Resting on my laurels: A cautionary tale for the Internet

by Veronica on November 8, 2013

in Blogging

Empty House

I remember reading a blog post nearly three years ago now – wait, wait. Evelyn is how old? HOW MUCH TIME HAS PASSED?

Scratch that. Start again.

I remember reading a blog post nearly five years ago now, in which an ‘old school blogger’ whose name I can’t remember, lamented the fact that she had rested on her laurels. She’d built her audience up over some years, and during the time blogging was exploding in the US, she was considered a big name. She was there, she was everywhere, everyone knew her name.

And then she rested on her laurels. She got comfortable sitting at the top of the blogging pile, her name on every list that came out, her audience growing.

What she didn’t notice was that just over there (yes, there, where you are now) a bigger pile was growing. New bloggers, new blogs, up and comers, online magazines, people hungry for money and fame.

Eventually, she realised she wasn’t a big name any more. She’d kept blogging, but hadn’t kept up the engagement, hadn’t found new readers, hadn’t pushed through with the social media. She was finding herself to be obsolete.

It was an interesting read for me, five years ago. Five years ago, I was coasting the waves of success, and I was wary of having that happen to me.

And then life intervened. My babies grew up. I changed my perspective. I grew up. I wrote some fiction. I wrote some more fiction. I published some. I did NaNoWriMo, wrote a book and loved it. There was cancer, death, grief, in its great soul sucking pit of horrible. My life changed. I grew up some more. I stopped caring so much.

Five years later, I am that blogger.

I rested on my laurels and while I’m still here blogging – albeit less regularly than I used to – the blogging world moved on without me. I stopped reading new blogs because I didn’t know their back story. I fell off the lists, people stopped asking my opinion, and when I began to turn down sponsored opportunities because I didn’t have the time/energy/inclination, I found myself pushed off the PR lists as well.

The online world moves on, and you either adapt and improve, or get crotchety and start shouting at the kids to get off your damned lawn.

I clearly did the latter.

I’m finding myself drawing in, sharing less, writing more. It’s an organic change, linked to the growth of my children. Amy is seven now and her stories are not my stories. Isaac starts school in February. His stories and struggles are not mine to post all over the internet now.

Evelyn, while small, is growing fast.

The Internet is fast paced, a super highway full of hungry bloggers, entrepreneurs, people looking to make a quick buck.

I stopped shouting over the noise, and the noise flowed away, like a river parting around a particularly stubborn rock. I didn’t have the time to repeat myself, over and over, for the benefit of people who hadn’t heard me the first time.

I rested on my laurels and the Internet moved away from me.

I’m not sure if I’m okay with that.

{ 20 comments }

Jayne November 8, 2013 at 11:25 am

Nah, we haven’t moved away, really.
We’ve been waiting for you to get your second wind from all that life’s thrown at you – it hasn’t been a walk in the park and we get that some/most is not for sharing with the whole world; it’s raw, deeply private and at those times you need to get inside yourself to find your way forward.
With your family and your health.
The interwebs is an audience of people; people who will shift, change, ebb and flow but those who connected with you originally will reconnect again – if you want that.
You’ve grown, changed, as have the rest of us, what you choose to share may not appeal to some of your former followers but it probably will engage new ones.

Veronica November 9, 2013 at 8:48 am

I think I’m about up to my fourth wind, surely?

You’re right too, sometimes you do just have to feel your way forward, as slow as it can be.

Kim @frogpondsrock November 8, 2013 at 12:07 pm

Interesting that you see it as “resting on your laurels” when I see it as evidence of the journey of a woman who is blogging for herself.

Veronica November 9, 2013 at 8:48 am

Potato/potato.

Stimey November 9, 2013 at 1:41 am

I can totally relate to this, although I’ve never been put on many lists or been at the top of anything. I have similar reasons for slowing down my blogging mojo and I’m coming to terms with it. I’m actually feeling pretty good where I am with an awesome community and learning to blog in a way that makes me and my community happy not because I’m looking for a way to push my name forward. It’s an interesting transition though.

Veronica November 9, 2013 at 8:50 am

It is an interesting transition. My community kind of drifted away, or maybe I am slowly finding a new community. I get bored so easily though that I never manage to stick in a niche long enough. I’m not quite a mummyblogger, not quite a autism blogger, not quite anything.

