Nourishing Flourishing

One Year Later.

12 Feb

To say, “It’s been a while!” would be kind of an understatement, eh? I have literally hundreds of comments and emails I am behind on responding to, and my blog in general needs a great deal of spring cleaning! Firstly, I sincerely hope that my absence was not interpreted to be a dismissal of your readership; I can’t tell you how much I appreciate all the kind emails and messages I received during my blogging break. I am so grateful to be connected (albeit it in a virtual format for now) with so many wonderful people (that’s you). I had hoped to be posting on a semi-regular basis during grad school, but ultimately, I just needed to step back for a while. I’d like to give you a (rather lengthy, visually unappealing) explanation of what led to to this, if you’d like one. (And if not, that’s ok! Recipes will come in time.) This might give you a sense of what to expect in the year to come.

As some of you noticed, after I began the blog last year around this time, I went from blogging daily to every-other-day, to a couple times a week, and this trend continued until I finally pulled the plug for a few months. I know some of you have asked if there is something more than just grad school/work/life events that influenced this, and I want to be frank and say yes, most definitely. I’ve had this blog up for about a year now (maybe even exactly a year, actually!), and I’m really thankful to have had the past couple months to reflect on how it’s grown and changed over that span, and how I’d like to see it continue to evolve.

When I first started blogging, I was trying to put this site “out there” as much as possible. I quickly learned that leaving comments on more popular blogs’ posts would pique interest in that blog’s readers, who would then click the link to my blog and see who I was. I also went from having no social media, to a Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. I noticed how my readership skyrocketed (at least, comparatively) the more active I was in all these areas. It added many more little facets to my life and schedule!

And I kind of hated it.

I had to be on the computer constantly. And much of what I spent my time doing didn’t really matter to me. Important things were neglected. Instead of being outside hiking or doing the other activities that nourish flourishing in my life, I was in front of a screen, trying to do what a “good blogger” does — networking, reading lots of other blogs, leaving comments on them, tweeting frequently, etc. (Note that interacting with you all through email and such is absolutely not included in this category — it is very fulfilling to connect with you!)

All that busyness and frequently superficial interaction was draining — it takes a lot of effort for my type of personality. I am a very simple person; I thrive on minimalism, and focus. I love close-knit community, and interacting with people in personal ways. I like depth, not breadth. I’m also not a fan of being in front of a screen of any kind much. As a result, social media and much of the blog-world generally overwhelms and overstimulates me – everything happens quickly, with a lot of enthusiasm, and on a mass level. This makes my life feel crowded, chaotic, and complicated.

Honesty is at the top of my list of values, so I’m going to be transparent, especially for the many of you who have emailed me about what it’s like to operate a blog. “Putting the blog out there” by zealously commenting on some blogs I didn’t really care about, or tweeting constantly without much purpose, etc., was a very uncomfortable experience for me. That lifestyle does not jive at all with the above-mentioned characteristics that make me who I am. I felt like I wasn’t being genuine, because let’s get real — I often wasn’t. Who really cares about another picture of oatmeal? And yet I was leaving comments on others’ blog posts that were pretty much just a picture of oatmeal. I kept trying to fit a mold that didn’t reflect my vision for this blog. I was forcing it, because I didn’t want a blog I’d worked really hard on to just fall into the anonymous sector of the internet, without much significance. I assumed the more people who read my blog, the better it must be.

After the second blogging conference I went to, I accepted a very unsettling realization that had been dawning on my for a while: most of the blogging world is… ridiculous. Some of the most popular blogs are without significance. And some of the best blogs, by contrast, are under the radar. The factors which determine whether a blog is read by many or few consists of a lot of name-dropping, link-dropping, snuggling up to “bigger” bloggers, technodrama, being constantly connected to social media, and luck. There are millions of blogs out there, and often the ones that are viewed as successful (i.e., have a huge readership and probably serve as a primary source of income for the blogger) do so merely because they showed up at the right time, not because they are continuously relevant. (Of course, I don’t mean to imply that there are no blogs, etc., that are meaningful or useful — just some!)

I have never had the intention or desire that my blog will blossom into something “big”. But somehow I got caught up in trying to make sure my blog simply stayed on the radar, and I burnt out. I must confess that I really don’t want to be in front of a screen more than I have to. I just want to put my recipes and experiences out there in the hopes that someone finds them helpful — that was actually why I started the blog in the first place — thanks to requests for recipes and (non-medical) advice on healthy living from relatives and friends.

