What to Do When You’re Sick of Your Blog

What to Do When You’re Sick of Your Blog

Reader Comments (46)

  1. Sometimes you just need a mental break! We get stuck in the same patterns/behaviors and those don’t lend themselves to inspiration. It’s okay to walk away for a few days, even a week, and come back with fresh eyes and a new pep in your step. Better to take a break than be miserable—it comes across in your writing.

    • “Better to take a break than be miserable.”

      That’s it exactly, Nick. I see so many people who start to dread writing, hate writing, cringe about writing… and it doesn’t have to be that way!

      Forcing yourself to write is one of the fastest paths to hating writing completely… so I say: just don’t.

  2. James, thanks for the article.

    I’d add to your list why continuing blogging can be a pain.

    The reason is that you feel that you have already done and said everything what you wanted. And you’ve got no desire to re-write your own content for the tenth time.

    So what you can do then? Hire or invite guest posters (or even re-writers). They will keep up the blood circulation in your blog’s body.

    What do you thing about that?

    • That sounds more like a question of running out of ideas to write about – which of course means you need a break so you can get out there in the world and have adventures and experiences that bring you NEW ideas.

      And breaking that self-doubt that you can’t say anything unique – that it’s already been said. That’s just not true, because YOU are unique and thus will always bring something unique to the table, even on a topic that’s been said and done before.

      • Thanks, James, for your reply.

        Yes, the healing power of getting out in the world is tremendous.

        And I agree with you, that bringing a personal uniqueness to the content is a good way to go with the content that may seem to be worn out..

  3. Great post, James. Good to see you on Copyblogger again. As a blogger for almost 9 years, I can relate to blog burnout. It’s just hard to put words on the screen at times. I’ve found that it’s good to take a blog vacation now and then, especially the slow times of the year. In my genre of Personal Development, the summer time often slows down. Students are out of school and businesses pull back. It’s a nice time to just get away. Have a mini sabbatical for a few weeks.

    As a graduate of your writing course, I’ve learned to use this time for inspiration. Write from the heart, but don’t publish. Free-write and be creative… no judgements. Get refreshed and encouraged. Then after a short time, get back to it. Nothing better that a back-to-school blog surge to get me fired up!

  4. Self hypnosis can be very effective at eliminating the stress which causes writer’s block and impediments to creativity. You can also transform your inner critic—which only offers up negative opinions of your abilities and accomplishments—into a champion that promotes and supports the good in all you do. In addition, you can put your subconscious mind to work gathering information and ideas for your next blog post. It will alert you when it has all that you need for your next writing session, which will happen effortlessly.

    • I’ve certainly never tried self-hypnosis, John, so I have no idea whether it works – but it certainly sounds like it does, and from what I hear, meditation would also create the same sort of results… while relaxing your body and mind.

      I think we all need to start taking the stress and pressure out of writing, and get back to enjoying the activity for the creative expression it is.

      • James—

        Yes. Mindfulness, meditation, self-hypnosis or any similar technique for relaxing the body and calming the mind, practiced 20 minutes twice a day, will bring long-term physical and mental benefits as well as stress reduction. For a non-hypnotic, clinically proven method of reducing stress consider the book “Relaxation Revolution” by Herbert Benson, MD of Harvard Medical School. He presents a simple 2-phase method that anyone can learn in minutes to bring about beneficial changes to one’s biology and mental state.

  5. James, thanks for this post.

    “But right now, you’re burnt out and stressed to the max.” Maybe this is why my hair’s been falling out. I’m not kidding. It looks horrible, and I don’t feel and look my best. As shallow as this may sound, my hair is important to me. I need a break because I’m stressed out about writing and other life happenings.

    “(Reduce, reuse, recycle, after all.)” Great advice! I copied and pasted blog posts from my one writing blog for writers to my freelance portfolio blog/website and have been slicing and dicing content. It takes the stress and pressure away of having to create new topics, right now.

