You are dedicated to your blog. You want the best for it, you want to see it grow, and flourish, so you work hard on it. Really hard. After a while, it comes, the dreaded burnout. It's hard because you love what you do, but it's getting too hard, or you're just going through the motions. It's time to step away. Or is it?
One of the biggest causes of bloggers giving up is burnout. Lack of inspiration, lack of motivation, and frustration. It can get anyone down. The good news is that sometimes instead of banging your head against the wall by working harder, all that needs to be done is to figure out how to look at your blog in a way that excites you.
Easier said than done, right? Well.. maybe it is.
1. Take a break
This one is the most straightforward.
You might simply be just tired. Working all day at work, or going to school. Burning the midnight oil churning out posts. Spending wayyyyy too much time on Twitter figuring out how to build your following. Commenting on 60 blogs a day. Trust me, I've done it. I did it until I was sobbing at my keyboard at 4am trying to meet the deadlines I set for myself. You are one person. There is only so much you can do. Take a break. Take a walk. Close your computer on the weekends. Take a break, and take more breaks often. You'll feel so much better when you come back.
2. Ask yourself, “Why did I start in the first place?”
Whenever I blog myself into a corner, I stop and think back to why I started in the first place. Believe it or not, it really helps. Whether you started as a hobby, to improve your writing, to start a new career. It's good to go back and put your previous goals in context with your life right now. You started blogging for a reason. We all did. Whatever that reason was, it was compelling enough for you to create something. Maybe, just maybe, it will compel you to create some more.
3. Write a Gratitude List
It's easy to get caught up in the jaded life of a blogger. “Oh, my inbox is full of press releases.” That's a luxury problem! That means PRs want to be in touch with you!
Instead of looking at everything you hate about your blog, write down on a piece of paper, what you are grateful for? Your new blogger friends? The fact you now have a body of work to show on your blog? That you get to try something new every day? That you get to write on such a fun topic? Once you get started it's amazing how quickly it grows.
4. Narrow down your niche
This might be counter intuitive, but trust me. Limiting your options helps your creative process. It's been said again, and again and from my own experience it's soo true. Your blog might be about “fashion” or about the things you like, but how easy is it to get lost in a sea of things you like on the internet? Narrow down your niche, and quite possibly narrow it again if the niche is too broad. You would be amazed by how specific people are when it comes to finding content, and even more amazed about how passionate these readers are.
5. Write a new mission statement for your blog
Have you written a mission statement for your blog? If you haven't, now is the time, and if you have… maybe it's time to revisit. Everyone grows over time, and maybe what really inspired you has changed. Maybe not. But, it's good to get clear as to what your blog is about, and what it hopes to achieve. You'll feel a new sense of purpose when you do!
6. Brainstorm your posts for the week on real paper
Again, me with the paper. Trust me, there is something different about writing something by hand than typing it. For some reason it feels more like it's coming from the soul. It's private. It's destructible. It's unique. Also, you can't get distracted by email and social media when your computer is closed and all that is open is your pad of paper. Write out your posts for the week, you might be surprised about what comes out, and how different it is when you're just winging it!
7. Plan out your editorial calendar and stick to it
Editorial calendars are amazing. They not only keep you focused on the content you create from day to day. It helps you to have an overview on your content for that period of time, I usually like to work a week out ahead of time, sometimes two weeks at the most.
8. Give your blog's design a make-over
Kind of like getting a new pair of shoes or a lipstick. Maybe your site just needs a bit of a makeover. Give your site a new lipstick by updating your header, or picking out a new font for your post text. Maybe you want to customize your buttons. Or maybe you want to go whole-hog and get a new theme and brand identity. I think it's best to do this at least once or twice a year. The one thing about design is that with technology advancing you can never be done forever, and you always want to look up to date.
9. Consult with a friend or fellow blogger about your blog's direction
Maybe you just need a good friend who is always frank with you to discuss your blog's direction. Maybe no one is interested in your blog's topic, or you haven't found where your potential readers are. Maybe you need to work on a few things like visuals or text. Maybe it's too personal, maybe it's not personal enough. Talking to someone else can help you see your blog from another angle and give you a new perspective.
10. Bring on a contributor
It's amazing how contributors can help add a new perspective to your blog. Perhaps they have ideas you never thought of. Perhaps you can work together and create a synergy that didn't exist before. Either way, it's good to bring someone on to mix it up, if anything to give you a break. Maybe you have a friend who wants to write, but doesn't want to maintain a blog, or maybe you have a really great friend who would like to be your partner. There are many options for various budgets!
11. Host a (real life) party or event for your blog
Meeting your readers in real life is always a treat. Every season at the IFB Conference, meeting the everyone in real life is such an inspiring experience. It always reminds me why I blog. Whether you host a party (you might be able to swing this with a local boutique). Or have a picnic with your blog friends. Or even, have a garage sale– that was my first event where I got to meet my readers– it was easy, fun and hey, I even got to clean out my wardrobe!
12. Try a new post series
Like narrowing down your niche, trying a new post series can help your blog in the same way. Limiting your options. If you plan out an editorial calendar once a week, a post series can help fill in that slot. Like “Tech Tuesdays” or “Makeup Mondays” This post series will focus you on a specific topic that your readers might really enjoy!
13. Start working on an eBook
I've never personally completed an eBook. Some of you have, and have some good responses. However, I personally go through the process of starting and before I know it, I realize that there is a whole new section of my blog that can be opened. Personally, I don't think it matters whether you finish or not, but the action of creating content as a whole helps in figuring out what you are passionate about, and what you have to say about that particular topic.
14. Get out and meet other bloggers
You never know how common your burnout might be unless you go out and make real life friends who blog. Maybe they have a solution for you! Either way, it's too easy to get stuck behind a computer all day. Get outside, mingle. You'll be surprised how inspired you are when you come back.
15. Make a real, not Pinterest, inspiration board of what you would like to achieve with your blog
Put together a collage of what you would like to achieve. Get specific. Cut out photos, write down your goals and put them up there. Make it pretty so you want to look at it all the time. This can be the first step in making your dreams a reality, by actually making them tangible.
16. Come clean with your readers about how you've been feeling lately (be sparing about this one, if used too much, you could lose readers)
Maybe you've tried everything on this list, and you're still not feeling it. Let your readers know. You might be surprised by how they respond, and maybe come up with a few words to remind you why you fell in love with blogging in the first place.
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