This is but a humble blog with a humble purpose. To achieve that purpose, I really had to stop being a hypocrite and nourish flourishing in my life by prioritizing real, non-virtual activities and relationships. Honestly, I don’t read blogs consistently anymore; I visit two or maybe three to get recipe ideas on occasion, but that’s about it. I have been detoxing my time and brain space from all the superflua out there (and goodness knows, in this tech era, superflua abounds), and it feels awesome.

So… I shan’t be as present online as I was when I began this blog. I will be trying to post as much as I can, but I am also realistic enough to admit that grad school + work + relationships/family does not = a ton of time for blogging.  I’ll try to be consistent by posting a couple times a month at least, and always on a Sunday.

Part of the reason I’m sharing all this is because I know some of you are feeling overwhelmed.  Maybe it’s not blogs as much as it is some other internet/TV/smartphone/etc. habit that eats up a lot of your time. I can only say that I have benefited so much from taking a step back and reevaluating the economy of my time, if you will — how I spend and invest my time, and whether it’s beneficial or detrimental to my personhood and goals. I have cut out the stuff that doesn’t produce good things in my life, and continue to ask myself what activities are really helping shape me into the person I want to become, and what’s distracting me and eating up my time and energy without good reason. So, if you are thinking about a technology detox — go for it. And that includes Nourishing Flourishing! Unplug from all, or some, and see how (or if) it changes you. Then assess next steps.

Finally, here’s to another year of blogging, hopefully one that is better than the last, and filled with even more lessons and recipes!

Much love to you. Thanks for reading.

<3

Do you feel like your philosophy on technology has changed over the past year?

P.S. If you emailed me and haven’t received a response, please let me know!

P.P.S. I do not plan to respond to all the comments that have built up over the past few months; for that, I sincerely apologize. If you asked a question, I will try to get to it as soon as I’m able. I will continue to do my best to respond to comments from henceforward, I just won’t be backtracking on everything from November ’til January. Thanks for understanding!

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57 Responses to “One Year Later.”

  1. Matt @ The Athlete's Plate February 12, 2012 at 5:12 pm #

    So you’re back? YAY!

  2. Rande McDaniel @ The Vegetable Centric Kitchen February 12, 2012 at 5:25 pm #

    Yes!! Thank you so much for posting this, I’m new-ish to the blogging world and have definitely noticed it. I try to do my best to leave comments when I think something is really great and not just say something because I think it will lead people to my blog (so easy to do and so tempting). Your transparency is beautiful, I’m seeing more and more authentic posts out there and it’s so refreshing so thank you for sharing. I look forward to what you do choose to post, I’d imagine it will be only the best quality!

  3. Cynthia (It All Changes) February 12, 2012 at 5:44 pm #

    Thank you so much for this! Stepping back from my twitter tether and not indulging in Pintrest has found me exploring my town and enjoying coffee shops. Movie nights with Hunni & reading blogs I enjoy instead of those just to get hits.

    If I lived in Boulder I’d enjoy every bit of the outdoors I could as you have.

  4. Sheri February 12, 2012 at 6:22 pm #

    I want to say that I truly appreciate your very frank discussion of the blogging topic. My family and friends have been telling me I should start a blog for similar reasons to those you mentioned. However, I feel the same apprehension that you discussed and have become frustrated by all the overly ecstatic superficial praise I’ve seen flying around between blogs. I’m so glad you acknowledged that a lack of interest in our overabundance of technology allows us to be involved in our real (not virtual) lives the way we should. I will always follow your blog because I find you to be such a lovely “real” person and I thoroughly, genuinely enjoy every uplifting post (not to mention your amazing recipes).

    • Katie @ Nourishing Flourishing March 18, 2012 at 5:40 pm #

      Thank you Sheri! I hear you. And you are the kind of reader that makes me delighted to blog when I do! Really, thank you.

  5. Sarena (The Non-Dairy Queen) February 12, 2012 at 7:21 pm #

    I could not agree more! I’m so glad to hear from you even if it is few and far between. I had a time when I got all caught up in the social networking mess, now I journal for me in the hopes that others can relate and feel assured that they are not alone. When I let go of caring about how many comments I got, I found some amazing friendships. My life, my family and my work are my focuses and blogging comes in second. I really have no interest on pinterest and twitter drives me crazy so I steer clear of it. I do like some aspects of Facebook, but sometimes I just have to get away from it. I’m glad you are well. I’ve thought about you, but I knew life was busy and I figured you needed your space. It’s good to hear from you!

