The Truth About Blogging That No One Wants To Admit

Kyle Reed // @kylereed

There is a hidden truth about blogging that seems to be hiding under the layers of the internet.

It dawned on me Sunday night as I realized I did not have a blog ready to go for Monday.

The truth is: the pressure of posting every day brings about the feeling of non-existence. Let me explain.

For most of us, the reason we are known online is for our blogging, twitter or facebook. Most likely you (ya the person reading this) have a day job that does not have much to do with the online world. You take part in social media on your free time and do your best to put your content out there for others to read. You haven’t written a book, spoken to thousands or made a killer album. That is okay. Because you are like everyone else. You take part in social media because you enjoy the conversation and sharing.

But sometimes we get caught up in this idea of worry. “What if I do not post? My traffic will go down for the day.” Or how about this, “my readers are expecting me to have a post ready for them. If I don’t post they will stop reading and never come back.You ever felt that way? Ya me either :)

But if we are honest with ourselves we would realize our blogs, tweets and other social media aspects are just a small blip on the map. And if we really get honest with ourselves we would admit that we have let our identity creep into our stats and followers. If you do not want to get that honest, don’t worry, I will do it for you.

I realized this because sometimes I really do not want to write. It becomes such a choir that I just don’t feel like spending time writing. Somethings I would rather watch television, read a book, or go for a run.

But my thinking on this has shifted. My ideas, my identity, and my hustle is not caught up in my blog. My blog is a small piece of everything else. Because for a while my blog was all I had. I held onto it as my thing. It was what I was known for and what I took pride in. But the more I become honest with myself the more I realized that everyone has a blog, and that everyone wants their blog to be “the thing” in the blog world. I am slowly starting to let go of the idea that my blog is my identity and starting to grasp on to the thought that it is just one small thing that makes up a part of all the things I do. Once I started to think this way the pressure was released.

The most freeing thing in the world is realizing that you do not have to put all your chips on one thing. That all your eggs are not in one basket, and that simple you do not have to pick one thing and make it work.

Maybe the biggest thing that we need to do today is start letting go of our blog being our only identity and start looking at how we can take all of our ideas we talk about and start executing them. And then you can see your blog turn into just a piece of what you do.

Am I alone in this feeling?

*kyle

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Kyle Reed

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I create websites, conversations, and ideas. Advocate for the 20 somethings. Looking to connect everyone to a mentor. Married to my best friend, Ginny. I like my coffee black and my dog Jack. I currently live in Nashville and work at Sony Music/Provident in Nashville
  • http://chriscornwell.org Chris Cornwell

    Preaching to the choir I can’t tell you how many times I’ve posted out of necessity and what i wrote was off the cuff at about 5:55am because I couldnt find anything to talk about.

    I read this on my phone walking from the car into work. I can’t wait to get home and read it again.

    • http://thoughtsaboutnothing.com @kylereed

      thanks Chris. I have been there as well.

      Ya when you come back to read it again would love to hear why we feel like “we have to post” in your opinion

      • http://chriscornwell.org Chris Cornwell

        I think there is this feeling of needing to coddle and nurture new relationships and growing community. We see feel this pressure to make sure the relationship continues to grow and flourish. Kind of like that relationship in high school where you had to talk on AIM every night! We want to be connected and we want to be wanted. So maybe it goes beyond simply daily views but we fear the relationship will grow stale if we don’t help it along everyday but in reality we just need to nurture ourselves in feeling like we are needed.

  • http://www.dadlife.net kevin

    Yes, yes, yes.  I’ve been really on the fence about quitting blogging altogether.  I get so burnt out on tweets that I see with statements like you mentioned in your post about “what if I don’t post on Monday?”  “It’s a holiday? What will that do to my traffic?”  “I’m going on vacation.  Should I blog while on vacation or not?  Is it ok if I take a break for a week?” or “Gosh, I’m not sure why today’s post didn’t get any comments.” 

    Who gives a crap?  All you’ve done is make sure I stop reading your blog because clearly it’s just a source of pride for you.  You mask it with “what do my readers want/expect” but that really just means “what can I write that will get the most reaction from my readers?”  And it’s ridiculous.  Just effing write.  (side note: I realize we all deal with this at some point or another, myself included.  But it feels like a good portion of tweets/updates have been along these lines lately.  And it kills me.)

    I haven’t touched my blog since June 10.  Mostly because I don’t have any words in me to write.  When words come, I’ll write them.  If you read it, awesome.  If not, that’s cool too.  We’ll still be friends, I’ll still go home to an awesome wife and the coolest son on the planet. 

    We’ve got to get past this notion that we our blog defines us.  It kills creativity.

    • http://thoughtsaboutnothing.com @kylereed

      you said it well. 

      The pressure is so great and honestly is a huge lie. I mean I would like to believe that my writing inspires people or causes some thought but honestly, everyone would survive if I did not post daily :)
      I think this is the biggest lie we tell ourselves. That if we do not post we do not matter. Everyone is in a race to have the most traffic and comments but ultimately the content is suffering.

