Blogging Insights — Burnout

Blogging insights

Dr. Tanya, at Salted Caramel, published another one of her Blogging Insights posts in which she poses one or more questions about blogging.  In this case, she asked three questions about blogger burnout.

Here are her three questions:

1. What, in your opinion, is “blogger burnout”?

0D7E35C2-D78B-4F90-9322-1C824617CB1DI think blogger burnout occurs when you lose your motivation to blog, when the joy of blogging disappears, and it becomes a chore. It’s different, I think, from writer’s block, where you still have the desire to write, but are drawing a blank. In burnout, that desire to write has left you, temporarily, at least.

I suffered blogger burnout in 2015 on my previous blog, which , I abruptly shut down. I had become obsessed with my blog. I was always thinking about it, talking about it, and even dreaming about it. I was still working at the time and my work was starting to suffer because I was more focused on my blog than I was on my job. I was even more focused on my blog than on my family, and it was putting my marriage in jeopardy. I finally decided that I needed to regain control — and balance — in my life, so I just stopped blogging. I don’t know whether or not that technically was a case of blogger burnout. But I do know that I was having a life flameout and I needed to stop blogging in order to get my real world life back on track.

2. Have you ever suffered from blog related stress?

I suppose what I just confessed about why I shut down my previous blog was an example of blog related stress. I think another stress inducing factor in a blogger’s life is stats. I look at my stats on a daily basis and, even though I realize that they vary significantly from one day to the next, if my stats are down for a stretch of two or three days in a row, it does cause me stress.

For example, I was looking at my monthly stats today and, much to my chagrin, November was the third month in a row where my views dropped. In fact, I had fewer views in November than I had for any other month this year except for February, which had only 28 days. And my blog had more than 1,500 fewer views this November than it had in November 2018! So yes, when I saw this chart of monthly views, I felt stress.e2ab2a6a-6e75-4197-87b1-15f5d9ca3c69.jpeg

3. What steps could you suggest to keep blogging from becoming a stressful activity?

For me, the answer is simple. Stop looking at, being concerned with, or worrying about stats. I love to write. I rarely run out of opinions to express, perspective to share, or stories to tell. It’s fun. It’s fulfilling. It helps me to hone my imagination and creativity and to keep my mind active and sharp. So I need to do my thing and not worry about how many views, likes, or comments my posts get.

Blogging is not a contest or a competition. It’s an outlet for creative self-expression and to be happy with what I create. It’s the act of writing and publishing what I’ve written on my blog that provides me with a sense of accomplishment. If people read what I write, like it, and comment on it, great. But if not, I shouldn’t let that stress me out. At least not so much that it will result in blogger burnout!

Another Stats Anomaly?

You may remember that almost a week ago I wrote this post in which I noted that there was an unusually high number of views on my blog when I first woke up that morning. By the end of that day, my blog had received 935 views, almost twice the number of daily views my blog normally gets. I figured it was some glitch in the WordPress stats counter, especially since the next day my views were back in my normal range.

Well damned if it didn’t happen again yesterday.8C596E21-68D4-4680-AAD5-2691454BE143By the end of the day yesterday, my blog had received 1,556 views, or more than three times my average number of views.

I decided to do some digging to find out what might be behind these unusual spikes in my blog’s views. I noticed a strange anomaly deep within my stats. I saw that on May 5th, the day my views spiked to 935, almost half — 456 of them — came from Germany. And of my 1,556 views yesterday, more than 60% — 952 — were from Germany. Huh?

I went back and checked my stats for the first four months of this year and saw that from January through April, my blog had received a total of 440 views from Germany. And for the entire year of 2018, there were just 722 views from Germany.

But so far this month, my blog has had 1,453 views from Germany, 1,408 of which were on just two days, May 5th and yesterday.

So my blog has gotten 1,013 more views from Germany in just ten days in May than in the previous four full months. And more than double the number of German views during all of 2018!

What the hell is going on? Why Germany? I don’t know anyone who lives in Germany or who is even, to the best of my knowledge, visiting Germany.

This is just weird.

While I Was Sleeping

When I wake up in the morning, one of the first things I do is go to my WordPress app and check my stats to see how many views my blog got while I was sleeping. Typically, that number is between 85 and 120. But this morning I saw this.B301FCED-E6AC-494F-A483-E19788820D71Yes, that’s right. Almost 600 views, a number of views that is higher than what I usually get in total on an average day!

And then I saw this in my Reader.66F58CDC-9742-493F-98B5-3BBD1634C608464 hourly views when my normal hourly average is more like 22! What?

Of the 599 views when I awoke this morning, 306 were “Home Page/Archives,” and I noticed that a lot of the posts viewed were older ones. Only 60 of the views were of the three posts that I had scheduled to be published overnight.

