If Blogging is Dying, What is a Blogger To Do?

sidewalk chalkI have self-identified as a writer ever since I was six years old, when my first-grade teacher told me I was one.

During my elementary school years, I wrote stories. During my university years, I wrote academic papers. And in my mid-twenties, I started blogging.

By my late twenties, I felt like I was finally getting some momentum with my writing. I thought I might be heading towards a career as a writer. I thought I knew what direction I was taking, and could see a possible book in my future.

Then Felix was born. And everything fell apart, including my identity.

Our family has slowly been putting our lives back together since then. But my identity has been a bit harder to piece back together.

Who am I, now that being a “crunchy mom” isn’t central to my identity? And how can I call myself a writer when I can only manage to publish a blog post once every couple of months?

And while I’ve been struggling to figure out where blogging fits into my life, I’ve seen the blogging world change so much that I hardly recognize it.

Many people are saying that blogging (in the form I know and love) is dying. And I worry that it’s true. And I’m not sure where to take it from here.

Many of my old blogging peers have shifted to new formats: email newsletters, podcasts, book deals. (SO MANY BOOK DEALS.)

I can’t seem to find my place with any of these new and different platforms. They all seem to involve learning about and buying all new hardware and software . . . I just don’t think I’m in a place to go in any of these new directions.

The following is mostly just for me to sort out my own thoughts and feelings. But if you feel like coming along for the ride, here goes:

1. Email Newsletters

I’m sorry, but. . . I just cannot get on board with this format. I would like to. It’s the most like blogging. I just . . . hate it.

The main problem is: in my brain, email is for business. My email account is where I go to get notifications from my library that my books are due, or from Amazon that a package has shipped, or to set an appointment with a therapist. It is not for reading about how my friend’s week is going. I’m sorry! That’s just not the mindset I’m in when I open up my email.

(How about you?? Is this just a weird thing about me that I need to get over?)

I have optimistically signed up for a few newsletters from people I love and adore, and . . . I always just delete them when they pop up in my email, until I finally unsubscribe. They just don’t belong in my email inbox!

When I want to know how my bloggy friends are doing, I go to their websites, or to social media (Facebook* and Instagram). And I still keep up with blogs via Feedly like an old person.

Email and blogs just don’t mix in my mind.

(I can’t be the only person who feels this way. Am I?)

*I have used less and less Facebook in recent years since they decided to be stupid with their algorithms and make it almost impossible for blog and business pages to get seen unless the owner “boosts” their posts (with cash). It’s so incredibly lame.

2. Instagram

I’ve noticed some people writing short essays as their Instagram captions as a sort of alternative to blogging. But I just don’t feel there’s enough space here to really delve deeply into a subject. You can maybe introduce an idea, but you can’t go much further than that. Plus, the type is way too tiny, and it’s difficult to create paragraphs.

I tend to skim over long blocks of tiny text on Instragram.

I go to Instagram for the pretty pictures (especially of knitting and bread).

3. Podcasting

It seems that all the bloggers who started around the same time as me (or earlier) now have a podcast. So far, I’m not totally sold on the medium. For one, I’ve always preferred writing over talking. I’m a writer. I’m in love with the written word.

And second, I’m more of an essay girl than a conversation girl. I prefer to consume works that are stylized and edited rather than “authentic.” I personally listen to only one podcasts devotedly (The Liturgists); most others are too chatty for me. If I wanted to hear women chatting I would call up my girlfriends.

Plus I would have to learn a LOT of new technology to go this route, and I don’t know how I would even start.

4. Youtube/Vlogging

This shares many of the problems that podcasting has, including the tech issue — I have no freaking idea how it even works. Plus I have very blinky eyes that would be very distracting. (I’m serious. It’s a problem.)

5. Books

Writing a book has always been the dream and the goal. But not only do I not have a publisher, I don’t even have a book in me right now. The experience of Felix’s extended hospitalization hollowed me out so that I don’t know who I am or what I believe anymore. I wrote a whole post on why I’m not writing a book last year.

So I still dream of writing a book someday; but it’s not going to happen anytime soon.

***

So what do you think? Do you think blogging actually is dying?

What’s your favourite way to consume content?

Is there a form of sharing content that I’m missing from my list?

Should I just get over myself and pursue one of the forms I’m discussed above? Am I totally wrong about them?

