The State of Blogging: It’s No Longer Fun

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    This is kind of a hard post to write but I have a feeling I’m not the only one feeling this sentiment. This isn’t a post that’s ‘woe is me.’ This is basically how I view blogging these days. It’s quite simply: The State of Blogging.

    I’m sure a lot of seasoned and long-time bloggers can agree with me. Food blogging, and blogging in general, is not like what it was 10 years ago. Everything has shifted towards fighting algorithms, writing for SEO, and how to make money fast. We all have hired virtual assistants. If you had told me ten years ago that I’d be hiring an assistant to help me with social media and managing my blog; there’s no way I’d believe you.

    There is barely any authenticity anymore. It’s all writing robotically to make sure your content gets seen. It’s all so over-saturated. I miss the fun in blogging.

    It’s a double-edge sword. You want to be creative and you want to create beautiful, unique content and why? Because you want to share that with everyone. You want to inspire people. How can you share that with everyone with algorithm shifts and Google Panda updates strewn in, what seems like, every other week?

    Continue reading “The State of Blogging: It’s No Longer Fun”

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  • nightsmusic says:

    We’ve raised a society of entitled, instant gratification millennials with zero attention span and even less desire to read anything that takes more than 5 seconds. Their news comes from a media that hasn’t reported a fair and unbiased story in ten years but they believe it all. Many can’t make a decision based on their own research to save their lives, that takes too much thought. You will never please them. Don’t try.

    I don’t blame you for being discouraged. But this is your blog. It doesn’t belong to anyone else and you have every right to post your content as you see fit. I have a friend who blogs regularly on blogspot. No SEO, no ads, no pressure. She does it because she is a writer and it’s her outlet from her writing work. And she’s happy. You need to decide what’s most important to you. Maybe your FB group is more appealing and that’s why it gets more attention from you. There’s nothing at all ‘wrong’ with that! Maybe you need to step away from this blog for awhile. No one can decide that but you. But you should, if at all possible, do what makes you happy and the pressure to pour out content here doesn’t sound like it does right now.

    Life is too short to put yourself into a position where you hate what you do.

    • Julie says:

      Yes, you’re so right that we’ve raised a society of entitled, instant gratifying millennials. It’s sad but that’s what it is. Thank you for your insight; agree that the pressure to put out content isn’t the right thing right now…it’s just not going to be genuine.

  • Nicole says:

    I love your honesty with all of this. I used to read numerous blogs, but stop when they feel too much like a sales ad vs an actual opinion. Just like tv commercials, I don’t really want to see them on something I enjoy reading, I prefer actual honest opinions as well as the ads for things that are thrown in on things that seem to make sense for that blogger, but some you can tell just don’t fit.

    • Julie says:

      Yeah, totally agree with you! It doesn’t help that brands pretty much give you a script these days and tell you what to write. It’s pathetic and the lack of trust is also why I stopped working with them. I agree with you that the balance needs to be there. Thank you for your comment!

  • Leslie Green says:

    And ALL.OF.THIS is the reason that I haven’t blogged in over a year. 10 years of blogging down the drain. I just count keep up with the ever changing blogging world. Sadly it didn’t fulfill my heart anymore and not to mention it was stealing precious time with my family that I will NEVER get back. Yep, I made good money, took dozens of free trips, got cool free stuff all the time and met some amazing people.Shit, I was even on The Food Networks radar at one point. Having an actual 9-5 job AND blogging just doesn’t work anymore, I just count keep up. The blogging world won, it beat me down until I quit! Soooo, I can relate to every word you said!!!! Love you friend!

    • Julie says:

      Ugh, I FEEL YOU. Everything you said. Paid trips, good money…all of that though doesn’t amount to what it’s like these days. I’m thankful for our early friendship because who knows in the blogging world now…would I have even met you?! Love you!!!

  • Ahhhh Julie ! I am so happy you wrote this! I think the blogging world has absolutely changed . As a new blogger I’ve found it incredibly hard to get traction and make real connections with people . I want to teach, share and have real interaction, but it seems the world wants less and less of that and more convenience as you note. I also feel like as soon as I figure things out and see growth, they change things again and I am having to figure it out once more. I still love the work though. I love cooking , taking pictures and sharing. If you hire a ghostwriter – look me up ;). As for me – I am giving it time and thinking about how I can differentiate because you are right – the market is saturated. As for you, I am so happy I met you. I find you authentic , funny and I really feel like we are friends in this internet land. Keep doing what you do and being you, the world needs more of that ;)

    • Julie says:

      I feel bad for new bloggers that are actually real (you) and trying to make a splash. It’s so incredibly hard now and definitely don’t quit your full-time to do this ;) haha…I don’t doubt that you love sharing and inspiring others…I just don’t know if that’s what people WANT?! It seems like they just want the recipe NOW and they don’t care how they get it. I’m so glad we met too. Keep your chin up, my friend! You have the perseverance!

  • Karen says:

    I didn’t find this negative, I found it real. And I want to hear about your life (really!) I mean, I love the recipes, but I also like reading all the other stuff bloggers write. Also, 6 figures? Really?? I had no idea anyone could make that kind of money blogging. No wonder why it’s so saturated. No doubt people look at it as “easy money”. I follow many food blogs and I can tell it’s a lot of work. The good bloggers just make it look easy ;)

    • Julie says:

      Right? I’m sick of the ‘quick and easy ways to make money blogging’ and that’s how it all got so over-saturated. I started this blog because I wanted to share and inspire. Sole purpose. The first year of my blog, I refused to have ads but as traffic got higher, I had to supplement the cost of ingredients and whatnot. Anyway, thank you for writing. I appreciate your insight!

  • Stephanie Hanson says:

    First of all…it’s takes guts to write a post like this. Sometimes it just feels like your job/hobby/life is an uphill battle whether you are a blogger or not. I’ve followed you now for over 5 years and one of the reasons I’ve continued to do so is that you aren’t afraid to be honest and raw, even if that means risking losing followers. I think you are absolutely right that it has become a cutthroat industry where you have to become a digital marketing/SEO guru just to stay relevant. You just do you girl…and the rest of it will fall into place. The relationships you’ve built will remain regardless of whether or not your blog is around – I can assure you of that fact :-)

    • Julie says:

      Aww thank you. I will always be honest and real! Yes, I definitely need to just continue to do me and hopefully everything will just work itself out. I appreciate your friendship and thank you for taking the time to comment! <3 you!

