Why I stopped following certain popular blogs

For months I began my day reading tweets and blogs from very popular bloggers and self-proclaimed writers, all of whom seemed to think it was their duty to tell me everything I was doing wrong with my blog, my writing, my attitude and even my life.

The headlines for these blogs usually contained numbers, and even though they rarely ended with exclamation marks they still seemed to shout at me: Five ways to attract more blog followers (!). Seven reasons why your books aren’t selling (!). Six mistakes you’re making on social media (!).

CC

Most of these blogs are written by bloggers who profess to make six-figures or close to six-figures or at least $500 per post or at least $100 per post but more after tallying affiliate monies.

I soon realized that I didn’t really like these posts. Oh, there was nothing wrong with them but they weren’t inviting or homey or particularly friendly. I didn’t feel nourished after reading them, the way I often feel nourished when I read a favorite blog post, poem, short story or creative nonfiction.

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Many of these bloggers write of how one needs to not write from emotion but with one’s head on the bigger picture: building an audience. Which, of course, simply means making money.

I’m all for making money, and I’m all for people who are serious about making money through blogging. It’s just that sooner or later these blogs all came down to one thing: Wanting me to pay them money to teach me how to make money from blogging.

A few weeks ago I stopped following these blog. I deleted them from my Favorites file, every single one. And you know what? I don’t miss them. I don’t miss them because I don’t enjoy reading about making money or attracting new followers or how to write an eBook with the sole purpose of making money.

During my free time, I want to read about writing and struggles, life problems and joys and the everyday human condition. I suppose that makes me a bad blogger, pushed into a category akin to chicklit in the literary world. For I want to (gasp!) write and read about emotions. I want to (gasp!) write and read about my experiences. I want to (gasp!) reach others through common thoughts and struggles and goals.

BB

I realized, too, that the blogs I follow, the ones I love, the ones I rarely miss, are about sharing pieces of one’s life with others, be it through running, writing, reading or parenthood.

I follow about thirty blogs; many I have followed for years. As sappy as it may sound, I love these people in an odd sort of way, even though I haven’t met most of them. I value them. They enrich my life.

One blog I follow is written by a strict Catholic woman raising 11 children on her own. She’s an anti-abortion, anti-gay marriage, anti-liberal agenda woman. I’m a tattooed, nose-pierced, pro-liberal, pro-gay rights, pro-choice woman. Yet I feel a great warmth and kinship with her, even though we live in different worlds, with different views.

This is why I follow blogs, not to learn how to make money or increase my readership but for that magical moment when I read a post and something inside of me opens up and I see, really see, the world through someone else’s eyes.

A few of my favorite blogs:

Kate over at Eat the Damn Cake

Emily over at Sweat Once a Day

Kevin, What the Hell

Ali, Ali on the Run

Mary, Inside the Mountain’s Skin

Karen, la chanson de ma vie

Ela, Ulterior Harmony

Lesley, Bucket List Publications

Jill, Run With Jill

Catastrophy Wife

Two new blogs I’ve been stalking for a bit:

Marc, Run, Hemingway, Run

Jackie, Jackie Mallon

Two popular blogs I still follow, because they have heart:

Nathan, Nathan Bransford

Jonathan Gunson, Bestseller Labs

Two popular blogs I still follow because I like the women who write them

Carol Tice, Make a Living Writing

Hope, C. Hope Clark

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17 thoughts on “Why I stopped following certain popular blogs

  1. I really enjoyed this thoughtful post. I’m always struggling with just the number of blogs I follow. There are many very good writers out there … poets, fiction writers, essayists … and I hate to neglect any of them. But of course, I do. I follow a couple of blogs dedicated to writing and social media. My favorite is Anne R. Allen’s blog which posts once a week and is full of good, solid information, including links to writing contests and places to submit. Anne and her co-blogger Ruth Harris are more focused on building a community through blogging and social media. Because of their advice I’ve also reduced the number of people I follow through Twitter. More focus on content, less on numbers.
    And thanks for sharing some of your favorite blogs. What The Hell is one of my favs too 🙂

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    1. I totally understand. I follow too many blogs and often spend so much time reading others’ blogs that I forget to update my own. Plus it’s a good excuse to put off writing, isn’t it? Because it’s so much easier to read about someone else’s writing struggles than sit down and put yourself through the struggle yourself. I do like Funds for Writers and Hope Clark’s blogs/Website. Like Anne R. Allen, they are both informative without being pushy. Cheers and happy writing.

