the rebirth of slow blogging (and a new direction).

 

“If you’re having difficulty coming up with new ideas, then slow down. For me, slowing down has been a tremendous source of creativity. It has allowed me to open up — to know that there’s life under the earth and that I have to let it come through me in a new way. Creativity exists in the present moment. You can’t find it anywhere else.”
-Natalie Goldberg

 I’ve shared before my history of blogging – how it began in 2001, the early days before social media and platforms and curation and all the catch phrases that often appear in our inboxes each morning, promising endless Internet fame. And it’s funny how I can look back and see emerging themes and thought processes for every year I’ve been blogging. I hadn’t realized how much this blog has changed until I look at this post in chronological order. And I see it so clearly, the evolution of it all.

And if this is true, if I continually re-invent myself in some small way each year (whether intentionally or not), then I want 2013 to do the same. And in 2013, I want my blog to come full circle. I want to return Design for Mankind to its roots: of thought, of thoughtfulness.

We live in a world of more; this much is obvious. More things, more information. More time-saving tricks we use to find the time to uncover even more time-saving tricks. We live in a world of Pinterest, where visual images shoot out like firehoses of pretty, manifesting themselves in the parts of our brain we reserve for planning elaborate feasts and fetes. We have hundreds of RSS subscriptions to blogs creating amazing tablescapes and Halloween costumes and DIY floor lamps. And we take it all in, bookmarking each project for future use when “someday” is finally today.

Yet friends, I fear that someday will never come. Because there will continually be more to do, to see, to buy. And our someday file will slowly become outdated with a new sea of ideas and thoughts promising to fulfill our lives in ways we never dreamed possible.

I want less. I want less for this site; I want less for my life. I want to return to the days when I didn’t feel the need to “keep up” with the Internet. Where less truly was more, where editorial calendars didn’t exist and the words “I should totally blog this” were never uttered.

I miss the days when blogging itself was my muse. When the simple act of sharing something I stumbled upon was the joy itself, rather than a frenzied race to click link after link in hopes that I’ll have discovered something truly amazing.

There is more noise, and my ears are tired.

This year, one of my personal resolutions is to live a slower, more thoughtful (meaningful?) life. Less travel, more adventure. Less work, more challenges. And I need this to translate into all areas of my life: Less blogging, more learning. Less links, more inspiration. Less projects, more processes.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be taking time off to enjoy my family, friends and this beautiful holiday season. And when I return in 2013, a new Design for Mankind will be greeting us.

I encourage you to add the site to your RSS feed, as posts will be much more infrequent in this coming year. Instead, they’ll be more heavily curated and story-driven, harking back to my first love: writing. And I am thrilled.

I can’t wait for you to come along. Much love to each of you this holiday season; I wish you many moments of slowness.

XO,
Erin Loechner

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  • Hooray for you. I’ve been having these same thoughts (not about blogging less) but about the intensity and over-saturation of media, images, things to process. For me, my blog is about decompressing and processing the things I take in. These past six months have been a busy season for me and have given me little room for reflection. Looking forward to that. Looking forward to your new direction too. :)

  • Hi Erin!
    I stumbled upon your blog today while blog hopping and taking in more while secretly wanting less…serendipitous! So today I vow to declutter my blog feeder (with the exception of adding yours ;), and follow less people on pinterest! Thanks for the thoughtful post! I look forward to more…you know, when you’re inspired.

  • Go Erin! I think you’re coming out ahead of the trend– we’re all starting to burn out of the “post post post” mentality that blogging has become. We are here for YOU and we want to follow along with your thoughts and interests. Have a wonderful holiday!

  • I’m so excited about this new direction and shift in focus. You’re a wonderful curator but it’s WHO YOU ARE that is so inspiring. I’m looking forward to seeing more of *you* around here. XOXO

  • Ah! Thank God! I was worried and I didn’t know if I’d like where this post was going. ;) I completely agree with you and I look forward to the less frequent but very meaningful posts here in the future! Have a wonderful holiday!!

  • This post made my day! I’ve been wondering whether there’s a way to make slow blogging work, and you’ve really nailed it. Quality over quantity is always more meaningful (for readers and writers) and I love the idea of digging deeper and focusing on storytelling.

  • Reading this first thing this morning was a wonderful way to start my day. You voice so perfectly what I, and I know so many other bloggers, are feeling. Sometimes blogging/social media brings me back to high school when kids felt they had to find some cool thing first but act like it was no big effort, they just happened upon it.I want to slow down internally. I try to remind myself that it is the passion that propelled me into this in the first place and that’s the thing–however I do it–that I need to hold on to.

