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5 Questions to Ask When You Feel Like Quitting Your Blog (or anything in life)

5 Questions to Ask Yourself When You Feel Like Giving Up on a Dream

Megan emailed in the following:

I read your post about the three most important things to do after you start a blog, and I enjoyed it. I do have a question though that I’ve had for a long time, and was excited to see you were accepting questions! It’s a question I have asked myself every day for the past 6 months: What do you do when you’ve tried everything the experts have said to do, it’s still not working and you don’t have any extra money to invest in any more courses, consultations, or books?

I’ve been blogging for over a year now. I have read your posts on blogging, have read Ruth’s book (How to Blog for Profit without Selling Your Soul), have read other books, have watched the Author’s Summit videos, have read article after article, changed ad placements, guest posted, added better pictures to posts, wrote personal posts, have done TV interviews, have reached out to other bloggers, constantly retweet other bloggers, share content from other bloggers, and have recently re-done my site.

I still struggle to get traffic and “conversions”. I may have 98 views on a coupon deal post, and only 1 coupon print. Honestly, I’m exhausted. I feel like I wasn’t “cut out” to be a blogger…only thing is, I love writing and always have. I’m at my wit’s end. I’ve tried everything I have ever read to do and it just doesn’t work…what am I supposed to do now?

I’m not sure if this is something everyone at some point has struggled with, or not. I just didn’t think I would still be struggling after a year. -Megan

Can I just encourage you, Megan? I think all of us have felt this way at one time or another. Personally, I know that I’ve felt this way multiple times. In fact, I probably feel like quitting every few months.

I well remember my first few years of trying to start a business from home. I would put in hours and hours and hours of work and see very, very little fruit from that effort. Every time it felt like I was starting to gain a little momentum, I’d experience another setback.

It was probably at least two solid years of really pouring, pouring, and pouring myself into this online business and blogging thing before I really started to see true fruit and return on my investment. And then it was another few years before I got to the place where I was earning enough to convince myself it was time to bring on more help so that I could actually have breathing room in my life.

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But I didn’t just feel like quitting in the beginning; I still struggle with feeling like quitting now. Just in the past few months, I had some hard, hard things happen business-wise that were so discouraging there was a two-week stretch where I really, really wanted to quit.

I had invested a lot of money and time into multiple things that felt like they fell flat on their face, I was getting a boatload of critical comments and emails, I was discouraged and tired… and I wondered what I was even thinking doing this blogging thing. Should I just quit altogether? Was it even worth it?

I’m not trying to discourage you, I just want to be honest that sometimes, this owning your own business thing isn’t all its cracked up to be. It’s draining. It requires long hours. It involves a lot of setbacks. And it’s easy to get discouraged.

In those moments when I want to throw in the towel, here are 5 questions I ask myself:

1) What is my “why”?

It’s incredibly important to have a why for doing what you’re doing. It can’t be to make money — though it’s totally wonderful if that’s one of the results. It’s got to be deeper than that, though.

What is the reason you started? What is your heartbeat behind what you’re doing? What’s your motivating force and passion?

Is it to help people save money? To inspire people to get their lives in better order? To bring hope? Is it to brighten someone’s day or help someone have more purpose in their life?

Whatever it is, write that why down and refer to it often. Tell it to your closest friends and have them remind you of it when you are feeling like nothing you are doing is working.

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2) Am I doing what I love?

So often, we think we know what we love. But until we actually dig in and do it for awhile, it’s hard to really know.

I know many bloggers, including myself, thought we were really passionate about a subject or idea. But after months of writing about it over and over again, we lost that passion and spark.

You might love writing, but make sure that the subject you’re writing on and the way you’re writing about it is fueling you instead of completely draining you.

For me, I like to write different kinds of posts on a wide variety of topics. If I always wrote the same kinds of posts and they were all on a very small, niche topic, I’d burn out quickly.

Giving myself permission in recent years to use this blog to write about whatever I’m inspired to write on has breathed new life into my writing. It’s allowed me to exercise new writing muscles, try new writing styles, and refine my writing voice better.

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3) Am I trying to chase someone else’s dream?

This is a hard one, but it’s important. I’ve tried chasing someone else’s dream before and it crashed and burned.

You see, when I had my first blog and was experimenting with monetizing that blog, I met a family who was making good money (something like $1400 per month) just by having ads on their sidebar.

The topic of their site was something I thought I could write on and, since we really needed the money, I spent a lot of time setting up that site and preparing it to launch. I remember calculating in my head all the money I’d be making from it and how it was going to be such a financial blessing to our family.

There was just one problem: the site never gained any momentum at all. Instead, it fell flat on its face. Why? Because I was chasing someone else’s dream.

Make sure that what you’re pursuing is actually your dream, your ideas, and your passions. Don’t run after the latest ideas and suggestions just because they are working well for someone else.

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4) Am I seeing any upward momentum?

This is an important question to ask because it’s easy to overlook the good that’s happening and focus solely on the discouraging things… the lack of traffic, the drop in Facebook Likes, the fact that no one is retweeting our posts.

Are there good things happening, too, though? Maybe you’re seeing a slight increase in click-throughs from Pinterest, or some growth in your Facebook Page followers, or you’ve gotten a comment or two this past month.

