Blogger Burnout: Finding an Answer in the Problem

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Last week I got an email from my station manager at Heritage Radio asking me what I thought of the “big blogger burnout” story in the New York Times. I hadn’t seen the story, so I immediately clicked over to see what all the fuss was about. Before I could get to the bottom of the page I had a handful of other emails, Tweets and Facebook messages about the article sitting in my inbox asking whether or not I thought it was a) accurate b) fair and c) a finished story. The article revolves around the bloggers from Young House Love, John and Sherry Petersik, and their decision to take an indefinite break from blogging. John and Sherry declined to comment for the story (they are, after all, taking a break), but their blogging hiatus was the inspiration for what feels like the beginning of a much bigger story, rather than a full examination of an interesting (at least for those of us who read and write blogs) evolution happening within the blogging community at-large. It’s an evolution I’ve been feeling and trying to process for the past year or so, and something about this story made it all finally crystalize and make sense for me.

Click through for the full post after the jump…

 

Is the first generation of design bloggers aging out of the blogosphere? Or is this just a new twist on an old business story, updated for the Internet age?

This was the question the author, Steven Kurutz, posed mid-way through his article. And after reading that line, all of the struggles I’d been dealing with – alongside my blogging counterparts – made sense.

This wasn’t a new thing any of us were dealing with – it was just new to us. All of the surges in readership and success our community had been fortunate enough to experience were happening as our friends and colleagues in print publishing were feeling like our new blogging platform was making their jobs more demanding. Most of us were too busy or caught up in the fun and excitement of it all to notice that people working in newspapers and magazines were having to create more content and deal with things like social media and blogs that weren’t part of their work load before. All of their struggles were the same struggles we now face as the Internet and design community as a whole embraces social media and other platforms that mean more content, faster content and more varied types of content. In a nutshell, the current trend of readership these days seems to be moving ever forward toward more, more, MORE.

But what does that mean for those of us blogging and reading? Does it mean that we have to fade out into the sunset? Or does it mean that we have to work double-triple overtime (but for less money) to keep up with the demand to provide content for our blogs, Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Youtube and everything else that pops up and demands our attention and just one more post?

I think it means a little bit of both. But what it means in the bigger picture is that blogging doesn’t have to change – we do. Our expectations of blogging – and the people who read blogs – have to be flexible and change with time.

The common course of work these days (especially work online) is for someone young to start something that involves a high pace of work, high rate of content production and an overall high energy level. But at a certain point, that rate and pace and energy level become hard to keep up. People get married, have children, move, or just decide that they want to make more time for family, friends or other outside activities. Does that mean our voices are irrelevant or too “old?” No. But does it mean that blogging has to bend to suit our new and changes needs and desires? No.

For me, all of these blogging changes are about embracing the natural course of life and being excited to see all of the newer, younger bloggers who will pop up to take over where some of us will leave off – or to help out with areas that are no longer easy or fun for us to handle. I know I struggle with how to produce, for example, videos in a way that works for today’s demands. It can take me a week to produce something for Youtube but it might take today’s 14-year-old a few hours. It doesn’t mean both voices aren’t important, but it means that it’s okay to accept that areas requiring the sort of skills and understanding that come easily to someone younger no longer come easily to me. I will still always continue to learn and challenge myself, but the days of trying to force myself to be something I’m not are over.

But that doesn’t mean blogging has to stop. It just means it has to evolve. As the avenues that used to support us (advertising, mainly) dry up or change in a way that makes it harder to focus just on writing, it means we’re forced to use our creative minds to come up with different ways to support ourselves that use the skills that come naturally to us and take advantage of the places we are in our lives right now. I may not be able to teach anyone how to make an amazing DIY video overnight, but I can teach someone about weathering the ups and downs of managing a team and publication for a decade and how to deal with the feedback that comes from working in a very public place. That experience is still valuable and an important part of our overall community.

So, instead of being terrified of how much work is required of us and how hard it can seem to keep up with the Joneses of the new blogging world, I think it’s time that we try to embrace these changes, our new neighbors (#welcomeJoneses!) and take a second to appreciate what we’ve done and see what makes sense for us to do going forward.

