Blogging: When Nagging Doubts Take Over Your Mind

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Would you like to know a secret? Something about me, as a blogger, that I’ve never told anyone before?

Well lean in closer, my gentle readers, here goes…

I’m spending way too much time worrying about what to write here.

I mean, if I learned one thing from my blogging break it is that when I’m not blogging I wake up in the morning with a mind filled with mellow thoughts.

And I start my day with a sense of clarity and purpose that’d make Covey [and his Seven Habits] happy.

But when I’m actively doing the bloggy thing I wake up in the morning uncertain, with confused ideas about what to write here and low-level anxiety about whether or not what I published earlier in the week was a good idea.

Doubts fill me in a way that only the Devil [and his Seven Mortal Sins] could take joy in.

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• • •

So you know what I did? How I handled these nagging doubts that worry me?

I conducted a study on my bloggy self and my writing behavior wherein: 1) I tracked the time I spent blogging during October;  2) I reviewed my following/commenting process looking for a better way to do it; and 3) I evaluated my categories with an eye to revision.

Here are my findings + changes:

1) I put in about 3 hours per day on all things blogging, such as researching, writing, editing, publishing, reading other blogs, and commenting;

2) I follow a variety of bloggers and to do this more easily I’ve ditched WP Reader entirely, choosing to upgrade my Feedly account wherein I can have everyone filed away, all orderly like;  and

3) I need to have fewer categories, well-defined in my head, so that when I sit down to write I’m focused and unworried, thus I’ve re-envisioned my blog with 7 categories.

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So has my little foray into personal blogging self-awareness helped me feel more in control of what I’m doing here?

In a word, YES.  Most definitely.

And maybe the message of this blog post is that once a year I need to revisit what I’m doing on this blog and how I want to keep on doing it, so that writing my personal blog doesn’t cause me to worry.

Seems obvious as I say it here, but sometimes the obvious doesn’t come so easily to me.

No secret about that, now is there?

Published by

Ally Bean

Observant. Humorous. Adaptable. Happy enough. Midwestern by chance. Kindhearted by choice. Usually.

97 thoughts on “Blogging: When Nagging Doubts Take Over Your Mind”

    1. Jill, for the most part blogging is enjoyable for me. But I do worry about what to write about, not how to write it, just the subject on which to focus. I’m a former perfectionist who occasionally backslides into my old ways of thinking. 🤷‍♀️

      Liked by 2 people

  1. Thank you for connecting me to the “Gif” shop. I had no idea where these cute animations came from. Also, you get points for vulnerability; no wonder readers flock here.

    About worry. Once upon a time I posted twice a weekly, but now only once. I simply couldn’t keep up, what with work on my memoir and regular life with appointments and things to do. Maybe once a week (or every two weeks) would work for you. You might try Foto Friday – kinda like my Wordless Wednesday. See what happens!

    I love coming here. Bless you! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. marian, gifs [prounced like Jif the peanutbutter] can be a hoot. Although spend too much time looking at them and your eyes will cross.

      Believe it or not once upon a time I was a daily blogger, but came to realize that was too much for me… having a real life and all. Now I try to post twice a week, but in some ways worry more about what to write on than when I was daily. Go figure.

      Thanks for the Foto Friday idea. I don’t know anything about that.

      Like

        1. I like how you think. I remember years ago [maybe 15?] there was a blogger who’d show you just the eyes of a celebrity and wait to see who would guess who it was. That was fun and your idea sounds like it’d be too.

          ALSO, I’m having trouble commenting on your blog again. No doubt it’s at my end and I’ll keep trying… 🙄

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Trouble commenting? Could it be the browser again? Chrome usually works. Also I want to meet with my web guy again for a tune up. He’s in the mountains 🏔 now – no computer. Lucky dog!

            Like

            1. marian, I use an old desktop computer that I think is about ready to give up the ghost. It won’t do Chrome anymore, only Safari. I’ve asked Santa for a new computer for Christmas, and Santa has indicated that he’s going to make it so. 😊 🎄

              Like

    1. Donna, thank you. I appreciate your support. Maybe all this blogging self-analysis is just part of the overall process of growing as a person and a writer.