  6. Abby @ Abz 'n' Oats February 12, 2012 at 7:46 pm #

    I love this post so much. I can totally relate that social media can be a total time suck at times. I have also stepped back from how much I have been blogging just to participate in activities I enjoy, spend quality time with my family, study for nursing boards, and job hunt. I used to never leave without my computer and I actually went out of town for 3 days and left my computer at home. It was refreshing to unplug!

    • Katie @ Nourishing Flourishing March 18, 2012 at 5:38 pm #

      Thanks Abby! I hope the nursing boards and job hunting are going/went well! I love, love, love taking a break from phones and the internet. So freeing.

  7. Evan Thomas February 12, 2012 at 8:25 pm #

    I can only imagine how hard they’re working you in grad school. I’m barely getting through readings this semester.
    I totally understand the pressure to always feel like a bigger blogger; at times it’s almost too much. At the end of the day, most of my favorite blogs would be considered “tiny” and are run by people who work other jobs. And it amazes me that they’re able to balance it all so beautifully. I can’t wait to hear more from you, even as infrequent as it might be.

    • Katie @ Nourishing Flourishing March 18, 2012 at 5:37 pm #

      Evan, you are so great. Grad school is definitely a challenge, but I think I’m at a point where I just can’t stress as much anymore; I kind of maxed out last semester! Ha. I agree; I am done with reading most of the big blogs that are just… vapid (despite being the blogger’s “full-time job” — what?). Your blog is one that I think deserves all the attention it can get. You are good at what you do, my friend! Hope you are well, and that Classics isn’t weighing you down too much.

  8. Ashley @ Ashley's Green Life February 13, 2012 at 4:18 am #

    Great post Katie! I can totally relate. Although I would love to get my blog out there more and be one of those “big blog” with thousands of followers, sometimes I’m glad I’m not. My mere 86 followers is maybe all that I need. Your post really put things in perspective. I will probably come back and read it again and again. Thanks for letting me know I’m not the one who realizes there’s more to life than commenting, reading, and tweeting about blogs…especially about pictures of oatmeal. ( :
    Thanks again for your post.

    • Katie @ Nourishing Flourishing March 18, 2012 at 5:24 pm #

      Thanks Ashley! You are definitely not alone — there are more of us waking up to how empty all that junk is; I am completely over the social media IV I was hooked up to for a while, and I never want to see another photo of oatmeal again in my life. I hear you, sister! xo.

  9. Hannah (Balancing on Two Feet) February 13, 2012 at 4:23 am #

    Katie,
    I couldn’t agree more with all that you wrote above. I started my blog because I enjoyed it. Trying to do everything to make it big sucked that away and made it more work. I stopped living my life so much and was tethered to my computer.

    I hope school is going well. I will look forward to your posts!

  10. Caitlin February 13, 2012 at 5:30 am #

    i really appreciate you honesty. i agree with everything you said. blogging is so much more than just “blogging”, it’s networking which requires HOURS and HOURS of time. i also feel that many bloggers are ridiculous. it’s a shame..

    i look forward to your upcoming posts ;)

    • Katie @ Nourishing Flourishing March 18, 2012 at 5:20 pm #

      I agree; I’m done wasting my time doing the ish I don’t want to do, and reading those blogs that are devoid of meaningful content. It’s true, it is a shame! Glad to have you as a reader, Caitlin. xo!

  11. meghan February 13, 2012 at 6:29 am #

    amen, homegirl. there are blogs that i follow that leave me feeling incredibly inspired and ready to take on the world and others that have me thinking, “wait, did i just waste my time reading that? who the hell cares what you eat for lunch EVERY day?!” you’re on to something. definitely better to post when you feel inspired to share something meaningful and worthwhile to you. loved this post. it really mirrors a lot of the thoughts i’ve been having lately about technology. love a good hiatus… i find that the only way to achieve balance sometimes is to remove yourself completely and start from scratch.

  12. Maryann February 13, 2012 at 7:35 am #

    I totally respect you for what you have done and agree too much technology out there. Having said that my son just got a promotion as a senior engineer for all mobile devices. He does not live at home but I am in contact with him a lot. So with me it is with me no matter what and we own a small business so we have to have email and a FB page. I don’t twitter but have an account. I will look forward to any recipes or input you have whenever it pops up and thank you for just being you!