For me, it’s helpful and important to remember that most of the pressures we all feel are coming from within. I’ve had major existential panics over deciding to post less often on the site and after giving in to the need to focus on other aspects of the site – or my life – I’ve realized that not a single person has said anything. Clearly someone out there has noticed that we post four and not six times a day anymore, but not a single person has gotten angry, up in arms or disappointed enough that they’ve taken the time to write and yell at me – which is, of course, what I expected would happen. At the end of that mini self-imposed drama was a great lesson I needed to learn – and try to remember to this day – no one is expecting you to do anything but do your best. Deadlines will be missed every now and then and the world will still go on. You may forget to Pin something for a week (!) and I promise you, your readers will not abandon you overnight. But if you forget to write from your heart, slow down and take a break when you need one and give in to pressure that encourages quantity over quality,  you’re guaranteed to burn out. Will it be hard to not feel guilty or scared sometimes? Absolutely. But you’re not alone. I’ll be right here, happy to welcome both new and old friends to the blogging community at large. Because there is room for all of us here and I, for one, am excited to see how we all continue to change and evolve and find ways to keep our voices a part of the larger fabric of the blogging world.

 

Ashley Johnson

Thank you for writing something so heartfelt and strong (not that it’s anything new for you).
I needed this right now.
You always seem to manage to be my rock somehow when things get challenging.
I believe you do that for a myriad of people.
#gracebonneyrocks!

cassie

loved reading this, grace- refreshing and uplifting! i definitely feel the burnout at the moment and am deciding what i will do in the new year. thanks!

jill

I have been reading for years and even if you cut your posting way back, the little bit that you share would be a treat. Your perspectives and interests are always an inspiration. And, so that it’s out there, I like a lot of your contributors but, your posts are what keeps me coming back. Thank you!!

Sara S

Really great perspective, Grace. I was curious to hear the blogging forefathers thoughts on that article. It was nice to hear enthusiasm instead of self pity on this topic. As a non blogger (I have a blog but don’t use it like I should) it’s hard to have sympathy towards this issue, but this is the first time I feel like I understand a little bit. I think the comparison you made to those collegues in print publication was what did it for me. I’ve always respected you and admired what you brought to the table, so I shouldn’t be surprised by this;)
Stay golden,
Sara

Beth Cote

I think this is an issue that will not only hit bloggers, but creative entrepreneurs as a whole. It is just hitting bloggers first because of the demand for your content and as well as the spotlight your industry plays on you.

I think there is a twofold reason beyond what you mentioned in your article. One, is that people are being paid less for more work. There was a reason one paid for magazines and the newspaper. Handmade goods are being sold for less than some mass produced goods, and most people don’t consider their real hourly workload that their business model requires. Don’t compensate themselves for it and can’t afford to hire someone since they never started with a real look at the cost of production/ or service.

The second is that the line between work and private is becoming more transparent. A huge message these days is your brand is you. (What is your unique story?) I think that this is also another kind of burnout.

I do enjoy blogs and the new creative world we live in. I guess I am older, from another generation, and willing to pay for what I enjoy and feel your work is worth some money from me.

Thanks for sharing and you bloggers are not alone!

Catherine

YHL got over 3,000 comments applauding their decision to take a good long break from blogging. I am not a follower of YHL but from what I gleaned, their readers knew and called it out – You guys aren’t into this anymore! – many months ago.

Readers, for the most part, are intelligent. I think many bloggers overlook this. Blogs usually start out genuine, but as soon as the blog becomes popular and sponsors come on board, the traffic picks up, the money and freebies roll in, things change. Now, the blogger is showing readers “gifted” appliances, furniture, vacations – the list is endless. The blog becomes one big advertisement and it starts to feel like a sham to the readers. The whole thing starts to feel shady and underhanded. I have seen this time and time again.

The thing is, this seems to center on personal bloggers, “mommy” bloggers, etc… I do see a major shift in this arena, the readers are smart and can see through it all. Blogs like Design Sponge (and several others) don’t seem so personal and really this is a good thing – these blogs are more professional, the reader knows immediately, its on the table – this is our business. And, that is OK.

