I’ve thought long and hard about whether or not to post this and when I should post it, and I finally decided that before I could move on with the new tips and recipes I have in the queue, I had to address this. I know I’m not the only blogger who has had to deal with this sort of backlash from readers, and it’s time one of us speaks out.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve received some pretty mean, insensitive and downright rude comments and emails from readers who are not happy that I haven’t been posting as often as I used to. Believe me, no one is more unhappy about not being able to post on a regular basis than I am. This has been my pet project for over four years now, and to not have the time or ability to maintain it the way I used to doesn’t sit well with me. I love writing and sharing my knowledge with everyone; to have to put everything on hold blog-wise pisses me off like nothing else.
But there are reasons why I haven’t been able to post with the frequency that I used to – real, difficult, legitimate reasons that have prevented me from having the time or energy to write, photograph, promote, etc. While I don’t have to justify my reasons to anyone, I will anyway – in a bit. Before I do that, on my behalf and that of my fellow bloggers, I want to remind everyone who reads ANY blog of ANY type of one very important point:
Bloggers are actual people, NOT machines.
The blogs you (and I) read on crafts, food, politics, parenting, etc., are written by human beings, not computer bots. We have lives, feelings, and commitments outside of our blogs. We have jobs, get sick, have money problems, get married, have surgeries, go on vacations and everything else most folks do in their daily lives. To be held to the expectation of posting like a drone, like some sort of blogging machine that does nothing but write, publish, repeat assembly-line posts is unrealistic and unfair. It’s a lot of pressure for someone to deal with, especially considering most of us do this as a hobby.
Don’t get me wrong: I feel awful for my fans who look forward to new content on PGEW, because I know how frustrating it can be to wait around for new content from your favorite blogs. I feel the same way whenever one of my favorite bloggers takes an extended international trip, or has other things to take care of outside of the blog. In a way, this frustration is flattering – I’ve created something people obviously enjoy and want more of, and it’s amazing to know that the demand continues to grow.
But I urge all of you who are avid blog readers to remember that those DIY tips or recipes or photographs you all look forward to so much – they’re all posted by human beings with lives, jobs, feelings and commitments that don’t always include their blog. Those essays don’t write themselves on their own. The photos don’t get edited by themselves, and those new dishes? They certainly don’t cook themselves (though at times like these when I’m dealing with double-sided shingles and the pain is so intense I can barely breathe, I wish they would). All of these things are done by real people, and like other real people, sometimes bloggers can’t always get around to everything on their To Do list. I have several blogger friends who have had to take time away from their blogs due to the deaths of their parents or spouses, or getting married, or having a baby, etc.
To give you an idea of what’s forced me to shift priorities around so that the blog is not currently #1, here’s a list of the top 3 things I’m dealing with:
- I have a chronic pain disorder call Post-herpetic Neuralgia, which comes along with the very unsexy bonus of recurring shingles. Basically, I get shingles every. single. month. And if you’ve ever had the misfortune of having shingles, or know someone who has, you can understand my frustration. If my condition wasn’t already rare enough for someone my age, I’ve now climbed into the super rare category of someone with PHN and recurring shingles – on both sides. You can read more about my condition in this post, but what this boils down to is that I’m in severe pain every day of my life: gut-wrenching, tear-inducing, excruciating nerve pain that exhausts me like nothing else. When I get a shingles outbreak, it’s even worse, as I have to deal with the burning, scalding pain that goes along with that. It’s not always easy for me to get anything done with such severe pain and perpetual fatigue.
- I am currently writing my first book. If you’re at all familiar with the process, you know that it is not an easy endeavor, and that it takes a lot of time (especially when you’re self-publishing). And because I want to make sure I’m providing the best content for both the book and the blog, I have had to cut back on post frequency until the book is complete. Most food bloggers who write even regular cookbooks either do not blog at all, or cut back drastically on the frequency of their posts, in order to have the time for book writing. The kind of book I’m writing is part regular book, part cookbook, so this one is even trickier. I did mention earlier in the year that this would have to happen, and for the most part, this was met with understanding and acceptance.
- My mother just had surgery for colon cancer last week. Those of you who have been following PGEW for awhile know that I am extremely close to my mom, so the news of the cancer and the anxiety over whether or not a surgery of this magnitude would be safe and successful, has been beyond overwhelming. As we are both of very limited means, trying to find a nurse to care for her post-surgery isn’t really an option for us (and I’d be very worried about putting her in some care facility, after all the horror stories I’ve heard). I’ve been with her since the surgery, spending her entire hospital stay with her, and I’m currently caring for her myself here at my place. It’s been a very difficult time for both of us (esp. since the stress and lack of rest has flared up my own health conditions), but we’re hanging in there. So far, she’s healing well, and to all of you who have sent kind words of support, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Hopefully when we go to Mom’s follow-up appointments, we’ll get the good news that she kicked cancer’s ass.
Needless to say, there’s been a lot going on in my life, things that I feel take priority over my blog. I love my blog, but I love my mother more and I need to take care of her (not to mention my own health) – if folks have a difficult time with that, there’s not much I can do. Am I going to “just give up and admit that [I'm] a failure” as one reader so poetically put it? Nope. That’s not who I am and that’s certainly not the case with my blog or the communities I’ve built through social media. Am I upset that I’ve lost a couple of readers over the past few weeks because they think I am “boring” and that I’ve “lost focus”? Yeah, actually. I don’t agree with them and neither do the majority of my fans and readers, but no blogger likes to lose readers.
But again… that’s not going to make me feel like a “failure” or anything else that some of the more unkind posters have suggested I do. If anything, it will only make me work harder to provide the best content I can. I care about my blog and the community of readers I’ve built over the years, and have a lot I want to do, both with and beyond this blog. And I’m bound and determined to carry that out, despite my roller coaster of a life.
All I ask is that you exercise patience with me and with the other bloggers you follow. Remember that we are not just blog-posting machines, and that our lives sometimes throw us major curve balls, just like everyone’s life does. We bloggers love what we do, and love it even more that you read what we put out there; just remember that there will be times when we have to put our regular lives before our blogging lives. It doesn’t mean we don’t care or that we’ve changed – it just means that we’re being responsible and fair to our jobs, our families, and ourselves.