I spent the last half of 2015 limping along as a blogger. At first I thought I just needed a break. Then I got behind on emails. I was posting occasionally and every single time the comments continued to flow in. A few months into this blogger's slump, I realized that I still had just as many ideas and that I had every intention of resuming my regular posting schedule. The missing ingredient was simply MOTIVATION.
I posted about my struggle and my blogging friends told me to plug ahead anyway, jot down ideas, let them know when I figured out how to get back to blogging regularly, and that I would come back to it when I was ready. Their words were truly encouraging. Every time I didn't have a fresh post up, I remembered their words.
Eventually, I decided to take the first piece of advice and just start plugging ahead anyway. I was skeptical at first. I didn't want to make any announcements because I was SURE that after a few weeks, I'd find that my motivation was gone again. I kept sitting down at the computer, but I was holding my breath.
It's the beginning of February and I'm nearly two months into NOT losing my motivation again. About a week ago I decided to let myself breath and to be confident about the fact that my blogging motivation was back.
MOST of my readers have blogs of their own. I know you
I made a list of my most faithful commenters so that I could send them an email explaining how grateful I was to them for sticking around even when I wasn't. I'm still making my way through that list, but it frees me from feeling bad about the pile of emails I never sent to my commenters during my slump.
I went back to keeping an editorial calendar. The one I use contains a whole month at a glance. It has one section to jot down ideas and then an actual calendar where I can pencil in a schedule. If I had to pick one step that makes the most difference, it's this one.
I made a resolve to answer emails every few days and I kept it. The fact is, I blog with the intention of people reading my posts. Receiving comments lets me know that people ENJOYED what they read. Emailing these commenters lets them know that I read their comment and APPRECIATE it. The key is keeping up.
I agreed to a sponsored post. I'm dipping my toes in slowly, but sponsored content really pushes me as a blogger. It forces me to get creative, to plug my blog on social media, and to look at my writing through the eyes of someone expecting to get something out of it.
I put in the work. This looks like taking the pictures, drafting the posts, editing the sentences, and hitting publish. I haven't done this PERFECTLY, but the goal is to get the posts that I have planned up even if it's 4:30 in the afternoon on the day AFTER I had intended the post to go live.
That's it. Five simple steps.
When I made the decision to plug ahead anyway, I did what I always do when I'm overwhelmed. I took a step back and started with a list. I thought about what might be missing. I thought about what would keep me in line. Slowly but surely, I started working on each of the steps I listed above. Two months later, they're still working!
Whether you've been struggling with blogging or can feel your motivation slowly drifting away, I'd encourage you to start there too.
After that, sit in the chair and blog.
Where are you on the motivation scale right now?
P.S. Renee, you're the one who told me to plug ahead anyway. I owe you big time!!!!