I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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Comments

  1. Well selfishly, I’d love for you to keep blogging! Even if it’s not as often. I don’t mind blogs being less frequent if they are good. And every time your posts pop up in my feedly, they are good, and they make me happy. I don’t mind newsletters, but I don’t like that I can’t go find them later on someone’s blog, and sometimes I’m half way through one and I get distracted and then don’t go back because it’s not a new email any more. But I’d totally read your newsletter if you had one! And I deeply believe in a few years, you’ll be at a place (with enough sleep, please Lord give Kathleen enough sleep!) that you’ll write a beautiful book about everything you’ve learned these challenging years. Please keep blogging!
    Amy Rogers Hays recently posted..Books I’m Actually Recommending from the first 50 NewberiesMy Profile

    • Thank you so much for your kind words of encouragement and input. And I agree — emails are difficult to archive and return to! I love the permanence of blogs. PS I always read your blog, too!

  2. Brigitte says:

    I’m with you. I don’t have the patience to listen to podcasts. I like to read! Please keep blogging.

  3. natasha says:

    Please keep blogging!

  4. Chrissy says:

    I like your current format! When you post an update it shows up on my FB. I always read your posts. I like the read too. I definitely dont think you’re alone. Please keep blogging!

  5. Melissa F says:

    Keep blogging! I want to write a book too and started writing any and all ideas. I started writing about who I was when I was a teen and it was emotional, but so worth it. Just keep doing what you are doing, it’s wonderful. Also, I was doing the same, trying to find myself after the hospitalization with my daughter and the difficulty of the last 4 years

    • Thank you for your thoughts, Melissa. It’s incredible how having a sick child changes you! And it takes years to process! Wishing you all the best, and I hope a book happens for you!!

  6. Heather says:

    I like to read your blog just the way it is!

  7. I agree with all the others — keep blogging! You know you love writing, so keep writing! I think you have very valid reasons for why the others aren’t as good of a fit.

    And I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one who can’t get onboard with e-newsletters. I couldn’t put my finger on why, but I think you’re right — I want to get updates and get out.

  8. Why is blogging dying? If you have readers who love to read what you write, and you still find joy in it, why not continue? Writing even just for yourself can be an end in and of itself. Journaling is a valid way to write, though I hope you continue to blog, because I love to read what you write.

    • Well, the comments to this post have been illuminating . . . I didn’t know if anyone was even still reading! I didn’t know if I ought to be putting my efforts elsewhere, if blogging was a dead format. Thank you so much for your encouragement!

  9. Yes keep blogging! There are still readers and it is a valid format. I enjoy your writing very much.

  10. Please keep blogging. I for one am happy to read your musings, no matter the frequency, nor the specific content. You’re a good writer, and I appreciate your voice and perspectives. I always know when I open a link to one of your posts, it’s goimg to be a valuable and worthwhile experince.

  11. Elizabeth says:

    I love reading blogs with Feedly. Please keep blogging. There are several bloggers who have stopped blogging and I miss them and I still wonder (years later) how they are. Also, I think the trend of blog monetization did some ugly things to blogging – the ads, the sponsored posts, the self censorship to make content appealing to advertisers. I think monetization, and using $ as a metric of blog success, has been bad for the blogosphere. But please keep writing.

    Have you considered seeking treatment for yourself & Ben since Felix’s diagnosis? I’ve read that it is common for NICU parents to be diagnosed with PTSD after their child is released from the hospital. It might be something that could help you close the chapter of Felix’s hospitalization and open the next chapter of your lives. Please forgive me if this is unwelcome or hurtful.

    • I think you’re onto something, Elizabeth. When blogs started to become Big Business, I think readers could sense it and it started to feel inauthentic. Good thoughts there!

      And your suggestion is not unwelcome! I do suspect that therapy for ourselves could be helpful, it’s just hard to access when you need such specialized childcare! If only therapists’ offices came equipped with childcare…

      • Elyse B. says:

        I know many therapists who do online consultations…I have a friend who specializes in doing therapy for stay-at-home moms :)

  12. Jessica says:

    I’m still devoted to Feedly like you! And, yes, email newsletters don’t do it for me. Every time one pops up I’m like “STOP CLUTTERING MY INBOX” even though…I subscribed to it. I do like chatty podcasts and Instagram stories (not YouTube, ever), but I still prefer blogs to stay blogs :)

    • Haha, I’m the exact same way. Emails just feel like clutter, even when I’ve consciously subscribed to them! I’m starting to warm up to Instagram stories, too. Thanks for your input!

  13. I don’t think blogging is dying, but the space has been refined quite a bit over the last several years. There was a time that blogging was the best way to build a following/network/community, which attracted a lot of people, including those that weren’t best suited to writing in a sort of long form blog format. Eventually a lot of people realized that their type of content wasn’t best suited to the blog format (and other tools/platforms got much better), so they moved to other platforms.