Look for those positive things, those increases, those upward trends and make sure that you remind yourself of those when you want to be discouraged about other areas that are standing still or decreasing.

It’s also important to remember that there are ebbs and flows in blogging — and in any business.

Even now, we have months when we bring nothing home because all of the income is invested back into the business or into paying business expenses. When those low income months come or when traffic tanks, it’s easy to start getting nervous or stressed.

I have to remind myself that peaks and valleys are all part of running a business. And this is also why it’s important to have a good emergency fund in place for the business and to set aside the bulk of the extra income during those peak months to help offset the valley months.

In addition, it’s important to remember that traffic and income aren’t the only ways to gauge progress. If I’ve learned and grown individually, if my marriage has been strengthened, if I’ve had the opportunity to encourage and bless someone through my blog, if I’ve chosen to be offline in order to invest in people… if my stats are down because life is in a healthier place, that’s more important.

5) Am I forgetting that success requires sacrifice?

In the last few years, person after person after person has made comments to me like, “Man, it must be so nice to be you!” “It must be so nice to make a full-time income blogging, get invited to speaking gigs, get to travel, have a great team, have a successful blog…”

You fill in the blank, people have probably said it.

And here’s the truth: I’m incredibly grateful and humbled to be where I’m at today. I don’t take it for granted and I know that it is the result of God’s blessing, hard work, and all of you readers who show up here every week and read, comment, buy my books, and tell your friends.

But I want to be frank with you and tell you that this life of running my own successful business, speaking, traveling, having book deals, getting media opportunities, etc. is not always fun and glamorous.

For instance…

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The week I recorded my audiobook, I was stuck in this tiny, drafty room in the basement of a house that had been turned into a recording studio. I was having voice problems and we had to break the recording into three days just to be able to get a good enough recording.

It was grueling work and I would go home beat every single night.

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People often gush to me about how amazing it must be to get to travel all over the country and how cool it is that I get to see all these historic landmarks and interesting places.

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The truth is: I spend most of my time on trips holed up in hotel rooms practicing my talks, getting slides ready, calming my nerves, keeping up with blogging, and missing my family.

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I think people often get the impression that I spend my days with full-on makeup doing cool things like filming in front of bright lights and cameras.

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The truth is: Most of my days look more like this.

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And there are multiple nights per month that are like this where I’m up late after my family goes to bed, no makeup on, hair a mess, yoga pants donned, wearing my neck wrap because my neck aches, pressing through to finish a project for a looming deadline.

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And while it’s fun to get to do gigs where you have a makeup artist on set to help you look your best, you never really get to enjoy it because you’re so nervous about whatever is coming next once the makeup artist is done. 🙂Screen Shot 2015-04-30 at 9.16.58 PM

I share these pictures and this reality because I think it’s good to remember that “success” of whatever kind doesn’t come without a lot of sacrifice.

It’s good to become experienced at doing hard things. At pushing forward even when you’re tired. At focusing on the positive even when it feels like there are so many negatives.

This resolve and perseverance is imperative if you want to blog or run your own business or do anything for the long haul.

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So those are 5 questions I encourage you to ask yourself, Megan (and anyone else who feels like they are in a similar boat to Megan.) I also encourage you to ask those closest to you to answer these questions about you. I find that honest assessment from those who know me best is highly information and helpful.

In addition to asking yourself those 5 questions, I’d suggest possibly considering doing one or all of these four things:

  • Take a break — Sometimes, stepping away from the thing that’s draining us can be the best thing to help us clear our heads and have better perspective. Consider taking a few days off from blogging to see if you have any clarity and direction by doing so.
  • Try something different — Try vlogging or blogging less or only posting on topics as you’re inspired or posting fewer deals and more content pieces. Change things up and see if that gives you fresh inspiration — or maybe even increased engagement on your blog.
  • Stop paying attention to the noise and stats — I really encourage you to set boundaries on how often you check your stats. In fact, if they are discouraging you, it might be wise to just completely stop checking them for a period of time. That sounds drastic, but I’ve found it to be a good thing if I’m becoming too focused on stats.
  • Remember what really matters — What’s going to matter most in 25 years from now? Make sure that you are intentionally investing time and energy each day into those things.

What advice, suggestions, and encouragement do the rest of you have for Megan?

P.S. Want some step-by-step help to get started making money blogging? Check out this post where I walk you through how do just that. Have a question on blogging or business that you’d love for me to answer in a post? Leave a comment with your question here.

5 Questions

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  • trix says:


    Thank you for sharing this — the “you” that comes through — your authenticy is was is so appealing and encouraging to me.

  • Jill says:

    I am not a blogger, but that was some really great advice Crystal! I so appreciate your authenticity and pictures of real life. =) Thanks for sharing with us.

  • Leah says:

    I feel like this was straight from the Lord to you to me.

    Yesterday something devastating happened at my job – I dropped the ball on something and was strongly and publicly scolded. I went home crying, and was feeling today that I wanted to quit. I love my job but just don’t feel adequate for it anymore. The criticism shot me straight in the heart.

    And then your post. I sit here with tears streaming down my face, considering your questions. Thank you for your encouragement to be brave and stick it out even when it is hard. Thank you for being authentic and showing that it is not always easy for you either.

    Was very blessed by this today.