I think many smaller blogs will be weeded out – except for the really genuine, innovative, interesting ones. We have been saturated with DIY and Mommy blogs, we see the same thing over and over, even the Instagrams (huge part of blogs) look the same – white beds, succulents, hats, white walls, record players, – we are over it already!

I feel blogs like this one – Design Sponge – will weather these changes and come out better than ever – I have been a reader here for years and I have never felt duped, I have never felt I was being sold something. Readers appreciate that.

patricia

I read the the NYTimes article and I thought of DS.
I have been reading you from the beginning and I have wondered many times, how does she do it? 10 years is a long time to do anything but to do it extremely well and from the heart is on a whole different level. so, thank you for continuing to write great content.
I did notice less posting but that’s ok. maybe we all have less time to be on computers these days.

Laura @ Rather Square

I like your take on this. Embracing the strengths we have and using those in a way that is true to us is the best way to be authentic out there in blog land. And I truly believe that readers value authenticity over most anything else. Thanks for weighing in on this!

Rosie | Soul Cal Love

When you said that the pressures come within, I couldn’t agree with you more! Most importantly, seeing blogging as an “evolving” process is critical to how we’ll move forward from here. Great write up, I appreciate the thoughtfulness on such a hot topic.

Marlena

Thank you for this post. I follow 50 or so blogs, and of course when YHL made this announcement it seemed to blow up on other postings as well. I value your insight since you are one of the “founding” bloggers who has had long-term success and viability. What you point to is also not so much a fact of blogging, but as recognizing how lives change – I could work crazy hours before I had a child, and once I did, I was able to be more productive in less time and I shifted my priorities. I don’t think it made me less of a worker, just a different one.

Mary

I always appreciate quality over quantity, even in the blogs I read. I’d much rather have something super inspirational and special come my way weekly or even monthly than be bombarded with OK stuff several times a day.

Catherine made excellent points; if an indefinite break is needed, take it!

Rob Laliberte

So good! I love your heart and watching the direction you have taken with ds over the past year! So excited for where you are headed!

Sandra

Thanks so much for your, as usual, thoughtful response.

I don’t think that what bloggers are experiencing is unique to blogging. In many if not all professions and businesses and paid work, people are expected to do more for less money. Like you note, the scope has expanded (writing + social media + die’s + video +++) while the pay has shrunk (banner ads + sponsorships + freelance work + etc.).

No matter what the field, if you are starting out in your twenties while living in the proverbial basement suite with no dependents/commitments, you can work around the clock to build your business. If you are making a living and in your thirties or older with a life partner/aging parents/children/etc., you just don’t have the same time or head space or energy available. And that’s okay too. It’s the “cycle of life” to use a cliche.

But, and here’s a big “but”….I think the challenge (at least for me!) is to accept that all things being equal talent-wise, if I have 80% or 50% of the time available to commit to my business as the next person, I most likely won’t be as successful. Or successful in the same way.

I believe that a huge part of avoiding burnout is defining your own definition of success. If it’s the same financial rewards and/or fame as someone who can put in 2x as much time as you, then you’ll burn out and feel like a failure. If it includes reasonable expectations taking into account your time and resources? Then you are less likely to burn out.

Be honest with yourself and clearly define your attainable measures of success (is it money? Fame? Independence? Being physically fit? Spending x amount of time with family? Etc…) and keep them in front of you.

Debbie

I have to say that I am really enjoying your newer approach to Facebook where you flag articles or things written or posted by others (along with your own posts) about things design related that you find interesting. I think it takes some of the pressure off of you guys and I still associate those ideas with this blog even though you didn’t write them. I don’t have time to read and look at a million blogs/newspapers/magazines – so this helps me greatly as I already know I trust your style.

oni

what about those of us who want to start blogging. seeing all of these articles makes me afraid to start. I’ve been reading blogs since the early 2000’s and was very much into communities like live journal before that. I finally feel like i have something to say but hesitate to try.

Rachel

I think that one of the reasons why Design*Sponge (and the D*S team!) seems fresh, relevant, and genuine, is that you are not only creating original and interesting content yourselves, but you are continuously celebrating people of ALL ages and a variety of backgrounds who are making and doing remarkable things. I think that has lent your blog a sense of culture and community that has felt incredibly special and valuable to us, your readers.