  • Amy @ The Nifty Foodie says:

    A lot of this is why I’ve strayed from blogging. It’s overwhelming, and it’s truly not the same blogging world that I enjoyed being a part of 10 years ago (in the old school, blurry food photos days haha)!

    I honestly don’t enjoy it anymore, but I still can’t let my blog go. I’m hoping to reconnect with it someday – I know I’ve lost readers in the process, but if I can’t enjoy blogging right now, what’s the point?

    • Julie says:

      YES. That’s how I feel. I don’t truly enjoy it anymore but I can’t let this blog go because of all the hard work and years and stories that have encompassed this blog. I don’t think I’m going to walk away totally from this blog…I just think I need a good ole break to refocus and maybe when I come back, I’ll realize this blog isn’t totally worth the pressure to churn out content and just come back refreshed and write when I feel like it.

  • Andrea says:

    Your food blog was actually one of the first food blogs I came across years ago. I think I may have found it via Pioneer Woman ? I think that the world of social media is saturated with sponsored posts and ads, and I do realize that it helps pay the bills, but I like reading food blogs as an escape … to read about how a recipe was passed down from an aunt or how a special dessert got a boyfriend to propose. And then if a recipe sounds good, I’ll actually attempt to make it. I start getting annoyed when every post has irrelevant sponsored content for the “one shampoo that you use all the time and helps get rid of your dandruff … and here’s a recipe for snowflake cookies!” I like when bloggers are up front and honest and when they share receipes and products that they truly believe in. I feel like you are one of them and can understand your frustration. Thanks for asking for our opinions as well.

    • Julie says:

      Omg, that’s so funny you found me via Pioneer Woman! Yep, I agree with you. Some blogs are all just sponsored these days. LOL omg, the shampoo example is spot on. I literally just read a post yesterday that was SO unrelated to blogging/food. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Truly appreciate you reading!

  • Cristy says:

    I’ll confess, I’m one of those people who has scrolled through a post to get to the recipe at the bottom. Usually because I’m in a hurry. But I’ve always assumed that this was my problem, not that of the blogger’s, especially as I’m getting a good, FREE recipe that has been tired out and tested.

    I have a blog that I make zero money off of and get next to no traffic on. And though I still write for me, the truth is the blogosphere is very different than it was 7-8 years ago. I don’t know if it’s due to the options for social media platforms or attention span, but something has been lost. Which is so sad because there was once a period where people blogged with the sole goal of connection, not cash.

    May your break be a healing one. No matter the outcome.

    • Julie says:

      Thank you for your insight! I don’t believe everyone thinks it’s the blogger’s problem but I do get those comments often so it has kind of worn me down and made me jaded. There is definitely something lost; can’t exactly pinpoint it but I feel that the honesty and realness is not there. It seems empty. Thank you for your kind words!

  • Natasha @ Salt & Lavender says:

    You hit the nail on the head with this post, Julie. I’m a newer blogger (3 years in), and even I’m feeling jaded. I’ve been reading your blog forever… I think yours actually might be the first food blog I started following. Anyway, I think it’s hard to argue with anything you’re saying. I started blogging with the hope it could be my full-time job one day. So many people think it’s a get rich quick thing. It’s a slow process for most people as you say. It’s still not my full-time job, I’m in a similar position to you with having a good day job. I won’t lie… as much as I want to go full-time, the idea does scare me for the same reasons you list. This is going to sound totally obvious, but the longer I blog, the more I realize that people don’t want original. The minute I started blogging more mainstream and already done recipes was when I started to see success. I sometimes wonder how the F ANOTHER chicken piccata recipe is doing better than the ones where I feel truly creative… but people like easy and familiar. And it’s been a constant battle learning all the SEO and other stuff you’ve mentioned. I ask myself if I want a passion or a way to make money. And I’m still torn because it’s both! I know no job or business is perfect, but it’s interesting how things look shiny from the outside aren’t always as they seem. I hope lots of people read this post. And don’t get me started on the scrolling thing… it’s a huge annoyance of mine. Like come on people. FREE recipe isn’t good enough? The jump to recipe buttons just piss me off. I do not plan on adding one. Still not convinced they’re better for user experience. Ugh. Anyway, you’re not the only blogger feeling some pain with all this. And I can’t comment on the good ole days of blogging, but I can at least somewhat understand your frustration. Selfishly, I do hope you keep the blog updated, and I love watching your IG stories. I feel like I know you (not in a creepy way haha) and Winston. And the daily coffee pour is a nice distraction for like 5 seconds haha.

    • Julie says:

      YES. YES. YES. People want the same mainstream recipes. When I try to move out of the comfort zone and do something completely mindblowing (in my humble opinion, haha) and think it’ll go viral or whatever…it completely flops. Just like on Instagram; I think a photo will do well but nope. Pizza, cookies, cheesy pasta is what does well. Blows my mind. I understand the easy and familiar sentiment but isn’t that why people read blogs? To get inspired and to try new things?

      I’m sorry you’re already feeling so down about blogging but I won’t lie; it definitely is far different than even 3 years ago.

      I don’t think I’m totally going away, like I mentioned in the post. I definitely do think a long break will be nice. To help me regroup, to help me figure out where to take this blog next. I love that you follow me over on Instagram and interact! That’s the best because I feel like I know my followers that way; the feeling is mutual!

  • Ashley says:

    I’m a long time reader, but not a blogger, and I have definitely noticed the shift. I’ve stopped following a lot of bloggers that stopped blogging about themselves personally. I was initially drawn to their blogs because I could relate in some way. I don’t care about the “10 ways to xxxx” posts they seem to be so fond of now. It sucks!

    Personally, I love your recipes, but I love your personal stories more! I actually read the recipe intro stories and usually skip the recipes unless I’m actually cooking something haha! You introduced me to the 10 step Korean skincare routine (changed my skin!) and lots of other great products. I would love to see more lifestyle stuff on your blog! I hope you stick around, but I get it.

    • Julie says:

      Sigh, thank you for your insight as a reader. Readers who have been around aren’t dumb; they can see the shift. Which is why I’m glad you commented.

