Lose the Guilt about Not Visiting Everyone’s Blog

Welcome to Scarlet Thread Sunday, the day I throw out a thread of something I’ve learned in the labyrinth of life. Today I’m thinking about social media–specifically, blogs.

You see, my computer died a couple of months ago, and in the reboot I lost all of my RSS feeds. That meant that the many blogs of fellow authors that I followed were gone. I sighed and thought, “Oh well, I can rebuild the list.”

Then another thought occurred to me: “Or I could not rebuild the list.”

Immediately, a blanket of guilt lowered onto me. I struggled under that shame-on-me weight for only a little while before pushing it off and realizing, “Hey, I can breathe.”

I tried it out for a week and chose to only click on blog posts that raised my interest from Twitter or Facebook. It was kind of cool. I was visiting some of the same blogs, but also ones I’d never gone to before, because I’d been so weighed down with my regular daily blog reading.

Momentary twinges of guilt would still ping me now and then. How long has it been since I’d visited X’s site? What about Y? And Z? I wonder how she’s doing. But ongoing use of chocolate and wine did a lot to cut away the dangling threads from the blanket of guilt.

No, actually I found that I got more writing done, had more time to interact with people on Facebook, and visited a broader range of blogs. I sought content that mattered to where I am in life and writing–and, admittedly, whether I needed a good belly laugh at the moment (you humorous bloggers know who you are!).


Cat in front of laptop
He’s not feeling bad about it!
Pic from Dreysacz at de.wikipedia (public domain], Wikimedia Commons

I know I’m not alone, because I’ve heard other authors cop to feeling guilty when they don’t get around to everyone’s site. As if you’re going to get thrown out of the Exclusive Writers’ Club for slacking on your blog commenting. You’re not.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m THRILLED to have so many followers. Thank you so much!

But honestly, if you come here, and the content isn’t your cup of tea that day, click away. No worries. I won’t be sending out the Blog Police or mumbling about your lack of loyalty or banning you from the cool table in the cafeteria of life.

You’re my guests! You are always welcome, but I know you don’t live here. Come around when you can, stay a while, converse a bit, and leave when you need to. The welcome mat will still be here for you next time.

Welcome mat
I’ll leave out the welcome mat for you.

And now on to my A Round of Words in 80 Days report.

ROW80 Update

  • Edit/rewrite SHARING HUNTER, a YA contemporary novel. Worked out a major kink with the novel–not so much rewriting, but plotting/planning.
  • Edit two short stories–one needs a final polish, the other a full edit. Not yet.
  • Read 10 fiction books. Finished White Cat by Holly Black and read the sequel, Red Glove.
  • Finish craft book: Writing Young Adult Fiction for Dummies by Deborah Halverson. (I read the first half last round.) Not yet.
  • Visit and comment on five ROW80 blog posts per week. Yes, ma’am (or sir).
  • Attend at least one RWA meeting. Researched RWA membership and local chapters. Marked upcoming meetings on my calendar for three chapters: West Houston RWA, Northwest Houston RWA, and Houston Bay Area  RWA.

So how do you manage blog reading? Do you feel overwhelmed at times keeping up with others’ blogs? If you’re in ROW80, how was your first week?

44 thoughts on “Lose the Guilt about Not Visiting Everyone’s Blog

  1. Thanks for the post. I try to only visit the blogs I’m interested in. My computer crashed a couple of years ago, so I sympathize with your computer woes. I love the cat picture! Nancy

    1. Well, thanks for coming by, Nancy! I do find myself missing some of my used-to-be-regular visits, but I eventually make it around to everyone.

  2. I absolutely agree with this post so, so much. I always have felt so guilty about not keeping up with reading blogs, commenting and such and then I end up going overboard and getting little writing (if any) done. I have to remind myself that I need to write first (since well, being a writer is the goal, right?!) and then socialize. It’s hard though, it’s a constant nagging thought in the back of my head…that I should try harder to read more blogs and comment more. But I’m getting better at squashing it and focusing on writing.

    Great job with your ROW80 goals the first week. Good luck this week and have a great rest of the weekend (and week)!

    1. A friend (can’t remember who!) recently said that writers often get it backward by timing our writing and not timing our social media. She suggested we flip it–timing our social media visitation and losing time in our writing. Interesting thought, no?

      Thanks, Kat!

  3. It’s totally overwhelming. Sure, I learn all kinds of things in the blogs I read and certainly wouldn’t be where I am with my writing without them. I’m simply a fan of too many blogs to read all of them all the time. I categorized my feedly feeds this week and it’s helping. Losing the guilt is a big step. I’m catholic. So, it’s a really big step for me, lol. I’m glad to know you’re losing it too.
    RWA! I need to join. There’s an active chapter here and I’d love to join Passionate Ink, the erotic romance chapter. Great start to the round, Julie. Hope you’re having a lovely weekend.

