I’ve been a bad blogger

Seattle Coffee

I’ve been a terrible blogger. I haven’t blogged in seven months. It started out with just being busy for a few weeks. Then I didn’t really feel like it (we’re having a baby in a few weeks and I did not feel like blogging or using the laptop more than necessary). Then I realised I wasn’t really into blogging much at the time.

Going off blogging and social media

It’s not that I don’t like blogging any more, I’ve been doing it on and off for ten years now (post on that still to come!). It’s just that I was starting to blog in a way I didn’t enjoy. I hate having to use social media and everyone knows you need to use social media all the time if you’re a blogger. In fact I’ve cut down and hardly use it now. I don’t even have the Facebook or twitter apps on my phone or ipad anymore. I don’t want to go back to using it more.

I’ve never been good at self-promotion either. It’s just not my style. For me, blogging began in 2006 as something I did for fun and as a way to keep friends and family updated  during the multiple times I lived overseas. In recent years I have also enjoyed being part of the travel blogger community and I’ve befriended many other bloggers at conferences and online. Some bloggers have very successfully made the leap from hobby to professional blogger and that’s wonderful. These days, many people even set up blogs specifically with the goal of making a living from them. Personally, like I said, I can’t keep up with the social media and self promotion needed to be a professional or super popular blogger. I don’t like it when I feel I have to blog or have to use social media. I preferred it when I just posted when I wanted and occasionally used social media. That doesn’t help get more readers and it means I’ve missed out on certain opportunities but, oh well.

 

Map and Starbucks

 California living

Another reason I went off blogging has been living in California. Not that I hate California. Oh no. There are lots of good things about living in California and, as an immigrant, there are still lots of quirks (both good and bad) about life here for me. But it’s definitely not as blog inspiring as when I was living in a Beijing hutong, seeing completely new things everyday and travelling all over Asia in my 15 weeks holiday per year (perks of being an international school teacher).

Although I’ve travelled to Nicaragua (which I still haven’t finished blogging about) and Justin and I did a massive road trip up to Canada and back (not blogged about..yet), most of the year has been spent in Newport Beach. Saying this, I don’t lack for things to blog about. I have lots of ideas and I still have about 300 (slight exaggeration..probably) drafts of posts I never wrote when I was in Beijing because I didn’t have time. But at this point, it feels too late to write them now.

 

Redwoods California
The redwoods on our recent road trip

Blog Issues

I’m no technical wiz and I’ve had a bunch of issues with my blog lately: slow loading times, colours looking completely different on different screens, fuzzy images. Most of the time I just can’t work out why. I couldn’t keep researching solutions that didn’t work all day everyday and it got too frustrating. When your blog isn’t looking as good as you want, it’s hard to feel motivated to do anything to it. I also miss when I just used to upload my photos and not bother about resizing them (I didn’t even know you had to resize photos until about 2 years ago!). It’s time consuming resizing images, renaming them, exporting them, uploading them and then I find I have issues with image quality I don’t know how to fix. It seems like a waste of time.

Community and motivation

This year a couple of my favourite travel blogs have either stopped posting, taken long blogging hiatuses like me or even taken their blogs offline completely. It’s such a shame when that happens but, as the creator of three different blogs in ten years, I understand the feeling of being done with blogging. (At least temporarily. I always start again eventually). Many of these bloggers cite similar reasons to me- lack of motivation or time, disinterest in having to perform on social media or lack of travel. Some have even started a family and presumably don’t have time to blog anymore. There are still many blogs and bloggers out there I love but I’ve also stopped interacting much with the blogging community. Not because I don’t like them (you’re all great!), but because I feel less interested in it when I’m not really travelling or blogging myself. I still read my favourite blogs of course, but not everyday and I rarely comment. Sorry 🙂

Laguna Beach

I’m still here

After all of that, I don’t want to close this blog down. I still have many things to write about. I am pleased with the way this blog has helped people. I still receive emails from readers asking for advice on visiting different parts of China or thanking me for some tips I gave somewhere along the line. If only I could have written all the posts I intended, this blog would be even more of a useful resource.

I’m not saying goodbye

I’m going to keep the blog open and I’m going to blog if I feel I have the time and inclination. I actually have a few blog posts I really want to get out in the next couple of weeks so hopefully I will manage to do that. One of the hardest things about having left the blog empty for so long was the ever growing gap between the present time and my last blog post. The bigger it got, the more daunting writing a new post became.

From now on I’m  not going to restrict myself to travel posts. I probably won’t blog much about anything other than travel or living overseas, but you never know. It’s nice to have options! I made an origami mobile the other day so perhaps I will write instructions for that. Who knows? One thing is for sure, though I am mentioning it here briefly as it would be weird not to, I will not be blogging about our child once she is born. That type of blogging is not for me and I personally don’t want to put details of my child on the internet. Then again, children today will know nothing different. Children born today will never know a time without the internet. Crazy.