  • amen, erin. And it’s great to hear a “bigger blogger” say it. For those of us who keep blogs that are more recreational in nature, it’s nice to know that others feel the same way. The world of blogs and visual imagery can be sucha beautiful place but it can make you feel lost as well. In farsi, there is an expression that says “My head is crowded” and it effectively means “I’m busy”. And when you think about the first thing most people say when you ask them how they are, the response “I’m so busy”. Maybe if we were less crowded with all of these things, we’d be a little less busy too. Have a wonderful holiday season, and looking forward to reading along in 2013.

  • How wonderful! I actually felt my pulse slow as I read this. And it rings so true. The past few years I have been thinking quite a bit about simplicity and happiness and mindfulness, and all roads seem to lead to the same place. I hope to dip my toes into the waters of simple mindfulness this year, and look forward to the new energy coming off your blog.

  • I can’t thank you guys enough for the positive feedback already – it’s a pull that I’ve felt for awhile and I’m so very happy to follow my instinct, but it always helps tremendously when there is an outpouring of support to match your sentiments! I’m a lucky girl indeed.

    Big hugs to each of you, and I’ll see you [slowly] in 2013!

    p.s. For those of you that mentioned you’d like to see more ME here, I’m so very flattered to hear that! I haven’t yet decided how prevalent my personal life will be showcased (likely not much), but feel free to follow me on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook for daily Erin snippets. :)

    http://twitter.com/erinloechner
    http://instagram.com/erinloechner
    http://www.facebook.com/erinloechner

  • Erin, I’ve loved your blog for a lot of years, and I’m very excited to hear more of your stories and the meaningfulness behind the art your post! DFM is truly one of my favorites! -Stephanie

  • I am so inspired to read this Erin! I pulled away from reading most sites after my first year of blogging and focused instead on slowly building relationships and celebrating the stories and perspectives of others. It has been the most enriching and affirming experience of my life. I believe in slow food, slow parenting, the joy of taking time in creating something of value to pass on. Slow blogging is a natural evolution of that and I love you have framed it in those words. Thank you for being an inspiration and bright shining light. I look forward to seeing your sparkly wedge of the internet focus in on the core brilliance you’ve always radiated. Slow is beautiful-as are you!

  • I can’t support this move too much, Erin! Bravo, bravo, bravo.

    Though it’s a little embarrassing to admit and I feel a little guilty saying this, I will actually be *resubscribing* to your RSS now that I know your new strategy / focus. It’s been really hard for me over the years to see some of my favorite blogs explode and know that I basically have to stop reading them because of content overload. There can be too much of a good thing!

    This is definitely a personal issue of mine, but if I commit to reading a voice I love (yours included), I feel a compulsion to be a completist – to read everything they write, to invest myself personally in their stories. When sites begin to post 5, 6, a dozen times a day, there’s just no way I can keep up. For my personal sanity, I’ve had to unsubscribe and keep up tangentially via Twitter or Facebook. And the experience is just so different.

    I’m really hoping this gives you more pleasure and inspiration with regards to your writing because I know how important it is to personal satisfaction. You are so skilled and such a pleasure to read. I welcome a return to a depth of content and a depth of emotion in the blogging world and really hope others follow suit. I’m really looking forward to the slow-down!! <3

  • Love this!! Inspiring and so real, happy holidays to you and your sweet family – excited to read your rebirth in 2013!

  • Erin, I’m crying right now. Probably because I’m a mess of bundled emotions and exhausted. I stayed up till 1:30 am finishing my posts last night for Disney and my own site so that I could take next week off because I just need a break. It shouldn’t be that way. I know that. While I’m appreciative of my “job” so much at DB, I shouldn’t struggle to get out my posts because in the mean time I’m trying to create DIY projects and edit photos and come up with “pinnable” content so that I can keep up my stats. I see fellow mom bloggers hire contributor after contributor to create this content and I think to myself, How will I ever be able to compete with that? I guess there’s no wrong way to blog, but to me, this doesn’t seem like the right way, for me anyhow. And seeing someone I respect so much sort of feel the same way, makes me feel all sorts of validated :) Much love to you sweet lady and I can’t wait to hug you at Alt!

  • @Jill – I commend you for saying this, Jill! Thank you for being so honest. It’s funny – I’ve unsubscribed from so so many blogs for this very reason, keeping abreast on their latest on Twitter instead. I think this is much more normal than many of us admit. :)

  • @Andrea – Ha, I had this very conversation with my husband last week. I was talking about how I simply couldn’t manage a lot of time off for the holidays this year, and then – midsentence – I thought, “Wait a second. I’m my own boss.”

    It’s funny how often we forget that our guidelines for blogging are 100% self-imposed, dictated by other bloggers who we deem worthy of the proper model. It’s my hope that we can all sort of allow ourself the freedom to find a way to blog that works for us – whether professional, nonprofessional, slow, fast, visual or not. I think it can be done!

