Burnout Aversion Tips from Bloggers

burnout

image by Jan Michellardi.

For every blog that is born, there is some blog somewhere, that dies. There are bloggers who are everywhere for a few months, then suddenly go quiet. Who knows why they stop exactly, but often enough it's chalked up to burnout. Earlier this week Dramatis Personae brought up the topic of burning out in the forums, by giving some example symptoms of burnout:

– reading blogs but not commenting (because you have nothing to say)
– lackluster/uninspired posting
– decrease in posting
– quietness on Twitter
– decreased time spent on internet

Personally this resonated with me, as the last few months have been incredibly hectic, and overwhelming, I've felt the desire to walk away, but something keeps me here. I've been blogging long enough to say, that I've felt burned out a few times, and came back. It's nice to know we're not alone, here are some of my tips along with other IFB members on burnout aversion.

Everything in life comes in ebs and flows

“I have been there before when I felt also like I had nothing to post about! It passed, I would say only do what you enjoy, that's what I have stuck to.” Style Symmetry

As in life, in blogging there are good days and bad days. Sometimes a good run will be followed by the sophomore slump, feeling jaded, uninspired, and sometimes even resentful. I know in my own experience blogging I've had times like this, mostly the times have been really  good, but there are periods when I feel like I've lost my blogging mojo. I just try to accept where I'm at. It's ok, everyone goes through it. The good days will come back, they always do.

Remembering why I started blogging in the first place…

The days I just want to press delete on all my blogs and resume my analog life… oh yeah, the life I spent five 1.5 hour sessions a week a the gym, 3 hours of volunteer service, and shopping, shopping and shopping. Ok, I'm obsessive. Latching onto blogging helped me channel my energies into something somewhat productive, and though acquiring amazing abs is productive, it's not something that really adds value to other people's lives. Thinking about my life now, doing something I love with a purpose even if I don't like it every single day is much better than the old days where I didn't really know what I wanted out of life.

Ask:  Why do I feel burned out?

The answer may seem obvious, but sometimes it's not. If I'm spending too much time on the computer, I'll take a break. Go do something outside, watch a movie, read a book made out of paper (right now I'm reading Twilight!) . If I feel like I'm getting nowhere, I'll look at my goals. Are they clearly defined? Am I confusing my expectations with my goals? Most of the time the feeling of burn out is linked with something off kilter, it's a good indicator to stop and take inventory of the way I'm managing my day, or managing my life. It's ok if something needs to change..that's what makes life more interesting!

Define direction, set goals

‘My blog is part of my business and there's a reason they call work “work” and not “happy fun days with rainbows and unicorns.” ~Wendy Brandes

Nothing causes burnout faster than futility. Ask questions like… “What do I really want out of my blogs?” “Am I really on the path to making this happen?” I found that most of the time I feel burned out is because somehow the direction became obscured. Either from my lack of focus or from a shift in my own needs.  There is always a place to go, it's just deciding on where that is and then actually taking action to make it happen.

Trying to do too much, too soon

“I think the best way to not get burned out by the internet is to chill the fuck out about it.” Mademoiselle Robot

Rome wasn't built in a day, nor was any of our blogs. Take it easy, set limits on what can be done in one day. I know, I'm not exactly the best person to be giving this advice, so I have started making limits on what I do. There are 15 things on my ‘to do' list for the day. That's all I can digest in one day, and not all of them may get done. In which case they'll go on to the next day. If they keep getting pushed back, I'll reasses whether it needs to be on the list at all.

Create a rhythm, a ritual for the blogs. Make an editorial calendar. I find that posting on a schedule helps limit how many posts will go in one day. In the beginning I'd post 5 times a day. That doesn't work today. Today the rituals and schedules really help keep the inspiration flowing on a more consistent level.

Take a break… or do I?

‘I have to get out of the house and do non work and internet stuff. Or watch a favourite film, just take a break.” RetroChick

Some people say to take a break, and that works for some people, but for others it's just not feasible. If your purpose is to blog for fun, then yes, take a break. If your purpose is professional, then get a few guest posters, then take a break. I wouldn't have survived fashion week if it weren't for guest posters Jordana, and Solo Lisa on IFB and Sonja on The Coveted. Taking a break is good, but it can disrupt traffic if new posts don't go up. Also, working on posts ahead of time, then scheduling the posts to publish will give readers their fix while we're catching up on One Life to Live.

