Write It Sideways

Don’t Quit! Help for Burnt Out Bloggers

Today’s article is written by Suzannah Windsor Freeman, founding editor.

I have a confession to make: for the past week and a half, I’ve felt completely burnt out. Not just burnt out as a writer and blogger, but burnt out in general.

My 4-month-old twins are starting to teethe, and they’re cranky after a recent round of immunizations. My 2-year-old has a cold, and neither my husband nor I have had much sleep in a while.

So when it came time to write last week’s second post, I figured I’d let it slip until after the weekend. Monday rolled around, and I just didn’t have time to get that post up. Tuesday came and went, and things were no better. I started an outline, but just felt so utterly exhausted and weary that I couldn’t bring myself to finish it.

Thankfully, this morning (after a large coffee) I feel a lot more together and ready to jump back into the swing of things.

When Blogs Go Dark

If you follow any number of blogs over the course of a year or two, you’ll probably find that at least one of them will go dark.

Their feed stops updating and you’re left thinking, “What happened? I loved that blog!” Or, the blogger posts a notice saying, “It’s been fun, but I’m moving on.”

There are plenty of reasons people give up on their blogs:

  1. To start a new blog. Sometimes you want to take your site in a different direction, collaborate with other bloggers, or start something completely different.
  2. To focus their time and effort on other endeavours—writing related or otherwise. Life happens, and for some bloggers the need to focus on something else for a while is essential.
  3. To escape the drudgery of a blog that’s getting them nowhere. We sometimes stop to ask ourselves, “Why bother continuing to write for a blog that isn’t paying me back in terms of all the time I’m committing to it?”

Given the right circumstances, reasons #1 and #2 can actually be good and/or necessary. But what about #3?

Don’t Give Up Too Quickly

The internet is full of blogs that contain just a handful of posts. It’s all too easy to start a blog and then give up as soon as things don’t go the way you envisioned.

Here are some specific reasons why you might be tempted to ditch your blog, along with ways to help you conquer each challenge:

  • You feel like no one is listening.

When you’re just starting out, it sure can seem like no one cares whether you turn up to your blog or not. It may take time to build the type of audience that will generate a lot of discussion, but in the meantime you can make the most of what you have. Check out 5 Ways to Make the Most of a Small Blog Audience for details.

  • You don’t have time to write several articles each week.

Who says you need to write a post a day, three posts a week, or even two? I usually post twice each week, but I’ve come to realize that the world won’t end if occasionally I post just once. Most readers probably won’t even notice as long as the hiatus isn’t more than a week. Set yourself an achievable schedule, but don’t panic if you need to bail once in a while.

  • You feel you’ve already written about everything in your niche.

I’ve been blogging for three years now, and am constantly amazed at how little I’ve actually covered. If you feel really stuck, read other blogs in your niche and see what topics they’ve covered; try going through your old posts and attacking the same topics from different angles; or bring on a couple of regular contributors to your blog to take advantage of their different perpectives.

  • The prospect of making any money from your blog seems too far off.

I currently make just enough through Write It Sideways to cover costs and pay my regular contributors for their time. Every dollar I make goes back into running the blog, but I’m okay with that. Money is great, but that’s not why I’m here.

I wouldn’t recommend starting a blog with the intention of making a lot of money—readers are pretty perceptive and can tell if your sole purpose online is to sell them something.

Use your blog as a way of promoting who you are and what you do, along with helping others achieve their goals. Once you have a loyal following you can try writing an eBook, running an online course, or offering services to help bring in extra cash. In the meantime, if you want to earn money online, try pitching articles to sites that pay freelancers.

It’s not always easy, but giving up on your blog too soon may be a move you’ll regret down the line. With four busy children to care for, I can’t promise that my editorial schedule will always be one-hundred percent reliable, but I can promise to continue delivering quality content regularly.

When have you been tempted to give up on your blog? What factors caused you to persevere or to part ways with it?