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In a Blog Slump? Here’s What to Do

Image via Flickr user Toni Birrer

Image via Flickr user Toni Birrer

“Do you ever want to chuck blogging in sometimes?” came the question at the end of an email recently.

“Yep”, I answered. “At least twice, pretty seriously.”

It’s a situation I think many of us find ourselves in at some point in our blogging journey: we’re not quite sure, but we think we might want to throw in the towel. We’ve given it our best shot, but we’re just not feeling it any more. Time to hang up our keyboards and call it a day.

Right?

Maybe. But then again, maybe not.

As I’ve chatted to other bloggers over the years, it’s become apparent that almost everyone goes through a bit of a slump. Some of us bow out quietly, having enjoyed the fun while it lasted. Others leave blogs to stagnate, not knowing what to do so they don’t do anything at all. The rest of us find our groove again somewhere further down the line and are grateful we didn’t quite hit that “delete” button, tempting as it was. You can read how fellow blogger Naomi found herself at a crossroads at the ProBlogger conference last year and how it helped her inspiration again.

There are several reasons I believe bloggers feel like it’s time to move on – do any of these resonate with you?

  • You’ve tried to monetize, but it hasn’t happened as fast as you’d hoped. In fact – you feel like you’re not really getting anywhere with it.
  • You’ve run out of things to write about.
  • You’ve spent a ton of time on other people’s sites, commenting and being involved, and the bloggers have never responded.They don’t come to read your blog either, like you’d hoped.
  • You don’t feel as though you’re a very good writer.
  • You feel as though everyone else is succeeding but you.
  • You can’t fit it in around all the other family, work, and life obligations that you have – especially if you’re not getting paid to blog.
  • Linky parties and participating in memes never really earned you any legitimate readers.
  • You don’t take very good photographs.
  • Brands and PR people don’t seem to be noticing you, or you have found it hard to get on their radar.
  • You don’t really want to have to be everywhere on all social media channels just so people will read your blog.
  • You think anything you could possibly say has already been said by someone else – and they’ve said it better.
  • You’ve spent a lot of time and energy and love on your blog, but you’re just not seeing the traffic you hoped you would after a while.
  • It’s not as much fun as you thought it would be.
  • You’ve realised how much work it actually is.

I don’t know about you, but in my four-plus years of blogging, there have been times when I’ve felt a bit “blah” about it all, and times when I’ve felt I can really make it if I just work hard, be kind to people, and make the most of opportunities as they arise. There was a time after about a year and a half that I genuinely believed I’d enjoyed blogging, but I was done. That I could walk away from all I had created with nary a backward glance.

While I don’t think now I would ever give it up (especially since I now do it full-time), I certainly do still feel those periods of low motivation – where my mojo up and walks out, flies to Mexico and does some tequila shots. I have slumps where I feel like I should be further than where I am, that it shouldn’t be so hard to find advertising, that it takes more effort than I have to give, and that other people are funnier, cuter, and have better blogs than I do. I don’t have the time to be and do all that I need to be and do to be successful. But rather than quit, I coast along knowing that my mojo will eventually return, slightly drunk and suntanned, and I’ll have ideas coming out my ears and words coming out my fingertips again.

And so I say: Go with the flow.

Get in that slump when it arrives. Roll around there for a bit. Recognize you’re not bursting with blogger buzz, and accept that. For what goes down must come up – and you WILL blog again! Especially if you:

Rest. A creative mind craves downtime in order to fully function.

Don’t force it. Breaks are totally necessary to avoid blogger burnout and to ensure you’re in tip-top shape. If you’re worried about a dip in traffic, you might like to have a look at my other post about taking a blog break without losing momentum. But don’t write just to fill space. As Tsh Oxenreider said recently: you’ve got to actually be out there living life in order to write about it.

Read. Read something for fun, read a newspaper, finally have a crack at War and Peace. I guarantee that at some point you will read something that will spark that love of writing again, and wild horses couldn’t hold you back.

Be inspired. Without judgement or vanity, read the blogs you sincerely love as a reader. Not as a blogger. Don’t overthink it, just read and feel the good feelings you have when you consume for no other reason than you enjoy it. Your inspiration for your own creation will return.

