When Blogging Becomes A JobWednesday, February 19, 2014
How long have you been reading this blog? Now be honest. It doesn't matter if it's been a month or a year. I just want to tell you that I'm grateful. Really. I may not always follow through with my commitment to inspire, educate and entertain. But you're still here.
Thanks for sticking around.
You see, I've been writing on this blog for 3 and a half years. Can you believe it? And I'll let you in on an awful little secret:
It's starting to feel like a job.
I know, it sounds horrible. That word job, it just sounds icky and depressing. I mean, I quit my last corporate job 3 years ago because it no longer felt right. It sucked the joy and creativity out of me.
But blogging, blogging has always been fun. It's a wonderful outlet to share to the world what I had discovered that day. It's a great way to interact with other travelers from all over the world.
It's always fulfilling to do small things with great love.
But lately, I'm sorry to disappoint you. I can't say my heart has been 100% into it. You can tell, can't you? I guess when you've been doing something long enough, it starts getting stale. So what's a travel blogger to do? Should I wait until the ink runs dry and I have nothing interesting left to write about?
A few minutes ago, I found a word document that we had compiled a few years back, right before we started this blog. It was titled "Websites to Inspire". My heart leaped when I saw it. It brought me back to a time when this blog, We Are Sole Sisters, was just a dream project. We looked through blog after blog every single day. We marveled at stories written from obscure corners of the world. We nodded and laughed and cried along with these people who were generous enough to let us live vicariously. They sustained us every day at work when we felt so caged in that it was hard to breathe.
So what did I do with the list of websites? I hurriedly opened browser after browser of URLs. I felt like a teenager who had unearthed a little toy box that my 5 year old self had previously buried. I wanted to read through the blogs that my past self had adored and followed. Where are they now?
What I discovered was pretty unnerving.
They had died a natural death.
Out of 100 something links that we had compiled,only a handful were still active or updated. Some didn't even bother to renew their domains. Others made their sites private. A few posted once a month but their site looked like they had accumulated dust and cobwebs. I guess even the most wondrous of journeys have a return flight.
I don't know the answer to that one. I only know about what I am going through and it feels like the onset of a burnout. It's not exactly the lack of ideas or topics to write about. It's not the feeling of becoming irrelevant or replaceable. Nor is it the fear that way too many of us are just doing the same task. The task that Haruki Murakami describes in his book Dance Dance Dance as "shoveling cultural snow"- doing the thoughtless and thankless work that needs to be done to clear the path. No, they only add to the ominous feeling. But there is one reason that stands out:
It's that feeling that every minute I'm spending online, I'm robbing myself of a minute of living.
I have this need to step back. To quietly observe and just be.
I'm know I'm not alone in this. Even Adventurous Kate went through hell in Bulgaria. I could totally relate to her feeling of being chained to her laptop and limiting her destinations to countries with good wifi. Jessie on a Journey shared the realities of travel blogging and it's not always pretty. There are times when you just can't travel as much as you want or have to find creative ways to supplement your income. Ed Rex had to deal with depression and feeling like a failur. But he bounced back and created a plan on how to turn the negative into a positive. Hasmita dealt with her burnout by taking a break and saying no to a few things.
You all deserve to know the truth. Not just a half picture of how I (and many other travel bloggers) are living awesomely in some of the world's exotic locations. Working while traveling can sometimes take away the joy and freedom that we all long for. The challenge is to find that sweet spot between making a living and having a life.
I must remind myself that I'm a traveler first, before I became a blogger.
Shoveling cultural snow,
Sole Sister Lois
Lois is the Editor-in-Chief of the female travel blog wearesolesisters.com. When she's not having adventures around the globe, she can be found surfing, surfing someone's couch or giving motivational workshops and retreats.
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