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I Am Not a Blogger, I Am a Human Being!

This guest post is by Katie Tallo of Momentum Gathering.

I’ve developed a tweet. It’s involuntary and annoying. My vision’s distorted. All I’m seeing are the letters S, E and O. Worse, I think I’m losing my mind because I don’t know who some of my friends are—at all—no idea who they are. I play with my widget all day. I’m obsessively turning my plug-ins off and on, off and on. I’m stumbling and tumbling around most of the time and alarmingly, there’s a growth mutating out of the side of my name. An @ has attached itself to me wherever I go. I need help.

I think I’m turning into a blogger!

It all started way, way back, seven months and thousands of links ago. It was a tweetless, friendless, skypeless time in my life—a simpler time when my inbox was empty and my surfing, innocent and drifting. A blog was some kind of weird public diary that weird public people did. Like pole dancing—too revealing. And yet somehow intriguing.

Naively, I peeked into a blogging forum one day and was instantly hooked. Suddenly, I was swinging from the nearest web publishing platform. Before I could stop myself, I’d picked a domain name, created a blog, and then brazenly published my very first post for everyone to see.

I was out there, naked. And I liked it.

I joined a blogging club, hung around the forum, attended webinars, blogging bootcamps, skype sessions and even flew off to a big conference in Vegas. Soon, I was being invited to other blogs. I even had some guests on mine. I chatted, commented, liked, moderated, shared and tweeted like a full-on social media butterfly. I was up all hours of the night, creating post after post, strutting my stuff. I couldn’t stop. While I madly typed and wildly clicked, my avatar just kept on smiling.

But all this linking and lurking was taking me deeper and deeper into the web where I soon found myself being chased by an angry mob of marketing-guru-type-experts who could smell my newbie blood. They threw me scraps of promises and secrets, coaxing me with freedom, riches, subscriber numbers and success! I ate up their feeds. I bookmarked their manifestos, signed up for their courses, bought their e-books and grabbed every freebie I could download.

Blurry-eyed and completely surrounded, my fingers moving rapid-fire across the keyboard, my mouth dry with dehydration from hours glued to my laptop, my soul screamed at me to get up, stand up, to even look up … and that’s when it happened … I did look up. I looked into the monitor and saw my reflection. I was a hideous visage of my former self—unrecognizable. I rolled back in my chair, lifted my hands to my face and screamed in anguish,

“I am not a blogger! I am a human being!

Okay, maybe it didn’t quite happen that way, but you get the point. Being a blogger can feel inhuman at times—an existence that’s indifferent to even the most basic of bodily functions, like walking, sleeping, eating, and peeing.

Blogging can completely change you … if you let it.

I blame no one, but myself. I found my passion and that passion caught me by surprise. I felt like there was so much to learn and so little time. I was trying to catch up, trying to get where everyone else seemed to be, trying to make my mark, trying to be everything, all at once.

It’s impossible and inhuman and I won’t do it anymore.

Maybe some of you feel this way too. Maybe you’re burning out big time from blogging. If you feel like you’re twittering on the edge of the grotesque, then it’s time to pry your clammy fingers from the mouse and lean back for a moment.

It’s time to be a human being again.

This doesn’t mean you stop blogging—far from it. But the human being has to emerge again. I’m going to be a mother, a wife, a filmmaker, a vegan, a runner, a motivator, an organizer, a camper, a volunteer, a writer and then a blogger. I am all of these things. And it’s all of these things that inform my blogging. If all I do is blog, I’ll end up with nothing to write about and my blogging will implode.

You have to live first, then blog.

Seems obvious, but the internet will feed you an endless stream of wants if you want it to. So I will stop wanting so much and remember what it is I really need. I don’t need to be the best, to compare, to win or to succeed at all costs.

I will return to who I really am and get back to what makes sense to me.

I will make my own rules. I will say, “forget it!” to SEO (for now), get to know my friends, sell things worth buying, give away great stuff, make loads of mistakes and focus on having amazing conversations. Most of you will find your own way to be human and make your own rules. The best bloggers already have.

