I posted a long while ago about When The Blogging Honeymoon Is Over — I basically just rambled about how I was starting to lose that gusto I had towards blogging — something we can probably all relate to. I started with such gusto and was really into it and then in early 2011 I hit this WALL almost a year into it. Since then, I’ve realized it DOES come and go — that honeymoon feeling. Sometimes I’m on cloud 9 about blogging and internet prancing all around and I LOVE EVERYBODY AND EVERYTHING and I just want to read and blog all day long. Then the time comes when the honeymoon is over — the baggy sweatpants come out, the makeup comes off, the annoying things start to make your blood boil and it becomes HARD WORK. A struggle. A challenge. In blogging world, this means I don’t want to write reviews. I can’t think of anything creative. I feel like NOBODY LIKES ME. Everything is annoying. I hate formatting. It’s SO MUCH WORK. And just like marriage, I always knew things weren’t perfect or easy in marriage or in blogging (you think I actually wore makeup every day for the 5.5 years Will and I were dating or that he held his farts in all the time?). I knew that with the fun came the tedious and the slumps would hit on occasion and I would dread things — but when I get in one of these moods it’s like that initial honeymoon stage has crumbled all over again.
And with every one of these slumps, I pull out of it. I’ve cultivated some ways that I personally find that help me reinvigorate my love for blogging and make me all giddy like a school girl in love. They are just things that end up making me inspired or think and get those creative juices flowing again.
Sometimes honestly the only cure is time before you come crawling back to the blog. Take a day a week (whatever you want) and just get off your blog and do the other things you love to do besides blogging. Sometimes a break is just what you need to refocus. I mean, that’s why we have vacations and mental health days in real life. We need time off from work. Even though we love blogging, it’s natural to get burnt out and get hung up creatively. Nothing like a nice little blogging vacay to renew your mind and spirit. I feel ready to tackle things and get back to blogging. I’m so pro-vacations with blogging. I don’t even schedule anything sometimes. It’s all up to you and your comfort level. Sometimes your break may cause you to realize you want to post less..and that’s ok!
Yes, I’ve had some great posts happen through discussions with other bloggers (Estelle & I have one in the works right now..I promise I’ll work on it sooooon!). There’s so much value in that. Some great posts happen that way. So chat away about things that you care about. But I will say some of my best discussion posts have come from talking to people who don’t read that much or at all. It’s funny the sort of things that come up when people know you are a reader. Or the ideas or the rants you will get. Talking to my former co-worker spurred two really great conversations on here — about assuming readers are anti-social or about how sometimes people think negatively about my hobby. I’m sure there are more instances when a conversation has spurred me to think of a good post idea but those are the two I think of right off the bat. I find that even conversations unrelated to books or blogging even make me think and apply it in some way to literacy or blogging.
I think the hardest thing for me sometimes is getting so caught up in internetland that I forget OH HELLO WORLD..you are big! New experiences and going outside and frolicking get my brain rolling for some reason and honestly clears my head of all the stuff bothering me. It’s honestly astounding how after a day exploring the city or hiking can just change rejuvenate me. I don’t know why this happens but I know suddenly I start seeing things brighter and the vibrancy of life comes back into my blog. It’s easy to chain yourself to the blog and all that goes with it…but sometimes I just need that pinch of life to help me come back feeling balanced. Maybe that isn’t an issue for you but it’s one that I have struggled with and is the biggest culprit when I’m feeling blocked blogging wise. Maybe it’s a day with playing with your kids or spending time with a friend or scrapbooking. It’s how my Dates Inspired By Books happened (so many more in the works!) because I got that fun feeling of being on a different kind of date with Will that you see in books. Bonus points for meeting up with bloggers and having great conversations that make you excited to blog again — looking at you Alexa!
Are there posts you wrote years ago that you can bring back up and add to? Maybe you have a new perspective on something? Maybe there has been a development related to what you wrote about. Looking at other things you’ve done can help spark ideas and help you maybe to elaborate or expand on something you previously wrote.
