Goins, Writer

On Writing, Ideas, and Making a Difference

When to Quit Your Blog & Start a New One

Recently, a blogger emailed me, saying the following:

My blog won’t grow. I’ve followed all the rules and done all the right things. And still, it won’t grow. I’ve tried everything. I feel stuck. What should I do?

I can empathize. I was in the same situation six months ago.

Sometimes, the answer isn’t to try harder. Sometimes, there’s nothing left to tweak. And you’re left with only one, unfortunate option:

QUIT.

Quit

Photo credit: Mike Broatch (Creative Commons)

Nine times out of ten, I would recommend that perseverance is the best strategy for blogging.

But every once in awhile, you need to work smarter, not harder. That’s what I did. And it made all the difference.

How did I build a successful blog? I quit. I stopped doing one thing so that I could do another.

Surprisingly, it only took six months for this blog to quadruple the traffic it took five years to build on a previous one. And I owe it all to quitting.

If you want to know more about how I did that, read this guest post I wrote for Problogger.

But I don’t want to talk about that here. I want to talk about quitting.

When, if ever, is it okay to throw in the towel?

Here are some scenarios:

  • You’ve lost your passion for your subject.
  • People aren’t inspired by what you’re writing.
  • Writing is a chore, and once you’ve done it, you still don’t feel any sense of relief.
  • No matter how hard you try, you just can’t grow. (Assuming, of course, that you’re blogging every day, active in social media, and have some semblance of focus in your writing.)
  • Your blog design is just bad and there’s no way to salvage it.

If you find yourself nodding in agreement to more than one of the above scenarios, that may be a good indicator that it’s time.

Time to start over. Time to quit.

Not for the sake of quitting, of course. But for the sake of beginning something new.

“New” is attractive

Remember that there is tremendous risk and hardship involved in doing something new.

But there is also natural momentum.

It’s easy to get people on-board with a new idea. New ideas are exciting. Even if they’re slightly-rehashed versions of old ones, you will find that an audience rallies around “new.”

We’re drawn to novelty; it’s attractive.

But you gotta do the work

Make no mistake. This will take a great deal of work.

The surge of adrenaline you feel on launch week of your new blog will not carry you through the months (maybe years) of hardship it will take to get back to where you left off with your old blog.

It will be hard. You will need to hustle.

But once you do that — provided that it’s time to quit — you have a road map to follow here.

That said, there are times when it’s not time to quit.

When should you stick with your blog?

Here are some scenarios:

  • You’re burned-out. You need to recover your vision. Remember why you started.
  • It’s only writer’s block. It will pass.
  • You’re just all-around tired. It has nothing to do with the blog. You just need a vacation.
  • You’re experiencing The Dip, not the cul-de-sac. It’s time to persevere, not quit. (Read this book by Seth Godin for more on this.)
  • You’re bored.
  • You’re being criticized, and it’s discouraging you to the point that you think you need to quit. If you have critics, this is good — you not only have people reading you, but you have content worthy of being criticized. Congratulations are in order.
  • People are genuinely moved by what you write, and they tell you so. It may not be as grandiose as you’d like, but you’re changing lives. You should be very cautious of abandoning such a tribe, however small it may be.

Have you ever quit something? Was it the right or wrong choice? How did you know? Share your story in the comments. (Don’t forget to get this book — it’s the best book I’ve ever read on quitting and persevering.)

*Photo credit: Mike Broatch (Creative Commons)

Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links.

About Jeff Goins

I help people tell better stories and make a difference in the world. My family and I live outside of Nashville, TN. Follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or Google Plus. To get updates and free stuff, join my newsletter.

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  • http://chriscornwell.org Chris Cornwell

    I’ve been tempted to do this. After searching and searching I’ve finally given in and starting next week you are going to see the fruits of that searching in the content on my blog. 

    I’ve been avoiding an obvious perspective in my writing. Not sure why but it hasn’t been there over the last few months. Maybe I was trying to be something I’m not. But either way, part of me is tempted to just erase everything I have written over the last 3 years.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Can’t wait. I wouldn’t recommend erasing ANYTHING. That’s not what quitting is. Quitting is moving on, and leaving a legacy at the place you left. It’s not destruction. It’s just admitting that it’s time for a transition. You can still find my old blog if you Google my name (it still gets traffic, and I occasionally contribute to it).

