Let's Talk: How to Beat a Blogging Slump

Friday, May 3, 2013




Let's Talk is a new weekly feature here at i swim for oceans. I think it's important that we all have our say, and there's something to be said for raising our voices. Simply put, here on the little old blog, I like to host some of my very own discussion posts because, well, I like to converse with you all.

And so, Let's Talk will feature questions or prompts, which I will answer, too. Love it or hate it, weigh in or don't, it's my hope that Let's Talk will at least get you thinking...and maybe even get you discussing with the rest of us!
Question: How do you beat a (book) blogging slump?

Ha. I actually found this to be the most appropriate topic with which to resume the Let's Talk feature, namely because I've been absent from the book blogosphere for almost 8 months. I'm not going to dance around the issue. I've been blogging for 3 years now. That's a flippin' long time and, as I'm sure many of you know and understand, it can be difficult and daunting to keep it up regularly at times. I've said it once (or a million times), and I'll say it again...2012 was not a good year for me. I needed a break, and when I closed shop for a bit, it was necessary. 

Frankly, I wasn't sure I was going to  be able to come back. Colour it a pride thing. I felt stupid for not being able to keep it up while other bloggers seem to do so with ease. I felt bummed, tired, burned out and a bit overwhelmed by just how dang competitive the blogosphere had become. I forgot why I'd started in the first place...simply because I love books.

Deciding to come back wasn't really all that difficult, but I definitely had to be in the right frame of mine. I learned a lot with the long hiatus. For me, I need to enjoy what I do. If I don't enjoy it, I won't do it well, and I'll probably start to resent it. Who wants a hobby that they absolutely resent doing? Nobody. Unless you're insane. The point is, however, I learned a lot about what I need to do to keep motivated to keep blogging, and I sure hope these "guidelines," if you will, will help others beat future potential book blogging slumps (or ANY blogging slumps, for that matter) in the future.

1. Don't put too much pressure on yourself. It's great to take it seriously. I do. I pour my heart and soul into every review I do, and heck, I spend a lot of time on them. If you're overwhelmed, give yourself a break, step back and read something that you don't have to review. Take the pressure off.

2. Ask others for help. This is something I failed to do the first time around. I was feeling stressed, exhausted and otherwise completely inundated by everything, but I didn't ask anyone to help me out. A kind friend pointed that out to me recently, and she was so right. Maybe I should have asked someone to guest blog. Maybe I should have just seen what advice other people had for me. The point is - it's not a bad thing to ask for help.

3. Give yourself a day off. For the longest time, I was so obsessed with my blog numbers that I was terrified to take a day off from blogging because God forbid my numbers drop just a wee bit for one day. Honestly, yes, numbers are gold in the blogosphere when interacting with my publishers, but they don't define my blog, or my love of blogging. I can take a day off to recoup, and dang it, I will.

4. Have fun. Honestly, this is the biggest one for me, and it's also probably the most obvious. If you're not having fun anymore, you probably need to take a step back and figure out why. I started this because I love it, and I will keep doing it until I absolutely hate it. 

15 comments:

  1. I know exactly where you're coming from. For such a long time, I refused to skip a day of blogging. I'm still pretty consistent, but I took time off to study for the bar and took time off for a vacation. I'm not as obsessed. And I feel like a lot of us who are around the 3 year mark are growing out of that obsessiveness. It can be a rough transition from new blogger to mature blogger and I think the 2-3 year mark is especially tough.

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  2. I think it's so important to remember to have FUN-if it's not fun, why are you doing it? It will just feel like work and who needs that additional stress?

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  3. Very true - though it's hard not to get stressed and a bit burned out after a long time blogging. I think that's natural!

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  4. For sure - I think that was the hardest thing for me to remember. I'm doing it because I enjoy it. I need to have fun and be kind to myself. I think it's something we ALL have to remember.

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  5. Gosh, so true, Alison. The 2 year mark is definitely where a lot of bloggers drop off, and I'm always immensely proud of bloggers who can push on!

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  6. I'm just coming back from an unplanned six month break (and I've only been blogging 2 years...) but I was just burnt out. Big time.


    I'd forgotten to make it fun.I was only reading to review. I was only reviewing to post. It felt like torture!!


    Now? I only post what/when I want. I only read what I want. And it's working out so much better.

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  7. This. This is me right here. I've been blogging for the same amount of time, and stayed at 400-something followers. I feel like it doesn't matter if I'm part of the blogging world, I've stopped being relevant, someone I thought was a friend used me to get up to 1K...I'm just tired of all of it, and reviews feel like torture.

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  8. I've only been blogging for two years, but within those two years, there have been a lots of ups and downs. I won't deny that sometimes I get a little too concerned with my numbers and stats, especially when I feel like the blog isn't "doing well". But I've learned how to step back, really reflect on things and remember that I started blogging because I love books, and keep at it because I do. It helps for me to read books I want to read a lot, in between all the ones for review.

    I'm sad I wasn't able to hop in and join Let's Talk today, but hopefully I get to do so soon!

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  9. Hey :) Just wanted to let you know I stopped by.I'm a new follower! I'm following you via bloglovin'. Hope to get a follow back :)

    Amber

    http://paradiseofpages.blogspot.com/2013/05/feature-and-follow-friday.html

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  10. I have seriously debated calling it quits on my blog for a couple of months now. I just can't keep up with the way I used to. I actually deleted my second blog (a writing/lifestyle one) because I just could not think of anything to write about anymore.


    This post really helps me though. It is about having fun and not putting too much stress on myself. I love reading and I love sharing my reviews with people. If I can get one book a week, that's great. If I can get five, that's also great.


    I'm so glad you're back, Melissa! I've missed you.

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  11. Your points are all spot on Melissa! I've been seriously contemplating taking a long haitus or even quitting myself these past few months. In January the hours at my job increased to over 10 hrs a day and that coupled with my family obligations with regard to my grandmother leave me with little enough time to read, let alone review, blog and visit and comment on other blogs. I opted to keep my blog alive but it has seriously suffered...few reviews...no unique content...and when your not visiting other bloggers regularly very few visit you :(


    My plan now is to try to scale back and at least improve content if not able to keep up with quantity.


    Kudos to you for having the guts to take the break that you needed. Glad you are back though!

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  12. I think the whole, putting too much pressure on myself if whats getting me. I think "I have" to do it and then I just pressure myself do read more. I really do need to give myself a break

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  13. I agree with all of these but especially one and two because I think I pressure myself to always do a review or always have a post every week or find a focus, but really, it's my blog, why do I need a focus?


    Also, asking others for help. Yes. I'm working on trying to figure out things I can do on my blog that let's other people have a say. Guest posts, maybe, interviews, who knows. :D

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  14. this is some great advise, melissa. i was just talking to a couple of blogging friends the other day and we remarked on how competitive book blogging can be and how the norm for a lot of book bloggers is posting every single day.


    i guess i am lucky because i never had such goals. i try to be consistent on when i post but i never thought that i would be able to post every day. i also don't request books from publishers (besides netgalley) so stats aren't as big of a deal. i mean, i want people to read but i am not killing myself for numbers.


    i do fall into slumps at times, too, though and it's best if i take a step back from it. glad the hiatus was good for you and happy to see you back.

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  15. I think Alison makes a good point -- I'm almost at the 3-year mark and there are times I have to remind myself that I'm doing this because I like it and it's fun. Because it's not always fun and those are the days/weeks when we need to remember to take a break. The blogosphere will be here when we get back.

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