Oh, and when I take a break… I try not to do anything fashion related. No shopping, no magazines, no fashion biographies. Too many times my inspiration gets lost because I'm thinking about fashion to much, it becomes metafashion, which is complete shite.

Go out and get inspired

“…you want to report what's going on in real life, so enjoy yourself away from the laptop, go shop, hang out in a cafe (noting what people are wearing of course – but only for fun- don't force yourself) and rejuvenate!”Fete a Fete

There is a lot of regenerated content on the internet, and it can make even the newest of newbies jaded. I have done a lot of travelling recetntly, and I packed the days full of posts generating activities. Now I have posts up the wazoo. Though traveling is nice, it doesn't need to be far to get a fresh perspective. Going to a concert or an art opening there's a good chance of running into someon inspiring. Meeting a local designer, or going to a boutique all are good things to make a post out of as well as circulating fresh perspectives.

What are your burnout aversion tips?

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46 Responses

  1. Retro Chick

    Great post, everyone has really good advice on this!

    I think even if you do this for a living you can still take a break, it’s all about making sure the time you spend away from your blog and the internet is quality time that revitalises and inspires you.

    Sometimes just a couple of hours in the afternoon spent watching a film can leave me feeling refreshed and much more full on enthusiasm.

    Reply
  2. WhatTheProsDo

    When I am feeling bloggers block I find it can help to look at past posts and usually I find something I can use to go off on a tangent with.

    As my blog is quite new I often find the problem is too many ideas that I waste time thinking too much about which ideas to persue when I should just get writing!

    Reply
  3. Princess Poochie

    I’m kind of feeling the burnout right now but mainly because I’m not seeing a lot of inspiration around, especially fashion wise. Part of that is the fact that I’m actually avoiding looking and being drawn into temptation. But stuff just doesn’t seem as “good” anymore. High and low, fashion isn’t thrilling me. Haven’t been going into stores or looking as much on line. Frankly, I can’t afford it right now.

    I think part of it is also my non-blogging life has been crazy busy leaving me little time to sift around and find information or even write what I’m thinking about. I’m hoping my trip in May will help.

    But also, I’ve just been enjoying other outlets, like Twitter, way more than the blog. I started writing because I wanted to have conversations about stuff that I enjoyed with people who enjoyed it too. Especially as my co-workers and family and friends didn’t care as much about shoes, clothes, fashion etc. Now, I’m having real conversations with like-minded people via Twitter.

    I also slowed down after my Napoleon was killed. Everything seemed sort of lackluster and, while I’m back to writing some now, I don’t do nearly as much. I’m hoping when the weather turns warmer and if the economy picks up that we’ll see more fun inspirational things out there to get excited about.

    Reply
  4. MissAmyShops

    This is an apt article for me today since I was just contemplating either taking time off from my blog or quitting altogether. i have gone through it before & i’m sure it will pass.

    right now I just feel that my readship is low for the effort I put into it & that maybe I’m just not all that interesting… Ummm, pity party for one please!

    anyhow, thanks for the great article & the comments as well. I love to know that it’s not just me that has these thoughts.

    Reply
  5. Stylish Thought

    Great tips, the thread was very helpful and entertaining. I must say that I’ve had bloggers burnout on more than one occasion and what has helped me in the past is to step back (if only for a week) and reevaluate what it is I truly want from blogging.
    Jennine you couldn’t have written it better. Finding out what my expectations are has helped me to know how much to take on. If you want to do it for business, it’s going take a more concerted effort. If blogging is just for fun, then you should treat it like that.

    I’m on the computer all day (for work) so a lot of my burnout comes from that. I love that we can “complain” in an organized way here…. keep up the great posts.

    Reply
  6. Thom

    2008 saw both Fops and Dandies and Observation Mode shut it down. I was very sad to see them both go.

    Reply
  7. Fashiongrail

    Great post! Whenever I feel burnt out I blast some music and clean! I know it sounds like more work but it really does help me clear my mind and I ALWAYS find some type of inspiration in music.

    Reply
  8. Terence Sambo

    Yeah i like what someone said bout her blog being part of her buz n like buz is not always fun :o) i think i appch my blog the same way, maybe i still got my mojo..when i wake up in the morning d first thing i think bout is my blog :o) last thing i do at night b4 i sleep is a post on it :oD…….

