The mirror of blogging

I’ve been reading too many stories of bloggers dropping in exhaustion, suffering from serious eye-strain, or blogging all hours of the day and night.

Doesn’t that sound more like obsession than passion?

“Passion” is a frequently used word in the blogosphere. It dots the bios of untold numbers of bloggers.  The pros strongly encourage passion. They say passion magnetizes new readers and sets your blog apart.

All well and good, but what happens when passion blossoms into obsession and begins to intrude into other areas of your life?

Katie Tallo shares the impact of passionate blogging gone wild on her life:

“I am done with being hooked up to my laptop like it’s life support. I am done with getting the slow drip of injections from my social network feeds and riding the euphoric waves of rising feedburner counts. That’s not breathing fully and being alive. That’s actually me gasping for breath because I’ve jumped on some virtual bandwagon that’s headed somewhere I don’t want to go.”

Do you ever feel that way?  Keep reading, help is on the way.

The Fine Line Between Passion and Obsession

The New Oxford American Dictionary is a good starting point for distinguishing between passion and obsession.

Passion: “An intense desire or enthusiasm for something.”

Obsession: “The state of being obsessed with someone or something. An idea or thought that continually preoccupies or intrudes on a person’s mind [to a troubling extent].

Obsess: Origin: “late Middle English (in the sense ‘haunt or possess’, referring to an evil spirit): from Latin obsess; ‘besieged.'”

Do you sometimes feel overly preoccupied with or besieged by blogging?  Or, even haunted or possessed by a blogging demon?  Here’s a little quiz to elucidate the the possibilities along the obsession spectrum:

  1. Is your blog the first thought that arises in your mind when you wake?
  2. Is blogging the last thought as you retire for the night?
  3. Do you dream of blogging?
  4. Is your mind so active with blogging ideas and fantastic plans you have trouble falling asleep?
  5. Do you wake in the night with a blog puzzle to solve?
  6. Has the time you spend on blogging doubled, tripled, or even quadrupled in size?
  7. Do you work on your blog and its related activities each and every day of the week?
  8. Does blogging take time away time from your family or friends?
  9. Are you cutting short your exercise, relaxation, and fun to meet your blog deadlines?
  10. Do you blog in the evening? On weekends?
  11. Do you read blogs or about blogging while eating your meals?
  12. Is blogging all you talk about?
  13. Are you setting your schedule or is the blogging phantom calling the shots?

Blogging is like a mirror.  It shows you precisely where you need to work on your own personal development. If you tend to be obsessive, it will show you obsession. If your style is to be a perfectionist, it will mirror that back. If you have trouble staying in-balance, that’s the picture you’ll see.

What’s blogging showing to you?

I love blogging. I could blog endlessly. But I know that’s not necessarily good. I need balance in my life. How about you?

I don’t like the way blogging sneakily intrudes into every nook and cranny of your life just like The Blob from outer space. First, you innocently fall in love with blogging. Then, the honeymoon’s over and there’s blog promotion, social media, tutorials, networking, commenting, article marketing, writing every day, reading widely, guest posting, blogging clubs, webinars, podcasts, and the list goes on.

Ah, the lure of obsession truly abounds!  You can easily become overwhelmed – frazzled, fried, and fit to be tied.  But all this doing too much and striving to do even more just leads to constant stimulation, which is so very bad for you.

Another danger is thinking too much. Blogging is like a full-time thought-promulgator.  That’s why blogging pros recommend carrying a small notebook with you at all times to capture all those marvelous post ideas constantly popping in your head.

But personally, I don’t like endless thoughts about blogging – or anything else – cluttering the clear space of my mind.  Too  much thinking disconnects you from so many of the simple joys that surround you in life.

The Solution:  Creating Boundaries and Letting Go

The solution is to create boundaries and then let go. Boundaries can be determined by quantity or time.  For example, set a a limit on:

  • The number of posts you write each week.
  • The word count for each post.
  • The amount of time you give to writing, editing, and preparing a post.
  • The amount of total time you blog each week.
  • The days that you blog.  Sunday or weekends off, for example.
  • The amount of time you spend on social media.
  • The number of guest posts you write. 

Use your imagination to create any type of boundary that will serve you best.  Just try one boundary at a time and see how it goes.  When it’s well established, add another.

Of course, once you establish  boundaries, you have to be willing to respect them and let go. Yes, that means standing firm and refusing to do more.  Something only you can do.

I Love Blogging, I Don’t Love Obsession

In recent months, I’ve weathered periods when I’ve felt compelled – almost driven – to blog beyond my limits.  There’s no obvious reason for this as I’m not dependent on blogging for a livelihood.  I can resist.  It’s simply old pesky obsessive habits trying to get the best of me.

Gradually, I am learning to set healthy limits in blogging and all areas of my life.  Smart boundaries preserve the joy of blogging and will save your own health and sanity too.

I’ve now settled into a comfortable rhythm of posting twice a week.  I try to give my all in each post, focusing on quality rather than numbers for numbers’ sake.  I love blogging because it allows me to share, serve, connect, and express.  But, I especially love blogging in a balanced way that leaves ample time for other important and special activities – meditation, nature, gardening, reading, gentle exercise and the great guy in my life.

Has blogging intruded into other areas of your life? How have you set limits?

Image from  funchey

If you enjoyed this article, please share the link with others.  Thanks so much! Sandra