The HR Juggler

When Blogging Gets Tough….

Posted on: March 4, 2011

I’m in the mood for being really honest today, partly inspired by Emma’s excellent post about wearing masks. Lately I’ve felt in a bit of a rut blogging-wise. There, I’ve said it!! I’m struggling to find the time, feeling dissatisfied with what I write and irritatingly preoccupied with page views….sad but true!!!

I know lots of people on Twitter guard their ‘personal brand’ very closely and seem to resist saying anything that isn’t positive and upbeat, but I don’t really buy into that. I think honesty often goes a long way in helping to define and articulate where I’m at and gives me the push to move myself forward.

So, here are some of the reasons I’m finding it tough to blog at the moment –

  • time (lack of!)
  • I’m often very tired, work has been extraordinarily intense lately
  • Lots of the things I’m doing at the moment are fascinating but too commercially sensitive to blog about
  • I think I haven’t quite addressed the huge shift in my working/home life since I’ve taken on new role and new working pattern
  • I had a very productive January on my blog and its hard to remember that blogging has peaks and troughs

My conclusion though is that I am going to try something a bit radical and see if I can blog my way out of it! I still love blogging and I think more than anything else, the discipline of doing it is beneficial for acknowledging whats important and making the time to reflect on things. There have been some great posts about why people blog and also a very recent one about the HRD’s decision to stop blogging, but not many that I have seen about overcoming blog apathy, getting stuck in blog ruts and bloggers block….which I am pretty sure we all suffer from time to time.

So here’s my challenge to you, fellow bloggers or otherwise….are you willing to share your thoughts about what you do when blogging gets tough for you and how you make your way out of the other side? I am certain it would help support those of us who have not been doing it for so long and help me to claw my way out of my first real rut!

PS. Writing this has been extremely therapeutic and cheered me enormously already…thank you for reading πŸ™‚

21 Responses to "When Blogging Gets Tough…."

Jim Fixx, kick-starter of the social running boom in the 80s said “The hardest step on every run is the first”. Nike turned that into “Just do it” and management trainers turned it into “JFDI”. They probably all got it from Lao Tzu’s: ‘A journey of a thousand mile starts with a single step”. Meh.

Slogging through tough times is the only answer. Just start.

God, I hate quotations!

I quite like quotations – thank you! And you are of course right. Its amazing how much better it feels just acknowledging it. Thanks for commenting, I always genuinely enjoy your wisdom πŸ™‚

Thanks for such an honest post.

I also have times like this. I was blogging three times a week at one point which, while running a coaching and psychotherapy practice, was also hard going. When I started to hit tougher times, I briefly made myself work harder and keep the production up. But that just meant my quality slipped and, being the work/life queen, I had to take my own advice and slow down.

I found it helped to review my overall objectives and to get real and honest about what I wanted from my blog and other things. That has meant, for example, that I’ve recently been happy to watch my Alexa numbers drop, because I know my attention needs to be on other things and that’s okay. I also decided to commit to quality not quantity. I’d much rather post less frequently, but be happy with what I’ve done, than feel compelled to post. Yes, that does mean in some bloggers’ eyes that you may be taken less seriously. But I think one has to consider who one is writing for. I’m certainly not here to make the bigger bloggers feel good about themselves!!

I do also sometimes tweet the headlines of posts from my archives if I have nothing currently to post. That can help keep traffic bobbing along if that’s important.

Otherwise, I’m going to be interested in what other folks say in response here!

Thanks so much for commenting Christine – you are right that we shouldn’t turn into little hamsters on the wheel of production without stepping back and thinking about why we are doing it.

I’m honestly not that bothered about traffic in the cold light of day (although its always nice to have!) I think the fact I have been distracted more with it recently is probably just a sign that my bloggin mojo is a little out of kilter πŸ˜‰

Really good suggestions and I shall think about all of them – thank you!!

Hey Alison

Don’t worry too much about it, you are consistent, relevant and interesting in your posts. Do it when it feels right.

As someone who doesn’t get it together very frequently on the blog front I appreciate those who do. I think tiredness and lack of time in hand with difficult and draining projects are something we have in common and I don’t have twins!

So…don’t beat yourself up and keep em coming when it feels right!

