Photo by Ernie E
There comes a time in every blogger’s career, if you will, when he’s really ran out of gas and basically has nothing post worthy to talk about, this is widely known as a burnout and not treating it carefully could cause your blog to slowly dye off. What’s important, when confronted with these kinds of situations, is not to loose focus and concentrate and your sorroundings, really if you think it through you’ll realize that it’s pretty stupid having nothing say, in world where millions of things happen everyday. Still, this won’t be enough to break through this dry period.
The thing is you have to understand that creativity comes in cycles, one day you can spill out ideas and posts with ease, while the other you stuck for two hours on a simple paragraph. It’s something natural, we’ve all experienced it (whether we realize it or not); it’s a state that can drop out of the nowhere and hit you like a bad headache. Alas there is a solution, although you can never escape creative blocks, at times you can dodge them through preparation and adaptability, if it eventually catches up to you there’s a few steps you can take to shake it off faster.
Am I Burned Out?
The first step to solving any problem is to admit it, or in this case realizing that you’re drained out. Burnouts are usually like depressions and like any other low point in our life, we have to analyze ourselves, spot the issue and take necessary measures. Usually burnouts are associated with:
- Anemia. You find yourself weak and unable to do anything, despite you the fact that you eat and drink more then usually do.
- Lack of passion. What was once one of the most enthusiastic things you ever made, now seems pail, uninteresting and boring. This usually is the result of routine and tight posting schedules.
- No ideas. This is the main characteristic of a burnout, that many bloggers around the world fear and dread.
- Jealousy. You look at other people’s blog and get frustrated by the impression they come up with such great ideas and posts, with incredible ease.
- Stress. You’re very tensed, jumpy and feel like the whole world is about to crumble upon you.
- Incapability. While yesterday task seem like no problem at a all and took a few moments to complete, now feels terribly hard, almost impossible although you know you’re capable of doing it. Even laying down two lossy paragraphs of text seems like a herculean task.
If the above seems familiar, then it means either you’ve experienced or are actually experiencing a blogging slump as we speak, so let’s have a look at a few things that can help the transition back to our jovial blogging self.
Getting Past Burnouts
Blogging is a labor of love for most of us and like in any relationship quarrels can happen, or in our case a lack of interest. You feel like quiting, but at the same time remember that you have a loyal readership that’s counting on you to provide content, it’s just like a job. At the beginning of the article I told you about how we, as human beings, work in cycles, well let’s take a lack at a few things you can do to recharge does battery and hopefully get more hyperactive then a alkaline bunny.
- Blog about a niche your passionate about. If you’ve picked a area, which you find it to be boring, uninteresting or hard to write about, then this is clearly you’re biggest problem. Try to convert your existing niche to something you like and passionate about, if you’re already blogging about something you like, then just break the habit and make some off-topic posts, it will break the ice a bit between you and your readers and at the same time allow you some time to recuperate.
- Just forget about everything! There’s no better solution to any kind depression then just walking away for a bit. Leave your work as it is, messy, unformatted, whatever it’s not like it’s going anywhere and do something else, anything.
- Chill. Your organism and brain needs to relax and lighten up if it is to be productive, engaging in entertaining activities always helps break the strain of forced blogging. Read your favorite blog, watch your favorite movie, go for a long walk, watch the sun dawn or dusk, bake a cake whatever makes you happy, do it!
- Rest. Although it may seem the same as the above point, it’s not. You body needs large amounts of energy to be productive and nothing works best then a good sleep or nap. Read a few tips on how to sleep better over at Ririan.
- Motivate yourself. This is one of the most important steps towards passing creative slumps, find the things that keep you going whether it’s money, traffic, recognition, etc. In example whenever I’m feeling a bit down and can’t seem to type a sentence, I immediately head over to other blogs I enjoy, read them and get instantly motivated by their success and well written essays and posts.
- Guest Blogging. This can be a life saver at times! E-mail a friend or a blogger that’s you’re really close to and kindly ask them for the favor of guest blogging on your blog, in exchange for a linkback at the beginning or end of the post. This will assure your blog won’t be affected quality wise, while you recover.
- Take it all one step at a time. Some people get really turned down when they think about the amount of posts they have to write within a week or anything like that. What you have to do is break things down into smaller chunks, structure your post into sub points that you can later expand, if they still seem to big to handle break them even further. Start from bottom to the top.
Blogging slumps can be a real hassle, so it’s best at times to foresee and prepare for “the worse.” The thing is we’re all subjected to the risk of creative breakdowns, whether you’re a amateur or “A” list blogger, it doesn’t matter, what differentiates you from the rest of the pack is that you’ll be less predisposed to it, if you stick to the following tips.
- Don’t follow strict schedules. Making a posting pattern is not bad thing, it’s actually something I deeply recommend, religiously following a schedule however is far from what I would recommend. If you feel sick or not in the mood to write, then don’t force yourself to, it will just lead to crappy work and will diminish the quality of your blog. There’s nothing wrong with writing a post in a few days, just supplement the lack of posting with some remarkable content.
- Change your environment. Grab your laptop and head over to where you feel the most inspired, relaxed and safe and start writing. If you don’t own a laptop, you can always write off-line on a piece of paper, it’s deeply relaxing and you’ll find that the words will flow better and faster.
- Write on different blogs. Although this might seem contradiction, as more work can lead to more stress, that ultimately leads to psychical exhaustion, you’ll surprisingly find that writing on different subjects to be deeply rewarding. This way the variety will ensure you’ll always be fresh and don’t get bored, don’t involve yourself into to much projects though, or you’ll find yourself struggling with mediocrity; if you feel like you can’t write on high level on multiple blogs, then take them one at a time.
- Keep spare drafts. This is extremely useful, not just for when you’re not in the mood to write, but when you’re sick or away as well. What you have to do is write a few posts in advance, so that whenever you can’t post for a period of time, you can turn to these “reserve” post to aid you. Just write a extra post in the weekend, in addition to your regular posting schedule and you’ll be set and prepared for anything.
- Write your ideas down. This always works for me. Whenever I get a great idea or a “spark,” I immediately write it down. I’ve wasted so many wonderful ideas, simply because I forgot them, so whenever something strikes you as a potential blog post, write it down on the spot. When you get home, open your computer, and type the idea in a simple text editor and then develop the idea into short central sentences, so that you don’t forget some key elements. The whole process lasts about 5 minutes and can spare your a whole lot of trouble.
- Develop a plan. This works best for the more structural thinking blogger out there and consists in planning your posts for weeks, even months ahead. It can be very laborious, but in the end you’ll have a whole blogging season mapped out with things to blog about.
- Regularly improve your blog. To avoid burnouts it’s important not to let routine set in, do something different each day or week, add new features, interact with your readers more, do a seasonal redesign etc. These all help you keep your interested and motivation.
[digg-reddit-me]Although the above points, suggestions and overall tips will undoubtedly help most of you get past the difficult period of creative blockage, each individual will have to work out his problems in their own way. We’re all different, and thus some recover faster from burnouts then others. The important thing is to look to yourself, analyze how you work and respond to your environment, you’ll soon find your way.
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