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?