Beyond that, Grace, I am always touched by how thoughtful and present you are in this space. I look forward to reading new posts today just as much (if not more!) than I did when you first began to write.

Georgia

thanks for sharing your thoughts. i can’t imagine the amount of never ending work (and pressure)to post several times a day. i really appreciate every post on DS and i’ve gotten many many good ideas from what you’ve shared. I’m a big fan. and i think you are on the right track with a plan to “evolve” in whatever way keeps your batteries charged and your passion alive.

Jennifer King

Bravo Grace! Once again you’ve taken a subject that has the potential to be stress-inducing to many and given it a calming make over. Writing from the heart and taking a break when needed is such simple but powerful advice. I also love that you are welcoming and well-wishing to others in your field….too many choose an opposite approach which I have no patience for. All the best to you Grace!

Colleen Welsch

Love this. Whenever I get stressed out about my own blog I just have to remember it’s MY blog and I have to do what’s right for me.

JHill

I’ve been a creative entrepreneur for the last ten years and this last year I went through a major burnout crisis. I can relate so much to these bloggers. After lots of thinking and experimenting my new work has changed. This has been stressful in its on way (will our current customer base like the new work?) but people grow and our customers grow too, so we will see. I can’t imagine the work to post even four times a day, especially when you are producing all your own content. You’re doing amazing O’Brien grace, can’t wait to see how you grow down the road.

KT Doyle

Thank you Grace for your heartfelt words and wisdom in this entrepreneurial space. I agree with Beth that the burnout that comes from constantly feeling driven to do more to stay relevant and accessible is experienced by most business owners. And, it is up to us as business owners to own our business… to create the life we want to live with clarity and balance across aspects. As you say, being honest with yourself means being honest with your readership and this is so very refreshing in a world that often gets lost in making everything look perfect on the outside, to the detriment of what’s happening inside.

Ellen Andeman

Your essays are always a gift – from the heart AND thought filled. I especially appreciate that in this one, you saw past your own arena (blog-land) into the earlier media world of print and could draw the parallels. As another reader noted, this is part of a general trend and one that has all of us, even “just” readers/consumers burned out and overloaded. Kudos to you and others for seeking a sustainable balance while maintaining interesting content with integrity.

Grace Bonney

Oni

There’s no reason to not start a blog these days, as long as your goal is to express yourself and find a like-minded community of people to connect with. If you’re hoping to start a blog purely to profit or quit a job, then yes, anyone should hesitate to start a blog for those reasons. Not only because it will set up that blog from a place of profit and not content or passion for content, but because it will be particularly difficult to do in this new era.

Grace

cathy

From a reader, not a blogger:
I agree with Mary. I’d also add that, with a really good blog, the readers will be there when the writer(s) returns. I also find that I stick with blogs. Occasionally, I’ll check another format, but not often. Maybe that’s because I’m an older reader and am more comfortable w/ the blog format. I have a hard time believing that it is Absolutely Necessary to put up new content on every. single. platform. all the time. Would D*S go under if you were to scale back your Pins or fb posts? I doubt it. In the end, I still believe Quality will survive. Readers are very discerning. If it’s uninteresting or irrelevant material–no matter how many different places it appears–people will skip it.

Grace Bonney

Sandra

You hit the nail on the head. “…I most likely won’t be as successful. Or successful in the same way.” The key is “the same way”. What matters to us at 20 is different than what matters to us at 30 and 40 and 50. I think the success we might see later on when we’re maybe seeing less press or less financial compensation is the comfort and satisfaction from knowing what our skills are, what we’re good at and knowing what we’re worth. It also often comes with having a support system (family, friends, loved ones, professional colleagues or groups) that we don’t have when we’re starting out. I wish we could have it all, believe me, but I’m happier to have those last things right now then all the earlier excitement that gets you started when you’re younger.

