Discouraged.

August 8, 2011

I’m in overload.

Truly. There are so many thoughts swimming around in my head from this past week I can’t even begin to sort them out.

BlogHer was both motivating and, well, depressing in some ways. There were sessions I left feel empowered and others like I’d had the wind taken put of my sails, been smacked in the face with reality, and felt embarrassed I even was sitting there. A poser.

I came away with a sense of knowing why I write but not really knowing why I blog. Does that make sense?

I don’t do giveaways often. I won’t do reviews. I’m not paid much. I don’t have killer traffic. I don’t know SEO or a lot of HTML. I have no focus on here other than my life. And? I don’t really care, but apparently all of this does matter at some point.

So what the hell am I doing?

I don’t know that either.

My only answer is to step back. Refocus. Decide if this arena for writing is where I want to be now. Or if I should focus it in ways like freelancing/short stories/etc. Because I put in a lot of time on here. I love it. But after listening to people speak, it seems like I’m doing it all wrong. Apparently I should have all (or at least some) of the things listed above and be paid.

The hard part is that I really don’t care about any of that crap because I just love to write – but from what I got, feeling like that means continuing to blog the way I do will go nowhere. And it’s an awful lot of time, effort, and passion to have nothing monetarily to show at the end of the day. It’s a lot to ask of my family and husband who support me.

I love our community. What I’ve built. But I can’t keep pouring time into something that stays still. And has no focus. Or real purpose other than to entertain.

:/ I feel guilty even writing that. But it’s true. It takes up too much of my time now to be free. For my own confidence, my work has to start to contribute to our home. And since this isn’t doing it, maybe this should be put on a back burner.

I’m not writing this for comments or hoping to hear pleas to stay, because as much as I love that I do realize the sun does not rise and set on my blog posts. :p I’m writing this because I’ve tried to always be honest on here. And I’m discouraged.

I feel like maybe this blog was a jumping point for paid work. It makes me sad to leave it behind. But I know my limits and I don’t honestly think I can juggle both and do them equally well.

And apparently I’m not doing this too well anyway.

52 Comments

  • Robin @ Farewell, Stranger

    August 16, 2011 at 6:43 pm

    Came over after reading Story’s post. I’m sure you’ve thought more about this since writing it, but I have to agree with the above comments. Your blog is for you, and you are doing good things with it. I absolutely do not want my blog to be about product reviews or giveaways, though I may do the latter occasionally (but only for stuff I can squeeze a story out of).

    Also, I am willing to write for free, especially at this point. I’d love to do more freelance writing, but for me being part of this community is about enjoying it and contributing to something, and sometimes that means free.

    You’re doing great. We all are. Success is how you define it!

  • Megan at SortaCrunchy

    August 16, 2011 at 11:47 am

    Hey mama. Sorry I’m a bit late to this, but I wanted you to know I understand what you are saying here. I kind of think BlogHer isn’t the best fit for writers/bloggers like you and me. Maybe there is a conference out there that would be more practical/hands-on empowering?

    Also, I really loved what my friend Hollywood Housewife wrote about blogging and how it can change your life (even if you don’t make money from it) and I LOVED her golf analogy in the comments: http://www.hollywoodhousewife.com/2011/08/the-truth-is-that-blogging-changes-lives-a-blogher-recap.html I think it speaks to what you are feeling here.

  • jess

    August 12, 2011 at 2:19 pm

    Really interesting thoughts Diana. And a good eye opener to blogher for us newbies, because honestly, my blog is tiny and I just want to go to hang out. Learning would be great but I know my blog will never be one like the “big kids” and thats fine by me. But definitely there’s stuff to think about.

  • Kristin @ What She Said

    August 12, 2011 at 7:29 am

    I feel like I could have written this. Especially right now, as I’ve been mulling some of the exact same things over in my head. I also love to write. And at the risk of sounding narcissistic, I really prefer to write about my life, although all writing gives me joy. So, where do I go from here?