    1. Well, now you know why I haven’t been by as often as I’d like, S.J.! I do eventually get there, just not right away. I am also a fan of many blogs, but I’ve decided that I don’t have to read all of the posts from those blogs. I can go on now and then, scroll through what’s there, and just click which posts interest me. So far, that’s working.

      Also, did you see the chat about RWA some of us had on Facebook? I was on the fence about going until that discussion.

  4. I don’t feel guilty at all for not visiting blogs of people who don’t visit mine. Why should I? OTOH, people who visit my blog will definitely get a visit back – and that’s no chore (there aren’t enough of them to make it overwhelming). The guilt I had to let go of was over not blogging – or making just a very short post like a ROW80 update, rather than something pithy and clever. Yes, there’s something to be said for consistency, but I realized that if I skip a post or two… or four, that my followers would not disappear. So, I no longer worry about that either and if I don’t have anything to say on a given week, I don’t post.

    1. I think it’s good to actually schedule blog vacations, knowing that some weeks you just can’t get to it. I’ve been on some very popular blogs and read an author saying something like, “Won’t be here the next three weeks! Got a writing deadline.” I shrug and move on. OF COURSE they should be focused on their writing, so I’m not upset if they miss some blog posts.

      Thanks, Jennette!

    2. Jennette, I ran into the same thing. I had (note the past tense) a reputation for posting extensively researched articles about true crime and paranormal. I figured out two things a) the audience those articles attracts is not interested in my fiction b) writing those blog posts drained my creativity. So I quit.

      The result? I have a lot fewer blog comments. And a lot fewer views on my more recent posts (because they are just reviews and announcements and, occasionally, a short piece about life in general). I still get over 200 views a day on the my old true crime and paranormal articles. And few, if any, of those views lead to interest in my fiction.

      But I am getting a lot more fiction writing done. And that’s what’s important.

  5. Blog reading consumed so much of my time I actually couldn’t read them for a month. Since then, I’ve moved to an approach similar to yours. When I have time, I pick up posts that correlate to my world from Facebook and Twitter. I also get a half-dozen daily newsletters in my email that I look over while I’m waiting places. If I see a good article I can mark it for later or pull it up on my phone.
    As for feeling guilty, oh yes. It took a long time and a few beers (and a few cappuccinos) but really how much can be expected of any one person. We are writers, not disciples or marketing engines. Pay back when and where you can and don’t worry about what is beyond time and power to engage.
    Have a great week two, Julie.

  6. Sometimes, disasters can be blessings in disguise. They break us from a pattern we hadn’t realized was depleting us slowly, as as the case with your rebuild giving you more time to write.

    Great luck on those ROW80 goals, Julie. Good you figured out that plot tangle for the edit/rewrite.

    1. Thanks, Eden! I love that I’m getting to visit blogs I’ve never been to before. I do miss some of my regulars, but I know I’ll get there. Have a lovely week!

      1. It’s like visiting in general. We can’t make personal visits to all our friends AND tour the world. A little of both is good for the soul. <>

  7. I’ve been doing that approach for awhile now. I was feeling guilty about because I wasn’t always getting to the same blocs I used to. But I also get to visit blots that I wasn’t visiting regularly. I kind of like choosing blogs that interest me in the moment. Now that I know others use this approach I won’t feel so guilty.

    1. You can only do what you can. When I had all of those blogs in my reader, I would make sure I made it to every one. For me, the freeing moment was not having them there reminding me. I LOVE visiting others’ blogs, but I just can’t do it as often as I’d like and get my books written and my family taken care of. First things first! Best wishes, Melissa!

  8. I am new to blogging and ever reading them, glad to know I am not doing it wrong! LOL Thanks so much for helping me feel normal. Well, as normal as I can feel anyway!

  9. My unsolicited advice…mostly directed at myself. If you want to be a published fiction writer, focus on what it takes to achieve that. Let the rest of it (blogging, commenting on blogs, networking on social media) take care of itself. And…keep on rockin’.

    1. I’ve gained a lot from blogging, but I think you’re right: It’s got to take its proper place…behind the book-writing. Honestly, there are several authors I read consistently and yet never visit their blogs. Priorities matter. Thanks, Catie!

  10. Woo-Hoo, Julie!

    There are some blogs I will always visit when the topic lures me. I see you on some of them, so I know we share some favorites.

    That said, I guilt trip when I don’t get to those blogs because of life or writing or retail therapy. I have this nonsense-noggin feeling that a failure to comment will be noticed by the blogger. My brain on nonsense:

    “OMGosh! Gloria Richard did not visit. I am dropping her from my list of blogs to visit forever.”

    Timing for this? Perfect. I sit here now with a plethora of new email notices — blogs I didn’t have time to visit over the last four days. I could not force myself to delete those notices.

    I have a book to get ready for Nationals. I have a blog of my own that gets erratic attention. I do my best blog work in comments — so much so, I once considered naming my blog Common Tater.

