Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Blogging Myth #10: Blogging is Never a Distraction

It's time for another round of Blogging Myths. This series explores the common misconceptions that many bloggers and readers have about blogging. If you're new to my blog, you can start from the beginning of the series here.

Today is the last Blogging Myth I have for you! I'll be back next week with a wrap up and some blogging resources.

Myth #10: Blogging is Never a Distraction

Starting up a blog will be easy. I'll post a few times a week, gain a bunch of readers, and make some advertising money without disrupting my family's schedule. 

After a few months of blogging, it occurred to me that there was a whole world of fun reads and inspiration in the blogosphere beyond my little corner of the web. Watching other more experienced bloggers taught me that the best way to find loyal readers was to take the time to interact with the folks who stopped by my blog, whether they clicked over from a blog party, or if they saw my link on someone's Blog Roll. It wasn't too long before bloggers started hosting more blog parties, creating Facebook and Twitter pages, etc. I felt like maybe I should be a part of it all, especially if I wanted to expand my audience.

Networking, social media promotion, ad campaigns...and let's not forget the actual blog--writing posts, editing, taking photos, adding links, etc.--It can easily consume your day if you let it. And for the sake of being completely real, there are most certainly days that I have let it consume me.

One of the first blogging myths I covered was Blogging is An Easy Money Maker. We can pretty much all agree that in order to grow your blog and/or make money from it, you have to put in some effort.

One of the hardest things about being a new blogger is trying to grow your blog while balancing work, family time, household chores, and commitments.

One of the hardest things about being a seasoned (or even successful) blogger is trying to grow your blog while balancing work, family time, household chores, and commitments.

Wait...did I just repeat myself?

Getting your blog out there while trying to keep your focus on family priorities is something that all bloggers struggle with! Anyone can fall prey to the lure of spending too much time online. I'd wager that you could ask just about any experienced blogger that you come across, and he/she will tell you that it is still a challenge to balance blogging with personal life. Every person I have interviewed for my Blogging and Beyond interview series has mentioned that achieving the perfect harmony between work and family life is a daily battle. It's certainly not a new issue for me...I wrote about it last year in my Eighty Three Percent post.

No one seems to have the perfect answer to balancing life and blogging!

It is so, so easy to tell yourself "I'll just check out a few more links on my Pinterest page and then I'll fold that laundry." A few more links turns into a half an hour of Pinning and "oh wait I haven't updated my Facebook page or Tweeted today's blog post link". Before I you know it, your laundry is still sitting in the basket, now crumpled, and it's almost time for dinner.
Here are a few things that I am making an effort to do or at least set goals to work on:
  • Schedule
Set some "office hours" (breaking them up throughout the day if necessary) and stick to them. My girls are old enough that they entertain themselves. I try to sneak in emails/networking when they are playing or after they are in bed at night. When preschool and kindergarten start next week, I will try to use those hours for catching up on housework or errands (or coffee with my friend Christy).

I've been considering using HootSuite to schedule promotion of my links each day, but I also don't want my social media interactions to start looking like some robot took over my accounts. If possible, I'd like to limit scheduled Tweets and Facebook posts to mentioning whatever blog post is live that day.

  • Time to Network
Posting neat projects and watching your Followers/Subscribers numbers grow is great, but are you taking the time to interact with your readers to build a loyal network? If this is something you struggle with, please read my post on Responding to Comments. I read and appreciate every single (non-spam) comment I receive, but there are days that I have to appreciate the comments, respond to a few, and leave it at that.
  • Look for ways to Simplify
In my case, writing a series and hosting interviews turns out to be helpful. After writing up some notes or sending out interview questions, I have lots of new material, and I don't have to worry about coming up with a new post idea every day. If posting regularly is something you want to do, but have a hard time committing to, consider reaching out to other bloggers and arranging guest posts or blog swaps.

At home this will mean working on meal planning, saving money, and spending more time with my family!
  • Just say "No"
Sometimes I have to say "no" to guest posts, collaborations, or campaigns that I know will only stress me out. The same goes for commitments here in the "real world." People might say or think that I'm letting my kids miss out, but we don't participate in the Awanas group at my church because my girls go to bed early, and Natalie already has ballet class once a week. Add in MOPS, preschool/kindergarten, a Bible study, events, the dreaded church nursery duty, and family time...I can't add anything else and do it well, with a good attitude! I want my kids to be healthy and well adjusted. Carting them around to various activities, programs, and events just because it will make us look good to our peers is not something I want to do.
  • Know that you can't "fit it all in"
Every day we make choices and prioritize our time. My worst fear is getting to heaven and telling God, "So I had this great blog, but I just couldn't get it together at home." Fitting it all in is just not possible. Super Woman is not reality.

