Friend Friday: Blogger Burnout Got You Down?

Blogger Burnout.

Type those words in “Google” and you’ll get over 550,000 results.

That’s an alarming number.

*queue freaky Twilight Zone music*

We all experience “burnout” syndrome at some point in time in our lives.  We get fatigued, suffer from mental and/or physical exhaustion and diminished interest.  Most of us likely associate it with our 9 – 5 lives, although sometimes you might feel “life” burnout as well.  In truth, you could feel it in all areas of your life (i.e.: shopping burnout, cooking burnout, gaming burnout, TV/film/music burnout).  It can, and does, happen.

Image via Reality Squared

The increased popularity of blogging has introduced a new type of burnout syndrome to our lives: blogger burnout.  Just yesterday I read a wonderful and timely IFB post on “Beating Blogger Burnout” by Vahni of grit and glamour.  In it, V describes a few of the most common signs/side effects of the syndrome as it relates to bloggers:

  • You’re dreading writing up that next post.
  • You can’t think of anything to write about—the dreaded blogger’s block.
  • You’ve begun posting less frequently.
  • You’ve been posting just for the sake of it, often posting content culled from other sources instead of your own original work.
  • Your posts have become more personal—and whiny.
  • You’ve lost “direction”; you don’t know what you are trying to accomplish with your blog.
  • You’re thinking of shutting down your blog because you just can’t keep up.

Blogger burnout is almost every blogger’s worst nightmare because it is virtually unavoidable.  If you are a blogger reading this, it will (or already has) happen to you.  The question is, how will you deal with it when it does?

Image via Cartoon Stock

This week’s Friend Friday deals with this very subject and was inspired by the unexpected closing of a blog many of us frequent.  Fashion Butter has long been one of my daily reads, so I was stunned to learn that Toni had decided to close her blog.  Although I don’t know her reasoning behind it (it may have nothing to do with burnout), I could relate to her decision because of my personal experiences with blogger burnout.

Shutting down Beautifully Invisible has crossed my mind more than once in recent weeks but I keep at it because I know it will pass.  I also know that other bloggers, including the ones I admire most, have likely gone through the same thing.   This last thought is actually quite comforting.  It’s nice to know that you aren’t alone in experiencing these symptoms, and it’s nice to know they will pass.

The moment that they don’t pass is the moment you need to think about moving on to something else.

Now, on to today’s questions:

1.  How many hours a week do you spend blogging? Has that number changed since you started blogging? I don’t typically track the hours I spend blogging, but I would guess it is typically between 15 and 20 hours a week (when I am regularly blogging).   That amount will lesson depending on the amount of “free” time I have available to me and whether or not I am experiencing any of the burnout symptoms we are talking about today.

When I first began blogging this number was far less.  At first my posts were less researched (more photoshoot, less editorial content), and I spent less time commenting on and visiting other blogs.  My hours spent have steadily increased as my content has become more editorial and as I began to interact more with other bloggers.

I’ve mentioned this before, but blogging doesn’t stop with your own personal blog and your posts.  It includes the time you put into the other blogs you frequent.  All of this – researching/writing/ editing your own blog and reading/commenting on other blogs – is a part of “blogging.”

2. There is always more you can do, write, read, comment on… how do you limit your time spent on these tasks? At the moment, I don’t really set a “limit” for myself. I do all of these things when I have time available to me.   Blogging isn’t my full time job.  I have a 9 – 5 (that is really more of a 8AM – 7PM) career.  I like to see my friends and loved ones as much as possible on weekends and such, so my blogging is “scheduled” around those things.

Work.. sleep... work... sleep (Image via Journey of a Serial Entrepreneur)

I use the term “scheduled” loosely.  I fit in my blogging when I can.  If I have some down time at work, I’ll either work on a post or try to get some reading/commenting in.  The majority of the time, however, it happens in the evening.  There has been many a night when I am up late blogging.  Lately, I begin my posts in the evening and have often found myself finishing them up in the morning or afternoon during my lunch hour.

