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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.