  • http://www.socialmediawannabe.com Todd Lyden

    With 50 billion trillion blogs coming online every other second and only so many eyes that can read them, it is hard to get into the game.

    • http://www.ilovetrancemusic.com Stuart Wooster

      Ever so true Todd, and if the owner does not have focus and a way to stand out that quitting feeling will soon start to kick in sadly.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Indeed. But if you aspire to create something of value that will help people, it’s hard to fail. Quality always rises to the top.

  • http://www.ilovetrancemusic.com Stuart Wooster

    As you mentioned Jeff, there are times to let things go whatever or whoever they maybe. When you do so, if there is a positive feeling generated, then it typically means it was the right thing to do.

    Small example: Ditched my Swype keyboard on my Android phone, instantly got rid of all typos that were being made ;)

  • http://somewiseguy.com ThatGuyKC

    Good advice my friend. I sort of quit when I started Some Wise Guy because my writing was unfocused, traffic was abysmal and I wasn’t inspiring anyone. SWG has been my first venture into real blogging and I’ll never go back.

    Am looking forward to taking it to the next level, but in the mean time I’m just having fun and enjoying the community.

    • http://somewiseguy.com ThatGuyKC

      And I think it’s important that your headline includes “& Start a New One”. It’s not about quitting blogging all together. Just starting fresh.

      • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

        exactly.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Amen. You’re doing great!

  • http://thisismethinking.com/ Darrell Vesterfelt

    Im thinking about quitting my blog, what do you suggest? :)

    • http://about.me/jonfulk Jon Fulk

      you’re joking, right?

      • http://thisismethinking.com/ Darrell Vesterfelt

        i am joking

        • http://about.me/jonfulk Jon Fulk

          *breathes sigh of relief*  :)

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Not.

      • http://thisismethinking.com/ Darrell Vesterfelt

        just joking // I am loving your one word responses lately. It must save a lot of time :)

  • http://helloheady.com Heady

    I have quit a bunch times.  I’m not scared to quit.  But, I always have a plan to start over again.  Andy Stanley talks about NEW bringing momentum.  GO WIN!

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Indeed he does. Love that talk/concept.

  • http://twitter.com/nrushin Nicole Rushin

    A great point. Sometimes we are so afraid of just letting go of something that is draining our energy. The good quitters know when to move on. I have to say – I have done it many times over. I have unfortunately changed the direction of my blog many times over, but I am not afraid to make choices. I just have to be okay with that choice in the end.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      In your case, Nicole, it may be important to resist quitting until absolutely necessary. I don’t think serial quitting is the answer, either. Only sometimes, is quitting the right course of action.

  • Jen Schwab

    I have found myself ready to be done with my blog.  I started it during the deployment prep, and now that it’s almost over, I feel that my writing mission is done.  Time to wrap it up with a few reintegration posts and move on to the next thing!

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      I enjoyed this project of yours, Jen.

  • http://www.changetheworldwithwords.com/ Karen Banes

    I really needed to read this today, especially the very last point. My tribe is small, but they are telling  me that they are moved by what I write, so I should definitely be sticking with them, right?

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Yes. Size is no match for impact.

    • http://www.dberruti.blogspot.com Deb.

      I’m with you, Karen . . . they may be small, but they are loyal.

  • Mbetters

    Make sure that you suffer the “drag” a little bit before choosing to quit.  It’s always roughest before reaching the eye of the storm.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      I agree

  • http://twitter.com/elchupacabracr steve wright

    I constantly struggle with this because I never feel like my writing captures my voice.  Its like listening to a recording of yourself; you have to ask yourself, “Do I really sound like that?”

    I have been thinking about trying out some sort of dictation software or maybe a vlog or podcast type of thing, but its so hard to express myself with the written word.  But, I’m too much of a ______ to do it.  (I didn’t want to dirty up the conversation)

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Steve – let the colorful words fly. ;)

      Something I’ve learned about voice is that your writing voice is different from your speaking voice. You need to honor each one in its own way.
      That said, not all media are created equal. You may very well be more of a podcast guy than a writing blogger. Or you may just need to practice more. ;)
      My sense is that we need more ____’s writing honestly. So please don’t hold back. We need your voice.

