Encouragement for Digital Wordsmiths

letter to a weary blogger

Dear Weary Blogger,

I see you there on the other side of the screen. You’re sitting there staring at a blinking cursor. And when no words come, you go back to checking your stats. You return to Facebook only to see that .0001% of your fan base even saw your last post. You don’t know whether to laugh or cry at the thought that you once considered blogging fun. It’s been ages since an idea for a blog post pulled you away from the dishes. At this point you can’t even remember why you started blogging.

You’re ready to throw in the towel. You’re tired of trying to make money through affiliate links and sponsored posts and ad networks that require you to post three times a week. You don’t want to write one more post with a disclosure or a disclaimer.

There’s no other way to put it: you’re tired of blogging, and you don’t know what to do about it.

I’ve been there. And I have friends there. If you’ve been blogging any length of time, it’s not a question of whether you’ll burn out, but when you’ll burn out.

Here’s what I tell my friends when I get that inevitable message: “I’m tired of my blog.”

1. Identify your “why”.

Why did you start blogging? Why are you still blogging? Why do you want to be blogging? Are you blogging to make money or are you blogging because you love blogging?

Are you blogging to sell something or are you blogging to share something? Are you blogging because someone told you that you had to or are you blogging because you can’t not blog?

Are you blogging like you believe your “why”?

2. Release yourself from all expectations and obligations.

Ditch the ad network that requires you to post three times a week. Unsubscribe from all the emails offering you free books in exchange for a blog post. Remove any sidebar subscription widget promises you’ve made about frequent posts or monthly newsletters. Make a static homepage so that site visitors won’t find a months-old post when they drop by.

Do whatever you need to in order to free yourself from all the expectations of others, and the obligations you’ve put yourself under.

You might have to pay for a few books that you could have gotten for free. But the peace of mind will be worth the price.

3. Give yourself permission to take a blogging break.

You don’t have to announce it to the world. But you can announce it to yourself. You’re taking a blogging break. You aren’t even going to think about blogging–unless you feel the urge to post and can’t control yourself.

In fact, consider going on a blogging hiatus until you feel that urge coming back. Give your blogging muscles a rest.

(And don’t you dare come back just because there’s a bundle sale or a giveaway opportunity. Come back when you want to come back, and not a moment before.)

4. Embrace the seasonal aspect of blogging.

If you’ve been blogging for any length of time, your life has probably changed since you began blogging. Maybe you used to have all sorts of time while you rocked a newborn, but now you’re homeschooling three kids. Maybe you were single and now you have a family to care for. Maybe you were at home and now you have a job. Maybe the creativity you were expressing through blogging has been replaced by another creative outlet.

Blogging will look different in different seasons of your life. Just because your life keeps changing doesn’t mean your blog is the one thing that will stay constant. Embrace the fact that your blogging frequency and style will ebb and flow with the seasons, just like your other hobbies and relationships.

5. Return to what you first loved about blogging.

What made you fall in love with blogging? Was it the way you could share and get feedback on your latest recipe ideas? Was it the perfect avenue for sharing funny stories about the kids? Was it the way you showcased your photography? Was it a creative writing word prompt or link-up?

Look back in your archives and remember what posts you most loved writing, and try writing those kinds of posts again.

6. Escape the niche that’s boxing you in.

Is your tagline cramping your post topics? Does your blog’s name keep you from writing about half the things you want to? Have you boxed yourself in by finding a niche that no longer reflects you or only reflects part of you?

If you’ve found your voice, don’t let your niche keep you from expressing it. Maybe it’s time to embrace personal branding, so that you can write about whatever you want to. Maybe you simply need to change your tagline to reflect more of what you want to write about rather than just what you thought you should blog about in the past. You can’t grow if you’re stuck in a niche that doesn’t fit you.

7. Make your blog a place that you like to be.

If you adore color but your blog is black and white, you aren’t going to want to hang out on your blog. If you don’t love the way your blog looks, you won’t want to write there. If you aren’t visiting your blog just for the fun of it, then it’s not a peaceful, joyful place for you.

Make your blog not just a reflection of you, but a place you enjoy visiting.

8. Hire someone else to take care of whatever you hate about blogging.

Do widgets give you a headache? Do you always forget to make updates? Do you really want a different font but don’t have a clue how to install it? Hire a virtual assistant to fix it. Barter with a friend in your mastermind group.

Ask around before you pay for services. Make sure you’re hiring someone who is helpful as well as knowledgeable, professional as well as experienced.

Don’t let those technical tasks you hate keep you from enjoying blogging.

9. Forget about promoting your posts on social media.

I’m serious. It’s time to forget about that Facebook page with the pitiful reach. It’s time to get off of Twitter unless you just love hanging out there.

Forget about trying to promote your posts on social media. You don’t need to do it. All you need to do is have a social share plugin installed so that social media share buttons are on each post.

If your readers love your posts as much as you love writing them, your readers will share your posts for you.

Social media promotion paralyzes too many bloggers. Get off your Facebook page and start writing.

10. Don’t check your stats.

Hide your stats widgets from your dashboard. Delete that bookmark for Google Analytics. Don’t keep obsessing over why hits were up on the day you didn’t post but down on the day you did.

