Blogger Burnout

Bust the Blogging Burnout

Stop Blogger Burnout

We’re wrapping up Book Blogger Appreciation Week with a discussion on preventing blogger burnout. It’s no secret that burnout is a plague we all face and it’s scooped up far too many blogs in its talons—our book blogger survey from a few years ago lays it all out. There are certainly times when I start to feel like throwing it all out the window, but I’ve been able to prevent that with a pretty simple focus: Blogging is not a job or a chore. If I get in a position where it feels like either, I make a change. I started this blog, in part, as a means of escape from a job that was really bringing me down and it’s worked marvelously. The last thing I want is to have this little refuge turn into something that causes me stress.

 

No “Have To” Involved

I really, really try to avoid saying I “have to” do anything related to my blog. I don’t have to write a review for every book I read (even if it’s an ARC). I don’t have to post on specific days. I don’t have to read a book by a specific date. I don’t have to share something to make money. None of it. Without the pressure, I find it all balances out. Does that make me flaky and noncommittal? Maybe. I hope not, though. I’m clear about the way I run my blog in my review policy and commit to things I know I’m capable of doing. What if you don’t write a review for that ARC you just finished? That’s okay, it will show up in a list or post I write later. But what if a publisher won’t send you another book? I have plenty. And a library.

Comfort with Comments

I usually share my posts on Twitter and other social media twice: once in the morning and once in the evening (I know conventional wisdom says more, more, more, but I start to feel spammy beyond that). I try to make it a point not to share a second time unless I’ve responded to most of the comments that have already been left on the post. It’s a weird little practice I created for myself, but it does help me see what people are thinking and respond fairly quickly. At the same time, if I don’t get to everything in a day or two, I let it go. I definitely want to respond to everyone who is kind enough to leave a comment, but at some point I just let it be.

Finding a Tribe

It’s no fun to float on an island alone. Honestly, that feeling of shouting into a void can be one of the toughest parts of starting a blog. And for book bloggers who don’t fit into the YA corner of the blogosphere, it can be even tougher. Finding a group of bloggers who read similar books and have a similar mindset about blogging has been super important in helping me fight burnout, both as a place to seek out ideas and a safe sounding board for complaints.

But by tribe I don’t mean clique. I think it’s easy to get bundled up with your pals and forget that there are other bloggers learning the ropes or feeling like their island is a little lonely. Even if you don’t have the time to reach out, it’s not hard to be friendly, genuine, and welcoming (and it tends to come back to you when you need it most).

 

  • I don’t share on Twitter more than twice either and sometimes not even that. I can’ ts tand seeing multiple tweets for the same post on my timeline.
    I agree with the advice to have no Have Tos. This is supposed to be fun!

  • latasunil

    So much I can resonate with you. Book blogging is a hobby and not a means to make money. Lets not burn it out.

    • Yes! I know some people look to it as a way to make money – and if it works for them that’s great! – it just doesn’t work for me.

  • Kay

    Good advice here. I agree with the ‘no musts’. If it starts being ‘no fun’, here comes the burnout time. And I also think it’s very satisfying when you find people who read similar books – not that you can’t connect with people don’t read similar books – but you can get good ideas and visit about your reads or rant or whatever. It is important to try to be inclusive. I think there are a lot of bloggers that feel that no one reads anything they write. Part of why I comment a lot.

    • When I first started blogging the only blogs I could find were reading YA and I definitely learned about some great YA titles, I just really found a space when I discovered bloggers that read more like I do.

  • I really like your thoughts on comments. I’ve been feeling the burnout a bit lately (maybe b/c of my reading slump), but the area where I feel it most is in visiting all the blogs I want to and responding to my own comments. I used to respond immediately, but now I find myself going a day (or a couple) without responding and the build-up is stressful when I finally do dig in. I’m going to work on a little system for myself :)

    • I also find the most pressure comes from trying to keep up with all the other blogs I want to read. I really do want to read them all, but sometimes I find that after reading everyone else’s, there’s no time left to work on my own. I have to figure out some way to handle this better.

    • Visiting everyone is something I still struggle with, too. I try to forgive myself (and hope everyone else will, too!) if I only manage to get to people once in a while. There are so many different ways to communicate that you are reading/care that I think it’s okay if you use more than just commenting.

  • I think remembering to reach out to new bloggers is important. I try to make an extra effort to comment on their blogs a lot at first until they get going, and then I back off a bit. When I first started I had no idea how it worked, but I felt really grateful for some of those first comments.
    When the blog feels like a job, I know it’s time to back off a bit. But, also when it’s cutting too much into my reading time and family time. I can’t let it do that either. Sometimes it’s hard to find that balance of interacting with others, working on your own stuff, and leaving it alone to have a life.

