Six Ways to Reduce Blogging Stress

Posted February 22, 2015 by LeahAdmin in Discussions / 22 Comments

Six Ways to Reduce Blogging Stress

There has been a lot of talk lately about the pressures all bloggers feel at one time or another. In addition to commitments like work and family, we feel like we have to read all the new releases, publish posts regularly, reply to comments, read and comment on other people’s blogs, and be active on social media. As Andi wrote on Estella’s Revenge, “none of us are WonderWoman.” We can’t always do it all, and that’s fine.

We blog because it’s something we love to do, but I think we sometimes lose sight of that when we get upset that our stats are “too low” or compare our blogs to other “more successful” sites. When we bury ourselves under a pile of review copies and feel panicky when we see just how many new posts are in our feed readers each day, blogging can start to feel like an obligation. And that’s not fun.

All of this has gotten me thinking about healthy ways we can react when it all feels like too much — when we’re drowning in grad school, kids’ busy schedules, a mentally draining job, depression, or any of the other thousand things that can overwhelm us.

Six ways to reduce blogging stress:

1. Evaluate how much you CAN do without feeling overwhelmed. If you feel like you’re spending too much time on blogging-related activities, figure out how much time you ARE comfortable with. Blogging isn’t a job, and it isn’t a competition. Forget about so-called obligations and do what works for your life and your sanity. If it means reviewing fewer books or spending less time commenting and tweeting, that’s totally fine.

2. Ask for help. Sometimes, life gets insanely busy and we just don’t have the time or mental space to blog. It happens to everyone, and most bloggers are happy to help a friend by writing a guest post or contributing in some way. It can be as small as rounding up recommendations. A few days ago, a blogger friend on Facebook asked her friends to tell her their favorite book so far this year so she could compile a list for a post during a busy time with work and grad school. It took zero effort from any of us, and it gave her one fewer post to worry about.

3. Reduce your posting frequency. For many people, posting five times a week isn’t realistic. Like I said in #1, figure out what you can do, and go from there. Maybe that means posting three times a week, or maybe twice. Maybe it means tossing out your schedule and just writing when you feel compelled to do so.

4. Take a break.  There is no shame in taking a break from blogging, whether it’s for a week, or a month, or however long you need. Sometimes you need to stop and recharge your batteries so that you can come back with renewed vigor. I promise your friends and readers will still be there for you when you return.

5. Remind yourself that there are zero actual consequences for doing any of these things. I know I have gotten caught up in trying to read and review all the books, and it can become stressful. But the thing is, nothing bad will actually happen if you DON’T review those books. You are not under contract from a publisher to review every book they send you. If saying “screw it” to your galley pile lifts a weight off your chest, do it. And maybe your stats will dip if you post less frequently or take a break — but are you really in this for the stats? I didn’t think so.

6. Remember why you blog in the first place. If you’re like me, you blog because you love books and are thrilled to have found a community that revolves around bookish talk. You don’t blog for page views or for free books, and you certainly don’t blog for the money — because as we all know, there isn’t any. You blog because you enjoy talking about books in the Internet. And if you aren’t enjoying it — if it starts to feel like a job — it’s time to step back and figure out how to make it fun again. Maybe it means accepting fewer books from publishers or posting less frequently or taking a break. Maybe it means cutting back on social media or cleaning out your feed reader. Do whatever it takes to make blogging something you WANT to do — not something you feel obligated to do.

What strategies do you use when blogging starts to stress you out?

  • Terri Talks Books

    Good advice! I have little pep talks with myself on a regular basis reminding said self that I do this for fun and as a record of my thoughts & reading. If I’m not blogging or making Booktube videos much, I maintain social connections with my online book friends through Twitter and Instagram until I get myself sorted out again.

    • I like the idea of pep talks! And you’re so right that social media is a great way to stay connected even when you don’t have as much time to blog.

  • These are all wonderful pieces of advice…particularly the last two. I think we’re all really good at pressuring ourselves much more than anyone else. Publishers are not knocking down our doors if we don’t review a book and readers won’t abandon our blogs if we post one time a week instead of five. It can be hard to remember, but starting with the reasons we blog is always a good place.

  • I’m big on cutting back on ARC’s when I’m overwhelmed because they are the only books that come with a deadline. Sometimes it’s also helpful to remind myself that blogging is fun and that it’s okay to take a break. Luckily, my husband is pretty attuned to my moods and make sure I don’t overdo it.

    • I think that’s a great choice. The “deadlines” can really make blogging feel like a job, and that isn’t fun.

  • I agree. I don’t pay any attention to my stats so they don’t stress me out. I write as an outlet for my ideas and feel zero stress about it at all.

  • All awesome suggestions!

  • Great tips! And you’re right – blogging should be enjoyable and when it starts feeling stressful, that’s when we need to figure out how to make it fun again.

  • Yes to all of this! I had to remind myself that the blog was the number one outlet for my book chatter. I do link to other social media outlets to hopefully engage with others but found myself spending way too much time on those outlets instead of focusing on the blog and more importantly…reading! Now I use those other sites just for quick updates and information for myself.

  • I should definitely do more asking people for help in advance. Right now, I’m drowning in a paper I’m writing and can’t get to my blog at all, but I didn’t plan enough to ask for guest posts. Next time! 🙂

  • Kerry M

    Love this! Especially remembering why we started doing this in the first place… which for most of us, was not for stats or numbers or some kind of competition, but because we just really like talking about books.

  • Great tips!

  • kerri

    Great advice! It shouldn’t be so stressful. Whenever I feel stressed by my blog, I walk away and pick up a book and like magic I am happy again. Isn’t that why we blog to begin with?

  • All of this is great advice. I had to stop accepting review copies because it was stressing me out too much (I only did it for a brief time). I hated the pressure of having to review a book. Now I only comment on books when I actually have something to say about them.

    • I’ve definitely been feeling the stress lately, but I’m looking forward to a smaller review load later this spring! Your approach sounds so much more relaxing.

  • Great advice and post! For me, number 5 is most important. I do not read or review many brand new books. It doesn’t make me as attractive to publishers when I DO want to snag an ARC, but I’ve stopped caring. I’ve still managed to get review copies for many titles I’m actually excited about (usually from authors I’ve read before), but other than that I focus on reading and review the books I want to read. Often that means I’m posting reviews of books that have been out for 1 to 300 years. I enjoy bringing attention and discussion to books that aren’t brand spankin’ new, and it keeps me sane. I’d feel like I was missing out on a lot of books and authors I love to read if I started focusing more on brand new titles.

    • I think that’s a great approach. I took on too many review copies at the beginning of this year, and I’m really looking forward to slowing down in April and May, so I can focus on the backlist books I’ve been dying to read for ages.