This is a real thing. An actual issue. Yes, it’s limited to the blogisphere, but the struggle is real. We have proof, by all the frustrated Tweets and sudden absence on WordPress or Blogspot of people who used to post once a week. Notifications of new blogs or follow-up comments begin to vanish from our inboxes. Every once in a while, people will make formal announcements that they’re giving up blogging to spend more time with their families, go to college, take on a new job or project or venture. But more often than not, there’s just this kind of quiet lack of presence…and then one day, after weeks or even months, a post appears — and the blogger just openly admits: They have no idea what to write about anymore.
Now, to most people, this is a matter not even worth expending effort on. So you used up all your ideas for blogging? Then just stop blogging. It’s not as if you were being paid for it. But, wait! we all shout. It isn’t that simple! We met some of our best friends through our blog! We can’t just abandon the community!
And this is the cry that’s heard the loudest: We aren’t just a random gathering of faceless screen names in a cyber void. Those screen names with pictures who leave us lovely comments aren’t bots or uncaring, cold keyboard taps. While blogging in general isn’t something that’s really promoted as a tool for career growth or as a fun trend anymore, those of us with an established blog and committed subscribers are aware it also won’t disappear overnight. And many of us look forward to even few-and-far-between posts from our friends — because, yes, that is what they are.
However, the very real problem remains: What do you do when the ideas just hightail it for the hills, and every notion you explore either doesn’t interest you at all, or you’ve already written about it, or you’ve seen it done on so many other blogs?
Considering that this situation is what I’m facing right now, here are some tips I’m compiling (partly to jumpstart myself, but hopefully they’ll work for you, too):
- Don’t keep making excuses for not being around. It’s one thing to politely explain that you’ve been super busy, and just haven’t devoted precious spare time to creating something for the blog. People will appreciate the honesty, and the manners you used. But in the end, it’s YOUR life, and you owe no one a new post every 72 hours.
- If you’re not feeling a topic, pick something else. For example, I gave up doing tags about 2 years ago. While it was always lovely to be tagged and know people wanted me to join in, it also became a hassle to complete all the questions (especially if I just couldn’t think of an answer!), and despite people’s nice intentions, I felt pressured. For those of you who still participate in tags and enjoy it, rock on! But it was something I had to let go.
- Search the internet for suggestions on how to expand your blog. No, I don’t mean expand your platform, and take on more responsibility. I mean, if you’ve only been book blogging, start writing occasionally about another hobby or an issue you’re passionate about. I write about reading, the author life, autism, and sometimes my kids. Having a mix of all these things generally provides me with a deeper well of inspiration.
What if you’ve done all of this and the words still aren’t flowing? Or even trickling?
- There’s no shame in taking a break. And you don’t even have to tell people why. You can, as I mentioned before, to be polite. But there’s no obligation whatsoever. So don’t feel guilty.
- Don’t be afraid to shake it up when you return. Would you rather not talk about books for a while, and shift to movies and TV shows? Or you’d prefer to share pictures of your family vacation? Go on a rant about the last time you had to wait in line at the bank? Go for it. The trick is to write about ANYTHING in the same style you always have. Make the content, whatever its focus is, as engaging as you did to get all your subscribers. You are why people keep reading your material, stay on the notifications list, and look forward to your first new post in 6 weeks.
- Get some help from the community, by accepting guest posts, or conduct interviews to schedule in during your “dry spell.” I’ve done this before, when I desperately needed to set aside time to finish a novel or do something else, and my blog was just kind of in the way at that moment. It was really easy to just upload a file and schedule publishing. And people will often be interested in what your friends have to say, too (so don’t worry about guests temporarily taking over meaning your views plummet).
Despite the fact it gets harder over time, many of us don’t want to completely give up our blogs, so we’ll always keep coming back with further content, even if it’s not entirely original or doesn’t go viral. Even if you’re, say, an indie author, and you are trying to increase your platform by having an active online presence, a frequently-updated blog isn’t seen as a requirement, the way it was even a few years ago.
So while there are some people I would absolutely miss if they just vanished into thin air, I can also understand why that might happen. Life becomes so busy with family and work and, well, living, anyway; if your blog becomes an integral part of yours, then you make time for it. But if blogging becomes a burden, then, yes, just drop it.
But, this post is about how to maintain such a space. Just remember to like the maintaining, don’t get burned out, and do allow other things to come in.
Maybe you can even share about how blogging less actually gave you more.