      I mean I do not want my biggest contribution to the world to be my blog. I want to do a lot bigger things then that.

      Thanks for your thoughts. 

  • http://jonathanpearson.net/ Jonathan Pearson

    You’re definitely on to something. When we realize our success/existence doesn’t rely on one thing, it can free us. Been here! Thanks for pointing it out.

    • http://thoughtsaboutnothing.com @kylereed

      yes…I am finally starting to let go of it and realize the bigger picture.

  • http://twitter.com/andreayorkmuse Andrea York

    I’m new to blogging (about 4 weeks now) and I feel pressure – it’s uncomfortable and I’m trying to work through it. I love that you said it’s not our identity (at least not the stats and followers). I’ve been working through a series on identity for the month July and I’ll be getting around to writing about this very topic (www.andreayorkmuse.com) – small plug. :)

    What I’ve been struggling with is in my quiet time with the Lord – I gain insight and inspiration from my worship. For the past year, I’ve enjoyed the worship for what it was – time with the Lord without expectation of any input. I was simply a daughter. Now, with the introduction of my blog, which I believe is directed by God, I have to have output as a result from my worship time. I’m struggling with how to NOT manipulate my time with God, simply because I need more material. It’s tough and I’m still walking through it.

    Thanks for the post – it’s helpful to a newbie to see others have similar struggles.

    • http://thoughtsaboutnothing.com @kylereed

      love the small plug. I mean you got me to go and read :)

      wow, yes that is a tough battle to wage there. Not treating God like a drink dispenser but more of a life giving well. 
      I would share that struggle with your readers. powerful stuff there

  • http://thisismethinking.com/ Darrell Vesterfelt

    Good thoughts Kyle.  You are not alone on this.

    • http://thoughtsaboutnothing.com @kylereed

      thanks, I am glad I am not…great minds great minds :)

  • http://theperkinsblog.net MichaelDPerkins

    Not alone at all. I will be honest & say that for a very long time I would be upset if a post didn’t get x amount of comments. It would make me sick. I’d think things like, “I guess they don’t like me.” That was really stupid.

    I’ve gotten over that now. I write & I publish stuff that I believe is important, not what will elicit a huge response. And it has been liberating. It’s like I gave myself permission to be myself. So I really appreciate this post because it felt like it was something in my own head.

    • http://thoughtsaboutnothing.com @kylereed

      yes, I am in that position as well. Because honestly I want to be known way past my blog. that is not all I want to do.

  • http://somewiseguy.com ThatGuyKC

    Definitely not alone. I actually turned off stats on my blogs for the month of June because I was getting to wrapped up in traffic and comment numbers. I’m actually going to keep stats off for the summer so I can focus on living, redefining what blogging is for me, and engage in community.

    Btw, I hate your blog.
    It’s too awesome.
    Can you tone it down a bit?
    Thanks. :)

    • http://thoughtsaboutnothing.com @kylereed

      that is a great challenge. I hear you on that. getting wrapped up in that is easy to do and very hard to break. 

      And thanks for your kind words

  • http://twitter.com/brennanloveless brennanloveless

    Good truth and honesty brother. All of us feel this way. I feel it and i don’t even write posts that often. That’s why i usually keep it simple with sharing photos through autoposts, cause i used to feel the pressure to write all the time so as to be heard but I don’t think that’s what it’s about in reality. It really is about sharing and community (however loosely one chooses to use that word). Anyway, i appreciate the thoughts….oh, and keep working on that spelling and grammar :) 

    • http://thoughtsaboutnothing.com @kylereed

      You know, just keeping it real with the grammar :)

  • http://www.mecasually.com Matthew Erxleben

    Knowing not all your eggs are in one basket does release the pressure.  This applies to much more than just blogging.  Great stuff

    • http://thoughtsaboutnothing.com @kylereed

      truth

  • http://brettcohrs.com Brett

    I keep thinking that the whole social media and blogging thing takes so much energy. I have to be fully present at my office during the day, and Twitter can be a distraction and a ever-more-hungry beast. It’s so useful yet it also brings out weird adolescent type concerns over what folks think. Sometimes my blog is the same. I know, though, if I had to simplify my life, the blog would have to get the ax.

    • http://thoughtsaboutnothing.com @kylereed

      exactly, priorities are huge. I agree man.

  • Ben Lemery

    I just quit blogging and started doing.  Maybe I am not made for the blogging community, it just seemed to throw up a lot of roadblocks and overall my motives to be “something” was outweighing God’s call on my life to be “nothing.”  

