Cat Blog Hiatus or Farewell Is In The Stars aka expert cat blogger calls it quits by Layla Morgan Wilde.
After 8 years, 2000+ posts, numerous accolades and milestones, I’ve reached a blogging crossroads. It’s not the first time but this time feels different. It reminds of the time I stopped being a vegetarian after 7 years.
Fair warning. This is a long and unusual post for me. It’s my hope that it illuminates a tiny sliver of the blogging world and my role in it.
I’d spent most of my twenties vegan, then vegetarian. After seven years, it no longer felt right. One day without any deliberation, I wanted of things, a hot dog. Not a tofu dog but an all beef, all dressed hot dog from Harvey’s, a Canadian burger chain. There was no debate with my inner foodie. Logic would have dictated a more luxurious choice like a juicy steak grilled to perfection. No, I only wanted that hot dog. But what about that poor cow and mystery meat bits? What about my commitment to animal welfare and planetary ecology?
Perhaps a compromise could be reached but then a more powerful voice spoke. Listen to your body. You’re done. Without a moment’s notice, I high-tailed to my nearest Harvey’s and without an ounce of guilt I chomped down on my hot dog. It was good and I’ve never regretted it. In fact, I’d love one right now.
- (Blogging lesson # 398: Don’t blog when starving.) Since then, I indulge in the occasional meat or fish meal and I continue to listen to my body. Usually.
It may have been a humble hot dog but it was a defining moment in my life. I could no longer call myself vegan or vegetarian. By the same token, if I stopped blogging, I could no longer call myself a blogger. Life is full of cycles, of defining moments. Sometimes the line in drawn in the sand forever while sometimes we fall off our path but can return.
Dreams, Stars and the Great Void.
If I’m to believe my astrology transits, a it’s pivotal point of no return. Btw, many of us may feel out of sorts this month. Mercury turned retrograde today and lasts until the end of the month signaling communication, travel and tech confusion. The new moon tomorrow is a key point of new beginnings with Uranus, the planet of sudden changes moves into Taurus when it’ll sit for the next seven years. In my case, it’s in my 10th house of career and social status.
I highly recommend learning more about your astro transits to help prepare for and navigate the inevitable change. If you enjoy astrology, podcasts and some free advice, I suggest The Leo King or Astro Shaman. They also have helpful YouTube videos.
I had a dream on the weekend with a clear directive to quit Cat Wisdom 101, just like that.
As the dream faded and reality set in, so did doubt. Could I just stop after all these years. Wasn’t that career suicide? Perhaps but if an infected leg needs amputation, a band-aid won’t do. I thought if I blogged less often and spend less time on social media I’d be saved. You know keep my foot in the door. My blogging dwindled over the years from 7 days a week to once a week but there was more social media, SEO and algorithms to worry about.
It would be utter folly to throw away my 24/7 cat life but like they say, “You can’t cross a chasm in two small steps.” Unlike a cat, I don’t have nine lives. Wait, neither do they but I feel like I’ve lived through least 19.
A compromise might be to pare back and just do my monthly calendar in one big blog post. And what about the gazillion photo quotes and unedited posts waiting in the wings to be published? Oh, those cute graphics I can’t wait to share for St. Patrick’s Day and Mother’s Day. See, this is why blogging is addictive. I could take another blogging break but I need more than a break. A hiatus feels bogus. I know lots of bloggers who go on hiatus and never return.
What’s the worst that can happen? I lose everything I’ve worked years non-stop for but find my sanity?
No matter what happens, I will keep creating in multiple modalities. It’s still a joy when I find an old photo to use in a blog post like today’s featured image. I’d taken it at the Rubin Museum in New York three years ago. Visitors were asked to write on a piece of paper what sacred space meant to them before tossing it into a collective bowl. While paper is analog, the concept to use it for this post fit. Curious to find out what happened to the interactive exhibit, I Googled it and found a video about it. Wow, it made me remember why I loved blogging. Who knew 8,000 people felt compelled to write on those little pieces of paper.
I don’t know what the sacred space of the blogosphere is. It’s not all peace, love and purrs.The underbelly truth about blogging in a niche like cats or dogs, is dog eat dog. Yeah, there a few kind bloggers who care but just because someone loves cats, doesn’t mean they’re warm and fuzzy. They’re still human with human foibles and a wild variety of agendas. Sorry for kicking the sacred cow. To the uninitiated, it’s a mix of fun and doing good. It’s more like a catty mix of high school and the Housewives TV show of whatever city you prefer. Funny in retrospect and frankly unbelievable.
Some bloggers and readers vanish but many who used to comment no longer do. Did I do something to diss them? Who knows but the main reason is likely tit for tat. Once I stopped commenting as often, other bloggers stopped visiting. None of it matters. Every blogging niche has their own cliques and hierarchy.
Blogging lesson #22. Behind every blog is a human even if the blogger is a cat. Humans aren’t purrfect so don’t take anything another blogger says personally. That goes for compliments and critiques. Take it all with a grain of salt. Blogging is not for the thin-skinned. I used to get angsty why some bloggers seemed to be better or luckier until I found out the backstory. There is always a backstory. There is always a price for every success. It’s easy to hide online. To hide pain behind smiles or cute cat videos. It’s not worth being jealous of any blogger, person or cat. That includes me.
