In All Honesty…

So, I’m a bit nervous to write this post.  But on the other hand I’m really kind of frustrated—though I’ve been hiding it.  I like to be positive.

In the first mass email I sent to my team members, I told them that if the challenges ever got to the point where it wasn’t fun to do it anymore that they should back out.  The whole point of this blog is to have a fun reason and “excuse” to get your personal history recorded.  Well, I’m afraid it has come to that point for me—it’s no longer fun.

When I started this, it was mostly to help my family get their stories written.  And some of them have, though I think most of them are not.  It has certainly helped me though, and I’ve gotten a ton more recorded than I’d ever hoped!  Along the way I’ve been able to help some of you too, and that has made it worth it.

But the thing is that lately, in all honesty, it has become more of a burden to me than being fun.  I’ve been thinking about the reasons why, so here they are:

  • I keep getting all these ideas of ways to improve the blog and to help others get their stories recorded, adding things to help others get it done like the Fast Forms and Fast Fact Fridays or free printables and digital kits.  I spend at least an hour a day working on things for the blog, but I feel that no one even cares or is even grateful.   It takes time to write posts, organize the challenges, make freebies, get stuff from team members, post on FB and Twitter…and do the challenges on top of that.  Only every once in awhile does someone comment on the blog or on FB.  I can count on one hand the people that regularly do.  It’s always nice to get feedback, comments and thank-you’s to help me know that my work and time are appreciated.
  • With the time I spend, I feel like it’s a part time job.  I have four kids.  Young kids.  Every minute I spend on here is a minute that I’m ignoring them.  They are growing up too fast, and I do ignore them sometimes to work on this blog. I try to do a lot of it when they’re sleeping, but that means that I’m giving up other things.  I haven’t had much extra time to put into activities I like to do: scrapbooking, sewing, crafting, card making, writing on my personal blog, working on my photography business, etc. because my free time has been spent working on this blog.  Maybe if I were making some money at this, it would be worth it.  Maybe.  But, I have never made one cent, nor am I looking to make anything off of this.  I enjoy sharing my ideas and letting others benefit from it.  Maybe if I had an extra hour of the day…or someone helping me with administrative things it would take some strain off.
  • I feel like I’m the only one talking about this blog.  Every once in awhile I’ll see that someone has posted about it or pinned it, or shared it.  But for the most part, I feel alone in this area.  I don’t have money to advertise, so word of mouth—that’s you—is how it has to be done.  We have spurts of new people finding the blog, so I know that’s when you’re sharing.  And then all is quiet for weeks at a time. 
  • Traffic is slowing down.  I have the blog tracked—I have a basic idea of where you live, what browser you’re using, how long you stay on the site, your age range, etc.  All of this is to help me know how to better help you and to get to know my audience.  But, lately the blog has gotten fewer and fewer visitors.  It makes me feel like I am somehow failing.  I know everyone’s time is precious.  If you’re like me, you start out strong on something then fizzle out after awhile.  Maybe that’s why there’s fewer visitors.  Maybe the challenges aren’t fun anymore.  Maybe no one feels like they have time.  Maybe I’m doing something wrong.

So, here’s what I would like to know:

  • What would you like to see more of/less of?  Do you want to come to the blog more or less? (Like only once a week—just for the challenges.)
  • Do you like the challenges so far or are you getting tired of them?  Ready for different types/styles?
  • Does anyone besides Laura do Fast Fact Friday?  I haven’t heard any input on that at all from anyone else.  Maybe I should cut it out, or find someone to only do that.  It doesn’t take me long to do it, but it’s still a half an hour of time that I don’t need to waste if no one is doing it.
  • Is there anyone interested in helping me run the blog and/or the FB page/Twitter/Google+ pages in an administrative manner?
  • Would you like to see other things on the blog, like crafts, projects, printables, etc. or do you just like it to be only the challenges and things related to recording your history?
  • Should I just quit?  I’d leave the blog up as is, so you can always go back and finish up any challenges you haven’t done, but there just wouldn’t be anymore added after this month.
  • Would you prefer to have the challenges lessened—like to one or two a month? (Or would you just space it and not do any at all?)
  • Any other ideas, advice, thoughts you have?

I really do enjoy helping others record their history, but I think I’d be more excited if I felt like I had more help and support.  I want to love doing this blog again, but if it’s something that isn’t doing good for anyone, I will spend my time elsewhere. 

If you have anything to say, please either say it on here (you can even do it anonymously if you choose), or you can email me: emils24(at)gmail(dot)com if you’d prefer to do it in private.

Thanks for your time and feedback.



motherbear57 said...

