So there's a shiny new template up at Cranky Fitness, and more visitors than ever. I've got a great co-blogger whom I love working with, and ambitious plans to turn Cranky Fitness into a book... things are looking great!
Gosh, what a lovely time for an emotional meltdown!
So yes, that was indeed Crabby McSlacker over in the comments at Mizfit recently, inappropriately blurting out my doubts about blogging. I was in a bad mood, and I found myself pondering, out loud, whether I should think about quitting the whole Cranky Fitness deal. I even found myself in tears several times during the day; anyone who's met me knows this is not normal crab behavior.
What's UP with that?
I don't know why it hit full force yesterday. But it's been simmering for a long time: What am I doing? Where is this leading? How could I ever quit Cranky Fitness? But how can I continue to blog indefinitely, with very little income to show for it and no exit plan?
What the Hell are You Talking About?
This whole post is going to seem bizarre to the majority of you, who either (a) don't have a blog of your own or (b) have a blog that you write for your own amusement or to further your self-improvement goals.
Blogging is just supposed to be for fun, right?
Well, yeah, it is mostly. But there is a subgroup of bloggers who blog not only because we enjoy it, but because we have
I got plenty of warning that this was not likely to happen, but I started a blog anyway. It takes a long time to grow a blog big enough to make money; very few folks make it. Those who do are often experts, brilliant writers, folks who have their fingers on the pulse of pop culture, or tenacious, talented marketers.
I am none of those things. But I jumped in anyway, and found myself instantly hooked. I wanted to somehow "succeed" at it.
The Downside of Blog Ambitions
If you're trying to build an audience for your blog and make money from it in some way, it's more of a challenge than just blogging for fun. At least that's true for me. It takes way more time. You would think, with just one blog to write and the luxury of an awesome co-blogger, Merry, handling my "blog duties" would be a piece of cake. Some people write many successful and popular blogs, all by themselves! But I'm not a speedy, efficient, go-get-'em type. Stuff just takes me longer than it does other people.
And have I mentioned I'm neurotic?
To grow Cranky Fitness into a "real" blog, I figure I have to write not just when I feel like it, but when I don't. I write long posts that take hours and hours and then realize they're not "good enough" for publication so I don't run them. I worry when feed subscriptions drop for no reason. I watch the stats constantly. I feel terrible when I realize I haven't commented on blogs I like; I feel dumb for not taking advantage of promotional opportunities that could help me get the word out about Cranky Fitness, just because they involve a little extra work. I forget to link to great blog posts I've seen even though the bloggers who've written them link to me all the time.
Most problematic of all, I am a painfully slow writer, and it can take forever for me to do the research, organize my thoughts, and compose a post. (I know it doesn't seem like it, given the slap-dash quality of the writing. But, sadly enough, even slap-dash takes me a huge amount of time and futzing around).
Let's face it: I'm a dawdler. I'm sure one day they'll discover a gene responsible for dawdling. And when they do, I plan to blog about it at Cranky Fitness. Slowly!
And there's also stress. How can blogging be stressful? I suspect my family and friends think I'm nuts. But there is always something I'm behind on; something that needs doing. My brain is constantly trying to turn everyday events into blog posts, when it should probably be experiencing and enjoying some of those events. Sometimes there is even sleeplessness. And there is time spent blogging that would probably be better spent with loved ones.
Net result? It's kind of like a job. With only the hope of money someday, not the actual green stuff that could buy groceries. (Okay, technically we get a little bit of ad revenue, but it might shock you to find out how little that is).
Then Why Do It?
So here's the thing: if in some ways blogging resembles a job, it also happens to be one of the best jobs in the world, at least for me.
I've never done anything as satisfying, exhilarating, joyous, and engrossing. For all my whining and frequent feelings of inadequacy, I would love to be a professional blogger.
I've met and befriended so many cool people; I've learned so many fascinating things; I've participated in so many discussions where I was totally blown away by what others had to say. When I used to hear talk about blog "communities," I had no idea. But it's true! It's the best part about blogging. Well, and I also love getting to mouth off about stuff and have people actually stop by and read it. Oh, and the occasional free hazlenut candy bar. Those are nice too.
The weirdest thing? "Crabby McSlacker" is not just a blog name. In my own mind, I really have become Crabby McSlacker. Is that twisted, or what?
So I can't imagine ever giving it up.
But then some days I can't imagine continuing to spend so much time at a "job" I love that doesn't pay any actual money.
Why am I blogging about this?
It's a really dumb idea; I know that.
A good blog friend of mine posed the question: what is your goal in posting about this?
And I didn't have an answer. Not for a long time. But then it kind of occurred to me what this is all about: I need to kick my own ass.
I think it's time for me to get serious about turning Cranky Fitness into something at at least resembles a Real Job.
It could be the blog-based book proposal I keep talking about but never seem to get around to writing. It could be increasing our page views to a more serious number and getting some non-trivial ad revenue in. (We get about 35,000 a month; I suspect we need to be at least triple that to even have a hope of being seen as a "real" blog by sponsors or book publishers.)
Hell, I'd be happy to sell T-shirts and coffee mugs. Whatever.
I have a deadline in mind but it seems a really silly idea to share it, since I could change my mind tomorrow. Let's just say it's not in the immediate future. But it's no longer just "whenever," either. There's a date. This is a first for me and it's a scary thing to think about.
And if I can't turn it into a job...
It doesn't necessarily mean the end of Cranky Fitness.
Perhaps I just need to transition the blog into something I do for solely for fun. I could post once a month if that's all I felt like. Let Merry handle all the real health and fitness posting while I put up cute pictures of my cat. Who knows.
Am I the only one or do any other bloggers struggle with this?
Does anyone else find that blogging is taking up more and more of your life, stealing time away from other pursuits or even from the people you love?
Do any of you ever fantasize about walking away, but then recoil in horror at what it would be like, the morning after, to suddenly have no blog?
Is there life after blogging?
Or non-bloggers: does this all sound totally crazy? I imagine it does; sorry about that!