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Slow blogging

Slow

I haven’t posted a new entry for over a week now, which might be a record for me. There were moments in the past week when I thought, “I should post something. People will wonder if that IKEA bookcase I assembled fell over and crushed me dead.” But then my next thought was, “What should I write about?” and the honest answer was, “I don’t have anything I care enough to write about right now.” Sure, I’ve got dozens of little notes saved for post ideas, many of which are worth writing about eventually. But during each moment I thought about posting last week, nothing seemed so immediately important that I had to write a blog entry about it RIGHT NOW.

Certainly, there is something to be said for writing when you don’t feel like it. If you want to be a professional writer, you’ll spend plenty of time writing when you don’t want to. That’s why it’s a job, because it’s actual work. However, I feel that bloggers feel extra pressure to produce something daily, quickly, endlessly, or else we’re told we’ll lose all our visitors and our pagerank will decrease and no one will care about our blogs anymore. There have certainly been times when I have posted entries out of fear of losing everything I’ve worked hard to build. Those quick and dirty entries are sometimes funny and good, but sometimes they’re kinda’ shit. And I don’t want to be shitting on the Internet.

So, for this past week, I decided to keep my mouth closed and my fingers still. And it was good. I didn’t pop in to tell people, “Gee whiz, I haven’t posted for awhile, have I?” because I figured you are observant enough to notice that without me commenting on it. And commenting on it serves no purpose, other than to give into that fear of being un-Google-able, which seems like a silly thing to be afraid of. Spiders? Sure. Low Google search results? Eh, have you ever had a nightmare involving your pagerank? (If yes, you should probably keep that to yourself.)

This attitude towards my blog is something I hope to continue. I want to stress quality over quantity. I stopped checking my web stats several months ago because I got sick of wondering if people were visiting my blog and where they were coming from and all that rigmarole that is so easy to get sucked into. I’ve been blogging for over 5 years now, and I feel like I’m getting too old for that shit. I’ve seen my stats go up, and then down, and then up again, and then down again, and then…you get the picture. There was certainly a time when I chased pageviews and hoped for more visitors, but I feel like I’ve been there, done that. Yeah, having lots of visitors can be fun and it’s got its own advantages, but it’s got disadvantages too. When I think about what I’d like this blog to be, I’d rather that it be well-written, thoughtful and entertaining than it be published daily and have a bazillion readers a month. If I want it to be the former, I can’t really think about the latter.

This type of philosophy has been around for awhile, typically referred to as the “Slow Blogging” movement. The term is partly a reference to Alice Waters’ slow food movement which emphasizes cooking quality meals that take time rather than consuming fast food that is quick but less nutritious. You can read a New York Times article about slow blogging from 2008, and a slow blogging manifesto here, though I prefer the one listed in the sidebar of this blog which says:

1. Slow blogs are well written (the writing would still be considered good had it not been not published on the internet)
2. Slow blogs are focused on content over format
3. Slow blogs celebrate authenticity
4. Slow blog writers don’t feel restrained by formulas
5. Slow blogs posts are sometimes long
6. Slow blogs are original (not composed of mostly recycled material)
7. Slow blogs do not have, as their primary aim, the goal of selling things
8. Slow blogs are not unfairly critical of bloggers with different agendas. It’s still a free world.
9. Slow blogs encourage community building
10. Slow blogs are worth the time

None of this is to say I’m going to try to drive visitors away from my blog either. I’m not going to stop certain posting habits I like that I also know are considered to help increase readership. I’ve been trying to post a picture with most of my posts lately because it makes the entry look more enticing and readable. I think this increases the quality of my posts, so I’m going to still do it, regardless of whether it brings more readers or not.

It also does NOT mean I’m going to write posts weeks and weeks in advance and revise them heavily before posting. Blogs do tend to be in the moment, and I don’t have a problem writing something in the moment like some of the slow bloggers seem to.

I can guarantee there will still be typos.

Overall, I’d just like to blog when I want to and not because I think I have to. So, you might be seeing a little bit less of me. There still might be weeks when I feel a need to post four entries. There might be weeks when I post none. We’ll see. Let’s just take it slow, ok?

