Amanda Moments
March 13, 2015

I have something I need to get off my chest. Can we talk about blogger burnout for a hot minute? In the past couple months, I feel like there have been tons of other bloggers questioning their place in blogland, admitting to the struggle and double-edged sword of blogging for fun versus worrying about stats, sponsors, traffic, social media, graphics, photos, SEO. You know, the 12 billion other things we have to do besides just writing a blog. Oh, and that’s all in addition to each of us also having a life – a job, a family, hobbies, friends, chores, errands, struggles, personal issues, health struggles, etc. This often seems to lead to the inevitable blog break. Sometimes short, sometimes long, sometimes never to return. Blogger burnout is a thing and it is real, and I feel like it’s spreading.

When I go through my Bloglovin’ feed, in between those posts (the ones where we spill our hearts and admit to not being able to do it all), I see another several posts with a list of blog rules and tips. “8 things you MUST be doing on social media.” “How to make money on your blog and have fun!” “Why you NEED to hire a blog designer/use Photoshop/advertise on other blogs/whathaveyou.” “How to be a blogging rockstar.” I’m sorry, but I’ve started ignoring nearly all of those, because the more I read the “rules,” the more I feel pressure to be perfect, the more inadequate it makes me feel, and the more I start to pour tons of time into my blog, which translates into less time loving on my pets, my husband, relaxing, being productive, fulfilled and happy.

I’m a member of several blogging-related Facebook groups, and just the other day I saw a post from a new blogger that said something to the extent of “I’m trying to figure out how often I should be posting. I see some bloggers post a few times a week, but I also read that you should post every day. What do you recommend?” My heart sank a little bit, because I remember being in that spot, trying to do it all correctly and figure out this weird blogging thing. I used to write filler posts because I felt like I had to do it all to have it all. It was exhausting. I also thought, what happened to posting whenever we have something to share or say? Must we feel like we HAVE to blog X times per week just to fill up a calendar? No wonder we have so much burnout! I don’t know about you, but If I’m writing to hit a quota, I’d rather not blog at all. That took me awhile to realize.

Most comments on this particular post said to focus on quality over quantity, and I whole-heartedly agree. And yet, I’m still seeing posts in my feed telling me to post consistently, to have a calendar, to do XYZ. It’s a fine line to balance. Especially for a klutz like me.

I also just ran across this post that reminded me of all those years ago when blogs were places angsty teenagers vented about their love lives, their parents or spilled their soul in some other way. In my own Blurty from 15 years ago, I never once thought about writing to be useful or helpful. I didn’t worry about SEO or posting consistently. But then again, I don’t even know that I had a single reader, and then again, that was more online journal than real blog. I wrote when I wanted to (and yes, that often meant once every 3 months). These days, in the age of Pinterest, everything has to be pinnable, with easy-to-scan bullet points and headers, gorgeously shot and edited photos and helpful content to please the masses. So. much. pressure. So. many. rules.

Since my rebrand, I mentioned that I’m trying hard to throw the rules out the window and blog for me. In the two weeks or so (plus since my blogiversary when I slowly started to shift my mindset this way) since I’ve taken some of this pressure off myself, I feel freed. I feel refreshed. I still hope to post a few times a week and I like to have a photo with each post if I can, but if it doesn’t happen, no biggie. Life goes on. And if my stats take a nosedive, that’s cool too. At the end of the day, what’s important is that I use this space for how I intended it: To share what’s on my heart and relate to other women while living the rest of my life.

And so, a really long ramble later, I’m brought to the question I asked myself that started this whole post: Should a blog post be useful? (And by that, I mean, should it be “pinnable”?) Sometimes, maybe, sure. But that also depends on WHY you blog. If you want to make it big and invest tons of time (and money) into your blog, then yes, every post should be useful, and more power to you, girlfriend. But if you blog for fun (like me), my answer is hell no. Blog about what you want, when you want, how you want. Sometimes ya just gotta look at the rules and give them the finger.