    • {Hugs!} I am so, so sorry you had to go through that and get publicly scolded. That had to have hurt deeply and I can totally understand why you’d want to quit.

      I’m grateful that the questions encouraged you. The world needs you and your gifts. Keep using them. Keep being brave! I’m cheering for you!

    • Leah,
      I am sorry you had to deal with that! I am praying you have the strength to stick it out at your job.
      When I sent me email into Crystal, I NEVER expected her to pick it. I sent it in at a time when my husband was out of town for work and I was very vulnerable.
      I’m so glad that God worked it out to His good and that Crystal’s post could encourage you as well!

      • Alea says:

        Megan I love your site! It’s one of my number one go to pages for deals! Don’t feel discouraged! We’ve all been there.. I feel like quitting at least once a week lately.. It was refreshing to read your letter because it’s nice to know I’m not the only one that feels that way sometimes! Even better to know that even a big blogger like Crystal also feels that way! Great to know that it’s completely normal!

  • Anne says:

    Thanks for sharing publicly about the tough parts of your work. While this is not directly related to this post, I appreciate how you wrote candidly about the hard parts of your move to TN.

    We moved exactly one month ago from the Seattle-area to the Portland-area for a new job for my husband. People say, “it’s not that far” or “it’s not that different,” but sometimes it feels far and different! When I’m having tough moments (who are we kidding, sometimes DAYS) I find comfort and encouragement when I think back to your posts.

    • Cathy says:

      Anne, I have to second your perceptions about the Seattle-Portland contrast. I’m a total outsider to the Pacific NW, but fell in love with the Seattle area when I took my son to a con there a few years ago. Based on my (now) two trips, I’m seriously considering moving to WA in a few years when my son is done with college and on his own. I loved it!

      Then last summer we ventured down to Portland after hearing so much about it, and it felt completely different. It would take me a long time of setting down roots to feel at home there…

      Best wishes to you in finding ways to make Portland home for however long you’re there. I’m sure you will.

  • Kelly says:

    Thanks for your honest thoughts! So helpful and could be applied to so many areas in life! (oh, and please please please don’t ever quit your blog)!!!

  • Thanks for the encouragement in your post today. I am just starting out with my blog and find it hard not to compare myself to others. I know in my head that I “shouldn’t compare my beginning to someone else’s middle,” but it is still so hard. I often (like today!) check out my stats and feel discouraged. So, I appreciate your post.

  • Kim says:

    Crystal, thank you. This brought tears to my eyes because you gave me hope. My blog hasn’t launched yet. I have a small group of subscribers that I try to keep engaged. I work at finding wonderful blogs to guest post for and I’m a regular contributor to a few sites. I have a wonderful mentoring group that I’m grateful for. I struggle with jealousy because many of them seem to be having much greater success (regularly gaining thousands of likes and shares). I know I shouldn’t compare, but it’s hard not to do so. I love what I’m doing so I’m going to keep going. Plus, if everything I’ve read is true, summer months usually see a drop in traffic, so I’ll use it to prepare and sow. As someone who was a big fish in a little pond not so long ago, I know what you mean about people thinking “the life” is glamorous. My, then perpetually nervous stomach would beg to disagree. 🙂 Cheers!

  • This is my favorite post you’ve written in quite some time! I think anyone who has started a blog realizes that it is a TON of work, and that’s even an understatement. And for someone who is a perfectionist like me, I agonize for hours making sure the fonts on all my Pinterest photos are the same, that my blog layout is perfect, that I have done everything consistently.

    Sometimes, I obsessive over these small details so much that by the time a week has passed, I haven’t written a single post! And that’s why I’m not getting the traffic I hope for, not because I have size 13 font on one page and size 14 font on another page (those things are nice, but yeah…no one is going to come to your blog and notice that if you don’t have any content to begin with. :))

    So for me, my growth in blogging is getting back to the roots of why I like to write and why I am passionate about handmade crafts and art. Like you said, you need to constantly remind yourself of why you’re taking on such a massive project. For me, crafting and art is my stress reliever, my sanity, and a huge source of joy and inspiration in my life. It makes me happy to encourage, teach and learn from others in this handmade community, and that’s what keeps my blogging!

    Well said, Crystal! You’re amazing!

  • I’ve been banging my head on the table with this lately, too. Several bloggers that started when I did have blogs 10x of what mine has been.

    Thanks for being real and encouraging! I desperately needed it!

  • whitney says:

    I’d love to know the blog of the person that sent in the question to check it out!

  • K says:

    Oh, this is really good! I feel just like many of the previous commenters w/ regard to your and authenticity. You’re so real. Thanks for this. So encouraging.

    I’d also like to know the name of Megan’s blog.

  • Nicole says:

    Crystal, this was such an encouraging post for me personally. I have recently returned to work after being a SAHM for 11 years. There has been a huge learning curve, and I have had my share of hard days, even though I love what I am doing. These are great questions to ask no matter what work you are doing. Thank you for your authenticity. You are making a difference through what you do!

