Get Your Blog Love Back

Lately I’ve been coming across all kinds of tweets and blog posts from bloggers who are really burned out. I talked about my frustrations with blogging recently, and ChantillyElizabethHeather and San have all recently posted about their thoughts, experiences and frustrations with everything from finding their place online to struggling with community and connection.


{The Typewriter Part 1 by The Photo Zoo}

I’ve been working through my questions about blogging slowly, and I wanted to share some of the strategies that have been helpful for me in the past month along with concrete steps that might be able to help if you’re feeling frustrated, confused or like you’ve lost some of the love & magic that blogging used to hold for you.

Release Your Expectations

Sometimes when I get into a rhythm or routine, eventually it can be hard to see outside of the pattern I’ve created. A few years ago I decided that being a “good” blogger meant I would post four or five times a week, comment back to everyone who comments on my posts, and spend a few hours on twitter a day between tasks. At the time it made sense to me, because I had been working in an unrewarding job where I had lots of free time, and I’m a Type A lady who loves to Do Things Thoroughly. Over time that expectation became a hurdle to enjoying blogging because it was impossible to succeed by standards that didn’t align with my life anymore. By letting go of that expectation and reassessing what being a “good” blogger means to me now, I can look forward to blogging instead of making myself feel guilty.

My version of being a good blogger now means posting 3-4 times a week, actively replying to comments on each post, and being active & encouraging on twitter. Once a week I pick a post and comment back to everyone who took the time to leave a comment, and I follow back everyone who talks with me on Twitter. It’s an unofficial system that works for my life, and it re-charges me instead of draining me.

 

Stand Firm In Your Worth

One of the reasons comparison is dangerous is that it’s inherently about value. When we line up and compare blogs against our own, we’re automatically looking at them in terms of better and worse instead of considering any of the other factors that make up our experience creating and sharing content, or in interacting with the greater community online.

As well, because so much of blogging takes place behind closed doors we often forget about the goals or circumstances of the people at the “Top of the Charts” in the blog world. Professional bloggers are inspiring and often present an aspirational picture of their life or craft. There’s nothing wrong with that kind of blogging, but if you have a mindset of unworthiness or inferiority as a reader those posts can make you feel like you don’t measure up… when the professionals have a team of people, funds to draw on, and a huge proportion of their time focused on creating each post. When we lose sight of the work that goes in behind the scenes, or buy into the trap of pretending it’s easy we can get discouraged before we even begin.

The thing is that statistics, comment count, post frequency, level of creativity and vulnerability online don’t determine your worth. You’re worthy just by waking up in the morning, but sometimes that can be very hard to remember. Thinking positively and being a cheerleader for yourself is a practice we have to work at every day, but remembering that you are enough as you are – not after the next post, once you become more stylish, or when you have a certain number of page views per day – is a powerful shift in how you approach your life & creative projects.

 

Forget Your Niche, Remember Your Story

Finding your niche is an idea you’ll find at every blogging conference and piece of marketing advice you pick up, but when you’re struggling with your online identity narrowing down to a defined niche can feel claustrophobic and impossible. Instead of worrying about which sub-genre of blogging that you fall into, remembering the overall story that you’re telling can be a positive way to connect all the pieces that make up your blog.

Your story can be as simple or elaborate as you like, but think of it like a mission statement. Consider the themes that your posts usually revolve around. Maybe you’re a girl trying to find her way into a job you can be really passionate about, or you could be sharing your craft skills and simple ways to make things beautiful. You might want to show a behind the scenes peek at what running a business looks like, or help people market themselves authentically. With your story in mind you can put that unique twist into any topic you share, and your readers will understand how each post connects to that overall story you’re telling.

 

Start a Journal

While it might be perfect for many things, it’s worth remembering that your blog isn’t the best forum for working through the issues in your day to day life. There are so many complications around sharing your heart publicly, and unless you’re really lucky there’s bad that comes alongside all the good. While I’ve been working out the changes I want to see in my blog I’ve been writing in a journal (which I haven’t done in years!) and having a private space to sift through my thoughts has been really fun and helpful.

Having a private space lets you work out what you’re thinking, go back and see what has or hasn’t been helpful for you, and it can be a direct line into the kinds of things you’re interested about posting or creating online. At the least it can give you a dedicated space where you know you’ll work through what’s troubling you so writer’s block doesn’t hit when you want to post.

