How to Beat the Blogging Blues

(Hi, there. I’ve been spring cleaning my blog, ready to upgrade it and start again or convert it to a memory scrapbook – not quite sure yet. Until I post something new, I thought this oldie-but-goodie might make a useful ‘ sticky ‘ post in the meantime. ~ janice)

How to Beat the Blogging Blues

Let’s get straight to the heart of things.

1)Why do you blog?

No, it’s not a daft, simplistic question. If you were a major corporation, meetings would be held regularly to discuss the firm’s direction, branding and mission statement – especially if profits and morale were down. If you’re blogweary, it could be that you haven’t poked around in this question deeply enough for a while, because you’re scared of what you might find there.

If the simple answer is “To make money.” Then fine. Your blog’s a vehicle. See this article as a way of cleaning it up, tuning the engine. Upgrading to a newer model.

Or maybe your blog’s your brand, your shop front, the front porch of a cottage industry, the smart business suit that announces you when you walk into a room. Either way, spring cleaning is always good. So is touching up paintwork, clearing out and doing basic maintenance.

Clearing out makes way for abundance, for fresh ideas, for new inspiration and direction. Maybe your reasons for blogging aren’t the same as they were last year when you built your blog, or last month even, when you weren’t anxious about money. We evolve. It’s natural.

Maybe your blog got so successful you want to get more spiritual, provide a different kind of value and usefulness.

Maybe you blog for connection, for the exchange of comments.

Are you creating a legacy, a business to pass on, a sideline stream of income?

Do you blog for self expression?

Would you keep blogging even if your Google Stats crashed and your comments counter had a glitch?

Be very clear….

Why do you blog?

It’s a biggie, one we need to investigate alongside the next one…

2) How do you define blogging?

Let’s face it, it’s a humungus, morphing term for everything we do to create, maintain, promote and market our blogs.

No wonder folk get blogweary – if we lump it all together on our tired days, without separating the strands, it can be overwhelming: creating posts, reworking posts, filing them, adapting them for guest posts, sending out emails about guest posts, answering emails from readers, writing bios, comments, replies to comments, twitter posts, social networking updates, tweaking SEO, adding functionality to our web themes, writing ebooks, mini e-courses, attending classes to improve our skills. And here’s a biggie, one that is so easy to overlook – doing what it is we’re skilled at or love enough to write about in the first place!!

So have a look at that list above, print it out or cut and paste it into a document you can work with. Add anything I’ve missed. Then, number all of those things in order of preference. Not importance, preference. Which elements of ‘blogging’ do you enjoy most? Keep that list safe.

On blogweary days, ONLY DO YOUR FAVOURITE THINGS! The sky won’t fall in if you take a total break – and if you ease yourself into taking a break by only doing your favourite things and not should-ing all over yourself  every day, you’ll feel better.

3) Who are you?

I mean who are you NOW? What are your values, your roles, your goals in each of those roles? How do you want to FEEL in each element of your life? MAKE A LIST – I’m sure you already make To Do lists! Asking these questions can freshen up your blog immediately by helping you go deeper and get off the hamster treadmill, mindlessly churning out ten point how to posts, and comments… and replies to comments, every single day, without giving your soul some breathing space.

If you’re a committed parent, and your answer to question one was “To make money.” is it really sensible to keep pushing a rock up a hill when you might find that a day job + family time + expressive blogging actually makes you happier and brings in more money. Maybe a stint of blogging has made you realise that we create our own cubicle nation mentality and take it with us.

Maybe you’ve realised that you are a passionately happy blogger, who’s found the perfect vehicle for expression and a business that makes you want to get up in the morning and get at it. But you’re just tired, because it’s really hard work.

Are you an artist, a business owner, a writer, a marketer, an inspirer, a supporter, a recommender, a connector, a communicator, an entertainer, a friend, a flesh eating cannabalistic bloodsucking vampire (come on, we all know bloggers who have gone over to the Dark Side!)

Here’s another fun exercise to help you redefine yourself. Which two words define you? One for your essence and another for your special edge, your special twinkly something. Does your blog express those elements?

When you know who you are, why you blog and what blogging means to you personally, you can spring clean your blog by trying out some of the following tips.

