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Avoid Blogger Burnout: 5 Tips to Save Your Sanity

For the beginner, the blog learning curve can be steep. As well as all the technical and blog visibility issues, there are questions about focus, content types and research, and of course reaching readers.

You’re plugging away, day after day, and getting little in the way of recognisable success. How can you stay motivated during what can be a very trying time? Here are the techniques I use.

1. Do what you love.

Staying motivated is a whole lot easier when you’re constantly thinking about, and dealing with, the topic you blog about. If you love your topic, you’ll find it easier to think up content ideas, engage with readers, and establish a warm and welcoming voice that encourages rapport and develops readership.

2. Take it one step at a time.

When you start a blog, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by all the things you feel you should be doing to help it grow. Realise up front that your blog isn’t likely to be an overnight super-success and pace yourself. Instead of focusing on what you haven’t done yet, spend time each week assessing the things you have done, and considering ways to build on those results.

If you’re going to avoid burnout, you need to be kind to yourself. Otherwise, it’s all too easy to tell yourself it’s too hard, you don’t have time, and to give up.

3. Plan, plan, plan.

If you haven’t already, develop a flexible, but clear plan of attack for building up your blog’s content and reach. A focused plan will help you to keep your expectations of yourself in check, and to test and assess the results of what you do.

This kind of periodic review will give you information that you can feed back into your efforts to make each new promotional approach more successful, and helps you avoid the must-do-everything-now, scattergun approach that quickly exhausts even the most motivated blogger.

As you plan, you’ll likely identify some easy wins — things that you expect will be fulfilling or gratifying on some level. Perhaps these are tasks that will pull in a lot of readers, or maybe you just know you’ll really enjoy doing them. Try to space these jobs so that when the going gets tough, you know you have a favourite task just around the corner. This can make a big difference to your motivation over time.

4. Allow for downtime.

Once you’ve got a plan, fit some downtime into it. Make sure you’re not always operating at breakneck speed, or that if you are, it’s only for a short, manageable period. Be sure to build in time out for family and friends, and to be flexible about your schedule.

Above all, let yourself really enjoy that time off — don’t spend it guiltily obsessing about all the things you should be doing to build your blog.

5. Realise that everyone has bad days.

It’s true. Some of us even have bad weeks! And months. It doesn’t mean you should throw in the towel or that you don’t have what it takes. Of course you have it — the thing is, you need to manage it to get the most out of it. If you have a bad day, don’t beat yourself up. Accept that this is part of life.

If you feel like giving up, let yourself feel it. Stare your discomfort in the face and see if there isn’t some way you can overcome it, or work around it, and make your blog better in the process. After all, necessity is the mother of invention. Sometimes, it’s the thin end of the wedge that gives us the impetus to innovate solutions that make our blogs — and our work on them — infinitely more enjoyable.

These are the main ways I keep motivated about blogging. What kinds of techniques do you use?

About Georgina Laidlaw

Georgina Laidlaw is a freelance content developer, and Content manager for problogger.net. You can find her on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Awesome tips Georgina!

    I found myself in the “guilty obsession” when I couldn’t find more time to work on my blog.

    But once you find a good plan there’s no need for obsession, stress, or whatever, it’s just about follow the plan, take it easy and enjoy.

    Cheers!

  2. When I first started blogging, I had the goal of posting every day, which is what many bloggers like to do. However, I found that some of my posts were just being slammed on the page without as much thought as they could’ve used.

    Now, I take a different approach. I put a lot more time and thought into my posts, providing more value for the reader. If I am not ready to have something to say that day, then so be it. It’s about number 1 (doing what you love).

    I absolutely refuse to put up anything on my blog that I am not completely happy with and I want to make sure that I’m providing real value to my readership without pitching a bunch of crappy affiliate links.

    Tha’s where I think your number 3 is really important. You have to plan with a blog (as with any small business) if you want to make money. You have to plan for a launch. You have to plan for content, and you have to plan to attract new customers as well.

    -Joshua Black
    The Underdog Millionaire

  3. James says:

    I think planning some downtime is important. Real burnout often comes from overdoing something. In truth, taking a break is not going to destroy your blog – unless you don’t come back.
    I would also add celebrating the success you have to your list. Realizing that you have had success no matter how small can help keep you motivated. The times I’ve felt burned out are usually when I feel what I am doing is not working. Making a note of even a small accomplishment makes me feel like I am still moving forward and not stuck in one spot.

  4. I like your advice Georgina, especially the piece about staring discomfort in the face. Run from negative emotions, they follow you. Face, embrace and release.

    Thanks for sharing the actionable tips.