      I dunno, all I can say is that I hadn’t realized how I worried about blogging topics until I took time off. Perspective gave me that insight; persistence gave me the need to figure out what to do about it.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I did the same sort of thing a few years back. I cut back to posting 3 times a week with a pattern (sassy cats on Fridays, Random 5 on Sundays, and flapdoodle on Wednesdays). That helped a lot because the Wednesday post is the one I spend the most time on. I don’t do challenges because that would confine me. I’ve also changed my reading habits. There are bloggers that I read everything they write because they are that good. There are some that I visit often but not always depending on the topic. I love the conversations that a post causes and those are the blogs I love the most. When someone takes the time to add a comment you know it’s a home run. I like the “airy-ness” about your posts. (not even sure if that’s a good description) Sometimes I learn something (like today, what is that Feedly thing?) and sometimes I giggle. I always can relate. I’m glad that you have figured something out that works because I’d really hate to lose you. I’m finding some of my favorites are cutting back or moving away altogether.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Kate, I remember when you went to your blogging pattern! I like your idea. I try to show up here on Tuesdays for sure, and then on Thursday or Friday if I can. It’s interesting to me that as I’ve gotten older, writing my posts is not the problem it once was. Now I just worry about wasting anyone’s time with my thoughts.

      I agree that the fun of blogging is in the comments. That’s where people make me laugh and/or make me think. Both are good things. That’s why I like Feedly, which is an RSS service that can be free or fee-based. I have 9 folders so when I have the chance to read other blogs I can do it in easy blocks of time. This gives me the feeling of being attentive and friendly. My goals.

      I like the idea of writing in an “airy” way, so thank you. I do try to not be a Debbie Downer here, for sure.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I must be an odd egg. I know lots of people have anxiety over what to write and struggle to come up with idea topics, but me? I’ve always got 20 things to post running through my brain on any given day and most of them never see the light of day because no one wants to read that much nonsense!
    I say go with what works and don’t stress. The day blogging becomes a chore? I’m gone.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. rivergirl1211, when I first started blogging I was a daily blogger and never lacked something to write about, back then I worried about if I could write it. Now I know I can write it, but am less certain about what I want to write about. It is, for me, difficult to figure out what works as a topic for a blog post, I often fear repeating myself. Perhaps that’s the downside for having been doing this for so long.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. You delight me Ally – it’s always fascinating to glimpse into that mind of yours! I love that you did a bit of a study to assess your process and goals and then chose to make some right-fit changes. You’ve inspired me to tackle this issue as well, as I still haven’t figured out a new rhythm for myself. My problem is having taken a sabbatical, I’m paralyzed with an overabundance of things I want to write/talk about and end up not doing either. Sigh. Time to face that head on I think.

    I hope Santa will be generous to me with his gifts as well – I’m asking for extra hours in every day so I can write and read more. Think he’ll deliver?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Deborah, I’m a solutions girl at heart! Soooo when faced with a problem, I tend to figure out a way to assess the problem, name it, then find a way to make it go away. That’s what I was talking about here.

      And what I’m hoping I’ve solved with my few small meaningful changes to my blogging process and thinking.

      I know how you feel about the weird stress of returning from a blogging sabbatical and not knowing where to begin. Been there. I just re-introduced myself to my followers, asked after their well being, and then jumped in. Splash.

      If you get extra sleep as a gift from Santa, I’m telling you right now that I’m jealous.

      Like

    1. Sue, I wonder if blogging stress is more rampant after you’ve done this for a while, or if when you first begin? Now I feel like I have a handle on how to write, just not what to write about. I rather liked my little survey, too. Thanks for stopping by with a comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I hate cooking when I “have to” cook.
    I love cooking when I’m in the mood to play with food.
    I hate writing when I “have to” write.
    I love writing when I’m in the mood to play with words.