  • http://www.susiefinkbeiner.wordpress.com Susie Finkbeiner

    Blogging is still a relatively new thing to me (I know, I’m behind). I’m on my second blog and am seeing the difference and growth. Switching to a more “me” design helped, too.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      cool

  • Keith Jennings

    So glad to see you recommend Seth’s book, The Dip.  There is an art and science to blogging.  The art is driven by our maturity, experience and instinct.  The science is driven by the data, dashboards and experiments we analyze.

    The tension is figuring out which (art or science) is right in any given circumstance. 

    I wrote a popular blog in the healthcare space, while my little arsty blog (Keitharsis) had six subscribers…two of which were me and one was my wife.  But I knew my “successful” blog had hit a cul-de-sac, while my artsy blog had great potential.

    I sure wish I had this post back then!  It would have saved me much frustration and energy!

    Great, great post, Jeff!

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Thanks, Keith. I used to chase the science, now I’m embracing the art. The results are surprising.

  • Jeff

    I stopped mine back in April. I had started with a direction and after about a year of inconsistent effort I just lost the vision. Then a job change and a partial relocation. There was never much of a following. Nor did I attempt to assess it. Now I find things I want to say but throwing it into the old theme just doesn’t thrill me. I’m drawn to pagelines for a clean fresh look. But what do I do with my previous meandering content? Delete it? Archive it. Consign it to the waste land of my USB hard drive? I feel I can’t move forward until it’s clean? Interested in your thoughts.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      If it’s relevant, re-purpose it on the new blog (with some edits and updates). I’ve done that.

      • Nikao

        Thanks. I was leaning that way so I’ll take your advice as a confirmation.

        • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

          I’m a fan of that strategy.

  • http://www.yTravelBlog.com/ yTravelBlog

    Great advice. I felt like quitting last week after a post I wrote went down a path I really hadn’t intended. Bummed me out for a bit, but I knew it was just a temporary pause designed for me to rethink a couple of things. Now I am back on track.
    I think the quitting is really when you give it up altogether. Sometimes you just have to give up the things that don’t work and redesign a few things to make it work

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  • Anonymous

    Good post Jeff, I’ve been struggling with almost the exact same problems and have gone as far as starting a new blog with a new brand, etc. It isn’t easy but some times it is definitely worth it.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      agreed

  • http://www.FluentBrain.com Matt Tanguay

    I quit a relationship – and that was the best thing I could have done ;-)

    I’ve grown with the lessons I learned, and I feel much better now.

    My blog is fairly new – I’m still at the initial content and community building phase. 

    If I get to the burn-out phase, I’ll do what you suggest – find my passion, the reasons why I started in the first place.

    Good article.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Sounds like you’re on a good track, Matt. All the best!

      • http://www.FluentBrain.com Matt Tanguay

        Thanks Jeff :-)

        2011/8/24 Disqus

  • http://www.i95dev.com Henry Louis

    Would like to contradict here. When a blog is running successfully why quit it & start a new one from scratch? It requires a lot of effort again but if you are game for it then one could definitely take the risk!

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

       Like I said, 9 times out of 10, I suggest that you don’t do this, but sometimes you have to quit. You have to start over, because you no longer have any joy in what you’re doing. When you start over, there is a lot of energy and passion. You can use this to your advantage and build a larger audience. When you care more about something, you’ll create better work. And people will notice.

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  • http://jnnfr271.blogspot.com/ Jen

    Hmmm…still debating whether to start a new blog or just take the old one in a new direction.  I’ve noticed increasing traffic from search engines even though I’ve posted nothing in months and barely anything in the months before that.  Maybe I shouldn’t quit it just yet…     

    • http://jnnfr271.blogspot.com/ Jen

      I thought this comment didn’t post.  Maybe it’s time for a faster, less frustrating  computer! 

  • http://jnnfr271.blogspot.com/ Jen

    So if I’ve noticed increasing traffic from search engines even though I’ve posted nothing in months, maybe I should just take the old blog in a new direction instead of starting a new one.  This is a tough decision indeed. 

  • Michelle Adams

    Challenging…I wonder if combining two would be a good fit. Then when I have a block for one topic I will have something available for the other. I guess the question is can you merge two blogs as one and it works? More questions…

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