    My goal is to write guest blogging guidelines and accept guest blog posts. It’s on my To Do List. 🙂

    • Ah, very good! (Not the hair falling out part – that sounds miserable…) Having a blog archive you can go play in and work with really takes stress out of the picture, and it can be a lot of fun to revisit older posts.

      For the hair part, while I’m no doc, the first thing I’d look at is whether you’re taking care of your health – people who write a lot and fall into the zone easily or who are really busy tend to have horrible habits when it comes to eating the right foods, making sure we have the vitamins and nutrients we need and generally taking care of our bodies, not just our minds.

      So get that checked out! An apple a day, as they say!

  6. James, thanks for the post. You’re point about committing fully rings true to me in writing as well. And, I believe that a contributing factor to writing burnout is precisely not committing fully to writing when the time comes to write. Writing then takes longer because we write for five minutes then answer an email or take a phone call. While we can’t completely ignore the outside world when we sit down to write, it can be fruitful to do the best one can to carve out writing time and then protect it from all unnecessary distractions.

    • Well, I dunno about that ignoring the world thing when we write… I can say (and my family can as well) that the world basically disappears for me for a while, especially when I’m deep in the writing zone! (It’s a nice place to be, but I miss everything people say to me during that time. I don’t hear them!)

      I take a different view to committing fully to writing – I believe that if you commit to your writing time but find yourself struggling, it’s important to stop and give yourself a break. Forcing through it just to make the commitment can have some bad side effects, and leave you feeling a lot of guilt that you didn’t follow through on your commitments…

      But that’s just my take. Different people use different ways to get through it, n’est pas?

  7. Why is this post too long and who told the writer that I’m not happy about my blog right now? I actually dont know what to write for now.

  8. I used to force myself to sit down and write, even when I was facing a mental block. I quickly learned that could turn into an entire wasted day, with hardly any written words to show for it.

    Now I know that it’s good to take those holidays. So now, when I’m feeling a bit of a block I go do something else. Read a book, tackle another task, go for a walk. That mental break does wonders – as it takes the pressure off and allows new inspiration to flood through that can fuel my writing once I sit down again.

    Thanks James for the reminder that sometimes a break is exactly what we need. 🙂

    • YEAH! Exactly, Sonia – forcing ourselves to do anything ends us up in awful places. I’m SO glad you got out of that, and that you’ve armed yourself with plenty of solutions to beat those blogging blues!

  9. I did a combination of a blogging holiday and shutting down a few sites that I had grand plans for but turned out to be more of a burden. I came back revitalized, focused, and creating content for the sites that I did care about without the baggage. Great post, great advice!

    • Excellent, David – and I really applaud your decision to shed what was sucking too much juice. That’s a wise, smart thing to do – and it leaves a lot more room for the fun stuff, doesn’t it?

    • Actually, that sounds like a nice idea. “Dear James – you’re so sexy and smart… and that shirt looks fab on you today.” I can definitely see something like that doing wonders!

  10. Thanks for clarifying! I was wondering about that. 🙂

    But even when you think you’ve written everything you want to write about, there are still ways to find topics within your niche that you might have missed out on, such as using Soovle or Yahoo questions.

    But I also agree it might bring a freshness to a blog by inviting a guest blogger or hiring a writer.

  11. This post is so important. Thank you so much for giving authoritative permission to take a break!

    Burnout is something I’ve been dealing with for awhile. A couple of years ago, I started talking time off from the blog between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, just posting links to good posts from the archives. And this year, since I really felt I was scraping the bottom of the barrel last year, I’m just posting once or twice a month instead of every week. It helps.

    The only thing I might disagree with is “You don’t even need to write an “I’m taking a break” announcement for your readers.”

    That depends on how close you are to your audience. One time I thought I’d hit “publish” and I’d only hit “save draft.” The next day, a few of my readers sent me comments or emails asking if I was okay.

    When I do take a real blogging holiday, I always announce it – it gives me a little peace of mind.