You'll have nothing to blog about if your time is spent staring at a computer screen 80% of the day. If you want to share your life with your readers, you have to get out there and live it!

How do you balance your personal life with blogging?


  1. I loved this post!!!! It is a struggle every day to balance the computer and life but you are so right, if you aren't living why even bother blogging! That carton had me giggling too! I try to make sure that I do computer time when the kids are in school and in bed...my laundry does suffer some days when I just can't get off pinterest!!! And we can eat cereal for dinner right? :-)

  2. Once again, Amanda, you've hit the nail on the head. You do an amazing job of posting regularly--more so than just about any other blogger I know! I used to try to post every Monday-Friday, but I found that I just couldn't keep that up unless I neglected my work at home and time with my family. It was hard to let it go. . . but it was the right thing to do. It was the right thing to do. . . but it was hard. Now I'm repeating myself! But the point you make is absolutely correct, and I think it bears repeating: it's not easy to balance things. And trying to be SuperWoman just causes stress. And stress causes wrinkles. And at age 48, I don't need another source of wrinkles! :)

  3. You are writting about MY life! As you know..I'm new & it seems that I've entered a tail spin since entering blog world :) I'm even making the coffee at night, setting the time but FORGETTING to put the coffee in the machine! My husband is NOT impressed at 5 am when he is looking for fresh hot coffee & he gets HOT WATER! He says "blogger land" has taken over my brain cells ~ yikes..keep the advice coming! LOVE it!

  4. Balance is definitely key to everything in life. You are right, you can't do it all--no one can! I do find the social networking stuff to be infinitely easier because I have a smart phone. Being able to Tweet and FB on the fly helps. Having the iPad to blog on when I am sitting idly in the school pick up line or whatever helps too. There are ways to squeeze it in without "wasting" too much of the day.

    And I realize that not everyone has gadgets, so when I find myself without a gadget, writing posts or post ideas on paper in waiting rooms or school pick up lines works well too ;)

  5. All so true! I loved what you said about saying no...in blogging and life. So much more important to hit that early bedtime and have family time than to do one more activity, even if other people think your kids are "missing out." I am the only mom I know that has her kids (1st & 3rd grade) upstairs and in PJ's by 8 pm nearly every night. We are experimenting to see how it is to have them both doing a sport, and that one evening practice a week each is more than plenty! Can't imagine how it would be to add more to that!

    Great post! I so appreciate how you are encouraging us to all keep it real, balanced, and personal with our blogging lives. So right!

  6. Great post...again! I've really enjoyed this series. As a new blogger, I too have realized how it can completely take over your life...yikes. Your comment about getting to Heaven and talking about your great blog but not-so-great home really hit it on the head for me. Blogging is fun for me, but I struggle sooo much with how to balance it, the projects I blog about, and the networking, etc. with the attention I need to give my 2 yr. old and 1 yr. old. Sometimes I think I'm crazy and get "this" close to just calling it quits. And we haven't even started talking about the lack of time spent with my hubby yet. At any rate...reading about your thoughts, and other bloggers thoughts, helps me know I'm not alone in feeling this way, and I really do appreciate that. Thanks again!!

  7. The last line of this post is by far my favorite...I need to remember to live life more sometimes:) Such a great post Amanda! Thanks for always keeping it real!

  8. Well said Amanda. Well said. Thanks for the timely reminder!

  9. This is spot on accurate. I don't have time to do everything, but I try to do it anyway. As a result, nothing is ever done completely or to my total satisfaction. I feel like I'm hanging on by my fingernails.

    I need to get better at saying no and sticking to a schedule. Thanks for the reminder. This is such a great series! Good job and thank you!

  10. I just started blogging and have found that if I am not careful it can consume way more time than I originally intended. I am loving it but I am still trying to find the right balance. I just went back and read several of you Blogging Myths and found them all helpful. Thanks!

  11. Very valuable info here, Amanda. When I was travel blogging, it consumed me 24/7. Talk about overload.

    Now, I work hard on spreading my time (though, I must admit I'd rather be on my laptop than in my laundry room).

  12. I love this post. I just started my own blog a few months ago and I find myself completely addicted at times. It's definitely hard to prioritize house work when working on the blog is so much more fun!

