Blogging kills! – Stress and long hours = Unhealthy lifestyle

April 6, 2008

Blogging kills! - Stress and long hours = Unhealthy lifestyleBlogging is a medium which is growing at a phenomenal rate. There are millions of people doing it on a daily basis, both as a hobby, and a career. But could it be killing people?

No, of course it couldn’t, at least not directly, but that hasn’t stopped The New York Times linking the cases of two prominent technology bloggers dying from heart attacks to the hazards of professional blogging.

Russell Shaw and Marc Orchant, both professional bloggers, have sadly passed away in recent months, while Om Malik survived a heart attack in December at the tender age of 41.

The NYT go on to discuss the art of blogging, and how stressful the job is. They may have a point when it comes to the top 1% of the industry, but the majority of us don’t ever reach those heady heights.

It may surprise you to learn that this is my day job. I know, I’m not the best writer in the world, or the most knowledgeable on one subject, but I get paid to know a little about lots of different things, and giving my opinion on them.

I earn a living for my efforts, but it’s not the fortune that the NYT seem to think we’re all making. I’m a middle rung blogger, not a star, but not struggling at the bottom either.

Personally, I don’t consider this to be a particularly stressful job. I get to spend my days at home, with the television or some music on, and can have as many breaks as I see fit throughout the day.

There are days when I wake up knowing I have a lot of work ahead of me, but it’s hardly coal mining now is it.

One point I will submit to the NYT is the weight gain which comes with the territory. I used to have a very active job, and lifestyle in general. Now I sit on my butt writing opinionated news pieces for a living. So naturally I have gained weight.

The point is that at the top end of the scale, blogging is a stressful job with long hours, and big rewards. But only in the same way that any job is. So using prominent bloggers at the top of their game such as Michael Arrington of Techcrunch, and Matt Buchanan of Gizmodo as your study cases is obviously going to lead to skewed results.

I personally know I need to be more active, and spend less time trying to get that extra post done for the day, week, month or year. I also know I should start having the occasional day off. Since going professional last July, I’ve blogged on one site or another every single day.

But to go from that knowledge, to the conclusion that blogging is a recipe for an early trip to the morgue is a bit of a push.

Maybe The NYT are just getting worried about the lurch to new media, and getting concerned that they, as traditional media, are about to get swallowed up in a 24/7 world of rolling news.

At the end of the day, blogging is just like any other career. To succeed and reach the top of the ladder, you have to work damn hard, and cause untold stress to your mind and body. But the vast majority of us are happy just getting paid to write for a living, and with a few healthier lifestyle choices could live as long as any office worker.

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6 Responses to “Blogging kills! – Stress and long hours = Unhealthy lifestyle”

  1. Beth Turnage:

    Actually, I’ve experienced the weight loss thing. Blogging helps to keep my hands off the cookie jar.

    You are right, Dave, that any high end job puts your health at risk. Working in the publishing industry I’ve seen upper echelon managers work 100+ hours per week and get shot down health wise because of it.

  2. Erin:

    I very much agree with your point about NYT and new media – they are hardly the most impartial source. Overall, I do find it alarmist to say that blogging has a direct cause-and-effect relationship with health troubles. There are lifestyle factors associated with it such as inactivity that may be a legitimate concern, but my take on it is that we all have the free will not to become direct products of the path of least resistance.

    Frankly, of the things that you can do and get paid for, blogging is among the most flexible, and one where you have the most freedom to make your own choices about when and how to spend your time off. Although during those moments you do wonder whether you’re missing a big scoop. During one recent vacation, during which I had no internet access for 3 days, I kept thinking, “Jen could be filming a new movie, or dating someone new, or have married a goat, and I’d have no. bloody. idea. And someone else is getting those hits . . .” It can get obsessive, I’ll say that ;)

  3. Randi:

    They wrote a ridiculous story. Why don’t they write about the hundreds of other careers that are stressful and cause people to have heart attacks? How about the single mother who is working in a factory to feed her children and who has a heart attack because of the stress? Or how about the high-powered fashion executive who works 20 hours a day and has a million dollars in the bank?

    Leave bloggers alone.

  4. virtualassistant:

    Yes, I agree. I used to start at one blog then max at 16 to 17 blogsites maybe. Then I feel sometimes I got brain drained thinking or new articles each time. So now I think I will trim down to two sites and just copy my original post from my two sites to the other 15 sites.

  5. The Blues Blogger:

    Blogging has been a tremendously positive influence in my life. It has given me a creative avenue that has most definitely helped in my recovery of a heart attack late last fall. Blogging has kept me away from the television and the unhealthy snacks I associated with it… Yesterday I wrote a blog post discussing this in The Blues Blogger style. Here is a link to the article.

  6. Marylee Schlabs:

    I love what you guys are up too. This kind of clever work and reporting! Keep up the awesome works guys I’ve incorporated you guys to my own blogroll.|

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