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Seasonal Blogging

Ben Yoskovitz’s 6 Steps To Getting Back Into The Blog Saddle reminded me today of some of the tougher times in my own blogging journey when I found it difficult to keep things going.

  • The month I had Bells Palsy (facial paralysis and loss of all balance)
  • The two weeks that I virtually lost my sight and couldn’t look at a computer screen
  • The numerous times I took vacations and found motivating myself to start again a real challenge
  • The many ‘critiques’ from others that took the wind out of my sails to the point where giving up seemed attractive

The list could go on (sickness, holidays, disillusionment, boredom, inability to think of fresh ideas etc) – it’s no wonder I’ve written so many posts on the topic of keeping your blog running (see below for a few).

Seasonal Blogging

Since reading Ben’s post I’ve also been considering the idea that blogs will go through different seasons over time.

Winter

WinterI think it’s natural for the tough times (Winter?) to hit periodically. Times like I’ve described above where it is easy to get down in the dumps and consider giving up.

The task during a Blog’s Winter is to keep things going. You might not launch any new projects or add too many new features to your blog in these times – but if you can keep things ticking over until Spring time you’ll see the benefits of sticking at it.

Winter is a time where character and discipline is tested – it’s a time when many bloggers give up – but where those who stick at it can build foundations for a strong blgo that lasts.

Spring

SpringBut it’s not all the doom and gloom of Winter when you blog. Spring can be just around the corner at any moment with a period of renewed energy and life for your blog.

Perhaps it is triggered by a fresh idea for a series, the search engines tweaking their algorithm to sending loads or traffic or even by another site linking up.

The key in Spring is to go with the new life and let your blog grow to the next level. This might be a time to harness energy and launch a new feature – or even a time to do a little cross pollination with others in your niche to see what new partnerships might emerge. You might even have a little time to do a little spring cleaning up of your blog while you have renewed energy.


Summer

SummerThen there are other times in the life cycle of a blog where things seem to coast along.

The content is flowing, readers are interacting with what you’ve been writing and you feel like you hardly need to put any effort in at all – it’s like a Summer vacation.

You might even take a little holiday at this time and bring in someone to help you keep things running while you take a little rest and relaxation.

Autumn

AutumnLastly – there are seasons in every blog where change is needed. Dead wood needs to be cut off and swept away – like the sweeping away of the leaves on a deciduous tree in Autumn (Fall). Other areas will need a little fertilizing (extra compost to get them growing to their potential).

This is a time for refining and consolidation of what you do, perhaps with a little pruning and thinking a little strategically about where your blog is headed. This might also be a time for storing up supplies (write some extra content for that rainy day).

The decisions you make and the work you do in these times can help you to get through the Winter that might be ahead.

The Seasons Each Have Their Place

None of the seasons are ‘bad’ – all have their purpose and all have their tasks that blogger might need to be working on.

The trick is not to give up in those Winter months that so many of us have – but to keep working through them so that the blog is able to still be there at the next change of season.

What Season is your blog in at present?

PS: If you’re in a Winter season at the moment you might like to check out a few older posts that I’ve written for bloggers just like you:

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Allen says:

    Hi !

    Great post… it usually harder at this time of year up here in the North as we are at the end of the winter and our energy levels are depleted.

    Roll on the spring I say!

    Allen

  2. knupNET says:

    Very interesting to think about. I think I have most trouble in the summer months. I spend more time outside and just don’t want to be in the house as much. Thanks for the article.

  3. Rhys says:

    I’d say my blog is autumnal at the moment. I’ve just come back from a holiday, both in real terms and in terms of my blog (I have had increased adsense/blog comments, largely through switching to wordpress). However, I fear a winter coming up as I’m thinking “where do I go from here?”

    I’ve been blogging for nigh on 5 years now, and the last year I’ve seen the fruits of my labour mature, but I feel I must resign myself to being a “good average blogger”, as I’ll never get the massive amounts of hits.

    However, something’ll come up which will reignite me I feel!

  4. tillerman says:

    Great post. I’d never thought of it that way before. I’m definitely stuck in Bloggers’ Winter right now, so thank for all the tips on how to break through the ice.

  5. Philip Liu says:

    What was the longest stretch where you felt that your blog wasn’t going anywhere and you wanted to quit? Of course in hindsight everything worked out well but it’s useful to others to know that long stretches can and do happen.

  6. Ashish Mohta says:

    I was sure something was going on with you.I hope you are doing ok now.I had talked with JohnTP that darren is low on posts something is wrong.I hope u doing fine.

    Season blogging is good idea but u need to work on it.Specially it depens on person to person.

  7. For those seasonal times, it is good to have posts prepared already that you haven’t posted. When I know i’m going to be gone I try to schedule at least a post per day for long vacations.

  8. Darren:

    Viewed all together, these are the Four Seasons. Think about it: one of the most recognized and beautiful pieces of music (gosh, I was about to write post!). When you’re inside the music, you feel the notes, the tempo, the pauses… yet from the outside, you hear the magnificence of the opus.

    So yes, be aware of your rhythms — including commitments, energy levels, and unexpected incidents — and keep an eye on the overall goal, which is what you set out to do. Sometimes the best inspiration comes from the work we’ve already done: don’t take it from granted.

    You have done it with ProBlogger by proposing older yet timeless posts from your tremendous body of writing. If you look at some of those posts, what other things have you learned since then? How can you build on the concept in new ways?