Change is hard! (My quirky apples did not fall far from the parental tree)

Marylin November 9, 2013 at 2:13 am

I swear I could have written this myself. Know exactly how you feel. On the one hand, I’m pretty fecking busy as it is and I love blogging, but I’ve lost that “omg how exciting I must blog about this!” feeling I used to have about everything. I miss it, and having more people to chat and connect with.
I think that’s why I’m trying to make a concerted effort to grab you for a chat more often again. It reminds me of how we used to be… SIX years ago when we’d both just started blogging.
Six years ago. For fucksake how the hell did that happen???

Veronica November 9, 2013 at 8:52 am

That’s true for me too. I don’t have the “must blog this!” feeling. I’m content to just enjoy my children some days, without having it recorded for posterity. And sometimes I don’t blog anything that we’re doing, and that’s okay too.

SIX YEARS. I don’t even know.

Jaimie November 9, 2013 at 3:47 am

I’m glad you’re here at all! You’ve taught me a lot and I thoroughly enjoy your writing. Thank you! :)

Veronica November 9, 2013 at 8:52 am

You’re welcome! I’m glad you’re here reading too.

Bronnie November 9, 2013 at 5:05 pm

We’re still here babe. Ready if and when you are x

Veronica November 11, 2013 at 3:31 pm

<3

Rach aka stinkb0mb November 9, 2013 at 5:36 pm

I think some people blog beyond when they actually should, they force it and you can tell it’s forced and it makes the reading of it, not so enjoyable anymore. Other people recognise that either they or their lives, aren’t in the same space that they/it was when they started to blog and they either change how they write or they just taper off to only blogging when it feels “right”. I wish everyone did the latter. It makes for better reading and yes your readership will fall BUT those that stick around will read whenever you post because they enjoy reading your writing – I’m a firm believer in quality over quantity; I’d rather genuine readers who both enjoy my writing and interact accordingly because of it, than those who just read but barely make a whisper about it.

I say, let your blog follow it’s natural course, that may mean you end up writing more in the future or it may mean that your writing tapers off to occasional posts, when and if you feel like posting. Your ‘other’ writing at the moment is flourishing. You’ll find your happy medium and when you do, your faithful readers will still be here.

Veronica November 11, 2013 at 3:34 pm

I think you’re right. I think too there needs to be a process of giving into life’s changes and allowing a blog to reflect that, not holding on too tightly to who you were in the beginning.

river November 9, 2013 at 6:58 pm

I believe I have an advantage here, a small one to be sure, but I’m not looking to be top of the heap in the blogging world, PR companies don’t interest me, I’m not trying to make money from my blog, so I can rest on my laurels now and again, then pick things up when I feel like getting going again.
So you wrote a book, way back when…has it been published? Where can I get it?
Do you still read my blog? Small as it is.

Veronica November 11, 2013 at 3:36 pm

I think you do!

It’s under a pen name, nothing special :-)

I do still read your blog. Not as often as I’d like (I don’t read anyone regularly anymore), but I do read.

Bec November 10, 2013 at 11:03 pm

It’s an interesting thought. I am trying to slowly build an audience, and it’s going well–slowly, but well. The thing is, I’m not sure I want anything I do to explode on the internet just yet. I would certainly like to make some money from writing, but I’m not sure whether that will ever be from blogging… and I’m trying also to be very much ‘in the moment’ with my children, because they’re at that age.

Internet fame seems to be so fleeting… maybe all fame is? Either way, I wouldn’t call what you’ve been doing ‘resting on your laurels’ unless by which you mean, ‘resting on my laurels while I do 378 other things’.

Veronica November 11, 2013 at 3:46 pm

That last comment made me laugh. That’s pretty much it you know.

I’d like to be making regular money from my writing, but eh, it’s all complicated and hard work to keep your profile up there.

tiff November 11, 2013 at 2:56 pm

always reading. Always. As an old blogger I understand how you feel and I blog less and less for the same reasons. I miss it though – the fast paced familiarity of running with the pack. I miss being a part of something.

Veronica November 11, 2013 at 3:46 pm

I’m always reading you too. Terrible commenters, but reading. x

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