    These days, I go with the flow. When I’m in the mood, I write (or cook or whatever). When I’m not, I don’t.

    BTW: I love your 99.78% of your posts. Kate is right. They are “airy” ~ easy, breezy, fun and pleazy!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. nancy, considering I was a daily blogger for years, I think of posting twice a week, like I do now, as child’s play. I like the writing part of blogging, it’s the deciding on a topic that gets me anxious.

      Perhaps with my improvements I’ll do better on that point. I attempt to go with the flow, too. It’s just that I’m not always sure where the flow is.

      Thanks for the compliment, too. Apparently I do “airy” pretty well. I can live with that.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I thought you were taking another break from blogging completely and I would not have enjoyed that. I don’t put so much stress on myself but I find it a lot easier when I have a theme to follow. I’m really liking Song Lyric Sunday and Stream of Consciousness Saturday. Love your gifs. Happy Friday!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Janet, having set up this blog as one written by a free spirit I’ve inadvertently put myself in the position of always looking for something to write about in my own life. I like that I am a free spirit, but I do admit to some anxiety about it, too.

      Some of those blogging challenges are fun, but I’ve always tried to keep this blog more a reflection of who I am in this moment. Sometimes the challenges fit into my groove, other times not so much.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I love Feedly but am still smarting about the demise of Google Reader (I know – way to be grudgy!). I only use the WP app for replying to comments, not reading other’s blogs. I like that you conducted a review and have come up with a plan for your blogging. I think I could benefit from that too. I free-wheel things a bit too much I think. Amusing and therapeutic for me, but for my readers not so much, methinks. Thanks for the unintentioned nudge, Ally!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Deb, I lurved Google Reader, too. I understand and applaud your grudge. I find WP Reader to be stilted & don’t like it. However Feedly, while not Google Reader, makes sense to me at least.

      Like I said somewhere above, I’m a solutions girl, so when I realized that blogging was making me anxious [a problem], I had to figure out why– and what to do about it.

      If you do decide to do your own personal blogging study, I’ll be fascinated to see how it changes your approach to blogging. Self-awareness is good, I think.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Anne. I like writing the blog but some days what to write about worries me. I have things going on in my life, but am not sure if they’re worth talking about. Therein was/is my dilemma.

      Like

    1. Jan, I did the same thing, too many experimental categories that were in the end pointless. Now I have seven categories [thank you very much] and those are the ones that everything has to fit into. EZPZ.

      Thanks for all the RTs on Twitter. It’s nice of you to do that for me.

      Like

  8. Since I got on WordPress, the Reader has changed three times. It’s always this big hill for me to climb to figure out how it’s been changed and what’s different. I’m not familiar with Feedly, so I’ll have to check it out. I’m so linear that I can’t write a new post until I’m completely caught up reading everyone I follow. That still remains the most work for me. – Marty

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Marty, I’m with you on the WP Reader. I got tired of figuring it out, then not liking it after I did. Feedly is simple which is all I’m looking for.

      I found that almost 60% of my time was spent reading and commenting on other blogs. I try to keep up with bloggers, but my real life keeps getting in my way. Imagine!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. John, I agree with you. I tried the free Feedly version for a while, then upgraded. Now for the first time since Google Reader died, I feel like I have a handle on following blogs in a way that makes sense to me, unlike WP Reader that makes no sense to me.

      Like

  9. I’ll have to use this Feedly thing of which you speak. And I need to winnow my categories every now and then, too. Sometimes, though, I forget I even have a category that I actually like! No stress. Just post what you like. We’ll all keep stopping by. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tara, now that I’ve organized who I’m following on Feedly and I’ve decided what categories I’ll write about here, I feel like I can make better decisions about what to write about. Odd isn’t it, the longer I do this blogging thing, the less certain I am about what to talk about…

