will at someone trying to make an honest living.

    I am not sure why bloggers are taking heat for this all of a sudden unless it is because someone “famous” like the Petersiks brought it to light. I hope they find their way and also that they begin blogging again as I enjoyed their sweet and innocent approach to decorating and blogging. Were they the best decorators? No, But that is not their job. Leave that to the big $ designers who have textile and furniture lines. No one seems to care that they are making money on these endeavors and also sell of advise of these wares on their blogs.

    As for commenter Margaret’s comments to the Petersiks, some people just have to be cruel. Can’t we all just get along!?

  • Reply Jillian September 26, 2014 at 2:17 am

    Holly, I have to admit that I didn’t read the article, though I did see it on the Times website. I read the post where Young House Love announced why they were taking a break, and I think all of your comments on this subject are very compelling. I used to blog more regularly (never daily) and I eventually lost interest because I felt SO much pressure to be perfect and to produce content that looked magazine worthy. Like it wasn’t worth doing if every post wasn’t a major production. At the same time, I don’t even enjoy reading those over-produced posts from other bloggers. I think I would pay to subscribe to blogs that delivered consistent authentic content if it meant that the sponsored posts would be cut back.

  • Reply Cyd September 26, 2014 at 2:41 am

    While I think the Times piece raises many valid points, after reading it and all of the comments, I also think they missed the mark to some extent, too. To your point, yes. Absolutely. Burn out is true in any profession and in any career. Add in the ever-changing nature of the internet, advances in technology that require bloggers (very often going at this thing solo) to master new skills all of the time, and the constant addition of new competition to the market, and some level of burn out or exhaustion is only natural.

    One distinction I think many people fail to make though is that between the non-professional blogger and the blogger making a full-time living creating content for readers. (And by “non-professional” I don’t imply that the content is necessarily any less beautiful or professional in nature, simply that these bloggers aren’t exclusively using their blog to generate an income that ultimately has to support them.) Blogging was the the outlet thousands of people turned to before Facebook evolved into what it is, before the advent of Instagram, and before Pinterest allowed people to catalog and scrapbook ideas and inspirations with the click of a mouse. Naturally blogging as a hobby is going to fade away as social media continues to evolve and expand, which is not to say it won’t come back in vogue again.

    That being said though, professional bloggers often still get marked as somehow being unfair to their readers, coming across as shady or “selling out” because they turn to in-post sponsorship or other forms of advertising that were once deemed unthinkable, but I think we have to be fair here. No one would ever go to work every day and not fully expect a paycheck at the end of the week. Why is anything different expected of a blogger? Add in the very real overhead involved in producing a blog of the caliber of so many of those mentioned in the Times piece, and it seems even more out of touch that we would somehow expect bloggers to work for free lest they should feel some sort of guilt for wanting payment in exchange for their hard work and talents.

    In full disclosure, I have been blogging since 2001. I started my blog as it’s known today in 2008 and I have been working as a full-time blogger since 2011. Yes, the burn out is real. Yes, there is a lot of pressure and much of it probably is self-induced, but that doesn’t come from a place of being overly ambitious, at least speaking for myself. The pressure and struggles I face internally and professionally are akin to those my parents (who are also small business owners) have faced over the last 35+ years of owning a business. I blog for the love of it and I’m lucky to call blogging my career in addition to my passion, but once it becomes a business it’s just that. A business. And while “business” doesn’t have to be a dirty word, it does come with a greater sense of responsibility even if only to oneself. If I don’t do well by my readers and my business falters or fails to grow, there are a whole lot of people (aka student loan lenders, landlords, etc.) who might have a problem with my income coming up short one month. At the end of the day, that’s not a blogging issue. That’s an inherent part of running a business and I believe what may be happening, more than any great decline in blogging, is that a whole lot of people who would might not have otherwise ended up business owners are realizing that it’s constant, neverending thing and it is the very hardest work of all. It’s great, awesome, rewarding work, but it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done, and I tip my hat to the blogging greats who paved the way for all of us.

    Also, I just completely rambled, but I appreciate your insightful posts, Holly, and love that you provide a place for all of us to discuss such things so openly and honestly.

