This guest post is by Steff of steffmetal.com.
Right now, your blog is still new and shiny and everything is awesome, but one day, you’ll be hit with an unsettling dread at the thought of writing another post; the sudden realization that you just don’t care about deleting all the spam comments; the sense that you have nothing left to say to the Internet.
But you love blogging, right? So how come you feel like quitting? Don’t worry—you’re not alone. I could come up with a catchy name for this malaise, like the “blog-bonic plague”, but “Blogger’s Burnout” is now practically an industry term, being written up in the medical journals as I type, so we’ll stick with that.
Signs you’ve caught the dreaded Blogger’s Malaise (or Blogger’s Burnout, or Blog-bonic plague):
- You haven’t posted in a couple of weeks.
- You’re out of ideas.
- Looking at your backup list of posts ideas doesn’t inspire you—you’re still out of ideas.
- You want to do something else.
- Anything else.
- Writing your blog feels like a chore.
- I mean, you’re looking at seven weeks of smelly, sweaty, unwashed laundry and thinking “that looks like fun.”
I’ve been there—oh lordy, have I been there. I write six posts a week over three blogs, plus blogs for my writing clients. I love blogging, but it’s like eating chocolate every day—sometimes you wake up and think, “chocolate is great and all, but I’d actually rather have … a pony.” And so you go out and eat a pony instead (this is a hypothetical example).
And that’s all well and good, except that if you’re out eating ponies every day when you’ve got a year’s supply of chocolate stashed in the fridge, eventually the police and pony-rights activists are going to come after you, and all your chocolate is going to go yucky and then you don’t get any chocolate or any ponies.
If you really, truly want to be a serious blogger, you have to keep going through the malaise. If you allow yourself to be distracted by the ponies for too long, your readers will get bored of waiting for you to post the chocolate and answer their comments and they will find some other blogger to follow. But how can you post if you have nothing to say? Here are my tips for kicking the backside of Blogger’s Burnout.
Go out and do something that inspires you
I never fail to be inspired by the world around me, so when I feel bored or uninspired, I get out of the house—I read art books at the library, watch a play, visit an art gallery or craft fair, listen to a poetry reading, or bang my head at a heavy metal concert.
With this giant pot of amazing human talent and creativity bubbling over around you, how can you help but feel a new zest for your own creative outlet?
Buy an ebook about blogging
Most of what I learned about blogging I sort of figured out by accident, and when I started reading about other blogger’s techniques, I felt like slapping myself on the forehead and saying “Duh.”
Just reading about another blogger’s struggles in books like 31 Days to Build a Better Blog (ProBlogger), You Don’t Need a Job: You Need Guts (The Middle Finger Project), and the Blogger’s Guide to Freelancing (Aliventures), and learning how they solve their problems shows us we’re not on our own. You feel like you’ve made a friend.
Expand your scope
Sometimes, bloggers feel burntout because they realize they’ve written just about all they can on a topic.
If this is you—if you’ve written 400 articles about dog handling, or wedding planning, or tying balloon animals, and you just can’t face the thought of writing another post, it’s time to expand your scope.
Do you have room on your dog-handling blog for other dog topics, too? What about breeding, or housing, or reviews of dog-related products, or profiles of dogs and owners? Could you expand your blog to include training for other pets?
Do you think the readers of your balloon animal blog might also like to know about other party tricks and games? Maybe some quick and fun recipes would go down a treat. Or a “bloopers” column with reader pictures of balloon animals gone horribly wrong?
Expanding your blog’s scope allows you to open the door to fresh ideas and content. Don’t think you’re locked into a rigid niche or topic—you’re free to write about whatever you please!
Take an “Official Break”
I know you’ve been neglecting your blog for … too long now. But you obviously feel you need a break. So take one. Write a quick post to say you will be taking a breather from posting for the week, and do just that.
Don’t look at your blog. Don’t think about your blog. Don’t check your emails or moderate your comments or source new advertisers. Instead, go out to dinner with your partner, have a sleepover with some friends, go shopping, see a movie, go to a gig—hang out in the real world.
And when your week is over, come back, fresh and ready to post again. You could start with a post about all the amazing things you did over the last week.
Be wary—this is a last-ditch tactic for a quick pick-me-up. It is like sleeping next to a live hen to cure the bubonic plague—chances are once you start, you won’t be coming back. Don’t take mini-breaks all the time, and don’t take longer than a fortnight, or readers may forget about you.
Revisit your schedule (or make a schedule, if you’re one of those silly people who doesn’t have one)
Are you trying to do too much? I am always trying to do too much, so whenever I feel overwhelmed, I take a look at everything I’m doing on my blogs and decide what will give.
Are you trying to push yourself too hard? If you’re constantly letting yourself down, it’s time to reassess your schedule.
Perhaps you’re putting unrealistic demands on yourself. If you want to write five posts per week, but you can only manage two, then set your schedule at two posts per week for three months. Maybe when three months are up you can decide to increase your post rate to three or four per week.
Remember, it’s better to do one thing really well than lots of things not so well. Write one amazing article instead of four blah ones.
Whether you’ve got the Blogger’s Malaise, the Blog-bonic Plague or the Multiple Blog-personality Disorder, the best cure is to change up your normal routine and inject a little inspiration into your life.
Bloggers, what do you do when you catch the blogger’s malaise?
Note: no ponies were harmed in the writing of this post.