  • Jaime says:

    Thank you for this encouragement! I’ve only been going for 2 months; I can’t even imagine all the sacrifices you’ve made for this, but you’re such an inspiration to those who are struggling with blogging, business, etc. =)

  • Cathy says:

    I may actually print out this post to save for later “quitting quandries.” I’m not a blogger, but I have quit some endeavors in my life way too soon because I felt inadequate compared to others, or to my own expectations of how soon I “should” have mastered them. This post illustrates some great ways to think about these challenges and choose to persevere, and I really thank you!

  • Megan says:

    Posts like this keep me coming back! God bless, Crystal!

  • Jennifer says:

    Thanks for sharing, Crystal. So encouraging to know that even at your level of success, you still struggle at times, even just to find motivation. I do have a question. You showed some books in your photos. Are these the books you would recommend most as a blogger? I’ve read Ruth’s book on blogging and am even in her EBA this time around, but I am always looking for others. I’ve also read a few of the how to type books, but what has inspired you as a blogger book wise? What would be your top 3 recommendations on blogging books?

  • This was an excellent post. Anyone who has blogged probably feels like they live on an island and gets frustrated. I’ve been blogging for over five years and have to admit it hasn’t taken off the way that I would hope. There have been times when I’ve gotten discouraged and thought about quitting but have always decided against it. Here’s the questions I ask myself.

    1). Why am I doing this? For me it’s not really about the money (which is good because at this time I’m not monetizing my blog). I don’t get tons of conversations but when I hear comments or get emails about how I’ve helped people it makes me feel good.

    2). Is there something else I’d rather be doing with my time? I lead a busy life but at the end of the day I enjoy doing some writing and sharing on my blog. It’s a fun hobby, even if I never get hundreds of thousands of readers.

    3). Is it making you a better person in some way? Writing on my blog has caused me to make changes in my life. I’ve simplified, organized, tried new thing and am really trying to live the changes I want to make. The blog gives me some accountability that I wouldn’t necessarily have in real life. In some ways writing on my blog feeds my soul in ways that my “real” job doesn’t.

    My advice is at the end of day you love writing then don’t worry about the money or number of readers. If you’re doing it solely for the money, I’d recommend finding a different way to make extra cash.

    Good luck!

    • That is wonderful that you use your blog to help keep you accountable and make changes!
      I LOVE writing. I actually have a Bachelor’s in English. 🙂 I could never find a job with my degree and after I became a stay-at-home-mom, starting a blog just kind of “made sense” and “fell into my lap” (of course this was after I kind of argued and “fought” about it with God. 🙂 ).
      I guess I thought that since He led me to it that it would be easier than it’s been.
      Thank you for your words of encouragement. I need to remember that I’m not it in for the money, but for my love of writing and passion for savings. 🙂

  • Natalie S says:

    As a blogger and online store owner, this really hit home for me! Crystal, thank you so much for being so “real” and being willing to share what your life looks like behind the scenes.

  • Taylor says:

    Hi Crystal, I was just wondering how you do all you do (especially with the travel) and still manage to homeschool? I’ve been homeschooling for years, but still find it challenging to take on any type of additional work above and beyond schooling, running the household, kids activities, etc. Is your school day pretty typical, or do you have to change up your schedule to accommodate your blog work? Perhaps you have shared before, but any tips would be greatly appreciated! Thx

    • Jesse is very, very involved in the homeschooling and takes over completely when I travel (as I do when he travels — he’s traveled more than me recently!) I am in charge of school in the morning while he works and he’s in charge of school in the afternoon while I work. It’s a unique schedule, but so far, it’s been working really well for us. Jesse is also 100% in charge of kids’ activities — except when he’s out of town.

      So my “secret” is that Jesse and I work really closely together and totally tag team on home/homeschool/cooking/cleaning/business stuff. We also have an amazing team of people who help out with the business stuff so that we’re able to homeschool and have margin in our life.

      There’s no way we could do what all we do if we weren’t both working closely together, both committed to this lifestyle, both willing to give and take as needed. (For instance, Jesse’s out of town on a business trip this week so I’m totally in charge of home stuff/homeschooling, etc. but then next week, I’ll be out of town at a conference and he’ll be completely in charge.)

      I hope that helps clarify. You also might check out my Day In My Life posts where I share how this works and how every day is a little (or a lot!) different.

      • Taylor says:

        Thank you for your response! I appreciate you sharing how you and Jesse make it all work!! I’m so grateful for this blog…I have learned so much from you over the years:)

  • Stacey says:

    Thank you for sharing. Both my husband and I work full-time and run a business together. However we to have days were we want to quit. I agree that we having remember our why. All of these points apply to our full-time jobs. Thank you for the encouragement and openness.

  • Thank you so much for your authenticity and encouragement! And I’m so glad you have not quit and have kept going. You are such an inspiration and encouragement, and God is using you in tremendous ways. Don’t let people get you down! 🙂

  • This is both insightful and encouraging. It is fun to see the behind the scenes.

    My struggle tends to be that I am not currently in a situation where I have the kind of time investment to put into my blog in order to see really rapid growth. But that is ok. I remind myself that we have different seasons in our lives and that is a good thing. Right now, my season is full of many young children:-) That is my priority. But I still enjoy blogging as an outlet and enjoy seeing the growth, gradual though it may be!

  • Jennifer says:

    Megan, I’ve been blogging for three years and my traffic isn’t much different from when I first started. Of course, I’m blogging part time. I have a full time job, child and husband that come first.