Grace

Ben Wagner

Loved this post, Grace! I have always appreciated your honesty and transparency at D*S and am excited to see how you continue to evolve in the future.

katie

I thought this was so refreshing! I read the New York Times article and although it was very insightful, it didn’t leave much to look forward to! I’m new to the blogging world and your article’s optimism was really uplifting! If we keep evolving, we can always offer something great, different maybe… but great! At the end of the day it’s all perspective anyways right?! So well written :)

Victoria

thanks so much for writing this, grace. i read that article and honestly felt much of what you’ve said here. life marches on and with it, change. especially for those starting families. as one of the oldest bloggers around, who didn’t start until i was 45, i’m feeling positive and good these days. i’m asked to create interesting sponsored content that challenges me – not to just slap up any old thing, but to be selective about the sponored posts i take on and spend the fees i’m paid to ramp up, hire good talent like photographers and artists and execute fun and beautiful posts that will hopefully resonate with the readers. i definitely have days where i’m exhausted and want a break, but i’ve also learned that when i take one, the readers are more than supportive and traffic is not affected in any big way. this was the best line: “But if you forget to write from your heart, slow down and take a break when you need one and give in to pressure that encourages quantity over quality, you’re guaranteed to burn out.” that’s the lesson here. xx

Ruthie & Rose

Thank you for being so transparent – you have so many great points. It certainly is always a challenge to stand out from the crowd and you are right that bloggers are the ones who have to change in order to stay relevant and relatable to their readers. xo – R&R

nicole : three by sea

Totally needed this! It’s been over a year since I blogged or tweeted, due to a teaching job I took last year and feeling like I had little to say. Now I’m home again, preparing for the birth of my second child and wanting to explore avenues for building a creative business. I keep feeling like I should start blogging again, but honestly, I am not enthusiastic about the idea right now and don’t want it to drift into a mommy/portfolio/diy blog that feels like a million others because it’s an easy format to follow. And so, until I can pin down my unique viewpoint I’ll continue to explore ideas and projects and participate in the social media platforms that I am enthusiastic about.

amy (Wooden Spoon Baking)

“Most of the pressures we feel are coming from within.” YES.
Thanks, Grace, I needed this article. Definitely with you on the “existential panics” stemming from those “OMG, it’s Thursday and I haven’t posted anything yet this week, what is wrong with me???” days. I’m jumping into blogging just as it seems to be on its way out. Social media, SEO, the pressure to post in multiple formats and be the best at everything (writing, photography, online promotion, web design) is definitely more than I bargained for initially. But. I have to admit I’m learning a lot, and in the big picture, that’s a win.

aly

I actually appreciate you posting less everyday. Just as bloggers can have a hard time keeping up with the constant posting, some of us readers are having a hard time keeping up with the overwhelming amount of content being produced everyday.

Jacqui

Thank you for this post. As a small business owner myself I know all the behind the scenes energy it takes to not only provide a product/service/content, but convey a lifestyle and personality as well. Honestly, I have almost completely stopped following blogs in the past couple years because there was to much content (shout out to your 4x a day posting!). I realize I may be the anomaly here, but really how do supposedly “really busy” people find the time to keep up with all this content. I feel like I keep seeing the same things posted anyways and feel my time is better spent exploring my own creativity elsewhere. Design Sponge is one of the very few blogs I pop onto from time to time and posts like this are exactly the reason. I’ve never felt you were ever being dis-honest in this space and have always admired your up front view of the design and blogging community.

alex

at the same time as you want to write less frequently, i – as a consumer – am wanting to consume less. so we are well matched. quality over quantity.

martina

I really hope that you are able to keep your unique voice despite all of the new ways of doing things online. The fact that everyone thinks they need to compete with Buzzfeed and their ilk is really tiresome. I don’t want everything I read to feel the same. It would be the same as if when Walmart came into town every mom and pop store turned into a mini Walmart. The slower pace and personal touch is what I like and return for. The huge number of people returning to hand-made, locally sourced stuff is an indicator that things come back into balance and you just need to stay the course and be true.

Susan Brinson

I’ve been thinking about this since I saw that article in the NY Times. It sat heavy with me as we had to decide to blog or not blog recently. Our life completely changed, and we added a heavy responsibility to renovate a house that needs a lot of dollars and care. Instead of spending our free change creating these amazing food posts, we were spending it on renovation supplies. It was a real crunch for us to try and decide blog or renovate. Our budget couldn’t accommodate both. We’ve never made any real money off blogging before the last 8 months or so because we never did sponsored posts, and had very little advertising on our site. Plus we had a lot of technical issues with the site (the search didn’t work, the urls were wrong, etc). that we just didn’t know how to fix. To make a long story short, we came to the conclusion that we have to have the blog pay for itself. We love creating the content, we love our readers, and we love the blogging community, but we couldn’t foot the bill anymore. I’ve never actually talked about this in public, not even on our own blog.