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I think you’re right to assess what’s working and what needs to change. Certainly not something to get stressed about (given we pay you nothing for all the enjoyable reads you give us!). Thanks for all the thoughts and insights you share – always worth a read.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Eilene, I’ve blogged for a long time. By sitting back and reviewing how I was doing things, I gave myself permission to keep going. Now that I’ve tweaked things around here, I feel like I’m on the right path again. I’ve a renewed focus and I have a plan, of sorts. Kind of. Thanks for the taking the time to read my blog. I appreciate it.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Way back in the early days of blogging (for me at least), maybe 11 or 12 years ago, I was asked to write for another website as well, some sort of mom blog. Supposed to be a community thing, no pay or anything, just a way to reach more people. I hated it. I hated the confinement of having to write on the topic they gave us. Lots of people loved it, I am sure, but I hated it and only wrote there once or twice. I think that whatever you have to do to make you happy with blogging is the best way to go about it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. J, I don’t remember you doing that, but maybe it was because it was a mom thing and I was off in a different direction at the time. I don’t like that feeling of confinement either, too much like being in college doing homework. I’m glad that you knew what was best for you and stopped doing it.

      I consider blogging to be the one area in my life where I’m totally in charge of what happens. Good or bad. And while that freedom is exhilarating it can also seem onerous at times. At least for me. However, doing my little study has helped me feel like I’m back in the flow, so *yay* ever onward go I.

      Like

  12. There are times that I worry about what to write, or about whether what I’m writing is even blog-worthy; but I always try to remind myself that, first and foremost, I blog for myself. Yes, it is gratifying to receive “likes” and comments, and it is amazing to be able to interact with people from all over the world in this way – cannot deny that – but I blog to keep track of my life and my thoughts, and even if I suddenly lost all my followers/readers, I’d still continue blogging. Maybe it would actually be easier then 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Pistachios, you make a wonderful point. I may have lost sight of that truth along the way. I keep this blog, after all these years, as a way of connecting with other people everywhere. BUT in the end it has to be written for me first: if I’m happy with what I publish here, then I’ve succeeded.

      For me the biggest takeaway from my doubts has been that I no longer worry about IF I can write, I can. That part of blogging I’ve nailed. Now I’m hung up on the WHAT to write, but maybe that’s part of the process? It shows I’m growing & evolving as a blogger and as a person. And that’s good by me.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Laura, I was surprised/not surprised when I tallied the hours I was spending on blogging in one month. What bugged me was how often I’d write something then talk myself out of posting it so I’d delete and start over. That’s where a lot of my time went. However, if nothing else, my little self study did show me what I can improve upon, and that’s good. I need to blog smarter, not harder. 🙄

      Liked by 1 person

  13. It is difficult to select material for a blog. I find that the comments of others help me a lot to make those decisions about what to post. But your dilemma resonates. I have had such a year of going from crisis to crisis that my blog has gone quiet. I can’t wait to come back, though.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. carla, when I first started blogging I’d write about anything, but the longer I do this the more difficult I find it to decide what to write about. That’s why I’ve reduced my categories, so that I feel more focused about my choices. I agree that comments from others do help me decide. I look forward to your return to blogging when you’re ready. Thanks for stopping by to comment.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Sheryl, you’ve got to the crux of it. I want to do my own thing, but I want my readers to not feel I’ve wasted their time. It’s a balancing act that occasionally causes me to worry. I dunno, maybe that’s what blogging is all about…

      Liked by 1 person

  14. I just wrote back to you on my blog and then I came here and in a spooky cool way – what i wrote over there connected to what you posted here.
    wow-
    and I have a few thoughts to share (but please read my comment when you can)
    I will try and share more later, but my first thought was I think you have the tension (about posting) because you have such an interactive blog.
    seriously, 72 comments here? that is huge interaction and it does impact your approach and filters things.
    and the fact that you put this pondering thought out there (about how you wrestle with this and that) shows that you will likely have the solution eventually.
    Because from what i read here – you are mindful and careful – and you also have the gift of writing in a way that connects with others – and then you are staying in tune with self-awareness and output – all signs of excellence and the mark of someone who stays in tune (and assesses as needed ) does that make sense??