    Ryan Biddulph

  5. Joshua Noerr says:

    I think it is very important to remember that, while yes, this is a business, we also do this for fun.

    If you aren’t having fun, re evaluate and figure out why. Find out what you love about blogging and do that, and see if you can outsource or partner up with others to do the other stuff.

    Thanks for the post!

  6. Really inspiring words, I’ve felt like giving up many times before and so instead I’ll hit the surf and enjoy time out on the waves and always come back buzzing and ready to give it another shout, thanks for sharing.

  7. Michelle says:

    If you feel like giving up, let yourself feel it.

    I like that. It’s important to let yourself experience exactly where you are rather than deny it. It may be a sign that you need a break.

  8. Moon Hussain says:

    I think these tips should be embraced–I was hell bent on not experiencing ‘bad days’ or keeping pace with the blog. You gotta feel out what works for you and what doesn’t.

  9. Amanda says:

    My colleagues are a huge source of motivation for me. Every time I think that I’m the only one feeling burned out, I can look to them to relate and help me get through the rut.

  10. ChristopherR2D2 | Enjoy Life Media says:

    @Michelle — definitely agree.

    It’s only when you embrace that you dont really have contol that you gain freedom to be yourself and let yourself flow where your interests take you. If it’s not working, don’t force it … Not only will it show in your content, you also won’t be having a fun time.

  11. Steve says:

    It is easy to blog at first. You have all that pent up desire, energy and ideas. Over time it becomes harder as you have greater amounts of material written it becomes harder to write and not become repetitive.

    #3 is one of the best ways to overcome this issue. A well thought out plan for you blog will help a lot.

    Thanks for another great post!

  12. Stacy says:

    This is a great post, all points are excellent! I don’t think that anyone can do everything all of the time so planning a schedule and being patient with yourself is really important!

  13. Hokya says:

    Great points

    and also have a clear-headed when things go out of plan

  14. Dave Schulz says:

    Thanks for another great article!

    I cannot emphasize enough how important pre-planning is. Take time to sit down and think before you get your hands to it. Otherwise it is like shooting a film without a script.

    With kind regards,
    Dave

  15. Nancy says:

    Solid points! Especially #3. Planning is huge.

    As an extension to #5 – Don’t be afraid to take control of your comments.

    A lot of my worst days are days are related to bad comments — random people attacking me or my opinions.

    I used to keep all of those nasty comments up. I thought people would respect me for not censoring anyone. Then I realized that comments like those weren’t helping anyone. They made me feel terrible, and they also stifled conversation.

    So I deleted them. Not only did it feel great, but it got conversations going again. Win-win.

    This might not be an issue that beginners have right away. But it’s bound to happen — one day they’ll get a comment that makes them question why they put so much effort into blogging in the first place if they’re just going to be insulted by strangers. If a comment is bad enough that it makes you feel like giving up, delete it! Because some comments just aren’t worth keeping.

  16. Stuart Laing says:

    Great post Georgina,

    These are important points to bear in mind when you feel overwhelmed by the amount of work required to create a successful blog.

    When you begin a new blog the initial wave of energy allows you to produce three high-quality posts every day, but unless you can sustain that pace over the long-term it’s counter-productive as it sets the expectation of your readers artificially high.

    I also agree with Joshua that it’s important to blog when you have something of genuine value to share with your readers. If you focus on your blogging schedule to the exclusion of your core blogging message, there’s a risk of turning something you love into a chore. Poor quality grudge posts don’t provide value for anyone.

    One of the chief driving forces behind my blog is to provide valuable information to help other people achieve their online goals.

    Another way that I motivate myself to keep blogging is to view the stats as a game. I love testing things to see what works and doesn’t work to improve my blog stats.

    - Stuart Laing

  17. Like it. Expecially the parts about downtime (which I need) and bad days (Of which I have a few lately).
    Mike

  18. Chris says:

    Thanks Georgina. This covers about my first 5 days. Any suggestions for day 30 +?

  19. This is a great post! – Having a schedule is key and I like the detail you’ve put into the points!

    Cheers.

