Have you ever sat down to write a blog post and … tumble weed?
No inspiration, no ideas. Just a whole lot of nothing?
We’ve all been there, we’ve all lost our blogging mojo. I know have a number of occasions.
There are times when blogging can feel like a bit of a chore. Like something you ‘should’ be doing, but can’t quite find the inspiration or motivation to get started. Even the backlog of previously great content ideas suddenly seem pointless. You question everything you do, while days of not posting, turns into weeks and then months.
Although, for the most part, I think blogging is often still perceived as a largely frivolous pursuit. In reality, it takes a huge amount of commitment. You have to learn how to build a website, brush up on photography and master a whole host of other skills. All this, just to get a blog to the point where it has readers. Let alone getting it to a place where brands might be interested in working with you.
With the amount of effort required to keep a blog going, it’s hardly surprising that there are times when enthusiasm fails. Having been through motivation droughts numerous times, I thought I’d share a few of the things I do to dig myself out of a blogging rut.
Take a Break
I honestly think this is the single best piece of blogging advice I’ve been given. If you’re not feeling it on any given day or week, just take a break. There’s nothing worse than staring at a blank screen, trying to force the words you can’t find. When the truth is, you could be using that time for something far more productive instead.
It’s easy to worry about falling behind or feeling like a failure, but in reality – not a lot will change if you take a break. And the chances are that a break will leave you feeling refreshed and brimming with ideas once more.
So just do it, take a little blogging holiday and focus on other things instead.
Remember Why You Started
Remember why you started blogging in the first place. If these reasons are still important to you, then it it’s easier to remember why you love it.
I remember when I first started getting offers for paid work on my blog. I was so chuffed that anyone wanted to work with me, that I took everything and anything, regardless of whether I was interested in it or not. Eventually, I was writing more about things I was paid to write about, than the things I wanted to write about.
I have since discovered that this is the fastest way to fall out of love with blogging. It’s also the fastest way to fill your blog with the most low value content imaginable – at least in my experience. That said, it’s not the easiest thing to balance. We’ve all got to eat, and I certainly wouldn’t judge anyone for taking paid work because they need or want the money.
Like I said, it’s a hard one to balance.
Avoid Drawing Comparisons
“Comparison is the thief of joy” – is one of those sayings often banded around on blogs and social media. And although it’s become a bit of a cliche in it’s own right, I think there’s still a lot of truth in it.
In the world of blogging and social media, there will always be someone with more followers or likes than you. There will also be times when you miss out on opportunities and times where you compare yourselves to unfavourably to others. It’s both human nature and unavoidable.
In some cases, drawing comparisons can be beneficial. It can give us goals to work towards and help us to push ourselves to work that little bit harder. That said, it needs to be kept in check.
If you find yourself flicking through social media, questioning your own self worth, take a step back. Spend your time doing something that builds your self worth instead.
Take a Course
Online courses are a great way to reignite your creative spark because they provide prompts to work from that pull you out of your comfort zone. I’ve found online courses with a community element most rewarding because they give you people to bounce off and to ask opinions from.
Once you’re done taking a step back, it’s time to start looking for inspiration. Depending on your interests, you might enjoy some of these ideas more beneficial than others, but here are a few places I look to inspiration from.
Pinterest is great for Instagram inspiration and although my photography isn’t in the least bit surreal, I love finding images from photographers like Tim Walker here. I love Pinterest for photography inspiration because it offers something different to the images found on Instagram.
I would love to read more books, but this this doesn’t happen very often. Instead, I spend the majority of my downtime watching TV series or films. These can be a great source of inspiration where the subject matter strikes a chord. For example, I noticed a few bloggers write on the topic of bullying following the series 13 Reasons Why.
Make a Plan
I feel like there are a few stages to working out a blog plan. Number one, work out what the hell it is you want to write about. Number two, get those blog titles down on paper. Number three, get some skeleton content into drafts.
I have set myself a blogging schedule (don’t all fall off your seat with excitement over this revelation), and have found it helps keep me motivated. One thing that makes keeping to this schedule (albeit loosely) so much easier, is having a couple of blog titles ready in drafts, complete with subheadings. I find this takes away the one hour pre-blog-writing procrastination period – where I sit and wonder what the chuff I’m going to say.
All these tips are well and good, but sometimes you just need to knuckle down and get things done. All you need to do is sit down and write a blog post. Even if you don’t hit publish, at least you’re getting in the zone and getting things done.
Now, rinse and repeat, until you get a blog post you feel proud of.