    What keeps me going is that I’m really passionate about my blog subject. If I wasn’t working full-time, I would gladly spend my days, writing, reading, researching and experimenting in my blog field. I’m happy to run my blog for my own good and for regular readers as I slowly gain them. But as much as I love what I’m writing and photographing and networking and planning and goal-setting about, it is work.

    I do have fun and probably the very best part, the frosting on the cake, the cherry on the sundae, are the friendships I’ve made with other bloggers who I never would have known otherwise. I never imagined the blogging community would be so supportive and encouraging.

    Hang in there 🙂

    • Tanya says:

      I’ve been seriously blogging for about the same time and have only made a little money here and there. When I do make money it usually goes right back into the blog. I have a chronic illness and have a part time job and two teenagers. That can make it hard for me to put as much time as I would like into it. I’ve been asking myself if I should give it up because it does cost money and time that could be spent actually making money or getting things done around the house. When I think of quitting though it makes me said because blogging is what keeps me going and gives me a creative outlet and connections with others.

  • This is so inspirational, Crystal – thank you!

  • Julie Anne says:

    I loved this post. Especially your last point of advice about remembering what is really important. I am a still pretty new to blogging and am loving it. However, before starting I didn’t realize how easy it would be to let blogging consume my thoughts.
    One night I was up late reading articles about how to grow a blog and the thought came to me to stop focusing on trying to grow my blog and instead focus first on growing my relationships.
    If I am going to be losing sleep at night I want it to be over the things that are most important to me. So now at night I have a list of things that are most important to me and set a goal every night of how I am going to grow in that area the next day. Blogging is still on that list but it’s on the bottom after, growing my relationships with my kids, spouse, God, and myself.
    I feel like taking a step back and focusing on the things that will really matter to me in 25 years, like you said not only makes me happier but actually helps my blog grow .

  • Heidi says:

    This was honest, encouraging and down right awesome! Great post. Authentic living!

  • Suzanne C says:

    I have two suggestions for Megan. First, there is sometimes a disconnect between what we expect from ourselves and what we can actually do. Two of my favorite blogs are written by women who have a very fun, funny, breezy writing style. Both women are about my age and have many of the same interests I do. So, of course, my expectation was that I would write the way they do. I ended up sounding forced and awkward. The difference was they are both extroverts, who love being around others and are naturally ‘bouncy’. I am a more serious-minded introvert. What I can actually do is write more introspective, topical pieces. I suggest that you be very, very honest about what your talents are, rather than what you want them to be. Your blog may not seem like such a chore if you are not forcing something unnatural for yourself.

    My second suggestion, following up on the first, is to experiment with all types of writing styles to find your own voice. I love taking 10-15 minutes a day to do a writing exercise. My favorite book for this is Bonnie Neubauer’s The Write-Brain Workbook. The exercises are fast and fun and you learn so much about yourself by doing them.

  • Thank you for this post, Crystal. I needed it tonight.

  • Chelsea says:

    I just love reading your blog posts! 🙂

  • Julie says:

    This was a fabulous post. Thank you for sharing! I’m still working on getting my new blog up and running, but I’m enjoying the journey. However, I’m struggling with social media in that I don’t know how to best separate my personal pages from my blogging interests. FaceBook does not allow me to have a second profile for blogging purposes, and some of my personal interests on Pinterest are not necessarily the best choices for getting repins. Have you found a “happy medium” for balancing these out?

  • Shelly says:

    Blogging is so much harder than I thought it will be. I know I though about blogging for 5 years before I took the plunge. This past year has been really hard. I took a blogging course, got discouraged by comparing myself to others and at that same time had a down turn in traffic. But like you said, there will be ups and downs. I try to remember to dwell on why I do this crazy thing called blogging. Also having a few great blogging friends who gets you can really help. Thank you so much for this post and for the honesty.

  • Gabriela says:

    Thank you so much! For this article and for many many more that you wrote. And thank God for making you , you! You are an encourager for many and maybe when those bad days come, you should read (God’s Word first of all, of course) some comments your readers are leaving you in which they express how much help you are to them. Maybe put them in a separate folder. 🙂 I still need to do myself a list with things that drain me and things that encourage and energize me. Thanks again. Blessings!

  • Lisa says:

    I think this is one of my favorite posts of yours! 🙂

    And I second those who would like to check out Meghan’s blog!

  • Sanju says:

    Thanks for the honest, behind the camera look on your life. The messy kitchen and sick kids are all part of your success!
    May God help you help others!

  • Oh, man – your post came just at the right time for me. I recently started a blog and barely have gotten any comments, though my stats say there are definitely page views. I have been getting discouraged and often feel like quitting. Plus, when I return to work in August, I’m wondering how I’ll have time for the upkeep because – like you said – it requires a LOT of work and time. I talked to my husband about it all and he reminded me of the “why” – I love to write and I love to connect with other people. It’s not all just going to happen overnight. So I will persevere…
    Thank you for your encouraging words and showing the side of it all that most people don’t see. It truly lifts my spirit.
    “The Busy Brunette”

  • Crystal – I wish I could give you a hug to thank you for this post!!!

