How to Avoid Blogger Burnout

How to Avoid Blogger Burnout

In 2008, The New York Times identified a phenomenon called ‘Death by Blogging’ with the sit up and read headlineIn Web World of 24/7 Stress, Writers Blog Till They Drop‘. Read the full post here.

While this post in itself is directed towards the corporate world of blogging, if you’ve been blogging yourself, either as a hobby or in a more serious capacity, you’ll know exactly how this feels.

I started Belle’s Running Blog back in November 2017 with a view to launching it in the January of 2018.

I worked tirelessly, day and night with every single spare minute I had, alongside my 9-5 job. And I absolutely LOVED IT!

Working on Belle’s Running Blog wasn’t a chore for me. I loved writing, I loved being creative, I loved social media marketing. It was a dream come true for me to be able to share my love of running and help inspire others along the way too.

After working my day job, I’d come home and work for hours every night tweaking this and proofreading that. Every weekend I was holed up at home hunched over my laptop and planner.

In total, I was working around 40 hours on the blog and social media each week which meant I was working 80 hours total on two jobs, only one of which was paying my bills.

If you’ve never been pulled into the depths of blogging before like this, you’re probably wondering why I was giving up so much of my free time.

Let me tell you, I had a dream. I had a vision and drive and determination that I’d never had before and I was going to make this blogging dream work come hell or high water.

And then it happened.

I completely lost every ounce of enthusiasm I had for the blog. I had no interest in writing and my determination was a distant memory. And I stopped.

I didn’t write blog posts for weeks, then months and then an entire year had gone by and I’d nearly forgotten about my dream of becoming a blog writer.

But why?

The short version of this answer is that my pageviews weren’t improving no matter how many hours I seemed to pour into the blog. And to top it off, I hadn’t made a single penny either so I just gave up. I’d burned all out.

So when I decided on a relaunch in January of 2019, I knew I had to be really strict with myself and make some ‘Blogging Rules’ so that I wouldn’t end up like 2018 me!

Tips on how you can avoid blogger burnout

If you identify with any of the below, you may be suffering from blogger burnout too

  • Feeling like you’re putting tons of hours into blogging but getting nowhere
  • You’re on a day by day or even hour by hour emotional rollercoaster of emotions wondering whether it’s all worth it
  • The thought of giving up is constantly on your mind
  • You feel exhausted despite getting plenty of sleep (or not if you’ve been blogging into the night!)
  • Every waking thought is about the blog and not all of those thoughts are positive ones
  • Plans are cancelled by you either because you’re too exhausted or you feel guilty that you should be at home working on the blog

The majority of people give up on blogging after 6 months either because it’s much harder work than they anticipated or they were hoping it was a ‘make money quick’ type of deal.

Nobody can deny that blogging is a lot of hard work but if you stick at it and resolve to learn, learn and learn some more it will eventually pay off. Fortune favours the consistent when it comes to blog writing.

How do I avoid blogger burnout?

If you’ve identified with some or all of the points above and you can admit to yourself that you’re either on the brink of burnout or you’re there already, here are some tips to help you combat ‘death by blogging’.

It doesn’t matter whether you’ve been blogging for one month or three years you can still succumb to the blog burnout.

Assuming you don’t want to give up, and you absolutely shouldn’t, think about why you started blogging in the first place.

In the beginning, what was it about blogging that made your heart glow and made you WANT to work on it?

Do you love having a creative outlet, do you love engaging with other people who share the same interests as you? Whatever it is, channel that side of you and remind yourself why you started.

This should give you enough motivation and enthusiasm to not want to give up in the first place. You never know what’s around the corner and you don’t want to end up as another blog failure statistic (which is impossible as there’s no such thing as ‘failing’ when it comes to blogging).

Buy a fancy planner or journal, if you don’t use one already, to set clear daily tasks.

One of the main components of writing a blog is that you need to be organised. Whether that’s creating a content calendar, writing blog posts ahead of time or just knowing what tasks you need to fulfil each day, you need something to keep you moving forwards.

