Keeping the Love of Blogging Alive

Today I’m going to try my best to enlighten and inspire each of us on a topic that can be kind of tricky:

Just as with any “relationship” in our life, keeping interest in blogging requires work… but that doesn’t mean it has to be hard work. It just means you have to put forth effort into making it successful and making sure you don’t get burned out!

 

 

I have been blogging for 7 years now, but I’ve only been blogging on Somewhat Simple since July of 2009. And can I be honest for a second? For almost 2 years straight I thought about quitting my blog about every 6 weeks. I called it “The Blogging Funk Cycle” and I likened it to another “monthly cycle” we women get to deal with. (wink) My “Blogging Funk Cycle” went something like this:

Week One: Blogging is great! My readers loved yesterdays post and holy cow, my stats just went through the roof! I’m for sure going to have my own TV show someday!!!

Week Two: Ahhh! It is already Wednesday and I haven’t finished writing that sponsored post yet! I sure hate deadlines, but hey, at least I am getting paid for it!

Week Three: The baby is crying, my daughter wants to play Candy Land and the laundry is piling up. I’ll get to it all as soon as I am done taking pictures for this tutorial.

Week Four: My inbox is full and I cannot get to all of the tasks on my to do list. I really need to reevaluate my priorities and simplify.

Week Five: Another sponsored post! Working with big brands is exciting, but my daughter is still waiting on that Candy Land game. Sometimes I wish I could go back to the days of just being a mom.

Week Six: My stats aren’t climbing like Mary’s are, I’m not as creative as I thought I was, my house is a disaster, and I am a horrible mom. Something has got to give.

I would eventually make the full cycle from week six’s feelings back to being motivated in week 1… but it takes effort.  And guess what, I have found a happy place in my blogging career and I haven’t thought about quitting in probably 9 months now.  I’m the happiest I’ve ever been as a blogger and it makes me smile just saying that.

 

 

With the help of my readers, I’ve compiled a list of the Top 5 Ways to Keep the Love of Blogging Alive. When you are feeling like you’re in the discouraging point on the “Blogging Funk Cycle” pick one or two of these ideas and you’ll be back to sharing all of your fabulous content with the readers who love you! OR (even better) put these ideas to work BEFORE you start to feel funky so the discouragement never comes!!!

 

 

If you are feeling overwhelmed, if you’re out of ideas or if you’re starting to get bored with blogging, try getting a partner, an assistant, or some contributors.

Shortly after I found out I was pregnant with my 4th child, I knew blogging would have to take a back seat while I dealt with morning sickness, and since I didn’t want to let my site sit vacant for 20 weeks, I enlisted the help of my readers! (Ps. Whoever said you start to feel better after the first trimester lied to me!) I asked for contributors to post some of their ideas on my site in exchange for some publicity. I was overwhelmed at the response I got and I was so excited about the ideas they were sharing, so I kept them on board even after my baby was born. They add fresh content to my site AND they take some of the workload from me- it is fabulous! I sure love each of my contributors!

There are plenty of blogs written by more than one person. One of my readers said the following: “I blog with my sister. It’s nice to share the responsibility of the blog with someone else, and she always seems to have a post ready when I am out of content ideas.”

Perhaps you have a best friend, an old college roommate, a sister, a neighbor or a loyal blog reader with similar ideas and interests. Share the load and enlist in some help!

 

 

I’m pretty sure I speak for the majority of us when I say I started blogging because I had a talent or a passion about a certain topic that I wanted to share. No one forced me to start a blog, and no one is forcing me to keep going! A good way to ensure you don’t lose sight of the reason you started this blog is to only post when you have something to say. This sounds so simple, but it can be a hard thing to stick to! I don’t think even my most loyal reader would know if I skipped a day and didn’t blog one afternoon. One of my readers (Gina B.) said it best:

If you can stay focused on the reasons you began a blog in the first place and go back-to-basics, only posting when you have something to share rather than just to get content seen by your readers, you’ll love it as much as the day you first started when things were still new and exciting!

 

 

What are the things of most importance in your life, and are you spending adequate time nourishing those priorities? For me, my priorities are: My family, my home, my church, my preschool class, and THEN my blog. If any one of those areas in my life are lacking, I figure out a way to do better. I’ve literally set up a detailed schedule with different tasks for every half hour of the day (can you say OCD??) but it helped me see where I was spending some unnecessary time AND it guaranteed that each of those priorities were getting some attention as long as I stuck to the schedule. It makes me feel waaayyyy less guilty being online if I am sticking to my schedule because I know the other areas of importance aren’t being neglected.

One of my readers said her goal for blogging was to use it as a journal that she can print out for her family at the end of the year. When she feels discouraged or overwhelmed, remembering her goal puts her back on track!

Ps. This step is a continuing process- I reevaluate my priorities and set new goals to accomplish all the time!