    • Well, think about it this way… do those readers actually truly care? Or are they just wondering, “Hey, why didn’t I get my weekly post? What’s up with that?”

      In most cases, readers do care, but not in a truly deep way… I mean, if you wrote back and said, “Yeah, I broke my leg and arm in 5 places and am in the hospital for 3 years in therapy and I also got a mental illness diagnosis,” would they write back and offer to come cook meals, take your dog for a walk and help your kids with their homework?

      Probably not.

      That’s not because they’re MEAN or that they don’t care at all, but we tend to perceive online relationships as deeper than they actually are.

      If you didn’t answer the “hey, what happened,” emails, they’re probably be no follow up, and within 2 weeks, even the question itself would be forgotten.

      That’s my take on it, anyways. I’m sure others feel differently, of course.

      All that said, you have my full permission to take a break – and a good long one that actually gets you back to where you need to be. (I stopped blogging for a year once!) It’s worth it, and I think writers owe it to themselves to stay healthy, yes?

      • Most of them live in other states or other countries, so no, they wouldn’t offer to cook meals. That’s not the point.

        The community around my blog is relatively small. I reply to every comment, on my blog or on theirs. The particular post I accidentally didn’t publish was part of an ongoing series of prompts that my readers respond to, after which I respond to them. So personal relationships exist, even if they don’t go deep.

        I’ve established a certain amount of trust with my readers and if I suddenly disappeared with no explanation, that would send one of two messages: “Something terrible has happened,” or “I don’t care enough about you guys to let you know why I’ve suddenly paused my half of the relationship.”

        That won’t be true of all blogs. If you don’t post regularly, or have too big of an audience to develop individual relationships (however deep), then it may not be necessary. With mine, it is.

        I’m a little confused at your stance on this point. How hard is it to jot out a short post that says “I’m taking a little sabbatical to recharge. No worries.”?

        But you do talk about using the time away to connect with individual people on social media, so you know what I’m talking about.

        Again, great post!

        • Stephanie,

          Last year, something “terribly wrong” did happen to me. I was hit by a car while in a pedestrian crosswalk. I didn’t blog for nearly 10 months. I warned my audience on social media that I was going dark. I actually pulled down all of my websites except for the one that keeps getting daily Google referrals (and Copyblogger referrals).

          In reclaiming my public self, I’ve been following some of the advice that James gave above. (James, so glad to see your byline on Copyblogger again)

          How did I hit upon a magic sauce for recovery? (HINT: Notice that I mentioned Copyblogger in the above paragraphs?)

          I did some experimentation, sure. But I used some critical thinking in applying Copyblogger theory to my particular practice. Plus I hit the guys up over on Google Plus (Thanks, Brian, Jerod, and Demian) with questions.

          Meanwhile, I’ve been investing in my education with Authority, Authority Certification, Jon Morrow’s Guest Blogging Apprenticeship, and Ronnie Bincer’s Hangout Mastery.

          I’ve gained an audience and authority. Yesterday, I was named one of the “258 Most Interesting Ladies on Google Plus,” so deemed by Dustin W Stout of Dustn.tv.

          Why? Because the content I’ve been creating is not blog posts per se, but Storify archived Twitterviews [Interviews via Twitter] which will be research for my own blog and guest posts to come. I’m getting smarter by interviewing smart people. These smart people are getting something to put in their media kits as well as some real-time social media engagement. [Next week: Henneke & her newest book]

          And now, back to making that website shine, before Sonia accuses me of “digital share-cropping,” and rightly so.

          Thanks, James, for giving others the permission to re-think without the “excuse” of a catastrophic life-altering event. The world WILL go on if we take the time to care for ourselves.

  12. Damn fine post.

    I have just started out, put have already hit a wall. While I don’t “hate blogging” I believe backing up a little does a lot.

    I think the reason I have stumbled is because I haven’t done my research well enough.

    I still don’t know my audience well enough, and I don’t know my material and competition well enough.

    So I’ll take a brake from writing posts, and instead do my research and practice writing single killer sentences.