    Five years in I am SO VERY THANKFUL for all that blogging has done for our family – it’s amazing. BUT, there’s really never time off, I’m constantly tweaking things and trying to do things better, and it’s just not easy. While I’m nowhere near where you are (it’s amazing what you’ve done!), I totally can relate because it really is hard work for a very long haul.

    Thank you for sharing that even now you have moments when you want to give up. I definitely have those too, so it’s encouraging to know I’m not alone! Thanks for sharing the yucky side of blogging (I so understand not enjoying staying in hotels b/c of always blogging!), and I appreciate your authenticity so much. From one worn-out-tired-but-really-love-my-job blogger to another, thanks 🙂

  • Lisa says:

    Such a great post! Over the past few years I’ve spent quite a bit of time feeling discouraged over my lack of professional success. I’m not a blogger but I’m in a field where there’s a tremendous amount of competition for very few jobs. Around the time I turned 40 realized that part of the reason I haven’t been more successful is because while I worked very hard during my training I wasn’t willing/able to make the hard sacrifices and go the extra mile. And you know what? I’m okay with that. I don’t wish to leave my profession but in hindsight I see it wasn’t the best choice because it doesn’t account for many of my other gifts. If this had truly been where my heart was it wouldn’t have been such a stretch of my abilities nor would it have been such a fight to get to where I am now. This gave me the courage to scale back professionally and focus my time and energy on other areas of my life that make me happier. I may not have professional success on a traditional level but I have the overall life I want. And that’s what’s really important, isn’t it? It’s also a perspective that’s missing from almost every article on success and productivity I’ve ever read. I may be a professional failure but I’m successful at life.

  • AWESOME post and great advice! It is so easy to get discouraged when you’re doing all the right things and not getting the results you hoped for. One blogger really encouraged me when she reminded me that as a Christian I need to write what God has called me to write and then leave the results up to him. So many times I try to force the results by doing “just one more thing” – another tweet, another Facebook share, etc. – when what I really need to do is just let God bring the right audience and provide the income he wants me to have.

  • Crystal, thank you so VERY much for this post. My family has just made a drastic change as we’ve moved our family of eight into a RV full time. I started our new adventure with some unrealistic expectations of the extra time I’d have to work on my blog once I only had to clean 250 square feet.

    Even though we’re only two weeks into this journey I was disappointed that life didn’t feel like it had any more breathing room. Thank you for reminding me that life has seasons…some busier than others. Thank you for reminding me to go after my own dream and not to compare myself to others.

    It was also nice to see your messy kitchen and that I’m not the only one sitting up late trying to get work done. Thank you for your honesty!

  • Thank you so much for sharing everything, it was truly inspiring, encouraging and eye-opening. You have done amazing job and it is definitely not easy. I love this post and going to read it several times!

  • Sandra says:

    A comment for Megan…
    Think about if you were starting a new business in say, plumbing or landscaping or baby sitting or a small shop in town… How long would you give this new business to get off the ground? Most new ventures will take time to germinate and grow before you can reap the rewards. Hang in there.

  • MK says:

    This was so, so good. I’ve realized slowly, over the last year or so, that I am simply not a blogger. But I still blog. Why? Because I need to write and it’s an easy outlet. In a different season (i.e. when the kids are able to feed/dress/potty/function without me for every little thing), there will be time to pursue the writing I want to do…but for now, I have a full enough life without trying to make a blog work. And it’s nice to finally be okay with that.

    Thanks for “pulling back the curtain” for us; loved the photos!

  • kariane says:

    Thank you for your sharing and candor. As a relatively new blogger, and simply as a fellow human, I appreciate it.

  • jess says:

    I started reading your blog years ago for the deals and the coupons. now, I visit it to read your personal posts about your life and lifestyle. I said it not long ago, but I plan to say it again & again…you are a breath of fresh air on the internet. I blogged several years ago, and I have been reading blogs for even longer than that…and I can name only 5 blogs that I thoroughly enjoy checking in on. I never tire or burn out on them. yours is one! you’re doing a great job being you! the Lord has blessed you with great wisdom & communication skills to share that wisdom…and it’s pretty stinkin’ awesome. 🙂 keep up the good work!

  • Kelly Cox says:

    Oh how this blessed me. I have felt bummed for 2 days now. I want to be the upbeat, excited wife my husband loves but instead I’ve been down and out. I hate that. I am trying so hard on my blog and it seems to be just not working. Prayerfully, I hope to make a business with it and come home full time. I don’t need to even make that much. Just want to be home and working heartily unto the Lord. Thanks for this post, Megan and Crystal!!!

  • deborah says:

    Thank you.

    There’s so much I’d love to say if I could sit down across from you in my living room and share snacks and drinks and talk about everything you shared here. But it’s way too much for a blog comment and I couldn’t put it all into words right now anyway.

    Bless you, Crystal!

  • Alison says:

    I have often thought about starting my own blog but just wonder if I would be good at it.

  • Laura says:

    I commented before but it must have gotten eaten by the Internet. 🙂

    Crystal, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts here. This has got to be one of my favorite posts you’ve ever written. So many times those of us who write for (or work for) smaller blogs can become frustrated by the lack of traffic, downturn in Facebook interaction, lower comment rate, etc. I really appreciate your authenticity and transparency – in a weird way, it’s reassuring to know that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. Thank you for laying it all out there and being SO real!