      Thank you for your feedback on my lifestyle posts; I definitely am leaning more towards those because I just love sharing with everyone what I’m loving and they could benefit from whatever I’m sharing! I do believe I’ll stick around but a break might be a good thing. To regroup and figure it out again :)

  • Kimberly w. says:

    As a reader of blogs for 7 years, I do see how different things are now. It’s sad. I loved reading blogs! But It’s hard to keep up with SO MANY blogs out there now. I generally go back to those I’ve been reading for years. I know those people are authentic and not doing it for the money. But I do enjoy seeing your life in Instagram stories! That’s the upside of Instagram – You really get the blogger’s feelings and personality.

    • Julie says:

      I agree! That’s why I love Instagram Stories. It’s very real and uncurated. I think that’s what people crave. Thank you for your insight as a reader; it’s tough to see that change and not want to follow along, but I’m really sick of it! Thank you for writing!

  • Riejanne says:

    I totally understand where you’re coming from – I’m in a (sort of) comparable situation. For what it’s worth: I never use a ‘jump to recipe’-button. I’m not in it for the free recipes, I’m actually interested. So – if you decide to take a break and return with less food and more lifestyle-posts, I’ll still be here reading them.

    • Julie says:

      Thank you for your encouragement and feedback! I definitely think there’s a shift coming for this blog after I return from my break but we’ll see what happens. I appreciate you sticking around! <3

  • Stefanie - Sarcastic Cooking says:

    Yep. That’s it in a nutshell. I have been doing this for over 6 years now. I don’t make 6 figures. Truth be told I barely make 25,000 each year. I always hoped this would be my bread and butter but I think once I had kids I realized it wasn’t going to be the be all end all I imagined. I know I could do more SEO, I could schedule more FB posts ahead of time, I could post more links in IG… but I don’t want to. Like Leslie said, time is precious and it’s just not worth it to worry over which hashtag is the right one or my recipes getting seen by the whole world or going viral.
    I think I told you on stories but I just write for the people I know read on a daily basis like my mom and dad and friends. I write like it’s just an inside story for us to laugh at. Aside from adding a SEO intro to each post now, my writing has not changed. That’s the thing I don’t want to ever change. Read it or don’t. I like to think that’s why I had a publisher contact me to write a book. My voice. So never lose your voice. I like hearing from other sarcastic realists!
    I will say only worry is that My readership at least stays the same so I don’t lose my ad network. Even though it isn’t 6 figures, it sure does help the day to day.
    Omg longest response ever…. but there is so much power and joy in saying no. I do think the blogging community in general needs to get on that. Like I don’t wanna look at an entire IG feed of product placement…. that’s what Kim Kardashian is for. We can all work together to change things. I remember the good old days of blog comments and Foodbuzz. It used to be fun. I still deep down inside hope some of that comes back.
    Sorry for all the rambles. Keep doing what you’re doing and keep being authentic. ?

    • Julie says:

      Yeah, I think the older I get, I’m starting to realize all this scheduling, predicting, hoping for the best just ain’t worth the time anymore. I haven’t developed any new recipes in the kitchen for many weeks and you know what? IT FEELS GOOD TO HAVE A WEEKEND. I hope my writing hasn’t changed..I don’t feel it has. I’m still a snarky, sarcastic girl for all I know. I refuse to change that about myself and that’s why readers started following me in the first place, right? To hear my story.

      I agree, I don’t want to lose the ad network or revenue (because, what money isn’t nice) but I’m okay with traffic dipping and just plateauing. Blogging is just a lot harder these days and it’s SUCH A TIME SUCK.

      I love your long response. As I was reading it, I was nodding and say YES a lot. Thank you for taking the time! Good luck to you too in figuring things out!! I’m glad we aren’t alone in the same sentiment!

  • Sherri @ The Kitchen Prescription says:

    I’ve been blogging since MySpace days! I guess in the early days my blog would have been considered a Lifestyle blog. Then when MySpace dried up, I began blogging on WordPress and one day I was looking for some new content and posted a chili recipe I had made. Boom, I was hooked and felt like my blog had direction and purpose. I moved over to WordPress . org and got myself a fancy web host and began food blogging. I never hit the big leagues like some of the other food bloggers.

    If I’m being 100% honest, I felt a lot of the more popular food bloggers were cliquey, but that may just have been some of my own insecurities coming to the surface.

    I too have been frustrated with the SM climb and fall. I really despise SM, but at the same time love it! I do feel that having all the stories like Snapchat, IG, & FB have actually led people away from blogs. As well as food videos. And it’s not just millennial’s, but I think a good majority have a “want it now” mindset.

    Even blog comments have dwindled. If you compare older post comments years ago to what they are now, you can definitely see there is a shift.

    I’ve almost wrote similar post about this subject on my blog and I still may offer my opinion there as it seems I have taken over your comment section with this long post…. Sorry!

    To wrap it up, I almost quit my food blog, but then I had an really horrible accident and was laid up for many months recovering and I began blogging about my recovery. Those posts seem to be doing really well. Go figure. I’m going to continue my blog for the simple reason that I started it. Because I love doing it! Everything else blogging wise can go to hell. I give up on the money part!

    Wish all you bloggers the best!

    P.S. I really enjoy reading your blogs Julie and love your IG stories. I’m very picky about who I follow and watch as there are only so many hours in the day.

    • Julie says:

      Omg, I have been blogging (not on this blog but another) since LiveJournal!!! Gah, ARE WE DATING OURSELVES?! Hahaha

      Yep, 100%. “Big” bloggers only share each other’s stuff. No room for smaller fish. And not all of them are like this but I feel a lot of “big” bloggers only talk to smaller fish when they feel that they can “get” something out of you. I’m a web developer and many “big” bloggers talked to me because I knew what I was doing with coding. Then they disappeared after they got what they wanted. It’s very high school, too. So cliquey. I got into blogging b/c I wanted to share and inspire…not launch myself back into high school.

      Oh yeah, I get ZERO comments anymore (aside from this post haha) and engagement has tanked. People just come for the recipes now and maybe it’s something to embrace but I don’t like it. I’m not a database. Blogs weren’t created to be databases of content. Blogs originally were like diaries, hence LiveJournal.

      Thank you so much for writing and your insight. I’m glad to hear that you are recovering and have found a new reason to blog! Also, I’m glad that I’m one of those few IG stories and blogs that remain on your shortlist. I hope I continue to stay! :)

  • Victoria says:

    I have noticed a slight shift, but I say do whatever works for you. I don’t regularly check many blogs, but yours has been one that I do lately and the reason is because of Instagram.