Forget about your competition. If the “why aren’t I… ?”s getting you down, then it’s time to turf them. If you’re no longer being motivated by the success of others and instead, you’re starting to feel disappointed and left out, it’s time to turn inwards. Take a break to regroup and come back with an eye on your own prize. Don’t compare yourself to others: aim for your own goals and give yourself a pat on the back when you reach them. But for now, try and let comparison go.

Do what you love. Blogging can get very old very quickly if you’re not writing about the things that light a fire inside you. If you’ve pared back “your” voice in the hopes of being more marketable to brands, then you’re going to sound like a shopping catalogue, not a unique snowflake. And dammit, you are a unique snowflake! People read blogs for the human connection, for the quirky you who writes it. Be yourself and write what you love. It’s hard to be bored with that.

There’s plenty of advice around to whip you out of writer’s block, and what to do when a blog slump hits. You can kick your apathy to the kerb here, and we even have an entire week devoted to the best ways of creating content here. But none of the tips are going to be very useful if you’re not coming at them from the perspective of someone who loves what they do and aren’t afraid to blog their way.

Have you ever been tempted to chuck it all in?

Stacey Roberts is the Managing Editor at ProBlogger.net, and the blogger behind Veggie Mama. Can be found writing, making play-dough, reading The Cat in the Hat for the eleventh time, and avoiding the laundry. See evidence on Instagram here, on Facebook here, and twitter @veggie_mama.

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Comments

  1. Simon Chow says:

    Great post and good advice indeed to overcome blog slump!

  2. This all depends which monetization model you follow. If you go with the publishing model you’ll burn out quickly because you can’t publish new content fast enough.

    When you have already a product or service to sell, blogging becomes something different.

    The best way to blog is to write every blog post as if it was a sales letter. Stop giving away your information for free!

    • Stacey Roberts says:

      I think my readers would tune out if I sold to them every time they read me. Actually, *I* would tune out! But you’re right, it depends on what kind of model you follow, or if you even follow one at all. It all depends on what your motivation for blogging is.

  3. Michael says:

    This post couldn’t have been written better. Having myself gone through those days of turmoils when nothing seemed to be working for your blog, I agree that only mantra for success of your blog is the 6 points mentioned by you; the most important one being “Do what you love”.

    Thanks Stacey for this excellent write up.

    • Stacey Roberts says:

      You’re welcome, Michael, thank you! If a blog isn’t about what you love, it can become such a millstone.

  4. Terry says:

    Stacey,
    Yup! Been there. Feeling like it’s all a big waste. But the truth is I love it! I love writing and helping people with technology. Your tips are great and very helpful. Will be passing them on to my clients. I think anyone who is blogging either for business or hobby faces this dilemma.
    For writing block I have cut up little pieces of paper with short descriptions like ‘Big Rabbit’ or ‘Dying Computer’. I randomly select one of these and start aimlessly writing. This trick usually works to get the creative juices moving.
    Thanks again,
    -Terry

    • Stacey Roberts says:

      Oh I love random writing prompts! They are always a bit of fun. I do like writing, and I think that helps.

  5. devnet says:

    I’m pretty much at this point and have been for almost 2 years. :(

    I have a well linked blog that’s been up since 2004 and I rule my niche. The problem is, motivating myself to post when I can’t translate clicks into $…even during my heavy traffic times about 3 years ago, I was barely generating enough to cover hosting.

    Without an official sponsor, I’d be toast…that company covers hosting for me. In the meantime, like the Coldplay song….I’m “stuck in reverse”….

    • Stacey Roberts says:

      I know, it can feel a bit like being on a hamster wheel – so much work with very little to show for it. If I didn’t love and enjoy it so much, I would have tossed it long ago!

  6. Wendy Ewurum says:

    I have experienced this to the point where I deleted my blog mich to my deepest regret.
    Luckily I had two blogs and the second one, around which coincidentally my book tour business got started survived. But after a whole year hiatus, I miss my blog and would have loved to have gone back to it
    Sat Jine when I got back to it.

