In the fast-moving world of blogging, constant content production isn’t a nice thing — it’s a necessity. Move slow, miss that scoop, or be a few days (or even hours) late on that viral trend, and you can kiss your views, your clicks, and your social media engagement goodbye.
The never-ending pressure of staying on top of your witty Instagram captions and your trending blog posts can lead to career-crashing writer’s fatigue and blogger burnout. If you want to avoid (or recover) from being burned out and exhausted, here’s what to watch for and three tips to get yourself back on the fast track.
What is Blogger Burnout?
It’s often confused with writer’s block, but the two are quite different. Writer’s block is when you’re out of ideas of how to communicate what you want to say. You look at your WordPress post, and you’re unsure how to get what’s in your head onto the screen.
Burnout is a whole ‘nother beast altogether.
It usually starts when you’re facing a serious content production overload. At first, everything seems to be going fine. You create processes and timelines and methods to stay on top of things.
But often without you noticing, you start to simply become a content factory. You’re functioning, but you’re just churning out post after post. Where you were once creative and witty, you’ve now become cliche and overdone. Your work was once pristine and polished, now your readers may notice minor spelling or grammar errors. You were initially writing about things from a unique perspective, and now your Instagram captions or blog posts are all starting to sound like the same regurgitated ideas.
Eventually, you’ll start hating the process. You’ll start to hate writing. You find yourself loathing the moment when you have to open your Google Docs or WordPress posts. The idea of quitting even pops into your head.
This is writer burnout: When you want to give up your identity as a blogger altogether.
3 Effective Tips to Avoid Burnout
1. Don’t Stop Writing
Your first thought to remedy burnout is likely, “I should take a break.” Don’t! Keep those creative juices flowing.
Like poet Robert Frost once said, “The only way out is through.” Don’t give up when the going gets tough. Instead…
2. Change How you Write
If you notice symptoms of burnout kicking in, it’s time to diversify. Seek out new blog formats or writing opportunities that let you try a new approach to the craft. For example, if most of your blog posts are comprised of thousand-word essays, try:
- Top 10 lists
- Interviews with other bloggers or creators
- Product reviews or how-tos
- “A Day in the Life Of…”
- Photo essays, poetry or other similarly creative outlets
This exercises new writing muscles, keeps your content production cycle moving forward, and can help you find new ways to fall back in love with blogging — all without giving up writing itself.
If you can’t find any work-related projects that add diversity to your writing, try it in your spare time. It’s never too late to become that guy in the back of the coffee shop writing poetry in his journal on a Saturday afternoon. The goal is to keep your pen (or keyboard) moving.
3. Protect Your Writing “Batteries”
Many bloggers are surprised when they realize that it’s not just the actual act of writing that drains your creative reserves and leaves you feeling fatigued and burned out. There is a lot of background work that goes into being a successful blogger, and each of these are taxing your proverbial batteries.
Take stock of all the tasks you take on throughout your day and try to eliminate or scale back the activities that are tapping into your working brain:
- Work-related reading: Whether it’s research for an upcoming writing project or reading the latest business self-help book, all of these things demand your energy. Pull yourself away from the entrepreneurial podcasts and work related e-books for a bit.
- Delegate non-writing blogging tasks: Whether it’s editing or answering emails or running Google Analytics, see what blogging tasks you can outsource to others. You can trade services with another blogger, or find qualified virtual assistants or editors on websites like Upwork. This will allow you to focus your energy reserves on the actual act of writing without wasting your dwindling creative reserves on other blogging chores.
Now that you’ve shut off whatever is draining your internal creative batteries, it’s time to recharge. What restores you? What makes you excited? What energizes you? This is different for everyone. Find what works for you in terms of sparking your imagination and fueling new ideas:
- Expose yourself to something new. Whether it’s a new culture or a new neighborhood or even a new coffee shop; step outside of your daily routine. Diversity fuels creative new approaches.
- Enjoy a non-writing creative task. Enroll in a watercolor course. Put together a flower arrangement. Go on a photo safari around the block. Do things that engage your creativity, but that don’t require actual writing.
- Take care of your health. Do mind-body exercises that keep your brain and body running on high vibes. When you’re burned out, it might be tempting to eat that sugary junk food or have a glass (or five) of Merlot, but this can just further tax your mind. Stay refreshed with lots of hydrating tea or water, healthy food and some physical movement.
Blogger burnout shouldn’t mean you (and your blog) crash and burn. By knowing what to watch for, how to identify burnout, and how to care for your mind and your creativity, you can successfully forge ahead with your writing.
In the end, you’ll be more productive, creative and inspired than ever.
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By day, Josh Duvauchelle is the co-founder of Frey Union, a marketing firm in Vancouver, BC. By night, he’s a health and wellness coach featured in Teen Vogue, Men’s Journal, Shape, Men’s Fitness, and more. Find him on Instagram under @joshduv. Josh is a member of #ThePaidCrew editorial team.