If you’re not blogging for numbers, then stop looking at the numbers. The stats can and will sabotage you if you let them.

11. Be a savvy hobby blogger.

If you’ve been blogging for awhile, you know how to do many of the things the successful, professional bloggers says you “should” do. You know how to create the most pinnable image ever. You know the rules of SEO. You even know how easy it is to grab an Amazon Associate link (properly disclosed, of course).

But just because you can doesn’t mean you have to. Knowing how will make those things come naturally without you having to obsess over them for every post.

Don’t spend 101 hours editing pictures–unless you adore PicMonkey or Canva as much as you adore taking pictures. Don’t worry about getting a green light from Yoast’s WordPress SEO Plugin; you know how to use keywords without having to have Yoast check up on you. Don’t base your posts upon what sells with affiliate links; use affiliate links when you happen to mention something you love that has an affiliate link available.

12. Blog when you feel like it.

Professional writers know that the key to good writing is not just waiting for the muse to show up, but that the inspiration will come when you show up and start writing. But if you’re not a professional blogger, you don’t have to show up every day.

If blogging is a hobby you love, you can do it when you have time and feel like it, and skip it when you don’t. If you are blogging because you love blogging, you won’t be able to stay away forever. 

Happy blogging break, my friend. You are more than a blogger: live like it!

Enjoy your break,
Gretchen

P.S. Remember that no one loves their job all the time.

If your blog is actively making you money, it probably feels less like a hobby and more like a job sometimes. No one loves their job every day. But if your blog is feeling so much like a job that it’s never any fun anymore, ask yourself some hard questions: Is the money you are making worth it?

Is there another way you could make a similar income with the same or less investment of time? Could you implement more residual forms of monetization so that you don’t have to go to so much effort promoting the latest bundle sale or writing sponsored posts? Could you change your goal to be supporting the costs of your blogging hobby rather than trying to make extra money? (Read How to Blog for Profit Without Selling Your Soul for excellent input on monetizing your blog.)

If blogging is a job that you want to keep, be sure to set working hours and give yourself a vacation once in a while so that you can get a break and come back refreshed.

Don’t let yourself get to the point where your readers can tell your blog is boring you. Live life first, blog second, and you’ll love your blog a lot more.

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23 Comments

  1. Whenever I read a post like this I just breathe a long sigh of relief. Very true and words I need to heed. Thanks for the much needed reminder!

  2. This was a great post. Thanks for sharing! Some excellent tips and very good things I think I definitely need to take into consideration! Wonderful

  3. I SO needed to see this post. I haven’t blogged at all yet in 2014. Just yesterday I sat down to write a post but nothing came to me. These tips are wonderful and I feel released from pressure already! Thank you for sharing!

  4. I so needed to hear this. I’ve been blogging for 3 years and just today I was feeling so discouraged because I can’t seem to figure out how to get any traffic to my blog. But I love to write, and my heart really is to encourage other young mothers that they aren’t alone. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Fabulous thoughts, thank you! The stats and pitiful Facebook interaction can be so frustrating! And I get tired of begging my friends and family to read and comment.

    Maybe I’ll just give myself permission to chill out for a few weeks and see what happens. 馃檪

  6. Thank you for this post, Gretchen! These tips are wonderful! 馃檪 I especially agree with the fact you don’t have to let your blog readers know you’re going to take a blog hiatus. Thank you for your encouragement to not worry about social media sharing. “If your readers love your posts as much as you love writing them, your readers will share your posts for you.” I need to remember that. I’m going to tuck this post away for reference so I can review it during those times of weariness.

  7. This. Yes, this is a great post. Me, I’m taking a break, remembering my why- shutting out the voices that are screaming at me to ‘do this, be this’….and listening to that still, quiet voice.

  8. Gretchen, it was so wonderful to read your post today! It’s not that I am weary, my problem is related to fear, which causes me to procrastinate & become paralyzed! Your points are so great, “copy worthy” is what I refer to! This is such a good internal checklist to take periodically! I wanted to comment to just tell you that all the resources you make available are awesome! I am so learning and I appreciate everything I can get my hands on! And you so freely give this! Thankyou!

  9. i’m this close to turning mine off — and writing for the joy of writing. in my journal. only.

    and maybe a guest post here and there.

    it’s hard to balance and justify spending so much time writing and editing on a blog – when i bet God would rather have me impact folks in my real life community. preaching to the choir is just that. reaching folks who already know Jesus isn’t as important as reaching those who don’t.

    all right. now that i’ve rambled my way through the comment box, i should say “thanks” for writing this piece and for always encouraging.

    blessings.

  10. Oh my goodness, I love this post Gretchen. It speaks powerfully to so much of what I’ve been hearing from my blogging friends and even feeling myself at times. Particularly this time of year when I’m starting to feel complete burnout. 馃檪

  11. I love this post! It’s something I really needed to hear. I especially resonate with blogging because I can’t not blog. Every time I take some time away {vacation or blogging break}, I’m always itching to get my hands back to the keyboard and pen words that are on my heart.

    Pinning so I can reread this again! 馃檪