    And the worst is, someone else used my blog name so I couldn’t re-register and they are not even using the blog 😫

    Deleting a blog is the worst mistake. This is an awesome article. Thank you

    • Stacey Roberts says:

      Oh no! I hope your words help someone else. Looks like the lesson is DON’T DELETE! No matter how much you want to.

  7. MrCloud says:

    That’s why you have to love your work. Don’t do it for the results, do it for yourself.

    Just let the science guide you a little bit on what you want to publish, but for the most part it should be fun yourself.

  8. Jan Orsula says:

    Hey man, amazing article! Just bookmarked because I’ll send here all sceptic and negative people.. You caught the point..

    I wouls say all is about consistency.. ‘Nothing more nothing less’

  9. Adam says:

    Great post Darren! Over the past few weeks I have been thinking about changing my writing style so it’s not too unlike other people in my industry. Your post has encouraged me to be myself and not become a shopping catalogue. Many thanks.

  10. Thanks for the article, everything on the list I have experienced at some time or another on both of my sites. As a psychologist I can’t agree more with the Go with the Flow sentiment, unfortuantely the struggle of trying to create something causes more stress, then the added stress adds more stress and the cycle becomes onerous and exceptionally hard to break out of.

    • Stacey Roberts says:

      It is rather difficult, isn’t it! I think that’s tied up in expectation too – which is dismal when you don’t fulfil it. I learned that I’d rather enjoy blogging and see where that leads, than to kill myself trying to “make it”. It’s much slower-going, but it’s far more pleasant!

      • Yup, I have battled with another blog of mine for a year or so, but I have since started a new one which covers themes that interest me. So now rather than stressing myself to write an article that I think other people will like, I am writing for the enjoyment and actually reaping the rewards!

  11. Lorelei says:

    Great post Stacey. I have definitely felt like this at times but have always managed to find my mojo again. ProBlogger conference is always a great motivator! Sometimes the social media side of it seems so time consuming and draining and makes me feel inadequate so time away from it helps me also. Comparison is definitely the thief of joy.

    • Stacey Roberts says:

      Oh yes, it sort of feels like you have to be everywhere all at once, trendy and funny and luring people to your blog. When you let go of the “shoulds” and just do it for fun, it becomes a much more enjoyable way to do business! I came out of the conference last year positively bursting with motivation and ideas – ideas I STILL don’t have the time to implement!

  12. Sam says:

    Thank you Stacey, this is exactly what I needed to hear! DAMMIT I AM A UNIQUE SNOWFLAKE! *repeats to self*

  13. Amal Tlaige says:

    Every time I read a blog I wonder, “Don’t bloggers ever worry that they’ll run out of stuff to write about.” The truth is though, that could never happen. There are an infinite amount of issues, topics and trends occurring this very moment that bloggers can write about. I think when bloggers find themselves in a slump they just need a refresher. They need fresh eyes, that’s why it is important to take breaks in between. It’s not always going to be fun writing blogs, but when it gets to a point where your about to rip your hair out, take a break!

    But it seems like a really difficult position to be in as a blogger. You don’t get paid, sometimes you’re not getting as noticed as you’d like and you’re just not having fun with it anymore. I think the most important thing to do is try to write about things you’re passionate about. When you write about something you care about the words are more likely to flow right onto the page and that enthusiasm resonates with readers.

    I really liked your words of wisdom: “I coast along knowing that my mojo will eventually return, slightly drunk and suntanned, and I’ll have ideas coming out my ears and words coming out my fingertips again. And so I say: Go with the flow.” This is like a life quote. In anything your pursue, for me it would be broadcast journalism or PR/Advertising, things aren’t always going to go in my favor. I will me rejected and I will get down on myself sometimes. But going with the flow is the only thing you can do sometimes. Picking yourself back up after things don’t go in your favor shows your have courage and determination. But I once heard that right when you feel like giving up, something great is about to happen. That’s a quote I always try to remember when the going gets tough.

    I also really like that you said, “Forget about your competition.” Sometimes we put so much focus and energy onto how other people are doing better than us when we could be using that energy to better ourselves. I don’t thing I’ve had one good scenario arise when I compared myself to others. It’s important to remember, you are where you’re supposed to be. Believe in yourself and stay confident.