    That brings us to 2018, where blogging is just one way to create. It’s no longer the trendy way, but I think it’s still the best format for essays or anything reasonably in depth, and will remain that way for some time. If you look at platforms like Medium and how popular it has gotten the last few years, it seems like blogging is alive and well despite being a bit less mainstream than it used to be.

    For what it’s worth, if you were on Patreon I would definitely subscribe to get 1-2 essays per month.

    • Um. How bad is it that I don’t even know what Medium is??? I used to be so on top of online trends like that!

      But you’re so right. Many people who started blogging in the beginning weren’t really suited to the platform, but it was one of the best/only ways to get followers. I guess it’s a good thing, then, that people have more options now. Many do better talking to a camera or into a microphone or whatever.

      THanks so much for the encouragement and support, Will!

  14. I don’t think it’s dying as a form, but some people only blog for a season of life. A lot of ones I used to read don’t publish anymore, so my selection is narrowed. I’m also more picky–no more reading a stranger’s pregnancy blog—I have less time so I only read the good stuff. Yours is my favorite; please don’t stop blogging!

  15. Also, I hate vlogs. I don’t have the patience to listen to someone else talk in real time—I do enough of that in real life. Reading is more efficient. And silent. I also don’t read newsletters via email. Blogs forever!

  16. Please don’t stop blogging! I’ve been reading your blog since it was still Project M. I think there is still a place for blogging. I don’t have a lot of time for vlogs or podcasts, but I do have quiet times when I can read a blog post.

  17. Naomi S says:

    Blogging may not be on trend, but there’s nothing quite like reading through a good blog post. Please keep blogging! You’re definitely not alone in not loving email newsletters and podcasts either.

  18. Please keep blogging. I don’t know of blogging is dying, I find blogs a great source of inspiration and information and yours is one of them. I don’t like email newsletters because, like you, email is for business ! And I don’t have the patience for podcasts and vlogs.

  19. I also vote that you continue blogging. I agree with you about email newsletters. Although I don’t completely view email as solely for business, I find that I don’t read most of the newsletters I am subscribed to. And the one I do sometimes open overwhelms me because it has links to a million posts that I can’t possibly read all in one sitting. I’m also not into podcasts or vlogs because I would rather read than listen or watch.

    The thing I have always loved about your blog is that it is so personal. Instead of just writing about a topic, you weave your life and family into your posts and for me that makes them relatable and enjoyable. I have missed your regular writing immensely, but of course I completely understand why you don’t write as frequently. All of that said, I hope you do keep blogging because your words are so interesting. Even if the blogging world is changing, I think you still have a captive audience that doesn’t want or need for you to change with the times. What you have been doing is great.

  20. HeatherH says:

    I love your blog and I agree about newsletters/podcasts etc. I like Instagram essays to some extent but I agree that that’s not really what the medium is for. The written word is best, even when sporadic. It’s better than some blogs that try to post like 3 times a day. I end up unfollowing because my anxiety can’t deal with that many unreads in my Feedly feed.

    Just a thought I wanted to share, my current life rule is to be as kind to myself as I would be to my friends. It’s working out okay so far. Your life has been upended and is still crazy. It’s okay to not know. Don’t get too down on yourself. We’ll still be here when you do know. <3

  21. 1. I think email newsletters work well for some things–a brief paragraph, some links to interesting reads, a list of book recommendations–but not as well for, well, blog posts–essays on a topic, longer form musings.

    2. I agree. Instagram is for pictures. I can’t even get behind stories. I’m old.

    3. I love podcasts, but again, they’re more suited for some material than others. I like that I can listen while doing other things–driving, cooking, cleaning. I spend less time these days sitting in front of a computer or phone reading, so it’s hard to keep up with frequent blog postings, but it’s also hard to keep up with podcasts, because even when you multitask, it still takes time. I’m also not super auditory so sometimes I find myself having to rewind and listen to a part over. I do have one or two chatty type podcasts and a whole slew of theology podcasts that I listen to regularly, but it is frustrating that the conversation is one-way–like yes, here are all these great ideas you’re making me think about, but now I have no one to talk about them with, and limited ways to give feedback or pushback on those ideas, vs a blog.

    4. YouTube is right out. Is there anything worse than sitting and watching someone talk? I can’t even deal with Stories on Instagram.

    5. Books. Someday, sure, and I would buy and read any book you wrote. But I get not having one in you, and again, it’s the time thing.