When a media company approached us to serve the ads and provide us with a managed back end that we didn’t have to loose sleep over, we were excited to and believe this is a good solution for everyone. We can still provide the content, and the blog will hopefully one day pay for itself. Unless anyone wants to buy 9 chocolate cakes. Cause that’s how many I made for our shoot!

I think people/bloggers get burned out for a variety of reasons. The amount of content required, the social media skills, and the unwavering feeling you could always be doing a better job or trying harder. If you just did this ‘one thing’, you’d be successful. I ask myself constantly what success feels like, and in this case it was just keeping the blog up and running. We can even share the renovation of the house! I think blogging is similar to running any small business. The challenges are everywhere, and it’s up to us to figure them out. Thank goodness for the blogging community

sonrie

I have read several comments from different sources on ‘taking a break from blogging,’ and I have noticed a theme: People and interests and needs change and is natural. If we compare this to something much older (compared to electronic media) then the same themes apply. For example, I studied art in school, and subsequently took art history classes. If you follow an artist (or writer, scientist, etc.) over the course of their career or lifetime, you will notice the same things. They change the colors in their work, the size of their work, the destination of their work, the meaning… It just makes me think, did they need to justify their decisions? I wonder. If a now-famous so and so chose to stop painting for a few years to travel, or see to a family or politics, then resumed painting later in life, perhaps people were upset to see them leave, but I suspect that it just was not as well known. Perhaps the mixed blessing/curse of electronic media is that everyone’s decisions are known to everyone else nearly immediately, which certainly puts a certain pressure when you need to change the way you are doing things.

Crissy

What you’re describing here is exactly what happened to my blog (which had a decent following) UNTIL I got a full time job as a copywriter. I tried to keep up the blog but I was also trying to raise two kids, care for a house, dogs, cat, fish, husband, self. I just burned out.
Nobody from my old blog gang (you know, those few bloggers you form a little circle with?) is still blogging although we are all still writers.
I have carved out a space for my blog to come back and have started writing again, but I’m going to be a lot easier on myself this time around.
I’ve been enjoying your blog for a long time. Thanks for this post. I haven’t been able to articulate it, but you nailed it. :)

M in Austin

Grace,
Over the years you have shared fewer personal details with your readers (ie compare what you shared about your first wedding to your second), and we don’t mind. It must feel good not to have to show us every inch of your apartment or share all your feelings with us. It seems like the past few years you made a conscientious effort to separate your work from your home life as much as possible. We know when you do share with us that it’s something you have thought through. I feel that you really have achieved a great work/life balance in this phase of your life and the lessons you share here & on the podcast come across as authentic and genuine. Thank you and your staff for all the great work you do, and for providing quality content from your unique voice. That’s why DS is still going strong in its 10th year.

Kristen

Excellent post. I would just like to add that I personally am thankful for less posts. I am a die hard Design Sponge reader, but at six posts a day, there was no way I could keep up and often felt like I was missing out. When you went down to four, I noticed, and was super happy about it. Like some of the previous commenters, I have no idea how anyone can keep up with all the content out there and actually live in the non-virtual world. Keep up the good work!

Britta

This blog is by far one of the BEST I’ve ever followed in the vast blogosphere. I am literally NEVER disappointed by a post. Keep up the amazing work, you brighten my day!

Lindsey

Beautifully written and encouraging. As a newer blogger, but long-time reader I was really interested in your perspective on this. Thank you.

Casey

Thoughtful, precise, encouraging– in short, everything that’s wonderful about Design*Sponge!

Ariel

Something I read in Seth Godin’s book The Icarus Deception resonated with me after reading the NYT article. He says “don’t waste this platform.” Meaning, don’t use the internet just for keeping up with or producing an infinite, constant feed, but use it in meaningful, genuine ways to produce quality content. You do a great job with that, Grace.

