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.