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07 June 2014

What Does the Bookworm Say?: Blogging Burnout

Hi and welcome to a new feature here on Nite Lite called What Does the Bookworm Say? that I am doing with my friends at The Reader's AntidoteBooks Unbound and The Windy Pages. This week's topic is about blogging burnout - do you ever feel it and, if so, how do you get yourself out of it?

Burnout. This is something that probably every blogger has to deal with during their time as a blogger. Most of us don't have the luxury of having unlimited time to blog and have to fit it in between work, family, friends, hobbies and, of course, reading. If you've been doing it for a while, you may also start to feel like you don't have anything new or interesting to say. Luckily I haven't experienced too much of this. I've definitely had days or weeks when I wasn't sure when I was going to find the time or inspiration to blog, but I've somehow managed continue without too much interruption to the blog.They key for me is to manage blogging in such a way that I don't ever really get to that point of severe burnout. So here are a few tips that work for me when trying to balance blogging with life.

  • Have manageable goals - When I first started blogging I was really surprised by how many bloggers posted once or more a day. I knew that pace would never work for me and I began with the goal with having one review a week plus a couple of memes/features. So far this has worked for me and I've been able to keep up with it. I would love to get to the point where I could have 2 reviews a week but that's not going to happen with my life right now. With manageable goals, I never feel to much pressure and also don't feel like I "fail" if I don't meet those goals occasionally. Now what's manageable and what's not is very personal. For some people one post a day or 5 reviews a week is totally manageable. Every blog is different and what works for one person may not work for you. Finding that balance isn't always easy but I think it will benefit you and your blog in the long run if you can find a pace that works for you.
  • Schedule ahead - I am not really good at this myself but I wish I were. Scheduling ahead can be a real lifesaver. I know some bloggers who have posts schedules months ahead and I am in awe of them. If you can manage it, being even being a week or two ahead can be a really great buffer and will put less pressure on you. It's also great to schedule ahead if you are going on vacation and won't be able to post like you normally do. 
  • Not every post has to be a review - I don't know about you, but I feel a lot of pressure to have tons of book reviews on my blog. I mean, it's a book blog, right so I should review books. While I think book reviews are great and important, I also think that there are lots of things you can talk about that are book related but are not reviews. I've found that our discussion posts have been some of the most popular posts and I find that, for me, they are a little easier to write than reviews. Non-review posts are a good way to still have content on your blog that is a little different and still interesting.
  • Give yourself a break (figuratively and literally) - By this I mean don't be too hard on yourself if you don't meet your blogging goals for the week, month, etc. Sometimes life just happens and blogging takes a back seat. It's OK. It doesn't mean that you're a bad blogger or that you are going to lose your readers. Any that you do lose probably weren't that into your blog anyway, and that's OK, too. I do think consistency is important in blogging but it's also important to give yourself a break occasionally. Let yourself take time off if you need it to recharge and regroup. No one is going to think any less of you. I think we are usually hardest on ourselves and I just try to remember that it's OK get off schedule once in a while.
  • Do it for you - I know that this is common sense but sometimes I need to remind myself that I am blogging because I want to and because I enjoy being a part of this crazy book blogging community. And even though it's not always easy, I still really enjoy it and want to do it. I don't want to ever get to that point where I feel like I am doing it for someone else or as an obligation. 
  • Read what you want - As book bloggers, we get a lot of pressure to read review copies before a certain time and stay up to date with the newest books. I know that review books need to be read within a certain time period but I won't force myself to read something just because of a deadline. This usually leads to a less positive experience than if I had read the book when I was in the mood for it and it doesn't do the book or me any justice. So while I try to read ARCs in the allotted time frame, I also allow myself to read other books if I want to. Reading, after all, should be fun.

Those are my tips for avoiding blogging burnout. If it happens to you anyway, my advice would be to just take a small break and see where that takes you. I don't think forcing yourself to blog is going to make it better and may make you resent blogging. That's my two cents on the subject but I'd love to hear your thoughts. Have you ever suffered from blogging burnout? What helped you get through it?

Don't forget to check out what The Reader's AntidoteBooks Unbound and The Windy Pages have to say about this topic as well. If you have a topic you'd like us to cover, just leave it in the comments below. 

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