It is no secret that I have been struggling a bit with rediscovering my blogging rhythm as of late (months tsk tsk tsk). Coincidentally, I noticed that there are a few other bloggers, whom I connect with that are battling similar issues. One of Curiosity’s latest posts was the last straw. I HAD to blog about the hurdles I face. Even though I am still not out of the woods with my blogging demons, I do think I am over the hump, and there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Hopefully it is not a train, or a truck.
Below you can find a list of hurdles that I faces, and some ways to battle them.
WARNING: This is a lengthy post. I am aware of that. My goal was to be thorough. Feel free to closely read the sections that apply to you specifically, and skim the rest.
- Not enough hours in the day.
I cannot write this without having second thoughts. I feel embarrassed. There is this blogger I follow, who point blank writes that you CHOOSE not to have enough time for blogging. No matter how much I try to silence that voice in my head, I now hear Christian calling me a liar. Here is the dichotomy – I have a life. Blogging is not my career. I (force myself to) wake up in the morning (because I am not a morning person), gather my necessities and leave for work. Unfortunately, I do not have teleportation capabilities yet, so it takes time. Once I arrive at work, I am there for close to 9h. And then, it is time to get back home. Again, no teleportation, no helicopter. Working in the business district gives you the great gift of terrible traffic during rush hours (back and forth). Once home, I whip myself, and then slave in the kitchen, in hopes that I can throw things together and make a meal. It is now evening. I am exhausted, but still crave more from life. Maybe I would like to nurture some of my relationships? So I reply to a message, send an email, spend a few minutes of quality time with my partner. And off to bed I go. Same story. Different day. Weekends are filled with work outside of my career.As you can see, I legit do not have all that much time to spend for blogging. As you know, blogging is not just writing, but also reading and engaging. That takes quite a bit of time. Ultimately, Christian is right – it is up to us to make blogging our priority, but for me… it is not. My priority is to have food in my fridge and to have a roof over my head, and those things are obtained by me working a non-blog related job.What I CAN do, is prioritize some of the smaller aspects of my life. Here are some of my ideas to help “fit” blogging into my life:
— If you do not mind waking 30 minutes before your regular alarm clock, go for it (adjust the time accordingly)! Maybe you woke up with a great idea, which you might forget later in the day. Maybe you want to catch up on responding to the comments left on your blog. Maybe there are some posts from your favorite bloggers that you have not read yet. All of this can be accomplished, if you do not mind getting up a tad earlier.
— 99% of the time, I eat breakfast at work, but if you eat it at home, open your WP and read up on some of the posts from the night before. Or jot down a short post of your own.
— Podcasts seem to be more and more popular. Andrea mentioned how she listens to some of them on her way to work, and that sparked a thought in me. Yes, you can listen to some of the posts, instead of reading them, but that is not my epiphany. What I will definitely try out soon is recording my blogs while I drive. There are a few applications out there that transcribe your speech. That way, you can just speak, and have your blog write “itself”. I do urge you to be careful if you’re operating a motor vehicle, though. Do not get too distracted. That way, you do not waste an hour sitting in traffic. You brainstorm ideas, and dictate your thoughts. DO NOT text/ read and drive.
— If possible, keep an eye on your blog during work. I am aware this is not possible for everyone. I also know that it is easier to keep up with it for those who have the WP app (I do not). Sure, the lunch break is for you to relax and eat some food, but if you are able to read/ write while you eat, more power to you.
— The rest of the day is up to you, depending on your home situation – whether you live alone (and can read/ write while eating dinner), or with parents (eat dinner quickly and rush off to write), or with a partner/ a family of your own (you are toast! But we are in the same boat.)
— If you have some free time, do not “Netflix and chill”, write! It is up to you to choose what you do in your free time. Maybe every now and then, stay up a little bit past your bed time.
— When it comes to weekends, we all know you have PLENTY to do. But, try and arrange your weekend so that you find SOME time to blog. Maybe you want to squeeze all your chores into one day, and have the next day for blogging, or maybe take blogging breaks in-between your other tasks.Ultimately, it is YOUR decision how you prioritize your “free” time.
- No motivation.