    This post resonates with me, and have assured me that it’s both okay and a good thing to do.

    Thank you for that.

    • Hitting a wall so early in the game could be exactly what you mentioned – not knowing your audience well enough – but for a new blog, it might also be something a little different worth thinking about, and perhaps the below can help.

      Do you have a business with a service or product to promote? You could write posts that talk about why you got into this business, what you believe in, the sort of philosophies you work with, where people can use your product/service in ways that aren’t so obvious, a recent project you liked and why you like it, a story of a client…

      Do you have a personal blog? In this case, think about things you really enjoy talking about to people – write about those. They don’t necessarily have to fit a “niche” for now, either. You can use this early time to write about anything and experiment, and see what you enjoy most. Your style, tone and personality will shine through no matter what you write, and people will cleave to that.

      Either way, it does sound like taking a sheet of paper and planning out some ideas (whether you use them or not) might be a good place to start!

  13. This is so timely for me! I love the idea of taking time of, but then when I do, I feel so guilty! It’s like, how can a ‘writer’ take time off ‘writing’?!

    • I think writers NEED to take time off writing. Say, for example, that you were a truck driver doing deliveries… and your boss asked you to do 12 hour days, 7 days a week, for the next 365 days.

      You’d tell him to take a hike, right? Yeah – exactly!

      Treat yourself like an employee – a special, valued employee. You want that employee to be happy and productive, so you’ll do whatever it takes to make that happen.

      Now go make that happen 🙂

  14. Everybody need a break to “re-charge”. It happen to everybody to loose the path sometimes and with blogging, this can happen quite easy, especially after wrong expectations or setting up unachievable goal.

  15. “Your traffic won’t disappear overnight either — this isn’t the apocalypse. Your Google Analytics numbers may drop a touch, but not immediately and not much. It’s a temporary dip you can recover from later on when you feel better.”

    When I had my personal fianance blog, if I took a week off, Google would punish me by cutting my traffic in HALF. Over the two years I maintained that site, I took a break 3 times and the same thing happened each time.

    • That’s very interesting, Edward, and I think that signals something worth looking into – the blog seems to be getting more Google attention than actual reader attention. Steady, loyal readers help maintain numbers at a nice plateau level, because the social media activity keeps them coming to read older articles and share ones they find.

      But if that’s not happening – no reading, no sharing, no visits – then it’s definitely time to look into how you can build a relationship with readers that lasts the test of time.

      I could be wrong, of course. SEO is its own beast. But that’d be my guess, based on experience!

  16. HaHa!

    As a former student, I learned that you can always count on James to tell it like it is.

    I love this post because it is like reading my own back story . . .

    Thank you, James

    P.S. All – – Her “Damn Fine Writing Course” is awesome and a great investment in yourself.

  17. Great blog post! As a blogger myself, I often reach that brick wall where I find myself struggling for inspiration and, as you explained so well, the best solution is to simply not write at all, because it drives me crazy. I quickly find that if I take a break from blogging and wait until the ideas naturally start to come into my mind and ensure that I have all those ideas stored up before I go back into blogging again.

    Thanks for the extra tips!

  18. Oh, this is a lovely article! I was a bit in a blogging rut, and because of a server error (there was a problem with my hosting company), I couldn’t publish anything for a week. Truthfully: that has been the most productive writing week I’ve had since months!

    And now everytime I feel a bit blogsick, I am going to just completely stop blogging for a couple of days… let’s see if that works, too.

  19. This was very informative…thank you. The biggest thing I have struggled with on my blog was whether or not to find my “niche”…still working on that one. Thanks!

  20. Good advice about taking a break — why do bloggers feel they need to write a post every day? For years I wrote two posts a week. Then I began to feel like I was dragging around a sack of potatoes on my back. I was feeling so pressured. I finally decided to blog once a week and expected my traffic to fall off the table. Traffic decreased a little for a while but now I’m getting more visitors than ever before. Better to write content that people want to read rather than publishing for the sake of publishing.

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