What Happens When You Stop Blogging?

bodiam castle What Happens When You Stop Blogging?
I wasn’t hiding out here.

I don’t know what happens when you stop blogging because I have never stopped for longer than five days. Heck, unless I am mistaken the past five days in which I didn’t update the blog is the longest time I have gone without blogging…ever.

Ok sticklers, let me qualify that and say it is the longest time I have gone since I started blogging in ’04. It is probably worth noting I rarely update two or three times a day as I used to, so in some respects it feels like I hardly blog at all.

Unplanned Unplugging

I hadn’t planned on unplugging for as long as I did, it just worked out that way.

I went on a short trip and decided not to bring my laptop with me and didn’t feel like typing on my phone or iPad.  I took notes about what happened around me and had a million different experiences that I could have written about, but never did feel the urge to share it with you.

Can’t remember the last time I didn’t feel like blogging, but I just didn’t feel it.

There were one or two times where I sort of wondered why I wasn’t typing. There were moments where I wondered why I wasn’t taking heed of my own advice to write daily but most of the time I just didn’t care.

So I unplugged from the blogosphere and did other things.

It was very pleasant.

Did Anyone Care?

A few days into the “unplanned unplugging”? I took a look at my stats and noticed that there wasn’t much of a dip or change. Those of you who are most devoted checked in on a regular basis and the rest of you did whatever it is you do when you aren’t here.

The question of “Did anyone care” is really more rhetorical than anything else.

Most of want to think that our absence would be noted immediately and that the world would stop spinning if we weren’t around to share our tales but the reality for most of us is different.

People move on and find new things to read/watch/do.

Would I like things to be otherwise? Would I like for people to gnash their teeth and beg me to come back?

Maybe.

Really

Really, I am not sure about it.

Part of me likes the idea. Part of me likes it because everyone wants to feel wanted, loved, needed and valued. But part of me doesn’t like it much. It reminds me of a story I just read about Michael Jordan.

It was really interesting and I could write about multiple sections, but this one is of particular interest to me:

Jordan is alone.

He hates being alone, because that means it’s quiet, and he doesn’t like silence. He can’t sleep without noise. Sleep has always been a struggle for him. All the late-night card games, the trips to the casino during the playoffs, they’ve been misunderstood. They weren’t the disease, they were the cure. They provided noise, distraction, a line of defense. He didn’t even start drinking until he was 27 and complained of insomnia to a doctor. Have a few beers after the game, he was advised. That would knock off the edge.

I don’t want to be that guy. I don’t want to be the guy who becomes so important to everyone else they are willing to cater to his every whim, even if it goes beyond selfish.

I don’t want to be the guy who can’t rest at night because he can’t find a way to be at peace with himself. I don’t know what it means to be the best ever at anything, but I know something about a fire in the belly and the desire to chase after the faeries of the night.

I know what it means to burn, but I also know what it means to close my eyes at night and feel good because I did what I needed to do and I am excited about the next day. That article makes me wonder about Jordan.

What Happens When You Stop Blogging?

I don’t know what the answer is other than to say I think it is subjective. The answer is different for all of us and contingent upon what we want.

Can’t say when I’ll decide to hang up my keyboard either, but I hope that when I do I haven’t any problem walking away. I hope that when I have had enough I ride off into the sunset and never feel the need to look back.

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  • http://todayhaspower.com Rob

    Hey Jack,

    After reading this I was going to move on but it struck a chord. I realize that I write for me. I talk out loud (to myself) and write the conversation. Am I missed when not posting? 1,000 people rioted in my town, 16 people threatened suicide, 1 held me hostage (think Misery, but worse). Or, maybe not.

    But. I missed me. I missed the expression it allows. I missed being ‘in the zone’ when the words roll, like the boat rolling off the trailer into the water and you know good things are going on.
    For every Harper Lee there are millions of Pressfield’s who scratch and claw their way, inch by inch. Pressfield doesn’t know it, but I’m better because he did.

    We may not know it Jack, but others are better because we do. I’ve never told Pressfield. I gather there are some who haven’t told me either.

    Let me tell you, Jack, I always leave your place better than when I arrived.

    • http://www.thejackb.com Jack

      Hi Rob,

      I love those moments where the words flow from your fingertips and you just know you have a tiger by the tail. I love the moment where you know your words have power and meaning. I appreciate your coming by and the kind words, hope you had a great weekend.

  • http://www.imjustsharing.com Mitch Mitchell

    Interesting question Jack. I did a test awhile ago where I disappeared from social media for about a week; no one really noticed, and I realized it was kind of my fault because I’d written my blog posts in advance so they posted anyway; not a very good test. However, years ago I was out of town for a year on a consulting assignment and I just wasn’t in the mood to blog all that often. And no one really noticed at all, which almost got me to quit. That’s when I was writing only one blog.

