If I had to guess, I'd say that most bloggers love blogging because it offers us freedom. Freedom to dictate content, share our voice and opinions, and break free from what “fashion” tells us is right and wrong. It gives us the opportunity to learn, grow, and experiment. Like all creative endeavors, blogging is a very freeing outlet.
Once you've been blogging long enough, or when you decide to go the route of professional blogging, it's amazing how that outlet that was once freeing can become a prison. Over the years, many bloggers have confessed how they've struggled to maintain their voice; how they've held back their opinions, humor, or off-color language in the hopes of attracting more advertisers, more readers, and a grow their site. When that happens, it's hard not to think, “Where did the freedom go?” And suddenly, that outlet of expression has become a prison. One we built ourselves. It's happened to me – and maybe some days you're wondering if your blog has become a prison, too.
Your Blog May Be a Prison If…
- You find yourself lacking enthusiasm – to post, reply to comments, attend events, get on social media, etc. You get the point. You're exhausted. You're drained. You make it through each day doing the minimum you need to keep your blog steady, and the idea of anything new makes you heave an overwhelmed sigh.
- Your content has become dictated by others – whether it's sponsored content, brand relationships, or even your readers expectations. When we stop blogging about what excites us, it's easy to feel trapped. When we censor our voices to appeal to more people, we're censoring the one thing that made our blog special and unique.
- Your lifestyle and blog don't align anymore. When you've been blogging for several years, it's likely you'll go through some MAJOR lifestyle changes as well. Maybe you graduate college & start a job. You may move across country. Or maybe you're recently married, expecting your first child… life happens. When life happens, it can be hard to match the mission and goals of our lives and blogs… making us feel trapped and obligated by the old boundaries of our blogs.
- You think, “I have to do this activity and share it on my blog…” but doing so doesn't fill you with excitement. It fills you with disappointment. No one says we're obligated to share every activity on our blogs, but sometimes it feels like we have to. Whether it's a great outfit, an amazing haul, or a fantastic event… it drains the excitement out of blogging and social media when your whole world is looked at through the lens of the internet.
Luckily, blogging is an easier prison to escape than say… if you're Jean Valjean or the Count of Monte Cristo. It's a self-imposed prison at worst, and luckily we control our fate and freedom.
Break Free from Blogging Prison…
- Take a break – a REAL one. How many times have you caught yourself saying, “I'm taking a break,” only to find yourself logging in every day? I've been telling myself I'll “take a break” from blogging for years now… to rejuvenate, refresh, and recharge. It wasn't until Thanksgiving break, and a trip to London and Dublin, that I realized how much I enjoyed being detached from the internet. So I'm REALLY taking that break in the new year! Really. For real.
- Pick up a new hobby… and dedicate real time to it. This summer my fiance bought me a ukulele, and the time I've spent learning to play has been a welcome break from the internet. It's been rewarding in ways that blogging hasn't been, and I see the pleasure my fiance (and cats) get from my practicing.
- Write for someone (or something) else. When I feel burnt out from my blog and trapped, I find writing for someone else takes the edge off. It gives me a renewed sense of freedom and the chance to talk about my other interests. This spring, I also plan to focus on writing OTHER things… poetry, screenplays, and stories. The feeling of imprisonment can come from repetition, and I plan to break away from monotony by exploring other writing formats.
- Use the New Year as an excuse for a recharge or reboot. If you can't quite step away just yet, use the new year to revamp your site. Pop in new colors or a new header. Use it as the chance to expand your content offerings – write about something new to you! Sometimes imprisonment is simply about breaking out of routine and our comfort zones and trying something new.
In the upcoming year, I plan to break free from the prison I've let my blog build around me…
If you've found yourself feeling similarly, trapped in by your blog, I'd love to hear your experiences! Share with me what feelings you had, what finally helped you see the light, and what you've done to regain control of your blog again.
[Image credit: Shutterstock.com]