Dealing with Creative Burnout

Erica Cook quote

It was kind of quiet around these parts last week because I took an unplanned blog hiatus last week. I had written a post — this one, actually — and I kept thinking, oh I’ll post it tomorrow. Or oh, I’ll post it on Thursday. And then it just didn’t happen.

 

And honestly, it was exactly what I needed. I’ve been feeling burned out lately, and my brain desperately needed a rest. Earlier this year I was feeling bored and uninspired with the blog, so I decided to push myself to blog more. I started posting three times a week, planning out my editorial calendar a month ahead, and reading all sorts of articles about how to blog better, write better, and how to create a brand. I was really inspired, and it seemed to be working for me. Until it didn’t.

 

Little by little, I started feeling burned out. If I got busy with creative writing or reading and missed a blog post, I’d feel like a failure and beat myself up about it. I worried I wasn’t good enough. I noticed that I changed the editorial calendars so much throughout the month that I was lucky if more than two blog posts I had planned actually made it to the blog. Suddenly my process wasn’t working for me anymore, and I couldn’t figure out why.

 

I started thinking about summer plans for the blog. I didn’t want to stop blogging entirely, but trying to keep a strict blogging schedule in the middle of moving and traveling (a lot!) didn’t seem feasible. I considered going on a semi-hiatus and was so excited about the idea (and was honestly tempted to start it a month early) that I thought Maybe this should tell me something.

 

 

I realized that so many blogs I read — and really like! — encourage bloggers to take their blogs further in order to be more successful. Which I think is great — but lately reading posts about SEO or “thinking bigger with my blog” make me want to run for the hills. I’ve realized that those blogs focus on tying your blog into your creative business — which is great for them, but not for me. (Thanks Amy Poehler!)

 

I love Sarah Von Bargen’s post about changing your perspective on blogging: “You’ll like blogging more if you view it as an opportunity maker more than a money maker. We’ll all enjoy our blogs more if we see them as a means to an end. Luckily, we get to choose what that ‘end’ looks like.”

 

For me, I love participating in a community of other writers and bloggers (even if I’m shy online and not super vocal sometimes). I love talking about the creative process, and sometimes sharing a favorite recipe. While there’s nothing wrong with monetizing your blog or attaching it to your business, that’s not why I started blogging.

 

So I’m officially taking myself out of the blogging “competition” (that was mostly set up in my own head by my own super-high expectations). I don’t have the time or resources to spend on my blog as some other bloggers do, and you know what, I’m fine with that — I’m ok with being small. I’m sure I’ll eventually be inspired to up my blogging game, but for now, I’m letting myself off the hook. I don’t have to be perfect. I just have to show up and put in the work.

 

What is your “end” for blogging? Do you ever feel burned out because you’re trying to constantly improve?

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