    At first glance, our blogs are very similar, both in terms of traffic/rankings and content. I also won’t do reviews and am about to do my first giveaway ever – and my last one for a while, probably. They’re just not me.

    So, it sort of begs the question… what DO I do? And in what capacity do I want to do it?

  • Rebecca

    August 11, 2011 at 8:36 pm

    Oh Diana! I’ve had so many of these feelings since coming home from San Diego. I, like you, thought I’d come home on fire to change the world and make big bucks with my blog, but I came home a little scared and a little uncomfortable.

    Uncomfortable because every time I thought about reviewing a product or whoring myself out to sponsors, I got sick to my stomach.

    When I thought about sharing my story and connecting with readers, I got excited!

    You are SOOO GOOOD at connecting with your readers! Like Devan said, this blog screams you and we all love you!

    I would totally feel like I’d lost a friend if this blog died off, so keep writing!

    Who knows what is on the road ahead..I believe that Dooce got big because people fell in love with her through her blog and it grew. You should believe that is possible for anyone…for you!

    Thank you so much for being you and for sharing your life with us. And thanks for reaching out to small time bloggers like me πŸ™‚

  • Janelle

    August 11, 2011 at 11:19 am

    Time for a decision… I think you need to either decide to blog because you love it, and treat it as such (with an appropriate amount of time dedicated to it – your blog is amazing right now and certainly β€œlooks” like it makes $$, so if it requires a lot of maintenance to keep that look perhaps dial it back?) or decide you are going to figure out a way to bring in some cash and go for it! You are amazingly talented and funny, and certainly capable of being a blogger who gets some $$ for her efforts. Hopefully blogHer gave you some ideas on how to start getting paid for your efforts. Just PLEASE don’t go away because I love checking in!

  • Vanessa

    August 11, 2011 at 10:12 am

    Just ran into your blog today and I’m glad I did. I second guess myself and my blog on a regular basis but the question I keep coming back to is “is it making me happy?”.

  • Abigail @ Skywaitress

    August 11, 2011 at 9:43 am

    I don’t often comment but I had to for this post.

    I read your blog because you are unapologetically honest. I love to read your blog and follow your story.

    A couple blogs that I used to love went the way of product reviews and sponsored posts and I stopped reading after awhile. They stopped being real.

    I can understand your desire to make money from all the time you spend on here and if that’s what you chose to do I’ll be sad but understand. You have to do what’s best for you. I hope you find another outlet to make money though and keep this blog what it is or let it evolve naturally with you.

    Losing this blog would be like losing a friend.

  • MomEinstein

    August 10, 2011 at 10:11 am

    I just came here from looking through my cards from Blogher & I’m sad to read this post. I understand that blogging takes a TON of time, and if you need to use that time to make money instead, that makes sense. It just makes me sad that Blogher discouraged you and is now making you question whether you should continue writing.

    I think that different people write for different reasons. Not everyone is out to get a book deal, just like not every blogger who is a mom is also a mommy blogger. In one of my sessions, they asked everyone to write down WHY they blog, and no two person’s answers were alike, but they were all valid. Each person’s answer is the right answer for them & that’s all that matters.

    On a personal note, I will be super bummed if the day I found your blog is the last day you write. πŸ™‚

  • Devan @ Accustomed Chaos

    August 10, 2011 at 9:45 am

    i love you. You are an amazing writer and not only is your writing amazing but you can totally tell that what you write is YOU. I noticed this even more after having met you – this space screams YOU and that is hard to do. Keep doing that and doing this for YOU and great things will come from it.

    if you ever need to vent or throw ideas around my inbox is always open for you. xxo