  • I’ve been pretty vocal the last week about our need to slow down and look outside our own glass boxes, and I have received push back for my stance. It’s so refreshing to read someone in your position feels the same way. Like Andrea said (she’s also been getting push back) it’s validating.

    Much luck to you in 2013. You have gained a new subscriber.

  • Is it weird that this made me tear up? YES. YES. I’ve decided that after tomorrow, I’m taking a break until the new year, and yesterday, I wrote in my journal that I wanted less: to slow down, to worry less about what’s going on and how to keep up online, to be more and better. I am slowly coming back to my passions and joys and I want to do more of that. Thank you for this, Erin. You inspire so much. xoxo

  • You have every ounce of my support, love and encouragement, Erin. I really admire you for making this decision, and it makes me really excited for what’s to come. xoxox

  • Hmmm… I wonder if this is what the Mayans meant when they predicted the end of an era. Maybe we’re going to be tilting back towards slowing down and resting. I say this because I’ve been contemplating my word for 2013, and I think it will be “breathe”. :-)

  • yes! this was one of the best things you told me way back when. lovely! this is lovely. you’re lovely. as the british say, ‘good show’! happy holidays, erin.

  • Thanks for voicing your new (old?) direction!

    I am writing on my second blog now; my first having been an expat blog that despite being post-less since the summer recieves 10x the pageviews my current little site does. And you know what, I’m totally ok with it. I may be a bit naive to the blogging community as it exists today, but I’m happy to inhabit a small space that doesn’t have to worry about post-frequency/sponsoships/post series….
    Back to basics – I love it!

  • So, so very thrilled to hear this is resonating for so many of you. As someone just tweeted me: “Blogging less means living more.” Amen!

  • Lovely post and sentiment. I’ve had moments this year (my first year of blogging!) when I’ve felt completely burnt out trying to keep up. Keep up with blogging. Keep up with reading blogs. Keep up with creating original content. Phew!

    No matter what it is, when it feels like a chore, it’s time to slow down and pull back and regroup. Like you are doing – going back to what it is that got you excited about blogging in the first place.

    Live first, then blog.

  • It’s so funny and amazing that you posted this today. I was just having an argument myself this morning about this very thing. I feel like I HAVE to post every day (or every weekday at least), even if I have nothing to say. More often than not, the result is crap that I’m not proud of. Crap that isn’t the reason I started blogging in the first place. The writing is.

    It’s nice to know that someone who blogs on a much bigger scale than I do faces the same predicament. You have definitely inspired me to step back and breathe it all in more.

  • Erin, I love this. It’s fascinating to watch the evolution of blogs that I’ve been following for years (yours since 2006 or 2007). I’m loving this new movement to slow down, make things more meaningful. I’ve been thinking a lot about that for my own blog, too, ever since my baby was born a couple of years ago. It’s been a rocky couple of years for my blog, but now I think I’m starting to hit my stride with it again. (Fewer posts, stronger content, getting to the core of what interests me.) Anyways, bravo to you! I’m excited to see where you take this.

  • Hooray for you! I ended up stopping blogging after twitter became very popular amongst my geology friends because it turned from a meaningful sharing of local geology and interesting research amongst a friendly group of people to who could tweet lots of newsworthy links or short geo-quips. Like you, I miss the blog itself being my muse, and I hope to return to it sometime in the nearer future. Thanks for sharing!

  • perfect! this sounds lovely and really, something that so many people are craving~ i’ll be tuning in :) thank you!

  • I look forward to the new style in 2013 and hope you have a wonderful holiday!

    I am with Jill… I had many favorite blogs I read but then most seem to explode into posting many times a day. I couldn’t keep up, so I kept a list in a “check in with them and get caught up” kind of a way and stayed subscribed to their Twitter feeds.

    With my blog, I don’t carefully watch the numbers, but sometimes I feel like I should check subscribers! traffic sources! increase the number of posts! And when I do, I lose readers.

    But when I return to what is peaceful and calming to me (no pressure), and I leave the blog alone, posting only when I have something of quality to say or run across something I can’t go to sleep without sharing with readers, more people than ever are drawn to my blog.

    All this to say….I’m behind you 100%, Erin!