I am very new to your blog, well, to blogs in general. I forget to sign in when I come, but have reposted the three Fast Fact Friday's that I've seen since finding you on to my Facebook page, with your blog noted. I know that at least one of my FB friends have joined you as a result. I have completed several of the challenges, and am working on the "childhood memories" one (I fear it will turn in to a novella). I have never written anything since my mother read my diary at age 15, having lost my husband of 32 years to cancer last summer, it occurred to me that perhaps I should write a bit of my life. I have tried over the years occasionally, without success. This blog is giving me the momentum that I need. I have been able to get some thoughts down, and most importantly, have written some things of and for my late husband. I can't thank you enough, this blog has helped me where none other could. I will answer some of your questions as I try more of the challenges, and get to know this site a bit better.

Misty @Creative Itch said...

When I first found your blog, I was super excited about getting started on MY story. But I quickly got overwhelmed with all of the challenges, and ended up not doing anything. I figured when things slowed down a little bit for me, I would go back to your very first challenge and start there. I am SUPER grateful that you have taken the time to start this blog and post challenges each week! I think maybe if you cut the challenges down to 1 or 2 a month, that might help those of us who get overwhlemed easily (like me!), and would help YOU so you could spend more time with your family. That's just my two cents on it anyways.

nancyb said...

In all honesty... I think your ideas are the bomb! have I done anything with any of them yet? No -except for Fast Fact Friday. Is that in any way your fault? Heavens, no! I am having health challenges that just sap my energy. I have a long list of I "oh, I want to do that!" and these challenges are right up there.

I LOVE Fast Fact Friday. I have a document that I paste every Friday's post into and answer away. For me right now fast is fabulous! I feel as though I have done something important and lasting but had to put little effort into it.

I have a ton of ideas of how the challenges could be "produced" like as part of project life on a 3x4 card. No one ever said that this is me has to stand alone. Why not make it part of something every day? Or art journaling. I definitely have an appreciation for art journaling and collage but frankly, I'm horrbile at it!

I kind of see this as a two fold problem. 1) People don't understand how important their story is. I'm just as bad anyone else. To me, my life is BORING! But in a hundred years, someone is going to think it is quaint. 2) People don't take the time to share a great site because they don't think anyone else will be interested.

On another note I would be interested to know if your "counter" includes those that use RSS feeds to read their blogs. I use Google Reader and for that reason alone I very rarely ever comment on a blog. You can't comment without going out to the blog itself. And that takes time and effort that I should be putting into "making ends meet".

I would love to volunteer time to help you but I don't know if I could handle the added stress. I can tell you that Twitter and FB would not be for me. I have not commented on either of my own in forever! Please feel free to let me know what types of things you had in mind with the blog and maybe I can do that.

I wish you well on your decision process. And I hope that you will see how much you have blessed the lives of others even though you don't see it.


SomethingonSunday said...

I know you pretty well I think and I have to say your ideas, willpower, and generosity are awesome. I like others have posted am HORRIBLE about signing in so your blog traffic may not be accurate and you may be getting alot more hits than you think. I have to say I LOVE the whole idea and premise of this and have I done the challenge, yes, some are still works in progress but I can honestly say I have a file with each week started (maybe just not finished yet) Time- just like you is not always on my side but I am trying and am thankful that you do these. I would be happy to help if I knew what I could do. I LOVE LOVE LOVE Fast Fact Friday. That I can say I have done faithfully and they are finished each week in a timely manner, they are not fancy but hence the name FAST FACT I figure what I am doing is definately better than nothing. I am thinking that maybe on the normal challenges maybe do just 2 a month. You are spending a great deal of time as you mentioned and it's the same for those of us trying to do them we run out of time. Twice a month would hopefully give people a bit more time to finish the challenge and not feel overwhelmed and not start the next one. *(This by no means is your fault)* I would love to see this continue and would LOVE to help in anyway I can. Like I said I have a folder on my computer that I have each challenge started but just havn't been able to finish it up yet so there they sit (I do have a few finished if that makes you feel better *wink wink*). I want you to know I have shared your site many places and will continue to do so as long as there is this blog. Your project is greatly needed and appreciated. Now to help you know who this is that is posting it let me explain to you why I feel that your blog is so important. My parent died when I was a teenager. I am an only child and my parents were the age of most peoples grandparents and great grandparents causing me to not know alot about their lives and history only what I can remember and find in pictures and so forth. Even the Geneology is lost. I don't want my kids to never know about their grandparents nor do I want them to feel as I feel when they are older therefore that is why I have made such a conscious effort to do each challenge. When I say I am not done with the challenges it is because I am digging for old photos, or need to research old information to include in the challenge. Your project is so worthwhile and will be felt by many generations to come. You are effectively affecting all generations to follow by helping us get our histories wrote. YOU ARE MAKING A SIGNIFICANT DIFFERENCE. I will try and comment a bit more and will try to share your site more than I have. I think you are passionate about this just a bit frustrated which I totally can get and don't blame you a bit, but don't give up and we will all try harder. GREAT JOB.

theartsymom said...

