I thought we would take a break from our regularly scheduled programming and get a little bloggy for a minute. I don’t claim to be an expert when it comes to blogging, in fact, I can honestly tell you I am learning every day. But something I am very familiar with is burnout, specifically blogging burnout. And it got me thinking that it was way overdue on sharing with you guys a little story about how blogger burnout saved my blog.
Around the end of last year I had passed my one year blogging anniversary, and to celebrate, I decided I needed to take a break. My blog and I were not on good terms at this point. I was pouring countless hours into it but felt like I wasn’t getting anything back in return. The joy I had had when I started this journey was gone. What I had created was nowhere near what I had envisioned in my head and no real idea of how to get it there. I felt like I was putting full time hours into something that wasn’t producing anything positive in return. Needless to say, I needed a break.
I realized I had come face to face with blogging burnout. And it was awful.
When I had started my blogging journey I wanted to create a place of inspiration and share whatever little knowledge I had on areas I was passionate about. I wanted to have an excuse to be creative, with writing, photography, etc. And in the beginning, it was exactly that, and it brought me joy. But somewhere along the way that stopped.
Essentially I had allowed the blog to take on a life of its own, and I wasn’t quite sure how to course correct.
So when it came time to move from Florida to our new home I decided I needed to go ahead and take a break. But when the move settled and it was time to pick it back up again I couldn’t bring myself to do it. I physically could not even look at my blog.
There were so many feelings of frustration and resentment that I decided that maybe it was time to quit. I mean, I’d given the blog a good year. No one could fault me and say I didn’t try. So as the holidays approached, I decided it was time to call it quits.
Then a funny thing started to happen…I realized I missed it. Slowly over time, I kept thinking of what I would have done differently if I was still doing my blog. I would mention things here and there to Phillip, until one day he just asked me, “Why not give it another shot?”
At first, I laughed him off and thought he was crazy. But in truth, I missed it, and what I knew it could be.
But I knew if I was going to go back to blogging I had to do things right this time. I had to create a clear vision for what I wanted and set non-negotiable boundaries to keep history from repeating itself. I needed to overhaul what I had been doing to make room for what I really wanted to create.
The thing was I knew what my vision was this time going forward with the blog, and that was only because I had taken time away from it. If it hadn’t been for the burnout pushing me to quit the blog I would never have been able to take the step back that I needed to really formulate where it was I wanted to go.
Because of the break, I had a clear opportunity to re-create my blog. It was during this hiatus I decided to finally be brave enough to go from Eat.Raise.Run to Settling in Sawdust. To go from a blog that was a bit all over the place, to focusing on what really drives me as a content creator.
So how is this time different?
I’m not an expert on how to prevent blogging burnout but I can share with you what changes I decided to make to help keep it from happening to me again. It may or may not work for you, but if it’s something you find yourself facing, I can promise it wouldn’t hurt to try.
- Create content you’re passionate about, not just content you think will attract an audience: while trying to increase traffic to your blog is a good thing, it shouldn’t come at the expense of what you’re blogging about. You’ll find it’s a lot easier to churn out content if it’s something you’re passionate about not just something you’ve created just for the sake of attracting a wider audience.
- Re-evaluate your blogging schedule: I severely underestimated how many behind the scenes hours went into maintaining a blog. Even though I wasn’t blogging new content every day, I was spending hours every day promoting, creating and pouring into my blog to the point where important things like time with my family were being sacrificed. Obviously, my priorities had somehow become way out of whack. So I decided the best solution to this would be back off what I commit to each week. I went from three posts a week schedule to two posts a week schedule. I became more selective on how I promoted my posts and decided to focus more on avenues that gave me more bang for my buck so to speak.
- Give yourself grace: I decided to chill out a bit this go around. Before I would berate myself if I missed a post or if I let my promoting schedule slip a little. Now, I try to keep things in perspective and remember that it won’t be the end of the world if something in my life happens and I only manage to put out one post that week. My traffic won’t tank. My blog will survive. And you know what? That freedom is liberating as a blogger!
- Stop comparing: Okay, being transparent here, I still struggle with this one. But I am getting better! But seriously, stop comparing to what others have going on. Look to them for inspiration, celebrate with them on their achievements, but keep in perspective that just because they’re doing well doesn’t mean you’re not. And just because they’re successful doesn’t mean you won’t be. As bloggers, we each have a unique voice and thank goodness for that! Just like as people, we would all be so bored if we were the same.
So all of this to say, if you’re a blogger and you’re finding yourself burning out. That’s okay. There’s no rule that says you can’t take a break. In fact, I encourage it. Take some time to gain perspective. And if upon reflection you realize it’s not bringing you joy then allow yourself the grace to be okay with walking away. You’re not a quitter. You’re someone who recognizes the value of your time and energy and are wise enough to use it somewhere that does bring you joy.
“There’s no rule that says you can’t take a break.”
But…if you come to realize that you aren’t quite ready to walk away, embrace the burnout. Take the break and figure out what it is you want to change and how to get there. Create something you’re proud of, something you would enjoy visiting. Who knows, blogging burnout might just save your blog too.