How to Blog When Life Hits the Fan
By: Jennine Jacob

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This month has been one of the most trying months I’ve had in my life. Evolving Influence required my attention around the clock for months, fashion week, traveling, then in my personal life, I’ve had to reevaluate my relationships with work, friends, and family, and my relationship with reality. Then to top it off, yesterday, I find out my grandmother died.

 

Life can’t be planned out in an editorial calendar, and sometimes bloggers just need focus on real life. However,”they” say consistency is vital to building traffic, to keeping it professional, after all, the New York Times doesn’t take a break. So what do you do when life demands your full attention?

 

Personally, I wish I had an answer to that. Part of me feels like I should keep posting, part of me wants to put up a sign saying “gone fishing” and call it a day. But there are ways to keep going even when life hits the fan.

 

1. Take a break

Some bloggers subscribe to the idea that if you don’t have anything to post about then don’t post. I personally disagree with that most of the time. I do believe that part of being a great blogger is learning how to post even when you’re not inspired. Inspiration is a habit, not some magical gift from the heavens. However, there are times, like say extreme emotional circumstances, when it really does no one any good to keep working, like you wouldn’t show up to work with pneumonia? Would you? Take a day off.

 

2. Hire/Recruit Contributors

If it really bothers you to have gaps in posting, and you really can’t be present to really create quality content, ask around. Ask your blogger friends who are fans of your blog and understand your content. They’ll be happy to help (and may call on you to return the favor). If you think it might be an extended gig, you might even want to offer compensation. That way you can ask them to post on a regular basis, so you don’t have to rush back to your regular posting schedule.

 

3. Blog About Your Experience

Most blogs are personal in nature, personal style, personal opinions, personal experience. Why not blog about what you are going through and share this with your readers? There was an excellent post on Men with Pens about Why You Should Write When Life Sucks detailing why writing about your emotions can not just help you, but help form a bond with your readers. Personally, I find it hard to do this, not because I’m particularly private, but because I’m particularly inept at communicating my emotions. The idea though, is great, I do love reading about what other bloggers are going through. It’s so humanizing.

 

Coping with life is hard enough just by itself at times, and keeping a cheery face when things are falling apart (or restructuring as I like to put it) bloggers don’t need to keep a happy face all the time, after all, authenticity makes a good blog great.

 

image by by `this.is.epic

Comments

  1. LPC says:

    I like you having a go at #3. We all have different levels of comfort with personal disclosure. What matters is the authenticity of the attempt more than how many gory details we get to know.

    Were you to want guest posters, just say the word and I’m sure I’m not alone in saying I’d volunteer. You’d have to give very strict guidelines though, as your blog is so completely yours. Despite the lack of detail:).

    • Avatar of Jennine Jacob

      Thanks so much, I am not sure if I’m ready yet for #3, mostly because it feels like a big knot in my innards, and I can’t really articulate much more than that. But I’m sure you’ll be hearing more on The Coveted in the near future.

      I love guest posters! And yes, IFB does have guidelines, email at jennine@heartifb.com if you’re interested.

  2. Even when you’re down, you find the strength to be the perfect example of your best advice. You’re amazing, Jennine!

  3. Poochie says:

    I know things have been crazy lately for you. I’m so sorry about your grandmother. We’re all here for you… If you want to take a break or just need writers. Everyone needs a respite some times.

  4. These are all super great tips, honey. I find that saying even, “I’m going through some things right now, things won’t be regular here” on my site gives me… some closure, gives people reading some answers, and also provides some support– afterall, the people who read your blog feel SOME kind of kinship with you. So it’s really amazing and overwhelming to get the kind comments of “thinking of you” and “take the time, we’ll be here when you get back!” To know that people you’ve never met have that kind of support & kindness towards you? Helps make it all a little bit better…

  5. Meghann says:

    I am sorry to hear about your grandmother. My thoughts are with you.

    I have made a conscious effort this month to keep up with my blog and the results are noticeable. Sometimes it is hard to sit down and really focus but I find that once I get the tiniest spark of idea my fingers do the writing for me.

  6. Lane says:

    Time! We all need time, let it be personal or NOT. Taking a day, a week, or just a moment to myself, for myself to evaluate or reevaluate is priceless. I love that you gave choices in this post, as some people can’t even fathom. All I can say is when I’ve peddled to the other side of that moment whether it be written, talking it out or sitting by myself under a tree I know that I’ve become a little more true to me! (and really that’s all that matters, because when I’m true to myself everything around me becomes bliss) I can’t wait to read about what happens next … And guest bloggers are always interesting! Cheers!

  7. Christy L. says:

    Funny you write about this now as I’m experiencing similar things albeit on a much smaller scale.

    My dog just had a stroke (or so we think), our house needs gutter repair, we’re looking at his & her oral surgeries and on top of this I’m hosting an event for my blog in October while holding down a full time job. Phew!