    • Those early comments were total lifesavers! It takes a little extra time, like you said, but I think it makes a huge difference for people who are just starting out.

  • Chrisbookarama

    Loved your thoughts on shouting into the void! Sometimes it really does feel that way.

  • Great post. I really agree with the ‘find your tribe’ philosophy and how important it is too find bloggers with similar reading tastes. I also think it is important to not take on too many ‘have tos’; something I struggle with. Every year I tell myself that I am going to cut back on the book tour reviews I take on….and then the list comes out and so many look so good!

    • I always used to get sucked into the tour lists, too, but they would almost always end up making me miserable. I decided to take those books and throw them on the library list instead of letting myself get weighed down.

  • Very thoughtful post! I agree with all of your advice, especially about the tribe vs. clique and remembering how it felt starting out! I thought the experienced bloggers would feel I was butting into their conversation, but of course, no one did!

  • Girl with her Head in a Book

    I think that ‘shouting into the void’ was the scariest part of beginning to write my blog. I was so worried that people I knew would think I was being incredibly big-headed by supposing that anybody would want to listen to me. So the community part is very important. I think you’re so right too about blocking the ‘have to’ – I am guilty of that too often. When my Netgalley ratio is round the fifties (it almost always is), when I’m three reviews behind and already have plans for the weekend – it’s so important to remind yourself that it’s ok to put real life first. Fantastic post :)

    • That’s so true! I felt like I wanted my blog to be a secret for the same reason, but I *was* sharing, so there was definitely some hope that someone would be crazy enough to want to read ;)

  • Emma @ Words And Peace

    I agree, I think that’s the ‘shoulds’ that kill bloggers

  • Care

    In the early days, I liked to be the first comment on a blog post or I would be intimidated by the wit and obvious brilliance of those already commenting, especially if it felt like they all ‘knew each other’. I have to remind myself to be more welcoming and not write my posts like I know who you all are. I’m not good at that, I see it in my posts this week, (egads.) What was my point?! I forget… Anyway, Happy BBAW – it really has been a fun week.

    • Well, I think that style of writing is just *you*! It doesn’t feel unwelcoming to me, I’m thinking more of ignoring or shutting out as being unwelcoming.

  • I agree with everything you’ve said here – especially regarding the ‘have to’. Often times we put unnecessary pressure on ourselves with our blogs when there really is not need. A hobby shouldn’t be something you ‘have to’ do, it should be something you want to do.

    • Definitely! I think it’s easy to get wrapped up in that feeling of obligation, especially when you know other people are reading, but it’s just something that we need to let go of.

  • Words for Worms

    Giiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiirl, I HEAR YOU! The “have to”s ruin all the fun, don’t they? Brilliance distilled, as per usual.

  • Great post. I need to get better about sharing my posts on social media. I always feel like I’m spamming people and nobody cares. I know that’s probably not true because I like seeing other people’s blog posts on social media, so other people might like seeing mine.

  • I love your list of have to’s. I really need to take those to heart because most of my frustration comes from feeling like I “have to” post a review for that ARC. I’ve felt like that spammer before and with the way that the Twitter feed moves so quickly and Facebook hides posts, unless someone subscribes to notification on either of those media sites, the posts just aren’t seen. This is such an insightful post and as usual, you have a great method of keep yourself balanced and providing thought to the rest of us who struggle with that burnout or have to craziness. Is it wrong for me to say that I feel like I’ve been to a motivational seminar? One of those that you leave feeling renewed and ready to tackle the world?

    • Ha! Sometimes I think I have to keep chanting just to remind myself that these things work or I’ll let them slide – it’s like I’m at the seminar with you!

  • Priscilla Walter

    The “have to” monster…I do battle with that one every day, but I think I’m gaining ground.

    As far as the tribe: when I first started blogging, I definitely had one. But I tend to take long breaks, and things change quickly. It can be hard to find a foothold again. I admit there are days when I see everyone being super social on Twitter and really miss that feeling!

    • My little tribe has shifted over time, too – it’s been good for me to keep tabs with at least a few to help that good social community feeling going!

  • Excellent advice! I like hosting memes, so I have some “have to” posts — but if things aren’t aligning well, I can simplify those to the bare minimum: Here’s the link list, folks, see you next week! There’s always an easier way and, sometimes, it’s the best way, too.

