On Feeling Burnt Out…

I've been writing this blog for almost five years now, and I'm honestly amazed at how long I've kept it up. I figured it would be something I did for a year or so and didn't think it would turn into something that I loved. I've made some truly amazing friends through blogging, and I'm by NO MEANS writing this post as an "I quit" post.

I'm just going to vent/blabber/yammer about feeling burnt out by the whole blogging thing.

I'm proud of my photography skills in current posts. Case and point:

PicMonkey Collage.jpg

Same dish, five years apart. Crazy.

I'm super-proud of that photo on the right. Never mind that FoodGawker and Tastespotting claimed it had "composition" problems and was "too tight". I love it. The world of food blogging has changed so much in the last five years. When I started, it was all about the community. Posts would go up, and within minutes, discussion would begin in the comments, with either a comment on the recipe or even just a "hope you had a great day!" comment. I loved that. I'd interact with people here and on my Facebook page, and I thrived on the community.

But here I am, five years later, with some amazingly close friends made through this blogging community, and all I feel is disdain for this little piece of internet I've carved out. I still love cooking and baking, and I love when I come up with new recipes…but I'm finding that I'm making things FOR the blog, as opposed to making things for me and then posting them on the blog. Does that make sense?

At first, a fun recipe that I came up with for Adam and I to enjoy as a healthy dinner would make a great blog post. Now, I'm constantly trying to come up with something new for my readers, and when I come up with something that I think is AMAZING, I get absolutely no response. Nothing. Weeks upon weeks of posts with no comments. It's discouraging, and I know I can't judge a post by the number of comments…but do you get what I'm saying?

The burnout feeling started about two months ago when, for the zillionth time, I started to attempt to lose weight. I found myself not making the healthiest of recipes because I'd "already posted it" or "it didn't photograph well." Needless to say, the weight loss attempt didn't go all that well.

About a month ago, I started posting fun things that I did for me that I thought would make a fun blog post: the What I Love Wednesday posts, the Freebie Saturday posts, and the few photography gigs I've had. I crave the interaction that used to happen. Still nothing.

So here's what I'm saying: I'm going to stop blogging for the sake of blogging. When I make something new and fantastic, I'll post it. It might not always be food, but I think you're all ok with that. I'll still post Wednesday in Numbers for the Summer, and I have a self-imposed challenge I'm beginning Monday that I'll be sure to keep you updated on.

But, I'm no longer going to make ridiculous rich recipes "for the blog" at the expense of my health, hoping that someone, somewhere will interact.

Here's what I will be doing: I'll still be cooking, photographing, eating, and going to fabulous restaurants. When I feel like there's something worthy of posting, I'll post. Wednesdays will still be things I love and number-filled, and I'll keep up Freebie Saturdays, mostly because it's an excuse to crochet. I'll still make fun treats (at least one a month, thanks to Adam's birthday present!) and if worthy, I'll post them. No more posting to post, but rather posting when good.

I hope you choose to stick with me, but if not, I understand.

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38 Responses to On Feeling Burnt Out…

  1. I hear ya. Completely. I’ve had the feeling of burn out with regard to food for so long that I honestly don’t know the last time I tried a new recipe, much less posted one. Even if I suck at commenting lately, know that I am still reading and very much want to see whatever YOU want to post about – not for the sake of the blog, but for the sake of sharing something you love or found interesting. Miss you, friend. Here’s hoping we can see each other when I visit Chicago at some point this summer!
    Jenn (eating bender)´s last blog post ..Europe, Day 10: Barcelona

  2. Julie says:

    That’s what blogging should be, in my opinion. A reflection of your thoughts and feelings and things that happen in your life. But first you have to live the life the way you want to live it. Then you blog about it if you are inspired to. I’ve found that the quality interaction comes when my posts are written from a need to express myself, and when I just blog to blog it doesn’t really have that same emotional punch that makes people want to interact. So yeah, I think your decision makes total sense and I think you will be more excited to blog when you feel driven to write about what excites you!

  3. Victoria says:

    I totally get what you mean. I got busy and burnt out over a year ago, but I kind of can’t give up bloggin. My blog has zero comments on it, but at this point, I write it for myself, (and my mom). And that photo looks fantastic to me.

