Trying to Avoid Blogger Burnout
Do you have a lot on your plate? Trying to do too much can be unhealthy, but what can you do if you have a lot to accomplish?
I enjoy blogging; I really do. That’s why I started my blog as a way to express myself and begin writing again.
My first book The Stories They Told was published 12 years ago. I never intended to stop writing, but life happens and sometimes you just get swept up.
Now that I’m writing again, it’s as if I’m trying to make up for lost time, and have quite a bit going on. Here’s how I’m balancing my many projects and trying to avoid burnout.
Blogging is a lot more work than I thought it would be. I intended to just write what I wanted, hit the publish button, and then set it and forget it.
However, there is a desire that all bloggers must feel to actually have their voices heard. This has lead to countless hours of creating pins and making sure my blogs have had a presence on multiple social media sites: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.
To me, all of this promotion is not fun. I do enjoy connecting with people and have met some great writers in the process. But it’s a lot of work, and all that time takes away from the thing that I actually enjoy: writing.
Blogging is a lot of work
Many bloggers often pose the question, “How many blog posts do you publish per week?” My goal has been to publish one post each week. However, this type of unnecessary self-imposed deadline has brought unneeded stress. I’ve decided that I’m going to post at irregular times with no set expectation of quantity.
I work a regular job from 7:30–4, which somehow manages to be both boring and extremely stressful.
After I escape the clutches of work, I am happy to spend the rest of the evening with my daughter until she goes to bed at around 8:30. So, this leaves roughly 9–11 for me to do as I please — provided my daughter doesn’t get out of bed hundreds of times.
Sometimes, writing is out of the question at this point due to tiredness. If I don’t think I’d be at my best, I’d rather watch a movie or read a book.
What else I’m working on
I’m also concurrently working on my next book, which will be my first novel — The Stories They Told was a collection of short stories. My work in progress is at 29,000 words, which is not too bad considering my time to write is somewhat limited and I’ve only been working on it for about four months.
I created a printable worksheet to help track my word count progress, which you can download for free here. It contains 90 squares; each represents 1,000 words and are colored in every time another 1,000 words are completed. I’m a visual learner, so this has really helped put my most ambitious task in perspective.
I recently read On Writing by Steven King, which inspired me to try to write in the morning instead. This is much more practical for me on the weekends. However, when I have committed to it, I feel it’s been successful. He advised aiming for 1,000 words a session, which I did on my recent week off.
I didn’t hit that goal every day but was able to on the first two days. Then, I followed that up with four straight days of over 500 words. I can’t wait to be able to share this book with the world. However, the reality is that it will probably take another year or two to write and edit.
Another project I have going on is that my wife is helping me publish a children’s picture book. This hasn’t taken too much of my time; my wife is the artist and doing all the heavy lifting on this one. However, it is another small mountain I intend to climb. I think that my persistence is starting to annoy her: I often ask if she plans on drawing each night.
It looks great so far. She is turning into a perfectionist when it comes to her art in our picture book. I can tell that by all the time she is putting into each page: sometimes multiple nights on a single page. She was the artist on our previous collaboration: Doghouse In Your Soul. It was a very well-drawn comic, but she is putting so much more time and effort into this work.
But wait, there’s more
I’m also researching starting my own business. It would be a side hustle as the kids are calling it these days, but one I would hope to maybe grow to the point where I could make something more of it one day.
I have so many dreams; one of them is bound to stick. My ultimate goal would be to have success doing something I enjoy so that I could eliminate the aforementioned 7:30–4 job and free up more time to do more things that I love.
I’m sure there are many creative people who have this same ambition. I can honestly say that I wish they all could achieve this goal.
In the meantime, I’m just going to strive to slow down a bit and learn to relax. I’ll enjoy what I love to do when I get to do it and try my best to get through each workday relatively unscathed.
What I do to relax and avoid burnout
I have started to meditate each morning. For me, this simply means taking 10 minutes before work each day, sitting at the back door with my coffee, and clearing my mind. I do this by listening to “Whatever” by Oasis two times — I don’t think I could ever possibly get sick of hearing it.
I’ve also been listening to a lot of great audiobooks. They’re not only entertaining but also offer insight and help provide clarity. I’m on my second Tim Ferriss book. I’d highly recommend checking out his work if you are looking for inspiration or practical advice.
I use Audible, which you can try out with a free 30-day trial here (disclaimer: this is an affiliate link, which I’ll receive a small compensation for if you take advantage of the free trial). I tried one work of fiction on Audible but was personally bothered by not being able to see how each sentence was structured, so I’ll be sticking to non-fiction.
The audiobooks are great because I can listen to them while going for a walk. This helps me stay mentally and physically healthy at the same time. It’s a great way to alleviate stress, and I’ve been hitting 10,000 steps for the day with relative ease.
By slowing down a bit, tracking and celebrating my progress, and taking time to relax, I think I’ll be much better suited to avoid burning myself out than I have been in the past.