I think the overload in the industry goes both ways– both for bloggers and readers. There’s a pressure for bloggers to produce more content, and readers feel a sense of urgency to keep reading more more more in fear that they’ll miss out if they don’t see every post.

Catherine

Thank you for this post! I hadn’t read the NYT article, but I did after reading this post and it all just reaffirms my blogging ethos of writing what I want when I have the time to. If people unfollow me because I don’t post enough then it doesn’t matter. There are plenty of fish in the blog reading sea! And if I blogged every day I’d run out of things to say and become a tad boring. So keeping posts relevant, tasty and easy to read, are more appealing then flooding readers with 10 posts per day. And there are blogs out there who do that and it might work for them, but I have since unfollowed them because I could never keep up and half the posts were junk.
I hadn’t noticed the number of posts dropping, but I did notice that the headline was more interesting and made me want to read it!
Design Sponge was the first blog I ever followed and I totally intend to keep following it as long as its around as your content is attractive and not junky crap x0

Nadine

Hi grace. I’ve been reading DS everyday almost since the very beginning. I’ve continually been impressed by your efforts to keep DS fresh and evolving. Keep on Grace!

Clemencia

Grace, it’s all about quality of content, versus numbers. Authenticity versus 24hr buzz-buzz. Even if you were to produce just one post a day, we will still continue to read our favorite blog!

melissa

Design*Sponge continues to produce posts that are we organized and full of great content. Each member of writing team has their own point of view which creates great variety- both in style and approach. I am such a big fan of this blog and often use it as a resource for my students.
I am always happy when a professional pulls back the curtain and let the audience see a bit of how projects and strategy are developed. Grace, you have done this so often and so well.
I will defiantly be sharing this essay in class next week.

One point on the NYT article – not sure if I am repeating other sentiments already mentioned: In an article that features so many women who have created a career for themselves in a format which was unexplored and uncharted am saddened to see the term “aging out” appear. The article could just as easily have been about how these people have shaped the way blogs developed or on the effect that different social media platforms have altered the meaning of blog culture. To focus on “aging out” seem to frame the blogs as out dated or happening at too fast a pace for these individual women to keep up. In most industries the pace of work changes as we grow. I think that blogs should be view through that lens- the women who are developing content should be reassessing their approach as they grow. Growth is what make people relevant, as any creative person grows ideas and process gain a focus that only experience can bring- this is evident with the content of Design*Sponge.
A NYT article that dovetails ( I think) with the After the Jump :: Episode 88 – Compassion & Success and this discussion about “aging out”
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/28/opinion/sunday/learning-to-love-criticism.html?_r=0

Mindy Fox

Grace, Amy, Max, etc. I’ve been following designsponge since you were designspongeonline and look forward to reading each day with my morning coffee. I have noticed less posts, but also value quality over quantity. Most of what I see on Twitter and facebook is not worth my time. I rarely bother. I hope you will continue providing fabulous content on your blog, and not get sucked up in the more more more insanity of our time.
Thanks for providing me with ten years of inspiration!
Mindy

Lindsy

The decision to blog less has made the blog richer. I love the long form pieces you guys do, and I know that kind of reflective work takes time. I’d rather have fewer posts and more thoughtful pieces about how you guys are working to lead a fulfilled life.

Kelly

Glad to read this as I was experiencing the burnout this summer. Also I like your view, we evolve, we change, things happen that require us to either take a break, relax and recharge.

I noticed less posts, but the quality is still there even more so. The thought that goes into the articles are appreciated and always love the coverage on independent designers. Always encouraging.

E

Grace,

I am a high school teacher. I don’t blog (I barely keep up with Facebook), but I have been following Designsponge for many years. Your blog is consistently inspiring and thoughtful.

When I started my career, I gave 100% of myself to my students. I sponsored extracurricular activities; attended games, plays and concerts; joined committees; stayed late to help students; planned field trips, etc. I was also fairly open with my students about my personal life. For example, my husband often helped out with after-school activities, such as chaperoning dances, and many of my students knew Mr. J.