 

Tune Out (Temporarily)

When I’ve felt overwhelmed by blogging it can be really helpful to pare down the amount of blogs I read so I’m focused on high quality blogs I really adore. Temporarily unsubscribing or purging your Google Reader account can be a helpful way to help stop comparing yourself to others (even if they have blogs you adore) by giving yourself a holiday from those feelings until your confidence in yourself is stronger. A quick Google Reader purge is one way to achieve this- but if you export your subscriptions first you can unsubscribe left and right without losing inspiration sources you might want to re-subscribe to in the future.

To export your Google Reader settings, click on the gear icon at the top right of your google reader and click “Reader Settings”. Click Import/Export and the word “Download” next to your subscriptions. Once you save the file somewhere safe your can make your daily reads more minimal without worry.

 

Everyone’s blogging journey is different, and there is no right way to do it. I hope that what’s helped me can help any burned out bloggers looking for ways to get back to the honeymoon phase :)

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There are 47 responses already, join in!
  1. Thank you so much for this post! It was so inspirational and lovely! You are awesome!

  2. This is so great Kyla! I’m glad I stopped in for a moment to read. Thanks for the encouragement :)

  3. I relate to this post in so many moments. I love blogging but can get dizzy from comparison. And you nailed it when you said we’re viewing it as a right and wrong way; which is different for every blogger on the planet. I needed that reminder! I love how you help us think through what is most important about our own journey. Thanks for this, I needed to read it today!
    Catherine Denton

  4. Thank you for such an amazing post. I’m a pretty new blogger, and it’s so easy to get a little down about how few views/comments/whatever I’m getting. Your post really helped to put everything in perspective.

    • I’m glad it was helpful, Mandy! I’ve found that for my happiness I have to take into account the things that are less easy to quantify, like the overall experience of writing, sharing and connecting, for me to have a balanced whole picture of what I’m “achieving” with my blog.

      As a new blogger, it’s hard not to compare yourself, but remember that the people whose blogs seem very focused and polished have usually been at this for 4+ years. It’s like getting upset that your cupcakes don’t look like a professional caterers on the first or second batch instead of loving the process, the results & seeing your progress :)

  5. CJ

    I NEEDED this. I am bookmarking it…and reading it over and over and over!

    Thank you!

  6. I had a real issue with blogging in January. I had a lot going on and because i was also suffering from depression, I just couldn’t handle the demands of blogging with the demands of life and the demands of getting better. So I closed my blog.

    I’ve been thinking about restarting it, but I also really relish in the fact that I don’t have anything I need to maintain. I still read and participate through other blogs, Twitter, Facebook, etc. I am planning on starting a very niche blog later this summer, but it won’t be a personal blog.

    I think it’s important to realize you can always start fresh if you decide that what you’ve been doing just doesn’t fit your current mindset. I was much more open when I was younger. I’m more protective of myself, my friends and my family the older I get.

    • That’s such an interesting perspective Allison! I’ve done that before too- this is the third blog that I’ve put a number of years into. If you need a new slate, go for it! For myself I’m a bigger fan of redacting posts that I’m no longer comfortable with having out there- but it’s not a privacy concern, more of an “if I don’t have to have my readers see that, I’ll pass!” :)

  7. These are such helpful & honest tips. The last few paragraphs about google reader are definitely something I needed to read! I honestly never thought about exporting, and then unsubscribing. think that’s a great idea!

    thanks for sharing :)

  8. Awesome awesome.

    Awesome.

    And probably better ideas than mine. (Which mostly involves buying a DeLorean and a flux capacitor.)

  9. Sound advice. Determining your worth is all too easy to do, you start to compare, and if you see a blog like yours that is doing better you end up wondering why – and that doesn’t help. I would say that luck plays as big a part sometimes as quality content, tweeting, etc.

    Unsubscribing from blogs definitely takes the pressure off. When I first started blogging I packed my reader with every blog I liked the look of and then over time I’d be spending ages going through feeds I never read. A small list of blogs that truly mean something to you, and that you like to comment on, is much better than a big list of possibilities. Your comments end up more meaningful too.

  10. San

    Thanks for chiming in on the topic, Kyla. You always keep a nice perspective on things.

  11. Aw, this is such a great post, Kyla! Lots of great advice on here. I haven’t had the lackluster feelings that others have seemed to have lately, but I think part of that is due to the fact that my community has always been pretty small. I’ve never been wildly popular, nor have I aspired to be, and I realized awhile ago that there was only so much time/energy that I could put towards blogging. My readership has probably plateaued, but so has the number of blogs I can actively read/comment on… which is a natural function of life becoming more busy as we get older! But I still heart my blog and the blogging community and am so thankful for the friendships I’ve developed along the way (like my friendship with you!).