    ...and that reminds me I have laundry to do. :)

  13. Thanks Amanda! Great information. I don't have kids but I work full time so balancing is definitely difficult. After work I make exercise or spending time with my husband a priority. Then I can either work on a project, blog about a project, or sleep. Only 2 of 3 get done and I quickly get grumpy when I don't choose sleep :)

  14. Oh my gosh! You're so right! As weird as it sounds, I am the most un-inspired when I spend all my time looking at other people's inspiring work. I actually get overwhelmed and feel like I personally don't know what I'm doing! So you absolutely hit the nail on the head about having nothing to blog about unless you go live your life. I don't know how bigger bloggers do it, to be honest. Not to mention the possibility of NOT getting into heaven because my priorities were all out of whack and I worshiped my stuff and the world more than anything else.

    Thanks for your honesty! :)

  15. What a great post! Gotta make family time a priority! And I hear you about the dreaded church nursey! Seems like we're in there or children's worship all the time! Thanks for your honesty.

  16. I had no idea when I started blogging how much I would enjoy it or how time consuming it would be. I often get frustrated that I can't spend as much time as I would like on my blog but I've come to realize that family,fun, and work have to come first. Thinking about trying to add in Facebook and Twitter to the blogging mix really is overwhelming. I try to enjoy the little bit of blogging time that I have during the week and then catch up on the weekend.

    I think you are really smart not to put your kids in every possible activity. The kids don't need it and it is an unnecessary stress for moms and dads.

  17. I agree! You must live your life to be able to share it with others. Another great post!

  18. Great, great post, Amanda!! I couldn't agree more. I've been blogging for nearly four years and have never built my blog up to be a moneymaker for these reasons. My family needs me too much, and I just don't have more time in the day to do it. I so appreciated how you said you don't cart your kids around to different activities just because it looks good. My husband and I feel the same way. We feel the pressure to over-schedule from time to time, but we always have to ask if it's really beneficial and see if it would take away from our family time. Anyway, I'm rambling, but all that just to say, 'Right on!' Thanks!!!

  19. Thank you so much for this post Amanda! It was exactly what I needed. My husband and I were just discussing many of these same topics you just talked about. I definitely am working on prioritizing in my own life right now and making sure that the things that really matter are on that list, front and foremost!

    It's so good hearing that even the great bloggers have to keep things in check!

    Have a wonderful week! Thanks again for this post! It really hit home!

  20. Another great one girl! and totally cracked up when you said the part about going to heaven and telling God you had this great blog! LOL

  21. Hey Amanda. : ) Great post, yet again. This series rocks! I worry about spending too much time on the computer, but then I worry I didn't reply to enough comments. Agh!! Sometimes the guilt on both sides is crazy. I think I've found a pretty happy medium though. My fashion posts on Fridays are a good, easy post. And I usually do a post during the week that just inspirational pics, like living rooms or vintage suitcases. It's kind of funny, those two are pretty easy peasy, but people love them! Go figure. : )
    ~ Catie

  22. I had to make really strict blog "rules" for myself - I realized pretty quickly that I was letting things go that I shouldn't. Also, I'm just not as good at multi-tasking as some of the other ladies. I've finally sort of realized what I can and can't do! Great post!! :)

  23. Such a great post. I can so relate to this! I especially loved the cartoon about the pamphlet of the month club! LOVED!

    It's such a fine line. I have let blogging go a bit, and concentrated on some other really important priorities, and overall I am a lot happier with myself right now than when I let the computer consume my time...but on the other hand, I really, REALLY miss the blogging friendships and interractions!

    I'm not sure if I'll ever get that balance right!

  24. Hi Amanda, great post, I can completely relate. Blogging can certainly consume your day if you let it. Thanks for being honest about the challenges of blogging!

    I hope you are doing well!


  25. This comment has been removed by the author.

  26. Great post. I tell my homeschool moms to block out time for homeschooling, keeping the home, computer. The other suggestion I make is do not look at email first thing in the morning. It will usually take more time that you expect or it will be an email that will bother you the rest of the day. Start the day with God and your family. I used to homeschool all morning and do my business, email, internet stuff in the afternoons.

    Thanks again.

  27. Awesome article. I have been blogging about 10 months and cannot devote as much time as I would like because of other priorities. I do spend an average on 15 to 20 hours a week on the blog and that's the best I can do. It means that my progress is slower but I can only do so much. I write daily and have a basic routine I go through.

    My children are grown (I have grandchildren) but when they were small, I did what you did and chose what activities were most important and didn't overdo. We passed up some things that others thought were important. But it made for a more peaceful life. I love hearing about young mom's who are making choices instead of jumping into everything. Good job!!!


I love to hear your feedback! Please feel free to leave comments...just don't send me spam asking me to buy stuff off your website! I've got three kids and no money to purchase your magic weight-loss pill or bust enhancement, or whatever else you might be selling. Thanks, and I look forward to hearing from you! :)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...