There’s writer’s block, and then there’s blogging ennui. Before you call it quits, try one of these six ways to rediscover your enthusiasm for blogging.
The blogging wells run dry for us all from time to time. There’s regular ol’ “I can’t think of anything to say” writer’s block, when you want to blog but can’t — we’ve written about that before. And then there’s a deeper sense of blogging ennui, when you don’t even want to log in and wonder if it’s time to throw in the blogging towel.
It might be the right time to call it quits; there’s no rule that blogs have to be eternal or that you always need to blog in the same place, and it might be time to close one chapter and start something else. But it might just be the kind of lull we all experience in long-term projects; in all things, from work to parenting to creative pursuits to our favorite TV shows, our enthusiasm waxes and wanes.
Here are six ways to push through the wane and get yourself back in top form:
Give yourself a break (but keep the lights on)
Guest blogger bonus: guest posters might bring in some new fans, and the new posts and readers can help stoke the fires of inspiration.
You take vacations to recharge so you can be the best parent/fireman/student/banker/caretaker/elephant farmer you can be, right? So take a break from your blog to be the best blogger you can be; inspiration and creativity also recharge during time off. If you don’t want to turn the lights out completely, schedule a few posts from your archives to re-run periodically, or line up a few guest bloggers to post while you’re away.
Give yourself a break (and turn the lights out)
Of course, you can turn the lights out, too. If you don’t want to worry about coordinating posts (or don’t think you can stay away from your comments and stats), just walk away. Because when I say away, I mean away: if you have an idea for the blog, jot it down in a notebook; don’t log in. You wouldn’t log in to your work email while on a vacation from the office (I hope!), so don’t do it during your blog vacation.
Whichever “break” option you choose, you can tell your readers you’re taking a break, but don’t feel that you have to; a short absence won’t decimate your readership, and most of your fans will get a notification or see your new posts in the Reader when you return.
And speaking of your return, set an alert in your computer or phone to remind you — maybe more than one. It can be too easy to let a few weeks’ break lapse into a few months, and then into permanent hiatus.
And now for something completely different…
Worried about alienating your readers with new kinds of content? Here’s why I don’t think that’s much of a concern.
If you want to keep to your blogging routine, try a few posts that are radically different from what you usually share. Write a poem. Post photos taken on your afternoon walk. Share a recipe. Pen a rant. Write a letter to a lost loved one. Whatever you normally do, don’t. Shaking up your routine and perspective can breath new life into your blogging.
Give yourself a pep talk
No, really. It’s easy to get wrapped up in your stats (or lack thereof), or to look at other bloggers’ big followings or robust comment sections or beautiful designs and feel inadequate; that can be enough to put us off blogging. At the risk of going Full Smalley, it can be helpful to remind yourself of a few things: why you started blogging. How much you get from it. The personal connections you’ve made. That every blogger was once where you were. That lots of us put our best selves forward online, but our lives (and blogs) have the same ups and downs as anyone else. Ah, perspective!
Changing your clothes can change your mood, and it works for blogs, too. Have you had the same theme and header since you started? Give your site a little makeover and see if it doesn’t energize you a bit. We’ve published some great posts lately on quick design updates, how to assess your blog’s look, creating free custom headers, and how to give your blog clarity and focus through design — start there. A fresh coat of paint might be all you need to get out of the doldrums.
Get some new perspective — physically
We all have blogging habits. I nearly always write — whether for The Daily Post, or my own blog — from the same overstuffed armchair in the corner of the living room, with my laptop balanced on a pillow and a big glass of icy cold seltzer on the windowsill next to me. Usually, that setup tells my brain, “Time for writing!”
Problem is, sometimes it doesn’t — I get burnt out on the sameness. When that happens, I physically move. I stay away from the chair. I try different places in my apartment, where I have different vantage points. I leave, and go to a cafe, or a library, or a park. The acts of physically moving your body around and of looking up from the screen to see something different are powerful winds that can blow the dust of ennui away.
It still might be time to pull the curtain on your blog; only you know for sure what’s best for you. But give one of these a try first — you might find a way to breathe new life into your blogging, or discover how you want to change it.