  • Reply Maria September 26, 2014 at 9:38 am

    Oh my!!! What a surprise to see this article was about YoungHouseLove as the main example.. I have followed YHL for years. I found them when I was google for birth experience, and the post where Sherry posted her birth experience pop up. I honestly read this post about 2 or 3 times. It was instant admiration and connection. I admire someone who can write so freely and nicely and genuinely about such a birth story. I then when to her blog and found all these cool things they did at their home. Sherry and John always felt so genuine and true to their feelings. So, when Sherry ask about honest feedback about two weeks ago, I gave my feedback as many thousand others did. (The question was short: frequent updates vs. longer posts with more insight and content, but less frequent. My answer was both. )

    When Sherry posted her post “Feeeeelings” I read with attention. And I could not do anything else than feeling more admiration for this couple. I respect them and admire then more than before. It takes a lot of courage to stay true and genuine to what you do. And they did it! I am sure they are taking time to stay true to themselves and they will probably come back with something true and better….. And if they dont, I am still happy because the y left me with a hint to practice courage and happiness. Plus a ton of ideas and tutorials… Their site is so good, that it is like a good online book.

  • Reply Marie September 26, 2014 at 10:05 am

    I’m just a casual reader from France (so excuse my bad english), with a normal job which don’t include blogging.
    I think maybe the difference between those jobs is that in blogging, every single act and article is watched and commented by reader (and sometimes thousand of them). How to not feel pressure and anxiety then?
    We are already very critical to ourselves, so I can’t imagine how hard it is to be under the eye and the words of all those readers.
    By the way, I love your blog and I really admire you. Bonne journée!

  • Reply Maria September 26, 2014 at 10:20 am

    My thoughts as blogging as a business (from a readers perspective)

    I think blogging is different from many other business because it is not clear to me what you sell. As a reader, for me you are a couch, an adviser who give insightfull advice and genuine, unbiase comments for free. You do it for free, at least to my understanding, because you love to do it and is your “catalyst to live your best life”. Making it for free and as a catalyst for your self is what make the blog different from a magazine or catalog. This is what makes it interesting. THere is no money involved.

    I dont come to a blog because I want to buy anthing there. When we (the readers) feel that you (bloggers) intent to sell through your posts. We feel your advise is not any longer unbiased or genuine. We feel you are cheating on us. And we start to think, she is recommending this because she is getting pay to do it. If this happen we loose interest. Then reading a blog becomes the same as reading any catalog or advertising. And there millions of these out there! That is why when we notice there is bias (= you are getting pay to post something) we loose respect and admiration. And it worst when bloggers try to hide they are getting pay to post something. I at least appreciate when they tell me what is a paid sponsor post and what is not.

    Content and insights from real life is what we readers are looking for. If I want to see beautiful pictures, I go to pinterest. If I want specific technical advise, I buy a book or I hire a career consultant or decorator. But I understand is hard for bloggers to keep up sharing all their lives. So I will rather prefer, more content and insight and less frequency.

  • Reply Kirsty Holloway (Shine Lighting) September 26, 2014 at 10:35 am

    This was a great blog post. I’ve experience burn out before because of the lack of views etc. But I’ve found with this new blog for work the key is to find a topic that you are interested in and write content you would like to read. This makes it so much more enjoyable. It also creates a better product.

    If you do this as a job then that’s great. You’re obviously writing about stuff that everyone wants to read about. But you need to prioritise this as something you enjoy to do. Not do because you are being paid. The audience are moving from paid media to bloggers because the content is just as good and it’s free. If we start charging people to see the content then you will lose your audience.

  • Reply Rossella September 26, 2014 at 11:09 am

    I agree 100% with your blogging mantra: “to use blogging as a catalyst to live your best life”.
    Sometimes it’s difficult to say No to a new opportunity. It’s essential anyway.
    I’ve found useful to fix some medium and long term goals for my blogging activity. That’s helped me to follow my route.
    Blogging for me it’s a sort of free time/second job. I need also to find time for my personal life. It’s also an issue of priorities and autodiscipline.

  • Reply Kiana September 26, 2014 at 2:12 pm

    In my opinion, it’s not the sponsored posts themselves, it’s the way they’re done. If a blogger gets paid to mention a product he/she uses and trusts anyway and the post is written in an authentic voice, nobody would mind them. I like the way Cup of Jo handles these, for example. But I also think that when blogging becomes your business instead of your hobby, obviously there comes a lot more stress and burn out as happens with any job. Some bloggers post every single day even when they’ve got nothing to say. This should stop. I’ve seen bloggers get substitute bloggers to fill in for them when they’ve had a baby or on vacation. Why?! Do you think your readers can’t live without your blog for a few weeks? They can! I think this contributes to burnout and reader dissatisfaction in the long run.

