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Beat Back the Blogging Blues

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!

Tidy up

The Doldrums are in the west, just south of the Mountains of Ignorance. Beware!

The Doldrums are in the west, just south of the Mountains of Ignorance. Beware!

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.

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  1. Great advice. Now I need to figure out what to do about my readers calling “quits” on my blog . 🙂 (Outside of being good.) 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Thank you. Outside of my sincere appreciation and thanks to anyone who reads my posts, what I write is supposed to bring a smile, or a laugh, at least a smirk, or the joy that come from thinking up an insult towards me and my writing.
        Bringing a little bit of happiness, even at my expense (unless of course it involves real money from me.) is my mission. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I think the issue many face is finding that the posts that are most popular are ironically the ones that were meant to just be filler better ‘main’ posts. In my case the posts about biscuits from Marks and Spencer get vastly more hits than anything else. Do you pander to an audience for views or press on with your particular vision regardless?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can relate to your comment! I can spend hours creating a post (research material, edit photos etc.) and find that a simple ‘fill-in’ photo post to a challenge picks up loads of likes and comments! Bizarre! Sorry I can’t answer your question, I suppose you do what you think is best. Do you prefer having the views or writing for yourself?
      Jude xx

      Liked by 3 people

      1. I think I prefer writing for myself as it is cathartic. I do however realise we are in a generation driven by stats (how many friends we have on FB, how many achievements we have on computer games, etc, etc) which are not fulfilling yet are all too addictive in achieving as if the quantity equates, if not usurps, quality of interaction.

        This is an issue I know authors have often had in the past with their works. For example Anthony Burgess’s 1962 novella A Clockwork Orange is his most famous work and yet was just a throw away piece he never put much faith in.

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      2. Fortunately for me I’m not bothered about the stats. I don’t have a FB or Twitter account either. I’m more interested in the relationships that can be formed through blogging which usually means a few people you really bond with rather than 1000s of followers. Now I have said that I really need to pay your blog a visit and see what it is you blog about 😀

        Liked by 3 people

      3. I thought of linking my FB and Twitter but to be honest I don’t use Twitter and linking the FB account, from someone else’s experience, means you have to be a bit more careful about what you say where – so I agree with keeping the blog seperate definitely if only to have a bit more freedom at both venues.

        Yes I see your point regarding building a few solid relationships over getting subscribers. I think because my friends have both been doing it for a number of years now running blogs focused on Welsh politics ( http://www.oggybloggyogwr.com/ ) and promoting Wales, and by extension Britain as a whole, to Polish speakers ( https://annawwalii.wordpress.com/ ) I have been comparing my blog to theirs when the intentions are very different. Mine is more personal with an eclectic mix of reviews, comments and vignettes or things I probably will never write up properly.

        You are more than welcome to visit! I will get around to looking through your blog too of course. Thanks for taking the time to discuss things 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Others may differ, but I always say vision. In my experience, f you’re not writing for yourself, it won’t be fun for you — and if you’re not writing for yourself, readers can tell.

      I think that sometimes the “throwaway” posts do better because we’re freer in them. We’re worried less about making a grand point, and so we end up sounding more like ourselves. And on blogs, that’s what readers respond to.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. A very good point! I will keep it in mind, thank you. As I mentioned elsewhere you will find authors often find it is their throwaway works they didn’t invest much in, e.g. Anthony Burgess’s 1962 novella A Clockwork Orange, which ultimately stand the test of time.

        Liked by 1 person

    3. I can relate to this and am currently torn by it. The posts that are really meaningful to me get nothing, but filler content (like organizing Legos) and sarcastic comments about a catalog get views from all over the place for months after I wrote and forgot about them.

      And the worst part is that I don’t even have a vision! Gaaah!

      But, seriously, which biscuits? M&S dark chocolate digestives are really good.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I have often heard reviewers commenting how it is the bitter, sarcastic, reviews that people like and remember not the complimentary ones where they actually enjoyed something. It is a bit disheartening for them at times as it means ‘liking’ something is a major risk instead of trashing everything that passes your gaze. In fact the scene of the critic Anton Ego’s review in Ratatouille expresses it quite well. People like drama not satisfaction as it makes them feel better about their own view of things.