    I’m on there more than any other SM site and I really enjoy your stories! It’s made me “get to know you better” even though it’s just through messaging on there. I really like how active you are on there and ask for feedback/comments/messages. Makes me feel more welcome to message you without feeling like an Instagram weirdo. :)

    I agree with the convenience thing for sure. It’s amazing what I’ve noticed myself thinking or feeling with certain things. We’ve come accustomed to things that are totally unnecessary!

    • Julie says:

      Haha, I do feel being more upfront and real and UNCURATED on social media is how you really get to know someone. I mean, in real life…I’m not all glitz and glam and perfect. So I totally agree with you!

  • Liz S. says:

    Amazing post. I had a successful blog from 2007-2011, and I’m glad I stopped when I did. Blogging was FUN back then – ask anyone who used to blog back then and maybe still blogs. I obviously still enjoy reading blogs (like yours!), but I do feel bad for bloggers nowadays.

    • Julie says:

      Thank you! Yes, you stopped right before all the blogging changes happened. I want to say it was like 2014 or 2015 where it completely started to shift and become out of hand.

  • Beth says:

    Thanks so much for posting, Julie! I’ve been following your blog for a while, I’m in your FB group, and religiously watch your IG stories for Winston (I LOVE HIM!).

    I love food blogs, but definitely see how it’s changed a bunch over time. I love the personal feel from bloggers, and I also really like seeing what beauty products you’re using, what people’s kids are up to, etc. Because then I feel like I’m learning other little life lessons that can be useful. I think as a reader, the wierdest/most interesting shift has been IG stories. It’s the only platform that lets you see what the blogger you started reading for food recipes is doing all day/every day. Plus then you get to know their voice, etc. Now I feel like some of the bloggers are my friends even though they have no idea who I am? (That seems creepy but that’s what the stories are for, I guess?)

    On another note – I have wanted to start a blog for a few years, simply to share recipes with my friends and family. I live across the country from my family, and I’d love to share what’s going on and what I’m making with them. But I’m so intimidated by the idea of learning good food photography, figuring out ads, SEO optimization, etc. I recently decided to drop the fantasy of having a perfect blog like the ones I read, and just create content that’s real and me, even if it’s only read by my mom and dad. Reading your post just now makes me feel even more encouraged to just make my little baby blog my own, and let it be what it is vs. trying to force myself into making it a part time job or something competing with people who have been out there busting ass on their blogs for a decade.

    Anyways, you do you! I bet people will keep following and appreciate whatever direction you take. There’s no point in wasting precious time doing something you don’t love. Can’t wait to see what comes next and till then I’ll keep posting on your FB page whenever I make one of your fabulous recipes :)

    • Julie says:

      No no, it’s not creepy. IG stories is what I love too because it’s totally uncurated and just LIFE as a REGULAR person — because bloggers ARE regular people! We just curate our lives on blogs to make it seem like we have everything together and it’s perfect. I mean, that is what gets people, right? The visual part…we can’t just throw food on a plate and throw the photo up. So in a sense, we maybe are at fault for an unrealistic view and maybe we did this to ourselves and now we’re just trying to “get it back” by being more real and open on Instagram Stories? Not sure!

      Yes, let it be your own. Do what you want to do with it and don’t let the pressure of it get the best of you. Thank you so much for writing!

  • Uta says:

    So sorry to hear this from you! I’ve always loved reading your blog AND getting a free recipe!! But I totally understand. Why keep devoting time to something that gives you no joy? I have seen with other bloggers where they have pimped themselves out to the products. It’s sickening. I shut them down. I understand the need to be compensated in order to continue, but seems like some of them will agree to all advertising. So sad. Anyway, I hope you become re-energized. I will continue to read your blog and look forward to each one. Thank you also for the amazing recipes. Too bad some people feel the need to ruin someone else’s hard work with careless comments. SMH…

    • Julie says:

      Thank you so much, Uta! I don’t think I’ll be “shutting down” — just getting refocused and come back stronger and with less structure than before? I feel like I put the pressure on myself (due to outside influences) to have a rigid schedule of posting and all this stuff that it just gets to be too much. Anyway, thanks so much for your insight! I definitely don’t agree with blogs that have turned into an advertorial site. It’s terrible.

  • Michelle says:

    Julie, I’m sending you a big and tight hug! I love reading your blog and completely understand where you’re coming from. Isn’t it amazing that mortgage, electric, and cell companies don’t take love checks? What’s up with that? lol I will read whatever/whenever you blog. You’re a superstar!!!

    • Julie says:

      Thanks so much for your words of encouragement, Michelle!!!

  • Theresa says:

    Julie – Thank you for sharing your real – where you find yourself right now. I appreciate the time, energy and effort your pour into your ‘little space on the web’. The food & recipes drew me first & several are used regularly (fig glazed chicken – oh yum!) as well as the travelogues. Those are saved for future trips. The variety of posts are nice & I enjoy the mix. Whatever your decision regarding the future of this space, Jason comes first followed by Winston. The rest of the hordes can wait. Family is always the best investment! Thank you for all you do!

    • Julie says:

      Thank you for the message, Theresa! Family truly does come first and I feel like the older I get, the more I just want downtime and to relax and not worry about the pressures of society, LOL

  • Christine Rosko says:

    I don’t even know where to start. To say that I understand every single word is an understatement. I guess I’ll start here. I was feeling exactly as you are (I still do occasionally) in terms of should I quit or should I push through the moment. At that time, I rebranded and man was that a great decision. I had a new-found energy, I had excitement about the blog again…it was a whole different experience. This was two years ago.

    Fast-forward one year. Work was crazy, my #s had plummeted, there were a million changes going on with social media algorithms and Google and all that stuff I don’t understand. I couldn’t keep up with the demand the blog required so I decided to put up a page that said “We’ll be back” and took an almost 8-month hiatus. It killed my numbers even more and I basically started from scratch when I came back but it’s been about 8 months and while I’m not as consistent as I’d like to be, I’m happy about where my content is going and I’ve found a way to enjoy it again.

    I gave up on the “traditional” forms of making money on the site. I hardly ever work with networks anymore and I’ve made my own plans to monetize. I’m more passionate about them and they’re things I can be proud of rather than writing a post about how tampons are so great for my summer vacation (sarcasm). They’ll also take longer to become lucrative compared to sponsored posts but they’ll be more meaningful to me.