No matter what, there are a few rules I try to live by:

  • Don’t pressure yourself to post everyday.  3 or 4 times a week is enough.  Your readers will still be there.
  • Don’t pressure yourself to stick to a schedule if it isn’t working for you.  Instead, blog when you are able to. You’ll be more productive and feel better about it.
  • Blog when you are feeling motivated and passionate.
  • Blog when you have something to say.  Never ever just blog for the sake of blogging.
  • Take some time off if you need it.  Everyone needs a mental health day (or 2 or 3) on occasion.  Take them if you need them.  You’ll feel refreshed and re-energized when you do.

Image via Idaho Business Review

If you come up with a set of guidelines for yourself, you’ll find it helps with the “burnout”.

3. Have you experienced Blogger burnout yet? How have you dealt with that? I started answering this question with the words “even though my blog is still fairly young…” and stopped myself.   Why should I feel like I have to add a caveat about the age of my blog?  Blogger burnout isn’t something that is limited to established bloggers.  It is something that can happen to any of us, at any time.  It certainly has happened to me.

Image created by me.

Most of the writing I’ve read on the subject of Blogger Burnout discusses the symptoms/signs and offers advice on how to deal with it (or steps to prevent) it.  Something I don’t see much of is a look at the different types of blogger burnout.  Yes, I believe there are different types of blogger burnout, and I have experienced at least 3 of them!

  • “Not Enough Time in the Day” Burnout:  if you are suffering from this type of burnout, it isn’t that you don’t want to write.  It isn’t that you don’t have ideas.  You haven’t lost your blogger mojo.  You simply don’t have the physical time to blog and participate in the blogosphere.  You feel like you should somehow make the time.  Sleep less.  Write faster.  Create extra hours in the day.  If only it were that easy.
  • “Everyone Else Already Posted It” Burnout: sometimes you just feel like you have nothing to say.  Nothing new to add to the conversation.  Remember that great idea you had last week?  Well, while you were trying to find the time to blog about it, 3 other people beat you to it.  And they probably did it better than you would have.  What about that other idea?  Yup, that has been done to.  Could you have still written the post and made it interesting for your readers?  Depends.  If you aren’t suffering from burnout – yes!  You easily could have put your own spin on it.  If you are suffering from burnout – no.  Mentally you just aren’t committed, so you hit a wall.
  • “My Personal Life is Getting in the Way” Burnout: This is my personal favorite.  If you knew me in the “real world”, you’d know that I wear my heart on my sleeve.  I have never been the type of person who has been able to separate my personal life from work.  What is happening in one impacts the other.  Always has, always will.  Blogging is no exception.  If my personal life is stressful, that stress carries into my blogging.  This is what I am experiencing right now.

    I apologize in advance for my whininess, but I am doing it for the sake of full disclosure.  I have mentioned my break-up in passing on the blog before.  I have mentioned how blogging has been a saving grace for me.  What I haven’t mentioned is how devastating the break-up truly has been to me.  What I haven’t mentioned is how today, 6 months later, I am still just as hurt and heartbroken as I was when my relationship ended.  What I haven’t mentioned is how every time I feel like I am finally healing and moving on, like clockwork he contacts me again.  The last time was on November 18th, my 35th birthday.  I used that contact as an opportunity to finally tell him to leave me alone, once and for all.  Hopefully he’ll listen.

    What does that have to do with blogging, you ask?  Since November 18th, my heart hasn’t been into blogging.  All of a sudden I feel like all my self-confidence has just evaporated.  I feel like I have nothing to say. I feel like I am a fraud, because I am talking about beauty and fashion and I feel neither beautiful nor fashionable.  I feel like I should just turn in the towel and close the blog, because who wants to read a fashion blog written by someone who feels that way?  Do You know when I don’t feel that way?  When I am actually blogging.  When I am actually blogging, I feel like I am in my element.  I feel good about myself and what I am doing.  It’s during the “off time” when I am not blogging that I question myself.

So yes, I have definitely experienced blogger burnout!

I deal with it by doing my best to follow the “rules” I listed in question 2.   I deal with it by reminding myself that this too shall pass.  I deal with it by working on my self-confidence.  I deal with it by writing as much as I can, which is what helps in this case. I deal with it by getting a massage. Going shopping. Being with loved ones. I deal with it best I can.

