So let’s talk a little bit about blogger’s block. It’s something I’ve only really struggled with in the past couple of years or so. From 2008 to 2013, I was blissfully unaware of what I was doing. I’d write the most long-winded posts, hunt down the canapes at events and showcase Instagram photos with way too many light leaks. However as the industry evolved and I found myself having to adapt, new thoughts came into play. Am I networking enough? Does this opening sentence make sense? Why don’t I have a strategy?
In short, as the blog became more of a business, I started to put more pressure on myself. Don’t get me wrong, I love what I’ve created, how it’s evolved and that I’m constantly kept on my toes. I realise I’m very fortunate. However, my mindset can stop me from getting my you-know-what done. Since I’m all about honesty (plus this is point number 2), I thought I’d share what happens to me when I get a bit derailed and the steps I go through in order to tackle it. It’s definitely still a work in progress (she says, after closing the window with her ASOS saved items) but I thought it best to get things out in the open. Perhaps it’s a topic for the next #YouCanSitWithUsLDN?
Step 1 – Figure Out The Reason Why
It seems that I didn’t really know what procrastination was until I hit 27. Sure there were always distractions, but now I can quite easily lose a few hours constantly checking Twitter, Instagram, Instagram Stories and emails. During one of my worst moments I even watched one of Sarah’s Stories about procrastination and the reason why we do it in the first place. It’s basically fear. It’s weird, I’m less worried about the state of the economy and more concerned that my opening sentences all start in the same way. Natasha’s written a great post about this too.
If I unpick it further, I end up doubting myself as there’s no one to bounce ideas off of. I work by myself most of the time and it’s easy to blow things out of proportion. Take this video about my natural hair for example. I had the idea, filmed it, then freaked out because I’d spoken for 40 minutes and wasn’t really sure if it made any sense. In this situation having a bit of time away helped and eventually I was able to make it work (albeit after a sudden burst of motivation at 10.45pm). Ideally next time I’d acknowledge the feelings earlier and move onto the next step.
Step 2 – Tell Someone
Are you the kind of person who bottles things up? It’s weird, I have a bit of a network and several group chats but I still struggle to tell people if I’m having a bad day. I think it’s a combination of not wanting to make a fuss and feeling a bit ashamed. When I do end up confiding, I realise that so many people are going through the same thing. I felt all kinds of reassured when Dolly Alderton admitted to endless scrolling on a recent podcast. She does it too! And she’s writing a book!
It’s just a case of biting the bullet. This year I started having weekly meetings with a business mentor, which are fixed in my diary. After a few bad days, it forced me to interact and be honest about how I was feeling. Things were nowhere near as bad as I thought. If you’re yet to build a network, then I’d definitely recommend taking part in twitter chats such as Blogtacular, Blogosphere and The Insta Chat. The topics often relate to the trickier aspects of blogging and you can quite easily spot people going through similar things in the hashtag. Reach out and make those connections!
Step 3 – Give Yourself an ego boost
Think of this next tip as having a stash of emergency chocolate hidden in your desk drawer. I’d definitely recommend collecting any positive comments, emails or tweets you receive from your readers. Not only is it handy if you ever need a quote for a media kit but they’re also pretty reassuring to read if you’re at a low point. Often we’re so attached to what we’re doing, we don’t even realise the value it may have created.
I have a secret Pinterest board that features anywhere I’ve been mentioned, plus I keep a folder called ‘Lovely Emails’ so that I don’t lose any of them. It’s also good to pick out certain words/themes that appear over and over again as it may inspire you in terms of content. For example I’ve got things like ‘Being herself’, ‘Pulls back the curtain on all things blogging’ and ‘Riot of colours and adventures.’ Ahhh, you guys!
Step 4 – Surround Yourself With Positive Resources
Once I’ve had a bit of unproductive time, I try to avoid the things that are triggering me (so the Twitter app gets deleted) and I get out of the blogging bubble. I know I bleat on about this, but podcasts really do help. Some of my entrepreneurial favourites allow me to think in a broader way about any situation and I usually feel better within the hour. I’d definitely recommend Behind The Brilliance, My Taught You and Emma’s recent episode featuring Seth Godin.
Step 5 – Work through the discomfort
This is one of the practices picked up from CBT and it’s basically just knuckling down and tackling whatever fear it may be. My main issue is that I come up with an idea, leave it for a bit, then panic about the points I actually want to make.
In these situations, I take a few deep breaths. I tell myself to just get something on the page, it’s not the final draft and no one has to see it. I sometimes time myself so I can give myself a ‘break’ after 25 minutes or so, but sometimes I get so into writing, I forget and find my rhythm. To prevent this from happening in future, the aim is to write down detailed notes and a rough structure whenever I get an idea, so I’m not totally lost.
I also chat a little bit about this in my latest vlog and I’m sure the next post in this series will be about controlling my social media usage. Basically I’m just trying to create a little plan for myself, understand how I work and how the ebbs and flows of motivation affect me (it also makes me a great housemate).
I know that things may be different for you if you’re juggling with a full-time job but I’d love to hear your thoughts. What are the things you’re struggling with at the moment?