To Control or To Be Controlled

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This is not my first blog. In fact, when I decided to launch this blog four months ago, it was the fifth blog I launched.

I started my first blog in 2005 on Blogger. It lasted for maybe 18 months and ended when, between work and family, I just got too busy to post consistently. Not that anyone would have noticed. My blog had no followers.

In early 2008 I started my second blog, which lasted for less than a year. That time around, I was using the blog hosting site, TypePad. I ended this second iteration because I lost my motivation. This second iteration had only a few followers.

About a year later, I started my third blog. It, too, was on TypePad, but because I wasn’t getting much traction on TypePad, even after four years, I moved my blog to WordPress. Within a year on WordPress, though, my blog soared. I had accumulated close to 3,000 followers and was averaging around 500-600 views a day.

While every blogger wants a following, that relatively large following turned out to be a curse. I became obsessed with creating an even larger following. I felt compelled to post multiple times a day and to respond to each and every comment anyone made on my posts. I “liked” and commented on the posts of my regular readers.

And so blogging consumed me. I sacrificed time with my family. I spent more time blogging than doing my job, which hurt my job performance and reputation. I hardly ever ventured outside because I didn’t want to be away from my computer for long periods of time.

I even resented having to go to sleep because it meant I couldn’t be composing a new post, responding to comments, or reading those posted by others on their blogs.

I was addicted. Not to drugs or alcohol or tobacco. I was a blog addict. And I needed to change my behavior before I completely lost myself and my real world identity into my blogging persona. With the help of, and encouragement from, my wife, I stopped blogging cold turkey in early 2015.

In early 2016 I started another blog on WordPress. I wrote my observations on the presidential race. But I kept that blog private because I was primarily writing for my eyes only. That fourth blogging go-round never saw the light of day.

This past May I decided, once again, to dip my toe back into the world of blogging. I told myself that this time I would not become obsessed or addicted. I would post periodically and I would not feel compelled to focus on getting a bunch of followers. I would post only for the purpose of writing down what I observe, think, feel, and experience.

I named my new blog “Fivedotoh” in recognition of this being my fifth blog.

And now I am, once again, consumed by blogging. I just need to make sure that this time around I can control it and that it doesn’t, as it did once before, end up controlling me.

30 thoughts on “To Control or To Be Controlled

  1. Sue Vincent September 28, 2017 / 9:41 am

    Very easy to get sucked in. For me, it is consuming when I am at the PC…but I can happily walk away. On the other hand, I live alone with the dog, don’t watch TV and no-one gives a damn what I do all day as long as my work is done. I’d rather be doing something with my brain than fry it in front of the TV.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Kijo September 28, 2017 / 9:57 am

    Take a week off, or weekends off, or alternate days. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Suze September 28, 2017 / 10:22 am

    create a schedule of only a few days a week and stick to it.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Marilyn Armstrong September 28, 2017 / 10:24 am

    I set a limit … and I also got some other people to post regularly. It helped. Setting a limit helped most. ONE new written piece, one or two photo posts, and something reblogged because I have almost 6,000 posts and even I have forgotten most of them. I write one — frequently short — piece a day. I do take a lot of pictures, but I did that anyhow … just now there’s something I can do with them besides storing them on disk. I am working on NOT WORRYING ABOUT BUILDING A BIGGER AUDIENCE. Firstly, I don’t have the time to deal with more. I’m pretty much at my limit.

    I don’t know how the really BIG bloggers do it. Maybe they have help? But I know I can’t and moreover, I have finally — after five years of doing this every day unless I was too sick to do it — recognized that I don’t WANT to do this and nothing else. I want to read a book or watch a movie. Read something someone ELSE wrote.

    It took me a LONG time to get here. Step one for addicts is NEVER looking at stats unless you want to check how a particular post did. Or a summary at month’s end.

    Do not stare at the stats, planning how you can make them bigger. That will make you crazy — if you aren’t already crazy.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Fandango September 28, 2017 / 3:35 pm

      You’re right, I have to stop looking at the stats.

      Like

  5. baddadcartoons101 September 28, 2017 / 11:41 am

    I just started posting cartoons about 3 months ago and I’ve realized that to get my numbers up, I have to post 4-5 times a day, since I have piles of old cartoons, this isn’t that time consuming but I realize I am being driven by the statistics and not the satisfaction of having some good conversations along the way. The first step for me to pace myself and not get consumed is to stop looking at those damn numbers and hopefully I can do this awhile longer without imploding. I’m sure you already know this but advise from an experienced blogger is always welcome, thanks!

    Liked by 2 people

      • Marilyn Armstrong September 28, 2017 / 4:03 pm

        Yes, they will. And you will never make sense of them, either. Good posts get ignored. Crappy ones get a huge audience. You think you’ve got it … but you never really “get” it. Because response is more random than we imagine. There’s no “good day” or “guaranteed” response. Sometimes traffic just dies for a few weeks (summer is slow, holidays are slow and sometimes, things are just slow slow), picks up for others and there’s NO reason for it.