So, here I am standing at a precipice about to jump into the void. There is no turning back. I may stand wavering for a bit at the edge but I will have to take that next leap into the unknown soon. The decision will determine and define my identity. If I’m not in the cat blogging world any more, who or what am I? Ironically, I never wanted to be a blogger. I wanted to be a writer, an author and blogging helped bridge the two. I’m a published author now but so what? Blogging snatched precious time away from book writing and drove a wedge into my creativity. I have a dozen incomplete writing projects collecting dust to show for it.
- Blogging lesson #99. If you want to be an author: WRITE don’t blog. And if you’re already a writer don’t get bamboozled into writing a blog because someone said it’s a good way to grow your platform. You’d be better off guest posting at another blog. Stick to one social media platform and master it.
- Blogging lesson #188. If you’re sitting on the fence about blogging for the hell of it, don’t bother. The world doesn’t need another blog unless you’re Seth Godin’s clone. If so, please do. If you have an interesting pet, hobby or lifestyle do Instagram instead. Curate things you love to write about on Pinterest.
- Blogging lesson #57. Blogging is addictive. Don’t be fooled by the dopamine reward hits. Wow, I hit my first 10,000 blog views or wow, 100,000 monthly views bing, bing, bing. Aw, aren’t I loved getting 50 comments. I must really be loved if the comments aren’t from fellow bloggers. Bing, bing, bing. Maybe you are a rockstar/guru after all. Maybe not. Eventually, none of it matters. There will always be someone with bigger numbers.
- Blogging lesson #8. The Internet is limitless but contrary to motivational quotes, you are not. Know your limits. Set healthy boundaries and goals. I’ve waved dreams of really making a difference to cats good-bye. I know I’ve made a difference and every life counts but my passion cost me my health and almost my life. Yes, really. Now, that’s a book.
- Blogging lesson # 29. Blogging is about creating content online which is virtual reality and often fake. It may have aspects of reality like your words or photos being be printed and held in your hand, for real. Don’t automatically believe anything you see or read online. Chances are it’s smoke and mirrors or Photo-shopped at best.
- Blogging Lesson #171. Don’t expect your fellow bloggers or readers to be real friends. In my book, real friends still require a face-to-face, let’s have dinner, talk on the phone to gradually build a level of trust. I’ve said had to say good-bye to many blogger “friends” over broken trust. That said: there are some bloggers who click and become genuine friends. Count yourself very fortunate to have even one blogger in your niche to call a friend.
I could go on and on but it would lapse into an e-book diatribe about the dark side of blogging and I have enough unfinished projects. Besides, Clyde needs his insulin shot and I need some sleep.
I’m not asking for your support, commiseration or suggestions or God forbid, pity, but I am *waving wildly* with thanks to all my constant readers. I especially want to acknowledge all the long time subscribers who have rode the ups and downs of this long journey. You are the best. Thank you! Without you I would have quit years ago.
If you’d like to know what happens next in my blogging/writing/life adventure, please be or stay a subscriber. Any updates will only happen via email. I’m guarding my energy and will not be able to respond to comments, messages or emails. Thanks in advance. See you (I hope) on the other side of the leap.
With much love and gratitude,
P.S. I’ve been wading through the blog archives, updating SEO, editing posts plus uploading new images. It’s painstaking, time consuming but weirdly satisfying. It’s a useful exercise whether I end up selling the domain (unlikely), re-purposing content or whatever. While digging through individual posts, I forgotten how massive and all-encompassing the body of work is. There is enough content to edit and create more than one book or something entirely new. It’s a lot of housekeeping regardless. There are tons of spam comments to manually pick through and remove (ugh, before we implemented more rigorous anti-spam filters) and then there is the question of what to do with all my social media accounts.
I’ve been virtually a ghost online, tardy returning email, but grateful for my Instagram volunteer admin who keeps things at least @blackcatsofig afloat. A giveaway on Instagram ends this week. It may be the last one ever and it will be a very nice surprise for the winner.
WHAT! Are you still reading? The details of wrapping up blogging life is like the prep work required before taking a long vacation or a organizing a funeral — exhausting. As tempting as it is to drop everything and vanish, it’s not in my Nordic DNA is shirk responsibility. I feel bad enough for not returning many emails.
I’ve changed the blog header to include a photo of Merlin who was there at the beginning of Cat Wisdom 101 and in my life for 21 years. It looks better on mobile that desktop but I got tired of fiddling. The photo above is one of my favorites and a harbinger of change. When I originally posted it, Merlin was still kicking as was the author of the poem, Mary Oliver. Both are now dead and lovely patch of green by Gris Gris’s cat grave is Merlin’s mossy memorial garden.
The mossy wheel of life keeps rolling with or without us.
The cats are all getting old and require 24/7 care which has hampered my health and ability to work. Plus it looks like we will be moving house after 18 years. Where and when exactly is up in the air. My plate is and has been way too full for far too long. Hello, Universe, a miracle would be welcome right about now 🙂
Hang in there, spring is on the way!