Hi Alison I’m sure any blogger would empathise. I do. Try not to be slave to page views – comments are a better measure of engagement. I would imagine you are doing really well- I certainly enjoy what you write. I am always fired up by what other people write so commenting on their posts and expanding your thoughts on your own blog might be worth a try. Also if you have less time do less time consuming posts – link to other stuff you like – videos, images, articles etc. Your followers will still be interested in what interests you. Also it’s your blog so don’t be afraid to try new approaches. Don’t fixate on page views – look at returning visitors and commenters too because they really like what you do.

Good questions. I frequently go several days without blogging and often start to write then delete mid way through. When I find the words aren’t flowing I make more effort to read and comment on other people’s stuff which is an important part of our growing social world. Well I think it is.

And I don’t want to get morbid about this – but I’m going to die a lot sooner than I would like (I reckon) and so I like to make time count. That motivates me to enjoy, share, learn, give and take as much as I can. And I’m extremely happy about that.

Cheers – Doug

Hi Alison, I totally understand all the points you make. I don’t blog. I did for about 9 months, internally – for the company I work for. I enjoyed it, but when it started feeling like an obligation I stopped.

I’d love to blog in the big www, but right now isn’t the time for me. One barrier is that I have a big thing about authenticity. You discuss honesty in your post. I totally agree. I am fascinated by the culture and management style of whichever company I am working for. There are plenty of experiences and thoughts, learning points, and absolutely joyous, rewarding moments, that I would love to share. But the most interesting stuff just is damn sensitive, or would cause difficulties, if blogged about. And that stops me. I don’t want to be bland. That’s why I liked the HRD’s blog so much – especially back in the early days when there were a lot of posts about the nonsense that goes on.
My other barrier is time. So I understand how this is a problem. But I think that a person has to make choices. Right now, I’ve had the most intense, rewarding, and draining year of my working life, and I have made a choice not to blog. So I don’t feel guilty about not doing it. If you choose to blog once a month or every two weeks, or whatever, so what? It’ll be like a special event. And we’ll all RT like mad. And it’s not like we all have loads of time to read a ton of blog posts – so less frequent posts, it’s just fine.
The other thing I thought…as I sit on your favourite train journey, is that maybe when stuck, one could think of a blog as an extended tweet facility. I.e. if, when replying to someone on Twitter, you are struggling with 140 characters, then pop onto the blog and type away. Just an idea.
I am full of admiration for you and the others who work in practitioner HR roles who blog. My hat is properly dipped. But at the end of the day it’s important to enjoy it.

Have a great weekend.
Flora x

Hi Alison.

I feel your pain, I started blogging in the recruitment sphere but felt very out of the loop as on maternity leave at the moment so that part of my life is a little on hold. as you know I write my ‘mummy blog’ which helps keep my sanity and I write when something happens that makes me want to share or when I am hounding for sponsorship.

I really enjoy your blog and wouldn’t worry about how often you write as when you do it is excellent.

Sit back and let the words flow!!!!

Hope alls well with you

Jane

I love this post Alison. As you know, I’m newer to blogging than you are so you probably know more about it than me. However I was told to blog for me and not for anyone else. So that’s what I do. It’s nice to see the stats and to get the comments but as it’s such good therapy and I enjoy it so much that none of this seems as important. I seem to have peaks and troughs of when I have lots or nothing to say at all. It’s all fine. I find your blog posts super inspiring, easy to read and understand and best of all, real. I don’t know if I’ve helped at all but you’re one of my favourite bloggers πŸ™‚

I’ve only been blogging properly recently, so excuse my naivity. But please refer to my comment if you can’t get motivated! I have move forwards more in the last 3 months, than I have in 2 years, just through the cathartic process and amazing support network I have only just started to tap into. If you experience one tenth of the positiveness that I have for each blog, then it is worth it. One thing I have learnt though, is it doesn’t have to be lots of words sometimes less if more.
Just keep blogging!

I wrote a huge long comment, which I then lost! But to prΓ©cis, I am hugely appreciative of all the comments and all of them have something really useful for me to reflect on.

Just writing this has been brilliant in terms of clambering back out of the rut and feeling re-energised and re-engaged. My mojo is well and truly on it’s way back…..thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!