So now that you have some time off, you decide to sit down and write a new post. However, before you get to your chair, you get distracted by the rain banging against your window. What do you do? You sit down and stare out the window until your dinner burns. And then, naturally, your “off” time is gone. No problem, I will write during my lunch break tomorrow. … Tomorrow… Lunch break… you get a cat video from your friend. And down the rabbit hole you go.To me, the above is much different than simply not having time/ prioritizing. There have been plenty of times in my life when I had NOTHING to do. I was bored out of my mind. I could write my college paper, but I chose not to. I just did not feel like it. I was not motivated. Same with blogging. Sometimes, when I get a glimpse of some extra time, I come up with a million excuses as to why I cannot write. In those times, I can even do the things I do not like, just to avoid “obligations”. Blogging is not something I “must” do, but it is something that gnaws at me when I neglect it for too long. Sometimes you just cannot be bothered.What to do:
— I am not sure if it is the same for you, but for me, the biggest issue here is that my brain feels overworked. When my brain does not get enough time “off”, it starts to rebel. Every now and then, I just need to let my brain rest. Sure, those are times when I am not productive, but they enable me to be more productive afterwards. What I am saying is that every now and then, you need to give in. Binge 7 seasons (overkill?) of a show you have just discovered. Or do whatever else resets your brain (ex.: go for a walk).
— To some of you, blogging might feel a bit like work/ chore at one point, or another. Unless it is your main source of income, you should be able to just take a step back and re-evaluate. Maybe you are stressing over your blog too much? Maybe your brain just does not want any more obligations? Re-evaluate the reason for blogging. Chances are that the more fun you see it as, the more motivation you will have to indulge in it. Obtaining motivation for something that you dread is definitely harder. Hopefully, that is not the case for you.
- Lack of inspiration.
By now, you quit your job (to have more time)(this is a joke), and procrastinated quite a bit, so you finally open up your blog, your fingers are looking forward to the keyboard dance, and… BOOM. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. There is nothing for you to write about. Is it not ironic? NOW? When I have made all this time? Now that there are no more shows to watch? It happens.What I do to combat that:
— First of all, I make sure that it truly is lack of inspiration and not just lack of motivation. I check if I NEED to binge a show, or if an episode is enough.
— Even though I might not be too keen on watching a movie (no good ones out), I recommend that you do so. Or if not a movie, then a show, or even a YouTube video. Who knows what will make you think of the next best idea?
— If you do not feel like sitting in front of a screen, pull out a book. Or a magazine. A single word can sometimes spark a genius thought.
— Personally, walks are a miracle cure for me. If I am in a bad/ angry mood, I like to go for a walk. If I am stressed, I like to go for a walk. If I want to run away from socializing, I go for a walk. You get my idea, right? There are multiple ways how walking can help you. Firstly, the longer the walk, the more time you have to think about things. Once you run out of the general thoughts regarding your everyday life and your worries, your mind starts to wonder. It can go to wonderful places. (So, remember to bring a notebook with you!) If you have the opportunity to go for a nature walk, then you might get inspired by wildlife, plants, the water, the wind, the sun. I mean, c’mon! Nature is so beautiful. Plus, once I soak it in, my body naturally relaxes, feels rejuvenated, and is full of ideas. If you live in the city, and are unable to go to less populated places, do not forget about people watching. It sounds a little pervy, but writers like watching other people. I know I do. Humans have a big influence on my inspiration.
— It seems to me that participating in pleasant physical activities oxygenates my brain, and in turn, allows it to think of new things. So, go for a bike ride (2 in 1 combo: physical activity and nature/ people watching), play some tennis, go swimming.
- Feedback. Or the lack thereof.
We have cleared our schedules, we have relaxed, we have the inspiration, and we write! Yes! Success! It feels magnificent. Back in the saddle. Back in business. You feel the fire. It feels good to be back. You remember how freeing blogging can be. And then, you get 5 Likes, and 1 comment on a post that took weeks to come out of you. I do not worry myself with stats TOO much, BUT!I feel like there are two types of people who “do not worry about stats”. The first type is comprised of people who have a million followers, and hundreds of thousands of Likes/ comments. Easy for them to say. Right? The second group of people involves those, who have a very limited following. They are often new, and do not have high expectations. Now, before the police comes in and says: “I do not care for my stats at all, and I have a decent following”, I would like to say: “Well done. Good for you.” It really does depend on why you blog, though.This blog was started last year for ME. However, I always wanted debates. While I love debates with myself, I hoped for talks with other people as well. That was in regards to my opinion pieces. When it comes to my creative writing, I realized that I would like to reach as many people as I could (Do you, as a writer, not want the same?). I wanted feedback (the bigger the data sample, the greater the accuracy), and I wanted to send various messages across the globe. One cannot do that without gaining followers.What took me a little by surprise is that my appetite keeps growing with time. The more followers/ traffic/ comments/ etc. I get, the more I get used to it, the more of it I want. So, while I did not care about the numbers a year ago, I do care about them a tiny bit now. There are people who care WAAAAAAAY more than me, and people who might care less, but I still DO care. That is why I understand how a lot of people quit blogging. They do not get out of blogging what they put in/ expected.