 

 

It is no surprise that there is money to be made from blogging, but it is also no surprise that the money can be slow coming. Blogging as a business can cause unnecessary stress, and it can cause you to resent the idea of sitting down to write a post. When you are focused on the business side, you get caught up in the need to book sponsors, you get caught up in replying to all those unanswered emails and you suddenly have a responsibility in keeping your stats up to keep your sponsors happy. My dear friend Char from Crap I’ve Made “quit the business of blogging” earlier this year and her post about doing so is a must-read! (CLICK HERE TO SEE WHAT SHE SAID AND WHY) She took a step back, she reevaluated her priorities and she decided the business is not what she loved, so she quit taking advertisers and focused more on her family. My favorite line in her post was directed to potential advertisers. This is what she said:

“I want you and your Etsy shops to be successful, truly I do…just not more than I want my family to be successful.”

Hard? Yes. Admirable? You better believe it. And guess what? Char still blogs- she just does it when she wants and how she wants to do it- isn’t that awesome?

Make a goal not to look at your stats for an entire month- can you do it? Sometimes getting rid of the deadlines and stepping away from your stats can be just the thing you need to find the love again.

 

 

When I asked my readers how they keep the love of blogging alive, the most popular response was TAKE A BREAK!!! Sometimes the minute you take the pressure off yourself you’ll love blogging all over again.

I do think it is not only fair but it is also admirable for each of us to have a hobby and to have something we love to do. Blogging not only encourages me to be creative, but I also really love it. I love the interaction with others, I love the “virtual pats on the back” I get through comments, and I do love the extra money I am earning that is helping us pay off my husband’s student loans. Blogging is not a bad thing, it is actually a very good thing.

BUT I’ve always said my blog is completely disposable. If I had to quit it tomorrow, I could and I would. My family doesn’t have to rely on the {little} money I am making, and I never want blogging to distract me from my real job in life of being a mom.

And taking a break doesn’t have to be permanent… unless you want it to be. We all have lives outside of blogging and sometimes there are things in life that need our attention.

Some of you may be familiar with Becca, from Blue Cricket Design. Becca and I were best friends in High School and we ended up marrying brothers just 2 weeks apart, which means my best friend and I are also sister-in-laws! We have so much in common and one of the things we would talk about in our (almost daily) phone calls was blogging- we each started our blogs around the same time and they grew side by side and we collaborated on projects together and had a lot of fun with it.

And then last year life handed Becca a basket of crap. There is no other way to say it, other than Becca had a hard year in 2011 that continued through the beginning of 2012. Wanting to simplify and make sense of what was happening and also wanting to clear her mind and heal, she decided (after MONTHS of thinking about this) to walk away from her blog and take a break. She said this decision was sooooo hard to make and she cried for days as if someone had just died, but she knew it would be for the best. She was interviewed by Anna from My Life And Kids all about her decision- you must read this interview to see the eloquence in Becca’s reasoning!

This all took place last spring and Becca and I still talk all the time. She went from posting 5 x’s a week to posting 5 times in the last 6 months. And she is doing FABULOUS! She still keeps her online presence by interacting with her readers occasionally on Facebook, but her days of building her blog have taken a back seat, maybe indefinitely or maybe not!

Here is something to keep in mind:

I truly believe we have to follow our hearts, otherwise we will get burned out and we will not find the joys in blogging. And who wants to add another chore to their to-do list? Aren’t we busy enough as it is?

 

 

I think each of us feels burned out from time to time and that is ok! These feelings can stem from being overwhelmed and wanting to simplify your life, or feeling tired, under valued and perhaps even a bit discouraged. We all feel like maybe our blog isn’t as good as someone else, or we find it hard to come up with original content. But all you need to get through discouragement, frustrations or lack of excitement is a desire to keep going and doing what you love.

Stephanie
Wife, mom of 5, and creator of Somewhat Simple, Stephanie has a passion to create and inspire. She is an Orange County transplant who is now enjoying life in Phoenix, AZ. She enjoys traveling, shopping, organizing, cooking and creating simple projects for her home and family.
Stephanie
These are some of my favorite treats to make for the holidays! http://t.co/0E7mZNh5Y7 - 2 hours ago
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Comments

  1. Thank you for an awesome blog post! :) xo

  2. Thanks for the great post!

    Ashley

  3. Thank you for making it okay not to post every day. I’m just starting out and trying to pull all the pieces together. The pressure is sometimes too much.

  4. I’m still pretty new to blogging, but I am glad you shared this post for, if/when someday down the road, I need it. Thanks for sharing! I’ve pinned it to my blogging board!

  5. Shannon Fox says:

    I find is oddly karmic that you mentioned not looking at stats for a month! I just repeated that to a blogging buddy today. I think this means I am supposed to do that!! Wonderful read. Thanks so much for sharing your wisdom!!

    Happy Holidays to YOU!

  6. Great post, Steph! I shared it with a blog group that I am in and we all could soooo relate! I really appreciate you sharing with us!

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