  • Reply Robin @Rooms Revamped Interior Design September 26, 2014 at 2:42 pm

    I am new to blogging but was told I needed to write a blog as an interior designer.
    I was surprised to learn that many bloggers earn a living writing blogs and just now I have learned there are paid bloggers writing blogs for interior designers!
    I am a non professional blogger because I get paid to design homes.
    I do not have a following, but I appreciate it when someone stops by and makes a comment.
    I walk a fine line in my blog because I will not give away my design expertise (my profession where I get paid) but I will write about interior design and how it affects our daily living with a sense of humor.
    I am older than most bloggers and will not run into burnout because I have lots of life lessons to write about. Plus my children are gone and I am no longer trying to balance family life and work.
    Perhaps the young design and DIY bloggers experiencing burnout realize that it is a profession they have to take very seriously and they have to work at it every day. It’s hard coming up with content and DIY projects on a weekly basis.
    It is also hard balancing family life and work too.
    I enjoy reading blogs and the people who write the blogs. Paid or unpaid.

  • Reply ellen September 26, 2014 at 3:55 pm

    My blog is strictly personal, an amusement for me and my extended family. I do struggle with producing content regularly, so it is a catalyst for seeking out intetesting experiences in my daily life. It has definitely made my photography better. I think blogging is giving way to a lot of the “short form” formats like Teitter and Instagram, which I think is too bad because those forms are less personal. You never feel like you know someone from their tweets.

  • Reply Fritha Strickland September 26, 2014 at 4:12 pm

    Loved this post Holly, I think about it often but totally agree with what you said about every profession battling with similar issues once in a while x

  • Reply Trina McNeilly September 26, 2014 at 4:32 pm

    as always, you’ve got it right on. thanks for sharing your thoughts and questions. stepping away every now and again is so important.

    xo . t

  • Reply Libby September 26, 2014 at 5:04 pm


    Very, very interesting to see this wholly from a reader’s perspective. Thank you Maria. Having not made any money from my blog , I think you have hit the nail on the head! It is that personal connection that keeps me going, and keeps my loyal readers coming back. I don’t have a huge following: respectable, but not huge, nor does it grow by leaps and bounds. But there is something there that has a personal connection. Again, thanks Maria!

  • Reply Marta September 26, 2014 at 6:03 pm

    I completely agree with your post and with the major part of the comments published. Nevertheless I would just like to add that (usually) bloggers write about something that they are passionate about (in my case, interior design). There is no doubt that blogging has helped me living a better life, taking a lot more photographs than I used to, trying to be more creative, searching for new and inspiring places, finding beauty around me…

    What I mean is… it’s much easier than working in ‘regular’ jobs – even if it has a lot of downsides as well!

    By the way, Holly, your blog is one of the first blogs I read, and I never ever get tired of it!

    Beijinhos (from Portugal)

  • Reply Dena September 26, 2014 at 6:34 pm

    There is a catch-22 when it relates blogging as a profession and it is this: many readers still define a blog as being a source of information written by an amateur. They think it is only authentic when it isn’t professional. So when they see their favorite blogger putting ads on or doing sponsored content…doing it as a profession, it violates their definition of what a blog is. It is a scary attitude to consider for us professional bloggers.

    As for the NYT article I thought it was indulging in negativity. It almost seemed to have an air of “Ha ha, see content ain’t so easy, is it blogger?” Old publishing finally getting a jab at the independent content creator who’s been eating their lunch.

  • Reply Krislyn Dillard September 26, 2014 at 6:45 pm

    I only use my blog to talk about my art or yoga (I have two blogs) not as direct income. Does that make a difference? Maybe with there is less attachment to the outcome in the form of income some of these things aren’t an issue? I don’t know! Maybe I just don’t do it enough to get burned out! On the other hand I certainly get exhausted when I teach too many yoga classes in a week. I take time off and then when I come back I feel energized and ready to share yoga once more. I think another commenter already mentioned that the article was a little bit of a tempest in a teacup. :)
    My $.02

  • Reply Inge September 26, 2014 at 9:11 pm

    It’s so true that everyone in every profession battles with burn out and fear. I’m struggling with this too as a designer (with a blog). I also think most of the time it’s you yourself who pushes you so hard. Whenever a blogger or other creative announces to take it a little easier for a while, most people are really understanding. I think to most readers it’s more important that you keep sharing even if it’s “just” once a week, than keep on posting fives times a week until you burn out and quit altogether. So I definitely think people push themselves too hard – I know I do. And it’s so important that you keep loving what you do, because it shines through. Balancing your passion and ambitions with the rest of your life is key, because if you’re not careful you will lose all joy for what you do. My last blog post is coincidentally about restoring that elusive balance! Thank you for making us think.