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Prior, you make an excellent point that this blog is interactive, sometimes in ways that amaze me. Throughout my entire blogging career I’ve always had a lot of commenters, for which I am grateful.

      I’m cognizant of the fact that my readership is friendly and smart, which as you mention makes me *perhaps* overly mindful and careful? I dunno.

      I appreciate your kind words about my writing. I try to say things as clearly as possible, and to keep my vibe light. Or at least light enough to not bog people down in worries and whines.

      Will read your comment on your blog next. Thanks for stopping here to comment and help me process whatever it is that is bugging me.

      Like

    2. Prior, that’s an interesting thought: that the high level of intensity and engagement of Ally’s readers might actually increase the pressure. (Oh my, what a problem! 🙂 Luckily Ally is a great problem solver and I bet she works that one out too.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. I hate stuff that Feels Like Work. Been there; done that. Remember when writing on your blog was just that–writing on your blog? Then it was all about SEO, monetizing, getting hits, comments, and book deals, and … SIGH. I am fussy.

    Right now, Blogger–owned by Google–is ruining my life because it has changed its commenters’ parameters. I’ve lost some of my Regulars because they don’t have a Blogger or Google ID. Then Feedburner, my email subscriber and RSS feed provider–also owned by Google–is dying a slow and unsupported death. I have looked into a Word Press blog, and it’s really not as limber and user-friendly as Blogger, nor does it offer as many options in layout/theme, etc. Its interface is so clunky. I wish Someone would just sit next to me, real or virtually, and do all this crap for me: get me on a new email and RSS provider for subscribers and start me on a new blog platform. I’m over this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. nance, I do remember back to when writing my Blogger blog was straightforward, no fiddle-y things to fuss with, no number-y things to watch. Just show up and write. And comment elsewhere.

      *le sigh*

      However now blogging is more complicated and Blogger/Google is not making things easier. I’m sad to say that I’m one of your regular commenters who cannot leave a comment. And this gripes my grits.

      As for starting over on WP… well, I did it years ago after I gave up on Blogger, moved to Typepad, gave up on Typepad, then moved to WP. I don’t know how difficult it is to start over now, but when I created a new blog on WordPress, THERE WAS A LEARNING CURVE. It took time and swearing to figure out how to make WP work, but I did it.

      I’d hate to see you leave blogging, but I totally understand where you’re coming from and I get your reluctance to jump into something new. I like WP well enough now and if I were to start over again [heaven forbid] I’d do it here again despite some difficulties. 🤷‍♀️

      Like

  16. Wow! And wow again. Ally, you’ve done it again: thinking aloud about a problem that obviously affects a fair proportion of your readers… and coming up with a simple solution. Blogging is a bit like cooking a meal for guests. The problem is not the cooking, it’s deciding what to cook. Constraints do help, yes. I’m not surprised you have trouble deciding sometimes, because your topic sort of encompasses your whole life. One thought: when work —or a hobby — gets to feel stale, it’s worth thinking: Why did I start this in the first place? what drove me to begin? Remembering that early passion can help to get some people out of the slog of blogging for blogging’s sake, which can seem pointless. My own takeaway from your post is to check my categories. They can get out of control, yes. Thanks Ally!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Rachel, no truer words: “Blogging is a bit like cooking a meal for guests. The problem is not the cooking, it’s deciding what to cook.” You said it! That’s become my issue entirely.

      Brilliant idea to answer this question: Why did I start this in the first place? Three reasons:
      1) to see if I could do it [I can];
      2) to keep my brain clicking [it does that, no language skills atrophying here]; &
      3) to keep my heart open [it does, by connecting + understanding different people everywhere].

      Revisiting my original reasoning helps me realize that I’m doing ok doing what I’m doing– with the few tweaks and revisions I’ve decided on in these last few weeks.

