Recently, I have found myself hitting a bottleneck on my blogging journey. I published my first blog post on May 17, 2020 (which is more than two years ago), and so far, I have published over 230 articles on my blog and also numerous freelance pieces on various sites like the Financial Post, MSN, and more.
While I am proud of my accomplishments, recently, I have been feeling that I am losing momentum. Yes I took a two-month hiatus to focus on my big CFE exam. Having to write 4- to 5-hour long cases (sometimes multiple in a week) on top of full-time work and reviewing study materials daily exhausted me. Even though I love writing, I really couldn’t bring myself to write any more words after finishing those cases. So I thought I should take a break.
I always committed to publishing at least one article a week before the hiatus. In the last two months, however, I published very few, most of which were guest posts. I thought that by stopping for such an extended period, I’d have a lot of urge to come back and write a whole bunch of articles. But turned out I am at least partially wrong.
I have to be honest with myself. Instead of feeling a great influx of ideas and a great urge to write and publish articles and drive traffic, what I am more acutely feeling is that I am losing momentum. I am not feeling excited doing search engine optimization, I am not excited about writing for specific keywords, I am not excited about driving traffic using social media, and I am so much less excited about affiliate sales. I am seeing with my own eyes that my stats have been plummeting, and I am scared to find that part of me has just stopped caring. Who am I now? Am I no longer the person that would get excited even over one extra affiliate sale, or the person that drove herself crazy because her site was down temporarily?
My nonchalance scares me. After all, this is my blog, my baby, my one hobby that I have poured my heart and soul in, my one thing that makes me proud of myself and makes my family proud of me.
The one good thing is that, deep down, I don’t feel like giving up, even though I am feeling that I am losing momentum at the moment. I have not thought about closing the site, because I love it.
But if I love it, then I must commit myself to crawling out of my slumber and getting back at it. I must get myself back to track.
Here are some strategies that I am implementing/trying to implement to help me get out of my slumber. If you are experiencing the same issue as me, you may want to try a few and see how they work for you.
Stop looking at stats
My site was growing every month before my hiatus. Even until early May, it was still trucking along quite well. But in the last few weeks, I have seen my stats plummet, in terms of sales generated, pageviews, everything.
This, in itself, is discouraging, even though it is the result that I expected. Not working actively on your blog, no love from the search engines.
However, this is a vicious cycle if you become obsessed with stats. The more I look at my stats every day, the more disheartened I feel. And guess what, the more disheartened I feel, the less motivated I become. It’s like there is a little voice inside my head that says, “well, it’s already so bad, it is not worth rescuing”.
But that little voice is wrong! And it must be eliminated! My site is just experiencing a little hiccup. If I don’t rescue it, who would?
The best strategy to combat this vicious cycle is to stop looking at stats. I have just forced myself to log out of everything completely, so I am not tempted to check multiple times. Sometimes not knowing is better for your mental health.
I have no idea how my blog is doing now. I want to get over this slump first before focusing again on my stats.
Remember what you have accomplished
You shouldn’t dwell on your past victories because it would make you complacent, but when you are feeling down or are losing motivation, it helps to remember what you have accomplished.
Here are a few things I have accomplished:
- Published my first blog post on May 17, 2020 (which is more than two years ago)
- Published over 230 articles on my blog
- Had several freelance pieces on various sites like the Financial Post, MSN, and more.
- Have been able to generate some income from affiliate sales and ads.
Thinking about what I have accomplished makes me feel better about myself. It helps me realize that I have done some good work, and, if I continue, it is possible to amplify my success (though I have to ignore that evil little voice inside my head telling me that I cannot)
Do the easy stuff first
At least for me, when facing a very difficult task, my first urge is to run away. However, if I can warm myself up to it, it is more likely for me to face the challenge head-on and finish whatever I need to finish. Warming up helps me get in the zone.
So how can I get back into the zone of writing and managing my blog? Well, here are some simple tasks that don’t take a lot of brain power but can still help with my blog:
- Editing and updating old articles
- Formatting articles (e.g., adding featured images, changing fonts)
- Cleaning your email inboxes, deleting all the unnecessary emails that come your way and responding to the rest
- Connect with other bloggers on social media
Once you have done the easy stuff, it may be easier for you to tackle the challenges. This is the strategy I use as a student, and I believe the principle should be the same for a blogger.
Write what you want to write about
Don’t think about search engine optimization for just a little bit. Search engine optimization, although it works, can sometimes feel a bit too mechanical. I sometimes find myself losing that personal touch that I want to convey through a personal blog if I focus solely on search engine optimization.
Don’t think about the big picture. Focus on the little step that you can take today.
Yes, I have a grand picture of what my blog is going to look like. I want my blog to reach tens of thousands of people and help them in one way or another. However, focusing too much on the grand picture can lead to frustration, especially at a time when I am already feeling a little unmotivated. This is easy to understand, because my reality is that my blog is still quite small, and there is still a long way to go before I reach that ideal state. Seeing the huge gulf between reality and my dream, at my low point, only serves to remind me how far I still have to go and how difficult my journey is.
Instead, I force myself to be a little bit more near-sighted. Forget about the big picture for now, and just focus on the next little thing I can do. For example, finishing this paragraph.
Set a time block for yourself, and stop after
This is a good time management technique that I find helpful when I am not feeling like working on my blog when I know I should: I set a time block for myself, and I tell myself that I am going to stop after that.
My ideal time block is 35 minutes: it is long enough to seriously get some stuff done, and it is short enough to not feel like I can’t see the end even before starting. Your ideal time block may be slightly different, but I suggest at least 25 minutes as recommended by the Pomodoro method.
And when I say “stop when the time is up”, I truly mean it, even if I want to continue writing. This works well for me. It is like telling my future self, see, if you concentrate for 35 minutes, you will get a break after.
Of course, you may decide that you want to continue doing whatever you are doing if you are already in the zone. But I prefer not to, just so I know that next time when I set another 35-minute block, I will be able to just stop at the 35-minute mark instead of having to write more.
Give yourself a small reward
Giving yourself a small reward also works well. For example, you may let yourself enjoy a piece of your favourite candy, or watch an episode of your favourite TV show, if you finish editing a blog post that you have been postponing for so long.
Human brains are wired to enjoy rewards. Use it to your advantage.
Find a few fellow bloggers and seek support
Sometimes, a few words of encouragement from fellow bloggers can really re-ignite your interest. Seeing what they have been doing and what they have accomplished may very likely motivate you to do something, anything, to improve your blog.
Do not hesitate to reach out to fellow bloggers. If you want to talk to me, you can always connect with me on Twitter, or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do not feel bad if you truly want to take a break. Take a break.
If you blog as a hobby, then chances are, it is okay to step away from your blog once in a while if you are feeling overwhelmed with other things going on in your life, or if you are simply losing interest temporarily.
Sometimes, it may be better to step away so you can look from afar. It may help you see more clearly what you want out of blogging.
If you are just like me who is feeling that you may be losing momentum, I hope you at least know that you are not alone on this journey. I
I hope I can get over this slump quickly. I hope you can, too.
- How to Stop Procrastinating
- My Top Time Management Techniques
- Blog Anniversary: My First Year of Blogging
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