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The Misadventures of Mrs. B: I'm Back!

Cook. Writer. Wife. Daughter. Sister. Friend. Klutz.

Monday, June 28, 2010

I'm Back!

Hey, everyone!

Sorry for the extended absence.  This absence was filled with sickness, soul searching and general "what is the purpose of my blog and, while we're at it, my life?" questioning.  While all of this was going on, not only did I pretty much stop cooking (especially when I wasn't, ya know, eating anything outside of rice and white bread) but I only did what I haaaaad to do, like laundry and bathing.  You know.  The essentials.

Anyway, I'm back now.  Back with a lot of new ideas.

See, here's the thing.  While I was thinking and questioning and bathing, I came to a startling conclusion.  Blogging just wasn't fun.  And see, the whole reason I started blogging in the first place was because it was supposed to be fun! At first it was.  I was making new friends, and learning new things not only from my fellow bloggers but also from tinkering around with my blog.  I cannot tell you how excited I was when I first figured out how to manipulate the code for my template.  It was empowering.

But then something shifted.  I got caught up in a bunch of blogging baggage.  How to increase my page hits.  How to attract new readers.  Did I gain any new followers? What was my niche and was I working it to the best of my ability? As a result, I was spending all of my free time (and, let's be honest here, a decent amount of my WORK time) visiting blogs, commenting, visiting Blog Frog, checking stats, participating in many many memes (thus even more visiting and commenting).  In short, I was on a treadmill and treadmills don't actually get you anywhere.

I stopped reading anything other than blogs, which if you know me you know is a big deal because books are a huge part of my life and I derive great pleasure from them.  I stopped writing anything other than blog entries and emails relating to blogging.  I had no desire to get anything done around the house.  I didn't even want to water my flowers.  Because I was busy blogging and I could never quite catch up.

And let's also address the fact that I painted myself into a corner when I decided to focus solely on food.  Don't get me wrong, clearly I love food and cooking it and eating it and sharing it with others.  But it just wasn't FUN anymore.  And I have so much more to offer than just food.  At least, I happen to think so.  I want to focus on my health (especially in light of the issues I've been having) and the changes I'm trying to make in my life, along with my kitchen experiments.  I want to set goals and reach them, and I want this blog to be a place to share my journey as opposed to a weight around my neck which makes life that much more complicated.

For the record, building a highly successful, profitable blog is a tremendous effort and I applaud anyone who's trying to do so.  Maybe one day things will be different and I'll give it another go.  But now is just not that time for me.

So, no more.  I am blogging for me again.  And I'm blogging without obligation.  This is going back to being a hobby instead of a 2nd full-time job.  I already have enough work to do in my life.  I want to go back to playing in my free time.

Thoughts? Questions? Concerns? ;-)



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yay! I completely understand. I just started blogging and I already feel slightly stressed about. Your right... It should be fun :) I am excited you are back and feeling fresh and new and I'm sure pretty sparkly :)I look forward to your new ideas!

June 28, 2010 at 9:39 AM

Blogger Linda @ A La Carte said...

I am giving you a standing ovation! Good for you! I myself have seen how it can take over your life. I also want it to be fun and not so much work. I have decided to blog when I want to and about what I want (which I always have) and if folks like it and follow good, if not that's ok. I read the blogs I like and don't feel obligated to follow if its not something I'm interested in...and oh yes, I read TWO books last week! Good for me!!

June 28, 2010 at 9:40 AM

Blogger Real Life Reslers said...

Yay! Glad to see you're back! Blogging can definitely make you feel like you're on a giant hamster wheel if you start worrying about it! I think it's a lot more fun to write about anything you want!

June 28, 2010 at 9:53 AM

Blogger alicia said...

