Wednesday, August 1, 2012

At A Crossroads

This is a post I thought I'd never have to write.
For the last 3 years I have blogged. I lived and breathed this blog and put almost all of my extra time into it. I've watched it grow and evolve and all the while being so happy I made the decision to this.
I've discovered amazing brands, met some of the greatest people and dove head first into a world I was completely unfamiliar with.

I guess I'll start at the beginning. At the beginning of the summer, I wanted to make a conscious effort to grow my blog. I started networking more, sponsoring posts, swapping buttons, sponsoring giveaways, you name it. It all came to a head when I had accomplished my goal. I had a ton of wonderful new followers, a huge list of post ideas and future linkups/giveaways planned. That's when it hit me. It's time to take my blog to the next level. 

The next level to me was offering advertisements and paid sponsorships. I started doing research, I started cleaning up my blog, I started doing my own design work. I had plans, I had goals, I had a dream. Then I had a breakdown. My current schedule is already chaotic. I work, I look for jobs (still trying to get a job in my field) and then I have my regularly scheduled life. If I was going to take people's money to sponsor my blog, I'd have to make sure it was worth it to them. If I'm going to do something, I'm going to do it right. I know there are different levels of sponsorship. I know first hand what it feels like to shell out money for a sponsorship and not get a return on my investment. It sucks. I didn't want to be that blog. I may have almost 400 followers, but I don't think my page views are anywhere up to par for successful sponsoring.

It wasn't just sponsorships. It was everything. I would love a new blog design so I don't have to spend so much time designing my own buttons and graphics. It just comes down to not being able to afford it. I mean I've gotten along 3 years doing it myself, what's a little longer? But then I asked myself if I could be content essentially "chugging" along for a little longer until I have the resources to do a full revamping? The answer was no.

I just purchased a blog critique ebook and was writing out my goals and jotting down notes on how to upgrade some things on my own. And that's when it happened. I realized I don't have the time or resources to do what I want for this blog. 

I know there are no written rules about how you should run your blog, how it evolves or even how fast it evolves. I just know I have my rules. I don't like to do things half-assed. If I'm going to do it, I want it done right. I just don't see that happening here, at least not now.

Now please don't take my opinion for how I want my blog to be as an attack on anyone's blog. To each their own. I follow blogs that don't have buttons, an expensive blog design or sponsorships and they do quite well. I also follow blogs who offer too much advertising. I mean if you have 50 blog buttons of different shapes and sizes on your side bar, how are you helping those people? Not that I'm criticizing you, it's my opinion. I just know I would never waste my money on a blog that has an over abundance of sponsors. What's the point? I digress.

Once you open Pandora's box, you have to accept all that comes with it. Gone are the days of, "Eh, I'm not in the mood to blog today". I know I don't have to offer sponsorships. I can chug along, writing my content, designing my own things and probably still be just as happy. And that may be what I do. All I know is between life, blogging, reading blogs, blog upkeep, work and job hunting, I'm spent.

Not that followers are the main thing, but nobody wants to feel like they are writing to no one. I love interactions, I love meeting new people, I love discovering new blogs and products. No one wants to feel all their time and effort is for nothing. And it's not about the number, it really isn't for me. If I had 5000 followers, but only 300 read my blog on a daily basis, I'd be really disappointed. If I have 300 followers and 150 read everyday, that would make me feel really good. I get so happy with every comment, seriously. I check my email a billion times a day to see what you guys had to say about my posts. Interaction is way more important to me than numbers. That's the honest truth.

So ultimately I feel I have a decision to make. Part of me wants to take a blog break until the end of the summer. I'd like to think I'll have a new job by then and be more on a set schedule. I'm currently all over the place. The summer is always hectic. I like to spend my summer traveling and living by the pool. I don't want to be cooped up inside or at a Starbucks writing posts, no offense. It's not that I don't wanna write it, I just really like my pool. Part of me wants to say goodbye to blogging period. I'd of course still read blogs and interact with all of you, I'd miss you way too much. I'm just tired. 

It comes down to this. Will I be able to handle only being able to do some revamping? I'm not sure. If you don't know it already, I'm a perfectionist. I want everything to look great, be fluid across all mediums and ultimately produce. Not produce financially (which would also be nice), but produce statistically. 

So my question is this, have you ever been at a crossroads with your blog? How did you handle it? What did you do?

I really want your opinion on this. Maybe I don't need drastic changes, maybe only little ones to tide me over. What are your thoughts? Can anyone offer guidance?

I'm glad I calmed down before writing this because I was ready to throw in the towel earlier today, ask Neely. Thank you for talking me off the ledge. I really didn't think this made me happy anymore and then I saw something on TV and said, "I need to blog about that". 

