Today I was featured in The New York Times in an article entitled, “When Blogging Becomes a Slog.” The journalist, Steve Kurutz, based the thesis of the article on the couple from Young House Love, who put a hold on their blog because something started to feel a bit off. They had renovated 3 homes, published a book, produced a line with Target, and some readers started to call them out on not producing enough content or the quality not being what it once was. It had become too much and they needed a breather so they have put their blog on hold for awhile. Steve wondered if this is the first wave of bloggers reader to retire.
He wrote me and asked if I would participate in the article a couple of weeks ago. On this particular week I had had 4 large photoshoots, my inbox was exploding and I couldn’t get on much to alleviate it, my house was a DISASTER with props and wardrobe for them all, and I hadn’t had quality time with Paul. I came home from a shoot that week and all of a sudden I couldn’t move. I just stared at the wall for a good chunk of time.
That is what we call burnout, folks. And that is when I got the email from the NY Times. So, of course, I say “Yes, I have something to contribute.”
Everything I said in the article is true. There are definitely times when I work more than others, but I think that’s the nature of life. There are times and seasons where more is required of us than usual. We all get burned out at some points. Parents, employees, caregivers, self-employed, bloggers or what not. I wish I could say that I want things to slow down, but I don’t. And I do! Ugh, the dilemma! I just want to create beautiful things all the time and if I get more opportunities to do so with wonderful people I take them. The trick is learning when to say yes and when to say no and I’m still learning how to do both and invest time into things that are truly worthwhile for our family and my career.
Now, bloggers are a funny breed because we work on projects and then we force people to look at them by shouting it from the social media rooftops. By putting ourselves and our work out there we are subjecting ourselves to judgment, for better or for worse. I don’t have the readership of Young House Love so I don’t get nearly the amount of comments or critics…(thankfully?). You readers are amazingly supportive and encouraging and I am so grateful. Here’s the thing, as much as I’m grateful for the people who read my blog, I don’t feel guilty for not blogging one day or taking some time off. In fact, last year I took a whole month off. It was not intentional, it just happened. I had too much work that didn’t involve blogging and I couldn’t do both. Though I’m sure some of you noticed and wondered why, I’m going to venture to say that your life doesn’t depend on me blogging. To say so would be an insult to your schedule and priorities. And vice versa, I don’t expect you to comment on every single post or check up every single day (though my stats would say otherwise!).
I genuinely love what I do. I love bringing people together to produce gorgeous, eye-catching, soul-searching projects. I love (hopefully) inspiring you to cultivate your own “artful” life. This is not a gimmick. It’s not something I do solely for money (if I did I would be very disappointed with my ROI!).
I love the blogging platform even though people are turning to all sorts of social media to fulfill the place that blogging once took. I love the opportunity to create and continue to strengthen this creative community from Provo, Utah. It’s amazing that we can develop creativity no matter where we are.
I’ve been working hard for some time now to work on meaningful projects that also pay the rent and I’m pleased with the direction it’s going. I’m just getting going! Perhaps one day I might get burned out to the point where I don’t want to do this anymore. But again, I think that’s a part of life. There are natural transition points in which we tackle something new while letting go of the old. I don’t think it’s something to feel guilty about. I do think it’s something we should be aware of. I don’t think we should unnecessarily overwork ourselves. I do think we can work smarter not harder. Every occupation and job goes through this period self-evaluation and hopefully it ends with what’s best for you and your family.
At one point in my interview, Steve mentioned that he noticed that I didn’t talk too much about personal things on the blog. Well, I used to! I used to tell more anecdotes and write essays but life has been so busy for the past 6 months or so that I haven’t made time to sit down and just write. I love the depth that stories bring especially to a fun crafty blog like Lars so I do consider it an important element. However, I’m not going to vow to write one essay a week because I think it’s an unimportant goal. Remember that one time I started a book club and didn’t ever pursue it again? Or the time I vowed to complete 30 projects in 30 days? Yeah, I got to day 2. In both circumstances, it was just too much and really, once again, they weren’t important goals.
So, am I burned out? Sometimes! And so are you! The trick is to focus on important goals.
These pictures have nothing to do with the article, but pictures of someone being burned out isn’t very pretty so these are from a trip to the Provo Farmer’s Market from this spring. I was going to more consistent styled shoots like these but felt silly modeling all these pictures of me (“but what? You’re a blogger! That’s what you guys do?! I know, I still can’t muster up the gumption). That said, Melissa does wonders with a camera and can make you look very un-burned out! Thank you Melissa!