There are so many things that you need to think about when blogging. You need to be a social media manager across all of the popular platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

You also need to know about the best ways to drive traffic to your blog and how to create a solid loyal readership.

Then there’s learning SEO, if you don’t know it already, so you can write your posts and promote your content to rank higher in whichever algorithm you’re trying to master.

These are just 3 things in a huge long line of things you need to learn to grow as a blogger. Overwhelming right?

To combat this, I always make sure I have the prettiest planner (number 1 priority right there) and the next is that I use it to its maximum potential.

At the end of every day (even if I haven’t done any blog work), I will write a ‘Today’s Top 3″ for the following day.

This list of ‘Top 3’ things are tasks that I’ve deemed of high importance to keep my blog ticking away nicely.

Sometimes they’re small like ‘leave meaningful comments on two other blog posts’ or ‘create one new pin’ and others are more time consuming ‘write, take photos, research and schedule a blog post’.

These are things that I believe to be the bare minimum tasks I need to accomplish to drive my blog that day.

I can’t abide a huge daily to do list because a) I don’t know in a pinch of time which one is the most important task and b) looking at a huge list of things to do means it’s likely at times, I won’t do any!

One of my all-time favourite sayings ‘Comparison is the thief of joy’ couldn’t be more relevant to blogging. DO NOT COMPARE YOURSELF TO OTHERS!

It’s easier said than done I know, I’ve been there. Reading income report after income report about bloggers who made £1k in their first month of blogging and wondering why you only made $0.03 in total by comparison.

What you don’t read is all of the blog posts about people who worked just as hard as the blogger that took home a cheque that month, but made little to zero money themselves. Because it’s not interesting!

It’s not a headline anyone wants to read to feel inspired ‘I worked 80 hours per week for 6 months and didn’t earn a single penny’.

But you don’t know whether this is the person’s third blog and they already have a good grasp on affiliate marketing and how to get sponsors or whether they work in the marketing field and understand SEO and traffic.

You can’t compare your blogging journey to someone else’s. Your journey is all your own and it’s unique to you. No two bloggers and outcomes are the same.

If you want to know how much I made in my first month of blogging, read my income report here.

There are so many things I need to learn from scratch how can I learn them all in a short space of time? The answer is, you can’t.

Instead of trying to learn everything all at once try breaking it down with a topic each month. If you’re suffering from blogger burnout, this is the first task you’re likely to neglect but you need to keep learning.

For example, let’s say you’ve identified the need to learn from scratch the following topics to grow your blog: –

  • Affiliate marketing
  • Pinterest marketing
  • How to set up a blog
  • The best way to drive traffic to your blog

These are such monumental topics there is no way you can be fluent in all of them right away. Break them down into monthly tasks instead like this:

  • January = all about traffic, traffic sources how to get better traffic, how to promote using social media
  • February = affiliate marketing – you’ve gained tons of knowledge on traffic now it’s time to try and make some real money and learn about affiliate sites you can join
  • March = make money March – using all of your knowledge from the past 2 months you can implement some solid tactics into your blog writing to start making money

You’ve set some daily tasks and now you need to organise your time for blogging as well as time for NOT blogging!

It wouldn’t be healthy or productive of you to spend every single spare second on your blog even if you feel like you want to in the beginning.

Eventually, you’ll burn out, get bored and drop it all together especially if you aren’t seeing results right away.

Make sure you’re spending time with friends and family doing things that aren’t blog related. Get outside in the fresh air and give yourself some quality time away from that black mirror.

If necessary take a Self Care day and spend time in the bath or reading a book (not blog related) and remind yourself that there are other hobbies that you enjoy.

Even if your blog is more than a hobby and you’re earning money from it, you need to step away from it occasionally. With so many schedulers these days you can automate your blog posts and your promotion so taking a week off isn’t going to put you right back to square one.

Misery loves company. I’m joking here but what I’m trying to say is try and find other bloggers that you can reach out to and share tips and tricks on how to stay sane when blogging.