I checked my Spam and Trash folder and there were a few posts in each, which all appeared to be legitimate spam and trash comments.

So either my blog has been hacked or there is yet another glitch in WordPress, this one dealing with how it tracks blog visits.

Is anyone else having an unusually high number of views showing up in your stats page today?

I’m a Man Of Many Words

67557C99-854A-4E95-B81E-93E7122DDDD8How man words? Well, according to the highly reliable and completely accurate WordPress stats, I wrote 385,508 words on my blog in 2018. Those 385,508 words were spread across 1,644 post during the year, for an average of 235 words per post. That’s not a lot of words per post compared to a lot of other bloggers, but many of the prompts I respond to have word limits of, say, 100, 150, or 200.

I posted an average of 4.5 post per day last year. My blog was visited by 27,770 visitors, an average of 76 per day. My posts received 117,582 views, an average of 322 per day and 72.5 per post.

My 1,644 posts received 41,262 likes (113 per day and 25 per post). Also, 24,916 comments, (68 per day and 15 per post).

And as of midnight, December 31, 2018, there were 1,607 people following my blog.

Excluding my daily one-word prompt, FOWC with Fandango, here were my most viewed posts each month:

January: Couples Counseling

February: Perspective

March: A tie: Warning Signs and Top of the World

April: Bloggers Beware

May: Househunters International

June: The Way You Write

July: All Dressed Up and No Place To Go

August: Better Than Sex

September: To Prompt or Not to Prompt

October: Missing the Point

November: Weird Words

December: I’ve Never Skied Naked

Yes, I know that this post has been one big brag about me and my blog. But were it not for all of you, who read and respond to my posts, there would be nothing for me to brag about.

The interactions you provide, your likes and comments, are what makes blogging worthwhile. You have embraced my FOWC With Fandango prompt more than I could have anticipated, and I owe a great big thank you to those of you who post regularly in response to that prompt.

And I want to thank the others of you who post your own prompts. Your words, photos, and challenges provide us bloggers with the inspiration we need to write such creative, entertaining, informative, fascinating, and sometime silly posts.

So in what I consider to have been an otherwise crazy, chaotic year, thank you for providing something to look forward to each day, for a way to cope with the nonsense swirling all around us. Thank you for reading my blog and for being my inspiration.

Happy 2019.

That’s What I’m Talking About

E9F8D3BD-AEE5-4E9C-937A-ED4C35A299EAMy wife and I watch a lot of HGTV shows: House Hunters, House Hunters International, Tiny House Hunters, etc. We also like Property Brothers, Love It or List It, Flip or Flop, and Fixer Upper. We enjoy seeing the kinds of houses people look at and buy, especially when they have big budgets.

And we enjoy seeing the people who are being shown these properties. It’s always interesting when the realtor asked the prospective buys what they want.

He wants a two-to-three bedroom, two bathroom condo or townhouse in the city near his job, a low-to-no maintenance yard, a man cave, a three-car garage, great views, near a golf course, and an open concept design. He prefers the clean lines of a mid-century modern ranch-style house.

She wants a single-family home with at least four bedrooms and three bathrooms in the suburbs, a big backyard for the kids, preferably with a swimming pool, a large modern kitchen with new, stainless steel appliances, a master bedroom with an en-suite and a large walk-in closet, and near their kids’ school. She loves the classic craftsman-style home or a Victorian, with a grand staircase and vintage details.

The smiling realtor asks the couple what their budget is and he says “$199,000 max.” She says that she’s “willing to stretch for the perfect house for their family — up to $300 grand.” The still (always) smiling realtor says, “I’m sure we can find something that will meet all of your needs within your budget.”

Then the games begin. The realtor always shows them three homes. One for him, one for her, and one that “may require some compromise.”

And there are three catchphrases that these potential home buyers on the various shows frequently say that just drive me crazy.

The first and the worst, in my opinion, is the buyer, often the male, who sees something he likes and gleefully says, “Now that’s what I’m talking about.” Really? I never heard you talk about “that” before. And the way their spouse or significant other looks at them when they say it leads me to believe that no one else has either.

And then there are those who are looking at houses that are priced maybe between $200,000 to $300,000. One of them gazes out of the living room window or steps onto a deck or a patio in the backyard and says, “Now that is a million dollar view.” No, it isn’t. Because if it really was a million dollar view, the house would cost a million dollars.

Finally, there are the ones who go into the master bedroom of the house they’re considering, point out of the window, and say, “Wouldn’t you love to wake up to that every morning?” No, because when most people first wake up in the morning, their blinds, shades, curtains, drapes, or whatever other kinds of window coverings they have are usually closed.

But still, my wife and I do love to watch these HGTV shows. And when the realtor asks about their budget and they say “a million to 1.2,” I turn to my wife and say, “Now that’s what I’m talking about!”