Take Darren Rowse, for example. When I attended that conference in Vegas and sat in the audience at the keynote presentation, there was a tear in his eye when he spoke of his son who peeked over his shoulder, while he was writing “to the world”, and whispered, “Make sure you tell the world something important.” That’s likely Darren’s number one rule.

What’s important is the human stuff.

The stuff we all have in common, our pain, our struggles, our challenges, our worries, our victories, our oneness, and even our blogging. Because that reflection in the monitor is most beautiful when we see both the human being and the blogger looking back at us together. So I guess that makes me both a human being and a blogger after all.

Katie Tallo seeks to inspire simple, joyful life change through her blog, Momentum Gathering. Subscribe to her blog and grab her Life Cleanse Starter Kit if you need a little help feeling human.

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Comments

  1. Brian says:

    When I started reading this piece, I was wondering if I was wasting invaluable time away from writing my own next “great” article. Line after line, however, told me that I was spending invaluable time by reminding myself, through your words, to get a grip – on life sans my laptop! What’s also compelling is the host of comments that echo the same dreaded feelings I have about my next blog, how many comments did I score, who retweeted me – oh, and lest I forget – how are my “insight” numbers doing on FB? When numbers drive my emotional well-being, it’s simply not a good place to be!

    Your post and the score of comments reflecting the same angst I periodically suffer from was a great “step-back” to get a grip on what’s important. I join the ranks in saying – great post, well written, timely – but perhaps most important – so badly needed. Passion and obsession should not be confused with one another.

  2. Sarah Arrow says:

    Hi Katie, what a lovely post. I have days where I yell similar :) I realised that I needed to spend more time being a human being when my 5 year old daughter asked me what our search engine positions in Google were that day :( and then I noticed they had teddies called Google, WordPress and plugin.
    On the upside she is a dab hand with the flip video :)

    Good tips, thank you

  3. Daniel says:

    You make an excellent point. We need to live life, be human, and still keep up with the times and do those things which keep us in time with the rest of us or be left behind.

    Thank you for sharing.

  4. gabriela says:

    Thanks so much Katie! I am with you sista! Blogging, for me is about coming straight from my heart, passionate about humanity and spirituality and living fully present to all that really matters in life. The rest just builds its own momentum, or not. Though at the end of the day, I know I am fully integrating, present with my daughter, deeply connected to my hubs and immersed in a juicy life or art, play and relationships. Thanks for speaking to the heart of matters in a big way! Off to follow your blog! Peace, Gabriela

  5. Roberta says:

    This is the best (and most realistic ;) pro-blogging post that I have read in a good long time!
    I started blogging orinally because I closed down my storefront and thought it would be a good way to get rid of inventory…WRONG! The reality is that I don’t want to SELL anything and most of the PRO blogs have turned into selling/marketing machines. I prefer the ARTSY FARTSY blogs that have real creative people behind them talking about their struggles in their daily lives and the REAL issues of life…NOT THE DARN SEO and numbers crap that the PROS are trying to turn blogging into. HEY if you want to sell something then go OPEN A WEBSITE and stop calling it a blog.

  6. Being a human being is overrated. We must become blogging gods!

  7. Katie this is so true! Like you, I had no idea I would love blogging to the point of obsessing when I began. It sneaks up on you. There is an overload of information out there about SEO and too many eBooks on ‘how to’, which makes you believe you aren’t doing enough, or you’re doing it incorrectly. You don’t even stop to think…’I’ve only been doing this for a few months, I’ll get there in good time’. You want it all and NOW.

    Thanks for the slap back to reality. I needed that!

  8. Wonderful writing, Katie … and a good reminder to not take our blogging selves too seriously.

    I had a similar experience that Darren had with his son. My daughter really wanted to play a board game with me and I was busy with my blog. So I said, “OK, I will play with you while I write my blog.” We played the game … well actually, she read the cards when it was my turn and then moved my token around the board. At the end of the game, I said, “I’m sorry I didn’t really participate much in the game.” And she said, “That’s all right. I just really wanted to be with you.” And then it struck me … I really wasn’t “with” her at all … I was writing to my “public” and neglecting the most precious person to me on earth.