    What I’m trying to say is that I get it. I’m one of the ones who have pushed through and figured out how to love it again because I didn’t for a while. But I also have great friends who I met through blogging that decided to shut the laptop and call it a day. There is nothing wrong with either decision. At the end of the day, you have to do what’s best for you. Selfishly, I hope you keep going because I love your recipes and reading your posts ? But as someone who gets it, I support your decision if you decide to throw in the towel as well. Whatever decision you make, don’t allow lazy readers be the dictator.

    A friend of mine (who is another blogger that I met through blogging), was talking to me just last week about how fun it used to be. This will be my 7th year come August and she’s been blogging about the same amount of time. Even 5 years ago it was so much more fun. There weren’t so many legalities and technical rules you had to be careful of. Sometimes the stress of “am I doing this the right way” can get overwhelming but if you can find the passion in it again, I think it can be worth it.

    Sorry this ended up being so long! I guess it was just refreshing to have someone write what so many of us have been thinking.

    • Julie says:

      Hey Christine! Thank you so much for your insight. I must say, I feel you. I gave up brand/sponsored work last year after a horrendous bout with a PR company. I walked away from our 2018 partnership because the 2017 one was just THAT bad. The 2018 partnership contract hadn’t even been drawn up when I told them I just couldn’t imagine myself working with them in 2018 after what 2017 was like. Then I had several sponsored opportunities that were just a pain in the ass and made me realize…WHY AM I DOING THIS?! I DON’T NEED THE MONEY! I had PR companies emailing me at 9pm telling me to put a post that they approved on hold, or telling me to make edits. Like, WHY?!

      Anyway, what I’m saying is…I’m starting to find my own path too and to start to refocus on what makes me happy and reshift the blog. I love food, I always will. But I also love life and sharing bits and pieces of it with everyone (and it seems like people like that too — it’s a way to connect).

      Don’t worry, I’m sure I’ll keep going. I just need to find balance and get reenergized and learn to let go and not let the pressures of technology and algorithms get the best of me. Maybe the best thing to do is to let the monetary part go so I don’t feel this kind of pressure…but alas, bills LOL

      Thanks again for writing. I’m so glad to hear I’m not the only one struggling with this. I’m so glad that you overcame this and are in a good place with your site!

  • Elizabeth | Take On E says:

    You are so right — when I started my blog 10 years ago, I loved that it was an opportunity to network with other bloggers, commenting on each other’s pages and sharing each other’s content.

    Nowadays, it’s all like- and ad-driven. Sites don’t feel “authentic” anymore — it’s like people are putting out content merely to get “seen.” Marketers see bloggers as a cheap way to advertise, and little else.

    As a writer, I used to cringe and get really jealous of bloggers who were absolutely shitty writers, but had hugely successful sites. But then I figured out that they were playing a game I didn’t want to play — the marketing-centric, SEO-driven type of blog.

    I use my blog as a portfolio nowadays — the writing on it helped me secure my FT writing job. I hope that you’re able to make peace with your site, and have it serve you, as opposed to the other way around. Those of us that are here for YOU will stick around. And those are the ones you want, at the end of the day, right? :)

    • Julie says:

      “Marketers see bloggers as a cheap way to advertise, and little else.” – couldn’t have said that better myself. They see influencers as a way to cheaply advertise and treat us like shit. I would love to see them bully another big company. Probably wouldn’t happen. But no, they bully influencers and take credit for everything and have us sign over rights for pennies. And when we push back, they push back harder and are rude about it. No thank you. Pay us for what we are worth. Pay us because you love our work; not our numbers.

      That’s so awesome that you were able to use your blog as your portfolio! I agree. The broken sentences on some sites that are purely for SEO/Google juice make me cringe.

      You’re right. Those who like reading my life will always be around. That’s exactly who I want around. Thanks friend!! <3

  • JenJ says:

    I hear ya. I blog for fun and it’s not fun anymore. So I can only imagine was real bloggers have to deal with. As a reader I don’t keep up with as many blogs as I used to. I don’t really know why. But I do agree with over saturation. The same with YouTube. Everyone wants to “get on” quick and make a “quick buck:.

    • Julie says:

      Definitely. Fast money, quick buck…it makes it so unrealistic and inauthentic.

  • Denise says:

    I totally agree about the lazy comments! It’s contributed to anxiety and sef-doubt. Hard work gives a sense of accomplishment, focus and calm. Everything should NOT be about business and making money. It’s community that increases satisfaction in life. You are so on track with this post!
    Enjoy the summer — I appreciate you!!!

    • Julie says:

      Thank you so much!!! I appreciate you and your feedback!!!

  • Ines says:

    Hi Julie, I am not a blogger and am really uneducated about the blogging world however I am a reader although I am not one of those who comment a lot. The reason for this is maybe because when I started reading and following certain ‘big bloggers’ I commented and then never got any response back so I thought why comment when they are probably not even reading our comments or have an assistant responding…of course I realize that not all bloggers are the same so I can now say, like some of the other people who commented , that I now only follow a few bloggers that I have followed for a while and who I like and am interested in…you are one of them! I do read your posts and I hope you keep writing when you feel up to it! I also love following your stories on IG and I do like seeing recipes but I am not the type who only wants recipes! I actually started reading blogs because of the life stories and loved reading the honest blog posts of people’s life and struggles and their love stories. It’s like reading a great book! Hope that you keep sharing in the way you feel is the best for you!

    • Julie says:

      Yeah, I’m definitely trying to reshift and refocus my blog. It’s not just all food anymore. I love sharing my life and what I love in it and products, etc. So, I’m definitely going to incorporate that into it. Yep, ‘big bloggers’ never seem to write back :) even I’m a victim of that and I’m IN their community. I don’t get it. They all want comments and they all want engagement but they don’t engage back. It’s rude, to be honest. Which is why I try my damndest to always respond to every message I get on Instagram or email or even here. Thanks for sticking around! I can’t wait to come back reenergized!

  • Cissy says:

    Hey, Julie –

    How about this? Put your computer away. Phone off. Snuggle with Winston, snuggle with Jason, go for a long walk and get some fresh air, yoga and deep breathing, visit with friends, clear your head. And, snuggle some more. You’ll feel better.

    • Julie says:

      And yep, I totally plan on doing that :) got a girls weekend this weekend and I cannot wait!!