  • Katrina

    August 9, 2011 at 8:30 pm

    PLEASE, don’t stop blogging here. The sun may not rise and set on your blog…but MY sun rises and sets on your blog!!! lol – I found you totally on accident and now I’m addicted. You are the only blog that I faithfully follow. And by faithfully I mean stalkerishly. Like, every day. I’m sad when you haven’t posted a new blog. I get excited when I see that there is another one – even if it’s just a picture of adorable Bella.
    I’ve followed “self help” blogs and ones that do reviews and give aways and it doesn’t take long before I’m just not reading them anymore. Your blog has more depth and character than ANY blog that I have found out there (and I have read several of the ones that you follow and recommend). It’s like one of the other commentor’s said – reading your blog is like catching up with you over a cup of coffee. Your so real. You make me laugh. You make me cry. I’ve never met you but I feel like I know you and I love you. Without even knowing it you have helped me through my day (and right now I need a LOT of help!).
    Don’t give up on your dream of writing. Go for it…but just understand that a blog might not be the outlet you need. Maybe a syndicated special interest column (lot’s of military options out there looking for good writers). Maybe a book. But PLEASE, don’t turn this into some shallow give-away/review pathetic shallow blog. You’re way too good for that.
    And, please, don’t stop blogging. Because my world would be a much sadder more dismal place without you.

    1. Diana

      August 11, 2011 at 2:20 pm

      I’ve thought about what to respond since I got your comment. How I could tell you what your words meant to me. Thank you so very much. I can’t even explain how it felt to read that.

  • Suz @ Suz’s Treats

    August 9, 2011 at 8:06 pm

    Oh Diana. I hate to read this. Please listen to what the amazing ladies above me have written & know that what you do here in this space is loved and appreciated. While it might not currently make anymore than peanuts, with the quality of writing you do, I know great things will come your way.

    1. Diana

      August 10, 2011 at 1:27 pm

      Aw Suz. Knowing you “know” me and can still say that makes me smile. πŸ™‚

  • story

    August 9, 2011 at 1:17 pm

    Oh, no. I would be so sad if you stopped blogging. You are such an inspiration to me, such a help in my writing, my emotional journey, my parenting, my daily life. It sounds dramatic, but it’s true.

    If you need to support your family, I understand. I really do. And I would hate for this to be something that takes away from that. But if you feel like you’re not doing anything? You’re wrong. This blog is an act of service you’re providing. Truly.

    1. Diana

      August 9, 2011 at 6:22 pm

      Thank you. So much for saying that.

  • Noelle

    August 9, 2011 at 1:07 pm

    Here’s my two cents- I always consider the source of the advice I’m given. Blogher is there to make money so they want their followers to make money so they keep coming back to the conference to spend money. Of course there is nothing wrong with wanting to make money. There is also nothing wrong with writing being a hobby that you do because you love it. You’re so honest, its refreshing <3

  • Autumn Beck

    August 9, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    I agree, you shouldn’t pour the ridiculous amount of time it takes to run a blog into it without a nice monetary reimbursement. If you’d like to talk about how I got to where I am and the steps I took send me an email. You are a great writer and I’d pay you for articles πŸ˜‰

    1. Diana

      August 9, 2011 at 6:23 pm

      I’ll shoot you an email tomorrow. Thanks for offering up your advice – it’s much appreciated.

  • Lisa @ Oh Boy Oh Boy Oh Boy

    August 9, 2011 at 11:40 am

    Don’t be discouraged. SEO and all that only matter if it matters to your purpose. Seriously if you’re happy with what you’re doing you don’t NEED to step back at all.
    If you are looking to grow in certain ways then maybe there is learning to be done. But if you’re here just to be part of the community, it would seem you’re doing a pretty kick ass job at that.
    And if you write publically to share your story in hopes of helping someone else, ie military families, going through similar things feel not so alone than I think you could teach others a thing or two. Seriously, some people who have ‘successful’ blogs will act as if you need to fit their formula. But some blogs that make no money and don’t do any of the ‘right’ things, are the ones that change more lives. If you aren’t looking to get more out of what you’re doing, than it means you’re already doing it right!!!!
    I do sponsored posts, and reviews but the most rewarding posts are the heartfelt ones I write just pouring out my sole, the type you write all the time!!

