Awakening from The Matrix

Unplugging from the Internet for as little as two days can change your perspective.

A mere 48 hours spent fully immersed in the world of the living will show you what you’ve been missing.

My own blogging black-out made it very clear how much of my life I’ve been missing and how far I’ve deviated from my original reasons for blogging.

The blogging dilemma

Are people always asking you if you’re making money with all this writing?

How do you answer them? Is it with a sheepish, “No, not yet…..”

Is the follow up question always the same, “Why are you doing it then?”

Do you cringe when you reply, “I love writing and I know that eventually I will make money at it.”

“But, you’re always tired and stressed out and complaining that you have so much to do. How can you love that?”

How do you defend yourself when confronted with this truth?

When blogging backfires

Did you start your blog because you had a unique message you wanted to share with the world by writing a book?

Once you began blogging did you find that you had to devote so much time to it, and all the peripheral tasks that go along with blogging (reading other blogs, commenting on other blogs, responding to comments on your blog, guest posting, social networking, and contributing to other blogs, etc.) that you ran out of steam when it came to writing your book?

Being off the Internet for nearly 48 hours allowed me to see that I’ve been draining my creative juices by using all my spare time to blog instead of to write my book. There are only so many hours in a day, especially if you still work full time.

My time away made it clear that I need to cut back on my online presence. I realized I’ve been living on “overwhelm mode” for more than a year due to all the pressure I put myself under.

The glorious feeling of being away from email.

My internet black out came about because of a short business trip I took this week. I interacted with my colleagues and had a marvelous time fully immersed in the real world.

I found that:

  • Being off the Internet keeps you fully present.
  • While in Internet black out mode your mind doesn’t drift back to how many posts you still need to read and comment on, or how you should be tinkering with your blog in this way, or that.
  • You’re completely dedicated to listening and engaging in conversation with your fellow human beings.
  • Going off the grid is freeing.
  • You might even enjoy yourself so much that the thought of coming back online again might actually make you feel a bit down.

Blogging overwhelm

Several of my dearest blogging colleagues have pulled back from the Internet in varying ways. Some have withdrawn from this world all together, and others have exited from Facebook. Others have turned off the comments section of their blogs and others expressed their feelings in blog posts.

Blogging overwhelm can be managed

Unplugging from the Internet helped me to see that the world would not collapse if I stopped blogging, and that my blog would survive too.

It has made me aware of how I’ve neglected my life and relationships too.

My time away has also shown me that I need to get back on track and make writing my book my priority again. If I’m going to make money with my blog I need to create a product for it.

It’s time to find that often elusive thing called “work life balance” again, and to get my priorities straight.

I’m going to tackle my blogging overwhelm by reducing the time I spend on all the peripheral tasks that go along with blogging.

Here’s what I suggest doing if you feel that blogging has backfired in your life too:

1. Don’t be a slave to your email. Don’t sync your email up to your smart phone. You’ll never unplug from the internet unless you do this first.

2. Unsubscribe from all subscriptions you no longer read – or mark them as spam so they no longer come to your in-box. You can’t afford to be distracted by all the catchy headlines.

3. Do whatever work you need to do first before opening your email. Email diverts your attention from your to-do list with the force of a tractor beam. (So, sue me – I’m a Trekkie)

4. Reduce the number of blogs posts you comment on weekly. You can still comment on other people’s blogs – just not on every post they write.

5. Support your fellow blogger by Tweeting their post instead of commenting. Help spread the word about their great content in a way that’s effective and more time efficient.

6. Go on Facebook only once per day. Don’t spend more than an hour a day on FB. Turn off the FB email notifications preference. It only creates more email that you have to read – and pulls you back onto FB to comment on the comments….etc. Facebook is like a Venus Flytrap. If you get to close – watch out – you’re not getting out alive.

7. Go off the grid for at least two days per week. No email, or Facebook, or blogging. Just live in the real world for those two days each week. This way you’ll come back refreshed with renewed enthusiasm for your online goals. You’ll also have time for a life – and for writing that book too.

If you don’t see me online quite as often going forward – please know I still care. It’s just that I need to nurture the book that’s been starved of my attention for the last year.

How has blogging backfired and impacted your “real” life? Have you found it all consuming, or have you been able to manage keeping your life in balance? Do you plan to change anything you’ve been doing so far?

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Before you go I want to mention that I’m a member of the A-List Blogging Club. When I first started blogging in 2008 I was overwhelmed and totally clueless about the process. The only people who read my blog were my friends and I gave up after 5 months!

In January 2010 I started PBI and found A-List Blogging Boot Camps. I did my first boot camp in February and what a difference my blogging experience has been. I learned so much and as you can see I did not give up.

I’d been a fan of Leo Babauta’s blog, Zen Habits, since my first “failed” blog, so when I got an email telling me about the A-List Blogging bootcamp I knew this time I had to take action to save this blog from failure too. I could tell from Leo’s blog that he was honest and genuine and that the course wouldn’t be a waste of money like so many are. So, I trusted my intuition and jumped with both feet into the first bootcamp and – thank goodness I did!

Do yourself a favor if you’re a new blogger don’t struggle alone like I did. Take a look – just click on the links here on PBI. The information you’ll gain through the clubs, not to mention the friendships you’ll make, is invaluable and worth every penny and more. Mary Jaksch runs the blogging club and she is so helpful and a wealth of knowledge – don’t miss this opportunity. Your blog will thank you – I promise!

P.S. – A new bootcamp begins this Friday and doors close on enrollment this Thursday Feb. 24th so don’t wait!

If you have any questions don’t hesitate to email me at: Ange.Artemis@gmail.com anytime.

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