  13. Amy February 13, 2012 at 3:59 pm #

    Oh thank GOD somebody said it!! I’m not a big shot, and I’m just learning how to do all this social media/blogging stuff, but I totally feel ya! I don’t comment or post nearly enough (and look, you can see by the way I mentioned it that there is guilt involved). All of this is so time consuming…Though I do enjoy it, it is really draining and I find it hard to stay on a consistent schedule. I am off to Brazil to get some fresh air–I need it!

  14. Jane February 13, 2012 at 4:38 pm #

    Thank you so much for writing this and your honesty .. I’ve been struggling with some of the same things you write about. I’m kinda new to blogging, kinda want to get out there, but want to be real to myself too! It really is a balance! I will look forward to your posts!

  15. peacebeme February 13, 2012 at 5:09 pm #

    Good for you for finding the blogging method and philosophy that works for you. I am totally in agreement and my blog story is very similar!

  16. Chris February 13, 2012 at 5:35 pm #

    This is why I love you, Katie. I think you might be my long lost daughter (kidding), but I am old enough to be your mother and you nailed what I recently experienced at the 1 year anniversary of my blog. I have had to do that same evaluation.

    Took a month off when I had to move (not a pleasant move at that). I found life again. Plus, as I told my readers, my blog is not my only focus. I just released a kids story app for the iPad called The Prisoner of Carrot Castle. Debuted on the App Store on Friday. It took a year to develop with my team of three. The app’s focus is to encourage kids to make healthy eating choices in a subliminal way through creative storytelling. Kids become involved through animations, interactivity and sounds.

    That’s what I really want to do, Influence Young lives for a hopeful, healthy future.

    • Katie @ Nourishing Flourishing March 18, 2012 at 5:02 pm #

      Thank you so much, Chris. I hope you have great success in your goal — I know it’s your passion, and I’m grateful that you are working so hard at it! Much love.

  17. Alisa February 13, 2012 at 8:48 pm #

    You are so wonderful Katie, and I’m glad you are back! And, I’m really glad you won’t be posting all the time. I love what you post, but have to unsubscribe from people who do blog posts daily because I just can’t keep up and it causes too much stress!

    I haven’t been back to a conference since I met you in Boulder, and have no plans to attend them going forward. I found exactly the same thing. A few months ago I had to take a step back to figure out this whole thing, as I couldn’t stand the whole social networking game either. I’m readjusting now and trying to find my way back to the meaningful posts that got me started so many years ago. Thanks for helping to keep things in perspective and for being honest!

    • Katie @ Nourishing Flourishing March 18, 2012 at 5:00 pm #

      Alisa, you are so lovely. I sure hope you’ll come back to Boulder soon. ;) I doubt I’ll ever attend a conference again, either. It was great to meet people at both I went to, but it was also very sobering. I appreciate your transparency in this comment, and in person. I hope we can both find balance again — social media and everything else that goes with blogging is absolutely dizzying. Glad we were both able to regain focus on what matters! Hope you are well, dear! <3

  18. Pure2raw twins February 13, 2012 at 8:53 pm #

    so happy to hear from you! it is kind of weird, because just the other Lori and I were just talking about you. How we have not seen a post from you in awhile. Totally understand about being overwhelmed!! there are days when I am beyond overwhelmed that I freak out. I do not know what to do, haha. But like you said I just love being able share my experience and recipes, and hope it is helping someone.

    • Katie @ Nourishing Flourishing March 18, 2012 at 4:56 pm #

      Aw, thanks for thinking of me! I really don’t know how you guys do it all. I’m glad to hear you know why you blog, and that it’s rooted in helping people. That motivation definitely shines through on your blog!

  19. Gretchen February 13, 2012 at 10:00 pm #

    AMEN!!! You said it so well. I LOVE what I do over at Veggie Grettie, but there are times when I feel like I am treading water just trying to keep-up with all of the social media AND all of the product review requests that come through my inbox.

    I seriously had 136 new messages come in while I was taking a 45 minute pilates plus class today. Sometimes makes it hard to breathe.

    It would be nice if the blogging were JUST about the blogging…I have been trending a lot more toward that, because that is what I love. Blogging and connecting with people…not products.