  20. krissy knox says:

    Great topic and most needed for me at this point, as I am switching blogging platforms soon. I am much frustrated right now, bc I feel the learning curve is very high. I am wondering if I should outsource some of the work. I feel that would keep me more motivated. Another thing that keeps me motivated is having a blogging buddy (we both help each other — bc we each do things for the other that we do best — then exchange work, and bc we hold each other accountable). And having a lot of blogging friends and mentors helps keep me motivated also. I learn a lot from them and that helps keep away a lot of the burn out. I do admit I still get overwhelmed at times and need to take things one day at a time, one thing at a time. My question for you, Georgina, is what does one do, when one just doesn’t know where to turn when one doesn’t know how to do something, and one feels really stuck (and overwhelmed)? Where does one turn? That is when I REALLY feel like giving up! I’ve felt a little like that lately, although I do refuse to give up. But it’s a legitimate question of mine. If you or anyone could answer my question I would appreciate it. :)

  21. Blogging seems to be like most things. I’ve burned myself out on cycling (bike racing) & playing in bands before. This only happens when I put all of my available free time into them & lose the balance. I just started my new blog & I’ve been a little obsessed with it. I guess I need to find that balance again before I burn out on this.

    Thanks for the reminder.

  22. Stuart Marsh says:

    I think another one would be not to look at your stats every 5 minutes.

    I’m going through this at the moment. My blog traffic is really picking up now, and I’m always checking to see if it’s better or worse than yesterday or last month.

    It can get a bit addictive :)

  23. Smart tips. I think in particular, allowing for time off is crucial. When I know I’m going to be away from the computer for an extended period of time or if I just need a break, I try to build up an arsenal of scheduled posts that will publish at specified times. It’s often that these end up being my best posts, as I have more time to add insight and thought to them.

  24. If Burnout comes, one thing to do before deciding to close shop, take a break for a week or so and then see if you still have an interest on your blog. Sometimes taking a break will give back the interest and energy to keep your blog going.

  25. Before, I had a major problem with setting goals that were very difficult to achieve. As a result, I began to dread blogging and writing in general.

    Now, I’m more easy on myself. Instead of posting every day, I post every other day (excluding weekends). Instead of writing 5 or 6 articles on Demand Studios, I write whenever I get the urge (usually once or twice a day). I’m more eager to get working now than I was before, and the end result just comes out so much better. It also gives me time to do other tasks (like guest posting on other blogs, reading books or browsing Google Reader).

    Terrific article. I would have never thought about distributing easy, more enjoyable tasks throughout the day to make me more eager to complete the difficult tasks (as I’d know there was a task I enjoyed around the corner). I’ll try that. Hopefully it will further help me to maintain motivation. :)

    Christina

  26. jason says:

    I agree with all of these points, as it is not hard to burn out as a blogger, and content can start to fall to an under par level if lethargy and lack of interest start to play a part in your blog.

  27. Georgina says:

    Hey guys, great tips :) I really like the fact that you place such value on the peer relationships you have — I agree these are invaluable for getting support during the tough times.

    Krissy, to answer your question, I’d say reach out to others. Whether they’re friends and colleagues, forum users, experts, or product or service support staff, people will usually be happy to help if they know you’re stuck :)

  28. I’ve been reading a lot of posts on maintaining a good blog. This is great information to have and it has been very enlighting and encouraging to me. I believe as you stated above you have to do what you love and it will come naturally. I think your website/blog will also be perceived as authentic to your audience as well.

  29. Kate Kutny says:

    These are great tips! I did create a plan and I hope to start meeting my goals in a month from now. A couple of my goals right now are to 1.) Write 4 Articles Each Day and 2.) To Visit other people’s blogs to read their articles. And if I like their article, I will leave a comment. This can help build page rank. Right now, mine is low. But my blog is pretty new! I really hope to become successful with building a community on my blog. That is something I’m working hard on right now.

  30. John says:

    I will add another point from my experience which is : Don’t underestimate competitors .
    you have a long way to go

  31. Thank you for this – really needed this right now. I’m just in the midst of planning out my month of blogging and was a little stressed about the whole thing.

  32. James King says:

    I recently wrote an in-depth article about blogging burnout. The main source of burnout I found was: excepting more from yourself than anybody else could possibly expect.

    Usually, this is a sign of success. Creating more content and developing a successful blog takes time. The more effort we create the better our blogs will be in theory.

    We need to have a good balance of work and play.

  33. I think the first tip is by far the best. Do what you love!

    Too often people focus only on chasing after money, we have all been there. This can lead people to doing stupid things, learning the wrong marketing efforts to promote, and in the end losing a lot of time.

    When you blog about something you are passionate about, the rest falls into place. Chase your Purpose, not money, and you will attain both.

    Blessings,
    Ron

  34. Sufism World says:

    This is something I needed right now – I was sort of looking for a solution and I guess you provided it for me. Nice one.

  35. Steve Thomas says:

    This is great advice. Especially numbers 4&5! The need for down time is as important as working hard.

    We also need to remember that everyone else is not superman and we are slugs! Everyone, including the bug guys have bad days.