    Basically, I think that blogging isn’t so much dying as being pared down to what it does best, while simultaneously breaking off into a couple different branches. Blogging is really good at short, punchy, informative (and frankly, often sponsored) posts (Ten Recipes To Cook in an Instant Pot, My Experience with Company XYZ Product, etc.), and the long-form essay. That sort of essay is actually making a huge comeback on “news” sites–long-form investigative journalism (like the Dear John series from earlier this year) and thought-provoking articles on different news and culture items. But what are those really but blog posts? They’re just on a site, like Jezebel or Slate, that bills itself as being news rather than as a blog. So clearly the market to read those things is out there, I just don’t know that it can be monetized the same way it used to be.

    All that to say, I’ll keep reading what you post, and honestly I don’t even mind that it’s less often, because I spend less time reading on screen than I used to.

    • Thank you so much for your thoughtful response, Katie. You have always been one of my most thought-provoking commenters, and it means a lot to me that you’ve stuck around all this time!

  22. I love your blog! I subscribed so I get all your new posts as an email, since I don’t want to miss any!

  23. Keep up the blog! Yours is good and worth the read. I also enjoy blogging because it doesn’t get loaded down with all of the just because people can comments – positive and negative, relevant and not. It is nice to go into a space and see only, or mostly what the author wrote, not what everyone else passing by thinks they should have written!

  24. Stephanie says:

    I LOVE your blog, it was the first blog I started regularly reading and in order to keep up as I followed more blogs I downloaded a feed reader (bloglovin) to make keeping up easier. Blogs I followed that turned into podcasts I eventually stopped following; it’s just not as easy to me to devote the time to watching. It seems that podcasts and vlogs are generally very chatty or share an amount of the owners personal life that is probably not healthy; as a writer it seems easier to curate how much you want to share (for example, some vlogs are taken throughout the vlogger’s home- should people see that much of your private space regularly?). And you’re absolutely right, e-mail newsletters go straight to the virtual trash bin.

    Your readers support you during the season you’re in; if that means sporadic posting or writing to think through things more clearly, that’s alright! (And if you happen to write a book along the way, we will devour the written word you lay out for us ^_~)

  25. It’s become a bit of a dogpile, but I don’t think blogging is dying either — and even if it is, I’ll cling to the blogs I read as long as possible! Yours is just one of many I love seeing updates from.

    I’m sorry you’re going through such a rough patch right now — identity shifts are so, so hard.

  26. Daniel Imburgia says:

    I read your blog and still like the format. Many blessings in your work.

  27. Melissa H-K says:

    I love reading your blog! (Are you tired of hearing that yet?) You post so rarely these days that a blog post from you is a treat. I love hearing about what you and your kids are up to. Please don’t stop!

    I think email is for communication, and I don’t restrict it to business. But if that’s the way you roll, fine.

    Podcasts mostly leave me cold. There is ONE I listen to, and that’s because it’s full of fun and oddity that the written word just can’t capture. I can’t stand listening to a podcast to learn something. Just give me text, please. It’s a lot quicker than podcasts, and I can skip the parts that I don’t need.

    • Yes! That is my biggest problem with podcasts, I think — you can’t skim! You have to commit to the whole things, beginning to end . . . intros, ads, etc. Thanks for your input!

  28. Hi Kathleen, my comment is going to sound like a broken record, but I always mean to comment something like this and don’t… I love your blog. I’ve been following it for years, cringing and praying through everything with Felix, watching you struggle and create and be authentic in the midst of all the pain. What does it look like to follow Jesus in the day to day, when everything falls apart, when you can’t hear Him and all you can do is keep plowing forward? I appreciate your authenticity. I appreciate your posts, even if there are months in between.

    Your voice in this corner of the Internet means a lot to me, and I can safely say from reading the other comments that I’m not alone. I prefer reading (and writing!) blogs more than any other format, and I hope that you’ll stick with it (although if you chose another written medium I’d follow you too!).

    Anyway, I guess this is mostly just an excuse for me to say that I love your blog, and I appreciate you for writing it. Hope you have a wonderful day!

  29. I like reading. It always annoys me when people post videos where the whole video is them talking. If they typed it instead, I could read the whole thing in less time.
    I still like reading your blog, and I don’t mind the frequency.

  30. Melanie Dauer says:

    I enjoy your posts and seeing your kids progress, Felix overcoming challenges and Lydia with her schooling . I found your blog a long time ago in the ‘no poo’ era of my life and have continued to enjoy your posts. I’m a writer too, and like you do not care for the formats that are currently popular. But I really do like reading blogs. There is a place for everything. Also… I believe there are many books in you that want to be written. You may not be putting words down at this time but you are living the words right now. You have a fascinating story – your upbringing, your current journey, the things you are passionate about, stuff you’re currently into. You’re a unique gem, and that’s plain to see, even from all the way in the heart of Texas!