Alison, you’re not alone there.
I’ve only just started blogging and for the last 3 weeks have had little if no inspiration. I’ve not had much time either due to interviews and other bits.
I wrote a few things, which I kept, just chose not to publish it…not yet anyway. It’s about quality not quantity.
Your posts are always a pleasure to read and if that means waiting a month to read the next one, I’ll wait πŸ™‚ just make sure you’re happy and feel ok about it. Jose πŸ™‚

Flow. Thats a word that i’ve come to keep close to my heart. When im in flow, i write. when im not, i dont. All of us go through the same angst, dont worry. I have been writing for years but having a blog was a different step. And there are so many people out there who tell you what to write, how often, what the headlines should be blah blah blah. But thats only because the ‘Personal brand’ (YUK!) evangelists have got hold of it.

the origins of blogging are about people writing a web log. Back in the day they didnt give a hoot about personal brand and who was listening. They did it just to get it out there!

In the beginning i had the same issues. I felt the pressure, got tied up with views. I even agreed to help a site get its UK arm up and running by agreeing to guest blog once a week. I managed it on top of my own blog for the agreed 8 weeks but it burnt me out.

Since then my attitude has changed completely. I now dont feel bad if i dont blog (or tweet for that matter!). I have a life and im busy! And since that time i have found that things happen that compel me to blog and the words just… flow! No point in forcing it.

Dont forget also that its not just about the blog you write – there are other blogs to read too! And they are growing in numbers! And then there are the comments! Ive got to say that some of my best writing has been on other peoples blogs as comments! I guess because its spontaneous! Top tip though – always copy what you have written before you hit the ‘post comment’ button – lost too many comments in the past!

So, as usual a way to long comment from me (Sorry!) but in answer to your original question, when the blogging gets tough i just dont do it! I know it will come back.

Hi Alison,
For me, sometimes I am inspired and I start writing right away. Half way through I feel like the quality of my thoughts has gone and content is very much reinforced. I will step away and save it as a draft. When I feel like it I go back and finish it. To be honest though. I have probably 25 drafts saved. Most of my published posts are done in one or two sittings. My biggest dilemma however is that I am involved in to many things right now, and as much as I love blogging, it looks like while I had my fun for few months now with it, I will have to put it on side for a while and focus on things which “pay mortgage”.

Glad to see your mojo is on it’s way up again! Whenever I lose my blogging mojo and it feels like a chore, I tend to take a break from my blog and live life. This then gives me new material for the blog and re-energise me to go for it again.

I am in a different blogging arena to you though, so it may differ. I work in HR, hence I ended up here!

Mich x

Hi Alison
I am the most sporadic of bloggers, and tend to write only when I can almost feel my fingers itching and when I feel this urge to write, to share, to have this kind of therapy
I think that your personal reasons for blogging help you find your personal motivation. I’m not a ‘HR blogger’ – although I work in HR I’m always aware of potentially compromising my employer by anything controversial I may write. So I don’t put pressure on myself that way.
I think that the posts that mean the most to us shine through, so why not have all our posts that way? Why blog ‘on-tap’ or to order? There’s no need. You are a wonderful writer and that shines through on every post.
Whatever your reason for blogging, you should always enjoy writing as much as we enjoy reading it x

[…] obvious post I’ve ever written, but I’m not sure I mind much . Since writing about my ‘bloggers rut’ on Thursday, I have received so many supportive and genuinely helpful comments, that my heart feels […]

Thank you so much for your lovely comments, I am hugely appreciative of all of them and have found it a really cathartic exercise to address the issue. I feel do much better, and as you may have noticed in the last few days, my love of blogging and creative inspiration has returned! I hope very much that others will find solace in this post and the truly wonderful comments which have been added.

Thank you!

I often find I begin writing a blog with one firmly held opinion in mind, only to have talked myself out of it by about half way through. This is why my blogs are usually full of doubt, or ask aloud the questions in my mind. I usually look back on old blogs and disagree totally with the opinion I expressed, or wish I’d written it differently.

This experience reminds me that I am frequently wrong, and more open to persuasion than I can often appear. For this reason, I prefer replies which disagree with the blog’s point, to those which simply say “hear hear”.

Oddly, I really enjoy having my mind changed by reasoned argument. The more I am proven to be wrong, the more I will learn and grow.

Wow – great post and great comments. This helps me no end, too. Thanks Alison, and all the people who gave advice. What a great community. Words still springing to mind are ‘flow’, ‘authenticity’ (Thanks Gareth and Flora).

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