  • Reply JESSE DRESBACH September 26, 2014 at 9:30 pm

    This is about to be a long comment but it’s been on my mind too!

    I’ve had a very similar experience recently, my Etsy shop started to really take off, and it started stealing time from my blog. I had to prioritize and focus on the shop, and TRY to get some blogging in here & there. Which, I felt was fine – but like you said, BLOGGER GUILT. I can’t stand that feeling like “ugh, I haven’t blogged in _____days” and then scramble to think of what I should or post about.

    Then it hit me. While I was swamped with Etsy order & bogged with blogger guilt I was also experiencing what I’d call, Reader Burnout, I follow many many blogs & get their updates in my inbox. You know the worst way to start a day (in my opinion)? Seeing that your inbox gets 150-200 emails a day, 3/4 of which are from other bloggers.

    Bloggers who I imagine are experiencing the same burnout, the same guilt & pressure to post post post, and I decided that was my answer. I noticed that I was deleting posts from blogs (without reading) that tend to have an update 4-5 times a week, while I would almost ALWAYS read a post from a blog that I realized “whoah, haven’t seen anything from them in a while” – because I felt, logically, if they haven’t posted in a bit and they are posting now, it’s gotta be good.

    So with that I figure, for myself & my pace of life, I’ll post when I have something to say, when I have time to say it right, & that’s that. No more guilt. No more filling peoples inboxes. No more rushing to “pump something out.”

    Another observation is most of my traffic now comes from Pinterest. This means people are tuning into parts of my blog for the first time that may be YEARS old… so does a “fresh” post even matter anymore if people are being directed to any number of posts, past & present? I feel like the population of people waiting for fresh posts are dwindling, and more people are looking for content -regardless of when it was posted – and will find you & your projects via Pinterest or Project galleries on your site.

    But that’s just my opinion & gameplan, it’s really all I can handle! :D

    Great post, thank you for writing it :)

  • Reply Monica September 26, 2014 at 9:31 pm

    I think blog burnout is part of a bigger problem that we expect ourselves and others to be “on” all the time.
    At least with other kinds of work, there’s a clearer “off-duty” time.

    I’m hopeful–maybe we’re collectively waking up to the idea that being plugged in and generating content (whether for a blog, instagram, Facebook, or other online thing) all the time isn’t as nice as we thought it would be. That there was the rush of newness, and now we’ll settle down to a more considerate pace.

    Maybe bloggers, being the trailblazers, are among the first to feel the effects of online-presence-burnout? maybe that means you’ll be the first to recover and be guides for the rest of us?

  • Reply jaclyn September 26, 2014 at 10:33 pm

    I have been a huge fan of YHL since the very beginning of their blog and watched as the sh*t storm happened in their comments section.
    While I like that such a high profile article has brought light to the subject, I do think it missed the mark a bit and didn’t focus enoug on the potentially even worse issue of internet etiquette.

    I think burnout is one thing, but it’s another issue to be a professional blogger and to have readers incessantly demanding MORE, MORE, MORE from you. I’m not sure if the situation was particular to YHL or not, but I know many bloggers who regularly take breaks or go “offline” for days, if not weeks at a time. Yet YHL missed one week of posts and people went crazy. Like, actually, kind of crazy.

    It’s a sad world we live in where readers seem to forget that there are actual human beings on the other side of those blogs. Yes, they may be financially successful, and yes they may have the luxury of making their own schedule but they are still human and still have emotions that should be respected.

  • Reply kalani September 26, 2014 at 11:34 pm

    Holly you hit on some great points in your response to the NYT article. I have a few thoughts. So much of the content is just “sound bites” pulled from people’s blog posts.Had this been a story on another kind of business the author would’ve had to work harder to get real content & more interviews rather than cutting and pasting people’s words from their blog posts.

    I would love to see a follow up to this interviewing all the successful bloggers who decided to walk away from blogging two or three years ago. I think that is the beginning of the real story. Those who announced their departure and why and those who just dropped off the face of the earth. I’d love to hear their prospective now on their decision, what led them to their decision, if they have any regrets or haven’t looked back for a split second.