Well said, my friend. Blogging can be a time sucking drain if you let it. It's definitely about finding balance and doing it for the right reasons. And I'm so glad you are back!!! I can't say that loud enough. I think you are so dead on. When blogging is no longer fun then why do it? I've had brief moments when I've questioned it myself. And I find that I always go back to my photos, which apparently is my niche. It's the place that I'm happiest, that brings me the most joy. So, I share photos and a story here and there. But nothing is set in stone and I like that.

And everyone should take time out to do a little soul searching. It does the mind and body some good.

I hope you find joy in the journey...

June 28, 2010 at 10:29 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yaaay for you! I have stopped blogging for a little while as well. Moving in with the boyfriend has kept me quite busy as well as decorating his bachelor pad and remodeling the kitchen. Where some mega bloggers would have blogged all of this crazyness, I have no time or desire to right now and its all right by me. I still have you in my reader and whenever you decide to tell us a story, whatever it may be, i'll be ready to read!

June 28, 2010 at 10:40 AM

Blogger Diann said...

Hi! So glad to see you back! And I couldn't agree more with your entire post! There isa lot of pressure out there in the blogging world and unless you are trying to make blogging a profession, it can suck your energy and time right out of you before you even realize what is happening.

Late last summer, my blog took a huge change in direction. I could not even begin to keep up with the bloggers I found myself competing with. and when I heard myself say that, I thought, "What the heck? When did I enter the competition?". I still feel myself getting all caught up in blogging from time to time and I slow myself back down.

June 28, 2010 at 11:40 AM

Blogger MrsJenB said...

Bexy - it is soooo easy to get stressed, isn't it? It's very insidious and sneaky. Before you know it you're consumed and have a million gray hairs. Oh wait. Already had those. ;-)

Linda - TWO BOOKS? Shut up! Good for you!!! Which ones?? I am so with you on the blogging philosophy - life's too short!

RLR - Amen, sister. I spent too much time trying to be other bloggers. PS, I am still laughing over Phoebe's headband/necklace! It's super cute though!!!

June 28, 2010 at 11:57 AM

Blogger MrsJenB said...

Alicia - Thank you, friend. Here's to finding joy!!

Amanda - I KNOW what you mean! Like, for instance, when cooking a big meal for the family I feel as though I should be documenting instead of enjoying myself. Frankly that's just another thing to think about when I'm busy enough as it is!! Still, I'd love to hear how it's going if/when you find the time! What an exciting step for you!

Diann - I think it will definitely take time to slow down. Much like with any habit, it can be easy to slide back into the very actions which got me to the point where I wanted to stop blogging and burn my netbook on a flaming pyre. Which would not have smelled good ;-) But seriously, I'm so glad to know I'm not the only one! THANK YOU!!

June 28, 2010 at 12:01 PM

Blogger Natalie said...

Bravo for being honest about it!! I could've written parts of this post myself...I LOVE to read, and since I started blogging I've maybe read two books - anybody that knows me would never believe that, but it's true. Blogging takes a tremendous amount of time and energy. You could just look around my house and see all the time and energy I'm not spending on it to keep it clean.

Glad you are back!

June 28, 2010 at 12:15 PM

Blogger Brian + Cheryl B. said...

Hi Jen :-}
Bravo!!! Applause!!! Cheer!!! Clap loudly!!!

My blog hardly has any followers. Why not? I havn't a clue. At times I have found that fact to be ever so depressing! That in turn sent me scouring other sites, trying to figure out what it is I should be doing, what changes I needed to make, etc..
But in the end, I decided to stick to what I'm already doing. While it saddens me that more people don't seem to like it, I do. I write about things that happen in my life. A journal of sorts, although to be honest, if it were a real journal, there would be many more subjects included. You know, the ones about certain people(s) that I don't do because they just might read it and ... (o:-p)
But I also include cooking/baking postings, cuz I enjoy cooking and baking. And I also am starting back into crafting, so I'll be doing more postings about that. Etc.
IF I can find "theme days"/memes/carnivals that co-olate with a posting, then I link them up. Otherwise, oh well.