  • Sarah says:

    “Sometimes, stepping away from the thing that’s draining us can be the best thing to help us clear our heads and have better perspective.”
    This was true for my blog. I co-wrote a blog with two friends for several years and we came to a point where a break was needed. We took an almost 3 year break. Yup… 3 years. But now, we are back and with a different perspective, motivation and feeling refreshed.
    Also, sometimes stepping back from the blogging world in general can help you to come back with new eyes. In a great blogging e-book I read recently, she said to not compare your beginning to someone else’s middle. I also think stepping away from other blogs for a time helps with perspective and focus on your own blog. I tend to compare and try to emulate what I like on other blogs. When I find I’m doing that it’s time to step away and spend time instead brainstorming/time to be creative!
    Last thing, when you run across great quotes that encourage you in your blogging (like some in this post!) write them down. IT can even be a word document on your computer that you re-open and read before you sit down to blog. We all need to be fed and inspired by words that touch our souls and help bring us back to a place of confidence.
    One day at a time… one post at a time.

  • Janine says:

    Great post, Crystal! I happened upon this post at the right time. Actually, I clicked over to read your post about Kate Middleton because I agree with what you wrote-we need not compare ourselves there! As for this post, my blog is a lifestyle blog but I’ve struggled on where to take it next. In my mind and heart, I do still feel passionate about it, enjoy writing when I have time with a busy 20 month old, but I realized that lack of consistent posts after my daughter was born, has resulted in a drop in readership, comments, and then with Facebook’s changes recently, I had a steady organic growing following but that’s a very tiny fraction of what it used to be growth-wise which is discouraging as it used to be such a active community. I tried to make certain changes to my blog but it falls under the category of maybe chasing someone else’s dream because it makes them money. I have earned money by doing similar things however I sometimes wonder if my blog now appears less authentic to longtime readers. I appreciate you being real about your own challenges. Nobody will see our sacrifices and know them like we or our family will. I need to sit and figure out exactly what my why is because I think it’s either changed or maybe I never had a solid one to begin with in terms of how it benefits my readers.

  • This was SO encouraging Crystal. I needed to read this today. Blogging is exhausting at times but it’s so true. When you are doing what you love and when you know your purpose – the sacrifice is well worth it.

    The one line that spoke volumes to me was to not chase someone else’s dream. There are so many opportunities that come our way as bloggers…and I’ve been known to say yes to things just because it seemed like the “next step” when really it was not part of “the dream” or what I believe God was calling me to do. I’m still learning and growing – always a work in progress. 😉

    Thanks for your words of encouragement today.

    • You’re so welcome! And I loved this line:

      “I’ve been known to say yes to things just because it seemed like the “next step” when really it was not part of “the dream” or what I believe God was calling me to do.”

      Yes and amen! Thanks for the encouragement that you are!

  • This is hands-down, the BEST post I’ve read on this topic.

    I’ve been blogging for 4 1/2 years and I’ve felt this way so many times. Discouraged, frustrated, overwhelmed, and exhausted. I’ve been seconds away from sending out a final goodbye post. I’ve cried and stomped my feet in frustration.

    I’ve seen so many of my blogging friends quit because they just couldn’t do it anymore. While I completely respect someone’s decision to step away, I wonder if advice like this would have helped them make a different choice.

    Blogging is a lot of work but the suggestions you’ve shared here definitely help to realign our purpose and vision.

    Thank you so much for sharing this reader’s question. I’m certain it will bless many bloggers in the years to come.

    Pinning this to my Deliberate BLOGGING board.

    Wishing you a lovely week.

  • Antonella says:

    Hi Crystal,

    I love how you always strive to incourage your readers 🙂 I’d like to offer just my 2 cents on this issue: blogs were born as a way to express oneself, as diaries or online conversations which could unite strangers from all over the world, “bonding” on the same passions, frustrations etc.
    With time, some blogs became profitable because they gave solutions to people’s problems and/or inspiration to better oneself/work/lifestyle etc. After 15 years working in advertising and publishing, I saw how bloggers have changed the game becoming real forces on the market: influencers, authors and so on, BUT…
    As well as in conventional publishing, advertising etc not everybody is made for this, not everybody is able to succeed and not everybody is an entrepreneur. I feel that many women who see blogging as a way of earning money aren’t really analysing if they are able to offer something of great value to the public, esp. in such a saturated blogging world. We are not in 2009 anymore, competition is fierce and the need to offer more polished content is big esp. if you don’t already have a strong following. (Maybe the new frontier for online success is social network or videos or whatever…)
    I feel that blogging can be a funny, intelligent way to express oneself, or – if an entrepreneur – a nice and almost free way to promote one’s business (Etsy, brick and mortar etc) online.
    But monetizing is not a real possibility for everybody, unless maybe if you find a profitable, small or local niche that’s been avoided until now?

    I really would love to know what you think about it, seeing that you are so successful in blogging and an inspiration to all of us 🙂

  • Rhonda says:

    Since you like to write, why not work on making your money as a freelance writer and writing for online blogs/sites? There are some great communities and networks for that, as well as resources for freelance writers. I make money in part-time work by writing for other sites, rather than my own blog, which isn’t big or famous.