I will be taking the rest of the week off to get out of my own head for a bit. Don't panic.

♥ Erin


Jamie said...

Hang in there. I think you're making the right choice- give it a week to mull everything over.

Sarah said...

I really enjoy reading your blog. With that said I understand being a little overwhelmed with life and blogging. I havent been the best blogger over summer because there has been so much going on that take priority over the blog but I like to think my readers understand (if I even have regular readers) Keep your head up!

Frances @ It's Sew My Style said...

I've been at that point many times. I don't know if you remember, but I took a few months off of my blog. I hadn't gained any new followers in two years, and had about 10 hits per day (most of which were my mother). Sometimes you just have to do things because you like to do them and not worry so much about whether people are reading it or not. Of course it is wonderful to get that interaction with followers and know that you are writing to someone, but that's not everything. If your blog is your creative outlet then just let it be that. I've spent many days crying over my blog, but in the end I came back to it because I enjoy it. If that ever changes I won't hesitate to stop.

So the moral of my essay here lol is that you need to do whatever feels right to you. If you feel you need a break, then take a break. If you feel you need to make some drastic changes, then I'm sure you will find a way in due time to do just that. It will all work out. Keep your head up :)

momFITtingitallin said...

enjoy your break. The most important thing is you do what makes you happy.


Neely said...

You already know my thoughts and that i will always support your decisions. I think you need to do what feel s right for you. Dont feel guilty or bad about it.

Holly said...

I absolutely love your honesty! I've been at this crossroads. I've caught myself getting too caught up in the glitz and glamour of other bloggers and trying to compete. I started being more real. If I don't post every day, so what. It's my blog and I'll do with it what I want. I started letting go of the expectations I had because I was trying to live up to other bloggers. I wasn't happy because I was distracted from what truly mattered to me when it came to my blog. Hang in there. You will figure it out and do what's best for you. Loyal readers will still be there. I'm a perfectionist too, but sometimes something's got to give. Good luck sweet girl! I'll be thinking about you!

Shelley said...

It's okay to take bloggy breaks!

Carly Ann said...

I think that if you feel like you need to take a bit of a bloggy break, you should do it. Maybe don't accept anymore sponsors until after you feel like you can devote more time to the blog again, but other than that, I think your followers will still be your followers :)

tara said...

i have been feeling this exact same way for months! after blogging for almost 3 years, i feel its become a major part of my life and its hard for me to walk away. plus its introduced me to so many amazing people. at the end of may, i refunded all my sponsors who had paid for future months, i just had to stop. i was putting SO much pressure on myself and it took all the fun out of blogging. i don't know what to tell you besides do what's right for you. blog for fun. if you need a break, take one. <3

Krystal said...

ditto what tara said! blog for yourself and sponsors will be fine just being along for the ride! ;) you think too much about this, i didn't blog 4 days this week but i'm not beating myself up about it. some days i'm better at this blog thing than others. even still - i manage to have sponsors who renew their sponsorships and even upgrade. you just never know!

MaryBeth said...

Take the summer off. You are your own blog boss right now so nothing you do is wrong. But please come back. I read your blog because you are in Philly. I love Philly blogs because I live right outside of Philly. Supporting the home team.
Do what you must but you are on my reader so if you post I will read.
xoxo, MB

Kristine said...

I would definitely miss you if you left but I'd hope that we could still keep in contact. I'm glad that we've formed a friendship via blogging, but I definitely know what you're going through. Sometimes it just seems it takes too much effort. Love you E-bomb.

Cait said...

i know how ya feel darling. i def feel the same way and id be really sad if you left! hang in there! of course you do what you want, because it is YOUR blog. :) xo

Annmarie Pipa said...

is there something in the air? I have been thinking this same thing every night for the past 2 weeks...then wake up and write another post...

SKB said...

I was exactly where you are at the beginning of the summer and I had to walk away for a little bit, clear my head, and breathe. I too am not happy with how my blog "looks" right now and think I have decided to take the plunge and get a designer. I have missed talking to everyone so much and I know realize that I have developed some fairly strong relationships just through blogging. I think you have the right idea-walk away for a little bit, clear your head, listen to your heart, and I know you will be back better than ever! Good Luck!

Kristen said...

so i'm super behind in reading, so i'm glad i'm late bc i already know the answer to this post is that you're not leaving. but i'm sad i'm late that i couldn't have talked to you about it beforehand!

i totally know the feeling. i've been posting less lately and now that the hubs and i are on the same schedules, my blogging is taking time away from him and it sucks. it really makes you thihk about what's important.