  12. Ah, this is exactly how I feel! It just feels so good to “tune out” for a while and not feel stressed about producing good blog fodder!

  13. This post has come at a ridiculously perfect time. I’ve become very aware that my blog needs some serious work in the area of design, photos, and focus, but the whole “find your niche and stick to it” thing has me a bit freaked. I have so many ideas for fun posts that I want to do that don’t really fit into the typical “fashion blog” but I don’t want to run a lifestyle blog either, which is where those posts are slightly headed, so I’ve felt rather paralyzed as I want to create a much better blog. I haven’t known what to do! I think starting with a mission statement is really good advice, though it’ll be hard to write one, but I’m looking forward to trying these tips. Thank you!

  14. Breath of fresh air. Truly. As blogging has become more of a semi full time job for me, I’ve been finding myself feeling overwhelmed… And often at a loss when it comes down to finding something to post about. Your post came at the perfect time and was a really excellent reminder. Thank you. :)

  15. This post was so perfectly timed – love your observations!

  16. I like the journal idea. I agree. People don’t read blogs to see what other’s issues are. Blogs are happy places with passions written inside!

  17. I think this is a great post, Kyla. I’ve noticed a LOT of posts about burn out lately too…. I really like your perspective on becoming more confident and focused. Such a good approach.
    I really, truly wish people wouldn’t compare themselves to other bloggers. There is nothing good to be gained there. I think the best person to “compete” with is yourself.

    Love you & your kind words here.
    Elsie

  18. Loved reading every word of this. I find taking breaks is helpful and remembering that this social network world or blogs, twitter, facebook etc. is important to me because of the people (not the numbers) who I’ve “met”. It’s so wonderful. I love a good Spring clean and I love to purge my bloglovin’ reader. Loved all your tips.

    xo,
    Kacie

  19. This is a beautifully written post, Kyla. Getting out of bed is a feat sometimes but I really needed to hear this. You’re like my blogging fortune cookie!

  20. tmc

    Very helpful, Kyla. I’ve been struggling myself with finding the motivation to write, but oddly enough, those times when I can’t find the motivation are exactly the times I should be writing! Thanks for sharing your insights. : )

  21. You have a way with words. Often times I’ll read your posts and think “yes, THAT’S what I meant to say.”

    Recently I’ve taken many of these thoughts and actions to heart. I check in on very few blogs. Not because I’m a snob but because I sometimes can’t help but compare myself to others. There’s also a lot of stuff that happens in the blog world that make me downright sad and frustrated and it’s nice to not be overwhelmed by those feelings. Not that I’m saying it’s those bloggers fault for making me feel that way. Rather I’m just avoiding a trigger while I figure out what that’s all about.

    I just had a really nice weekend with Elycia and it was so cathartic to chat with someone who understands my blogging frustrations. Having someone to turn to as a support system is so helpful. We’ve made a pact to avoid the more toxic bits of the Internet and already I’m feeling so much more positive about my life as a blogger.

    Here’s to moving forward and doing what works for us! ♥

  22. Kyla, what a wonderful post! Since I’ve really just started blogging, I haven’t reached burnout phase yet, though I am feeling the pressure (from myself!) to deliver consistent quality content. I’ve been feeling a little wary of the general mood around lately, like I thought I was going to a nice tropical island but instead it’s a war-zone. Well it’s not that bad, but you get my analogy right? Timely reminder to just worry about what I’m doing, and focus on that rather than others accomplishments, burnouts and everything in between. Thanks for your lovely voice of reason :)
    Kitty @ kitty & buck.
    xo

  23. Madre

    Your posts are always so timely! You return to the importance of authenticity in writing, which is so important. I love to journal, and recently read a good post in Zen Habits about keeping your daily journal in jot notes, and only 3 – 4 jot notes. Simply not having to write sentences or a well composed narrative is very freeing. Jot notes only? I can do that any day. Dropping expectations is wise advice that you give.

  24. Heather

    This was a great post! I might even look into starting my own blog back up again, thanks for the inspiration!

  25. Wonderful post. I blog for fun, but I know I’ll be super excited when someone tells me that they actually made one of my recipes.