  • Monica says:

    Crystal, Thank you for your transparency and honesty. This past year I have loved your posts more than ever as you’ve been sharing about your life and struggles.

    I’ve been a reader since January 2011 when I was nursing my twin girls and had just left my full-time job with a good salary and was looking for ways to save money as my husband took on the huge financial responsibility of supporting us all. Your blog has helped me (and us) in many ways, so a big “thank you!” for all you do.

    I know exactly what you are talking about with spending time in a hotel room and being away from your family not being as glamorous as it sounds. I used to travel for work and although I love traveling for pleasure I didn’t enjoy it for business. I missed my people. 🙂

    I recently decided to revisit my blog and move full steam ahead as I’ve thankfully had some health issues resolved. It really is a lot of work but there are things I really enjoy about it and I’m excited about the future of it as I refocus and make some changes! I have no doubt there will be many struggles as I move ahead but I’m ok with that. I think going into it with an understanding of the challenges and sacrifice is critical so I appreciate your post.

    You are an amazing inspiration to so many women as you continue to move forward and do what God has called you to do even when things are tough!

  • Jaime says:

    It has been so exciting to see your success unfold on your blog, but this post was very special. Your humility is inspiring, and you’re able to communicate in such a way that is gracious yet real. Thank you for the work you do, Crystal!

  • Joan says:

    Thank you so much for sharing! As a newbie to the blogging world, I appreciate the inspiration when I am already questioning myself. The doubts are always there, but I feel like God has lead me to begin my blog. It took many family and friends encouraging me to get me going because I was afraid no one would read it and I wouldn’t succeed.

    Your post touched many points of concern for me and gives me some comfort that I’m not the only one having these feelings. Thanks again for inspiring me daily in some way. I look forward to your posts every day! 🙂

  • Kate says:

    I really appreciated this post! While I am not a blogger, I am a church planter and there are definitely days when I feel like quitting!=) It’s good to remind myself of the why and that this requires sacrifice (but sacrifice that is so worth it!). I also liked the question about are you chasing someone else’s dream. It’s easy to look at what other church planters do but that may not always work for us and our city! Anways-thank you for the encouragement!=)

  • Katy says:

    I’d like to thank you, Crystal, for your lovely, thoughtful answer and you, Megan, for reaching out with your email and being honest about your journey. I feel so many times that the blogging world is full of “Do this and that, then you’ll make money!” posts or pins. So I’ve done this and that, and then nothing. I’ve tried a lot of things since 2008 and make a couple hundred dollars a year. Stepping back from pursuing money has made me more aware that I blog for joy. It is my creative outlet. And I love when people find my posts and comment. Just last night someone who is expecting in December found my post about having a December baby and genuinely thanked me for it. It helped her and that made my day! And that is why I keep blogging.

  • T.O. Weller says:

    It’s so great that you share your feelings — and your ambivalence — about the blogging life. I wish more of the successful bloggers would do this; reading their ever-eager, “go-get-em” posts can be really demoralizing for those of us just starting out and having a bad day.
    I myself went A-WOL for the whole month of April, for personal reasons that turned into much more than that as the month progressed. I just wrote about it and how I’ve decided to move forward.
    Side note: as small as my blog is at this point, the response to my post has been really touching and I feel blessed by my small yet wonderful community. Thankfully, I pushed through so that I could be reminded.

  • Gina says:

    I loved (and needed) this so much. Thank you, Crystal!

  • Tara says:

    I have now had my photography business up and running for a little over two years. This article hit home with me and am so grateful you shared it. They were try wirds I needed to hear today.

  • I second all the comments, and thank you for your honesty and insight. When I first started blogging, I had a “if you build it, they will come” mentality – and was blown away by how incorrect that phrase is! You’re right, in that success doesn’t come without sacrifice.

  • Dee says:

    How quickly we forget that how things look online are seldom how they look in real life 🙂

  • Thank you Crystal for your transparency and honesty! I read this post last night and it really resonated with me because I tend to be too hard on myself most of the time. I am so happy to know that I am not alone in my quest to never sacrifice integrity for growth.
    I recently realigned my blog to redirect my focus back to coaching instead of coupon deals. I learned that I absolutely abhor writing deals because I would much rather be coaching! Seeing that mistakes are normal, frustration is vital for growth and having a community of fellow bloggers that I can relate to is beyond valuable!
    I am hesitant to let down my walls and become vulnerable or transparent to my readers but I have the courage to step out and test the waters with your encouraging posts! I feel like the things you write really speak to me on a personal level and I want to jump out of my shell and shout to the whole world that I feel the same way! Or jump out and share something about myself on my blog too!! Haha!!
    Thank you for all that you do! I admire you and I really do enjoy reading your posts!

  • Linda says:

    It’s nice to know I’m not the only one that feels like giving up sometimes. Blogging is hard work, but I do love it, so I stick with it. Glad you stuck with it too Megan 🙂

  • This weekend, I posted on my writer’s group FB page that I needed to stop writing and focus on my family. I have been caught up, like Megan, in all of the on-line resources telling me how to be a successful blogger, when, reality is, progress is SLOW and sporadic. Also, I realized that I need to refine my writing focus- my why- so I don’t get side-tracked by lesser pursuits. This was so timely for me to find; thank you for confirming that taking a break is okay.

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