  31. John Grebe says:

    Personally I do not see much of a difference between a blog and an email newsletter. Not to mention even if you have an email newsletter you can still have a blog/website that you also post the messaged to as an online archive. Personally I am subscribed to your blog by email and read your posts as they come to me in email. I only clicked through on the link to be able to leave a comment. Still I would not want to lose access to your blog as I only subscribed to your blog by email as a result of finding it and your older posts helpful and wanting to know when you had new ones posted.

  32. I think Instagram has pretty much killed blogging. I’m guilty of using that as a mini form of blogging. It’s so much easier when life is too overwhelming to write out a post and upload nice pictures. I have a handful of blogs I read (this one included) and I’m so glad they still exist.

  33. I like the blog form like you have now. I have 2 blog sites saved in my “favorites” and yours is one of them! I just periodically check it to see if there are any new posts. I enjoy pretty much all the things you have blogged about. Love the crafty things like the yarn projects (fellow crocheter here), the paintings, bread making, as well as “what you’re reading this month” and things of that sort.

    It’s clear based on all the feedback from this post that you still have quite a following…and we all thoroughly enjoy your content!

  34. Long time follower here but first time commenting. I too am a blog lover though there are only a handful of blogs I still enjoy (yours being one of them). I have also really loved Instagram though I’ve been taking a break from it recently to give myself some time to rest this summer (it’s not the best for my mental health). I was happy to find you on Insta when your posts became less frequent and I enjoy your presence on both platforms. <3

  35. Amanda Dickens says:

    Sorry for the late input. Your blog is one of two I read in detail each time you publish. I love your writing, and your lifestyle. My life would be less without you in it :)

  36. Angela Nunn says:

    Love your posts and would love you to continue writing them. Like you, I’m a ‘written word girl’ and I’m not interested in watching endless vidoes/vlogs….. it takes too long. I also delete the email newsletters, too – as you say, they don’t belong with all the day-to-day functional stuff. The Minimalists have a website with good links to all their essays and that works well. But please keep writing – you have a lot to say and I really value your honesty and warmth. Plus, I’m sure that lots of folk who read your posts also pray for you guys. :) Take care

  37. I have been following you since Before Felix was born, and loved your writing then, but love the sharing of your experiences you give so much time and attention to now. Thank you Kathleen. By coincidence (?) I have a grandson who shares some of Felix’s challenges, about the same age, and I’m so encouraged by your posts. Your little family is a treasure and I’m blessed by your writing.

  38. Please keep blogging!

  39. I’ve been reading your blog for about four or five years. I came here to learn about your experiences with natural living. I stayed because through your blog, I’ve become attached to your family. I have told Felix’s story to so many people. Every time I get an email saying you’ve posted, I get a jolt of excitement. I LOVE reading your blog. I love hearing your thoughts. I love getting updates on your life. I’ve recently taken to IG mainly to keep up with you (and a couple of my favorite celebrities).

    I don’t think blogging is dying. I certainly hope it isn’t, as I’ve taken to blogging in order to share my journey through becoming a gestational carrier. I will read everything you post, no matter how far between your posts are. I will treasure each one. Please never stop sharing!

  40. I’m with everyone else- keep blogging! I thoroughly enjoy following along on the blog, and get pleasantly surprised when there are new posts! Your journey is unique and this platform seems to do a good job at capturing those things you want to share. Maybe use Instagram as a way of letting your followers know there is a new post up like many others out there do!

  41. I don’t have a facebook and I’m not on any email list but your blog is one that I check in on every so often of my own accord. You were praying for me almost 4 years ago to have my first child. I follow you on instagram but I would be disappointed if you stopped the blog

  42. Kathleen,
    You present quite the quandry as you look at your future. The first question I would ask you is: why do you write? Do you write because you have something to say or do you simply say something so you can write? There is a difference, your purpose will direct you. I like to read blogs that are personal, where people share a little of who they are and their struggles and how they cope and overcome, not that try to sell me something. I like yours for that reason. Also, what you do is not who you are. You write from a place in your heart that is only you, genuine, vulnerable and honest. Blog because you love to write and share. In the words of the movie Field of Dreams–build it and they will come. God bless.
    Rob Hall recently posted..Someone else’s shoesMy Profile

  43. I’m a little late to the party, but I wanted to say, I prefer reading a blog to all the other options you listed, although I do like books too. I read blogs on Feedly. I don’t read email newsletters, listen to podcasts, or watch vlogs.

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