  4. Lauren says:

    Girl, you know I’m 100% supportive of you no matter what. You need to do what is entirely best for you and you alone. Love you lady ! Now, let’s get together soon. You need to see the new place!!!
    Lauren´s last blog post ..My New Favorite Salad

  5. Lisa says:

    I love this post. I’ve been writing something similar in my head for about a month now. Still haven’t actually written it….

    I say take a break. Post when you feel awesome and have something to share. Who knows, maybe it will only take a month off to re-inspire you. 🙂

    I’ve been feeling the same way. Been blogging for 3 years. I loved it, definitely improved over the years in writing and photography. I’ve just been burned out lately. Like you, I blog for interaction. It’s not the same as blogging for comments. I want the LEGITIMATE comment that sparks a back and forth conversation. I just feel like that’s missing and too often I feel like I’m talking to an empty room. It’s discouraging. 🙁
    Lisa´s last blog post ..Get on the Path to Healthy

  6. jennifer says:

    I suck.
    I had your blog coming right to my email and I read it every day….then that email got corrupt. I had you on Google reader bit since that went away I have not read many blogs.
    That being said, you should enjoy your blog not feel obligated to blog. I will be reading again whenever and whatever you post!!

  7. I hear you completely my dear! Which is why I have moved to posting only about once a week. I have moved from having so much to blog about to having to make things to blog about, but I’m totally over it. If you don’t fee like being creative for the blog, then don’t! Everything is you first woman! I’m sorry I have not commented more on your blog, but know that I read every one in detail! I will miss the more regular blogging but I know you have to do what’s the best for you! <3
    Melissa @TryingtoHeal´s last blog post ..In the Southland

  8. Jess says:

    I enjoy reading your blog, but I rarely respond/comment to any blog I read.

    I did want to point out that the blogs that get the most responses are those who post 1-2 times daily, those who have giveaways that attract to a lot of people, and those who have a presence through other blogs.

  9. Susan says:

    Mara, I have read every one of your posts since I first found you randomly about three years ago. I would have commented more, but I didn’t want to appear “stalkerish” especially since I friended you on Facebook!

    I just want to say I have enjoyed reading you and watching you grow into a great photographer also, I agree, you must post about what you want and when you want, and your fans with always be there for you cheering you on, whether we comment visibly or not.

    Have a great summer!

  10. I definitely feel ya, girly. That’s pretty much why I stopped, too. I love you guys that I met, but the blog part just got to be upsetting. You put all the work and effort into something that should be “for you” and then it’s hard when it gets no love, even though you know that’s not what it should be about. I also feel you about the weight loss part. When I joined My Fitness Pal it was really difficult to even think about posting any of the stuff I was eating. It was like.. veggies and hummus or celery with peanut butter or almonds as a snack haha. Yesterday I hit exactly 19 pounds lost and I actually was thinking most of the day about that and the food blog, and why I stopped posting. I know that if I’d still been trying to post I would have never lost that weight, in fact all the food blog posts are probably why I gained the weight. I’m fitting into clothes I haven’t worn in like 4 years and I was thinking back to that point and why I hadn’t been able to wear them since and I realized it was probably about the start of the food blog and trying to find recipes to share and what would look good and sound tasty.
    Anyways.. sorry that got long. But I fully support you doing what’s necessary for you! I don’t stop by as much as I used to, but I still keep an eye on you! And there’s always Facebook. 🙂

    • I had a similar realization…when I started this, I was over 60 lbs lighter than I am now, and had just lost 50 lbs. I maintained well, and then that stopped too… thanks to trying all the new recipes I’d found! Miss you girlie, and great job with the weight loss! <3

    • Stella says:

      Hey Christina! I used to read your blog (and loved it by the way) and one time, perhaps the for the first time??, I wanted to comment on a post. It was a jalepeno popper grilled cheese. It meant so much to me that I actually remember this even though that post was a LONG time ago. Anyway, I wanted to comment on it and kept trying and it didn’t work. It must have been my computer because you’d had other comments, but I could not get my comment to post for the life of me. Anyway, if I could, this would be my comment – This idea/recipe CHANGED MY LIFE. Absolutely incredible. My boyfriend and I ate loved these and ate these so much that we even made some, wrapped them in foil, and took them on the boat with us (last summer) and re-heated them on the boat’s motor. That was one of the best ideas EVER!!!

