December 2, 2015

Recovering from the Blogging Blues


Earlier this year, I wrote about being in a reading funk. Thankfully, I was able to find my reading mojo again with a combination of things - re-reading old favorites, prioritizing quality over quantity and revolutionizing some of my reading habits. I went from a binge to the blahs before finally finding balance! But even when I was in a reading funk, I was still motivated to blog. There were so many post ideas bouncing around in my brain!

Then, things changed... September, October and November were three of my least active months on the blog EVER. With my reading funk, the most helpful thing for me was pinpointing exactly what was feeling and then figuring out why I felt that way. And that's what I want to do today! I've read some great advice posts about how to deal with a blogging slump (here's a recent one from Cassie), but that's not my goal today. But, as anyone who's been in a funk knows, if you get the urge to write a post... you've got to go with it!

As soon as I began thinking back on when the slump started, five things jumped out at me:

1. Not Enough Energy
I found out I was pregnant in August and the slump started in earnest in September. For as long as I can remember, I've been a night owl. I have more energy and get more done the later it gets, so I rarely go to bed before midnight. However, I was exhausted in my first trimester. No matter how early I went to bed, I still felt like I could fall asleep at any given moment. I didn't feel like myself - and barely got anything done after work. I knew I blogged a lot in the evening, but I didn't realize just how much! That wouldn't have made such a huge impact on my blogging mojo if it hadn't gone hand-in-hand with the next thing I remembered.

2. New Opportunities at Work
While I work in a creative field, I don't always feel challenged or inspired by my job. So, blogging has always been my creative outlet. My work responsibilities don't change much from day to day, so I often have time for blogging during my lunch break. That's why my change in energy level wouldn't usually drastically impact what posts I'm able to get done! However, I was presented with an exciting new opportunity at work in October that gave me additional responsibilities. While the change is a great thing, I've been a lot busier than I was before and can no longer predict what my day will look like. Now, when I stop for lunch, I have no desire to write.

3. Change in Seasons
This may seem silly, but I know it's something that's felt by other bloggers, too! I've definitely noticed that the change in seasons has left me more unmotivated than ever before. Sometimes the onset of cold weather makes me want to cuddle up on the couch with my computer, but that's not what has happened this year. The colder it gets outside, the more I want to snuggle with my pup and watch some TV. I've regained my energy in the second trimester, but I think I've gotten used to being lazy in the evenings! I keep joking that I can't remember how to blog... but I'm a little bit serious. I sit down, open my computer and then stare at the screen. 

4. Technology Woes
I used to write a lot of my posts while watching TV, but now I just want to focus on one thing at a time. At work, I'm on my computer. And then when I come home, I pull out my laptop to blog. But the weeks of coming home and leaving it closed affected me! I saw how attached I had been to technology. If it wasn't blogging, it was texting my friends or looking at Twitter/Tumblr/Goodreads, etc. Those can all be good and enjoyable things, but they can also be distracting. I want to spend less time on my phone once I get home! I'm not going to stop looking at social media, but I can be more aware of how much time I spend doing it.

5. Pondering the Future
Someone was talking to me about my nail polish addiction and made the comment, "Oh, it will probably go away once the baby is here." It annoyed me! Having a baby will change my priorities, but I hope it doesn't turn me into a different person. Will I have the same amount of time for reading? No, but that doesn't mean I'll stop. Will I continue blogging? I hope so, but I'm sure I'll spend less time on it. I don't know what the future holds! But it's made me hesitant to commit to things - collaborations, events, etc. - because I'm not sure I can get them done. This blogging funk has lasted longer than I expected, so what if I never regain my momentum?

So, where do I go from here? This is where I share my "advice," if you will. Moving forward, I'm going to: 

1. Do the things that bring me joy.
It isn't a reason for my slump, but it has contributed to my inability to start posting again - I've had no desire to write reviews. I've been reading a lot the whole time I've been in a blogging funk, but I just can't seem to talk about them. And I actually have things I can say! For some reason, the thought of working on reviews just leaves me feeling unmotivated. So, I'm going to focus on the posts that make me excited to blog again.

2. Find ways to refresh things!
This applies to reviews, too. I don't want to stop writing reviews because I genuinely like talking about the books that I've read, but they don't always have to be long posts. There's nothing wrong with mini reviews or other fun, fresh ways to share my thoughts on what I've read. Instead of letting my "To Review" list slow me down, I need to figure out how I can look at with new eyes. I can figure something out!

3. Avoid getting bogged down in commitments. 
One reason that "To Review" list is intimidating me? A number of them are books that I received for review! I actually read them by the publication date, but then I never got around to talking about them. I'm unofficially taking a break from review books (adios, NetGalley and Edelweiss browsing!) for the time being, and I'm giving myself permission to say no (or not right now) to commitments that I'm not sure I can fulfill.

4. Focus on one post at a time.
I have always been a planner. If you've read my blog before, you probably know that already. I love schedules and calendars and thinking about the big picture! I think that's one reason I've been consistent with blogging over the past few years. But lately, thinking about a whole month of posts feels overwhelming. So, I'm going to take it one post at a time and go from there! Hopefully, one post will lead to another and then another...