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23 Comments

Mymsie • July 19, 2010 at 2:30 pm

I fell into this pattern over a year ago and mostly I’m OK with it. I certainly don’t have many readers and I envy bloggers who get lots of feedback but I think the quality of my writing is most important. Looking back at years when I blogged more frequently, I’m more likely to encounter “Today I ate lunch and went to the bathroom” posts that make me cringe. I much prefer my less frequent but meaty, well thought out posts, sprinkled, of course, with the inevitable TWSS jokes. ;)

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Caro • July 19, 2010 at 2:43 pm

I personally read my blogs through my RSS reader so that may color my feelings here. But I read a lot of blogs that have gotten relatively slow and I actually find that I have more interest in most of them. You can definitely feel it when a blogger starts to try and force posts, so I’m all for quality over quantity.

As for the bookcase, don’t you know that it’s your job as a blogger to write your last post while trapped under the bookcase just so that we all know what happened to you?

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Jenny • July 19, 2010 at 2:47 pm

Good for you, I’m doing the same. I just post when I have something to say, which I actually did today, but recently my posts have been far and few between. Who wants to see the million and oneth strawberry shortcake anyway?!!!

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schmei • July 19, 2010 at 2:51 pm

Hey! Apparently I’m a slow blogger! I’m so glad it has a name, and more importantly, a NY Times article backing it up.

When I first started my blog (which, when my stats are high, is being read by 5 people) I tried posting every day. It was stressful and, though a good exercise for a month, not worth it. These days I post roughly 3 times a month, and that’s fine for me.

I subscribe to your blog via Google Reader. When there’s a new post, I’ll be reading it – because I know it’s good. If there’s not a new post, I will not presume that the bookcase crushed you.

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Jenn • July 19, 2010 at 3:18 pm

Ack!! Alice Water’s IS NOT the creator of the Slow Food Movement!!! She quietly lets everyone think she is, though, which is sort of her MO.

Sorry, but her being referenced as the founder of the movement is a fallacy that must be corrected at each.and.every.turn.

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shauna/dg • July 19, 2010 at 3:24 pm

Bravo PQ! I remember feeling comforted when I first read that NYT article as I much preferred Slow Blogging to Lazy Blogging as I’d been berating myself for falling into :) You know there’s scores of us stalking you in our Google Readers so we’ll be here to pounce however frequently or not you write. Have fun mate xx

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The Merry • July 19, 2010 at 3:24 pm

I’m blogging as an amateur, not a professional, so it doesn’t matter how rank my page gets. My blog is merely an exercise in… well, exercise. I blog on the off-chance that even one person might look at the post; even the off-chance makes me feel obligated to do the exercise du jour.
Since you turned Pro, you have to worry about quality over quality. Personally, I think even your quick-and-trivial posts have quality, but I can see the argument that rarity makes each post seem more desirable.
However, if you go several weeks without a post I will start to worry that you’ve decided you don’t like us any more :(

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Pam • July 19, 2010 at 3:25 pm

I love your blog, you are a wonderful writer! I’m still making my way through it…I’m up to Feb. 2009! I read your book in the meantime, however and loved it too! Maybe I could suggest you write about your maintenance struggle. We all understand that, and maybe you could help us all make some sense out of this Hell that is food addiction. OR….tell us about what you are doing as a free lancer. Maybe that is what the blog is about between Feb. 2009 and June 2010? I don’t know, but I have wondered about it, ever since I read you were quitting your job. As you see, I flit back and forth, I don’t want to miss any of your posts, but I also want to know what is going on with you RIGHT NOW! Okay, that’s my two cents, now back to Feb. 2009!

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PastaQueen • July 19, 2010 at 3:31 pm

@Jenn – Sorry about the error, but don’t leave us hanging. Who is the real inventor of the slow food movement?

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Maureen • July 19, 2010 at 3:44 pm

Well, this makes me sad. It seems like all the bloggers I read have become slow bloggers-no one seems to be updating much. Maybe I should just put down the internet and pick up a book!

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Jenn • July 19, 2010 at 6:16 pm

@PastaQueen – don’t be sorry! It’s a common misconception, but just a little like nails on a chalkboard to me. Anyway, the founder of the Slow Food Movement is Carlo Petrini, and the movement, as a “movement”, began in Italy. Though many, many people (from all over the world) shared the ideology before then, those are the “official” roots. Alice Waters is a member and a key player in Slow Food USA (though some of what she does is often contradictory to the movement, but that’s a whole ‘nother story!).

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sherijung • July 19, 2010 at 6:47 pm

I’m another reader via RSS, and I have unsubscribed from blogs that have too many ‘filler’ posts. There’s a place for bloggers who post as a kind of diary, but you can tell the difference between that and manufactured content for the sake of content. Ho hum, there’s not enough time in the day to waste on reading that.