  • Sandy T says:

    I am just a reader. I don’t blog. I have been following blogs for about 10 years now. I do feel like many blogs have become more robotic and commercial. I have stopped following many because of this. I miss the old school posts where it seemed more personal. I like when you post about your life (as I do for most blogs I follow) for the simple fact that it was more personal. I don’t like the trend most blogs are headed but I still love getting the emails about the blog. So I don’t know what to do as a reader. I want to read the posts, but then I see they are so generic or link to another post and I get annoyed (though I understand that for some bloggers this is their job and necessary and I do think people should get paid for their content…its hard work) but I miss the old way.

    • Julie says:

      I feel you and hear you. You could just start following authentic bloggers; those who still write about their life and who share about their life. I hope you stick around. I think I know where I’m shifting my blog. Food, travel, and life!

  • Julie says:

    Interesting that I saw a similar sentiment on another blog I follow this morning. We all need a break sometimes to recharge and decide where to go next. You do you.

    • Julie says:

      Thanks so much! I think a lot of people are feeling this.

  • Danielle says:

    I can’t imagine your frustration, but know this, I truly enjoy your blogs. Your recipes and tidbits have really brought joy to my life. So, I want to thank you for that. You do you girl!! ?

    • Julie says:

      Awww thank you!!!!

  • maggie says:

    you know what. I really don’t think its fun to read blogs anymore. I cant tell you how many blogs i have stopped reading the past year because i dont enjoy the pinterest post or the how to’s. Im sure i read blogs for different reasons than a lot of others but i like the real life casual weekend updates and people just dont post them anymore.

    • Julie says:

      I hear you. Definitely something I keep in mind. I have my Beyond the Table posts (have you seen those?) that are like my weekly updates but I stopped doing them a little bit ago and I’m obviously going to try to ramp up on it since it seems like people want to get more personal. Anyway, thanks for the insight!

  • Amanda says:

    I have been following you for a while and honestly girl, you do you. Hobbies are supposed to be for personal enjoyment and the betterment of your sanity and life. Hobbies shouldn’t feel like a job…god that just sounds awful! I hope you keep posting to instagram but I also hope you have fun with it. Your recipes are always amazing and some of them have become dinner go-tos in my house (looking at you Korean beef!) You have been a long time favorite blogger of mine and I hope you stick around in at least some capacity…but a happy capacity lol

    • Julie says:

      Thank you so much! Yes, I plan on sticking around but just refocusing and trying something new. Recipes thrown in with life basically. BACK TO BASICS! xoxo

  • dixya @food, pleasure, and health says:

    being in the blogging world for a long time, i am so with you. its just not the same anymore – i genuinely enjoyed reading stories more than recipes and i still go comment on some of my fav writers who are still authentic and havent sold themselves for that 6-figures. thank you for keeping things real..i will have to check out your private fb group!!!

    • Julie says:

      yes, definitely!! can’t wait to have you! thank you!!

  • Hayley @ The Domestic Rebel says:

    Julie, I definitely feel you and understand your frustrations completely. It feels like such an uphill battle. Sometimes I feel like crawling to the top, but other times I look down mid-climb and think going back to the bottom is probably better because I just don’t have fight left in me. My sponsored work is at an all-time low; I used to field through pitches in my inbox and now I’m lucky if I even get a “we’ll give you a free box of pasta!” post. Don’t know what’s happening but it’s frustrating and disheartening at the same time.

    • Julie says:

      Eh, here’s the thing – do you REALLY want that sponsored post? Is it really that worth it? I mean, I guess it’s different for everyone and everyone’s situation is different but for me it’s like not even worth it anymore even if they give me $7000 for a post (random number). I just feel that bloggers feel so entitled sometimes to the $$$ and yes, we should get paid for what we deserve, within reason, but that also comes with a price…how much of the brand is a PIA, ya know? I just know that some bloggers think they deserve $12,000 for ONE blog post because of their numbers lol I don’t know, I guess what I’m saying is…is sponsored work really that worth it in the end? You don’t have to answer that but maybe another way to look at it. Focus on what you love (writing, your cookbooks!) and I guess we’ll all figure out the rest. Maybe this is just a wake up call for all bloggers..

  • Christina Saenz says:

    I, for one, love your blog posts! Honestly, more and more it seems that social media has ruined all forms of human interaction and common decency! It seems people only want to see self-esteem killing, fake crap by the same BS influencers these days. It must be SO frustrating for you to see some influencer, who brags about getting take out daily and never cooking, getting paid insane amounts for paid posts from food/spice/cooking equipment/etc. companies when talented, real food bloggers can’t get the same respect or opportunities.

    I blame the companies too for feeding into this false reality and helping pimp out the same tired, fake content! If I see one more “style” influencer, who doesn’t even know what a spatula is, get 25 free pans from calphalon or 17 boxes of spaghetti (to go in their junk pile) I’m gonna shoot myself so I can only imagine how you feel!

    • Julie says:

      100%! Social media seems to have ruined a lot but we have also given into that; which I think is the problem. It’s both ends. We are both driven by social media and we drive social media. I’m a nerd and believe in technological advances but sometimes I feel it has gone a little too far. Yes, definitely very frustrating for me and many to see influencers become an ad but I can’t speak for them – they might be in a different situation. It’s just I feel there needs to be balance.

  • Courtney O'Dell says:

    Oh sweet Julie – I just want to hug you! You’re one of the bright spots in blogging for me :) I think taking a step back is ALWAYS helpful to regroup and redefine your space and role in it. I took a big break last winter, which wasn’t really great for my bottom line, but it was so needed to come back recharged.

    It’s weird being online because you feel both super visible – but also invisible. It’s crushing to feel left behind and scrapping for just a second of someone’s time. I have been having a really hard time battling with that myself and love that you put this out for others to consider but also commiserate with. You’re not alone and I hate if you feel that way because you’re such an amazing person and have such a fun voice that is so uplifting to read.

    I do SO feel you on the lazy! I started putting a “simply scroll for the recipe” in my posts because people just couldnt handle scrolling – even though most of my posts dont have anything personal in them, just helpful tips! It is infuriating…. I hate feeling like readers and companies just want to use us and we should take it laying down.

    Anyways, I am glad youre taking some time for you – and hope it brings some peace and renewed love for blogging because I just love you and everything you put out to bits (and I should be better at saying that to you more!!!)