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      1. Ah, I feel like you’ve found me out 🙂 It’s definitely easier to read about writing than it is to write. I just keep telling myself that one of these days, I’ll write first and then read. One of these days 😉

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  2. Oh bugger them. Those blogs are akin to telesales. I hate the singleminded aggression with which they blog. I imagine the individuals grinding their teeth as they pound the keyboard, guzzling coffee well into the night, getting a jump on the rest of the blogging world who are fast asleep (losers!!) I hate the calculated nature of their titles (how to gain more readers!!). Talk to me about a flower or your runner’s knee or your experience with the old dear at the bus stop that morning and I’m all in 🙂
    Glad I made your select list too. I’d blog about that!

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  3. I’m honored to make your list!! Thanks!!! 🙂

    I found myself nodding throughout this entire post. This is what I value in the blogs I read too. Nothing drives me away from running bloggers than those that try to give advice through lists of must-haves or some such nonsense. To me, it feels pretentious and bossy. I also hate blogs that are 100% sunshine and rainbows. Give me some pain and weakness, some proof you’re human and occasionally have a tough time too.

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    1. Karen! How exciting that you’re visiting my writing blog again. I really need to update my running blog, especially now that I’m running again (I want to say that in caps because it’s so thrilling: I’M RUNNING AGAIN!). Cheers and happy running to you and Matt

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  4. I completely agree with this post. I don’t consistently follow blogs, I’m more of a hummingbird type who dips in here and there, now and then. But I’m automatically suspicious of any blog post that claims to have “the answer” in this crazy process of writing. (Unless it’s written by JK Rowling or maybe, you know, Jane Austen.) If someone wants to share their journey or a bit of knowledge they’ve gained, that’s wonderful. But be clear that it’s your personal experience, and not a guaranteed prescription for everyone. JMO!! 🙂

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    1. Totally, Jennifer. I’ve browsed through so many writing blog posts of writers trying to tell others how to write when they don’t write that well themselves. Why in the world would I buy an eBook on how to be a better writer when the author has two grammatical errors in his bio, lol? P.S. I’m on your second book, “Four Weddings and a Fireman.” So much fun! I’ll be posting a review of “Sex and the Single Fireman” soon and will also be contacting you about a bloggy interview to go with the review. Cheers and happy weekend. P.S. It was sunny in Anchorage for two weeks but alas, it’s cloud and gloomy again, which fits my mood.

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  5. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Cinthia. When I started writing, I followed many of those blogs religiously, hoping to learn some magic formula that would make me a successful author. But like you, I stopped. Now I realize that there isn’t a magic formula, and we all have to be successful in our own way. I’d rather read what people think and feel, not what they’re trying to sell.

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    1. Hi, Lynn! Thanks for stopping by. I am so jealous of your newsletter. I need to put one out but keep bulking at the idea of learning yet another new Web format. But yes, there is no magic formula when it comes to writing, I realized this midway through my MFA program, hee, hee. Cheers and happy writing. P.S. Is your second book coming out soon?

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  6. Kevin! Long time, eh? I’ve been a bit out of the blogging/social media scene due to my job. How sad is it that we have to make a living and can’t lie around on the sofa reading books and eating muffins all afternoon? (Wait, I did that for two years. I think it’s called freelancing.) Cheers and happy writing. P.S. When I transferred my files over to my new Kindle I lost “Yesterday Road” so I’ll be buying a new copy soon. This pleases me since it will help boost your Amazon ratings/sale. Think how great the world would be if everyone lost their Kindle libraries and had to repurchase our books (!!).

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  7. I am a freelance writer and I write about my own learnings and topics that are helpful in my line of work. I have noticed that some people started following my blog in the hopes that I would read theirs and ultilmately sign up for their e-marketing campaign or some bloggers network which promises to reap huge rewards…..its very annoying !

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    1. Hi, LadyBird! Thanks so much for stopping by. It is horribly annoying when people read your blog just so that you’ll read theirs or buy their products/books, etc. It’s kind of like: Look at me, look at me! Buy my stuff, buy my stuff! And then they retreat and you never hear from them again. P.S. I freelanced for two years and I must say, it takes a lot of guts and a lot of querying, lol. Cheers and happy writing.

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  8. I just discovered your book(purchased!), then and your blog(thanks to goodreads)! I’m loving both. Just wanted to say Hi. This is spot on, and the comments are great. I hate that to even comment on a blog, it expects me to have a blog. Also I don’t enjoy emarketing, I am good to bookmark and come back and visit without an email at 438am reminding me to read the blog. 🙂

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    1. Tolly! Thanks so much for stopping by, and for buying my book. Hope you enjoy. And I totally agree with you: emarketing sucks. What gets me is that some people are really good at emarketing but lousy writers and they’re making money. And then there are really great writers who are not so good with marketing and no one is reading their wonderful books. Doesn’t seem right but what can you do, eh? Cheers and keep in touch. Are you on Facebook? If so, leave your address and I’ll connect that way. Big hugs,

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