BLOG

5 Ways to Persevere Through Blogging Slumps

Friday, April 1, 2011

Anyone who’s blogged long enough will eventually hit a slump—a point where we get tired of blogging and wonder if we should quit.

Perhaps we're weary of the hard work regular posting requires. Maybe we can’t think of anything interesting to say anymore. We may even decide blogging is an emotional and physical drain.

Whatever the case, we all hit slumps. I have. I’ve thought of giving up more than once. And I’ve talked to plenty of other bloggers who’ve experienced blogging-fatigue too.

However, if we give in to the fatigue and fall away after putting effort into establishing a foundation of followers, we’ll make more work for ourselves in the long run. When we decide to pick back up again, we'll likely have to start over rebuilding all we lost.

In all reality, the best thing for writers hoping to use blogging as a platform is to persevere through the slumps. But how can we keep at it, especially when we’re burned out, have nothing to say, or just are plain sick of blogging?

Here are five methods I use to persevere through my blogging slumps:

1. Set a blog schedule and stick to it.

I made a decision to blog three times a week. I picked specific days of the week along with a set time. Then rain or shine, I stick to the schedule. Your plan doesn’t have to look like mine. You might blog on Tuesdays and Thursdays, twice a week. Maybe you’ll blog only once per week (I don’t recommend going much less than that). The key is finding something that works.

When we have a plan, we’re more likely to stay on track than if we leave our blogging to whim. (And actually the same thing is true of our daily or weekly writing schedule!) In fact, we can view our blog as part of the job of having a professional writing career. When it’s time to work, we show up.

2. Keep an “Ideas File.”

I have a blog notebook. Every time I run across an idea for a post, I jot it down. I brainstorm post ideas when I’m fixing a meal or cleaning the toilet and scribble thoughts in my notebook. I also have an email folder. I toss blog questions, interesting comments, emails, or anything that could generate a post into that file.

I’ve also realized that in order to generate relevant posts, I need to keep up with what’s going on in the publishing industry. When I see interesting facts or opinions, I use my blog as a place to try to understand how I feel about the issues—knowing others are likely to feel the same way.

3. Write posts ahead and schedule them.

As part of my Saturday writing time, I block out some time for working on blog posts for the upcoming week. I write them in a Word document, save them on my hard drive. Then I copy and paste them into a blog post. I’ve found this method allows for more flexibility and protection.

Once I have the three posts written and edited, then I schedule them all out for the week so that they automatically post on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings at 6:00 am. This allows me to take the time during the week to respond to comments and focus on other social media efforts, rather than scrambling at the last minute to write a post.

4. Take mini-breaks from time to time.

We all need vacations from our work. Instead of allowing ourselves to get to a point where we feel like giving up, we should build in breaks to prevent some of the intense burnout.

I usually take my breaks around American holidays—Thanksgiving, Christmas, 4th of July, etc. I’ve found that when I take the time off, I come back with renewed energy. We can even use those breaks to re-evaluate the direction we want to go with our blogs, what we hope to accomplish, etc.

5. Remind ourselves that the effort will pay off.

Sometimes none of the above helps, especially during times when we’re particularly tired or overwhelmed. It’s then I remind myself I made a commitment to having a professional writing career and that blogging is just part of the job. I tell myself it’s not going to be easy, that it’s a lot of hard work, and that I can’t quit just because I’m having a bad week.

And even though blogging won’t always be fun or easy, the rewards are countless. I recently got an email from writer Tonya VanWinkle. She said she'd stumbled upon my blog, found helpful information in various posts, and liked the sidebar photos of readers holding my book.

Then Tonya said this: "I would read your blog posts you would say something or ask a question that made me think . . . It is because of your responses to me, your ability to connect with your readers and fellow writers that made me think, I should really read her book. It wasn't the normal things like the cover, the blurb, the 1st sentence, the reviews...it was you. All you. I hope and I pray that as you continue to grow and write that you will keep that connection strong, because I believe it will take you far."

Your turn! Have you ever been tempted to quit blogging during a slump? What are some things you do to push yourself through those slumps?

34 comments:

  1. This is a great post to read when I'm in one of those "I wonder if it's all worth it" moods.

    Wonderful tips. I have to remind myself sometimes it's okay to take breaks.

    ~ Wendy

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you so much for posting this! That's exactly how I'm feeling. I try to post 2-3 times a week and for the past two weeks I've only been posting once. I feel like I've run out of topics. Thanks for the helpful and inspiring advice! :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Great post and I've already got 2 out of 5 down. I tried to schedule my blog posts to go live automatically but it didn't work - I'll have to try again because I like the idea of it.

    Have a great weekend!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Pfft, I'm brand new to the blogging world, and I've already gone through a slump (I know--embarrassing, really!). When I visit sites of all the prolific bloggers, sometimes I feel defeated, like I could never be that consistent. However, in those moments of defeat, all it takes is that one comment of encouragement, or to know that something you wrote resonated with someone else, and then I'm back on track, remembering why I decided to blog in the first place.