 Anyway, thanks for reading. If you managed to get through this and you have any good blog posts I should read (whether yours or someone else’s, about travel, blogging or anything else), feel free to leave a link below.

Do you blog? How do you stay motivated? Have any of your favourite bloggers stopped blogging this year?

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7 thoughts on “I’ve been a bad blogger

  1. Yay, I’m glad you wrote this. First, congrats! I’m so happy for you guys 🙂 Also, I can totally understand feeling the lack of motivation to blog. For me working full time and commuting means that I have almost no time for extra projects. And because I write for work all day it’s so hard to write for pleasure during my personal time. Anyway, I’ve tried to keep it up. But it’s tough! I do enjoy it, however. Anyway, enjoy California for me. Haha, the air is nice and smoggy here in Beijing 😉

    1. Thanks, Justine! It’s so hard to keep up isn’t it- I think you’ve done a good job of still blogging since you moved to Beijing. Ive still been reading 🙂 It actually rained for 2 days here (Sunday and Monday). People went crazy because it wasn’t even forecast haha! I loved it. Hope the smog clears up in Beijing and you get some nice late Autumn days there before the freezing weather kicks in!

  2. Aaah I’m so happy to hear from you again! (haha as if this post were written just for me) I love the idea of not limiting yourself to travel topics – I actually read way more lifestyle blogs than travel blogs, so I’d be all about the origami mobile! And I love that you’re not pushing yourself to blog just for the sake of it – I think it really keeps your posts genuine and inspiring. And I’m so excited for your family – good luck and enjoy this special time!

    1. Thanks so much, Silvia! Hopefully I will be inspired to get some more blog posts up about one topic or another and not just never blog ever again. The origami mobile was really fun to make and I used some origami paper I had bought in Japan last year. I’m the same- I read a lot of lifestyle blogs too. I also go through phases where I’ll read like loads of blogs about crafting or gardening or something random just to mix it up haha (you’d be surprised at some of the super niche blog topics there are out there!). Just a few weeks to go until baby time now… eek!

  3. Before blogging was invented, I started a personal Web site using the Homestead.com platform. On the site, I posted many of my old newspaper articles (with some updating). Homestead works much like the old Adobe PageMaker. You just place text anywhere you like on the page and format it in any shape or size. Same with photos. There’s complete freedom to move things around.

    Later when blogging came along, I used WordPress and Blogspot. Being a newspaper sub-editor for 30 years addicted to designing and layout out pages without restriction, I found it difficult to use these two platforms. Sometimes my body text appeared too much spaced out, sometimes the font size looks too big or too small, and I simply couldn’t figure out how to control them.

    I finally gave up on blogging. I’m still posting on my personal Homestead Web site and spent a disproportionate amount of time designing and re-designing the various Web pages until they look the way I wanted them. I don’t promote my site on social media and I’ve no interest in FB or LinkedIn (who cares whether a hated ex-colleague is playing golf in California or even if my own sister and her family are travelling in Spain). By the way, mine is one of the rare sites without a lick of advertisement on it.

    I read stuff on the Web only if they are mindless entertainment (spooky videos on Youtube) or good fiction (almost all literary classics that I’ve overlooked are available FREE from Gutenberg) or thoughtful, often provocative analyses of current affairs. Sometimes I stumbled upon one or two writing gems like this writer’s blog on Beijing’s hutong. That’s about it.

    Life’s too short and good books of the past too many, to waste time on verbiage like blogs and social media posts.

    You can check out my site at bystander.homestead.com. All the contents are real articles, not social media posts.

  4. I think too many travel bloggers (probably others, too, I only follow travel blogs) impose this pressure on themselves to come up with content 3 times a week, followed by the magic formula of social media sharing, and they end up writing posts that lack passion and often have nothing to do with the reason you were following them to begin with. I post for fun and only when I have something to write about. If work is too busy, or I haven’t been somewhere interesting, I don’t post for weeks or months. I hope you find the rhythm that works for you 🙂

  5. It’s nice to read an honest post like this (at least I think you’re being honest). This is my first time visiting, I think, but let me just say congratulations for the baby, for being a parent!
    About the blogging, my way of staying motivated is to have something that I really wanna say or show to others. In my case, I wanna share about Indonesia, my country, so people can see it beyond whatever they’ve known about it, which is usually very one-sided and untrue. I have had my lazy times, but lucky that I’m running the blog with a good friend of mine. So we kinda support each other when one of us is feeling a bit unmotivated.
    By the way, lovely photos!

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