Friday, April 1, 2011
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?
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