Image via Weddings & Honeymoons

4. This time of the year is always a lot busier than any other time. Will your blogging change as a result? I don’t anticipate my blogging changing much during the holidays.   I am Serbian Orthodox and we celebrate Christmas on January 7th instead of December 25th, so things should stay pretty consistent.  If anything, hopefully I’ll have some additional time to read and comment on other blogs!

5. Could you forsee a moment in which you are not blogging anymore?  How would you you identify that it’s time to walk away? This is a difficult question to answer because of what I said in Question 3.  Can I foresee a moment when I would stop blogging?  Yes.  Do I want that moment to become a reality?  No.

As I mentioned above, I think the time to move on from blogging is when the symptoms of blogger burnout don’t pass.  When you no longer have any desire to participate and contribute to the blogosphere.  When you are no longer passionate about it.  When it becomes a permanent chore instead of a creative outlet.

That is when you need to think about moving on.

Image via Google Images

What about you?  How have you dealt with blogger (or life) burnout?

Have you ever thought about throwing in the towel?


To see what other bloggers are saying about this topic, click here.

For more info on ModlyChic’s Friend Friday series, click here.

{ 37 comments… add one }

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  • Casee Marie December 6, 2010, 9:32 PM

    If you were experiencing any kind of blogger burnout during the writing of this post you sure didn’t show it! Excellently written, and so thorough. I think I’ve experienced all three of those particular burnouts. There’s another – shall we dub it the confidence burnout? – that I feel quite often lately. I suddenly lose all sense of self-esteem in regard to blogging. It’s like a little voice in my head that wakes up and starts saying, “What are you doing putting all this silly writing out there? People will SEE it!” Then nothing is good enough, every idea reeks of the mundane and I feel like the best thing to do is delete the blog, turn off the computer and never look back. I know I’d feel a void if I did that, though, so I try to work through it. I don’t think I’ve beat it entirely yet – but it hasn’t beat me, either!

    • Beautifully Invisible December 8, 2010, 4:32 PM

      Wow, thanks so much Casee!

      I don’t think I’ve experienced confidence burnout per say (although it could be tied into the whole “I feel like a fraud” thing I’ve been experiencing lately), and i definitely don’t believe you have a reason to feel that way! I know I haven’t been commenting as much on your blog recently, but I still read it regularly and think your content is as wonderful as always!

      You are definitely doing the right thing by just taking a step back when you do feel that way – we all need to refresh and refocus every once in a while!

  • tiffany December 6, 2010, 6:46 PM

    really well written post! I can completely relate. I’ve been writing my blog, consistently for over 2 years now and have multiple burnouts and have wanted to shut down my blog so many times. Each time is for a different reason but all do relate to the ones you listed. I completely understand about not being able to blog when you aren’t feeling so great about something else going on in your life. I hit a really rough patch late last year and you can really tell it in my blog posts compared to this year. It’s only because our blogs are an extension of ourselves and if it’s not in your heart to blog about it than it’s just really hard to do.

    The time thing is the biggest thing that I hear from newbie bloggers or people that want to start up blogs and I always tell them that it’s what you make of it. I spend a lot of time on my blog but that’s because I want to. But I don’t HAVE to. I totally agree with your rules. I’ve adjusted my blogging schedule to only post 3-4 times a week and it’s been working out fine for me. But because of the quality of my content (I would rather write a few quality posts than a ton of not so great posts) I concentrate mainly on writing the post and less on reading/commenting on other blogs. I know that reading/commenting is essential to being part of the blogger community but because of my time constraints, it’s something that I only do once in awhile but I do keep an active participation in my other social networks just so I still feel like I’m interacting with my readers and blogger friends. It’s definitely about making choices that work with your life and there is no guidebook to how you should blog. It’s easy to fall into the pressures of blogging and seeing what other bloggers are doing and thinking “I need to do that too.” but the thing is blogging is not a competition. It should be something that you do for yourself and that you enjoy. At least that’s what I make of it so that I continue to enjoy blogging. And breaks are definitely a good thing for bloggers! I take one every once in awhile and like you said, your readers will still be there when you return!