    My blog kinda has therapeutic effects on me, cos no matter my mood i always got to blog..happy or sad.

    Reply
  9. Ashe Mischief

    Wonderful post! Seeing it in this format, as opposed to say the forums, really helps it sink in, as it seems to have a flow of thought as opposed to our jumble of ideas & strategies.

    Reply
  10. Kelsey

    I’ve got a new(ish) blog, a hectic work schedule and a brand new puppy so it all adds up. It’s reassuring to hear that other people feel it too.

    That being said, I absolutely love blogging and whenever I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed I just look to the positive feedback I’ve been receiving. I just got a very encouraging comment from a blogger I really admire — it’s things like that that inspire me and I try to do the same for others.

    Reply
  11. dapper kid

    The blogging world can be a double edged blade in many respects. The more comments you receive and the wider a network you build, which is the fun and enjoyable part aside from actually blogging, often means you find yourself taking more and more time to read and comment on others. I suppose that for many that side of maintaining a blog can be quite difficult, and for me personally, I learnt to do it where possible and answer back without feeling obliged to doing it all in one go.

    With posting, it is natural to feel days where you are uninspired, after all for the most parts people blog for fun and to share their ideas. We don’t all have fabulous ideas and streams of thoughts that are there everyday, so I don’t think there should be that pressure to force yourself to do so.

    As with everything in life, you have to keep it in moderation and remember that it is meant to be fun! If you start resenting having to blog, that’s you reminding yourself that maybe you need a time out.

    Reply
  12. Jennine

    oh wow, what great comments!
    ❤ retrochick… so true, i may just do this right now. 🙂
    ❤ pro… good idea! it’s always good to do follow up posts as well. esp for the popular ones!
    ❤ poochie, oh i hear you, i went through that last year after the move and my finanical situation shifted. not having money made it diffuclt to post about fashion, but then things changed. i still don’t have cash, but it worked it self out. and i’m sorry about napoleon, i know it was really hard for you.
    ❤ missamy, hang in there!
    ❤ thom, oh i was wondering what happened to fops and dandies! they had a real good run
    ❤ fashion grail, can you come over to my house?
    ❤ stylish… haha organized complaining…
    ❤ terrance, wendy’s a kick isn’t she? love her.
    ❤ ashe, thanks for the inspiration! 🙂
    ❤ kelsey. postive feedback… that’s always a good sign.
    ❤ dapper, excellent point. only a portion of my day is spent on writing posts…the rest is marketing and community building, as well as development, the more involved you get…the more involved you get. also, moderation is key.

    Reply
  13. The urban fashionista

    I’m going through a burnout right now. I haven’t posted since early feb. I have a lot to talk about but for me writing post takes a lot of time which i have less of and honestly I am fustrated by lack of subscribers/comments

    Reply
  14. Mer

    great post! I really feel like this sometimes, mostly when you feel there is no support …. to make the work easier (it means recongnition from media, sponsors, etc etc).

    I use to spend 5 hours everyday blogging, right now I’ll say 2 or 3. And mostly of the weekends are fully analogic…It helped a lot to not feel tired of everything…

    Reply
  15. lisa

    This is such a timely topic. As I mentioned in the forum thread, I’ve been feeling the burnout myself because I’m spending more time in front of the computer at work and blogging, and more time overall on my blog. Lately the stopgap measure I find really helpful is to have an “unplugged” evening or an “unplugged” day, where I go the whole time without reading blogs, checking email, or Twittering. When I do return to blogging I feel refreshed. This is a temporary thing and I will eventually have to take a more substantial break, but for now it works.

    P.S. Thanks for the mention!

    Reply
  16. Glendy

    I felt a terrible burn-out in December but I like many of other fellow bloggers, I decided to step away for a bit and focus on what was important, me. Instead of a calendar I have a list of ideas, and whatever my mood is or what I think about in a whim, I jot down the idea and write for my future posts.

    Reply
  17. Julia DiNardo

    So glad to hear that it’s not just me feeling this way! Phew! I think that thinking about goals and creating an editorial calendar, albeit a loose one, will help. Thanks as always, IFB!

    Reply
  18. eyeliah

    Thanks for the mention in the post, 🙂 that is really the best advise I can give. I only write about what you enjoy. I have thought about doing those you know ‘what would you like to see more of on the blog” posts, but I realized that’s a can or worms I do not want to open at this point.

