Hypocritical Me. [A Blog Reduction]

by Sarah on September 3, 2012 · 48 comments

I get asked fairly often–maybe because I’m a teacher and we are supposed to be fonts of wisdom?–if I have any advice for new bloggers, any tips or tricks about starting blogs and ‘getting into’ the blog community. [Just recently, I even turned down the opportunity to speak on a panel at HLS2012 on that exact topic.]

Generally, my respnse falls along the lines of the following:

“Make sure you are starting a blog for you. Don’t get caught up in trying to be ‘the best’ blogger, or mimic other bloggers, or worry about what everyone else is doing. Don’t blog for the free stuff, or for the possibility of getting a book deal, or with the intention of turning it into a job. Don’t worry about how many comments you’re getting. Blog because you have something to say and you need to say it! Opportunities will come with time, as will friendships through blogging, but make sure you keep everything in perspective.”

But lately, as these words come out of my mouth, I hear the internal voice accusing me relentlessly: You, Miss Smart, are a big (but not fat) hypocrite.Because although I haven’t forgotten why I started blogging, or what I have loved about it, my blog has not–at least for the past little while–felt very much like me.I used to blog because I had a lot of interesting things to say. I was full to bursting with stories about food, ideas about food history and food culture, food memories, and constant inspiration. Recipes were constantly churning around in my head just waiting to be let out through my hands.

But lately I feel like I’m just going through the motions. I blog because it is what I do. The recipes aren’t particulalry inspired, or particularly creative, and hypocritical me has wasted a lot of energy worrying about readership, wondering why I only get lots of comments when I’m giving something away, trying to figure out how to create ‘the next big thing’ in envy of how well other people seem to concoct delicious looking recipes every single day, and being jealous of the free products other people get when I feel like my blog is ‘just as good.’

And that is NOT what blogging should be about.

I want to justify this. I want to say, “But I love blogging! I love it so much!”

But from my experience, justification is only necessary when you are doing something you know is wrong.

And do I? Do I love it?

Is my heart really in it anymore?

What it comes down to, I think is this: there are a number of things I’m good at–

  • Coming up with 800 variations on the same thing (hummus? avocado sauce? bean + grain burger mush?)
  • Spreading joy, happiness, community
  • Pretending like I have it all together

There are also a number of things I’m NOT good at:

  • Giving up on obligations
  • Dealing with stress
  • Actually keeping it all together

    My life often feels like a pile of laundry: busy, accomplished, but a mess in need of some attention.

I always said when your blog starts feeling like an obligation, you should stop. But hypocritical me struck again–see “things I’m not good at: giving up on obligations”–and I’ve been blogging every weekday even when I haven’t felt like it, when I would have rather just sat and talked to my roommate, read a book, or finally hang art or unpack boxes still waiting from my move in June–see “life is a bit of a mess.”

The truth is, I’m not all that interested in the same things any more.

I still enjoy experiencing culinary creativity, thrive on talking and teaching people about food, seek out weird new products, and LOVE my friends through blogging.

But I don’t cook very much. I assemble.

And I’m really perfectly happy just throwing a lot of components together into a bowl every night for dinner……or exerting my creativity in figuring out how many ways I can use protein powder.

But my heart? Well at least right now it’s not 100% here.

It’s here.And in here.And running away in these.Oh, and it is DEFINITELY on Instagram. :)

So, I’m not giving up blogging. Not really. I’m just giving up the blog as an obligation.

I will stop being a hypocrite.

I will stop worrying about the number of comments I’ve received or how much free stuff other bloggers are getting. I will just blog to blog.

I will blog only when I have something to say.*

*Even if the something to say is a review of a product I’ve already committed to blogging about, or giving away.

This might be every day for a week. It might be once every three days.

It might just be to pop in and officially release the fall and winter flavors of Nutty Butter. :)

We’ll call it a blog reduction (since I don’t have boobs to speak of).

Is it scary to give up (even only somewhat) something you have used to define yourself for so long? You betcha.  But here goes…

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phoebe September 3, 2012 at 8:38 am

I, for one, have always loved your blog :)

Fran@ Broken Cookies Don't Count September 3, 2012 at 8:54 am

I also love your blog, Sarah. I’m not just saying that because you’re giving something away. I haven’t been commenting because I’ve been away in New Mexico and had limited internet access. But I would miss you if you weren’t here. I think we all change what we blog about, what our focus is. Mine has changed in the almost 2 years I’ve been doing it and I’m sure that as I continue, it will change again. Be who you are. You’re very good at that and anyone who reads your blog knows about You. You’re terrific!

Lindsay @ The Lean Green Bean September 3, 2012 at 9:40 am

i have a half written post that’s very similar to this….love yoU!