    • Julie says:

      Oh Courtney..why don’t we see each other more often? hahaha

      Yes, yes. I hear you!!! It’s like the battle of wanting to be loved and seen vs. also wanting to be invisible. I can’t imagine what being a celebrity must be like ;)

      Thanks for your insight and I’m glad you took a break yourself! It really is needed sometimes and I hope to come back recharged and ready to just do ME! love you!

  • Catherine says:

    I always like to read what the blogger writes before the recipe or if I don’t want to I juste scroll down. I also feel that a lot of the content nowadays is sponsored so it doesn’t feel as authentic to me.

    • Julie says:

      Yep. Yep. :(

  • Margaret Lyons says:

    I see where you are coming from. I hope you will be able to re-energize. Our whole society is changing rapidly and people (some people) do not recognize it. We are in the middle of another industrial revolution but it is a digital revolution that affects our entire society

    • Julie says:

      Gah, you have hit the nail on the head with that! So so true.

  • Tamara says:

    I can relate 100%! I’ve been blogging for 8 years & my psssion has left. I feel almost guilty because I believe what I’ve build is beautiful & serves a purpose. How can I give up on it? However the business side & over saturation has taken all of the fun out of it. I’m at an impasse & it sucks!

    • Julie says:

      Yep, I think a lot of us are and I think this post was needed. Maybe it’ll sink in for others and maybe we’ll all try to take a step back and figure things out in our own time. I just know I can’t do this forever without having some sort of change of heart and making new content.

  • Jeannette Bovard says:

    first of all – wishing you well. Whatever direction the future takes in your blogging, I hope you find happiness and satisfaction. I just discovered your blog yesterday, searching for a recipe for Compost Cookies. I liked yours best, and I read your post top to bottom, loving how you told the story and showed your adorable packaging. I immediately wanted to read more of your posts (and recipes). So, this is my first email update! Fortunately, I can go back and read all your past entries and enjoy myself for awhile. I hope you derive some happiness from the pleasure you give others. But you’re right – it doesn’t pay the bills! Thank you for sharing your life, thoughts, and recipes. BTW, the cookies are awesome!

    • Julie says:

      Ha! That’s too funny. You just gave the PERFECT example of WHY blogging was so much more back in the day and why it was so much fun. The backstories, the memories. Thank you for bringing that to light. I do hope you stick around. I think you will like where all this is going :)

  • Macy Gruber says:

    I’m so sorry you’re feeling this way! I haven’t noticed the shift as I probably follow more food blogs than friends and view you guys as my friends ? If nothing else please know your hard work is appreciated. Your chicken sausage orzo recipe is one of my all time favorite dinners as well as your Chick-fil-A recipe and a ton others. There are blogs I cycle through in following but you’re one of the ones I’ve followed for years and will) never stop. I love how you’re real, you tell the real story behind why you make something or the ingredients in it and of course I feel like I know you through insta stories haha. I had a food blog for about 2 years but shut it down because it was much more work than I thought, not just sharing recipes and why you love them like you said. I do continue to share pictures of my food because that was the main part I loved. Not that I’m an expert but I guess my advice would be to get back to focusing on what you really loved in the beginning about blogging. You mentioned the site redesign might be like having a baby in a doomed relationship and I feel like that’s a good metaohor for focusing on why you fell in love with your spouse in the first place which can equal to what you loved about blogging in the beginning. I think if you continue to focus on that you will stand out for not following the robotic crowd and truly enjoying what you do.

    I hope you can find your love for blogging again and fond what makes you happy. I don’t know what I’d do without your recipes! ♥️♥️

    • Julie says:

      Aw thank you, Macy! I definitely do hope I can find my blogging happy place again soon. I think a break is a good time to get recharged and refocus on what is best! Thanks for following!

  • Stephanie @ Eat. Drink. Love. says:

    This post couldn’t be more accurate, Julie. I’ve been feeling so frustrated with the state of blogging for a good year now. There are just too many things to keep up with on the backend of blogging and I just feel like I’m drowning. Between working full-time and having two toddlers at home, I can’t keep up. My income is way down, but I still need the pittance that I do make for bills and such (living in Orange County is so expensive!). At the same time, I don’t really make enough to hire other people to help me. I probably am doing so many things wrong, but I’ve come to accept the fact that I will never be able to keep up. My sponsored work is also way way down and the offers I do get are so ridiculous, it’s like brands have no clue what readers want to see and ask for so much from us for so little pay.

    Our readers have most certainly changed too. Every time I post something personal, I lose followers and email subscribers. I now hate writing blog posts and feel so uninspired because it seems like most people could care less about what I have to say, but like you’ve said, blogs are not supposed to be just straight recipes.

    I just want to make good food, take pictures, and write posts. I too miss the good ol’ days of blogging!

    • Julie says:

      Haha oh gosh..Orange County is like way different than here in Washington D.C. BUT I do get what you’re saying with the cost of living. Definitely way higher. I agree that whenever I post something not overly indulgent or cheesy, I lose followers too. It’s deflating and uninspiring but I think that’s maybe what we need? Like a way to refocus and figure out what we really care about and screw the haters? Shouldn’t matter about the numbers when there are people out there that will embrace us for whatever we post? I don’t know. I don’t like talking to a wall lol but I also don’t want people that aren’t interested in me.

  • Rebekah says:

    What a refreshing post to see someone speak their mind about being frustrated with the state of blogging. I’m not a blogger myself, but if I had to vent…social media in general has been the bane of my existence. I miss the days of getting a card or letter in the mail, coffee/tea outings with a friend in REAL life, empathy on a personal level (no…posting “sorry for your loss” on FB/Instagram/Etc or sending an emoji or meme, is NOT really connecting to another human being), I miss a phone call on a birthday or special occasion rather than a barrage of texts, messages or memes…the list is endless. No wonder we have so many individuals with depression and anxiety, so many lacking tolerance, and so few who actually take the time to filter their words in an effort to be considerate…we have taken away human interaction and replaced it with speed, convenience, technology and an attitude of devil-may-care. I wouldn’t even say it is solely isolated to the Millenial generation because if I’m honest, this goes far beyond one generation of peoples…people in my generation and that of my parents have also fallen hook, line and sinker for the “wonders” of convenience and the “joy” of being offensively blunt without consequences. It seems we all need a time out from technology to remember we are human beings who should be social in real life…social with other humans in person, social with nature and social with our own needs. Good luck discovering your next step.