    • Katie @ Nourishing Flourishing March 18, 2012 at 4:54 pm #

      Ah, yes — if only blogging were simple like that! :) One day, perhaps. I agree; connecting with people is what matters most to me! Hope you are well. xo.

  20. Jasper @ crunchylittlebites February 14, 2012 at 11:51 am #

    Hi there KAtie! I think I found your blog from OSG but anywhoo, I appreciate what you write and even while you were “gone” I got to catch up on your older posts :D

  21. Dawn February 14, 2012 at 2:57 pm #

    Let me just say awesome! What a lovely and so appropriate blog post. I wanted to let you know that I love love love your recipes, and that I don’t care how often you post. I get lost when the blog posts keep coming from blogs I’m subscribed to. I just don’t have time to keep up with it all. I have been thinking of taking some of them out of the queue, but not yours. I’ve gotten so many yummy eats here! ;)

  22. The Hippie Health Nut February 16, 2012 at 1:18 pm #

    Love it, and I couldn’t agree more. Detox all you need. I enjoyed your blog before and I’ll continue to enjoy it whenever you feel like getting your blog on. :)

  23. sarah February 16, 2012 at 6:14 pm #

    I completely agree, and I am happy to see someone to be so honest about this. People may be puzzled by GOMI, but this is pretty much the reason it exists…blogging is a great platform, and there are some wonderful blogs out there, but they aren’t normally the blogs that get the most attention. I look forward to an occasional blog from you as a rare treat now, which is much better than daily fluff :-)

    • Katie @ Nourishing Flourishing March 18, 2012 at 4:50 pm #

      Thanks, Sarah. I agree — the blogs I prefer tend to be less popular (perhaps because they lack the ego, or superficiality, or entitlement, or blind defensiveness, etc. of others…). Honestly, it seems kind of unjust that the ones that “succeed” are usually fairly vapid. But I guess that’s life, right? Always grateful to have you as reader; you make me happy to be blogging. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  24. Kathy W. February 17, 2012 at 9:16 pm #

    Katie, you are one smart lady. Life is to short to spend it on things that do not enrich and nourish. I am just thankful that you are alright. I will continue to check your blog and look forward to the posts you feel important enough to share. Thank you for just being you.

  25. Erin @ Big Girl Feats February 19, 2012 at 4:10 pm #

    I love youuuuuuuuuu! This is just another reason why! xo.

  26. Hanna @ A Chai Kind of Day February 20, 2012 at 9:50 am #

    I just came across your blog today, and I was so glad to see this post. My own blog is kind of on hiatus because not blogging, but all that goes along with it (commenting, Twitter, ets…) seems so overwhelming combined with my college work.

    I haven’t even left a comment on any blog in months, but I felt that I should thank you for the inspiration. I agree- I think quality posts are better than the quantity of networking you can do. And when I find one like yours, with a writing voice to which I actually relate, I know it’s worthy of bookmarking. :)

  27. Jen February 27, 2012 at 8:09 pm #

    So refreshing to hear honesty and a desire to connect with real life and real relationships – not just cyberspace en masse. Thank you for being transparent and for the reminder to me of my reason for blogging too. It’s easy to feel weighted down in today’s techno world, but it makes simplicity more attractive and important to me. I never want my kids to feel second fiddle to my blog. Thanks so much for this post.

    • Katie @ Nourishing Flourishing March 18, 2012 at 4:40 pm #

      Thank you so much, Jen. I know that I could make the choice to just live in the cyber world, and it would be, in some senses, an easy choice — my blog would be much more popular, etc. But quantity of visitors isn’t the goal — just good readers like you make the little time I do get to put into the blog very worthwhile. I agree that simplicity is at the top of my list. I so appreciate you sharing your thoughts!

  28. Jason Makowsky March 20, 2012 at 7:52 am #

    Katie,

    Tessa sent me your blog because of my recent GF lifestyle change (at midlife mind you, I’m 39 now). Thanks for making this, it is more like reading a trans-formative journey than a food-blog. Cool. Glad to see you living out loud in Boulder. I work here at Naropa University now (Arapahoe & 22nd), would love to hear some of your favorite local places to buy and eat. Keep up the good work.

    Jason

  29. andrea devon March 21, 2012 at 12:34 pm #

    I totally understand. I too want to be a ‘good blogger’ but it IS seriously exhausting. Good for you for finding time for yourself… the blog is what it is, and I will still be reading!

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