Saturday, August 30, 2014

Tools of The Trade Week Day 6: Battling Blogger Burnout

Blogger Burnout
To begin the wind down part of  Tools of The Trade week I'm going to talk about the dreaded blogger burnout with you guys!

Every blogger has at least heard of the phenomenon and many bloggers have experienced it, myself included. It's horrible. (For those of you who don't know what it is, blogger burnout is when bloggers are overwhelmed and extremely stressed causing fatigue, frustration, and apathy from all that blogging requires. This all can often cause them to stop blogging all together for a prolonged amount of time.)

For me burnouts begin when posting and writing reviews begins to feel like work that I don't want to do rather than something fun to do in my spare time. This usually occurs when I have a long list of posts and reviews I need to complete and don't know where to begin. So I'm going to list some ways to prevent it and some things that can cause it.

Cause: making a list.

I love lists. I make tons of lists on sticky notes and plaster them everywhere when I am attempting to be productive or am starting to get overwhelmed. This often backfires, because when I am so stressed that I start making lists it is usually because I have so many things I want to get done. When I have a lot of things to get done then my list is really long and it overwhelms me even more just looking at it! Here is the thing, when I make lists I have to finish that list the day I make it so when I have a massive list of detailed posts to write there is no way that I can do it all in one day and it is crazy to feel like I have to finish them all, but that's how I feel when I write them all out. It gets so overwhelming that I procrastinate until I avoid posting all together, and thus the burnout begins.

Prevention: make a list

I know crazy right! I just said that making lists can cause burnouts and now I'm telling you to make a list to avoid a burnout! What? Allow me to elucidate (yay big words, I love big words!), so if you read what I said above then you should have noticed that what overwhelms me about the lists is the self pressure and mindset of them as well as the sheer size. I actually find lists quite helpful for trying to get things done. Here is how to make lists helpful rather than harmful.

-Make lists shorter and more achievable by organizing them by date, priority, subject, or other method.
Example: Today's Posts 
               -Feature A
               -Review X?
-Remind yourself that you don't have to do everything on your list today. If you do choose to make one big list (I really don't recommend that method, but hey, it's your life), you may decide to scribble a note reminding yourself of this at the bottom or deadlines by each individual item on your list (prioritize).

Prevention: make a calendar.
This is a great and more visual alternative to making a list. For a really long time I thought all those bloggers that actually planned out posts were certifiably insane. (Sorry guys, I was wrong. I loved you guys anyways though.) It helps me because I can put posts where I want them and see what things I have to do by what date and it keeps me from feeling like I have to get them all in one day, but I can still see all that I want to do and have it recorded so that I don't feel like I'll forget about a post idea.

Cause: all work and no play. 

As I mentioned above, burnout frequently happens when blogging begins to feel more like work than something that I enjoy and becomes a hassle. I think to hard about what posts I need to be doing and all the reviews that I should do, but maybe I'm not that excited to do. If I'm not excited about the things I need to do and I have a lot of things I need to do but don't want to do, then I get into this "Eww, this is not fun and it feels like work and it's just such a pain!" funk/mood. That usually ends up with me choosing to not post because I have no desire to do seemingly unnecessary gross work.

Prevention: do something fun!

If it begins to feel like work and your not excited about any of your posts then take a step back and really look at the posts you are planning on and ask yourself if you really need to do them. If you actually have to do them, that's fine, but sometimes you'll find that you are only posting them because you feel obligated to when there is actually no reason that you should have to. If the latter is the case then toss those gross work-ish posts and brainstorm some fun ones that you can get really excited about. If you really do have to do the work posts, realize that there is no reason you can't sprinkle in some fun discussions or games, or something else you're excited about in between! (If you want. If additional posts stress you out even more then don't even go there, just leave it be, push through and change some other things and try other methods!)

Cause: the "have to" feeling.
I mentioned this when I talked about work posts, feeling or thinking that you have to review everything you read or every book you mention on Goodreads, your blog, Google+, or other media can end badly. Let's face it there reviews we just don't want to write. Whether it is because we don't feel like we have enough to say about a book, we felt too neutral about it, or while it may have been a very entertaining book, we can't think of how to analyze it in any amount of detail, there will always be reviews that we just don't want to do.

Prevention: realize that you DON'T have to review every book.
For a long time I felt like I had to review every single book, I touched and I would be so upset with myself if I missed a review or couldn't write a good one for a book. I've learned, and I've gotten over that. Sure there are some books that we need to review because we were given it in exchange for  a review, but there are lots more books that we got on our own time that we have no obligation to review if we don't want to or don't have time to. Just because you mention it doesn't mean that you have to review it.

Prevention: mini reviews.
You guys have read my Short and Sweet reviews and lots of other bloggers have their own similar version of the same thing. These mini, paragraph long reviews, are one way I deal with having a huge list of books that I want and need to review. They are fast and easy and I can check several reviews off my list at once by doing them this way, since it takes so much less time than a full review.

Prevention: fall in love again.
It's easy to get so caught up in blogging and life that we forget to do the little things that we really love and what got us blogging in the first place. Sometimes it all takes over and we don't get time to read or do whatever else. Schedule in time to read, take a break for a few days a week, or set aside some time just for reading or doing those little things. (You can (should try to) do this without completely stopping blogging!) Fall in love with your favorite activities all over again!

Prevention: ask for help! Reach out!
I absolutely cannot stress this one enough. The other things I listed are all pretty basic and are things many people already do. This one though is something I have trouble with remembering to do and that I think most people don't think about. For a lot of bloggers one of their favorite parts of blogging is the community, how close-knit, helpful, loving, welcoming, and accepting other bloggers are (followers too! I love you guys!). No one minds if you reach out to them and ask for help, or request a guest post or invite them to co-host, or do something else on your blog, or for you. Catherine @ Stray Imaginations has been a life saver for me this year. When I go on trips she is always happy to thrown the occasional post up on my blog so that my followers don't get bored, I can relax, and my blog continues to show up regularly in all my followers feeds. Whether you ask a fellow blogger to do a guest post, help you host and organize a feature or event, or basic maintenance  like how to format something, work a program, or use HTML, every blogger I've ever met has been happy to help with whatever I need if they can! It is amazing and it can really help take some stress off! I don't know a single blogger that would be upset or weirded-out that someone asked for their help (it is actually pretty exciting to most bloggers that you respected them enough to think that they could help you! It means a lot to them too!). Don't be scared to contact other bloggers for help (or just for fun)! It is a big part of keeping the blogging world spinning and spinning happily at that. I am always happy to help in anyway I can and you can always reach me on Goodreads, Facebook, or e-mail.

Briana is a high school student obsessed with reading and writing. She started this blog a few years ago and enjoys the fact that there is always more to learn. She is working on accepting her mistakes and the fact that she'll never know everything and is currently drafting a plan for world domination. If you have any suggestions on how she could accomplish this, or just want to chat about books and other things, go ahead and hit her up! She'd love nothing more than to talk with you...except maybe ruling the world. In the meantime you can email her or message her on Goodreads, Twitter, or Facebook!

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