    Reply
  19. Claudia

    Great advice! Yes, during fashion week I can feel frantic. Blogging is not my full time job, I am a designer and business owner, but the blog is essential for my business. It is really hard to decide sometimes, do I work on the blog, design, emailing, calling people? Making lists and sticking to them each day I find is the way to go.

    Reply
  20. TaylorKristiina

    When I’m burnt out, I usually flip through other fashion, art, or music bloggers’ posts. Or find pictures I absolutely love on ffffound.com. I always find inspiration there.

    Reply
  21. sd

    this is a great post
    and i can definitely relate to it a lot
    its’ giving me some things to consider.
    thanks!

    Reply
  22. Nur

    I am guilty of feeling a little burn out lately. But for me, I think it is mostly due to work. We (me and my fiance) actually have quite a lot to write. But since we’re quite busy, everything seems to be back log and hence very outdated.

    Nevertheless, I still have passion for writing abt what I love most! Beauty, fashion and lifestyle! http://www.ilovelookinggood.com

    I hope I really will find time to go to work, blog and watch my fave tv progs as well. Ohh.. not to forget the occasional workout to lose the kilos I’ve gained since starting work. 😀

    Reply
  23. Nina

    what perfect timing! i’ve been feeling the burn lately and it’s been hard trying to keep it at bay. blogging does become overwhelming and time consuming. i find myself feeling guilty many time because i don’t post or reply to comments quickly. especially when i have freelance work coming in. i usually end up telling myself firmly that i need to take a break from the computer – much like taking a break from life and just getting away. i also find that keeping a schedule and not posting on weekends really helps. and it gives me time to go out and enjoy life and take fun photos which means plenty of material for the following week’s posts. and i have a folder on my computer i use for “emergencies” – whether they be old outfits pics, items i’m lusting over, or interesting links and articles – that i can dig into when i have blogger’s block.

    Reply
  24. Mel

    Another great blog post, full of helpful and useful advice! I’m fairly new to the blogging game, but I juggling writing (which is what I want to do all the time) with my full time teaching job, and no becoming chained to my computer is something which has been stressing me out.

    And I do agree it can be disheartening to see I’ve spent a long time writing something and no-one has commented 🙁

    Reply
  25. Amy

    Great article! I can relate fully. I thought I was alone!

    The greatest inspiration and drive for me is either going to the local mall/and or/ looking through face book. I constantly see girls who I can’t stand, or, who hate me… When I see them, they are all dressed the same, dull and boring. It makes me want to show them that I am PROUD to be different, and that I’m willing to flaunt being different.. Dressing different is the key way into proving your lack of care for them. I have such a desire to be different that if I ever start dressing normal or losing inspiration, I know the people I hate can drive my passions and make me proud to be Amy!

    So thanks friends, you’ve unintentionally shown me what I never want to become! hah hah 🙂

    Reply
  26. Dream Sequins

    Thanks for posting this! I’m relatively new to the collectively blogosphere, so it’s been touch and go about “finding my voice.” Recently, things started falling into place, and I’m trying not to stress out too much about posting AND working my intense full time job. Life is too short not to schedule a little fun for yourself! And let’s not forget that blogging should be fun, too! I’m having more fun with mine, making it more personal, including things that aren’t necessarily “fashion” oriented. And in the process, it’s shaken up my creativity!

    Keep the faith, everyone 🙂

    Reply
  27. Kat Kelly

    I as well can totally relate to this burnout, not just with blogging but in life period! LOL

    HOPEFULLY WHAT I WROTE HELPS:

    I realize now that blogging is not what it started out being, it was about journal your life. About things that mean something to you, whoever read it great! But now that blogging has become “THE WAY” for your voice to be heard, to promote your business, to make money, to become a celebrity, we have put all these conditions on it. We want to get a great deal, or deep in our hearts we are competitive, or resentful of another successful blog, then we compare our blogs to others, and say:

    ” I’ll never get there!”
    “No one leaves any comments my writing sucks!”
    “Not even my own friends visit my blog!”
    “Why don’t people care about my blog?”