    Just keep at it!

  36. Trish says:

    Great advice. I find the best way to avoid burnout is to schedule the time I work online. It is very easy to want to spend every hour of every day working your business. You wouldn’t do that in the real world. Give some time for yourself, and you will value the time you do work more.

  37. Curtis says:

    “We Help Our Visitors Reach Their Health, Fitness And Appearance Goals Through Information, Motivation, And Supplementation”.

    I like this blog. Tip are great. I have been blogging seriously for the past 6 months. And would like to make a living at it.

  38. Thanks for the reminder: “Some of us even have bad weeks! And months. It doesn’t mean you should throw in the towel or that you don’t have what it takes.”

    I really needed that at this point in time.

    Great tips Darren.

  39. Putra Eka says:

    I stick with the first tip “Do What I love” because if I do everything that make me interested. I get more and more energy to do it.

  40. Confession: I had built seven blogs before I found a niche I truly loved: the Dallas Cowboys and Dallas Mavericks. Then I realized that even though I love my home teams, I can’t see myself devoting my life to sports. Something a little to cliche for me.

    So I passed that blog on and wandered in the wilderness for another year until I came upon my new blog. I love reviewing blogs and advising on how to improve existing design and functionality.

    My current dilemma: I named it “Daily” Blog Crush. But it turns out I’m really more comfortable blogging three times a week. Is my domain name ultimately going to disappoint or frustrate my visitors? I can’t decide. But it was a tough choice to make. The domain without the daily was already owned and the owner wanted $3-4k for it. Uh, no.

  41. If you are clueless about your next topic, you’ll surely find yourself totally at mess. That fact is one of the concerns of every blogger. Well, nothing will go wrong if you have plans which you can follow religiously. Aside from that if you love what you’re doing and willing to give all your effort, burnout is out of your vocabulary.

  42. I so needed that. Thanks.

  43. #4 Allowing for downtime is the most important for me at the moment, and actually enjoying that time rather than continually thinking about the next blog post and how to increase exposure on your blog.

    Using the scheduling system with the likes of WordPress is great because you can give yourself some well deserved time off if you’ve planned well ahead.

  44. Gail says:

    These things motivate me:
    1. Doing some more research in my niche – I might just read something that inspires a new idea.
    2.Looking at questions people are asking on forums (in my niche) – questions make me want to answer them and could form the basis of a new post.
    3. Re-reading a thank you note from one of my visitors – makes me feel like what I’m doing is useful.
    4. Re-reading a success story that I found motivating in the past – reading a positive article about someone else’s success is inspiring.

  45. ‘Do what you love’ I believe is the number one in any realm of work…although it’s been easy for me to forget when starting out. As part of my plan I will check your helpful posts regularly. Thanks!

  46. I try to plan ahead for a rainy day when it comes to ideas for blog posts. If I have an idea or somthing on my mind I always try to write it down (with as much detail as possible) so that way I can revisit the idea for some inspiration. There have been times where I had no idea what I was thinking …BUT by merely trying to interpret or understand what I had written, came up with several ideas for blog posts.

  47. Nice tips, probably motivating yourself is the biggest challenge for a blogger, its not about writing and sticking to a niche, but rather i will say write about your day to day experiences can do a great job for the bloggers.

  48. Thanks for sharing these tips. It’s always hard not to overwork at something to try and make it succeed. I really like #4, always allow for downtime. That’s a big one for me! I feel guilty for not always doing something if I’m just sitting around resting. Thanks again!

  49. Yup, sounds very familiar to me back in the early days, years ago. I think everyone has to pay their dues, there are no short cuts.

    But I also can’t help but notice that these days, it’s also harder to “break out” from the crowd. It was slightly easier a few years back. There are way more blogs now than ever before, and the number is rising, so this makes it harder and harder for newbie bloggers.

  50. Thanks for the tips, they’ve come just in time! I find myself circling blogging burnout myself, hopefully these tips will help prevent that!

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  1. [...] Avoid Blogger Burnout: 5 Tips to Save Your Sanity "You’re plugging away, day after day, and getting little in the way of recognisable success. How can you stay motivated during what can be a very trying time?" (tags: blogging, writing) AKPC_IDS += "4587,"; [...]

  2. [...] the early days, I found that just when I’d get close to completion on an idea, I’d suddenly be overwhelmed with dozens of new ideas. As a result, I’d move from idea to idea, never finishing a single one. [...]

  3. [...] the early days, I found that just when I’d get close to completion on an idea, I’d suddenly be overwhelmed with dozens of new ideas. As a result, I’d move from idea to idea, never finishing a single one. [...]