If there’s one key feature that separates blogging from other types of online businesses it’s that it requires consistent, long-term effort in order to launch and grow a blog.
And even once you hit the “big time” you’re still going to need to be creating content, moderating comments and networking on social media on a daily basis.
No wonder so many bloggers suffer from burnout sooner or later.
Look around the web and you’ll find thousands of ignored blogs that have been given up on by their former owner.
After what could have been weeks, months, or even years of effort they finally hit “the wall” and stopped posting.
Before you know it you haven’t posted in months, the blogosphere has moved on and all your former subscribers have forgotten who you are.
What a sorry waste of all your time and effort.
While this may sound rather alarmist, blogger burnout is very real. And if you want to make a success of your blog it’s imperative that you do whatever you can to avoid it…
Set Realistic Goals
The first core problem that can lead to blogger burnout is that you typically need to sacrifice a huge amount of time and effort (and even some money) before your hard work starts to pay off.
Too many people get frustrated some months in by their lack of results and are tempted to give up. In the back of their head is that little voice reminding them of how many evenings and weekends they’ve invested, and what do you have to show for it? Not much…
The truth is that building up a successful blog – or any other kind of website for that matter – takes time. Those who start to see significant results before the 6 month mark generally got very lucky.
It’s not unusual for a blog to take a year or more to really start gaining traction.
There are two important lessons here.
Firstly, before you even start a blog you need to be convinced that you’ll stay the course. Make an agreement with yourself that you will keep at it for a full calendar year. That you will try to post to a schedule to keep you going. And that you won’t let lack of results derail your plans.
The second lesson, however, is that you need to look for any signs that your actions are leading to results.
This can be whatever you want. Examples might include the number of followers you have on Twitter, Pinterest or Facebook. It might be the amount of traffic you’re getting from these social sites, or from the search engines. It might be the number of email subscribers you have.
Whichever metrics you choose (the more, the better) try setting up a goal-tracking spreadsheet. Then, at the end of each month, put in your latest figures. When you focus on just “doing” all month long you often look at your business from the wrong perspective.
Actually recording specific numbers allows you to look back from a distance and see the real results you’re producing. If those numbers are going up every month then you’re moving in the right direction toward your goals.
Leverage Your Blogging Peaks And Troughs
Nobody can be inspired all day, every day.
Instead our levels of inspiration differ over time. You’ll likely find that there are certain times where you find it easier to write a good blog post, while in others it takes you twice as long and the results are half as good.
For me, as an example, I find it easiest to write first thing in the morning. Indeed, I’m writing this post at 7.45am. Within a couple of hours that inspiration will drop and I’ll move onto other tasks.
In addition to the peaks and troughs throughout the day, you may also find, as I do, that sometimes I’m just in a “writing mood”.
These peaks in productivity can go on for weeks, with me pushing out one post after another without effort. Then again, eventually this period dries up and I can go the other way. Sometimes weeks can go by without being in the mood to write. Any time I do try is a dismal failure.
So what’s the solution? Quite simply, get to know yourself. Figure out when you do your best (creative) work and try to arrange your time so that you can be at the computer for this time.
And when you have those creative “blasts” where you can write for hours? In these cases, I say make the most of it. I can often write three months’ worth of blog posts in a matter of weeks, then dry up and not want to write for weeks to come.
The good news is that if I’ve leveraged my “peaks” enough, the “troughs” don’t matter because I have so much content lined up.
This helps me to stay (reasonably) consistent, even as my levels of inspiration change.
Another factor that can increase the odds of suffering a burnout is simply the vast range of tasks that a blogger needs to accomplish. A blogger’s to-do list is never complete and sometimes it can feel like you’re chasing your tail, getting nowhere.
When your life is one long to-do list it can be very difficult to enjoy your blogging. It goes from a passion to simply a “job”. Something you do because you feel you have to.
The solution is to take time out to actually plan and prioritize your blogging tasks. Take on fewer tasks, but do them better and with more passion.
Figure out the most “mission critical” tasks for your blog and focus your time on these. By having a reasonable workload and a plan to stick to, you’ll find that the gentle structure can not only help you to achieve but also to prevent you from trying to be everything to everyone.
Another factor of planning ahead can involve getting ahead.
This means queueing up blog posts weeks in advance so that they get published whether you’re infront of your computer.
That means queueing up your social media posts to go out over the coming week, no matter what you’re doing. The end result is that you can appear “active” all week long, without even needing to turn your computer on.
This frees you up from the smaller tasks and lets you think about bigger tasks.
Know When To Take A Break
They say that all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. It can also encourage burnout.
One of the problems with blogging is that until you hit the “big time” you likely need to do it around your job.
We only have so much “free time” each week, so it’s very tempting to spend time each evening – and most weekends – working on your blog. If you’re not very careful you fall into a routine which gives you little or no time off to relax and enjoy yourself.
And time off is critical if you’re to avoid blogger burnout.
It’s all too easy for blogging to turn into a kind of “addiction” which takes over your time and your thoughts. If you want to avoid blogger burnout, therefore, it’s essential that you take time away from your computer.
Try to set a weekly structure that your blogging tasks can fit into, whereby you have fixed and planned periods off. In this way you can step away from your blogging on a regular basis.
The coolest thing about taking a break from blogging each week is that you’ll often find that you have some of your best blogging business ideas when walking the dog or cooking a meal or hanging out with your friends.
Even better, when you get back to your blog you’ll often feel energized and motivated to perform.
Have you ever suffered from “blogger burnout”? What strategies have helped you to remain motivated in the past? Please leave your experiences in the comments section below…