Often, the people in our ‘real-lives’ don’t understand blogging. They don’t know how it works or sometimes why you’re doing it and they can’t share the frustrations that you’re going through.

Reaching out to other bloggers will be a big help and you can share your stories and tips on how you can overcome all of the blogging pitfalls. Build a community of people that you can go to for advice. If you’re going through it, chances are someone else is too.

Head over to Facebook where there are tons of other blogging communities that you can join and swap hacks and stories.

Prepare for the ultra marathon and not the sprint (had to get a running reference in there somewhere!). Blogging is not something that takes off overnight you’re playing the long game here.

In the grand scheme of things, taking a week off from your blog is not going to be hugely detrimental in the long term.

If you’re really suffering from blog burnout, take some time away from the blog completely. It will still be there a week, a month, and even a year from now. Your health is much more important than working yourself into the ground.

Often we are sitting at home writing blog posts and researching and spending copious amounts of time online or at our desks.

If you really feel like you can’t bare to be away from your blog for that long then I’d urge you to consider a change of scenery instead.

My local library chain, which covers around 8 different libraries, offers an Open Access scheme which means you can gain access to these libraries when they are closed to the public.

To avoid blogger burnout like 2018 I decided a change of scenery was exactly what I needed to separate ‘home’ life to ‘blog’ life as the two were so closely entwined.

I now have dedicated days that I’ll work from the library and I’ll usually save my most important tasks such as writing blog posts and tasks that are really growing my blog for these days.

Then when I’m doing work at home, these tasks aren’t as pressing and I can be a lot more relaxed about the completion of them.

If one of the reasons you’re suffering from blog burnout is because you feel like you aren’t making any progress, celebrate the small wins.

When I made my first 1k pageviews on the blog, I thought that was just the most inspiring thing I’d ever seen and it motivated me to keep going.

Then when I got to 10k pageviews, that was also something to celebrate. These aren’t big numbers by any stretch of the imagination but they were little milestones that showed that my work was paying off even if it was only by a little bit each month.

Yes it can be very discouraging when you’ve worked really hard and you’re not seeing any return but don’t forget where you started.

Even if you can’t celebrate a statistical win you can chalk up all of the things you’ve learned from blogging since day one and I bet you feel like you’ve scaled the equivalent of Mount Everest in knowledge.

One small victory I had when I first started out in the very beginning was when I successfully linked my new domain name to my WordPress site. Some of you are probably thinking ‘that’s the easiest part’ but for me it was like reading Greek while having my eyes closed and hopping on one foot.

I really did find it a challenge!

When I finally resolved the issue, I was absolutely over the moon and felt like I was the most accomplished person in a 10 mile radius at that moment in time.

Don’t loose sight of your past accomplishments just because you’re feeling stagnant now. You’ve learnt so much, it would be a shame for you to not put all of that knowledge and expertise to good use.

I feel like this section is more about overwhelm than blogger burnout but in my mind it’s a contributing factor. Keep to a set schedule on what tasks you need to do each week.

It’s much less overwhelming to have designated days for your big tasks rather than looking at them all in one go.

As I mentioned earlier, I write all of my blog posts (with the exception of my Sunday Weekly Workouts) on a Wednesday. My aim is to write two every Wednesday and if I don’t manage to complete everything, I’ll roll that into Saturday and I know I’ll have them finished by then.

If you’re struggling with the number of posts you’ve set yourself to write, can you cut them down? Most bloggers won’t publish a post every day and some only post once per week. Find a comfortable number of posts for your circumstances.

Don’t panic yourself by setting very strict deadlines and unrealistic expectations if you know you can’t fulfil them. If possible give yourself long lead times for publishing posts so you have a back up of scheduled posts ready to go.

It’s not quite the end of February while I’m writing this post and I already have all of March’s blog posts scheduled and ready to go as well as pins for Tailwind and Pinterest.

If I really wanted to, I could take an entire month off and my blog would still keep running (to the bare minimum but it wouldn’t shut down completely).

The only thing I need to do is make sure I’m writing 2 blog posts per week to keep ahead of my schedule and create pins to go with them. Everything else is secondary to my blog growth.