    The email from Tonya is spot on! I do think you're interaction with readers/commenters is unique. It's all part of who you are, and your warmth and sincerity are sure to result in your "regulars" reading your novels.

    Barb

    ReplyDelete
  5. Stop looking in my brain, Jody Hedlund! ;P I needed this today - been a couple of those kind of weeks! Your blog is such a blessing :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. Aww Jody, thank you. I'm glad that what I said encouraged you to keep at it. Everything you said in this post is true. I've hit those slumps, I've forgotten about it, and I've even changed blogs and lost readers/followers. I've yet to find a way to continue to push myself...but you are an inspiration to us all. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Goodmorning, everyone!! Happy Friday! :-)

    Barb, those slumps start happening very early! I remember having some of them when I first started blogging. It seems like the more I persevere through them, the stronger I get. And you're so right. The encouraging comments are fuel to help us keep going.

    So, thank you everyone for your encouragement!! I appreciate it so much! Your words definitely help me stay motivated! :-)

    ReplyDelete
  8. All great tips, Jody. I went through a month-long slump where I only posted once, and it did feel like starting over when I came back. Setting a schedule helped a lot, as did allowing myself to re-post or go slightly off-topic on occasion.

    ReplyDelete
  9. My slumps are usually based on anxiety. It makes me anxious having a public persona. So I get scared and quit, which is a little different than exhaustion.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I've worked my way through more blogging slumps than I care to think about. What keeps me going? Great examples of awesome bloggers like you. My desire is to connect with others and offer valuable content they can use, which you do so well.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I haven't felt tempted to give up yet, but at times I feel the pressure to top the previous post. But once I made the decision to just keep it real, rain or shine in my life, it has gone much smoother.

    Thanks for your great tips! I will definitely be implementing them in the future.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Ideas from other people inspire me to keep going when ideas dry up. Sometimes, when the sun has gone too long without shining, I want to slack on posts. But then someone will post something that encourages me to continue on. Thanks for your tips!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Jody, great tips as always. I do keep a blog idea folder, and jot down notes all the time. When your mind is open to ideas, they definitely appear. I've only been blogging for a year, though, and I can imagine that after a long time, those ideas might dry up.

    Congratulations on making #1 on Amazon's historical fiction list. WELL DESERVED!!

    ReplyDelete
  14. I have also struggled with posting blogs to go live at a certain time. They do post at that time, however they don't show up in other peoples news feed. While they actually post at 6am or whatever, they appear in the news feed at the time I started working on them, and no one goes back 3 days to check to see if they missed something...

    ReplyDelete
  15. I haven't been around much of late... I took some time away from my computer and things related.

    But it's good to be back and to connect with my blogging circle.

    Jody, as always you inspire me! Enjoyed the posting.

    Wishing you lots of joy-full moments.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Welcome back, Brenda! :-)

    And Harter and D U Okonkwo, Sorry to hear that your blogs aren't scheduling out! I have Blogger and have had no problem with the feature for the past two years. In fact, I think Blogger has improved their quality since I first started blogging. Hope you'll get it figured out!

    Great tip from Amanda: Re-posting. I haven't tried that myself, but I'm keeping the idea on the backburner for a time when I'm super swamped!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Timely post, Jody. I'm with Wendy, I've been in a slump lately and am just now trying to pull myself out. Although I "know" most of what you said, it was a reminder that I needed. Have a great weekend!

    ReplyDelete
  18. The more bloggers I talk to, the more I hear that blogging can be exhausting.
    I found I couldn't maintain the emotional energy or writing time to take my blog to a committed level. As time's past I blog only about once a week. I've considered stopping altogether, but I enjoy writing and people frequently tell me they read and enjoy my blog...so I keep at it. It keeps my writing muscle in use.

    Keep on with your blog. You've really found the right tone and content to keep people coming back for more!!

    blessings,
    Kelli

    ReplyDelete
  19. I've also been in a slump with my blog, wondering what do I have to say that's so special? I'm still struggling with this and how to consolidate all aspects of my online profile so that it's meaningful, not just chatter. Yours is one of the blogs I really enjoy, Jody, because I mostly come away with something new to think about. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  20. I used to professionally blog. Paid to post 24 times a month on a cancer blog. Then I took up the diabetes blog. So that was 48 times a month and a paycheck. So now blogging 2-3 times a week is a piece of cake and I've been doing it for over three and a half years at Seekerville. So I guess it's all in how you look at it, lol.

    ReplyDelete
  21. You are really starting to freak me out. Are you sure you're not clairvoyant? I just started hitting my slump because I feel very overwhelmed. I would love to do my posts over the weekends, and I will still try, but my kids' activities don't give me much writing time.

    My problem is that I think EVERY post has to be a masterpiece and I try too hard. I will spend 2-3 hours per post at the minimum. I revise a gazillion times, try to find just the right picture (hello, time suck) and then before I know it, it's 1 a.m. I AM taking a blog vacation later next week to renew my blogging spirit! Thanks, Jody!