    • Beautifully Invisible December 8, 2010, 4:27 PM

      Thank you so much for your comment, Tiffany. It’s nice to hear what the blogging experience is like for more seasoned bloggers like yourself. I agree completely with everything that you said in your first paragraph (although i think your posts have always been high quality!). I especially agree with this line: “It’s only because our blogs are an extension of ourselves and if it’s not in your heart to blog about it than it’s just really hard to do.” That really sums it all up, doesn’t it?

      I also agree with your comments on the time issue. I definitely understand that as a blog grows in popularity, finding the time to respond to comments on your site AND on other blogs you may follow becomes more and more scarce. But, as you said, you personally still manage to interact with the community via social media like twitter, and I would guess the interaction is still one of your favorite parts about blogging. Everyone has to determine what works for them, and you have figured out what works for you. I am on my way to figuring out what works best for me – for now. 🙂

      You really made some wonderful points here – thanks so much again for sharing!

  • A Brit Greek December 6, 2010, 10:34 AM

    This is a great post B, I also read V’s post on G&G and on IFB… Right now, I can relate to all 3 types of ‘Burnouts’ you’ve mentioned here, despite the fact that I haven’t really been blogging all that long.
    It can be quite overwhelming trying to keep up with posting, commenting and replying back or checking out new readers blogs on top of everything else in life. I don’t want it to be a chore, i want to enjoy interaction with blogger’s and blogging itself.

    Anyhow, I want to say that you’re NOT a fraud!!! I love all the pieces you post, whether it’s fashion, beauty, photography orientated or one of your excellently articulated posts!

    I hope your heart is on the mend hun… sending you big fat Greek virtual hugs!

    • Beautifully Invisible December 8, 2010, 4:12 PM


      I really think that burnout doesn’t discriminate when it comes to seasoned/new bloggers – it all depends on what else you have going on in your life. I also agree completely with this statement:

      “I don’t want it to be a chore, i want to enjoy interaction with blogger’s and blogging itself.”

      That is exactly it! When it does start to feel like a chore, we definitely need to take a step back and refresh.

      Thanks again for the kind words – all of them 🙂

  • Amy @ Journey Mum December 5, 2010, 7:15 AM

    This is such a timely post, I kind of can’t believe it! I was planning on googling blogger burnout, and have been e-mailing someone about switching from blogger to wordpress. I just popped over here to find your posts about that and saw this one. I am so there. It is brutal.
    I’m really sorry about what you are going through with your break-up. I don’t think you are coming across as whiny or anything like that, I think the approach of figuring out a list of things to combat what you are dealing with is both a great idea and great read. I’m probably going to do a similar post to try break through my writers block (mine stems more from my upcoming return to work after mat leave, and the stress I’m feeling over that).
    Anyway, I think there is no harm in stepping away for a break if you need one. You might lose some readers who have come to expect regular updates but I think most of us get it. Sometimes a girl needs a break.

    • Beautifully Invisible December 8, 2010, 4:09 PM

      Thanks Amy! I am glad you stumbled across the post – isn’t it funny when something like that happens?

      Good luck getting through your writers block (although I haven’t really noticed it on your blog!). I hope your return to work goes well, and as you said, sometimes you just need a break. I think the majority of readers really do understand that!

  • kristy eléna December 5, 2010, 6:19 AM

    this topic is amazing and your post is wonderful B! some really great points and things to think about. and your blogging rules to live by are very smart. with vogue gone rogue that was always the attitude i had and haven’t felt burnout yet. now with the sunglass hut blog and having a mandatory “daily post” looming things get pretty intense. and for fear of waking up one day without absolutely nothing to say, i kind of mapped out a plan and gave myself a little blogging outline, complete with an arc and ideas for future posts and back ups in the event that something doesn’t work out. it’s kind of crazy because the rest of life is still happening, i work 3 jobs on different days each week and never with a set schedule and sometimes i definitely feel overwhelmed. but it passes pretty fast and primarily because i love being part of the community and blogging just makes me happy. =) but alas, i have to get ready to go to the airport now! nyc awaits. =P

    Vogue Gone Rogue
    Full Time Fabulous – Kristy
    twitter: @kristyelena

    • Beautifully Invisible December 8, 2010, 4:07 PM

      Thank you so much!