I’ll then use my other remaining time in the week to do research, promotion, auditing and everything else that goes along with blogging.

Combat blogger burnout by sticking to a manageable schedule

Here are my 8 Simple Blog Rules to avoiding blogger burnout that I imposed on myself after suffering from this condition in 2018

  1. Leave my blog book in the kitchen where I do all of my blog work at home. Do not progress it onto the sofa or any other place I have ‘down time’. Keep blogging and chilling separate!
  2. Don’t ever work past 9pm especially on a school night. My productivity and attention to detail goes way down after working 8 hours during my full time job and then working when I get home. I need to give my brain some relaxation time to get a better night sleep.
  3. Work on things that are productive not ‘fluffy‘. I can work on my blog for hours and hours and have nothing to show for it because I’ve been doing mindless meaningless tasks. Did I really need to spend quite so much time working on organising my diary for the day or messing around on Canva with no goals? Nope, I didn’t and now I’ve wasted 12 hours and have no blog post for tomorrow. It happens. While these days are fun and part of blogging, I like to feel that I’ve accomplished something every day so make sure you give yourself some direction in at least one of your daily tasks.
  4. Do your best every day. No, I’m not a pro blogger and no I don’t have all of the answers but I’m trying my best every day. I may only be completing one small task on some days but every little helps.
  5. Take time to chill out. Believe it or not I do have a life outside of this blogesphere and it’s actually pretty great. I’m a functioning human who loves watching murder investigations on Netflix and running and spending time in nature and hanging out with my friends and no matter how much I have to do on the blog, I’m still going to do all of these things and not feel guilty.
  6. Try not to get hung up on the numbers. It’s hard, I can totally relate. If you’re working on other platforms as well as your blog to drive traffic you can feel let down by each one of them and their stupid algorithms. Oh! Instagram has changed again and now you can only swipe to see posts (I don’t care what they said, it wasn’t a glitch, I had it for around 20 minutes and vowed to leave the platform forever even if it is my favourite social media outlet). You’re loosing followers and views left right and centre but try not to worry too much about them. They aren’t a reflection of your self worth or of the time and effort you’ve put into them, they are just numbers.
  7. Never stop learning. I didn’t quite know what I was getting myself into when I started blogging. I knew I’d have to learn every little thing from scratch but I didn’t realise I’d never know it all or be an expert in anything because it’s constantly changing. You should strive to be on a never-ending quest to learn as much as you can across all blog-related topics. If you love learning, blogging is definitely for you and luckily, I do!
  8. Don’t take your blog book in the bath. This is probably just me but I think I can multitask even when I’m in the bath. I can’t, it’s too steamy and I keep loosing my pen and I’ve never done any great work while in there anyway so I may as well take the time to relax.

Takeaway advice to avoid blogger burnout

While blogging is great and exciting, it isn’t going to serve you well if don’t have much of a life outside of it.

If, like me, you work a full time job as well as writing for your blog it can be difficult to see the woods for the trees and have constant self-doubts wondering why you do this.

If you are asking yourself why are you doing this, it’s because you had passion and belief in your abilities from the start even before you knew what went into blogging.

Give yourself a break from time to time and don’t be so hard on yourself. No-one wants to be part of the ‘Blog Until You Drop Phenomenon’ after all.

Treat blogging like a job if that’s what you want to do but don’t work yourself into the ground as a result of it.

I’d suggest completing your bare minimum tasks to keep your blog running and everything else can wait because if you’ve started blogging as a creative outlet, chances are you’ve got hundreds of ideas that you can’t wait to get started on but you can’t complete them all. At least not today anyway.

Keep blogging, keep learning, keep showing up a little bit every day and don’t give up and be another ‘High School Blogger Burnout Dropout’.

If you’ve got any more tips on how you’ve avoided blogger burnout I’d love to hear them in the comments below.

Good Luck and Happy Blogging

how to prioritise your blog tasks | how to avoid blogger burnout
beginners blogging tips | how to blog | Belle's Running Blog

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