David Precht / Posted 3.14.2013
When it’s time to let a blog die
More than 180 days ago, I started a Tumblr blog called Regretful Facebook Post of the Day creating fictionalized posts based on what I saw posted by friends and family. Five days ago I announced I would be reducing posts from once a day to weekly. Two days ago, I wanted to burn and bury the blog out back.
Creating a blog is often spontaneous. A conversation with a friend or a random thought you had while people-watching can lead to the design and form of your blog. Sure, you made a splash at first, but sustaining that can be next to impossible, especially if you’re writing said blog in your spare time.
Content is difficult to produce. Unless you’re able to repost, repurpose or meme images and video that you find elsewhere on the web (which is fine), the creation of your content can be an agonizing progress. This is especially true for anyone who is trying to be funny, as being funny is not easy.
Our hypothetical blog
Let's pretend we have a hypothetical blog “Tourists doing stupid things in Times Square.” Now you have your gimmick. Then you scour Google’s Image Search or Compfight looking for the perfect, iconic image that sums up seeing, say, a tourist in Times Square doing something stupid. With your banner designed and your aim decided upon, you figure out which CMS you’re going to use (Tumblr is the easiest for anyone who is planning on creating any spur-of-the-moment blogs) and you’re off to the races.
You come up with a list of all the stupid things you’ve seen tourists do in Times Square from giving their wallet to a man with a shirt that says “Wallet Inspector” to taking that picture where they’re leaning back and spinning around with a big stupid smile on their face, to that lady who dresses like a human-sized cheetah. You’ve got your ideas and you start to write.
For the first few posts, maybe even the first few months, your ideas are novel, eliciting follows on a near daily basis. People love your writing, they love the way you described the human-sized cheetah woman’s giant eyes and they repost the hell out of nearly everything you post. You’re on top of the blog world! There’s nothing you can do wrong. And then, after the fourth month, nothing. Nothing is coming to mind.
You frantically take the subway to Times Square, looking for tourists doing stupid things to see nothing interesting or have a moment of excitement only to realize you already wrote about that. You’ve hit your terminous. Your gimmick’s logical end. You’re staring out into the abyss.
“Based on my experience, 100% of blogs fail.”
After you arrive at your terminous you panic. What’s going to make the Internet laugh now, you think. I have to think of something fast. And that’s when you scrape the bottom of the barrel. A man drops a tissue: GOLD! A tourist with a fannypack: PERFECT! You notice the number of followers has plateaued, your mother calls to ask if something is wrong (she’s read the blog) and your significant other who used to laugh each time you explained a post looks at you nervously, smiling with their eyebrows raised wondering is that it? It is. That’s the end. You’ve reached the end and you must stop.
Perhaps that’s not your story. Perhaps for you you look at your content and notice both how difficult it is to continue creating and how little motivation you have to go on. That’s your terminous. It’s time to step away, leave the blog to become a bloated corpse among the Internet’s billions of others and start on a new project, perhaps. Or not.
You could, like me, learn that keeping up with a blog is too damn hard and time-consuming. That it’s much more practical to work on your content that'll actually pay the bills. If blogging works for you and you’re able to keep going, forever writing, forever creating and even monetizing, then you’re a better man than I. Jerk.
There are lots of people who say things like “live your dreams” or “keep trying even though your blog has become unspectacular.” There are those who suggest that continuing to write is the only way for your writing to improve, your muse to return or to find a new muse all together.
Based on my experience, 100% of blogs fail. Perhaps due to laziness, perhaps due to a lack of comments and feedback but mostly because of laziness. Because producing content is HARD. After all, if your blog is too easy, if it’s flowing forth from your keyboard strokes there are probably one of two things happening: 1) you’re an experienced and trained writer capable of producing content despite writer’s block or 2) You’ve just started your blog and haven’t exited the honeymoon period. Yet.