      Honestly, I don’t know how you do it all. I wish I had your organizational skills! LOL It sounds like you tackle your scheduling and challenges head on, and have figured out what works for you. I’ve never really tried to do something like a blogging outline – my topics tend to be much more “whim” driven. I write about what strikes my fancy at the time, although I do love the consistency of having a set topic on Friend Friday.

      Maybe that type of scheduling is something I should explore – it might help with some of the burnout at least!

      Ultimately, though, however burned out i may feel, I also love being a part of the community which is why I always come back.

      I am loving the posts on your Sunglass Hut blog and reading a bit about your adventures on twitter. Still so excited for you!

  • Erika December 5, 2010, 3:59 AM

    I’m sorry you’ve been having a tough time. I had a similar experience after my 5-year relationship ended this summer and I was burnt out on everything for a couple months and did some pretty lame blogging.

    I regularly experience some feeling that I don’t have anything to say… so I don’t blog until I do. It usually only takes a few days and then I think of something I want to post. I don’t feel the need to blog every day if I don’t have anything interesting to talk about! That doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.

    • Erika December 5, 2010, 4:02 AM

      I just realized I kind of trivialized my post-breakup feelings and I guess I want to be a little clearer. Compared to me, at least outwardly, you are doing great. I retreated from life for a few months – I pretty much lost my whole summer. I failed in work, I gained 15 pounds, and I didn’t see my friends. It took about four months until I started enjoying life again. Now it’s been eight months and I can say I’m really feeling better. So… I get it. It sucks. And I couldn’t imagine that I would ever, ever feel better. But miraculously, I do.

      • Beautifully Invisible December 8, 2010, 4:02 PM

        Erika, thanks for sharing this. You didn’t trivialize your feelings at all – it can be a lot to share, and I appreciate that you did. I completely understand how you must have felt, and I have experienced some of those things as well. I’m glad that you are feeling better and that things are looking up. Hopefully I will get there as well.

    • Beautifully Invisible December 8, 2010, 4:01 PM

      I’m sorry to hear about your break-up as well. I hope everything has now gotten better for you!

      When i first began blogging I felt like I needed to do it every day or the few readers I had would disappear. Now I know better. I do the same – only blog when you have something relevant to say!

  • Heather Fonseca December 5, 2010, 3:41 AM

    I’m in burnout mode right now, and taking a bit of a holiday break on my blog. Truth be told, I don’t have the time to create illustrations for my blog, and I can’t think of anything else to publish right now, so I’m cut way back on my posts in the hope that the new year will find me refreshed and filled with ideas.

    • Beautifully Invisible December 8, 2010, 3:59 PM

      Sometimes taking a step back is exactly what we need to refresh. I hope your break aand the new year bring you tons of new ideas and inspiration!

  • Marissa December 4, 2010, 9:52 PM

    I went through a breakup last spring (after almost 6 years!), and it’s amazing how they always know when you’re feeling pretty good and contact you at that very moment, isn’t it? You make a very good point, though, about real life getting in the way. I never thought of it as blogger burnout, but I guess that’s exactly what it is to be upset about something else and to avoid blogging.

    • Beautifully Invisible December 8, 2010, 3:57 PM

      I am sorry to hear about your break-up. I hope things are better now! But you are right – it is like they have a radar and know exactly when to pop back in your life.

      I definitely consider that a type of burnout. Anything that affects my blogging can be.

  • jeminajakin December 4, 2010, 11:38 AM

    I agree with Vahni, this post is so beautifully written, detailed and haven’t we all experienced a burn out once in a while. Thanks for your keen and thorough post, LOVE it!!!


    • Beautifully Invisible December 8, 2010, 3:53 PM

      Thank you Jemina!

      I think just about everyone has been burned out at some point in time, even if they may not realize it!

  • JT December 4, 2010, 4:07 PM

    Sorry to hear about your break up, that would make anyone feel like throwing in the towel.
    It was so good to read the different types of burnout you listed. I am fairly new to blogging and have a full time job also so I agree that I have to work blogging in when I can because I do want to make time for my friends and family.