    • Julie says:

      You’re SO right with the emotional and mental state of everyone these days. I was talking to a friend yesterday and she said the pressures of our area and just society in general is what is driving people to have anxiety because they feel they HAVE to do all these things and they HAVE to do that 110% because they think that 95% isn’t enough. Yeah, outings with friends become hooked into technology because instead of putting phones away, we have them out and are messaging people as we are talking to someone right in front of us. Guilty as charged and I do think social media has reallllly affected all of us negatively. I do love that it’s easier to keep in touch with friends and whatnot but there are things that I miss about what you said about receiving cards, phone calls, hanging out in real life, etc.

  • Beth says:

    Screw writing for SEO and catering to algorithms. Do what you want and your authenticity will attract a more dedicated crowd. Quality over quantity applies to audiences as well. They will come back to you to see what’s new, instead of you constantly trying to reach them on social media, against all algorithms. If someone doesn’t like your stories, they can go find a website that fits their needs better. Let ‘em go. Stick to what you enjoy and forget about the rest.

    • Julie says:

      I love this. Thank you, Beth. This is very powerful and insightful and I will be taking this to heart. You’re so right…I need to stick to what I enjoy and the rest will follow suit, if they want. And if they don’t…I shouldn’t care because I should want the ones that do like reading about me and what I post than ones that are fairweather anyway.

  • Joyce says:

    I truly have enjoyed and appreciated your blog and all the effort you have put into it to give it that personal feel. I can understand your frustration with all the technical “upgrades” that combat us everyday. Just when we think “alright, I got this!” Here come an “upgrade” that sets us back…I really thought you were “Wonder Woman” in disguise. A full time job, new house (moving into), husband, dog and an “amazing lady who happens to have a fantastic blog.” I didn’t want to call you a “blogger”, because you make it feel personal and warm, like you were talking/emailing directly to me. I’m not on twitter or instagram or a lot of sns accounts, but I am in your private facebook group. Still not sure how to post pictures yet, but I do enjoy looking at all the posts.
    In short, I just wanted to let you know that I really appreciate all that you do and have done….Loves from Hawaii….

    • Julie says:

      Thanks so much, Joyce. Haha, it does take a toll so yeah, you’re seeing the effects of all that now :) which is why I’m considering this break and regrouping and refocusing on everything!

  • Adam K says:

    On instagram you said you just want to share recipes and inspire people in the kitchen. I think you do that every day. The problem I think is that you’ve decided that you care more about how much you make. That’s not to say income doesn’t matter but if you truly only care about it as a hobby and to share with and inspire people then keeping up with the Joneses doesn’t matter because fundamentally all keeping up has to do with is $$. Comes down to pageviews, brand compensation etc.

    You have the luxury of having a full time government job and making six figures with something you basicly describe as a hobby. At the end of the day it seems like you need to decide if this is a hobby where hey you make some money too or is it your job and then you might need to re-evaluate whether it makes sense to quit your “day job”

    • Julie says:

      Hmm, so I agree and disagree with you. I agree that the additional income is nice and completely unexpected when I first started blogging, but I also disagree that keeping up with the Joneses = has to do with money. I want people to see my content because ultimately that is what sharing and inspiring people is about. If your content isn’t out there/is not visible by means of keeping up with the latest SEO, GDRP – which is a legal thing for the EU coming up that we need to comply for or face consequences, and much more…then you’re basically talking to a wall and might as well just turn this blog into a private memoir only for myself. I like the interactions I have with people and I love hearing success stories of everyone in the kitchen with my recipes. You’re correct that I need to evaluate whether or not this hobby is worth continuing. Thanks for your insight!

  • Michelle says:

    I am a reader and do not have a blog. I don’t care what you write or what recipes you post . I just flat out love your blog. I enjoy people’s stories and the recipes they share on blogs. You keep it real.

    I am signed up so I will get your email when you post.

    • Julie says:

      What I needed to hear! Thank you so much, Michelle!

  • Brianna says:

    I started blogging on livejournal, move down to WordPress, and had a domain for a few years before calling it quits in 2008. It was fun while I did it and it really didn’t matter if if anyone read it or not. I miss the days of personal blogs…they were so much fun to read and there was more of a sense of community. Remember when ads starting showing up on blogs and everyone freaked out?
    I’ve thought about starting blogging again to share my experiences in PT school as a non-traditional student, but the idea is so daunting. If I did, it would totally be an old-school free WordPress blog that gets updated like once a month. Lol.
    It’s definitely gotten to the point where I don’t read a post of it is sponsored. I don’t care for the commercials and I’ve stopped reading so many blogs altogether because they are so commercialized. I understand they need to pay bills, but it’s crap. I miss the personal stories. Another thing that is awful is most bloggers (not you, you are awesome) don’t even take the time to respond to comments. Come on.
    Honestly, I would love to read more about your life and wouldn’t mind less food posts. Enjoy your break- I hope it allows you come back refreshed and if you decide not to continue blogging, know that you will be missed.

    • Julie says:

      Hey Brianna! Haha, I do remember when ads first showed up on blogs and people were super confused by it.

      So, I wanted to address something. I know sponsored content isn’t everyone’s cup of tea and I dislike them just as much as you do but for you to say, “I understand they need to pay bills, but it’s crap.” Do you mean it’s crap that they need to pay bills and it’s not a good enough excuse to do sponsored content? Or do you mean the sponsored content is crap because it’s so commercialized? Wanted to clarify this bit with you but am interested in hearing your response.

      I REALLY REALLY loathe bloggers who do not take the time to respond to comments/messages on IG/social media when they’re the ones vying for it. Like, it’s rude and bitchy.

      I won’t be leaving blogging completely. I’m definitely only going on a break :) thank you for the message!!

  • Heather Kinnaird says:

    I have had this exact same feeling for the last few years. blogging has not been fun for me for a long time, and i have definitely scaled way back. sometimes taking a break is just enough to get the creative juices flowing. i have stopped blogging for other bloggers or trends, or brands, blog just what i feel like, and that has helped. as long as i try to forget the traffic i used to get.
    hopefully the blog refresh and break will bring the fun back for you!!

    • Julie says:

      Thanks so much! I hope the same!

  • Jennifer says:

    Love your recipes, have your cookbook. I am single and what brought me to your blog was the simple concept of portions for two. Please keep posting away when the mood feels right.

    • Julie says:

      Thank you, Jennifer. I definitely will!

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