I’ve been blogging at Quiet Habits for about 2 1/2 years now. I’ve been through a blog name change, a few different site designs, a re-branding, a change in jobs, I finished college and wrote over 100 posts on this blog. And yet I’m unhappy about where I’ve ended up. If you’re on of the few who follow my blog closely (thanks for sticking around!), you’ll know that I haven’t written here for a while (since April, to be precise). And it’s not only because we’ve been remodeling our basement and working on our business, but also because I’m having something of an identity crisis in blogging.
It all started when I started caring more about the numbers and trying to make a bit of money from my blog. You see, I thought if I wrote what other people wanted then I could increase my visits and views here, which in turn would increase my income from affiliate links that I included at the bottom of each post. And it worked. Kind of.
Sure, I was getting more traffic and I earned a minuscule amount of money. But I also started dreading blogging. It became a chore. I started using social media as a tool to improve traffic. I commented on blog posts not because I enjoyed the post but because it brought more traffic to my blog. I did use social media to connect with friends and bloggers and I did comment on some blog posts simply because I thoroughly enjoyed them. But for the most part, I was treating all of this like a business.
Why? Because that’s what you’re supposed to do. Right? Write a blog, improve your SEO and site authority, quit your day job, become a minimalist and make money from selling online courses and affiliate marketing. That’s the new online dream job. And I was following along the beaten path right behind everyone else. My blog was becoming numerically successful with optimized posts with back links and affiliate links.
Only there was a problem. It wasn’t me. It’s not me. Yes, I’d love to make money from my writing and yes I’d love to have great blog stats. But I want to do it because it’s what I want to do. Not because it’s what someone else is doing or because it’s how you’re supposed to do things to get more traffic and make money. My blog was turning into a collection of soulless articles and lists which followed trending topics and the latest fads in online lifestyle coaching and life hacking. I was falling for the old self-made self-help online guru trick. What I thought was helping others was really just spewing self-help fluff, half of which I didn’t follow and some of which I wasn’t sure really worked. My blog had lost its authentic voice and roots in opening up my life for observation and learning.
So, as of today, I quit. I’m quitting the arm’s race for more page views, better SEO, more ad revenue and more online courses to sell (many of which I’ve bought and abandoned over the years). I’m quitting the race to always be first in Google’s search results. I’m forgetting the strategies to optimize my articles with the right amount of keywords and the placement of strategic photos and headlines. That crap isn’t writing or being creative. That’s building a strategic monetization scheme.
What happened to writing because we have something to say? Or because something inside of us is driving us to create something beautiful? What happened to writers who wrote what they felt was good and right, not what clicks, links and algorithms told them would get the most views?
This is why I’m quitting the game. I’m not playing anymore. I’m uninstalling the SEO plugins and ditching the “strategies” to turn my blog into a business. Frankly, my blog isn’t a business. It’s my personal writing. If it helps someone, that’s fantastic. If it makes an impact somewhere and gets shared 1,000 times, I’ll be so excited. But, as far as this blog is concerned, I’m done playing the marketing game.
Don’t worry, though. I’m not going to quit blogging or writing. In fact, I’m hoping to spend more time writing and blogging in the future. All of the optimization, marketing and strategizing was taking up so much of my time. I’m not going to worry about page views, money or SEO anymore. If that follows my authentic and open writing, that’s great. If not, I’ll keep being open and honest and keep on writing and blogging here.
Quiet Habits was started so I could track my personal growth and happiness through changing little habits in my life. I don’t aspire to being a world-renowned writer, speaker, guru or life coach. I simply want to explore the ideas of peace, happiness and contentedness through quiet living and habit changes. And I want to write about it here, to assist in, better understand and document my personal journey. I’m getting back to the roots of a weblog and making a log of my life and the changes, challenges and triumphs that I face as I move through this crazy adventure called life.
If you’re currently subscribed to my blog via email or social media and this doesn’t sound like something that interests you, feel free to unsubscribe. Don’t worry, I won’t be mad or offended. If you want real, honest and vulnerable stories about an introverted writer who is trying to change his life in small, simple ways, then I ask you to subscribe and keep reading. Thanks for your support. Check out the Start Here page to find some ways you can support Quiet Habits to keep this site online and ad-free. Don’t worry, I’m not trying to sell you any crappy stuff.
Thanks for your continued support and readership at Quiet Habits. I hope this shift in focus will bring more authentic and real content here. At least that’s the plan.
Image credit: John Salzarulo
Also published on Medium.