  • Jen

    August 9, 2011 at 11:31 am

    Ok here is what I think. I think that people who do give-a-ways all the time are just reaching for more people to come to there blog. Yes, some will stay, but mostly they will just come back for another give-a-way, another chance to win something for free. I dont think it really helps much. That being said I write for myself and for my friends and family (not that I have done a very good job of that lately) I think with a blog you can make money, but is that really the reason to do it? I think you should blog about what you love, not try to conform to what people say you should be doing. DO WHAT YOU WANT, and what you LOVE. The rest of it doesnt matter. If you happy keep it up, If not do something else. You can cut back and to the freelance stuff and still blog for yourself.

    I would be sad to see you leave the blogging world, as would others obviously, not only because you are my friend and I love to see how things are, but I LOVE your perspective on life, and I think you are in inspiration to a lot of people who wish they could blog about some of the stuff you do(like me) without family, or whoever judging. So you are a great writer and blogger. You do a lot for your readers, you make them think about things, and you help them to want to blog better. At least you do these things for me. (((hugs)))

    1. Autumn Beck

      August 9, 2011 at 1:09 pm

      I agree with your comment on giveaway blogs. No depth or personality.

    2. Diana

      August 9, 2011 at 6:25 pm

      Thanks lady. Your comment meant so much to me. I really do love this, I’m just surprised I came home feeling completely opposite of how I thought I would.

  • BA

    August 9, 2011 at 10:51 am

    dude. read my post today. re-read it.

    Also? That whole “DO NOT WRITE FOR FREE!” bullshit that they hammer home at BlogHer? IGNORE IT. IGNORE, IGNORE, IGNORE.

    You write because you love it. Because you are GOOD at it. You write on the internet because you do love to entertain & you do love the attention & there is NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT. Own how amazing this space is, even if it may never get you a book deal.

    You know that warm fuzzy feeling you get when you publish a post that you just love, love down to your soul? That’s why you blog. You know that cool creativity of mixing vlog & written word & pictures & colors? That’s why you blog instead of journaling.

    It’s okay to just enjoy those. You do a kick-ass job at it & it’s okay to be like, “SAY MY TWITTER HANDLE” even if you never make more than latte money.

    I love you, I’m proud to be your friend, I’m always thrilled to see you pop up in my reader. Keep going, lady.

    1. Diana

      August 9, 2011 at 6:28 pm

      I was laughing and tearing up through your comment. I DID get a kick out of someone saying my Twitter handle – not gonna lie.

      Your post made me feel a lot less crazy to come home and feel this way. I expected to light the world on fire, not burst into tears and feel like a failure.

      And thanks for always looking out for me. You can’t even imagine what it meant to meet you, and how nice you were despite how shell shocked I was to be next to you. :p

  • Krista

    August 9, 2011 at 8:32 am

    hm… i don’t know. I didn’t go to BlogHer and now I’m glad because I would have felt the same way. And you shouldn’t feel sad or discouraged. You have a good thing here. If it grows and changes that’s OK, but don’t feel like what you have isn’t very, very good. If you’re working hard and proud of what you do, that’s a good thing. If the nagging you feel is telling you that you need to do more, try it. Go for it.

  • Jenny

    August 9, 2011 at 7:36 am

    Ask and you shall receive.
    Speak up and get what you want.
    You have a strong voice…you need to share it.

    1. Diana

      August 10, 2011 at 1:09 pm

      You gave me a lot to think about with your words. Thank you.

  • Adam

    August 9, 2011 at 7:31 am

    In a lot of ways you’re right. But in other areas you might be jumping the gun.