    I don’t mind sponsored posts but you can certainly tell when it’s a little too much of a stretch for the author to tie it all together. I certainly understand that people need to make money. I don’t love blogs that have thumbnailed a ton of posts on the page with tons of ads all around it. I will leave if it becomes too hard or unpleasant to visit. I don’t at all mind ads on the sides when done tastefully.

  • Reply Deb September 27, 2014 at 6:35 am

    Your last bullet point hit the nail on the head. I made a very similar comment in the BYW FB group before reading this. I’ve gone through all these things in the NYT article. Not with a blog, but with my public health career and my husband’s home-based business. And my husband is now self-employed due to Fortune 500 burn-out. These problems are not unique to blogging.

    Regarding the shifting ad/sponsor/compensation issues, many industries/businesses/people have to deal with finances shifting like sand under their feet. You have to find a footing before you fall over. Sometimes you can keep doing the same job or career, but differently. Sometimes you have to find something else to do. We don’t live on a planet that offers stability over a very long haul. So, I think people have to do what Holly urges – try to have the vision to see a step ahead. Diversify. Follow what you love to do.

  • Reply Allison September 27, 2014 at 10:57 pm

    I don’t think that the push or pressure is ONLY the voice inside your head, but actually a tangible and traceable occurrence. While I have never used my blog to earn money, there is always a definite parallel between the number of followers and the frequency/quality of posts. I always noticed during my quiet periods, where there were more things going on behind the scenes than I had time to post about, then followers would drop like flies. The more I posted, and kept up with the pressure that I thought I put on myself, the more followers that came. Since I post about mostly creative DIY projects, I felt very much like those following me were just fair-weathered fans… only staying if I could turn out project after project. When you are talking about creating something that literally take days or even weeks to finish, it always left me with a bitter taste in my mouth wondering how I could keep up with what felt like junkies waiting for the next “creative fix”, knowing only they would leave if I couldn’t satisfy the craving fast enough… just in one’s head? I can’t completely agree.

  • Reply Maureen September 28, 2014 at 11:13 pm

    Jana Miller,I agree

  • Reply Mithra September 29, 2014 at 2:28 pm


    Wow, I couldn’t articulate why the NYT story bugged me but you sure did! Very perceptive and valid points.

  • Reply Joy @ Joyfully Green September 29, 2014 at 4:59 pm

    My in-laws saved that Times article for me, but I’m happy to have found your follow-up (through a link on jjbegonia). I had just written a post last Wednesday that touched upon the monetizing aspect of blogging–in particular, telling readers that my blog is actually a business (probably a shocker to some readers!) and how I make money at it (teaching online photography classes).

    I’ve been blogging for just over two years, and I’m always learning what works and what doesn’t work for me. I have two young children (as well as a sweet dog who appreciates regular walks), so I had to find a schedule that worked for me without burning me out. For me, that means posting a very short post on Monday (“Monday Snapshot”), a longer post on Wednesday, and then a round-up post on Fridays (“Joyful Reads for the Weekend”).

    I honestly have no idea how some bloggers (without staffers) are able to churn out lengthy, quality posts more than once a week and still maintain some semblance of a life offline. But, I applaud them if they can do it! It really is like a magazine, where you’re the editor, photographer, sole writer, and public relations person. Not easy!

    I think blogging is a perpetual adjustment to what “feels right.” Although I don’t accept ads because they don’t fit with my overall blog message, I can understand that some blogs (especially those dedicated to food or style) would be able to accept ads that are a natural fit. We each have to do what feels right, and I agree with the comments here that readers should be respectful of the fact that (1) we have lives offline and (2) we’re trying to make a living via the blog, in the best ways we know how.

  • Reply Chris @ Celebrations At Home September 29, 2014 at 11:17 pm

    I’ve been blogging for 6 years now and still love doing it. Honestly, I don’t think the burnout comes from the Blogging, I think it comes from chasing social media.
    Every 6 months there’s a new platform to either hop on or not. I’ve always said I’d rather just focus on the work and the creative part. I’m not a marketer and as such, I hate “chasing” down new readers at every turn….unfortunately that’s the world we live in now and I have to suck it up and do it.
    Anyway, my point is that for me it’s the social media chase that causes burnout, not blogging per say.