41 responses to “Thoughts on blogger burnout and all those rules”

  1. Christine says:

    I enjoy all types of blog posts, whether they are useful or just stream-of-consciousness. I think people should stop taking so much pressure off themselves…if it’s not fun or rewarding, step back and reevaluate!

    • Amanda says:

      Yess!! I usually enjoy rambles and life updates too more than “useful” posts. I know those do well on Pinterest, but I’d rather hear about you than how to clean my curtains or make a pillow, you know.

  2. You have hit the nail on the head in this post! It’s so sad to see bloggers struggle to try and fit a mold because of the stipulations others have placed on them. I’m all about having fun while I do this blogging gig. If it makes me any kind of money at all, hip hip hooray! But I’m not in it for the money; I’m in it for connections and friendships. Happy Friday sweet girl!

    • Amanda says:

      Absolutely! It sucks to know that so many think they have to do XYZ to “make it” or to be a “good blogger,” and that’s simply not true. Our blogs are each of our own spaces to do what we want. Some rules have a good place, but I think we should just pick and choose which make sense for us to do, and then forget the rest. None of us can do them all, unless we have no other life anyway, but what fun is that?
      Happy Friday to you too!

  3. JC says:

    Great post. I have never really followed the rules, I do what I want, when I want. I do have a lot of posts that are informative and for my readers, but thats because that is where my interests lie right now. I love to teach people about what I like to do, however I will never be good at twitter. I think if you push yourself too much to follow “the Rules” you will inevitably find yourself with another job not a fun hobby that you enjoy.

    • Amanda says:

      Yes, as long as what you’re writing also interests you, then by all means write useful posts. Sometimes though it’s apparent someone is forcing a post just for the sake of doing it, and that’s too bad. If you have real passion for something, it really shines through in your writing. I’ve certainly found that to be true for me at least!

  4. Sarah says:

    I completely understand all of this and to say I haven’t dealt with it in the past would be a lie. I deal with it every day, even now. It’s sad. It takes a lot to get readers to stay and comment and actually take an interest in your blog. I still struggle with that. But I’ve decided not to allow myself to actually get worked up over it. If I did, blogging wouldn’t be fun to me anymore. And that would be a tragedy.

    • Amanda says:

      Aw, I’m sorry to hear you’re dealing with that now. I think I always will, to some extent, but right now anyway, saying screw the rules, feels really good, and I hope I can keep myself from getting sucked in again. But yes, we can’t really control (too much anyway) if people come to our blogs and read and like it, so all we can do is our best with what we can. Keep it fun and genuine for your own sanity, for sure!

  5. What you said in this post is all so true, and especially at the end where you asked why people blog. Personally, I am working to find a balance between blogging just for me, and blogging for an audience/etc. I would still say I don’t follow the ‘rules’ per se- I definitely don’t post every day, or even on a schedule. I post when I feel like it, and some times it is for me and some times it is for others. If it means I’ll never ‘make it’ big time, I simply don’t care because it is for me! If I don’t enjoy blogging, I won’t do it. End of story. Is how I feel anyways!

    • Amanda says:

      Yes! I we’re all somewhere in that scale too – blogging for us and an audience, and at times we may go back and forth on the scale. I’m trying to stay closer to the me side for now anyway since that makes it easier and more fulfulling. Plus, when you’re more genuine and passionate (slash not burnt out), readers tend to notice anyway, so why work twice as hard for the same results? But you’re right – no matter why we blog or who we blog for, we all deserve to love what we do!

  6. Katie says:

    Yes! You know I completely agree with all of this. There is so much BS in the blogging world that it frankly makes me feel sick. Fake. Unreal. Money making. This is what I think: Yes, a blog SHOULD be useful. But that doesn’t mean it’s pinnable. I think simply sharing our everyday stories with one another IS useful. We all can learn something about ourselves, our story, the world we live in by simply reading stories. Those are the blogs I like to read the most.

