In the past year, I’ve spotted a few posts here and there from bloggers who had hit a patch of blogger burnout. I was surprised to read about blogger burnout from people whose meteoric rise to blogging fame has inspired my own work for years (here’s looking at you, World of Wanderlust).
How could a website born from such passion burn someone out? How could something as glamorous as being a travel blogger ever require someone to hit pause and log off for a while? Then, I realized—quite literally, today—that I may be in the midst of blogger burnout myself.
The Telltale Signs of Blogger Burnout
I’m hardly an expert on blogger burnout, but here’s what I’ve realized with my own work. I. am. exhausted. In recent months, The Pin the Map Project has become comparable to going to the gym for me. I have to push myself to update my website with the same reasoning and guilt needed to get my butt on a treadmill after a long day of work. For those who check my website regularly, you may have noticed that posts are somewhat infrequent and inconsistent. It didn’t always use to be that way. I used to love updating The Pin the Map Project. I would be eager to check my e-mail just for the sheer excitement and promise of a new opportunity coming my way. Would that morning bring an exciting press trip invite? How about a sponsored post? I would brainstorm story ideas and ways to further push, promote and grow my blog; then blogger burnout crept up on me.
Signs of blogger burnout can include:
- A general sense of lethargy about your blog and blog work.
- Feeling uninspired about writing posts, promoting your blog work and working on your blog, in general.
- Not updating your blog’s social media.
- Letting days, even weeks, go by without updating your blog and answering blog e-mails.
- A lack of desire to network with other bloggers in the field or attend events.
The Reasons I got Blogger Burnout…
Before I turn this post into a makeshift WebMD page for Blogger Burnout, let me attempt to self-diagnose myself and why I think I’ve hit this recent slump:
A shifting of priority…
When I started my job at Culture Trip last August, I took on the incredible role of Travel Editor for an international publication reaching 7 million readers a month. Just like that, Culture Trip kicked my little old blog’s butt as I suddenly had a job that allowed me to travel, travel write, push my journalism career, reach a larger audience and earn a consistent paycheck with benefits. In short, Culture Trip gave me everything I had attempted to pull from my blog in 4+ years of dedicated development, promotion, and growth.
With my new job also comes a monthly quota of stories that I am required to write for the site. With my full-time job now centered around writing, the idea of coming home and writing more just felt tiring. Not only that, but the task of coming up with original story ideas for my blog that I hadn’t done for Culture Trip also became difficult. Basically, I shifted focus to my job (as expected) and stopped pushing The Pin the Map Project.
Needing a break from blogging…
At the same time, before I started Culture Trip I had reached a point with my blog where I needed a fricken break! I was working overtime to try and promote, develop and think of new ways to monetize this blog, gain more readers and make this a sustainable career. It became frustrating, exhausting and disheartening. Site traffic remained stagnant, advertisers weren’t coming in, sponsored posts constantly underpaid and any word poured into a post felt unnoticed.
Frustration with blogging and bloggers…
It became all too easy to shift gears to Culture Trip where all of a sudden my work mattered and was noticed by millions of people! It wasn’t like my blog where I could pour my heart into a post and see it get minimal likes and no comments. Whatever I write for CT gets thousands of views. At the same time, I started to become somewhat frustrated with the politics of blogging. While there are a lot of talented bloggers who are working in earnest to get their work noticed, there are also a lot of ‘bad apples’ who blog for freebies, use controversy as a tool to get posts read and are just cutthroat drama queens. I have thankfully managed to avoid most of these people, although I do know other bloggers who were not so lucky. It took a few press trips with insufferable divas, a few run-ins with ‘freebie hungry’ bloggers to realize I was fed up.
A desire to be a journalist…
Of all the reasons that led to my blogger burnout, my desire to put my journalism degree to use and be a bonafide journalist is perhaps the biggest reason I’ve hit blogger burnout. In short, this reason ties all of the above reasons together. My desire to write stories that matter for readers who care to read it, mixed with my desire to work with professional writers whose passion are words on a page and not likes on social media all came together.
Why I’ll Never Quit Blogging
I realize that this post reads like a negative diatribe against blogging. The truth is that every passion project hits a rough patch and this just happens to be mine. Some reading this may reason I should just quit blogging, but that isn’t the answer (and if you’re in blogger burnout, don’t you quit either!).
The Pin the Map Project is my passion project and has given me so damn much since I first pressed publish on my first post. This little old blog has taken me around the world, given me the strength to chase my dreams, make life-altering decisions and ultimately land the job of Travel Editor. If I never started this blog, who knows where I’d be? Probably still slaving away in an advertising job, staring at printed photos of far-flung places that are taped up to my cubicle. Tragic.
I will never quit this blog because it’s so much more than a collection of posts, it’s a diary of sorts, a living and breathing testament to how much I’ve grown in my twenties. It’s a beautiful reminder of different chapters in my life and the emotions I felt at that time. I may not put as much effort into The Pin the Map Project now in terms of trying to monetize it, but that’s because I don’t need to.
The Pin the Map Project and Culture Trip offer me the perfect balance. My blog gives me the creative freedom to write what I want, when I want; while Culture Trip gives me the resources to chase stories around the world that matter to me and share them with a large audience.
How to Fix Blogger Burnout
When life gets complicated, sometimes I like to ‘go back to basics’ and breathe and reboot. If you’re in the throes of blogger burnout, then go back to basics with your blog. Allow yourself to simply stop stressing about monetization, growing traffic, gaining social followers and becoming the next big internet sensation. For me, simply sitting here and writing this post about what I’m feeling is already a huge help. It’s allowing me to go back to basics with my blog, back to simply using this space as an outlet for my thoughts.
I’ve also reconnected with an old blogger friend and I find this helpful as well. Camaraderie is important in blogging so attend events, network and find fellow blogger with who you can commiserate with.
Last but not least, remember to celebrate the little things. I think blogger burnout stems from a frustration of pouring too much of yourself into your blog and not seeing the results you want. Don’t forget to appreciate those comments and likes—even if they’re minimal—because they do matter. I know it’s easier said than done (hell, I need to remind myself of this every day) but try not to drown in the thoughts of where’d you’d like to be and instead appreciate where you are.
The Blogger Burnout Takeaway…
I guess what I’m saying is this: blogger burnout happens, even to the best of us. We all hit rough patches with our careers and passion projects that make us think “what’s the point?” It’s tempting to quit, to throw in the towel and decide right then and there you’ll never write another post again. Don’t do it! Keep going, keep pushing, keep throwing yourself into your passion.