    I don’t know your reasons for not doing giveaways, but for my blog I will do them (when the opportunity arises) for products that I would use. I won’t do them for the sake of doing them, but if it’s something I would use that I think other people would like, why not? And if it helps you out around the house (or gets you out of buying something), it’s as good as making money.

    I think Stephanie hit it on the head. When we blog, you have to continue to look at it as an investment. Sure you may not be making much on it right now, but if you see your site continuing to grow and you’re still confident that you can make it, then write. If your site has stagnated and it’s overwhelming you (or causing problems around the house) and you think you’ve peaked, then it might be time to step away for a while or for good. It’s all a personal thing.

    I hope that you find the answer you’re looking for and get a sense of peace, whatever you decide.

    1. Diana

      August 10, 2011 at 1:10 pm

      Thanks Adam. I liked reading what you said as it made me consider why I do or don’t do certain things. And maybe I need to change my outlook on some.

  • molly

    August 9, 2011 at 7:10 am

    Hi Diana –

    #1. I am sooooo glad to have met you and got to know you a little!

    #2. THANK YOU for writing this. I’m not glad you’re discouraged but I am kinda glad that someone else can kinda relate to my feelings about blogher. I feel really weird when I do giveaways or product reviews on my blog. They aren’t exactly “me.” I want to make money doing something I love (writing). I’m just not sure the blog is the way to get there.

    Hope we get to chat more soon.

  • Bonnie

    August 9, 2011 at 5:28 am

    You could always open your blog to sponsors who pay for a spot on your blog. That could bring in a little bit of money πŸ™‚

    1. Diana

      August 10, 2011 at 1:12 pm

      You know, πŸ™‚ it sounds so simple. But I’ve done it several times and in reality it’s hard. I found them asking about more clicks or giveaways and it led me to become frustrated with having them up.

      It’s a great way to earn a little extra $$ if you’re good at marketing. But I’ve found I’m really not. :/ And that’s a real problem for me.

      1. Jaime

        August 18, 2011 at 7:37 am

        Speaking of marketing, I’m reading Scott Stratten’s Unmarketing book. Have you checked that book out? It’s great for advice for bloggers (and all kinds of businesses). Just an idea.

        And my two cents about your post: I feel the same way, mostly. I’m not looking to be the next Heather or Ree. But it is a little discouraging that I spend so much time, like you, writing and not being paid for it. I’d like to earn a modest little something sometime soon. I’m not sure how long you’ve been blogging, but my one year anniversary is coming up & I’d hoped I’d have made even a dollar by now. Sigh.

  • Teresa

    August 8, 2011 at 8:46 pm

    Silly girl. You have your followers and we adore you. Do not change for anyone. The only person who is perfect at being YOU is YOU. I blog because it is therapeutic. I find you very entertaining and consider you a friend. If anything, look at blogher as a cool experience to meet cool ladies (and celebrities-ahem, MARIO?!) FYI: I don’t visit blogs just because they have giveaways. In fact, I think only one of the many blogs in my reader does giveaways and also: I hate reading reviews on strollers and crap. Sorry. Please continue. You are doing this right. I like reading your posts. You are real and you are awesome!

    1. Diana

      August 10, 2011 at 1:14 pm

      Thank you so very much. You made me cry.

  • Branson

    August 8, 2011 at 7:25 pm

    Taking time to reflect and refocus is a good thing. You have to do what is best for YOU! Whatever that may be… πŸ™‚

  • melissa

    August 8, 2011 at 6:16 pm

    If you still enjoy doing this blog, keep doing it. If it benefits you at all its worth it and there ARE people who like reading it. I think you give us a sense of meeting you for coffee and catching up and I personally love that about your blog. I don’t really even read other blogs at all! As far as trying other venues of writing, I think it’d be awesome for you to add another page on here for that purpose so we can read it (if you would be ok with that). And then you have an automatic sampling of readers at your disposal! I mean, we are already fans! πŸ˜‰ Good luck with whatever direction you decide to take!