  • Ask for feedback. Ask regular readers to describe you in two words; ask what they get from you and your blog; ask which of your posts have been their all time favourites; ask why they think your comment numbers are dropping or going up; ask what they need from you, what they want from you.
  • Find a working rhythm that suits you based on your needs, bio-rhythms and preferences – ditch the shoulds.
  • Visit blogs that have nothing to do with your niche. See how the other half lives while recognizing the common language of niche passion!
  • Freshen up your gravatar, headshots and any photos of you on the blog. Go out with friends and family – give them a mission: capture my soul, the best of me!  See it as part of your job to get out and get those photos upgraded. What do your photos say about you.? What would a first time visitor to your site learn and feel about you just by looking at those? Go somewhere you love, the ocean, a favourite bistro, the park…Or, pay to get a professional photographer to capture the parts of you that emerged  in questions 1, 2 and 3.
  • Change where you blog. If you have a laptop, go out and write posts somewhere completely different. Better still, buy a beautiful notebook and pen. Feel like a writer and an artist as well as whatever kind of specialist you are. Make it a mission, a fuel-hunting, inspiration-seeking mission. Give yourself permission to moodle and people-watch in the real world, far away from Cyberland. Go to a café, wear a new persona like a new coat that makes you feel great. If you’re so addicted you can’t leave the house, change rooms. Leave the home office; write at the kitchen table, answer comments in the garden; read other people’s blogs in a cosy armchair.
  • And while you’re out there, enjoying the breeze, a clear blue sky, people in lighter clothes and brighter moods, take a digital camera or a Flip camera to take photos or make mini videos of the world as you see it. Be a photographer – hunt for your own photos this week instead of reaching for the stock collection. Share a bit more of yourself. Have fun doing it.
  • Whether it’s autumn where you are, or spring, enjoy some colour on your blog. Change a font, colour some categories, create a rotating header. PLAY a bit!
  • Have a clear out. Weed your blogroll, clean out your archives, fix broken links, upgrade your slugs and your SEO, tidy up your side-bars, get some new RSS symbols, freshen up, express a new you. I mean, how many people ever click that calendar thing in the sidebar or use your search box anyway?
  • Drop in a week’s worth of surprising posts. Connect your specialism to film, book reviews, politics, home design, holidays, a You Tube video – anything you don’t usually go near.

If you’ve read this far, you’re a committed blogger and I wish you all kinds of success!

11 thoughts on “How to Beat the Blogging Blues

    • Thanks, Connie! Didn’t expect anyone to find this post or to comment. Just popped in to do an extreme clear out and thought visitors might prefer a ‘sticky’ post to a three year old post that wasn’t that useful in the first place!

  1. I think you asked very relevant questions about blogging and taking time to consider why we do this activity.

    Lately, I’ve been asking myself this question a lot:~) As you know, I’ve been blogging a long time and my blog has changed as have my goals.

    When I first started blogging, it was the excitement of writing something and putting it out there. This was the innocent period before I became EDUCATED about comments. Then I went through a period of seeking to get comments and counting them, as if they would declare my popularity. Silly me:~)

    Eventually, I found a group of people I really liked and it wasn’t as important to count the numbers, as much as to enjoy the quality of the comments. One thing about the people who visit regularly is they always make me laugh. Blogging has taught that laughter is a very healing activity for me and through the comments, I always get a dose of it.

    In addition, this group of people constantly give me inspiration when I visit their sites. I actually grieve a bit when someone stops blogging. I understand — life is busy and this activity takes time, but I do miss them.

    Blogging has also allowed to play with new activities, such as fiction writing and photography. It lets me explore and I like that.

    The one thing in your list I need to do more is visit outside my little group. Find new people who can inspire me, teach me and give me a different perspective. I used to do this a lot, but I haven’t in awhile. Your post is good reminder:~)

    Last, but not least, thanks for visit. You are now in my blog list:~)

  2. Okay, this will be shorter than my last one. I’ve been reading your older entries and it’s funny to see so many familiar faces in the comments. I enjoyed them very much. You give your readers so much to think about and explore in their lives. I like this and thank you.

    p.s I loved the one about painting:~) You definitely have a talent for it. I hope you’re still painting!

    • Oh my goodness, what a treat to see you back and with such an openhearted comment – thank you! And I do so love your wee gravatar – it inspires me to try and make myself one. It’s what made me click through to your site first when I was going through old comments. I liked your picture prompts but I’m sorry mine came out sounding so melancholy; it was just after I’d found how many bloggers from my comments boxes had moved on.

      I started my spring clean by just wandering through my old posts, seeing how many links were still live and how many of the folk whose blogs I used to enjoy are still blogging; so many lovely people I was lucky to land among when I first started blogging.

      Something you said above may just have just nudged me back into posting here again, albeit sporadically; I’ve been wondering all day why I should bother updating my blog when there are so many wonderful blogs out there, but this warmed my heart – thank you!

      You give your readers so much to think about and explore in their lives.

      If I occasionally manage that, it’s more than enough.

      And I have been craving a return to painting; I found a few of my old paintings in my attic and gave myself a severe telling off for not listening to the craving. I’ll maybe post some.

