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The Magnolia Days Adventure Ends

The Magnolia Days adventure ends.

Magnolia Days sure has been quite an adventure. Five years ago I started this blog with a desire to share the things I enjoy with the world. Food, cooking, wine, and gardening are my top passions. I launched the site and all was great. It was a source of happiness with creativity and inspiration flowing like crazy.

However recently, not so much. How and when it changed is difficult to pinpoint. I am certain it was an accumulation of things over time. Almost every single thing about blogging became a source of stress and unhappiness. This is why I’ve made the decision to put an end to Magnolia Days.

I’ve been thinking about it for a long time. The first inkling happened one day when I was outside. I forget exactly what was happening at the moment or what I was thinking about. It was as if the wind blew a whisper into the back of my mind. Something was telling me to re-evaluate what I was doing.

Then I started paying attention. To everything. It was a realization of doing for the sake of doing. That may sound strange. Perhaps to explain it better is being caught up in a machine. Magnolia Days was supposed to be my virtual playground. No playing was happening for a long time. It was all work, work, work, work, and more work.

The work took over my life. I worked 7 days a week and many times 10+ hours a day.

I wondered why I was doing all that work for a hobby. Hobbies are supposed to be fun right? I never wanted it to be a big business. I certainly never wanted my blog to be a running advertisement of products. Some sponsored work occasionally to cover the cost was good enough for me.

Yet to get sponsors it meant getting numbers; views per month, social media follower counts, number of social media shares, and the list goes on. That’s where I got caught up in the machine. It became non-stop and all about the numbers.

And what about ads? Yep, I went full on into using an ad network. The ads bring in some money. What’s the caveat? Well, you need blog traffic to see the ads and for premium ads to be on your site. And guess what? Google is pushing accelerated mobile pages that have no ads. Google will also start penalizing blogs with popups including high paying mobile ads. Plus more folks are using ad blockers. So as time goes on, all the work to get all those numbers will be for less income.

You may wonder why I don’t just slow it down. Get back to basics. Forget the numbers and blog whatever and whenever I want to again. I thought about it too. I spent weeks trying to figure out what recipe to make and share next. Nothing. The well has gone dry.

It isn’t that I don’t want to cook or bake. It’s quite the opposite. I want to enjoy the experience again for what it is supposed to be. I simply do not want to go through the drudgery of hours upon hours of what has to be done to feed the machine in order for it to spit out the numbers.

I admit there have been lots of good because of the blog. I’ve met wonderful people and had experiences I never would have without it. I definitely treasure all the goodness of it.

There have been plenty of kindnesses through the years too. I am thankful to all who visited, made my recipes, read my stories, inspired me, shared, commented, and supported me.

I plan to keep the website up for a little while. Sometime between now and the end of the year it will be gone. It will be a bittersweet day for sure. Edited to add: After some advice and comments received since this announcement, the site may continue to stay up as long as the expense of it is covered with ongoing traffic and revenue for existing posts.

And so the Magnolia Days adventure ends. What’s happening with me next? I’ll be tackling a giant to-do list of things I’ve put off for years. I’ve already started exercising to get back into shape. I’ll see where life takes me. My future is wide open for new adventures and endeavors. For now, and most importantly, I’ll once again truly and thoroughly enjoy good food, wine, gardening, and life in the South.


Wednesday 8th of February 2017

Sad to see you go, but you need to follow your heart.

I've been blogging for almost 8 years and managed to treat it as a hobby from day one. It worked for me, I don't get a lot of traffic, but a group of followers that seem to enjoy what I offer ;-)

I could not do it if I had to worry about ads, social media etc etc. I do have a day job that is pretty intense and my number one occupation for sure

I think you should give yourself a break, and leave the door to coming back open, if you so desire one day... maybe if you get into a lighter path the blogging "mojo" will come back? ;-)

It's been nice following you!


Tuesday 7th of February 2017

Good for YOU! I have a "just for fun" and to share recipes with friends and family blog. It, too, became a chore. I blog now when I feel like it. Mostly, I do exactly what I want to do... paint (watercolor). I still cook, but every recipe you can name is out there on the web. I keep my (free) blog up so that I and family can quickly locate one of my favorite recipes. Consider it from that stand point. I have been so put off by blogs that are obviously income generating and have little or no food knowledge behind them. ENJOY your life! Do what makes you HAPPY!! Hugs, The Southern Cook

Peggy Gilbey McMackin

Tuesday 7th of February 2017

Dear Renee, Though I've not been an active commenter on your blog, I had recently missed seeing you in my inbox and at the back of my mind had been giving thought to contacting you to see how you were. I've seen very few bloggers as prolific as you and it used to amaze me how you could keep up such a pace... and at such a high-level caliber, for everything about your blog is quite beautiful and professional. I wish you the very best in your future creative pursuits and given you are so highly talented I feel confident you will find something equally as fulfilling. My most sincere very best wishes are sent your way.


Wednesday 21st of September 2016

So sad to hear that :( I am excited for what the future has in store for you! best of luck!


Monday 19th of September 2016

Gonna miss your entertaining prose, delicious recipes, and beautiful photography. Congrats on your successful blog and best wishes for the new chapter of your life! Cheers!