    Or maybe it’s a new combination of ideas, just like in musical phrases. You sharpen your imagination pencil and surprise yourself with a new turn.

    Some tips to renew your spirit:

    * listen more — both to your own rhythms and cues and those of others (we all read more than a few blogs, I suspect). It’s amazing how much we can learn to see by just showing up.

    * play the “what if” game — what if I were somewhere else, someone else, what would I think about? It gets you out of yourself when you’re feeling down and it may give you 3 posts instead of one when you’re feeling like conquering the world.

    * write it down — no matter how trivial what you’re thinking about, capture it in some form and let it sit in a folder or a place you can get to easily. Just the act of writing it down stabilizes the information and lets you relax into creative mode. Now you don’t have to remember it.

    When you persist through the rough patches, you find that you become more resilient to slow downs in your productive cycles.

  9. Bes Zain says:

    Nice explanation of the seasons Darren. One thing to note, unless I missed it [my apologies in that case], is that each blogger him/herself also feels a different kind of weather compared to others.

    For me, Winter produces the most content [the real world winter], and for my blog’s winter, when things seem hard I am somehow able to produce fresh content more since I tend to take more breaks from normal thinking and focus on different things.

    Another trick in addition to what you mentioned is to be realistic and not assume that our blog will always be going up, up and way up. Just like in real life, things slow down and things come down. Your own previous posts regarding history of ProBlogger is an example of this, I think. In real life also, we tend to face uphills and boring days where it seems nothing good or progressive is happening. Such things are to be expected. The thing to do is to treat such things also and keep moving forward. It is all part of the journey.

    A bit off-topic: I really like your choice of the snowman and the bird. :D That scarf is awesome!

  10. Jen says:

    Nice extended analogy! Alas, my blog and my environment have both relapsed into winter, after a brief wonderful break when the world was hinting of spring. Can’t fix the weather, but I’m just plain ticked that I let “blog chill” set in for a stupid stupid reason – just a 12-year-old’s spate of semi-literate comment abuse, over the weekend. I know, I know, push past the trolls and blog on… The sun’ll be out tomorrow, bet your bottom dollar… ;-)

  11. louiss says:

    I now in autumn session, make some changing in my life, i wanna make 6figure with a blog like you, still in my head to find the way, so i will be in winter soon……..thanks darren,for your some creative post!

  12. Grokodile says:

    Everybody is a critic, including me. However, it’s important to realize that we are all responsible for having vision, having determination, and making our goals a reality. The bigger the dream, the happier people will be to throw obstacles in your path.

    I’m glad you kept going, you’ve helped a lot of people along the way.

  13. My advice would be to blog about news within your subject. For example if I had a blog about ‘Trains’ I’d hunt Google News [and other useful News resources] and find news about this topic.

    I’d then write a blog article about this news but make it unique. Use keywords within the content and blog title that people would search on for this peice of news.

    You’ll be amazed how many extra visitors this brings and also how many new readers you get on board. I wrote about a number of travel news stories, and it shot my stats through the roof.

  14. Darren Rowse says:

    Ashish Mohta – nothing’s wrong here atm. Those things all happened to me years back.

    My post frequency here has been slightly down – but it’s mainly due to two things:

    1. preparing for a trip
    2. responding to a few readers who kept telling me I was posting too much – I thought I’d try posting 2-3 times a day instead of 5-6

    My own season at the moment would probably be Autumn.

  15. See…I knew you’d make a great gardening blogger Darren. All that talk about compost, deciduous trees and the change in seasons is certainly going to earn you some respect.

    I actually find that ‘winter’ blogging is much like the attitude needed to be taken by cyclists doing the Tour de France. When everyone braces for the mountain rides, the guys who do the best are the ones who attack them.

    They realise that mountains are part of the journey and the logical place to go against their unwilling flesh.

    Great post.

    I’ll look forward to the gardening blog….

  16. Very insightful post, Darren. At least for me, sometimes I can get winter, spring, summer and autumn all in the same week! It’s comforting to know that even the best of the probloggers go through similar challenges. Gives me hope! :-)

  17. This has to be the most insightful post to date. Not that I’m a problogger by any means (heck I’m not even that great of an amateur blogger), but as a student pushing for university acceptance of blogging as a legitimate business model and communication medium, I appreciate a little uplifting info every now and then.

    Outstanding work, Darren, please keep the goodness flowing.

  18. Edward says:

    In Malaysia we don’t have 4 seasons …

  19. Mat says:

    This post reminds me of church :)

  20. Mike Perry says:

    An interesting view and, of course, life is one of various cycles as is business in general.

    I feel that you can, however, analyse things too much and in doing so start to make excuses for poor performance. If you think: “Oh this is winter, therefore things are expected to be slower,” then they will be. Our thinking creates our results.

    It’s up to us as individuals to create incentives to keep us moving forward – and believe that any difficulties are purely temporary.

    Mike.

  21. Henry says:

    Another classic article from Darren. This is for people like me who move from blog to blog! I have got to stick with something from now on.

    Great post! I am choosing this as the Post of the Day.

    http://postawards.blogspot.com/

  22. Matt Keegan says:

    I am experiencing Winter on several of my blogs, Spring one other and summer on my favorite blog. Seasons come and seasons go; I like the analogy, something we all need to consider when blogging.

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