    • Beautifully Invisible December 8, 2010, 3:56 PM

      Thank you, JT. I am hanging in there 🙂

      I am glad that reading the post was helpful…. I am still fairly new to blogging as well (it’s only been about 6 months!) so we all learn as we go along. I definitely had to adjust my blogging schedule, but sometimes you have to if you want to blog and enjoy life too!

  • Grit and Glamour December 3, 2010, 11:21 PM

    You know, I could have written this post. I have felt the same, so many times, and my life—and emotions—used to inform my blog a bit too much. That was one of the things I changed…no more whingeing online about my personal life. I’m not saying that you should adopt that. I only reference it because it provided the boundaries I needed, I finally realized that I can be me without airing all my dirty laundry. But then again, that is one of the beautiful things about blogging: there is a community of people who adore you and can help lift you up when you need it. So not divulging is sometimes counter-intuitive.

    Anyway, I love that you covered the types of burnout. Lord have I felt them all. All I can add is that girl, you are just so damn good. Seriously! If I were ever to hire a staff of writers, you’d be one of my first picks. Happy weekend, doll. Wash that man right out of your hair, with champagne!

    ♥ V
    twitter: @gritandglamour

    • Beautifully Invisible December 8, 2010, 3:53 PM

      Thank you so much for your kind words, V. If you ever are looking for a staff of writers, i might just hold you to that 😉

      I’ve seen you mention that your blog used to be very, very personal. In a way, I am sorry I missed that, because I think it helps you (as a reader) understand what makes someone tick. At the same time, I feel like I am getting to know you just fine with your content the way it is now, so maybe it isn’t necessary at all.

      I try to keep references to my personal life limited on the blog because, ultimately, that isn’t what Beautifully Invisible is about. I actually deleted my first few posts a while back because they ended up focusing solely on the break-up, and I just didn’t want them here anymore because they don’t accurately represent the blog. And my personal life is just that – personal.

      Every once in a while though, something sneaks in, or makes sense to disclose (as in this case). I hope I never get too whiny… I try not to, and expect my readers to tell me if I do via comments! 🙂

  • Veshoevius December 3, 2010, 9:59 PM

    Sorry to hear of your breakup, quite understandable you might not have the mental space to want to blog going through all that!
    I loved the cartoons with this post especially the work/home one – so true! In fact reading your guidelines to stave off burnout reminds me very much of advice given to workaholics to stop burnout in the workplace. But I’m sure it is a personality type thing bound up in there – ambitious workaholic types are hardly going to dip a toe into blogging, they’ll be going at it flat out along with the million other things they are going flat out at.
    And hmm shopping burnout – I could do with suffering a bit of that!

    • Beautifully Invisible December 8, 2010, 3:46 PM

      Thank you V, I am doing my best to take the break-up day by day. Some are just easier than others.

      I think you are completely right about the personality types. I have a bit of that workaholic personality, so I give 110% to everything I do. I get mad at myself when I can’t do that for whatever reason.

      As for shopping burnout – I think that is something many of us could occasionally use! LOL

  • Katy_Rose1 December 3, 2010, 9:43 PM

    I like how you identified the three kinds of burnout you have personally gone through and what it really means to experience each one. I hadn’t thought about it in those terms but it is true there can be a lot of different kinds of ways we crash when it comes to blogging. This was great insight. – Katy

    • Beautifully Invisible December 8, 2010, 3:44 PM

      Thanks Katy! It’s definitely something I’ve noticed about my own blogging… I get burned out for various reasons, and usually the solution varies based on the cause.

      Thanks again for another great topic!

  • Citizen Rosebud December 3, 2010, 9:32 PM

    excellent post, Beautiful. I think you hit the nail on the head by subcatagorizing the burn out. I’m feeling it, the “not enough time in the day,” burnout. Nothing I can do about it. But a shout out to you and my fellow bloggers who make it worthwhile to check in and see what others are up to. xo.

    • Beautifully Invisible December 8, 2010, 3:42 PM

      I think I usually tend to experience a combination of the various burnout types. It’s too bad we can’t just create extra hours in the day when we need them :)Thank you so much for your kind words!