  • Peachy Impresssions

    August 8, 2011 at 4:18 pm

    A few short comments for you:

    – I enjoy reading your blog
    – I am an SEO Specialist… You can certainly learn it by doing some research and talking to SEO folks
    – There might be someone out there that would be willing to help you with giveaways & such
    – Even if you do start writing for something else, continuing to write on here might help give you a resource to vent and get ideas
    – Thanks for always being honest, it’s refreshing

    1. Peachy Impressions

      August 8, 2011 at 4:19 pm

      *”Impressions” πŸ˜‰

    2. Diana

      August 10, 2011 at 1:17 pm

      Those were wonderful suggestions. Thank you very much. πŸ™‚

  • stephanie

    August 8, 2011 at 4:16 pm

    ok, first things first…I don’t think all the people at BlogHer wanted you to go away feeling like poo because you love to write & are not being paid for it TODAY. I know that you want to make money doing what you love. I totally 100% understand that. but, I think growing a blog is a process. we can’t all be Dooce-like overnight money makers. I think it’s just all part of the process. the money will come in time. maybe not because you write here but because someone, somewhere saw something you wrote and said ‘we HAVE to get this girl!’ because that will happen to you!

    I, for one love you to pieces! I can’t imagine not seeing your witty sense of humor everyday. I think you should keep writing here because that is what inspires you. but, take a little more time to try to work on something that you feel can bring in an income. I just can see this is where your heart is and I know your ‘big break’ is coming….

    oh, and thanks for all the picture sharing this weekend! I wasn’t the least bit jealous of the Mario one…..not at all.

    1. Diana

      August 10, 2011 at 1:18 pm

      What you wrote was so amazing to read. Thank you lady.

      And next year I hope you’re standing next to me as we squeeze Mario. πŸ™‚

  • Alia

    August 8, 2011 at 4:05 pm

    note- I have no twitter account and I don’t know why a twitter account called sohelpmegod shows up under my name

  • Alia

    August 8, 2011 at 4:03 pm

    what if writing in this blog is an emotional outlet for you, helps you connect with other people, and makes you happy? isn’t that enough? I have never been to blogher or even know much about it, but surely not everything they say is right?

    If you do want to stop of course you should, but not just because you feel that you should be getting something financial out of it that you’re not. the emotional counts too and maybe even more!

    also, I love your blog and will miss it if it goes, so my delurking isn’t entirely selfless :p

    1. Diana

      August 10, 2011 at 1:24 pm

      It is a place to share and I do adore my blog. It’s just that being at BlogHer and hearing people share that they love it just as much and are paid threw me for a loop. Or are asked to write other places. Or have a better handle on this. I’m still sorting it all. Obviously. :p

  • Mona

    August 8, 2011 at 3:57 pm

    A new Army wife…emotional dry heaving…dysfuntion and alcohol…trying to raise a child with support and love…these are all topics the rest of us are interested in, too. Sometimes the rants (and not worrying about the traffic) prove to lay the ground work for article fodder, you know?

    1. Sara

      August 8, 2011 at 7:11 pm

      I have to agree here. Maybe this blog can be used for you to gather your thoughts? Just pound it out here and let it be all ramble-y so that if/when you write other articles and such that do pay you, you’ll know better what it is that you’re passionate about. We can be your sounding board, and help you find your focus?

      1. Diana

        August 10, 2011 at 1:16 pm

        I love that idea. Love.

    2. Diana

      August 10, 2011 at 1:25 pm

      I really never thought about that. It’s very true. It helps me think more about it so thank you.

  • Brittany

    August 8, 2011 at 3:55 pm

    Ok I’m delurking, I just found you’re blog not too long ago, and well you are a GREAT writer, who cares if you dont do giveaways. I love reading what you have to say!

    1. Diana

      August 10, 2011 at 1:26 pm

      Thank you!! I did a little squeeee when I saw “lurker” πŸ˜‰

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