        I originally had a vision but I think you ultimately establish what your blog is about by doing it. Sort of like ‘life is what happens when you are making plans’.

        The ones that seem to constantly get hits are where I just kind of list the ingredients etc.

        M&S Dutch shortcake biscuits
        M&S Belgian triple chocolate cookies
        M&S Dark chocolate and stem ginger cookies
        Dorotea Apricot filled pastries

        Thanks for chatting and the follow. Will check your blog out as soon as I can 🙂

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  3. What I’ve found is that as long as I focus on making my posts interesting, I can write about pretty much anything I want. (Except what I do for a living. Those always flop.) I’m so glad when I started my blog that I didn’t give it any focus and let it kind of evolve organically.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. This is what I needed to hear today. I have been blogging for a year and a half. I had to take a six month brake due to college and graduation. My friend just started hers has five post up and already has more followers than I do. It’s just making me feel a lot of pressure over my first post in six months. I feel like it has to be perfect. Anyone else have this problem?

    Liked by 3 people

  5. This is a pretty timely post. I “left” my blog a couple years ago as I had felt it was time to walk away. A year later I decided to change things up and focus specifically on music (instead of being a general mash-up of travel, music, and the obligatory now-and-again rant). And now I’m back to the original mash-up, but with some renewed inspiration to blog with gusto! 😛 No matter where you are at as a blogger, I think it’s all-important to WANT to do it and be passionate about your writing. Because aren’t most of us in it for fun??

    Liked by 5 people

  6. The video of Stuart Smalley, which is hilarious BTW, speaks very well to me as a blogger. I don’t want to get too excited or full of myself and begin to think, “Hey, everyone should like my posts and follow me because I believe they are the best” or “Why are bloggers suddenly ignoring me now? I’m entitled to their attention, I demand it.” By reading others posts, I don’t feel so narcissistic and keep myself in check and level-headed. I am reminded that I still have room for improvements and get a fresh perspective on blogging when I start to feel I’ve getting too self-absorbed in my own blog and thinking I don’t need to make anymore changes. I’m kind of glad I don’t yet have a huge following, because the Stuart Smalley syndrome would be in full effect!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. this was helpful information. I have been writing my biography of living in las vegas for 2 years. I went from researchingandwriting for 6 months and gave up, my first attempt, then I wrote for my own radio show with 1970’s biography and then when my radio show was cancelled. I took 6 weeks off and then continued on ward with blogging to continue to give of myself to share my experiences to help women and keep writing and not give up- thanks for reading this, madam Vanessa, las vegas talk of the town, 1970’s

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I just wrote about my Blog blues. For me, I think it was about my voice. I wanted to write but did not know and so I felt my blog was chaotic – like that is a bad thing lol. Now I think I’m ready to blog again. I don’t do it for the likes or the followers – however, those things are awesome – I do it just to add to the digital world with the hopes to inspire or something. Eh, nonetheless, this article definitely galvanized me today.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Great advice ! I especially liked this piece: ” … 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.” So true. I need to tidy up, as well. Love the blog. Thx !

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Thank you for telling this. It is really a great encouragement for new bloggers. :)I got encouraged!

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  11. Great advice. Thank you! I seem never to run out of things to say or write but time to do it in! Working full time and blogging on the side is sometimes challenging to do in the way I would like to. So, I try and make the most of it when I can and take a break when I need to. And I try to not get frustrated with myself when I can’t blog as much or as well as I would like to.

    I love your site. And the advice and ideas you give on a weekly basis are very helpful to me. The community that visits and comments on your blog are also equally as inspirational and supportive.

    Thanks again!

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  12. Thanks for this. I committed to a daily blog for a year and some days I feel I can hardly continue. Since it is a calendar year, I still have a bulk of it to go. I am glad to know I am not alone in the feeling of having nothing to say and wanting to give up. I have already done most of what you suggested, except the guest blogger. I like that idea!

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  13. Hallelujah! This is exactly what we needed today! The unexplained mystery of numerous likes and stats that don’t correspond was killing our insides. We need to back up for a bit. Thanks a lot!

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