    Truthfully, I think a few people will always miss us, but the majority won’t even notice we’re gone. If they’re following our feed then they’re following a bunch of feeds, so they’ll have plenty to do. It’s almost sad to think about it but I guess I’m good with it.

    • http://www.thejackb.com Jack

      Hi Mitch,

      I think if we have been blogging for a while (whatever that means) our long time readers will notice if we don’t show up but I don’t know how many, if any will take the time to reach out to contact us, or at least try to.

      I think most will probably just move along to the next thing. Life is busy.

  • http://artyoldbird.com/ Val

    Curiously, I’ve just made the decision to lessen the amount of time I blog and I’ve been blogging on and off, on various sites, since 2004. I think that regular readers do miss me when I’ve taken a long break, but only if reading my blog has been a part of their daily activities – then they miss my posts like they’d miss a cup of tea or coffee, probably! But I’ve tried not blogging at all (managed it for a year then had to start a new blog and managed it that time for six months – now I’m on blog number who-knows-what) and it really doesn’t work for me. I need to blog. I breathe blogging. But sometimes I get stuffed up and need a break.

    By the way, I found your post/blog via a Tweet from Mitch Mitchell.

    • http://www.thejackb.com Jack

      Hi Val,

      You’re one of the old timers of blogging. I like your analogy because reading some blogs is like a cup of coffee or cup of tea.

      When you get into blogging it really can be addicting, but in a good way.

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  • http://catseyewriter.com Judy Lee Dunn

    I just decided that my blogging schedule would be changing. I don’t think that anyone waits on their edge of their seat for my post to come out on a certain day. I’m being sort of self-important if I think that.

    My new schedule? I will blog when I have something to say. Something that is burning a hole in my brain. What a blissful feeling because suddenly all that burden is lifted from my shoulders.

    Whenever you post, we all enjoy it very much, my friend.

    • http://www.thejackb.com Jack

      Hi Judy,

      That sounds like a wonderful plan to me. I am glad to see you and other friends here.

  • http://janbierens.com JanBierens

    Hi Jack,
    This might come as a surprise to you, but I believe nothing will change when you would stop blogging – out of free will that is. You would have made the decision to stop blogging and that’s that. Now if you were forced to stop blogging that would be a totally different story!

    • http://www.thejackb.com Jack

      Hi Jan,

      Actually that makes perfect sense to me.

  • http://joedegiorgio.com/ Joe

    Well, I figured since you were moving, you may have had to take care of some things – maybe related to the new gig. You show up in my reader every day, so I do notice when you are not there. I went to your home page a couple of times as well, just to make absolutely sure. :) But I knew you’d be back, roaring back with a dynamite post like this one.

    When I posted about my uncle Anthony and asked for help from a variety of sources to help promote, I was hoping for big things. When the big traffic spike never came to pass, I thought for a couple of weeks about just stopping, quitting. Like you said, who would miss it? A handful of people, maximum.

    Seriously, a picture of my dog got more shares and likes than a 1,300 word post that was a labor of love for myself and my cousin. WTF?

    Like Jens, I would probably miss it more than anyone. I’ll keep on keeping on. I need to keep my memories from fading into oblivion. Like Jordan, I will be 50 soon and with advanced age the memory just keeps declining. I’m glad you’re back as you often inspire my posts with your writing and I need all the help I can get. :)

    • http://www.thejackb.com Jack

      Hi Joe,

      It has been a crazy busy time, mostly good stuff but I have been running around like a chicken with its head cut off.

      I think you have all of the tools and inspiration you need. Keep on swinging and good things will come from that.

  • http://www.kaarinadillabough.com Kaarina Dillabough

    Well JJ, I knew you were away, and I was actually really happy to see that you were obviously spending time with family, and not feeling compelled to be online. My week off the grid a year ago was fabulous, and I plan to take more short spurts away from the online world. As I just mentioned to Margie Clayman, it’s good for mind, body and spirit.

    It’s nice to be at a place where, in Stan’s words, one can “blog at the speed of me”. Stan, that’s pure gold. Wise words to follow. Cheers! Kaarina

    • http://www.thejackb.com Jack

      Hi Kaarina,

      It was an unplanned break but something that I am grateful to have done. I got a few things out of the way and had a chance to spend with my kids

  • http://www.wonderoftech.com Carolyn

    Hello Jack, I like your new digs. Good idea for the moat. You can never be too safe. I hope you stocked it with some gators.