  11. I COMPLETELY understand everything you said in this post. I can’t keep track of the many posts I’ve done, which I thought were fabulous, only to get one comment or none at all. It’s frustrating – because as you said you get in that rut – making things just for the sake of the blog (which can include wasting food, sacrificing your diet, etc.)

    I have seen the trend in the last couple of years that you talked about – where bloggers used to interact freely, having fun – now it seems so many are just interacting with those that attend all the top blog conferences, have cookbook deals or are picked as the “top of the top” in the blog world. It’s frustrating when your own blog can’t break into that mold. Kinda like the popular crowd in high school!

    Enough of my venting! I hope you continue your blog and do what makes you happy!
    Ally’s Sweet & Savory Eats´s last blog post ..Grilled Summer Party Bread

    • YES! The whole interaction for self-promotion got really old, and I know that I stopped commenting on the “big blogs” because it was for that reason. I miss the years where we just had fun, cheering each other on.

  12. rebecca says:

    Sorry for not posting! I read, I am just drowning in dissertation… I’ll stick with you! Have fun getting ready for camp!

  13. Just me says:

    I love your blog! I have never posted on any of the blogs I subscribe to (by email) I suppose I thought that the bloggers really didn’t have time to read posts… that they would be a bother some how. I guess I was very wrong. I would also like to say that I thought I would start a food blog so I wrote and photographed my first post and I couldn’t believe how labor intensive it was. It made me realize how much effort went into all of the posts that I read and I really appreciated them more. I think that I also thought that most food bloggers did it “for a living” once they got going. I see now that it is simply not true. Some people make a living, like Pioneer Woman but I guess it is only 1 out of 100 bloggers that this applies to. I guess the secret is to blog for yourself as a “food diary” and sharing with others is a bonus. I totally get what you are saying. I actually really love your blog and I will look forward to other posts from you. To tell you the truth, I probably subscribe to 30 bogs so the frequency of posts doesn’t really occur to me. In other words whatever posts come into my inbox, I am happy to read so I am not aware if you post daily or weekly if that makes sense. Thank you for all of your wonderful recipes. Even if I don’t make many of the things that I read about on the blogs I subscribe to…I still LOVE reading those recipes. 🙂 Have a great day and thanks for this post. Absolutely 100% sticking with you and would enjoy some lighter recipes as I have just dropped 20 pounds as well. 🙂

    • Thank you for your sweet words!! It’s nice to know that I’m reaching people, even if they don’t comment 🙂

    • Stella says:

      I regularly read probably ten-ish blogs and have only commented a handful of times ever on any of them, but my reason is the same as yours. I didn’t think the blogger would care what I have to say. I find this post very interesting and it changes my thoughts on this blogging process a little. I’ve never thought of it as an interactive thing at all. I read the comments sometimes, but never share anything.
      Mara, I might scroll back through some of your posts and leave a few comments just to let you know how some of them inspired me. I don’t blog. Heck, I don’t even know anything about blog readers or anything. I just have the websites saved to my favorites. I just enjoy food, reading about food, and being inspired by other people’s great ideas.
      I do think you should blog for you though and not for the sake of the blog. I think that is part of why I never really commented on anything – just assuming that the bloggers are doing it for themselves and don’t really care what I have to say.
      I’m glad you posted this. It has really given me something to think about!!

  14. Melissa says:

    Oh Mara, hugs! I think many of us bloggers can relate to this. I know one thing that has changed for me is I read your blog (and 20 other blogs) on a reader and don’t comment because it’s just a PITA to go to everyone’s individual blogs to comment. I see the same thing with my own blog–comments are way down–but readership is steady. So people are reading, just not commenting. And I think it’s bc they are reading via mobile devices and readers. I love your content!! And I’ll be here — but I think it’s a trend. What used to be where the conversation happened … is just less and less an active community, as least on my blog. Keep writing!! 🙂
    Melissa´s last blog post ..Poignant Read for All Women …

  15. Sheri says:

    I want you to know that I only discovered blogs because of you! I started reading your blog when you posted the link on Facebook. Because of you, I discovered many of the blogs that I still read today.
    I’ve seen a shift in blogs over the past 2 or so years. I have to be honest, I really love the blogs that still tell stories or just talk about their day. I find the blogs that have changed over the years and now only post recipes boring. I’d much rather read about someone’s vacation or how their day went, and what they happened to eat instead of a developed recipe.
    I’m really bad at leaving comments, but I do read every time you post! I think the blog world has just changed so much over the past few years, and you’re changing along with it.
    I didn’t last very long with my blogging! It sounded like fun, but it just didn’t work out for me.
    Good luck!