5. Remember what matters.
And finally, the most important thing for me to remember: this is a hobby, and I do it for fun! There are no rules for blogging, no standards I have to meet, no goals I have to accomplish... If I only blog one day a week, that's totally fine! If I write fewer reviews, there's nothing wrong with that either. I'm so thankful for blogging, but it occupies a certain place in my life - it doesn't define it! I don't ever want to forget that fact.

How do you deal with a blogging slump?
And does it help you to identify the reasons why it started?

10 comments:

  1. First off, congratulations! I remember how exhausting pregnancy was for me. My bed became my favorite place. I've been in a blogging slump off and on for a few years now. I think my problem is that I become super gung-ho about things and it's difficult to maintain that level of enthusiasm for the long run. I'm also not wanting to share quite as much which make it difficult to blog. I feel like the key is to not worry about how much you are or aren't posting and just write when you feel inspired and/or really excited about an idea.

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  2. Hey you.... I totally get this. You know I do!!! I am so excited for you to have this baby, but YES it will change you! Your priorities will shift and you'll see the world through new eyes! It is amazing and challenging! Having 3 kids, life is crazy and I never know what's going to happen on any given day. I love reading and blogging because it is MY time, but my kiddos come first. After having Cole, my blogging changed. Less frequent posts.. less creative posts.. less time on social media-- and I've come to terms with it. It's a hobby and only one part of my life. I've learned to not set unrealistic expectations and go with the flow. If you let yourself stress over it or feel guilty, it takes away from the joy it is supposed to bring! It's all about adapting! You got this!! xoxo

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  3. Congrats AGAIN on the pregnancy!!

    I love reading your posts and can't wait to see what you do going forward. I am not the type of person to plug my own posts very often, but I wrote recently about how to stop hating review-writing (and gave some post examples that make reviewing feel less like a strict review). If you want to check it out, maybe it will help you! :)

    http://bookmarklit.net/2015/08/14/review-writing/

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  4. Not gonna lie, Hannah, when you announced your pregnancy I immediately thought, "I bet that's why she's been in a slump." My friend Amanda found out in August, too, that she's pregnant. She's an elementary school teacher, and when she comes home from work she's always crafting and reading and watching TV and movies. But not only did she not care for the technology (reading & film), she didn't care about CRAFTING. When a woman stops/slows down on something she really puts a lot of investment in...you kinda have to wonder these days.

    Pregnancy aside, these are all completely valid reasons you were in a slump (CONGRATULATIONS on the job opportunity! It's nice when things like that come along, isn't it?), and excellent ways to get back into blogging. You really SHOULD just take it one post at a time. No need to stress or overwork yourself. Blogging is supposed to be fun, and when you're life is up and running like it is right now (for many exciting reasons!), you don't need to structure yourself for this outlet.

    Excellent post, love! xx

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  5. First trimester exhaustion is FOR REAL! I remember being really surprised by it because I hadn't really heard of it before I was pregnant myself -- I had only ever heard people talk about morning sickness for that time period. But I would go to bed early, sleep really well every night, and still be falling asleep during the day.

    Pregnancy and new motherhood is different for everyone, but you will be the same person! Just with shifted priorities as you said. Maybe not in the first few weeks, but eventually you get into a new rhythm and figure out how to make time for the things that are most important to you. And maybe some of those all-the-time things become more of a once-in-a-while "treat," but one you really look forward to and appreciate. And having a little one really helps you figure out some things that maybe don't really deserve your time or attention too.

    As for reading, I don't think I've ever read as fast or as much as you do, but between rediscovering the joy of children's books and focusing more on books that fit my life right now -- "easier" reads, audiobooks, graphic novels, etc. I may have had my most prolific reading year yet. You'll figure it out! Just try not to put too much pressure on yourself -- becoming a mom is challenging enough as it is :)

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  6. Congrats on the pregnancy! I have had the blogging blues before and have always managed to pull myself out. It may not be the same as before but like I always say it is my blog and I will blog how I want to, lol Just blog how you feel and it will bring you joy.

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  7. Your plan is fantastic :) Once baby comes, things will change, but you'll find your groove soon enough. And life will be better with a snuggly baby to read with :)

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  8. Your plan is fantastic :) Once baby comes, things will change, but you'll find your groove soon enough. And life will be better with a snuggly baby to read with :)

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  9. I think your approach to figuring out your blogging slump is stellar, H! It seems logical to try to figure out the reasons for the slump and then think about how to go from there. I loved your ideas for how to snap out of the funk! I haven't necessarily felt like writing reviews either, so mine have generally tended to be shorter or in list form or something creative inspired by the book. It makes the process a whole lot more enjoyable for me ;)

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  10. I so appreciate your candor and honesty in this post, Hannah. At the beginning of the fall I started an exciting, brand new job, but the long hours coupled with the commute has zapped a lot of my energy, and thus I have struggled to post as actively the past 3 months more than ever. It's easy to feel like you'll lose your "reputation" or following if you don't post 4x a week, but it seems like these ebbs and flows in blogging consistency happen for everyone. Thanks for sharing your tips, and congratulations on the news of your pregnancy! I look forward to your posts, no matter how many times a week they show up in my feed :)

    -Cristina @ Girl in the Pages

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