  • Reply Blenda September 30, 2014 at 6:47 pm

    Holly, thank you for putting this into words: “My blogging mantra has always been to use blogging as a catalyst to live your best life. To let blogging drive you to do great things so that you have interesting content to share. I also think you have to think ahead and always expect that nothing today will be this way tomorrow. Especially online.” … true!

  • Reply anastasia October 1, 2014 at 2:24 am

    This was an interesting read – Ive been blogging since 2006 but have never made money blogging although my blog does direct people to my Etsy shop and I have also been asked to do Craft projects for a Papercraft magazine a couple of times which I was paid for ( so fun to do…) so in a way I’m glad I’m not a full time blogger and if t blogging was my full time job, I’m sure it would be SO much pressure…exhausting! and Id end up hating it…
    I didn’t mind the advertising boxes on blogs, why the change – is it not working for brands?
    Sponsored ads when done correctly are fine but sometimes very obvious and cheesy (a famous interior stylist collaborating with a snack food co. during her Flea market haunt…lame!!!) Collaborations seem to be better way to go…A Beautiful Mess blog seem to do this well but they too get negative feedback online – maybe the ‘big blogger’ status is what irks people?!
    I also think its keeping up with social media which changes so quickly that is causing burnout for bloggers and readers – and really if you think about it, how many blogs can you really follow without having a decent Life offline….? Slow blogging is the way to go.

    • Reply decor8 October 1, 2014 at 7:41 pm

      @Anastasia – Do you mean Emily Henderson? I didn’t think that was lame, it seemed okay, she needed to eat.

  • Reply anastasia October 2, 2014 at 1:03 am


    Yes, I didn’t want to name her blog but maybe my comment was obvious – I think I would have preferred to see more Flea market goods rather than images of snack packs ha-ha but that’s just me!
    I guess it is tricky trying to incorporate it to looks seamlessly, creative and professional…she did something similar in a recent blog post collaborating with another food company along whilst sharing images of her new kitchen (and her adorable family…) I still love her blog but again Id rather see more detail about the kitchen.

  • Reply Holly October 15, 2014 at 8:21 pm

    I completely agree that people in all professions struggle with burnout, not just blogging. One reason I can see blogging as being a bit distinct, though, is that many people who started in the “early days” of blogging did it for fun (e.g. the Petersiks with YHL) and gradually gained a following and thus a career.

    As for sponsored content, I think it totally depends on how it’s done. As a reader–and especially as a blogger who understands the work involved–I don’t mind it when a blogger does a sponsored post. The only thing that irks me to no end is the idea of a “sponsored review.” To me, that seems a contradiction in terms. You may be helping readers by introducing them to a new product or service, but you can’t offer an unbiased review if it’s sponsored.

    Another thing I’ve been thinking about…blogging, at least in the realm of some bigger blogs, has become professionalized. I actually think that’s a great thing. It’s easy to feel inadequate when you scroll through post after post about flawless craft projects and recipes that some stay-at-home-mom happens to do in her spare time. (Or sorry, is it just me?) But seeing posts that include credits for art direction and photography remind me that each creation involves significant work and often teamwork.

  • Reply A October 18, 2014 at 10:56 am

    What Martha said.

  • Reply Amanda October 24, 2014 at 11:17 pm


    I recently wrote a post about this very thing: essentially quality vs. quantity (here if you want to read it: I definitely feel reader burnout when a blogger posts 5x a week. I feel like people who post less are posting better content because they’re taking more time to write it. That might not be the actual case, but as a reader that’s what it feels like. I know for me, posting 2-3x a week is the perfect balance. Granted, I have way fewer followers than most blogs.

    I do think this post brought up an interesting question: if readers don’t like ads and they don’t like sponsored content, how ARE bloggers supposed to earn money? I am not even close to earning any money from blogging, so I don’t mean me necessarily, but “big” bloggers (probably like this one). I’d never thought about moving toward paying for the “good” content. That would really trim down the number of blogs I read, because there are very few I would actually pay for.

    I LOVE your third bullet point about finding genuine joy in our work. Something I’ve been toying with is the idea of turning off comments. I just wonder if I would find as much joy from writing and posting without the outward validation of comments. I do love interaction with readers, so I don’t think I would actually turn of comments completely, but it’s an interesting concept. If we truly blog because we enjoy it, should we NEED the numbers and the comments to valid that enjoyment?

    Interesting post! Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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