    ReplyDelete
  22. I agree with your commitment schedule, however I need to work on 2 posts written on Saturday so I don't freak out at the last minute. I wonder why I procrastinate until the last minute to write a blog post. I was wondering if you'd thought of changing to WordPress. That's something I'm considering for various SEO reasons.

    ReplyDelete
  23. At a time when we're hearing how important social media is to a writer's success, it's important to plan how we can best manage our time, skills and energy. Your realistic attitude and approach is refreshing.

    I didn't have a schedule when I started blogging, but my intent was to post two-to-four times a week. I didn't have a large following so it didn't seem important to post regularly. However I discovered that attitude discouraged regular readers... a 'catch 22' thing. It seems visitors like to be able to count on finding a new post on a specific day. They'll forgive a a brief hiatus as long as they know when we will be returning. I'm convinced that next to the quality of a post, regularity has to be a high priority if we're using our blogs as communication tools. It's like every other aspect of the publication and promotion process; it has to be a commitment.

    ReplyDelete
  24. I have never thought about quitting but I have allowed myself some breaks now and then--these breaks also help me catch up on others blogs who I haven't had time to visit. I'm on a short break now:)

    ReplyDelete
  25. Jody, your posts are always so helpful! I always know you're going to get me thinking or offer some great advice.

    As you know I took about a year off writing and blogging for family reasons. Someone referred to it as a sabatical, and I've jumped on that term because it really is fitting. Having needed that time, I can't say that I regret taking it with my writing or blogging, even though I did miss both. So I guess I come from this from a different perspective.

    As a published author you have responsibilities in marketing your book(s) and so I can see the need to stick to it irregardless. But many of us aren't there yet and so we are afforded a little more grace in this area, I believe.

    I guess it all depends where you're at in the journey or how close you feel you are to achieving publication!

    Anyway, I'm sure glad you are committed, Jody! You really do write amazing posts!

    ReplyDelete
  26. Hallie said: "My problem is that I think EVERY post has to be a masterpiece and I try too hard."

    My response: Hallie, thanks for your honesty. I'm sure there are many others who struggle with this very issue. I know I've been guilty of it from time to time! And then, like you, I end up spending too much time on a post.

    But, I also think the longer we blog, the easier it gets to let go of the need for perfection--at least it has for me.

    I also have learned to write up my posts faster. It helps when I spend some time jotting down ideas before I start the post. Usually I'll brainstorm those ideas as I'm going about mindless cleaning or cooking. Then when I sit down to write the post, I'll already have a simple outline to work from.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Gutsy Writer asked: "I was wondering if you'd thought of changing to WordPress. That's something I'm considering for various SEO reasons."

    My thoughts: I'm really open to whatever works best. But right now my agent and publisher advised me to stick with what I've got, since it seems to be working. So, I'm taking the philosophy, "If it ain't broke, why fix it." :-)

    ReplyDelete
  28. Eileen said: "As a published author you have responsibilities in marketing your book(s) and so I can see the need to stick to it irregardless. But many of us aren't there yet and so we are afforded a little more grace in this area, I believe."

    My response: Great point, Eileen! There are most definitely going to be times in our lives when we need sabaticals (extended breaks from writing and blogging). I had a writing sabatical for many years when my children were really young.

    Also, I think that "younger" writers and those not close to publication need to keep blogging in its proper place. It shouldn't take more time or energy than the actual writing of our books or the learning process. As you said, there's room for more grace. The need to build a platform (for fiction-writers) is just not as strong yet.

    ReplyDelete
  29. It's like you just read my mind! I've been having the most difficult time lately trying to think of something to post. I should have thought about keeping an idea folder. I shall do that from now on. Thanks for the info Jody! I love all the advice you share with us.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Hi Jody...wonderful tips. Though I am just a year old in the blogging world, I feel where am I going to find so many topics to blog about twice a week. But somehow I find them ( after struggling). I too keep an idea folder. Thanks for this great post.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Thanks for kicking my butt-planted-in-chair into writing gear! I also keep a blogging Word document for random ideas...it also helps to have guest posters lined up.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Jody, this post really struck a chord for me. I spent the week-end working on my own website and I have to admit, the blog portion of it really has me worried. So this is going to be a post I'll keep coming back to, I suspect. I'm hoping to go live at the beginning of next week, and am going to start blogging just once a week while I figure out what I'm doing, what my brand is and how to work in the time. Baby steps, right?

    But thanks for the advice and encouragement in this post. It's a definite keeper!

    ReplyDelete
  33. I've just started a person app review blog and I'm thinking of having another, actually personal one, lol XD So these were some great suggestions!

    Visit Us @ App-O-Plectic

    ReplyDelete
  34. This is great advice, again. I also write posts ahead of time in a word document and then copy and paste them in a blog post. It's so easy. I have so many ideas pondering in my head that I just type up them up write away.

    ReplyDelete

© All the articles in this blog are copyrighted and may not be used without prior written consent from the author. You may quote without permission if you give proper credit and links. Thank you!