Jennifer W September 3, 2012 at 10:14 am

You are the only blogger I follow who posts every day and I always wonder how you do it. I haven’t posted in mine since May. As much as I will miss your daily dose of happiness – I say good for you!

Calee (@chimes) September 3, 2012 at 10:41 am

Thanks for sharing. I’m thinking about getting a reduction too (blog, not boob obviously ;). You should check out Amanda at semihealthyblog.com … she recently did the same thing and stopped reading as often because she was getting blog envy.

Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table September 3, 2012 at 10:53 am

While I am sad to hear you’re cutting back, I ad admire you. Though I didn’t think your creativity has been lacking. Miso lemon hummus is pretty damn cool, if you ask me. :)

Lauren @ vegology September 3, 2012 at 12:00 pm

Good for you! It might go against conventional blog wisdom, I have always believed in quality over quantity. I try not to let blogging about my life get in the way of living my life. And, for what it’s worth, I agree with Laura that your recent posts have been far from uninspired. But enjoy your blog reduction nonetheless! You won’t lose me as a reader at all.

Sister Smart September 3, 2012 at 12:19 pm

I always will look up to your for your creativity with food and writing! You’re an awesome blogger but I know you need this. People, including me, will still read your blog no matter what you do! LOVE YOU SISTER!

ps… When am I getting a taste of these new Nutty Butter flavors?! :)

Sister Smart September 3, 2012 at 12:22 pm

* I will always… I couldn’t figure out how to delete the last comment to fix my grammatical error 😛

Maria September 3, 2012 at 3:13 pm

Oh gosh, you know I’ve been there. When I was blogging every gosh darn day (back in the Oh Healthy Day era), I’d have this voice in my head constantly trying to come up with good ideas for my next posts. I’d take photos of really stupid things and try to blog about them. I couldn’t turn that voice off.

And when I stopped blogging like that, eventually that voice went away and it’s like my eyes were finally open – I was seeing life through my own eyes and not through the eyes of a daily blogger. Life looked so much sweeter. And I felt like I was really living it.

Of course you know I love it when you post, but I’ll love even more that you are enjoying your blog and enjoying your life.

Sarah September 3, 2012 at 3:31 pm

Well, I think as far as nut butter goes…you certainly DO excel there :)

Liz @ IHeartVegetables September 3, 2012 at 4:55 pm

Well said, Sarah :) (Since I knew this was coming, it takes the shock out of it, hehe)

You’re AMAZING and I’m glad you’re going to let your blog be whatever it is that makes YOU happy. That said, I demand to see your lovely face more often. Yesterday was so much fun and I want to do that again soon!!

Lindsey @ Pas de Deux September 3, 2012 at 4:58 pm

Thanks for your honesty and wisdom, Sarah! As a new blogger, I have already experienced the self-induced pressure to find the “key” to better stats, more comments, more readers, etc, etc…. It is so reassuring to hear from more experienced bloggers that the ebb and flow is natural, and that all of the little things work out with time.

I am so impressed with you Nutty Butter business, and glad that you are back in the classroom! Congrats on these new ventures. I’ll look forward to reading what you have to say when you feel like saying it :-)

mrlew1 September 3, 2012 at 5:36 pm

Sarah – to echo the others – I’ll miss the daily posts (I check your blog every day and forget about the time difference and wonder why you haven’t posted on a Monday before remembering it’s still Sunday for you – just about every week…), BUT I’m happy you’ve figured out what makes you happy and are OK saying “no” – I struggle with that quite a bit, so I know how it feels. I hope your shoulders feel lighter and your smile is enormous! Love, Mary

Katie @ Talk Less, Say More September 3, 2012 at 5:55 pm

Nicely said, girl! :)

sarah @ sarah learns September 3, 2012 at 7:10 pm

i so love your blog, but i totally totally TOTALLY understand what you’re saying. i will definitely be here reading whenever your next post pops up (even if i don’t comment!). :)

Kaitlin @ A Taste of Bulmer September 3, 2012 at 9:52 pm

I really respect this post. You make such a great point. I started my blog as an outlet for all of the different emotions and experiences I am going through in post grad life….and I think I have blogged about how I am feeling once. The rest of the time I feel like I have to post recipes or pictures of food or something exciting. But you’re right…it doesn’t need to be that way. That’s not why I started blogging, and I need to start doing what I set out to do. Thank you for this :)

Meg September 3, 2012 at 10:00 pm

BABE! I have to say, this is the best post ever and I can totally relate. Just the other day I noticed that it was noon and I didn’t write a post yet! I had relatives visiting and I was just “living life” and not thinking about my blog and that I “had” to publish a post! But, then I reminded myself that I DO NOT HAVE to publish a post, so I didn’t! It felt so good!

Seriously, I am so proud of you for writing this post!