    I LOVED reading post! It didn’t just relate to blogging, but things that occur in every day life. Thanks for the boost :)

    • Stacey Roberts says:

      You’re welcome! and I agree, it’s advice that can be applied pretty universally.

      I remember thinking how funny it was that I’d never run out of things to talk about, but I think that’s because my blog has evolved over the years. And looking at your niche with fresh eyes is totally going to give you a bunch of things to think about, and hopefully a ton of inspiration.

      Blogging is about a million times more fun when we aren’t threatened by others, and we write what we love. Can’t go too far wrong!

  14. Great post Stacey, especially the ‘don’t force it’ and ‘forget about the competition’ advice.. Two things I need to remind myself of regularly. And a big thank you for linking to that post I wrote last year about Problogger! SO lovely of you!

    • Stacey Roberts says:

      How much fun was the conference last year! I’m still so inspired by it. I’m glad you decided to stick it out :-)

  15. Alexg says:

    Been in that slump a couple of times and always regret it. Then you look back and say “darn it, if I would of put in some work, I would be at ____________.”

    -Alexg

    • Stacey Roberts says:

      I try not to think like that! The rest is essential for my mental health, so I don’t want to feel guilty for doing it ;-)

  16. zolar says:

    Hi.. I like the point of the bloggers feel like it’s time to move on as I’ve also think it sometimes. The point is also related but sometimes I’ve need to keep motivate.
    It’s the bigger reaseon why I’m still writing eventhough cannot achieve the target.

  17. Great post Stacey! In such hard times, I always push myself by saying, “Just one more!!” Works best for me :D

  18. Yep, I’ve had a few slump moments and then this year I have been worried about how I am going to keep a plumbing blog going when I’m on maternity leave and not working as a plumber… but the last couple of months have been great and I’ve opened up more about my personal life on my blog. As a result I don’t feel boxed in by my niche, and when I’ve written a personal post, it gives me time to think about a plumbing related post to write up. The biggest release for me in terms of blogging is writing about my passions and forgetting about what other bloggers are doing and just keep doing my own thing. Great post Stacey. :)

    • Stacey Roberts says:

      Yes I was quite surprised when my personal posts got such positive reactions, so I know how you feel! It’s ok to deviate and evolve, I think. Although you’ve got quite the specific niche – nobody else I know has a plumbing blog! I’m glad you liked the post – it’s good to know your’e not the only one feeling a bit blah, isn’t it :)

  19. metz says:

    In your long experience in blogging sure you have experienced ups and downs a hundred times. Life is a wheel, it is running and in line, nothing is permanent. That is why we work hard through good and bad times just like in the blogging world.

    During that sad times, lonely times, you need that energized. You need a candy that will sweeten your day, someone special that will inspire you to work harder and ease the pain. Be inspired. Nevertheless, how? EAT. LOVE & PRAY. :)

    It is like taking a break and go with the flow.

    This comment was left in kingged.com where this post was already “kingged” and shared for Internet marketers.

  20. I seen that most of the bloggers lost the focus when they realize that they are not earning good money. I know money is not everything but still I believe it is the main thing to keep motivated about what are we doing.

    • Stacey Roberts says:

      I think money is a useful motivation for lots of bloggers, but it’s never been my main source. It is very welcome, though!

  21. Wow Great article Stacey, this article will help me a lot in the future, thank you very much.

  22. Ringo says:

    Is really difficult to have the high motivation to write, especially for a long period of time. When I feel stuck, just take a break and read something that interested yourself, then the mood may come some days.

  23. Arvind says:

    Really Great Article.

  24. Jordan Mike says:

    Thanks for the great post Courtney! I’ve been using Pinterest to promote my business and I’m happy to say that it helps tremendously.

  25. Thanks a lot, for shearing this informaiton.
    It can be a little bit hard at times to keep the full motivation. I am gling to implement your tips!

  26. Evil for a blogger in loss of inpiration is truly the procanistation.

  27. Great article Stacey. sometimes I feel like dropping everything but I just pick myself back up and give it another push.