  • Ooo, I love your strategy of answering your comments before sharing the post again. I do always notice how prompt you are about answering comments, and it impresses me, so I’m going to try to implement that for my own posts. Thanks!

  • literaryfeline

    Such good advice all around! Letting go of the “have to’s” is so so true. It has worked for me and keeps me going. If I need to take an unexpected break, I don’t beat myself up over it anymore.

    I only share my posts once on Twitter for the same reason you only do it twice. And even then, I don’t do that with every post, just my reviews or special posts like those from today. I had been thinking of doing it twice, but worried it would be seen as spammy. You make me feel better about going ahead and doing it. The night time crowd does tend to be different from the morning crowd after all. I try to answer my comments in a timely fashion, but it doesn’t always happen. I also try to make a point of visiting and commenting on the blogs of bloggers who comment on mine. The only time I might not is if I can’t find a link or a way to the commenters blog. It could be they aren’t a blogger, of course, but I always feel a little bad that I can’t return the favor if they are.

    • Commenting can be tricky if you can’t find a link back to the blog! I have Disqus set so people don’t have to log in and can post as a guest, but sometimes I don’t know where they came from that way. THere’s always a downside ;)

  • You are so good with the blogger advice. You seem to come at it from such a level-headed, almost serene place. I was starting to feel touches of burnout and you’re right, you don’t HAVE to do anything. I started interacting with other bloggers more instead. I was still a part of things, I didn’t feel left out (a feeling I despise) and it gave me some breathing room to try and figure my shit out.
    I only ever share my posts on twitter the one time…I thought the same thing as libraryfeline, that maybe more would be seen as spammy. I need to be better about not letting WordPress just export the title and link onto twitter hahahahahaha.
    I wonder if I’ve always been lazy?

    • I’m the same way with WP and my Facebook page…I just let it alllll go, even though it would probably be a little better if I took some control over it.

  • Great advice! I certainly don’t need anymore chores (dirty dishes in the sink right now), so I don’t want my blog to be one!

  • Great advice, as always.

  • Lauren @ Malcolm Avenue Review

    Thank you for this. I feel like giving it all up so very often, mostly because of the capital R responsibility gene that tells me I have to review every ARC by the pub date or I haven’t lived up to my obligations. I fight that constantly. I assume I still will, I know myself too well to believe I can ever shake that syndrome, but these words help me drive home that I’m creating my own stress and try to ease up. Sometimes I think I should not ask for/accept any more ARCs and just review my backlist. But some great title always comes along and throws a wrench into that plan. :)

    • I am so with you on the R gene, too. It took me a long time to realize it was “okay”, but I think otherwise I would go CRAZY. I still try my best, but give myself permission to let go if I can’t get something reviewed.

  • Jenny

    Wonderful advice. I couldn’t agree more. I think a lot of us might be giving this same advice.

  • Excellent point about cliques. Reaching out can be very rewarding and really make someone’s day.

    In contrast to most book bloggers, I consider blogging to be part of my job as an editor and a member of the publishing industry. I wonder if that’s going to turn around and bite me later down the track once I’ve been doing it a bit longer. I think it could open the way for all those “shoulds”.

    • I totally understand that, since it’s so tied into your job! I think if you’re aware of how you feel about blogging and take stock every once in a while to make sure it doesn’t feel overwhelming, you should be good :)

  • Stephie Mueller

    Thanks for this wonderful post. I have to remind me that my blog is fun and I shouldn’t do this “I have to” thing. :) ;)

  • Comments are one area where I still struggle with finding balance. Cutting down my post frequency has helped with that, but I still haven’t figured out a system or practice that makes me feel like I’m not always a little behind either responding to comments on my posts or leaving comments on other posts. I’d like to be on top of them with each post, but work and life don’t seem to allow for that.

  • Leonela

    Very useful post. I’m really new in the book blogging community and I’ve been having a hard time finding my balance between posting, interacting with other bloggers and my personal life. But, like you say here, the most important thing is to enjoy what you are doing, and that’s what I remind myself of every time I’m feeling overwhelmed.

    • It can be super tricky at first and I think most of us have been through what you are now before settling in. I hope you can avoid some of the trouble we’ve all gone through!

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  • Thank you for sharing this, Shannon. I always feel some level of guilt when I don’t have time to get to everyone’s blogs; I try to contribute in some way, even if it’s via Twitter or other social media, just to let people know I want to stay connected. I, too, try to think of blogging like I do running: it’s not my job and I don’t HAVE to do it. I will do it when I enjoy it and try not to worry about the times that I don’t. I’m so glad to hear that I’m not alone in this; I respect your thoughts!

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