Love you :)

Sarah September 7, 2012 at 8:49 pm

Love you back. :)

Lauren @ Oatmeal after Spinning September 3, 2012 at 10:10 pm

I can hear your voice so much in his post. Love you, doll- and I’m
Glad that you’ve truly found where your heart is. :)

Krista September 4, 2012 at 1:57 am

Good for you! I’ll miss reading your frequent posts (I work in elementary ed, and they’re part of my “I just got to school, check my mail, a couple blogs, and the news” routine)! It’s ok though, because I’m sure I’ll find some more fantastic posts and recipes in your archives! :o) Looking forward to seeing what nutty butters are in store for this fall/winter!

lindsay September 4, 2012 at 7:12 am

girl i live for reduction. 3x a week is good. You are not hypocrite, you are human. and a SMART one. You are busy assembling and spreading joy. I like that job better anyway. Much love!

Diane @ life of di. September 4, 2012 at 7:56 am

I just stumbled across your blog and I’m glad I did :) I loved reading this post! Thanks for sharing!

Emily September 4, 2012 at 11:16 am

Love reading your blog – any and every day – but especially when nut butter and dill (pickles) are a part of it. And guess what…you’re and awesome nut butter maker, teacher, runner and instagramer. :)

Sarah September 7, 2012 at 6:52 am

Especially with dill pickles are COMBINED with nut butter you mean? 😉

Heather @ Kiss My Broccoli September 10, 2012 at 2:16 am

Umm, YES!! 😀

Brittany @ Delights and Delectables September 4, 2012 at 4:00 pm

I love you and your blog! Good for you for staying true to yourself. Thank you for reminding all of us bloggers to stay true to ourselves and not to blog for numbers, comments, or anything else!

Ria D. September 4, 2012 at 4:47 pm

Love the honesty in this post and in all of your posts, of course. I always thought each post was witty, inspired and incredibly well written! I’ll miss your daily posts, but I am so happy for you that you are getting back to what made you love blogging in the first place. I’m looking forward to trying some nutty butter!
PS After discovering Mrs. Renfro’s salsa on your blog, I am officially hooked!!! It’s currently on sale at Martin’s here in Richmond :)

Diana @ VeggieNextDoor September 4, 2012 at 10:42 pm

I love love love your blog and I promise to still adore it if your posts are less frequent and giveaways less often.

I myself struggle to find the time to even post weekly, so I am always impressed by the huge commitment other bloggers make to post even just a couple times a week!

In fact, I’ve seen so many bloggers that I loved burn-out and quit all together, so I think it’s great that you are taking a step back so that doesn’t happen to your incredible blog!

Sarah September 7, 2012 at 6:52 am

Thank you m’dear! Yes, I think reducing pressure will allow me to continue to write and blog and create and feel good about what I am doing…burnout is no fun, especially with something that really does/has/will again bring me joy.

Parita September 5, 2012 at 11:24 am

I’m glad you’re doing what feels right for YOU! Since I started thinking of blogging as more of a fun hobby and not an obligation, the fun has returned. I don’t force it and just type aways when the thoughts/ideas/inspiration comes! Proud of you!!!

Ashley @ Freckles & Spice September 5, 2012 at 2:54 pm

I have to say Sarah I really love this post, and I agree with you wholeheartedly. Yes, I have blogher but I just got my first check from them after almost a year. I didn’t even expect and never look at the revenue report.
I’m suffering the exact opposite problem as you – I’m full of inspiration with recipes and topics I want to share. But finding the time/money and space in my kitchen is preventing me from doing as much as I would like.
I haven’t been as consistent as I would like, and it happens. I’m always so pleasantly surprised the number of people who stick with me and the positivity I get. It really just goes to show you – be honest, be yourself, and just do it because you love it and everyone will be happy.
I can you I have stopped reading some of the older blogs I used to read because I can sense the passion is gone, or the posts are routine and boring.
I’m so glad you finding more great things you are passionate about. I’ve changed a lot this year too. And the great thing about blogging is it can grow and change with you. Keep being your entertaining, nutty self and we will still love to read whatever it is your are dishing about.

Ashley @ Freckles & Spice September 5, 2012 at 2:56 pm

Ohh and PS >> I got the feeling you were lacking in creativity or passion. I always bookmark everything you make and the humor, quirkiness in your posts always makes me smile!

Ashley @ Freckles & Spice September 5, 2012 at 2:56 pm

woops! NEVER got the feeling! sorry!

Sarah September 7, 2012 at 6:36 am

Thank you lovely lady! Honestly, it is all of my friends through blogging who make it simultaneous hard and easy to let go of blogging. I will miss the continual, every day ‘checking in,’ but I also know that we have such a strong (if strangely formed by some standards) friendship that will still be there regardless of how often I can get to the computer to write!