  28. Bryan Vadas says:

    Thanks for putting it so well

    We always tell our project creators on http://www.ipledg.com the importance of blogging to promote their projects, but this article helps with how they can keep moving forward when they get stuck

  29. Jayashree says:

    Every Blogger goes through a Slump phase and it is that period we have to stay focused and regroup or blog strategy to analyze where it is failing and work on those areas. To do all of this we need to be passionate in what we are doing if we are just focusing on money making then we will loose interest easily and might hit the END button, but if we are passionate about what we are doing we will figure out ways to turn it around

  30. Salixisme says:

    I have taken a few breaks occasionally (usually when I am having a fibromyalgia flare and am simply too exhausted and feeling too ill to write).
    The way I deal with this is to have plenty of posts pre-written and saved as drafts, so even if I am feeling awful, it is simple for me to get a post up each day. I just need to review the post to make sure it is relevant and click on post…
    I make a policy of writing 2 posts for every one I actually post when I have plenty of energy.
    Another way to deal with a case of the blah’s is to use guest bloggers who write about similar subjects to you – they can fill in gaps in your posting schedule

    • Stacey Roberts says:

      Excellent advice! I spoke a lot about those tips in the post I wrote about how to take a break without losing momentum. It feels good to have a little body of work to draw on when you can’t get to posting something new.

  31. Hi Stacey, thanks a lot with this inspiring article. I’m really a new rambler on the blogosphere. Actually, I was convinced by my husband to make a blog for something that I’m passionate about, and now by reading this, I’m more encouraged to do better. Maybe someday I will come to my ‘blog slump’ also, just like you said. I’ll remember this article to cope with. Thanks for your awesome article, Stacey.. :)

  32. Sheeroh says:

    Hi Stacey, Well, I’m still relatively newish in the blogging world so I’m very much fired up! But I do worry about things like running out of things to write about later. Well, good thing this article is here!

  33. Thad James says:

    Writer’s block is part of the writing process. The horrible, frustrating part. Thanks for the great tips on breaking the cycle. I’ll refer back to this when the ideas aren’t flowing.

  34. Great advice, exactly what I needed to read today! Thank you…

  35. Avyon says:

    I’m very new to blogging and have not been able to blog as easily as I had hoped! I’ve restarted my blog three times now and I’m hoping that “the third times a charm!” I loved all of your tips and this post has definitely helped me get my mojo back! Thank you :)

  36. Sometimes the pressure of having to post something amazing every day can get too much. Give yourself the permission to take some time off. No-one will be banging down your door because you haven’t updated in a few days :)

    Take a break once in a while. In fact, it’s healthy!

  37. Rajkumar says:

    Ya i am a blogger from last two years, in these years i have suffered many times with my blogs. But i did not loss the confidence till now..

  38. Michelle says:

    Yes you are so right,many times it happened with me in my blogging carrier.What I did is just took some break to get inspired and returned again with full energy,that’s it.

  39. Sabina says:

    Great insight on writer’s block and loss of motivation, Stacey! I can easily see why many bloggers can identify themselves with some of the situations described in the article. I’m one of them, as I sometimes lose my motivation with my personal blog. Useful tips for overcoming those states of mind when you feel like you reached a dead end.

    • Stacey Roberts says:

      It’s funny isn’t it, how it can feel like a dead end, but it rarely ever is? My mojo always comes back somewhere.

  40. It is all part and parcel of the process. We all do feel low at one point or the other during our blogging journey. Some quite, while some others hang on and go on to prove that the decision to hang on was right.

    I also faced a similar situation in the past. That was when I landed my day job. Time was too less to manage network of blogs. So, I was like- ‘I’ll sell the blogs’. But thankfully, I didn’t sell up. I didn’t forced me either, to write blog posts and all.

    One fine day, I woke up and managed to muster up some inspiration. This managed to get things start going and thankfully, with some good use of time management, I’m still maintaining my blogs. Not updating them the way I wanted to, but still, they are alive!

    The main point, listed in the article are things like not forcing it and reading. Reading is a great activity. It sure can inspire one!

    I found the link to this article on Kingged.