  • This is a lovely post.
    I have had to take an unintentional change of pace on my 2 blogs these past 4 months.
    At first it was so hard and I missed it, and felt I was missing out on so much.
    But my 4 kids needed me more, my husband needed me more, and even my own body needed me more than my blog needed me.
    After a time it became freeing to not feel this need to blog everything and just get in a post when I could.
    Sometimes weeks between them.
    I also stopped reading most blogs and rarely Pinterest because I don’t have extra time for those myriad of projects, so why spend hours curating boards full of them?
    I have more time now to live with my family, to teach my kids, to work out my body and to cuddle with my husband after the kids are in bed.
    I’m still striving toward a balance which will allow me to write and photograph more, but this has been a good place to start.
    One I might not have taken if I hadn’t been forced to.
    I’ll look forward to those few and far between posts.
    Love from,
    Greta

  • Oh Erin, you have pretty much summed up everything I’ve been thinking and more. Blogging has me so exhausted lately, that I sometimes wonder why I’m doing it! Thank you for this well written post, and good for you. Blog less, live more, and enjoy!!!

  • I’ve been feeling the exact same way. the noise is deafening and has been killing my spirit. I wrote about making my own changes (starting with cutting WAY back on social media) a few weeks ago and I have felt so much more peaceful since. Thank you for going in this direction. It’s something so many people are yearning for. In the midst of big media corporations taking over small personal blogs and redesign after redesign leaving the rest of us to feel utterly inadequate, THIS was a breath of fresh air!

    Here were my thoughts on this issue from a few weeks ago: http://www.camillaleila.com/2012/12/changes.html

    Here’s to a new trend!

  • Balance has been an incredible struggle for me. I’ve thought about this in the last few weeks, and I’ve found what it is that keeps me centered. Now I just need the courage to let things go. I applaud your courage! Also, I don’t know if you remember this, but when we first met I asked you how you found so many cool things so many times a day…and now I’m happier that we’ll get to explore these things with you XX

  • @Roxanna – I TOTALLY remember that. I hope the answer was truthful: “I spend my entire life on the Internet.”

    :)

  • erin, you have always been an inspiration. i’ve always felt you were a kindred spirit, like a long lost friend… perhaps part of me unfolding in what you say. i hope that doesn’t sound weird, just the honest truth. i so admire you for stepping back and being true to who you are – and for finding the purpose of blogging each day. happy holidays, and can’t wait to see what unfolds here in 2013. xo

  • Happy New Year Erin! I’m right with you on this post & thanks for the Goldberg quote, I’m going to use it in a lecture this January with my students.

    x Faythe

  • AMEN to this.

    I was lying in bed reading a book to Cooper last night thinking about ALL I have to do before the holidays and I was SOOOO stressed out. I couldn’t even enjoy that act. I was trying to think of a time when I didn’t feel like I had to do it all…and then of course when I think back, it’s when I didn’t have my blog or email. When I could just be in the present—not checking what’s happening on the internet. When I had time to put into making edible gifts and I didn’t have to show pictures of the process and make sure the lighting was good.

    We don’t even have an advent calendar. When will I ever have a chance to make an advent calendar? And if I do, is it because of my blog or because my kid NEEDS one?! Pinterest is telling me that I need to make an advent calendar!!

    What’s happening is that there is just TOO much ALL the time and something really has to WOW us to stay longer on a website. The pressure is too high, that it’s becoming quantity over quality. And how can we possibly keep up with people who have contributors? I don’t and I CAN’T and I shouldn’t!

    So…Thank you for this. I really hope that in 2013, I’ll be able to work smarter and not harder. Lord knows I need to and I’m sure that everyone will benefit from doing so.

  • @Tracy – I so so so understand and can relate. Here’s to giving ourselves a much-needed respite in 2013 and beyond!

  • This is a post I very much needed. I’m about to have my first child (a girl!) and I’ve spent many nights fretting about the need to cut back…how much life will change (woah, less time for Pinterest and blogging!) but I feel like everything you say here is so true…when you’re thinking so much about the pretty and the someday and the linking, you lose sight of your original goal. For me, it’s always been writing, and I hope to focus more on quality over quantity in 2013, too. Thank you for this post!

  • Good for you Erin! It’s great you want to better yourself and your blog. You are really an inspiration. You can tell you genuinely care about everything you do and only want to create the best. I love your quote and the thought behind all of this. I totally agree with following too many blogs and saving ideas for “tomorrow” sometimes my head feels like it’s going to explode. I’m actually surprised my pinterest account hasn’t exploded! ha! Ironically, I repinned a quote last week, it’s a quote by Buddah — “The trouble is, we think we have time”. We really need to act like today is the only time to get things done. Both online and offline. Best of luck to you and cheers to the new year!

  • You have put words to something that has been running thru my mind for weeks. I don’t want to live my life according to someone else’s online expectations- I want to be able to take a breath and remember I have everything I love and need right in front of me. The internet usually pushes “real life” into a box and calls it ugly, but what’s more beautiful than spending quality time with the people you love instead of a silver screen of “more, more, more”? I applaud you and look forward to a slower 2013!

  • Congratulations Erin. I wish you all of the best in the new year – may it be filled with more adventure, challenge, love, celebration, friends and family.

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