    • Amanda says:

      Absolutely. And some of the posts from bigger bloggers, the ones giving tips/”rules” can be useful, but often I don’t think they realize those won’t work for everyone, and that’s OK. Not all of us work from home with hours each day to devote to blogging, not all of us have big budgets to invest in our blog, not all of us need to make it big too. As a new blogger, I know that I didn’t realize that yet and bought into it thinking I had to do those things too to be a real blogger, and I’m so glad I got over that.

  7. Cassie says:

    I couldn’t agree more. I know what people like (8 things to do for X,Y,Z, etc.) but it’s not my passion. I try to fill my monthly calendar with things that I feel passionate about- like today’s post. I think we can find a good balance between writing for our audience, and writing to be real, authentic people.

    • Amanda says:

      Definitely – there can be a good balance between both for sure, but to focus on writing for an audience seems to lead to less satisfaction personally. For me it’s been so helpful to find that authentic voice and just let go. As Frozen would recommend. Haha.

  8. you’re brilliant. let’s just get that right out there. so appreciate you speaking the truth about feeling overwhelmed with all the ‘rules’ we have to follow in terms of making our blog successful.

    from what i’ve seen, the blogs that make it bigger are blogs that have authenticity, speak their mind and create a community around it. i think it’s also super valid to look at WHY we blog, just like you said. keep doing what you’re doing because i’m loving it amanda!

    • Amanda says:

      Aw thanks! To be honest, some big/successful blogs I see do have that great balance between an authentic voice and following the rules, but some others…just seem like such sell-outs, and it’s a shame and a turnoff as a reader. You can tell that they no longer have a passion for real writing when every post is a paid review, sponsor spotlight, recap of some event, guest post, product demo, etc. Again, nothing “wrong” with that if that’s what they want, but as a reader I say pass. Gimme something heartfelt any day.

  9. Melissa C says:

    SO MUCH YES to all of this. I’ve been struggling with this too. I had a huge 30 day break in Jan, and I came back feeling like “I just need to do ME!” when I post everyday it’s because I WANT to. not because I have to. I love this post so much! Let’s make the trend of blogging for you, not for stats!

    • Amanda says:

      Yes, for sure! Making it for us is such a good step – like you said, because we want to and not because someone tells us (or we tell ourselves) we have to. And yeah, let’s call for a revolution!

  10. Elizabeth says:

    Yes yes to all of this! I’ve struggled so much with blog burnout and thinking my blog couldn’t compare to similar ones out there. Love that last sentence….I think I might have to print it out and hang it by my desk.

    • Amanda says:

      Haha, yes for sure. The comparison game is such a tricky one. I try to look at others for inspiration, but it’s almost impossible to not compare. But blogging isn’t a competition – it should be fun! Thanks girl!

  11. Ashlen says:

    I have one rule for myself related to blogging & blogging-related activities: it has to be enjoyable. If I’m not enjoying putting post together, if I’m not enjoying checking Twitter, if I’m not enjoying enjoying editing a photo or creating a graphic, I don’t do it. I think that’s helped me not get burnt out to the point where I want to quit blogging. I have days (at least once a week, if not twice) where I have every intention of writing a post, and I look at the screen and realize that I have nothing to say. I’m okay with that though. Rather than forcing out sub-par content that I’m not excited about and spending time promoting it on social media, I close my computer, grab a shower, play with the dog, and read a book. Usually the next day I have about 10 ideas that I can’t post all at one time. It’s the ebb and flow of creativity! Anywho, I’ll be hear reading whenever and whatever you feel like posting!

  12. THANK YOU!! All of this, pretty much my exact feelings recently! And yes, there have been A LOT of “How to be the best/most successful blogger ever” posts lately, and while that’s great and all, I get tired of reading all the “rules”. It just makes me want to give up on all that because I feel overwhelmed and think “I’ll never be able to keep all that up, nor do I really want to!”

    • Amanda says:

      Yes, it’s so easy for so many of us to start to think we have to follow those rules, even though they’re just tips. I think your blog is great as it is, so definitely don’t worry about that too much. You be you and we’ll all love that, even without the bells and whistles.