    1. Pay attention to that book for Nationals!

      Maybe you should have blog posts with a sampling of your best comments over the week. Because yeah, I have read your comments, and you are one witty gal! Sometimes I read a comment from you, and I end up clutching my side with laughter.

      Thanks from bringing your wit here! Best wishes, Gloria.

        1. Puh-lease! I’m just WOWed that you do that. Most people don’t bother with bold/italics/etc. in comment threads. But I love how you manage it, Gloria! 🙂

  11. My blog guilt runs too deep: I hear you, but… oh, I just don’t know if I can. *sigh* I have people on my Google friends list who have been there for 2 years and I haven’t been able to get to them in months. I still feel rude.

    1. So keep your reader! I think that still works for plenty of people. But I do think it makes to to read the title, a few lines of the blog post, and skip away if that day’s post just isn’t what you need to read. If that time is better spent on writing…

      Thanks for coming here, Cate! And I do have your book on my Kindle, but I’ve got like 3-4 other books in my queue first. Thanks for the promo! I’m looking forward to reading it.

      1. I lose things in a reader. I have over 120 blogs in one! Then they took the reader off Safari and that ended, so now I email subscribe to my absolute favourites and use lists on Twitter. I like the follower feature here on WordPress. That is a great help.

        Take your time with the book and have an awesome week.

  12. Great advice, Julie. I’ve had to reset many of my priorities in the past eight months. As a result, I blog hop far less. Like you, I click on those that I happen upon or those titles in my WP reader or inbox that catch my interest. Catie has a great point, too. If you’re serious about publishing, you need to focus on the writing and all that will lead you toward that success. It’s gratifying to have many blog hits, but not at the expense of your overall goal. 🙂

    1. Beautifully put, Jolyse. Blogging and visiting blogs should support your overall goal of being a writer. Yes, I think that the connections I’ve made through blogging do that, but it can get in the way of writing if one isn’t careful. Best wishes!

  13. Yes, I do feel a bit guilty for not following everyone, but I’m getting over that. I used to get somewhat pissed off when I was constantly visiting someone’s site, leaving lots of comments, etc. and they never visited my blog. But, I’ve realized that they can’t follow everyone either so I only go to those sites when I have the time and energy.

    I also used to get really irritated when I left comments all over cyberspace and the blog authors failed to even acknowledge that I had even been there. But, again, I’ve decided not to let that bother me and just leave the comments anyway. Maybe they saw me and just didn’t have time to reply, maybe they don’t give a crap that I was there, or maybe they never checked back on their blog posts. Whatever the case, I’m not going to let that detet me from clicking and commenting where I choose.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

    1. Honestly, I am advocate of responding to comments left on one’s blog. Now I know that can’t always happen. There are some bloggers who elicit 100-200 comments for a post, and they simply can’t reply to each.

      But I still think it’s good to show up in the comments thread somewhere. Kristen Lamb, Social Media Jedi, does this well. She’ll reply to a few comments per post, demonstrating that she’s still paying attention and responding when and where she can. I think that’s a good model

      Also, I don’t tend to reply to comments left long after the post, and I don’t beat myself up if I was on vacation or something and didn’t get to it. Yet again, Patricia, I’m voting for balance.

  14. Thanks for this much needed post! Lately, I’ve had that overwhelming feeling of guilt associated with non-blog reading. But what am I supposed to do — finish my book OR read a bunch of posts that really don’t add much to the draft I’m working on. So, a week or so ago, I trimmed it down to the blogs from which I usually harvest a grain or two of advice or motivation. Otherwise, I’m trying to be a writer first, a wife next, and social media butterfly last. 🙂

    1. I think social media is important, and I’ve gained a great deal from it. But you’re right: It’s just got to be in the proper place. Writing the book comes first. Thanks, Sherrey!

  15. I’ve decided on the same thing. Not that I have stopped visiting blogs, but only when I have time to truly read…and not all the ones I’ve “followed”. It gets to be too much and I run out of time for me to write.

  16. I heart this blog because I was feeling guilty having not read blogs while I was on vacation (and then another week afterward when I was trying to get back in the groove). I’m feeling a bit more caught up now, but like you I had to just pick ones that I really wanted to read. And I left long comments and got great info and great laughs. So glad I read this post, Julie!

    1. Thanks, Jess! I’ve heard the suggestion that when you go on vacation and get back, just clear your queue and start over. I’ve never been able to do that, but it always seemed like solid advice.

  17. Love it! I stepped away from regular blog reading while hunting for a job and being stressed about that side of life. Now that Google Reader has gone the way of the dodo I’ve been looking for other options. Perhaps your approach is the way to go 🙂

    All the best for the Round Julie!

    1. Thanks, Raelyn! I was tracking my blogs on my email program, but now I just have a few on WordPress and I look when I can. Have a lovely round yourself!

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