I don’t mean gank their ideas or anything but it’s interesting that when I read fashion blogs, design blogs, cooking blogs or travel blogs the STRANGEST and SMALLEST things will give me inspiration for posts. It may not even be related at all but their words may have just SPARKED something. Sometimes it IS related to what I’ve seen — I had seen a post about Things I Don’t Want You To Know on another blog and decided to do a Things I Don’t Want You to Know As A Book Blogger (crediting the original post of course) which was so fun to do and was a GREAT conversation starter. I think the other thing is we get so stuck on the Way Things Are in our own community that we don’t see the amazing growth and creativity in other niches. I know this is something that helps me to cleanse my palate a little bit — getting off the book blogs and being inspired by the great things I see elsewhere. I’m telling you I’ll see something and my brain will think of something else which will lead to it spiraling into a new thought and then I’ll connect another dot and then BAM..a new post not at all related to what I just saw but my brain is just a majestical beast sometime and is inspired by the strangest of things. Or if anything..you’ll see something that pisses you off and you can rant about it.
What inspires you? Where are your passions? Do you have other hobbies? How can you integrate them? I’ve seen some lovely things done around the blogosphere where I get to see another facet of the blogger’s life. You all are such diverse beings! I’ve done some posts related to my love of music or love of travel but the biggest thing was my wedding. I was knee deep in wedding planning so I just integrated into my blog last year and did a lot of bookish wedding related stuff and stuff that wasn’t even bookish but you guys were SO opinionated about and I LOVED it. It’s not a part of the blog anymore but you can use the things you are experiencing in life to breathe new life into your blog. It’s amazing when you start brainstorming what you can come up with. Even if it is only one post. For example, I was trying to combat my adversity to working out with audiobooks and posted this. And hell, even if you don’t relate it to books. WE LOVE THE PERSONAL STUFF. The different stuff. Trust me.
Sometimes it’s a certain annoyance that I have that is causing me to feel MEH about blogging. Try and fix it. Maybe it’s even re-evaluating things on your blog..maybe you aren’t enjoying a feature you do anymore. Think about a problem you know you could HELP other bloggers with. Great with html and such? Create some helpful posts! Are you a whiz with the new Netgalley? Help the rest of us out and tell us where to find things! I didn’t tackle a problem for other people (I’m just not that helpful haha) but I was finding myself being increasingly FRUSTRATED with reading review books early and not wanting to post a full review super early but WANTING to still get buzz out — to cater to both your average readers and bloggers. Thus began my Save the Date feature. I feel SO less stressed now. My other problem? I admitted to being HORRIBLE about not putting books down and I thought about how I could work on this. So I started a Reconsider or Release feature that lets YOU GUYS who KNOW me let me know what you thought of a book I’m considering putting down. I explain why I couldn’t get into it or want to put it down (sort of like a short DNF review) and let you guys weigh in if I should pick it back up or let it go. It’s a step in helping me know if it’s just a timing issue or if it’s just NOT for me!
At the end of the day…write down every idea. No matter how silly or how boring you think it might be (seriously, I wrote this post because I was in the car all day and had nothing else to write…and I was excited about it). Some ideas won’t be winners but the important thing is to just observe life, listen and process…and bring it to your blog. And know that YOU have an interesting perspective to bring to any subject — whether you specialize in the silly or fun or you can write an AMAZING and thought-provoking post about a serious subject (I stink at that). Just writing stuff down (even if you don’t publish it) or making lists helps and gets your brain working..and sometimes an amazing idea can come from it. Even if you are taking an internet break, use your phone to put thoughts down or have a notebook handy (seriously I have 6 of them).
Fellow Blogger’s Suggestions In The Comments:
* Starting something new — like a feature or a new series. (YES! This so make me feel less in a rut!) (Danny)
* Give your blog a facelift with a redesign (LOVE this idea!) ( Maria)
* Take a notebook and pen and write up a post somewhere else (I do this! Sometimes it’s nice to just not be attached to the computer) (Anny)
* Blogging about things that aren’t books (I love to do this from time to time as well!) (Mary)
* Broadening your horizons by picking new books and finding new blogs to follow and comment on (Good one! I so agree!) (Mary Bookswarm)
* When you are “in the mood/having a good blogging day” write a BUNCH of posts. (THIS IS GOOD!! I need to do this more!) (Paige)
There are a MILLION other things you could probably add to this list but those are my “go-to” things I think about when I’m feeling that slump. Have you done any of these/find them to work? What are some things YOU do that help break you out of a rut? Under my ideas, I’ll start listing the ideas you come up with in the comments! And I am SO SO super curious if there is anyone who has NOT experienced this “end of blogging honeymoon”/rut?? I bow down to you and need to pick your brain.