  13. I agree. There are days I just feel like blogging. I’m trying to really find my niche, but in the end I also realized why I really started my blog. I have goals, yes, but they are not something that will overcome my life. Thank you for sharing this and I agree. I’m doing my best for what time I have on my blog.

    • Amanda says:

      The niche topic is like a whole other discussion – I almost think each of us creates our own niche, and sometimes it falls into a category, and sometimes it doesn’t. “Lifestyle” is like a catchall, but picking one word to describe what you write about is tough too. All any of us can do is our best. Thank you for your input!

  14. I actually did a similar post on “un-branding” the blog
    http://www.themorrelltale.com/2015/01/un-branding-blog.html

    • Amanda says:

      Yes, that post of yours was soo good! It actually did help me really commit to being OK with stepping back from the rules a bit more. Thanks, girl!

  15. Amanda Wood says:

    I pick and choose the “rules” I follow. Like, i post around 3 times a week. But which 3 days will that be, i dunno. I try to write posts that I would click on and read if I were scrolling through my bloglovin’ feed. This rule has helped me a lot. If I don’t LOVE the post, it doesn’t get posted.

    • Amanda says:

      That’s a good idea – pick and choose what works for you. I still have a hard time sifting through them all. Some days it just seems like rules are being shoved down my throat. I get some people like those and want those, but I guess I’m over it. Sigh. I’m starting to become “that” person.

  16. Katie says:

    Yes! Preach! All of the above! I mark every post about blogging as read because those just don’t interest me. I didn’t get into blogging make money or have a million followers. I did it to have another creative outlet. And I’m going to keep it that way.

    • Amanda says:

      I’m really glad I’m not the only one getting sick of blogging posts. I don’t mind the ones reflecting on what you’ve learned since blogging or how you’ve grown, but the “how to rock at sponsorships” or whatever is just getting old. Stop telling me what to do. Haha, I feel like a crochety old man yelling at kids from his patio.

  17. Kay R. says:

    Umm yes. I feel like these days not only is there a burnout but theres a surge in the “blog” created posts. frankly when you start to write only “pinterest” posts about blogging – you start to lose me … fast. Sigh the struggles of blogging right. Why can’t we all type and press publish without all these rules?

    • Amanda says:

      Oh girl, me too. I’d so much rather read and your life and your rambles than some post telling me how to be better at doing XYZ/blog-related thing. Bah humbug.

  18. […] Amanda wrote a post that got me thinking. Why do I blog? Really, I started it because I needed to enhance my communications portfolio and wanted to support my Etsy store. But I keep with it because I am insanely fascinated by the power of the internet and social media. The community and results it can produce is amazing…but that’s a topic for another day. […]

  19. […] I love this post from Amanda on the “rules” of blogging. I blog because I am strangely interested in the process of […]

  20. Marisa says:

    Yes! Thank you for this. I started my blog this year and I’ve put so much pressure on myself when it comes to how my blog looks, am I posting right, should I be making sure I style my Calls to Action effectively, what about comment plugins, start my mailing list ASAP even if I have nothing to send them yet, etc. It can be a lot of pressure when really, I’m using this blog as a space to learn about marketing, social media content, coding, and just giving me a space to write. So I really appreciate this post. Maybe it’ll help me keep my priorities in check.

    -Marisa | http://marisahendrickson.com/

    • Amanda says:

      Oh my gosh, I know, there are SO MANY things we’re told to worry about, when in reality, most of it doesn’t “really” matter. As long as we’re enjoying what we’re doing, the rest is just optional. Definitely try not to stress it too much. The more rules bloggers follow, the less genuine it often seems to become. Blog with heart and sincerity and the rest tends to follow naturally. Thanks for the comment!

  21. Whitney says:

    I can agree with so much in this post. As a blog reader I get tired of being preached at and as a blog writer I get tired of all the pressure to do things a certain way. I blog for the love of writing that’s it!

    • Amanda says:

      Yes, for sure! I feel the same, but it can be hard to not cave to the pressure sometimes. I just gotta keep reminding myself to not worry and have fun. That’s key!

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