    Sometimes we just need to remind ourselves to take whatever is happening in our lives and use it to funnel our creativity.

  8. Jennine,

    I’m sorry to hear about your grandmother. My thoughts are with you and your family.

    You are so incredible. Such a helpful and relatable post. Thank you for everything you for the blogging community.

  9. The pressure of creating contest for so many loyal readers can be intense, but it’s nice to remember that, yes, you can take a break for yourself sometimes.

    Best of luck taking a break to deal with “life”, and so sorry about your grandmother.

  10. Sofie says:

    This was a great post! It really helped since I’ve had a hard time blogging for a while.

  11. Jennine,

    I am so sorry to hear about your loss. I agree it can be incredibly difficult to blog everyday. In “real life” I am a nanny and sometimes the kids just take every inch of inspiration out of me, but I still blog anyway. I do it because I feel like I’ve done something for myself, even when I have nothing left to give the world. I appreciate your candidness and it is inspiring.

  12. Great tips, especially that inspiration isn’t a magic gift from the heavens. I think being consistent is important to success of a blog, but sometimes just saying that you’re taking a break and cueing up some guest post will save your readers from jumping ship.

    And if you have to take an extended break, remember to come back refreshed and ready to blog!

  13. Katy says:

    So sorry to hear about your loss. If it is any consultation the hard work and countless hours you put into IFB is something I, and many other bloggers, am eternally grateful for. Thanks for all you do, and continuing even when life hands you a cart full of lemons. – Katy

  14. It’s true blogging is more personal than other types of writing. Jennine, if anyone deserves a break it’s you. Definitely take time to grieve your loss. All the work you put into the conference has benefitted so many of us and we are very grateful for your commitment.

  15. Franca says:

    very sorry to hear about your gran!

    and great advice. I’ve gone through a few phases where I’ve struggled to find the time and mental capacity to blog (not nearly on the same scale) and have always taken the approach to cut back on the content heavy posts but to post something regularly, even if it is just a ‘look at this photographer, how beautiful are these pictures’ kind of post. I’ve never really talked about my problems, because I am quite private in that way I guess. I do like it when other blogger do it though.

  16. Mikelle S says:

    I try so hard to stay consistent but I think I’ve had alot of things like you although on a less drastic scale. And it seems that the times I want to blog I find myself delving into the fashion which is what I really love and that takes up the free time instead of translating that into posts… it’s kind of unfortunate because I love fashion a smidge more than blogging.

  17. This post couldn’t have come at a more appropriate time for me either–right after NYFW my life went into this crazed spiral and I’ve not only been drained for time, but emotional energy too.

    But, the blog must go on! My blog is an ongoing digital documentation of what I love about life, so it only makes sense to use it as a cushion when I need to, and also know it will be there waiting for me when I’m ready to post again.

    On that note, “taking a break” worked well for me and I’m ready to start posting again tonight. :}

  18. KC says:

    I try to have posts prepared in advance so I am ready to go if life becomes overwhelming. The few times that I have fallen behind was because I was sick and with that nothing got done. I am trying to keep things qued up so hopfully no falling behind and when there is a glitch on my radar I am still prepared to post :)

  19. That’s so true. But i’ve choosen a special type of blogging, in which I show streetstyle pictures… Sometimes it’s so hard, it’s a lot of work. And I’m not sure i can offer something else to my readers…they’re so used to it !

  20. julia says:

    hang in there! Great tips, and I have struggled through hard times to try to motivate to get posts done, be upbeat, etc, and it just doesn’t feel right! Good thing for the IFB blogging community, as we can reach out to it for support!

  21. Rikke-Louise says:

    Thank you for this lovely writing. I felt like I knew you through out your entire post. Also great tips – well done, really.

  22. jill says:

    My heartfelt condolences on the loss of your grandmother, Jennine. I feel for you.

    This is a beautifully written post – the first I’ve read since joining IFB. I’m going to link to it on my next post. I’ve struggled, we’ve all, I’m sure, struggled with this issue. While I tend to do #3 all the time anyway – somehow I’ve gotten in the habit of being (I hate this term) ‘emotionally honest’ in my posts – and talking about my real life, husband, etc – I still find that there are some things: career/business issues, family, marriage.. some aspects of my life that are simply private.

    There are no easy answers, we have to just find our way, make it up as we go along. This is a really good thought provoking guide. I’m looking forward to going back now and reading your blog and other posts.

    Grief – the grieving period – is a sacred time: the family, the ‘loved ones’, become close in a way that does shut out the rest of the world. It’s a bittersweet time and I hope you’re allowing yourself that time to really experience it, and to feel your grandmother’s presence in your life.

  23. JayMarie says:

    Thanks for this! I am currently going through the motions of life as well and I found it hard to blog… or do anything. I felt a bit better when I did, after I took a little break. Blogging can also preoccupy your mind a bit as well. I’m not up for #3 just yet (I usually leave that to my tumblr).

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