Doonesbury cartoonist Gary Trudeau might poke fun at bloggers now and then, one of his top aides says, but he doesn't hate us. I want to get to the point in my career where I have a top aide who handles that sort of thing, don't you? Dilbert author Scott Adams, on the other hand, could tell Gary about the reality of blogging -- that it's hard work, and keeping a blog going requires a lot of time, effort, and nonstop creativity.
Still, bloggers are now finding ways to blog without writing at all, as with the new tumblelog format. So if you don't want to write, you can go that way and free yourself of the daily blogrind.
Hey, maybe someday they'll invent the tumblenovel, and we'll all be out of work.
I think most blogs fail within the first year after they're created because their writers jump into them without really knowing how much work they demand. Maintaining a blog requires ingenuity, flexibility, and a certain amount of emotional investment. Blogging is a labor of writing love, and if you hate to write on a regular basis, you might as well save yourself a lot of grief and go do that tumblething.
Let's assume that you do like to write but for whatever reason you're ready to give up your blog. Maybe you've run out of ideas for content, or feel disappointed by the lack of traffic, or you're just tired of working on the damn thing. Whatever the cause, it's not fun anymore, and you're starting to avoid your blog like that aunt who still pinches your cheeks every time she sees you.
Don't feel bad. Everyone gets sick of their blog. If you only knew how many times my cursor has hovered over that Delete This Blog button.
To turn things around, first stop whatever you've been doing with your blog and look at your archives. Pick out five posts you've written that you love, and five that you hate, and study them. Each group will probably have something in common; for example:
Five of my favorite posts: Pride & Publishing, Mary Sue Anonymous, The Devil's Publishing Dictionary, The Last Samurai Agent and The Escapist Artist -- almost all of them are parodies, so I guess I know what I like to write.
Five of my least favorite posts: Filtered (way too long and complicated), Trend Tracking Versus Jumping (I was never happy with how this one turned out; I wanted to flesh it out with more facts and links), Hired Guns (not enough useful/practical info), Another First (I hate interviews, and I pimped my own interview -- ick), and Renting PBW (waaaay too candid) -- I could have done better with all of these, from concept to wording to length, and I probably should never write a blog post after I've had a run-in with an editor.
The point of the exercise is to identify what you like and dislike about your blog, so you write more posts like the ones you love, and skip writing posts like those you hate.
If you're looking for brand-new content, many writing sites like Creativity-Portal.com offer writing prompt links and ideas for jumpstarting your muse. There are also weekly meme-type group participation features out there like The Thursday Thirteen that might help you liven up your blog.
If you're tired of daily blogging, try cutting back to two or three days a week for a while. There is no law that says you have to blog every day.
Spontaneity becomes a challenge after you've blogged for a while, too. To be more spontaneous, introduce random elements into your blogging habits. Pick up a book by an author you've never read and write about what drew you to the book in the store, and how the story compares to your expectations. Take your favorite how-to book, close your eyes, flip through the pages, stop at any point, look, and write about whatever topic is on that page. Hang out at the library for an hour and write a report on what everyone else there was doing or reading. Click on that Next Blog option on the header toolbar up there and write a post about where it takes you.
Look at the blogs you enjoy visiting, too, and see what it is about them that attracts you. If you love to talk shop, you should be talking shop at your place. If you're a link-gathering junkie, why not make a link list post about the best ones you've found?
Keep an open imagination, try new things, and you'll probably discover that blogging isn't quite the chore you think it is.
My RTB post, Don't Dump That Weblog!
Ten Things for Webloggers and Ten Things for Your Weblog