Then my marriage ended. Like blogging, teaching requires that we give so much of ourselves. Every bad mood or sad day is witnessed by a class of curious teenagers. While sharing joy can be heady, grief is private. I realized the value of keeping parts of my private life private. I learned to share even happy news sparingly, because I don’t want my students to feel they have access to my private life. I give much less of myself now. I focus my time and energy on doing the important things well (such as providing good instruction). Luckily, there’s always a new crop of young, energetic teachers who want to do it all!

During that time in my life, I was inspired by the way you handled changes in your own life with honesty and professionalism. Like other readers, I noticed when you pulled back. I believe that these changes to Designsponge reflect your character and fortitude, and because of this your blog is more compelling now than ever. Thank you for the inspiration.

Grace Bonney

E

Thank you so much for such a kind and thoughtful comment. I’m so sorry to hear you went through something similar and appreciate all of your feedback and support.

Grace

CakeSpy

Really, really nice essay. I have been lucky enough to have a blog that has been my livelihood since 2008 and have had some real ups and downs with it. I often feel that I can’t complain because in many ways, it’s a “cooler” job than other people have.

For me, just knowing that others have gone through this is really powerful. Knowing when it’s time to “hold on loosely” to the blog (let there be more in what you write, even if it’s less) is a good way to keep a grip on why you got into the whole thing to begin with.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts, and an interesting article (I hadn’t seen it before this)!

Kate

Grace, as a reader who Is married, having children, and wanting to make more time for my family, friends, and life in general, I appreciate the quality over quantity. I have less time to READ blogs caring for my two year old than I did with just a dog, so if I’m going to take time to read blogs, they need to have the depth that inspires me. I actually stopped reading YHL a couple years ago because they weren’t meeting that need for me anymore. Some of your readership is advancing in these seasons of life too, and just like you have less time and energy to pump out content, some of us have less time to read it. I LOVE that you’ve grown your team, because it gives us as readers different voices to hear. My personal opinion too is that anyone who is willing to yell at a blogger for not producing enough content might need to log off the internet and go take a walk in the woods. There is inspiration everywhere you look, NOT just at the computer screen!

Sue O'Mullan

I heartily agree with you and also the one you are commenting about. Truly – how many times can a home or a room be “revealed”? Perhaps blogs could live through a few more lives if they would redo certain rooms of others homes (maybe as a pay if forward approach)…. I give a full and free open invitation for anyone to come here and do any part or rather all of my interior rooms in my home and I can assure you it is a “barn find”… all original – we have only done one bathroom in 20 years! Lazy? No – quite the opposite… to care for our son who needs 24/7 is beyond words…. and now for 20+ years… just my two cents… I love to do RAK (random acts of kindness) when I can – however small they are…. I think this is a huge way of keeping interest in the blog world (or not)….

ainee beland

I think we should view blogging liken to that of being a parent; there is only so much that you can do. Now, where is the Easter bunny or do I mean send in the clowns…

Lyndsay // Coco Cake Land

grace, i am in awe that you post even 4x per day. i can imagine you’ve experienced the burnout several times through your career, especially being one of the early influencers and bloggers of the interweb world! so true, the teens are coming full force, with great talent and energy! just the other day i said to my husband – “i’m an old lady blogger!!!” you’ve given so much to design sponge, and it truly is such a resource – biz ladies RULES. looking forward to seeing how it changes, morphs, grows in the way that suits your own life changes. (i’ve seen my blog change too, through burnouts, depression, new baby… life happens!) xoxo

Christina G

Grace, your last paragraph really hit the nail on the head. I appreciate thoughtful, intelligent content more than quantity. My favorite bloggers are those that post infrequently, but with interesting content. I am a still a reader of Design Sponge, but I did recently remove you from my Feedly, only because I was overwhelmed by the amount of daily posts (even though you mentioned that there was a decrease; I didn’t even notice!). What I did notice was that the content wasn’t as interesting, though that is just my opinion and I wonder if I felt that way just from the pure amount of posting. I can imagine that you were feeling burnt-out putting it together, if I was feeling burnt out by reading it.

I’m happy that this feeling of being burnt-out is getting some attention. Long-time readers are definitely aware of when the blogging just doesn’t seem fun anymore. Wishing you the best.

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