I love the idea of the challenges! I am not good at following through with them at all. I have them all filed away for "later". I know that is not the best option, but its where my life is now.
It makes me sad to read that you dont love the blog/ work anymore. Your kids are only little once, and please mother them in the best way you can- and dont blog at their expense. If its a fun thing for you to do, I get that. Please continue. Please hear my heart in these words- not judegement/shame/condemnation.

Meagan said...

I found your blog right before Christmas. I bookmarked it for reference later because, let's face it, things get pushed to the back burner during the Holidays. Anyway, I am in the midst of a self-evaluation, for lack of a better word, to make sure my stories are told, not just my children's or my parents or grandparents. That is where your blog comes in. I plan to peruse the past challenges and use them as it fits in with my current storytelling style (which is also under evaluation- I'm doing a bit of soul-searching and prioritizing, can you tell?). I completely understand your frustration and how much of a "life-sucker" this can be. I want you to know I do appreciate the work but your needs and those of your family come first. Do what is best for you and if it doesn't make your heart sing, find what does. Whether it's a reduced amount of content or a small personal leave, or just leaving it as is, no one can say but you. I haven't been around long enough to know much about the Friday Five or whatever, I just liked the little bit that grabbed my attention. I will however, be spending some time going through old posts and challenges. I did also just start using Google Reader to start keeping track of my fav blogs and I'm already loving it so that helps me get over here too. Anyway, thanks for the work you have so far put into it and best wishes in continuing forward in whatever capacity you choose.

Sam said...

When I first found your blog-I was so excited! I jumped at the chance to start this project and completed the first 5 in no time at all. Then I would look at the next challenge and think "Let me come up with ideas and then I will do it later". Later doesn't come very often, apparently. I hope to 'get back on the wagon' soon.
I look at your blog about once a week-but I don't comment a lot, mostly because I think that I don't want to be a hassle. In fact, I only remember commenting one time in the past 6 months.
I don't feel that your time has been wasted but I also have not taken full advantage of it. Knowing your feelings makes me sad that you feel your efforts might be wasted.
You should do whatever you feel is best. If you feel like putting up a challenge weekly, then go for it. If it's once a month-then that is okay as well.
You have an amazing blog that you have put amazing content into. Whatever your decision, I would support you-as much as a cyber friend can. :) Sending you a hug!
Sam :)

Jane said...

I started a private blog (that only I can see)to do the challenges for my daughter. I'm an older mom - most of my friends have teenagers and some are even grandmothers so I know I need to record family stories. I'm not doing any fancy scrapbook pages, but it's hard to take time to thoughtfully answer some of those challenges! I'm sorry that you're feeling like your efforts aren't appreciated. I'd be happy to help out with the facebook page. I'll send a private message there so you can tell me what I can do to help.

Yanceyfam said...

I love your ideas Emily, they are wonderful. I'm sorry you are feeling overwhelmed. Maybe you could assign one of your team members a challenge and so they only have to post maybe once a month or so. This would take some of the pressure off of you. I would be happy to help you in any way possible. I'm not good at sharing my responses with other people, but I would be happy to come up with ideas for challenges. I think what you are doing is great, it helps encourage everyone to write something. You might also want to look into monetizing your blog with ads. Keep up the good work, and get others to help you.

Amy said...

I want you to know that I really appreciate your efforts on this blog! I've done a couple challenges on my own blog, but December and January have been busier than usual so I haven't done much. Things are starting to slow down so I'm excited to get back to it soon. I also have plans to use some of the ideas on my family's blog to highlight different members of my family. I've really enjoyed your posts, and I hope to see more, but I understand that you have to do what's right for you and your family. Once again, thanks for all your work!

Jenny said...

When I first found your blog I was blown away with your ideas and creativity and it was inspiring. I started following so that "someday" I could do this as a project for my children or myself. I think that if you don't feel motivated to do it anymore then no one can blame you for that! We will understand. Another thing is that I felt like the challenges were so often that I was "behind" in some way, even though I had not even started. So maybe just posting new challenges every month instead of weekly would be better... Thank you for putting the time into this blog idea- I wish that you were making money from it!!

Gina said...

Hey Emily,

I have to agree with what every above me said - I love your blog. I also read it through Google reader so I don't know how that impacts your numbers.

I have a list of all of the challenges and intend to get to every one on the list - all in due time. I think once I learn how to scrapbook digitally - this will be a lot easier. I travel a lot for work, so am gone from home 3-4 days a week. Traditional scrapbooking is what I love, but I sure can't do it on the road since I have a no checked baggage policy!

I have done Fast Fact Friday on my blog since you started it. I've kind of been lurking in the online scrapbooking world since I started scrapbooking. I read blogs and watch videos and have just started to comment and interact. I don't know what took me so long!

I would love to help you in any way that you need. I have many hours in hotel rooms to fill. LOL. Please let me know if I can help in anyway.

In the end, of course, you have to do what is best for you and your little ones. So whatever adjustments you need to make will certainly be understood - but regardless of the changes I would hate to see the great ideas you share to cease. So, I promise to comment and interact more.