    Arun

    • Stacey Roberts says:

      I agree, it’s pretty much standard for blogging to be over it a bit sometimes. Just like it is with anything, really. Too much of a good thing! So pleased to hear you didn’t sell your blogs. And reading is the best.

  41. Jo says:

    I am slumped, man. Almost every point on your list of things that make you go slump is running around my mind these days. Great to know it’s not just me. Thanks for your wise words. Will meditate on them with tequila.

    • Stacey Roberts says:

      It will end, I promise! I guess it must be harder for you, because your blog is so informative, and so researched – and a topic that is a bit uncomfortable for some. It’s not like you can just post a picture and be done with it! Keep on fighting the good fight, the urge to slap someone for being environmentally unconscious will come back at some point!

  42. Great advice. I think the last tip of writing about something you love is key. In the past I have started blogs and they have failed after the first few posts because I lost interest in the topic. If you are writing about something you enjoy it is a lot more fun!

    • Stacey Roberts says:

      I think it’s the biggest tip for longevity! I’ve heard of so many people burning out writing things that they’re not interested in.

  43. I’ve been blogging daily for three years now and I’m definitely in a slump right now. I loved what you said:

    “Get in that slump when it arrives. Roll around there for a bit. Recognize you’re not bursting with blogger buzz, and accept that. For what goes down must come up – and you WILL blog again!”

    Gonna roll around a bit and hopefully it will pass.

    • Stacey Roberts says:

      Gosh, daily for three years would just about kill me! Enjoy that slump, it sounds like you’ve earned it ;-)

  44. Richard says:

    Blogging sounds fun on paper but when you actually get to it, its a different animal.

  45. Francesco says:

    What works for me is completely moving away from the screen when I feel like I’m working too hard. You probably started Blogging because you wanted freedom from hard-work. Now you feel like you are working harder then before… It’s really all about managing yourself and your efforts. It takes time to build a business and no amount of daily hard-work is going to change that. Relax and do something fun everyday, enjoy the fact that you can write when you feel inspired to do that.

  46. Renee Wilson says:

    I think you’ve just been inside my head reading my thoughts ;) Several of those reasons were why I felt like letting go recently. I think I was scared to take a break before, that people would forget me. I felt like it was all or nothing. I was so burnt out. A break was all I needed. Thanks Stacey! You’re the best!

    • Stacey Roberts says:

      Never all or nothing! I take breaks all the time. Once was for three whole months! Remember – some readers enjoy a bit of a blogger break, it means they can catch up on their reading and feel less overwhelmed with their reader inbox. You won’t be forgotten!

  47. Thanks for the nice info sharing.It is so amazing tips to overcome blog slump. We are actually fire safety institute,so we will maintaining lot of blogs.I am not able manage all the blogs. So i here by saying here after i follow about your tips. Thanks.

  48. Lori E says:

    I have so little time to do anything interesting to blog about so I have reached the stagnant point. I am hopeful that an upcoming move will get me going again.

    That being said I think a mojo should be fed mojitos and not shots….just saying. :p

  49. George says:

    I like this post because it deals with the core of one of the biggest challenges of blogging. Keep writing.
    I think most people quit because they don’t believe they create value.
    I have interviewed quite a few successful bloggers and most of them started out as a hobby. Then, their traffic started to grow. Most of them were not marketing experts. Some of them started ten years ago when there was much less competition.
    I like you suggestion on reading. I think the best writers read a 100 pages before they write one.
    Ignoring the competition is good advice, but what should bloggers care about? What should keep them going?
    We must set some goals to know if we are reaching those goals. What should they be?

    • Stacey Roberts says:

      Only ignore the competition if it is having a negative effect on your self-esteem. As I say in the post, “If you’re no longer being motivated by the success of others and instead, you’re starting to feel disappointed and left out, it’s time to turn inwards.” So if it’s still motivating and not debilitating, then a little competition is healthy :)

  50. Rakesh Desai says:

    Thanks for sharing such a thought provoking content! It has been a very motivating article for any new blogger, especially for me, to be prepared for the good and bad things to face further. And I agree to one important thing i.e. “Do what you love and go with the flow”, one should always follow this in the future world of blogging!

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