Getting a Grip on Blog-following

Following too many blogs is the modern version of having too many magazine subscriptions piling up on the coffee table.

FOUR times in the last week people have mentioned the self-imposed pressure to stay on top of blogs, to read and to comment, to NOT miss any post, to keep up.

“Feel free to skip mine,” I’ve said. If that alone would solve the problem, they would have done it by now. Many have. But the problem is the other 699 or 37 or 15 (not to mention keeping up on Facebook and Twitter, but let’s not get into those two right now).

What begins as a spare time thing quickly becomes all-consuming. It’s cyber-addiction, made worse for young writers by industry experts urging them to build a platform by reading and commenting and networking and getting their names out there as much as possible. 24/7.

* * *

I’ve noticed in some of my young writer-friends that excessive blog-following can really get in the way of the actual writing AND the actual LIVING that is the fodder for writing.

How I wish to gather you all in my arms……

* * *

Now I’m not blogging to grow readership and and I don’t read and comment for that purpose. I write because it helps me process. And I make the rounds because I like to stay in the swirl of good thought, to possibly pick up something that will light a fire in me or help me in my daily living, which includes my writing but also a host of other things.

Despite this, I am not immune to the problem.
I used to be a news junkie until I realized it was a form of escapism
and could easily replace that addiction with blog-reading and writing, if not careful.

* * *

Here’s what works for me:

  • I confine my blog reading and commenting to 30 minutes around breakfast – either while I’m eating breakfast or directly after, before I settle into the day’s writing.
  • I use Google Reader to bring me posts of the people I follow so I don’t have to go look for them.
  • I skim posts to quickly assess whether they are something I need/want to invest focused time on.
  • I keep my Google Reader list trimmed down. If I begin following someone who sounds interesting and after a while I find their posts aren’t a good fit for me, I remove them.
  • There are some few blogs that I know I want to read with focus – every word – and I will sometimes set them aside – choose NOT to read them immediately – for another time later in the day when I can give them undivided attention, maybe while dinner simmers or in the evening when the house quiets down.

Following too many blogs is the modern version of having too many magazine subscriptions piling up on the coffee table. They may all have good stuff, but there’s just too much clutter in the house! I urge you to take charge and get things under control, for sanity’s sake and for the sake of your writing.

Do you have a tip to share?

About Marilyn

Reading, thinking, listening, writing and talking about faith, creativity, ESL for refugees, grief and finding the story in a story. Student of Spanish. Foe of procrastination. Cheez-it fan. People person with hermit tendencies or vice-versa. Thank you so much for reading.
This entry was posted in boundaries, control, discernment, good blogs, habit, time management, traveling light, writing. Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Getting a Grip on Blog-following

  1. Beth Havey says:

    I so admire how you are making it all work, Marilyn. And you obviously have a handle on the techy stuff. As I’ve said before YOU GO GIRL. Beth


  2. deidra says:

    Great great great post! “How I wish I could gather you all in my arms…” Oh I love that! I may link to this later this week. Would you mind?


  3. Chris Craven says:

    I love this advice! As a young writer, I feel the pressure but havent succumbed. I’m not ready for writing, reading, blogging, any of it to become a job or an obligation. Thanks for your insight. I also use Google Reader. Chris


  4. Marilyn says:

    Stay that way, Chris!


  5. April says:

    Google Reader is great, got that tip from you a few months ago and appreciate it!


  6. Juliana says:

    Marilyn you just hit on my lenten surrender…time spent on blogs…I am not a blogger…just a dedicated follower. Some, like yours, Ann’s and Deidra’s I’ll read as soon as I see come up on my RSS feed. Others I’m learning to let sit. Others still I’m learning to delete altogether when I decide I don’t really want to follow them because they don’t add to my life.

    I had noticed the escapism theme though which is what had lead to the Lenten surrender…

    I’ve discovered though that as Lent has continued my resolve has faded (it’s after 830, my self imposed turn of the computer time and I’m still here) and I’m wondering if I need to look at this idea of 30 minutes a day…I wonder what I’d keep and what I’d discard…I suspect there are still some I’d stop and read as soon as I see them…I wonder though what I might ultimately delete as I find that I simply won’t spend some of my 30 minutes on them.

    We shall see.


  7. Marilyn says:

    Great, Juliana!
    It will become clear to you, what needs to go.

    Also, the “30 minutes” is the window I’ve chosen to leave open. You may find something different works for you.

    Whatever you do, taking control of this time-eater will be VERY FREEING for you!


  8. Very Good Post! Google reader is wonderful and really cuts down on time spent reading. If someone rights a post I really feel I want to comment on it’s very easy to access that post and do so.

    I think a lot of people have a cyber/tech addiction but aren’t willing to acknowledge it.



  9. So sensible.

    I think this is the way most long-term bloggers evolve. I just visit when I can and I do not give myself a hard time about how often. People do understand. And if they don’t, I’m okay with that.

    I’m just doing the best I can in my situation to live well, to write, and to stay connected. It’s not the ideal, but it’s better than doing nothing and it’s better than doing too much.

    My second thought was, “Wow. I’d love to write the kind of blog which someone really wants to visit because it adds substantially to their quality of life.”


  10. JoAnn says:

    thank you. I am in the midst of “blog growing pains” and I simply cannot keep up.
    I don’t want to be rude to people, I just can’t do it at the level I could when I had like, two people reading my blog. I’m so glad to have read this.


  11. AMEN. Sorry I didn’t catch this the first time around, but you are right on — and interestingly, in spite of all the blogs I read, you are the first to come right out and say this – it gets crazy! I look at some other bloggers with their online omni-presence, and think, “Sheesh! Is this all they do all day?” Especially this thing about building a platform. It’s obssessive and fake.

    Bloggin should be for enjoyment, for making friends, and for stretching our thinking and writing. I’m with you on this one!

    And thanks for the tips…

    (ps, I also do 30 minutes every morning before I leave for work. Great minds think alike!)


  12. I’ve just started and already feel the “pressure” of time constraining me. I need to find balance, this much is clear. Thanks for helping me see that.


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