      Thanks for taking the time to read and comment here on this post. I had no idea that I’d be starting such a nuanced and lengthy conversation about this issue. I guess it needed to be discussed.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. So glad your original motivation still holds. “To keep my heart open” is not a motive I have noticed before, and it explains a lot. (PS you are going well beyond OK, but as a non perfectionist I think OK is … well, perfect.)

        Liked by 1 person

  17. Ally Bean, you’re fun, but no one would ever say you’re not serious about your blog. I am completely opposite you and basically prattle, which may not be best, but it’s what I do. I do love reading you and so I appreciate your efforts 🙂
    I gave up the reader a long time ago though. It’s email for me, and when I have limited time, it’s not even all the ones in my email. (shh, don’t tell the others.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. joey, I’m serious about how I create my blog, but I’m not serious about me. If that makes sense. I’m a screw-up from way back, but I figure my blog can be a better version of me. Plus I like to write and make things look pretty, so I do it here. 🤓

      I don’t get any emails for any blog. I use Feedly as my only way of keeping track of people. When I have time I go there, choose one of my new handy dandy files, and read what’s in it. My revised way of doing things seems to be cutting my reading other blogs/commenting elsewhere time in half. I feel much less overwhelmed and scattered now, which is good.

      You prattle nicely. I enjoy what you have to say, so I think you’re on the right track for you. And in the end, it’s the myriad ways in which people write blogs that make them [the blogs] interesting to me. So carry on, my prattling friend. 😊

      Like

  18. You’re a serious blogger and certainly more organized than I am. I started my blog with the idea that I would write posts related to my novel which was coming out at that time. Since my novel was set in China during WWII, I wrote a lot about China, the Pacific War, Chinese customs, my Chinese husband, and my experiences living in Asia and visiting China. After a year or two of that, I branched out. And now I write about a variety of things. I don’t think I could put them into seven categories. My only goal is to write something that is interesting to me and to whomever stops by my blog. When my second book is published, I plan to write some “Behind the Story” posts about Manila, Vanuatu, and expatriate living.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Behind the Story, I try to be organized here in my personal blog because to me, a conscientious sort of person, it seems easier to have a game plan than to wing it every day. With my seven categories and my newfound love for Feedly, I’ve conned myself into believing I know what I’m doing… at least for a while until existential angst hits again.

      The premise of your blog is much more practical than mine. You have reasons for writing about what you do, when you do. My topics are usually arrived upon by gosh or by golly. I like that flexibility, but it does mean that I alone am responsible for finding my flapdoodle and twaddle.

      I wonder how you’ll find writing blog posts about the topics of your second book after having written on a variety of things for a while. You’ve experienced a different way of blogging, so will returning to the constraints of specific topics bother you or empower you? 🤔

      Like

          1. Yes, it’s about Vanuatu and Fiji. I love his humor. My first Troost book was The Sex Lives of Cannibals about Kiribati. It convinced me never to go there.

            Like

  19. This is so interesting, as are the comments of your readers. I can’t imagine blogging more than once a week. As it is, blogging takes up much more time than I expected. But I can’t let go of it, not just because I love sharing my writing and getting feedback from my followers, but because I’ve made so many “friends” here in the blogging world and learned SO MUCH by each person’s blogging perspective. I certainly like yours and look forward to it every week. I’ll admit, I try to just read each person’s blog once a week; if someone blogs more often, I choose one of the posts. Otherwise I’d be spending so much time reading blogs I’d have no time to write my books/stories/posts. Love your gifs. Love your perspective on life, and that you share it so well.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Pam, I used to be a daily blogger, a fact that baffles the heck out of me now! How did I ever do that? Obviously over the years I’ve come to my senses and reduced my blogging footprint here in the blogosphere, but at the same time, recently at least, I’ve become less sure about what to write about. Go figure.

      I agree wholeheartedly that I learn so much about people by reading and commenting on their blogs. I love it, and that’s really what’s kept me going over the years. The connection and community is a positive thing in my life.

      Thanks for stopping by to comment. I appreciate your kind words. And look forward to your new book!

      Liked by 1 person

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