What you wrote Jen, sounds like you have come to pretty much the same conclusion. :-D. I, for one, am looking forward to reading about more of your 'misadventures' and real life happenings. I know from time to time I'll be drolling over some posting, cause you too love to bake and cook, and so you'll share what you've made.
I bet I'll also be wanting to go out and pick up some book you just read and shared about with us...

Now that you've 'seen the light' (;-p), may blogging again bring you joy and smiles. I also hope that what ever is going on with you physically, gets worked out and soon!

June 28, 2010 at 2:07 PM

Blogger A Year on the Grill said...

Oh, I have tons of comments...

But you have figured most of them out. The idea of a profitable blog is like hitting the lottery. Actually, it is more like hitting a poker tournament win. Plenty of skill to get there, but more luck than people really want to admit.

Once that is taken out of the equation, why blog. If you can't answer that, you really should not be blogging. There are plenty of individual answers, probably few of us have the same answers, but bottom line is if it helps define you.

I have enjoyed your blog (especially when you go beyond just a recipe). Put your personality into it and it is for you. Writing, blogging and cooking for someone else is more soul sucking... just like a job.

A while back, you pondered starting over... Funny, but I have not gotten that out of my mind. I will be "starting fresh" in about 6 weeks. New blog, new name, new "identity". It all has to do with what I want from my blog.

Hope you can figure out more of what you want, expect, and receive.


June 28, 2010 at 3:25 PM

Blogger MrsJenB said...

Natalie - I've missed reading so much!! I thought I was the only one who did! It's so easy to think that you're the only one who goes through things - thanks for letting me know that I'm not. And thanks for the kudos!

Cheryl - the physical stuff is under control for the most part, at least it looks that way. So now I have no excuse to not get back to exercising! Yikes!! :-) I guess all that matters is that YOU like your blog, right? I like it, too! I just haven't been around to anyone's blogs lately...

June 28, 2010 at 3:33 PM

Blogger MrsJenB said...

Dave - Ooooooh I can't wait to see the new "you"! I remember you mentioning your own thoughts on your blog identity when I was going through my first identity crisis - I should have followed my gut back then. Never too late, right? :-)

I managed to forget why I started in the first place. I mean, I remembered my original intent but I managed to convince myself that it wasn't good enough. Story of my life, really! At least, up til now...

June 28, 2010 at 3:36 PM

Blogger Martha (MM) said...

Hi Jen,
I was stopping over to see how you are doing. We miss you over at OKK. I can certainly 100% understand what you've been going through with blogging. I have been on a blog break at my own personal blogs for the same reasons. Blogging really can become a second full time job! I do want you to know that there are some options for you at OKK. When things got too overwhelming for me and I was close to dumping blogging altogether I switched to doing only a once a month post at OKK, I've been so much more relaxed about it all now!

The OKK group is easy going. If there is something that will work for you and allow you to remain part of the team we'll figure out a way to make it work! Just let me or Tamy know.

After reading this entry I'd also like to invite you to come check out another team blog that both Tamy and I are a part of, The Motivation Station -

We focus on health and fitness, cleaning, decluttering, organizing, and anything else that helps keep our lives under control. Hope to see you there.


June 28, 2010 at 7:37 PM

Blogger Gigi said...

Hi Jen!

*so* good to see you back, and with a renewed purpose! It's hard to let this NOT become a full time job, for sure. I'm glad you were able to get your priorities and objectives reset. Me? I'm still working on those :)

June 28, 2010 at 9:40 PM

Blogger Kelly @ The Startup Wife said...

Welcome back, lady. :) Sorry to hear you've been ill-hope things are looking up for you.

I totally feel you on the blog thing though--I was doing the exact same thing, where it was all I was reading, etc.

Also, I enjoy reading your food blog, but to be really honest, I always preferred reading about your *life*. I'm excited to hear how you've been! :)

June 28, 2010 at 10:40 PM


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