  3. Hi Janice .. I’m an old-timer too .. still going strong!

    It’s good to see you back .. I’ll return to post the whys and wherefores etc .. but the community is so worth it, the education one can learn – both normal style, but internet related aspects … and everyone cares – love that …

    I’ve always been a sporadic poster, but I ensure I post something relevant and interesting .. seems to work … I will be working on producing something from my blog this year .. so new ideas coming up …

    Hope you’ll be back and we’ll some of your creative ideas .. art work, colours – those kitchen ones … gorgeous .. Happy Valentine’s Day and weekend .. and hope all well with everyone .. cheers Hilary

    • Thank you so much for popping over and surprising me with another ‘kent face’! Can’t believe you kept StJ in your blog alerts all this time – I didn’t think anyone would! I saw that your blog was still live and was going surprise you with a comment when I had time to read what you were up to and had something worth reading over here. Will check out your blog soon. I unsubscribed from all the blogs in my feed a while back as I was getting swamped with email alerts but rarely visiting or commenting.

      Sorry for the delay in replying, but I promised myself I wouldn’t log on every day like I used to. I’m still not not sure yet if I’ll be doing reciprocal blogging again, or simply putting up the odd post and just keeping house over here, but in the meantime, I’ve been deleting posts, testing links, trying to fix and update old and broken widgets and plugins and researching ways of improving layouts/photos etc in case I do decide to start again. I’ve also been remembering how slow I’ve always been at the technology and how L O N G everything takes! I just can’t go back to doing things how I did them before. I’ve always been a deciduous blogger, but if I start writing again, I’ll have to do sporadic commenting, too, and silent visiting. I really take my hat off to you for growing your blog so steadily and strongly over the years and managing to visit and support so many other bloggers while keeping your own material relevant and interesting. And talking of hats, I really like your new wee thumbnail photo – it’s bonny!

      Thanks for letting me know the kind of thing you’d like to see if I start posting again. I’ve been giving it a lot of thought.

      • Hi Janice … this one is a Sussex lass, but near enough to Kent! When I find a blog I like I don’t often delete them .. some I can easily forget! Never knew if you’d turn up again ..

        I don’t use the email alerts – I now use Feedly (Google Reader switched off) for my blog feeds. I only use email for my own blog so I see when someone comments. My blog has lots of long posts on it – but all seem to be interesting … I’m glad to say and I still post very erratically, except for the A-Z in April.

        I keep my blog terribly simple – but perhaps I should update, but really need some help around to do that – still I see where I go in the next few weeks .. as must make some changes and up my game.

        It depends what you want out of blogging – of course … and then where that will lead you … I enjoy it because I keep my hand in with so many who have great advice and thoughts … some are dreadful! but there we go …

        The technology is wise to keep up with .. though you’ve husband and kids, who no doubt will help … I sort of do what I can but that’s very limited – and I really must up my game.

        Good to be in touch … and ‘talk’ anon … cheers Hilary

        PS I tried to send this via email .. but failed, so have copied it here ..

        Looks like a few of your old friends are still around ..!!
        Happy Weekend ..

        • Had no idea why you mentioned Sussex until it dawned on me that you were referring to the Scots expression kent face which means a known or familiar face! Sorry you had problems with my email; it’s one of the things I’ve been trawling through and fixing. I also tried to leave comments on your blog, but can’t as I don’t have any of the accounts your drop down box allows. I just wanted to say how sorry I was to hear that your mum passed away and also to thank you for gifting us with your insights into the glorious word ‘Ubuntu’; as an obsessive word lover, I’ll be basking in its meaning for a while. Sorry, too, that I haven’t been able to fix my commentLuv for visitors yet.

  4. Hi Janice – just a quick hello to acknowledge your return to my Inbox and say how wonderful it was to see your “oldies-but-goodies” which have been so timely. I hope you keep writing – you have such a gift. As a non-blogger/writer I continue to find such benefit in material such as yours. Virtual hugs, Gwyn.

    • Virtual hug right back at you! I’m surprised you don’t blog; you’ve always seemed so comfortably self expressed in your writing. I’m glad these oldies-but-goodies are finding their way to folk who appreciate them; one criterion I still have if I return to blogging is that I want anything I post to be enjoyed by blog readers, wordsmiths, homemakers and coaches alike. I wasn’t sure if I was being self indulgent or even overly maternal about the posts I decided to republish; as I started trying to ruthlessly hack my way through old posts with a machete, I found myself thinking… that one just needs replanted… this one can blossom again after a wee trim… this one just needs pruned right back to the ground… ah, bless – look at the sweet wee blooms on that one… I’ll take cuttings from this one… There again, you’ll remember I was never an edgy coach either!

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