    • http://thoughtsaboutnothing.com @kylereed

      agreed. Sometimes you have to quit things to discover something else. I think there is wisdom in that move. it is not for everyone 

  • http://about.me/jonfulk Jon Fulk

    My wife has been talking about identity a lot these days, and she’s saying some great stuff (see her recent newsletter at http://heatherfulk.com/news if you’re curious).  The truth is, if we find our identity in anything other than Christ, we will be let down.  Once we know who God says we are, we can return diligently to the things we do as an expression of that identity.  Blogging consistently is good, if you’re doing it for the right reasons.  I read WAY too much blogging advice when I decided to get serious about blogging, and I almost burned out before I began.  Lately, I’ve been giving myself grace and realizing that growth happens slowly over long periods of time, and some day I will look back and be surprised at how far I’ve come.

    • http://thoughtsaboutnothing.com @kylereed

      totally agree. It is very easy to get caught up in everything except for christ. I struggle with that often

  • http://manofdepravity.com Tyler Braun

    Why you got to be so depressing on your birthday? :)

    I often think the struggle of social media isn’t the expectation of what others want from you, but the expectations we put on ourselves to be something. I know this has been true for me. I think a big key to social media use is consistency, and that is obviously a big key to writing as well. But when the inner anxiousness to put something out there overrides the simple desire to write/share/connect, I think we’ve gone wrong.

    Well written Kyle.

    • http://stephenalynch.tumblr.com Stephen Lynch

      Depressing on your birthday! Hilarious.

    • http://thoughtsaboutnothing.com @kylereed

      nailed it…the pressure we put on ourselves is probably the biggest problem. 

      • http://businessmindhacks.com AlexSchleber

        The pressure is one thing, but this is largely due to what I’ve been beginning to call the Content Creator’s Dilemma. See here: http://alexschleber.amplify.com/2011/05/31/jeff-jarvis-on-what-ive-been-beginning-to-call-the-content-creators-dilemma

  • http://stephenalynch.tumblr.com Stephen Lynch

    Of course you’re not alone in this. Silly Kyle.

    More posts lead to more traffic. But answering the question “Why am I
    blogging?” gives direction for your posts and establishes the need to
    either push content out or spend time in other arenas. Finding the
    balance is hard to find but well worth the search.

    • http://thoughtsaboutnothing.com @kylereed

      yes it is…the search is what it is about

  • http://twitter.com/blogboy2 mikec

    Can totally relate, Kyle. Every time I let go, the pressure leaves (just like a balloon losing air). But I expect another post out of you by tomorrow morning. Ok? :P

    • http://thoughtsaboutnothing.com @kylereed

      haha, oh the pressure 

  • Anonymous

    I rebel against pressure. It’s just in my nature. I prefer to be chill, avoid stress and live ambitiously and passionately but intentionally. Does that make sense? So while I would like to post every day and grow my traffic and be able to get more advertising and sponsorships, I also have an engineering day job and a photography job that pay much better than blogging…not to mention a husband and two kids. So I generally don’t allow anybody or anything to put too much pressure on me, including my blog. However I do believe in consistency and not giving up so just because I don’t post one day or even a few days doesn’t mean I give up the blog altogether…too many people do that. 

  • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

    Interesting. I believe two things:
    1) You should try to build one really strong platform before you can leverage two.
    2) Your blog is not you. It is an extension of you.

    • http://thoughtsaboutnothing.com @kylereed

      I don’t feel like I need to reply because we already talked

      • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

        Hah! ;)

  • http://www.jasonvana.com Jason Vana

    I have definitely noticed the same trend in me that past two weeks. I’ve been so busy getting ready for this missions trip, that the thought of writing as been more of a chore than something I want to do. I’m actually looking forward to being away from the stats and comments and such on my blog for the next two weeks while I’m gone. I will still be putting posts up – more of updates on the trip (in past trips I always sent an email out to people each day or every other day) – but I won’t be responding to comments (unless there is time) and I won’t be checking the stats at all. I’m already feeling freer from it.

    • http://thoughtsaboutnothing.com @kylereed

      nice man. glad that you are and that you can focus on the trip and not what you are leaving at home. being present is very important

  • http://stevencribbs.com Steven Cribbs

    Great thoughts Kyle!

    I generally want to have a post ready for Monday morning.  I hit a similar place this weekend and didn’t really want to write (even the couple of times that I sat down to try writing a bit).  Well, this week, my first post came out on Wednesday.  And, instead of writing, I enjoyed a relaxed weekend with my family :)

    • http://thoughtsaboutnothing.com @kylereed

      that is awesome. And honestly probably didn’t miss a thing because you didn’t post until wednesday 

  • Anonymous

    Great perspective and insight – you nailed when you talked about balance! Nicely done and  happy birthday – what are you like 16 now with a learner’s permit and all ;-)  Only kidding, you truly have wisdom beyond your years!

    • http://thoughtsaboutnothing.com @kylereed

      haha, sometimes I feel like I am just 16…but I did hit the big 25 yesterday. 

      Speaking of driving, I actually got pulled over last night for my right break light being out. The cop ended the convo by saying, “happy birthday”
      I just laughed.