What I recommend you do:
— Re-evaluate why you blog. Blogging solely for numbers can be frustrating. However, if you have loftier goals in mind for the future, building an audience now can be key. Be patient. It takes time, effort and a pinch of luck.
— Take a step back. Do not take it personally. Analyze. There are so many reasons why you might not be getting the feedback you need/ deserve/ expect. You might be posting at a time when people are mostly sleeping/ working/ etc., and so, by the time they log in, your post might be too low on the Reader for them to notice. I notice more and more people re-post the same post during different times of day to gain wider exposure. Maybe that is something you could try. Maybe you have the wrong audience for what you write about. You might have written a “how to” a year ago, and gained a thousand followers, but you have been writing poetry since. That might not be something others signed up for, so they just skip your posts altogether.
— Be proactive. Sure, there are people who just write, and other people magically find their stuff, read, like, comment, all the nine yards, but you might not be one of those people. You might actually have to do more work than write. Be sure to respond to the comments you receive. Of course, I do not mean that you have to always have the last word (How many times can people have a thumbs up/ smiling emoji exchange in the same comment section?), but try to engage with people. (Britchy is absolutely fabulous when it comes to that!) Moreover, go out into the world. Do not just sit on your blog. Go search for other blogs. Read their stuff. One word – reciprocity.
— If you have other social media platforms, promote, promote and promote your blog some more. A lot of people might crave what you have to say, but they might not be aware of your blog’s existence (I like to think that refers to me…). It is said to think that there might be undiscovered talent somewhere. Make sure you do your best to get discovered.
- The wrong sorts of comments.
I was going to include it above with no.4, but I realized that, to me, it is a separate issue, so it also might be for you. (Please, read this part carefully, before jumping to conclusions.) I pride myself on being reasonable. What do I mean by that? I am a pretty logical person. If you are able to lay out your thoughts and arguments in an articulate way, I would love to listen to it, and possibly respond, sparking a conversation. I do not get easily offended, so feel free to speak your mind. Although I can come across as rude, I just mean to be direct and honest. I look forward to comments on any and all of my posts. With that being said, there are some comments, which deflate me a bit. They cause me to close the browser (well, minimize), and step away. Take my mind off of it.That is not because I disagree with someone and I cannot handle what they have to say. It is not that I do not want to hear what others have to say. It is because of a couple of things. The biggest one of all is when someone TOTALLY misses the goal of my post. When this happens, I get a bit frustrated, wondering why they are such selective readers/ why they pay attention to the wrong things. But after a minute, when I calm down, I start blaming myself. It feels like it was ME who did not articulate their words accurately. I did not get my message across. What kind of blogger/ writer am I?The second reason is tightly connected to the first. While in the first, readers miss the point of my post, in the second point, they focus on the small things from the post, while completely ignore the main subject. This one frustrates me, because I write every post with a specific reaction in mind. A specific plot. I want to discuss A, not C. But then, I realize that different things are important to different people. So, maybe I inspired them to think of a sub-subject of my post? I would HOPE.There is also the usual misunderstanding – i.e. I have NO idea why they comment what they comment on my post. As if they were in the middle of reading something else’s piece and pasted their comment in the wrong slot.
And then, come the commentless comments. The post is about something near and dear to me. I want to talk about it. And comments which do not facilitate that, have the chance to upset me. But I do realize that I am just nit picking at this point. I appreciate comments SO MUCH. I should not be complaining about their content that much…
What I do:
— As you can see from me describing the problems above, my go to technique is to walk away. Take a few deep breaths. Do something else to distract you. Whatever you do, do not stew. Do not overthink it. It is not personal. (Well, at least it is not most of the time.) Like I illustrated above, I try to think why other person wrote what they did. I try to put myself in their shoes.
— Try and re-direct the conversation. A great way to get a comment you want is to ask for it. Yes, I know you wrote a clear question at the end of your post, but for some reason it was ignored. Engage with the person who left a comment, and ask them some follow-up questions. Maybe you will get your appropriate feedback then. It does not always work for me, but I sure do try.
— Learn to let it go. Chances are (hopefully) that such comments are not a huge percentage of your overall comment section. You cannot get along with everyone. Not everyone will understand your sarcasm. Not everyone will focus on what you do.
- Number six.
I think that the five points above describe my personal hurdles when it comes to blogging. Why did I include seven, then? Because I read that it is a great number to use, if you want your title to be clicked/ checked out. So, why not.
- Number seven.
Does it not make you feel better though? That there are only 5 major hurdles, and not as many as 7?
Share your hurdles.
Did you enjoy reading this post? Hit LIKE.
Have some thoughts on the topic? Share in the COMMENTS.
Do you regularly enjoy my blog? Be sure to FOLLOW.
Are my posts getting lost in your busy Reader? Try SUBSCRIBING.