        In the end, how much traffic do you really need? Unless you want to spend your entire life answering comments, you reach a point where it’s enough. I got there this year when I realized that this is pretty much my limit. If I get bigger, I won’t have any time to do ANYTHING else. And while i don’t do a lot of other stuff, I want to have a choice and I do not want to be chained to my email all day, every day.

        Some people are okay with that and sometimes, I’m okay with that. But I want the freedom to not have to do it if I don’t want to. When they start to pay me — a lot — I’ll reconsider.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Fandango September 28, 2017 / 9:33 pm

          Yes, if I were compensated for blogging, it would be a whole different story. In the meantime I’ll just keep chugging along until it’s no longer any fun.

          Like

          • Marilyn Armstrong September 28, 2017 / 10:07 pm

            That was kind of my point, too. I realized it had stopped being fun and was getting to be much too much like work … and the whole point of this was that is ISN’T work. i still blog a lot and is is more or less a daily activity, but if I skip a day, I don’t get (too) crazy. Usually.

            Liked by 1 person

  6. newepicauthor September 28, 2017 / 1:14 pm

    I love writing and I am addicted to it. The other day when I was the pre-school substitute, I was too exhausted to get in the Daily Post challenge and I religiously participate in that. I am not driven by LIKES or FOLLOWERS, as I would write whether or not anyone ever read my stuff. I do try to look at some of the stuff that everyone writes who does LIKE my stuff, but it does get overwhelming and now I am backed up a bit. I had plenty of time in the summer when I was not working and now I am just tired. I have learned a lot since I first started my blog back in May also and I guess that some day I will also burn out, but not yet.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Fandango September 28, 2017 / 3:44 pm

      Don’t burn out, Jim. Your posts are informative and entertaining.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. cagedunn September 28, 2017 / 2:53 pm

    Just my two bob’s worth: I stick to two posts a week (mostly; min of 400 words max of 2k – and all off the cuff – mostly) and have no more follows of other’s blogs than I can read and respond to within a time-period (for me = 2 hours) on the same day I post. Otherwise, I wouldn’t get any real work done at all – by which, I mean writing stories, not that other stuff!
    Do what a smoker would do – cut back a bit at a time, but set your own rules.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fandango September 28, 2017 / 3:49 pm

      I do need to cut back a bit to maintain my sanity. Thanks for the advice.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Michael September 28, 2017 / 6:31 pm

    I’m a bit addicted too. But I do pick and choose what prompts and posts I participate in. I know there are times in the day when most of the world is sleeping and that affords me time to spend doing other things.
    But I agree with others that writing does give us something to do with our minds and that at my age is a good thing. As for followers, I’m always amazed anyone is interested in following me as I write pretty much for myself. Though the reality is of all the followers I have on paper I only see maybe ten – fifteen at any one time.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Fandango September 28, 2017 / 8:46 pm

      There is a large difference between the number of followers I have “on paper,” as you say, and the number who actually seem to read, like, and comment on my posts.

      Liked by 2 people

        • Marilyn Armstrong September 28, 2017 / 10:09 pm

          I have almost 15000 followers. I can’t even imagine what would happen if ALL of them actually read something!

          Liked by 2 people

          • Michael September 28, 2017 / 10:27 pm

            It’s a scary thought isn’t it

            Like

            • Marilyn Armstrong September 29, 2017 / 5:28 pm

              I’m sure about 14000 of them are bots, and half of the remaining 1000 are very occasional visitors. Since the most hits I’ve EVER gotten was 1400 and that was 3 years ago, I have to wonder what’s with all the rest of them? Why did they bother to sign up?

              Liked by 2 people

            • Michael September 29, 2017 / 5:29 pm

              I’ve likened it to Facebook where people seem to think there is some reason to accumulate followers the same seems to happen here where someone follows you and you never see them again…..

              Liked by 2 people

          • Fandango September 28, 2017 / 10:57 pm

            With 15,000 followers (yikes) should you have 15,000 views for each post? What is the point of following someone if you’re never going to read their posts?

            Liked by 1 person

            • newepicauthor September 29, 2017 / 12:45 pm

              I think that I just went over the one hundred mark on followers and I have no idea why anyone wants to follow me, but most of my followers are like ghosts as they have never LIKED anyone of my posts and they have never made any comments.

              Liked by 1 person

            • Fandango September 29, 2017 / 1:35 pm

              I think we all have more “ghost” followers than real followers.

              Liked by 1 person

            • Marilyn Armstrong September 30, 2017 / 5:05 pm

              I have no idea. I frequently wonder myself, especially because there are so MANY of these.

              Like

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