Thursday, 24 May 2012

What to Do When You’re in a Blogging Rut

We’ve all been there, haven’t we?! It is frustrating to say the least, but every blogger has experienced times when the words just don’t flow. You don’t feel like writing, in fact, you loathe it! You feel exhausted, you keep ignoring you schedule, your calendar, and you cannot be bothered to think about and write on anything at all, let alone a new topic. Sitting in front of the computer feels like a chore, and your writer’s well has well and truly dried up. The words that you do manage to put together are programmed instead of coming to your naturally.

If it’s just a writer’s block or not is arguable, however it’s a frustrating time in any blogger’s life, truly a low-point. You’re stuck in a blogging rut.

The question is, if you’re boring yourself, how do you expect people to not be bored with what you’re writing? How do you expect them to share your content? If you’ve stopped writing regularly and people still expect a post from you every week, there is a good chance you will lose many of your regular visitors, and that doesn’t even begin to mention the potential PR-drop your blog(s) might face.

How do you pick yourself up and get out of this rut? How can you pick yourself up, and restart? From someone’s who been there, I’ve got good news: it’s doable! Here are 8 tips on how you can fight the blog burnout, and achieve writing nirvana once again:

1. Take a Break: Take a step back, and take a breather. Put your blog off your mind for a couple of days, maybe even a few weeks. Do something totally else, something that you haven’t don’t for a while. Maybe even take a vacation, or go on a road-trip. Log out of Wordpress, and forget about your blog, put it at the end of your priority list for at least some time. Try your hand at cooking, hit the gym maybe, hang out with friends. Try a change of scenery and environment. Maybe this change is just what will get those creative juices flowing again.

2. Change Your Routine: In continuation of the first point, simply changing your routine, such as when you write or changing how and where you write could do wonders. Sometimes, your best, most inspired work comes to you at the most unexpected of place. Change things around, break your habits and force yourself to expand your thinking and your horizons. Take a different route to work, watch reality TV instead of your usual sitcom, get a book to read (with actual pages!). Read a different blog tonight, instead of those usual ones.

3. Change Your Blogging Perspective: I remember when I was stuck in this bad blogging rut, I discovered it was because I was looking at it all wrong. I looked at blogging like it was a chore, like something that ‘I had to do’, regardless of whether I wanted to do it or not. It is important to remember that blogging is NOT a chore, and should never be one. Furthermore, expecting yourself to blog amazing or mind-blowing content daily is a steep ask, and an unreasonable expectation. It is important to understand that you’re not the second coming of J.K Rowling! At times, the words just won’t come, and other times, they will. For me, quality will always take precedence over quantity. Write less, but write well. When you’re having an ‘on-day’ write a couple of posts and put them on schedule. Or you could…

4. Invite Guest Bloggers: Inviting other bloggers to guest post on your blog is beneficial from multiple perspectives, and has many advantages: (a) your blog gets updated regularly, (b) Your blog gets updated with high-quality content, (c) The guest blogger bring in his own perspective to your blog, which might be different from yours – something that might interest your readers, (d) you’re building an invaluable network of backlinks, and above all (e) If you’re stuck in a rut, a guest blogger will keep bringing in quality posts while you take a break, or at least until you feel like writing again.

5. Give Your Blog a Design Overhaul: A design refresh could do wonders for your motivation. What happens when you buy a pair of new shoes? As lazy as you might be otherwise, buying a pair of new running shoes will most definitely have you go on a couple of runs. You will feel the need to run. In a similar way, putting on a new theme and changing things around your blog might just reignite the fire, and urge you to create new content that is as good and sophisticated as the new look of your blog.

6. Make a Running List of Blog Topics: It helps researching and making a list of topics related to the content material of your blog or in your niche, especially when (or if) you run out of things to write on. Write them down somewhere, make a list, and bookmark interesting blog posts from the internet that you could refer to later on. Look at news that might be affecting your niche market and see if there’s something newsworthy enough to write on.

7. Network with Other Bloggers: Sometimes, all you need to do is just talk it out with fellow bloggers and people in your niche that you network with. That’s the beauty of blogging, it lets you connect with the community, share ideas, and maybe even be a source of inspiration. Most bloggers in your niche would be more than willing to help you out, and get you out of your rut. Because they all are bloggers too, and they too know that being stuck in a rut every once in a while is part of the job. Connect, network, ask for advice, ask for ideas and seek inspiration.

8. Focus: One of the great things about blogging is that you can choose to be totally diverse about it, and write on and about anything. Unfortunately, that is the biggest pitfalls of blogging as well. Being focused provides you with a roadmap on what to write. You could cover the happenings of the sports world on your blog, but if you narrow your focus on a single sport, or the team you’re a fan of, for instance, narrowing your focus will help you determine what to write on, as well as provide your readers with an idea of what to expect.

Changing things around is the key to fighting blogging boredom. What do you do when you feel like being stuck in a blogging rut? Have you even been in one? Got a point of your own to add to this? Leave your comments in the comments section below. 

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