    I am learning this in life and in blogging, do you best, be the best and stop holding certain expectations on others. What expectations you may ask? Well how you feel they should respond to you blog. THIS IS A HARD MINDSET TO HAVE. I fight with it but it is true. We expect them to leave comments, to read everything, and for them to have the same vision you have for your blog. Sometime, although we may not be aware…it is this very stress that may create writers block and the flow of creative ideas. Some of you may not think and if you don’t’ it doesn’t apply, but those of you that do: I have some encouragement for you:

    http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/1549731/top_3_reasons_why_you_should_have_a.html“>Top 3 Reasons Why You Should Have a Theme Song for Your Life

    This is a great, cool, & fun way of staying encouraged. So check it out if you can. Also, remember this if any. “Rome was not built in a day” Listen, many, many, MANY successful people worked very long and hard, very had before the saw anything. May doors shut in their face. Read life stories of you favorite actors, music artist or best friends, challenging situations where they didn’t give up because they LOVED what they do.

    Honestly, Chris brown and Rih. now matter what is happening, how embarrassed and hurt they MAY be they are not going to give up on their career, My point: don’t give up on blogging it nothing in comparison to how hard others have fought for their accomplishments. Don’t give up BUT let it go if at the end of the day, you see HONESTLY that this is not your cup of tea anymore.

    Kat Kelly
    http://theartistresolution.wordpress.com

    Reply
  28. capitolagirl

    I go through burnout phases too so its good to see many bloggers have the same experiences. I love the tips you put out, its always good to take a step back and remember why one started blogging in the first place. Getting organized and planning a calendar has been a huge help. And, when all else fails, stepping away from the computer for awhile reminds me there is a whole world out there. Thanks for your post!

    Reply
  29. Tamia

    I really spend too much time in front of a computer. I do it all day at work, then come home and do the same! My “vacation time” involves reading things printed on actual paper (gasp!)–anything from fashion magazines to trashy romance novels, and going to dance or yoga classes depending on my stress level.

    As far as organizing goes, creating an editorial calendar, scheduling posts, and setting aside specific times for writing and designing posts have been my life savers.

    Speaking of OLTL, what do you think Jessica is going to do when she finds out that’s not her baby?

    Reply
  30. perla

    I think your advices are great, and yes I spend a lot of time in front of my laptop that sometimes i just want to throw it away.. ( I´ts just because I use it not only for fun but also for schoolwork all day). So lately i´ve been through a burnout phase , and what I´ve decided to do is go out and have fun taking pictures of whatever that catches my attention!, and I think that this inspire me to post to share them with other people, rather than feeling mmm pushed? to post (sorry my english is not very good) .
    Again, Thank you for your advices ! and I really like this site, is very helpfull 😉

    Reply
  31. Ms. Fine Fabrics

    A few months ago, I felt like I needed to join computers anonymous. I was spending way too much time before a screen. Then, my laptop crashed and I was without it for a week or so. Still had my desktop, but sans laptop my time before the screen was curtailed……. After this break, I approached website, updates and blogging on a schedule. In the am after swimming, then the rest of my day could be spent doing other things, and my Internet release and duties are done.

    Reply
  32. Prêt-à-Porter P

    for me blogging is just a hobby. Whenever people contact me for certain things about my blog and ask “what i want out of it” i have no idea what to say. my blog is not really about anything in particular. just about the things i find interesting fashion/style wise. And I’m always shocked when people tell me they like my blog!
    and my street style of candid cool, is really just a selfish excuse for me to talk to well dressed people. my pictures are faaaaaaaar from professional!

    Reply
  33. Winnie

    I think it’s incredibly easy to spend a whole day just answering back comments, it’s so time consuming! I try and reply back to people, chunks at a time so I don’t spend all day on the computer. Plus these time-outs may give us more material for the blog!

    Though for me, my blog is a hobby and partly like a diary of sorts. It’s so much fun being part of a community with similar interests!

    I think the hardest time to resume blogging is after a holiday and can take some time to get back into the routine of blogging.

    Reply
  34. murielle

    Thanks, short and efficient. I am starting my blog right now, so I will try to do the good stuff from the very beggining.

    Reply
  35. Laura L Michaud

    I just roll with it. If I get inspired, I blog. If I am not inspired, I don’t blog. It’s really pretty simple. I know inside myself that I began blogging because of an interest that I have and I wanted to share it with the world! I know that interest isn’t going to go away….it just gets put on pause once in a while because life happens 😉

    Reply