    I did notice your absence. I wrote a post for you about the Field Trip app. You’re going to love it! It’s perfect for you. Alas, you were offline when I alerted you to my Field Trip article. No worries. You can still read it, there is no expiration date.

    I also missed you at Lori’s Hangout last week.

    As to your question, what happens when you stop blogging?

    I hope I never have to find out.

    So glad you’re back in the saddle, Jack!

    • http://www.thejackb.com Jack

      Hi Carolyn,

      Yes, I am back in the saddle again. I suppose that it is even more appropriate now that I live in Texas,

      I wanted to hit the hangout, but work kept me busy so I was swamped and overloaded during the hangout.

  • http://stanfaryna.wordpress.com Stan Faryna

    Changing gears, Jack?

    I love sharing things that serve people – that’s what we call hitting it out of the park. Of course, I can’t bring a feast to the table, day in and day out. Nor could Dante, Shakespeare or Hemingway. Et al. So I blog at the speed of me. Does that mean my blogger membership card has been revoked. I suppose it does to some but I’m ok with that too. [grin] I admit, however, that it was important to know that I can hit and sustain A Lister level traffic without much ado (or effort). So while I did need the numbers to validate the relevance of my insights about online strategy, social media, and online behavior, the numbers don’t validate me. That, my friend, is another can of worms. [laughing] I suspect this is the same for you.

    • http://www.wonderoftech.com Carolyn

      Stan, I love that: “I blog at the speed of me.” Perfect!

    • http://www.thejackb.com Jack

      Hi Stan,

      Yeah, making a few adjustments here and there. Good things have happened and more are coming, I am just making preparations for them.

      We are in agreement about numbers and validation– that comes from other places and spaces.

  • http://vidyasury.com Vidya Sury

    Hope you had a good trip. Yes, I noticed. And I smiled because you give me a solid complex by being so prolific. But I know you’re having an interesting time, so it was only a matter of a few short days. :-) Good to see you back, though, Jack.

    • http://www.thejackb.com Jack

      Hi Vidya,

      I hope you are feeling better and that your family is doing well.

  • http://www.slymarketing.com Jens P. Berget

    That reminds me of my summer vacation, both when I was in Italy two years ago, and while I am living in a tent for 4-5 weeks. I usually don’t blog much during my vacation, and the posts I publish are written before the vacation. Like I said, I started without writing at all, just relaxing and reading or whatever. But, during the last vacation, I really wanted to write and publish, it felt like something was missing from my life if I didn’t keep doing what I love doing.

    I don’t know if anyone cares, but I would miss it too much… and when it comes to your blogging, I would miss it, so keep blogging :)

    • http://www.wonderoftech.com Carolyn

      Jens, I know you enjoy your summers in a tent, but we in the blogging world call that the Dry Season. ;-)

    • http://www.thejackb.com Jack

      Hi Jens,

      You know I wonder about those days/nights you spend in the tent. I always get this feeling that you receive clarity and a renewed sense of purpose there. Obviously I don’t know it if it is true, but it is what I perceive.

      Maybe I need to visit Norway and find out first hand. :)

      • http://www.slymarketing.com Jens P. Berget

        Yes, you need to visit Norway – you’re welcome anytime. I’ll pick you up at the airport :)

  • http://bkcross.wordpress.com Betsy Cross

    It’s all fairy dust. :)

    • http://www.thejackb.com Jack

      We can never have too much fairy dust in our lives.

  • http://www.dadblunders.com Aaron Brinker

    Jack,

    You know it’s funny, I actually did notice you hadn’t posted anything in a few days. It might be because I just started reading your blog on a regular basis (I had read you before but not with conviction of consistency that we all dream of…lol).

    I often have a hard time posting daily. I find it more realistic, since I have a small child at home, to have a goal of 4 times a week. I have to admit I am scheduled for the A to Z challenge in April so I am planning a post a day for a month (we will see how that goes).

    I have often wondered what happens when we stop blogging. We blog for vanity, personal reasons, to be informative and 100’s of others reasons but does it matter? I like to believe it does. In my case, I like to think it leaves a record for my son to look back on; some of it personal, some of it stupid, some of it to help others. Hopefully, he will get a glimpse into who I was, and I tried to leave a little mark on the world in my own way.

    Aaron Brinker aka DadBlunders

    • http://www.thejackb.com Jack

      Hi Aaron,

      I am a writer so I take particular interest/note in posting with more consistency than most people do. In large part it is because I think it offers multiple benefits personally and professionally, but sometimes it is just because I can.

      But I also understand how obligations can take away the time we have to post and there is nothing wrong with that.

      I am a huge fan of using our blogs to record our lives and that of our children. I think it offers a wonderful gift and that there are multiple reasons to continue, such as providing our kids with insight into who we are/were.