Tuesday, 23 September 2014

How To Avoid Blogging Fatigue

I touched on many of the aspects of lone working and working from home in previous posts but today's post is relevant for those who work in a team also, the subject is, blogger's fatigue. Blogging may be a new industry but blogger's fatigue is akin to writer's block. Everyone regardless of their job gets fatigued but the blogging schedule waits for no man (or woman as the case may be). Due to the kind of blog that I have; craft, recipes, fashion, photography etc I find my head becoming overwhelmed at times. On top of this there are what I call the 'back room' duties. Not as dirty as it sounds it is simply keeping the coding tidy, addressing any design issues and last but not least earning a living, this is anything from pitching for work, selling advertising space, following up outside projects and presenting work. My role is multifaceted and, even though I hate the phrase I wear a number of different hats during the day, add to that list being a mummy. With that much happening it is hard to keep clarity in your mind and instead of doing the jobs well you rush at them them and things become a little lack luster.

Before the birth of my baby I pushed myself incredibly hard to get a bank of posts ready to allow myself a little breathing room in those first few months. In hindsight, (what a wonderful thing hindsight is), those posts would have been more useful now that he is older and crawling. That being said I personally like to keep my blog as accurate to my life time frame as possible, I feel more authentic that way, that is my personal preference. A few weeks ago I felt like I was rushing posts, my heart was not in it. I had a number of outside projects and magazine article deadline looming and as a result my blog was suffering. 

Sometimes it is easy to think well an article is well paid work it is okay for the blog to suffer.. This is a really bad attitude. You have a responsibility to your sponsors to produce high quality posts and to post as often as you said you would in your advertising agreement. Even if you do not have sponsors you have a responsibility to your readers for their loyalty and to yourself to produce your best work. Your blog is your advert to the world, showing them what you can produce, if your advert is anything less than great why would anyone give you additional work?
I decided I needed a day to take stock and re-compartmentalise my brain and knock this blogging fatigue on the head. So Sebastian spent a day with daddy and I was free to spend a couple of hours taking stock. Here are some tips and tricks you can employ.
  1. Leave the house; when I say this I mean leave your regular place of work, if that is your house, then leave the house. If you are going to have a mental tidy it is often best to have a change of scenery. Go to a cafe that will leave you in peace, the kind of place where you can nurse a coffee. Free wifi is a bonus but not a necessity.
  2. Treat yourself to a new notebook; looking at the blank pages of a fresh notebook may appear to be the most daunting thing to do for a person with writers block but it will help you tidy your mind. Having things whizzing around inside your brain will not offer you any clarity but putting pen to paper will.
  3. Make lists; armed with your new notebook start to make lists. List the things you like about your blog, subjects that interest you, future projects, things that you dislike. Even if a project or idea sounds far fetched write it down, you never know until you work through it. This is also a great time to stop doing the things that are not making you happy. If a particular post is not working for you, you are having to force it your readers will be able to tell and that means it needs to go.
  4. Read your site; this may sound obvious but you really need to look at your site in a detached way. Chances are you read other blogs. Certain things attract you to their site, their personality, how easy it is for you to find your way around, the photography. Now read your own site as a stranger and ask yourself, is the photography good enough, is your personality shining through, are you posting your best work? Answer the questions honestly and work to correct them. Make a plan. I wanted to improve my food photography so I bought a book Plate to Pixel and made a plan of how I could improve.
  5. Do something different; if you are not feeling your best creatively and you don't work with another person to bounce off it is best not to force it. You will not do your best work. Do something else, read a magazine that is not related to your blog, read a book, listen to music, go for a walk, watch a great film. See it as shaking off the creative cobwebs.
  6. Plan; you will not be able to make all of the changes you want to  right away but make a plan. Write it down, use a wall planner, and make a big list and put it on the wall. Having goals is great but reward yourself. Every time you tick a thing off your to do list you get a treat, a bubble bath, a fancy hot chocolate whatever floats your boat but make it something you can achieve, I would quite like to reward myself with a shopping trip to New York but I cannot afford it. Don't make the reward a goal in itself.
  7. Look back as well as forward; take a look at old lists, plans and notebooks. Sometimes it is inspiring to see how far you have already come. Also sometimes you see things that you dismissed years ago that may work now.
I should also mention what not to do when you have blogger fatigue or writers block. Stop reading things that are like you. It is most likely that the blogs and magazines you choose to read are similar to you in someway. You write about the things that interest you so it stands to reason that you like to read about those things. Until you have the clarity of mind you may inadvertently plagiarise your heroes. A personal anecdote, when I was writing my dissertation I was also volunteering and working almost full time hours in the evenings, needless to say I was exhausted. Every spare minute I had I was reading text books, studies and papers. I was in such a daze that when I made notes and took them to meetings with my tutor it became apparent that I had blurred the lines between my own thoughts and the work of others, and this had happened quite by accident. I had to go back over all of my notes and sort everything. A new system, reduced hours at work and less coffee fulled all nighters I managed to write a fantastic dissertation and it was filled with original thought. Do something different to clear your mind. Recently I treated myself to a Pride and Prejudice dvd marathon with chocolate and ended up being inspired to create a number of home decorating projects for my new house. Rest and inspiration will come.

I hope that you have found this post useful and if you are currently suffering from bloggers fatigue, hang in there, take a deep breath and try something from my list, you never know it may work for you too.

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