    Blog balance is a good quest (and a worthy one for our family members and friends) and one I haven’t quite attained, but I’ll keep trying.

  9. T.Lee says:

    Fabulous post, brilliantly weaving humor and depth together.

    Balance is vital, yet like you said, Internet tempations are difficult to resist.

    I forced myself to take a three-week blogging break in July, and will be taking the rest of December off too. Sometimes I worry about losing loyal readers, but my blog is a web fiction, so I write the breaks into the storyline, and I figure if I don’t take the break, I’ll go insane and won’t be able to write anything worth reading anyway.

    Loved your post. Love your sense of humor!

  10. Katie,
    You words continue to amaze me. You reach into our lives and pull at our hearts and souls. Meaningful. Memorable. Uncommon. Thanks for leading by example and helping me become a better writer, blogger and friend. I appreciate you!

  11. Hé, euh…, can you tell me….,

    ‘That Little Dwarf Star, is that the Sun…???’

    (Ooops, I wonder if I am
    in the right Galaxy)

    Actually I AM a Blogger,
    and Probably Human.

    (Easy I only have to fake using
    only 10% of the Brain!)

    All the Best,
    To your Happy – Blogging – Inspiration,
    HP

  12. Katie says:

    Thanks for your on-going insights. I’m resisting my usual urge to reply (humanly) to each and every comment because I’m trying my best to balance life these days. Oh my this being a human blogger is complex. So here’s a collective thanks to all of you Problogger readers/commenters/bloggers/human beings for being so engaged and passionate.

  13. Very wise post and very wise decision, there are certain aspects in our lives that we should balance and prioritize. If blogging is one source of income, we still would need to make sure we can have time for everything especially family. :)

  14. diana says:

    All I can say is, yup yup yup. Especially the point about bodily functions. I do tend to throw myself into things, only to be reminded by my husband and canine child that they need a little part of me too sometimes. I am going to try to be better at balance. I have to. No, no, I WANT to.

  15. Jessie Mac says:

    Thanks for this post, Katie.

    Recently I’ve been neglecting blogging, twitter and facebook and even writing feeling guilty about taking time out away from the internet. I still want to do these things but at the moment, just living seems to all I can do.

    Your post made me feel it’s good to know that there are other people out there who feel the same way and to not give myself a hard time for taking some time out just to do other things.

  16. Dear Human,
    You ran right up my alley with this post, girl! Any time my blogging gets out of place things go haywire… I made my mantra, “My blog is about my life. My life is not about my blog.” That works for me.

    Love,
    Raimie For Real (in NE)

  17. Bravo, Katie! In your usual riveting style, you’ve reminded us all to “unplug” and be real again. And since the most common advice bloggers hear is ‘be real,” getting back to human is the best way to be a better blogger. :)

  18. Jagan Mangat says:

    Now that is really humanish(i call it so),you wrote and made me really feel that i being a blogger is a human too.Awesome post,if i get a chance i will surely meet you.

  19. Hi Katie,
    I was so involved in blogging,to one extent I have no idea what to write in my next update.

    I choose to get away from my keyboard and travelling around the city.It helps me to release the stress of updating the blog and give me fresh ideas.

  20. Kristin says:

    Katie!

    My “co-blogger” (or, in human terms, my business partner in our clothing business) and I call this the “Blog Hole.” When one of us gets to crazy, it’s like our “safe word.”

    “You’re in the Blog Hole! Come back to reality!”

    Works every time. Glad to see someone advising human behavior from bloggers. I mean, people.

  21. Love this! Great ideas and well written–I laughed a couple times and actually looked at my smiling Avitar and grimaced.

    We start blogging to solve a problem, answer a need. We keep learning and keep blogging because we must be sadistic. But I think of those people who die climbing mountains, or making themselves try impossible challenges.