  26. This is great. I particularly agree that worrying about finding a niche is unproductive; the best blogs (in my opinion) are the ones in which I can hear a person’s voice and – because there’s more to all of us than just what we wore or just what we made or just what we would like to buy – that means having a variety of different topics and ideas.

  27. Thank you for this.

  28. You are right on the money! I recently started over completely and it was just the breath of fresh air I needed to get a grasp on where I am going by writing a blog. Also? I had a lot of free time at an unfulfilling job where I was a Type A with not enough to do. ;) Recently, I was laid off (something to do with the ‘not enough work to do’ part) and keeping the blog up has kept my focus on remembering to be true to myself and my purpose while I build a new life. It’s very easy to get overwhelmed, and your tips are spot-on.

  29. I’ve been wanting to write a post similar to this since seeing all of the negativity surrounding blogging lately but you have captured everything I wanted to say and more. Thank you so much! You’ve really hit the nail on the head with this one and I hope every blogger reads this…yup, every.single.one! Again, thank you…

    Also, I tried those black bean brownies like I told you I was going to make and they were pretty successful! There are a few things I’ll do differently for next time but overall they were great! I made them into small cupcakes as well as I didn’t have a small enough pan and they were pretty cute that way!

  30. This post is so spot-on Kyla! My favorite suggestion was to have a journal for the really personal stuff. I just started doing a “morning journal” where I wake up and write. No checking my phone for facebook notifications or tweets… just getting out my journal and writing first thing in the morning. I’ve found the act of putting an actual pen to actual paper so cathartic.

    These are such great suggestions. I love your perspective and your voice. Thanks for sharing.

  31. Thankyou for sharing Kyla!!! I definitely enjoyed reading this…very encouraging!!!

  32. Kes

    Dear Kyla, thank you for this post., it is very helpful, comforting and inspiring xoxo

  33. Thank you for this. As a new, struggling and confused blogger, this has been immensely helpful! It’s so easy t forget that most of my favourite bloggers blog for a living and have far more skills and resources than me. I’m sure I’ll get there one day, but its good to keep in mind

  34. Kyla,

    I came across your blog earlier in the week (thanks to a RT from Jill) and it’s one of my new obsessions! I just joined the blogosphere in the last 6-ish weeks and I have ha a lot of frustration and excitement in trying to find genuine blogs that I enjoy reading and that provide information that’s valuable to me. And I must say – I love your blog. And this post!

    Although my blog is meant primarily as a virtual memory album for my family (for now – hopefully it will grow into something bigger!) I still put in a lot of effort/hours into researching blog design and content and never had much luck finding truly helpful words of wisdom/advice. But this post is truly great, as is your other recent post on the subject.

    Anyway, I wanted to stop by to let you know you’ve gained another admirer/avid reader! Looking forward to more great posts…and to going through all your “old” ones while playing catch up :)

  35. Thank you for this amazing post! My blog just turned 4 years old (but I’ve been blogging for over 3 years prior to that) and I definitely get burned out… a lot. I love how you said “forget your niche, remember your story” – just excellent.

    xx Renee

  36. [...] Get Your Blog Love Back [...]

  37. What a great post Kyla! I have just been reading through Elsie’s Blog Love e-course, and it is so packed full of great tips for content; blog direction; marketing etc……but as with all things that turn from a hobby into a ‘job’, we can all burn out. It can be really overwhelming too! My head is buzzing with ideas, but I don’t know where to start. I am very excited :) I love your tip about writing in a journal, that really helps to get back to yourself and give yourself some private time. We need to remember not to get lost in our blogs – go outside, see our friends and family, and not forget to live in the real world too!

    Did you see this t-shirt? It made me smile! http://pinterest.com/pin/77827899780214153/

    Thanks for the great post,
    Katie. xxx

  38. I really agree with many of the great points you’ve made here. I’ve decided to tune out rather than force it when I’m just not feeling it. The break usually helps me get excited about blogging again. I also constantly remind myself that I do my blog for me. It’s a hobby, a release, a form of self-expression. All of that makes it “worth” something.

  39. Great advice! I’m definitely going to put your tips to good use!

  40. [...] discovered some of my long-time favorite people have been experiencing doubts as well, read more: here, here, and I recently discovered another good [...]

  41. [...] discovered some of my long-time favorite people have been experiencing doubts as well, read more: here, here, and I recently discovered another good [...]

  42. this was such a truly inspiring post. thank you for putting it together and sharing it with us! i feel really encouraged. :)

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