Michelle {lively kitchen} September 5, 2012 at 2:57 pm

Amen. Life first, blogging second. (or third, fifth or twentieth).

Those students are so lucky to have you!!

ps – totally random, but if you ever need a post idea, I’d love to see a ‘gifts teacher’s actually like’ post.

Sarah September 7, 2012 at 6:35 am

That is SUCH a great post idea. I have already started working on it in my head, in fact. Thanks for the blog-spiration…

Candy @ Healthy In Candy Land September 6, 2012 at 1:32 am

If I was holding a glass right now, I would raise it to you. This post resonated with me in a big way because I have been going through the same thing for quite awhile. I think I have finally figured out what you explained–that I can’t do it for any other reason than the fun of it and because I want to do it. It is easy to get caught up in the competition of it all. Good for you, smart lady. And for what it’s worth, your creativity in writing alone makes me smile every dang time I read one of your posts. I wish you all the best.

Sarah September 7, 2012 at 6:31 am

Thank you so much! It was other bloggers who helped remind me that blogs are about life, but they shouldn’t BE life, and that cutting back is not only OK, but healthy and good. :)

Brittany (Healthy Slice of Life) September 6, 2012 at 2:51 pm

Amen, Sarah! I go through the same thing every couple of months. I feel like it shows in my writing, too. When life gets too hectic, my blog posts suck, but when I am writing for joy, my page views sky rocket. I think going back to the basics of why we blog is so important. Thanks for the reminder! Also, I’m seriously going to have to try some nutty butter. I know I’m way out of the loop, but how do I go about ordering some?

Tianna September 6, 2012 at 9:25 pm

I hope you find a life expansion in your blog reduction! I’ll still be a reader (even if I’m not so good at commenting) :)

Heather @ Kiss My Broccoli September 10, 2012 at 2:29 am

So obviously…since I’m commenting on this post three days later, you can see that I’m right there with ya on this. When I saw you mentioned a blog reduction in your WIAW post, I had to come over and read more…and the part about linking up your post as soon as it hit midnight? Yeah, you totally stepped on my toes there! I’m so guilty of stressing out about posting sometimes that I let it delegate all of my time. Isn’t that crazy? Like, since when did something I love become all that I am? I love blogging, I love creating and sharing recipes, but I love other stuff too!

I’ve been through those phases where blogging felt obligatory…but right now, it’s actually quite the opposite, but still oddly the same…I have SO MANY ideas for recipes and so much I want to share, yet I STILL find some way to stress over it! Like I’m never going to have enough time to make “this” and take pictures of “that” AND type up a post all in the same week!

Last week, I took a bit of a break in the recipe department even though I’ve still got plenty of ideas running through my head…I didn’t take pictures of my food (unless you count Instagram…but let’s face it, that’s an addiction ;))…just blogged more about life and I have to say it felt good to not have that stress that I invented for myself.

I hope this “blog reduction” helps give you back some balance in your life and please know that I will always be here to catch up on your posts (even if I AM days late), laugh at your impressive use of the English language, and share in your weirdest of foodie combos! :)

Love you girlie! <3

Heather @ Better With Veggies September 10, 2012 at 2:06 pm

You are awesome!! I’m sorry I don’t get a chance to comment as often as I’d like, but I love reading your posts and I hope you’ll post what you want and not what you should. And I love that you are throwing away the schedule – it really can force us into making something fun, very unfun.

And I’m glad that Lindsay posted this in her roundup today or I would have missed this post when I purged my overflowing reader from last week. That’s my diet – that it’s okay when I can’t read everything all the time. :)

Sarah September 13, 2012 at 8:02 pm

I’m glad you found the post! I know how hard it is to read and comment and blog and do all of the social interactions that at least I know I wish I could do. But life has to be lived outside of the blogworld, and I think we need to remember that we ALL are trying to do the best we can to ‘keep up.’

And I purge quite often…usually I will go on a really great ‘run’ of reading consistently and then I slack off for awhile…so make sure you tell me directly if you have some big life news I need to hear about immediately. :)

Julie September 10, 2012 at 4:30 pm

Great post! I applaud you and appreciate that you are willing to admit and only blog when there’s a reason. Otherwise, it can become stale and tedious! Can’t wait for each of your posts now because I know they will be AWESOME! :)

Elizabeth@ Food Ramblings September 11, 2012 at 8:35 am

New to your site– great post!!!

Sarah September 13, 2012 at 7:59 pm

Thank you for stopping by. :)

Mollie @Sprinkles of Life September 26, 2012 at 3:14 pm

Well said Sarah! I get blog envy, too, even for my little blog. But then I remember that I like to do this and I don’t blog everyday, it’s not my career. I do it for fun and to keep in tough with family and share the good information i have 😉

Excited to hear the new season’s flavors!

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