Avoiding Burnout

One of the best Einstein photoshops of all time. But seriously, don’t explode.

Today’s questions for #BBAW are tough: How do you keep things fresh on your blog and in your reading? How do you stay sane, grounded, and generally happy in your blogging?

The answer is…I don’t. But for me, the good outweighs the bad. I have quite a few of the “no one is reading my blog, I should just quit” and “how does everyone make it look so easy?!” But I also have as many moments of feeling included and appreciated and like this is another outlet for friendship, camaraderie, and understanding. I’ve met some really amazing and genuine people, and that makes up for when things can be less pleasant (and there are times when it is).

My advice is likely to be a repetition of what you’ve read elsewhere, simply because it’s true!

1. Let it go. Once I humbly accepted that I would never “make it” in blogging, it got a little easier.

2. Figure out your priorities. Is it originality? Participation? Follower numbers? For me, it’s a balance of good design (my blog design matters too much to me) and original content, with good food and music sprinkled in. Do I always achieve this? Certainly not, but it’s good to have goals.

3. Find a niche, but don’t limit yourself. From what I can tell, I’m known for reading “darker, quirky” literature, but long time followers know I have a deep love for classics (Charlotte Bronte and Thomas Hardy), as well as John Irving. I also struggle with my blog name now, because reviews aren’t nearly as prominent as the used to be.

4. Don’t over commit/Learn to say no. You don’t have to do anything, this is a hobby (I imagine there are exceptions to this, but I haven’t run into it). A good, but sad, example of this is yesterday I missed the how do I keep in touch/stay connected post. I didn’t have time to get one up and it’s generally fairly evident that social media isn’t my strong suit.

How do I keep things fresh? I don’t know that I do, but a few of the things I’ve tried are taking breaks from features that aren’t working. I used to really enjoy literary mixtapes, but they are actually a lot of work for me, so I am on hiatus. In lieu of those, I’ve started something called “Tiny Book Reviews” where I post on Instagram and sometimes coincide that with a post. If I don’t, I just let it go. Sometimes career/reationships/children/school/whatever you have get in the way and that is okay.

Now if I can follow my own advice and go a little easier on myself, I will be golden.

(Probably won’t happen.)

How do you keep things fresh/avoid burnout?

Image found here.

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  • Words for Worms

    SO MUCH #1. That realization is important. And freeing. For the record, in addition to your bleak reads, I also consider you my personal SK expert AND the biggest Jane Eyre lover I know. Also the biggest Bob Dylan fan.

  • mariahelena

    Yes to all of this!

    It took me a long time to realize that it’s not the end of the word if I don’t post an essay long post every single day, and that nobody commented on a post doesn’t mean that everyone hated what I wrote (or even worse, that no one read it). I try to remind myself that my blog is for me and it should be what I need it to be at that specific time – if that means only writing one sentence comments about the books I read or only post lists that’s fine. The blog need to change and evolve with me. (Feel free to remind me about this the next time I have one of my blogging-breakdowns.)

    I really appreciate that you care about your blog design! It’s just as important as the content. (And I bet I obsess just as much about my blog design as you do about yours!)

    I do miss your literary mixtapes, but I definitely appreciate the amount of work that goes into those. Now they are this magical thing that when you do them, it’s like Christmas and birthdays and anniversaries and random weird holidays all in one.

    • mariahelena

      PS. I think your blogname is perfect. The fact that you don’t write as many book reviews now doesn’t matter at all. I always interpreted it more abstract – like reviews of the snippets of our life – not just the books you read. The book reviews weren’t even what made me stick around (since I’m notoriously bad at reading book reviews).

      Also, I don’t think I ever told you this, but your blog name actually helped me pick mine. I had been thinking about getting back into blogging for a while but couldn’t come up with a good name. I thought it had to be book-related because I knew that I would likely write mostly about books, and nothing I could think of really worked. Your blog name sparked the idea that I should pick something that really is me, and music is just as important to me as books, and ten minutes later I had registered my domain. So thanks.

  • Abby De la Rocha

    “Once I humbly accepted that I would never β€œmake it” in blogging, it got a little easier.” This really resonated with me because I went into blogging knowing I was not going to make it big and that has gone a long way in keeping me going. Thanks for sharing πŸ™‚

  • Jenny @ Reading the End

    Well, your blog is beeeeeautifully designed! So you have succeeded on that front, emphatically! I love all this advice — and yeah, if we could all follow the advice we’ve given out today, I think we’d all be much happier bloggers. :p

  • Marisa @The Daily Dosage

    I couldn’t agree more with all of this. I feel like an island most of the time but if I get out of my head and stop whining then I’m good. I suck horribly with social media and don’t think I will ever be good at it. I’m definitely ok with it but then miss a lot of the convos. But are we really missing anything, Rory? πŸ˜‰ I can definitely list all of the things I was doing to make up for it. It’s all perspective, I guess. And I knew you were a classics fan and a bit of a romantic.

  • Tea Time with Marce

    Oh taking our own advice would be golden, awww just the thought πŸ™‚ I do like that I have a ‘niche’, I think this allows fellow bloggers to start to ‘trust’ your recommendations in specific genres. You made me more interested to check out more of your blog by saying you enjoy ‘darker, quirky’……. Enjoy the weekend.

  • Naomi

    The hardest part is following the good advice we give to others, right?
    Just so you know, I think you’ve achieved your goals. πŸ™‚

  • literaryfeline

    Your first point is what finally set me free so to speak. Letting go of my expectations and just letting things follow their own course, has made such a difference both in my attitude about blogging and in how I blog.

    I agree with the others–you have a beautiful blog design! I go back and forth about paying someone to make mine better, but I’m cheap and I have no talent, so doing it myself is out. But as you suggested, we have to find our priorities.

  • Shannon @ River City Reading

    SO good on letting it go. It’s basically the only way I function, otherwise all of this blogging would be a big, stressful mess.

  • Lindsey Stefan

    Yes to priorities! I think that once you figure out the why of blogging for you, everything gets a bit simpler.

  • Jackie @ Books & Tea

    How do I avoid burnout? I try to avoid making blogging feel like an obligation. Which can be a challenge when deadlines for book tours and new releases are on the horizon, but I think you hit that in #4– don’t over commit! I love my blog, and I love the opportunities it brings, but I have to be realistic about the deadlines I can meet when I’m trying to balance work and a social life and my tendency to binge play video games.

  • Kerry M

    That theme of “just go easy on yourself” seems to be prevalent in almost all of today’s BBAW posts. And it is such sound advice in blogging and so many other things, too.

  • Emma @ Words And Peace

    “Find a niche, but don’t limit yourself. ” This has helped me a lot. France is my niche, but I do read a lot of other stuff as well

  • Alice

    Don’t over commit is wise advice!

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