  16. Jenny says:

    My dear friend- I want you to know that you are so appreciated around these parts. You know I read your blog daily and from the looks of it, so do many others! I’m proud of you for putting this out there, too. I think lots of us suffer from blogging burnout, and god (and now the internet) knows I have, too. I hope it helps to know that you are not alone in this and your DOES have an impact and brings something to many people. Love you.
    Jenny´s last blog post ..Why I Stopped Food Blogging.

    • Laurie says:

      I see your point!! Make yourself happy when you can. Life is too short to do otherwise. I’m trying to lose weight and wish you luck losing weight, and would love, love, love healthy recipes. Stick with it, and if you like it, we will too. And I’m sure you’ll get more comments!:)

  17. kathryn says:

    I totally get this. That’s why my blog gathers dust at regular intervals. Good luck with pescatarian summer! I think it’s a great idea! If my hubby would eat seafood, I would join you!

  18. Biz says:

    my blogging is easy because its literally my day. But I do sometimes think I have to keep posting different recipes to keep people coming back.

    Yep, foodgawker and tastespotting are crazy – I send stuff all the time to them and it usually comes back with “poor composition!”

    I look forward to your Wednesdays in numbers for summer camp. We need to meet for dinner soon! I am back on the weight loss band wagon after I gained 5 pounds after coming back from Austin – it was all the damn moist brisket!!

    Biz´s last blog post ..First WI with DietBet

  19. Lisa says:

    As a long-time reader, I am feeling a little guilty for the lack of comments over the years. I do not have a blog of my own, and stumbled upon a foodie blog many years ago and along the way–ironically enough–through reading comments others left, I found my way to many new blogs.
    I enter give-aways from time to time, but for the most part I am a silent reader waiting in the wings for the next cool recipe, recap, picture post, etc.
    I guess I always felt a little too “stalker-like” to come out from the shadows.
    Your post serves as a wake up call for those like me to come on out and say hello!

  20. Sherri Jo says:

    OMG do I feel you! I’ve been in the same place and miss the community feel the food blogging world used to have… thank you for so eloquently saying a lot of what I’m feeling too 🙂
    Sherri Jo´s last blog post ..Funky Chunks Soap Company ~Giveaway~

  21. Jennifer says:

    Hi Mara,
    I’ve been reading your blog since the very beginning…I discovered it many, many years ago via the WW Boards (another community that I miss, and that just isn’t the same anymore). I just want to say that I read (and enjoy) every post you write. I rarely comment (although I have a handful of times over the years), and most of the times it’s because I don’t want to seem like a strange stalker…who comments on every post you write. I know better now and my comments shall flow freely. I’m glad you will keep posting, but it’s most important that you follow the path that makes YOU happy. Thanks for the years worth of wonderful recipes and stories!

  22. I hear ya. AND every time I think I am done…I find a spark again. {{{HUGS}}}

  23. Marianne says:

    I don’t comment often, mostly because I don’t have time to even read blogs much these days. But I comment when something resonates with me, or I feel I have something to add to the conversation. Not really sure where this comment is going…but that’s okay.

    Anyways, you need to blog what you want to blog about. No need to apologize. It will show in the posts when you are genuine with what you choose to share. Don’t make rich recipes just for the sake of the blog – I know that’s not why I come here to read.
    Marianne´s last blog post ..Dietitians of Canada National Conference 2013 Recap

  24. Jenn says:

    I had a very similar realization this summer…. remember 5 years ago when we all just blogged cause we cooked something and it was fun and delicious? I feel like an old curmudgeon when I see where so much of blogging has gone these days, and I think that’s a lot of what we are all burned out about. I too, am only blogging for me. And it’s not every week, it’s when I have something to share. But it’s a good way to go, and back to the original reason why we all started blogging in the first place. Good for you!

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