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theantijared • July 19, 2010 at 9:22 pm

I actually thought my Crock Pot was involved in the slow food movement. It takes like 10 hours to cook chicken!

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Bonniecello • July 20, 2010 at 1:24 am

Always enjoy your writing. Would love to hear about freelancing — but write when and if you feel like it. No pressure here.

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Rah • July 20, 2010 at 9:17 am

Thank you! Related: I’m probably a minority of one, but I get frustrated at guest posts–I come to a blog because I like that writer; if he/she can’t be there, that’s okay, but don’t push someone else off on me just to fill the space. There’s one blog I love, but have stopped visiting more than about once monthly because of its author’s tendency to use guest posts pretty often.

Like others, I wouldn’t mind hearing more about your life as a free lancer. It’s kind of amazing how your life has changed in the last 5 years!

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Cynthia • July 21, 2010 at 7:32 am

I’m always happy to read what you have to say, at whatever pace you have to say it. Yours is the only blog I check almost-daily, and it is well worth waiting for a new post, whenever it happens. Besides – I’ve not finished reading all of the old ones yet! I hope your new home is starting to feel a tiny bit like “home.”

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Deanna - The Unnatural Mother • July 21, 2010 at 11:17 pm

That’s why you have a readership, well, thought-out, well-written, fun, relevant content!

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Alexis Hope • July 28, 2010 at 10:40 am

I am so glad I found your blog! Fun to read, honest, and inspiring!

I’ve started a weight loss journey of my own, and a blog of my own too to chronicle it — http://www.dontbejealous.com.

And I’d like to think that mine is a slow blog. Mostly because the process itself is slow. In any case, any tips tricks and advice you have are helpful. It’s because of people like you, and the community around your site and others, that I’ve been so inspired.

Thank You

Alexis

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Patty • July 28, 2010 at 5:53 pm

Today is the first I saw your blog and I feel it is entertaining. My fiance started a weight loss blog of his own to help get motivated to improve his health. It gives him a sense of accomplishment and a sense of obligation. He blogs daily about his mission to get into the best shape of his life by our wedding. I cook the meals and help him shop for everything and in the past 2 months he has lost over 30 pounds and I have lost about 12 pounds. If you have any advice or have some time stop by and check his blog out http://www.theheavymansdiary.blogspot.com .

Keep up the great work!

Patty

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asithi • July 29, 2010 at 4:18 pm

I didn’t even know there is a slow blog movement. I guess I’ve been a member for a long time. I rarely publish more than 2 posts a week and sometimes I might even skip a week when I am busy. Sure, I would probably get more pageviews if I publish more or interact with the blogging community regularly. But my blog is very similar to my personality in real life. I tend to observe more than I talk. But when I have something to say, it takes a long time for me to shut up.

I have a full time job. Blogging is only one of my many other hobbies. Once it stops being fun, then I will stop blogging. And it stops being fun when it starts to impact the other things I like to do in my life like exercising, reading, and actually spending time with people. As a blogger, nothing boosts your ego more than having a large subscriber count, comments, pageviews, or PR. But the way I figure it, slow and steady (just like in weight loss) still gets me to the finish line.

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asithi • July 29, 2010 at 4:23 pm

Same here. I get annoy when the blogger mostly put up guest posts after building a following. I understand the importance of guest posting for building pagerank, but if I haven’t heard from the blogger in a month, then they are unsubscribe my Google reader. I rather have no posting for a while.

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Donna • July 29, 2010 at 4:54 pm

OK, now I miss you!

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Lanie • July 30, 2010 at 9:33 pm

I was talking to my friend, whom you may know as “Auntie Annette” and she suggested that I check out your blog. With my interest in writing, living a healthier lifestyle, and my torturous battle against social anxiety, she thought I’d appreciate your journey. This is only the 2nd post I’ve read and already I feel like I have found a “kindred spirit” as I am learning that I have found in Annette.

You’ll hear more from me in the near future, and I added you to my blog roll. For now, I have a lot more reading to do! I’ll be reading your book too!

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Comments are now closed on all PastaQueen entries. The blog is an archive only so I don't have to deal with spammers. For fresh discussions please visit my new blog JenFul.

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Jennette Fulda tells stories to the Internet about her life as a smartass, writer, weight-loss inspiration, chronic headache sufferer, and overall nice person (who is silently judging you). She does this at JenFul now, but you can still have fun perusing her past here.

Disclaimer: I am not responsible for keyboards ruined by coffee spit-takes or forehead wrinkles caused by deep thought.

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