Many people start blogs as a creative outlet for sharing their passions and reaching out to help others by sharing their advice and vast knowledge on an any given topic. Add to that the potential for making a very comfortable living doing what they love, and it’s easy to see why so many are eager to try their hand at blogging.
I’ve spent several years following many talented writers who regularly crank out thought-provoking, valuable content-rich posts on a weekly basis, quickly and insightfully responding to questions and comments from their knowledge-hungry readers. But really, who has time for that?
Let’s be real. Blogging requires hard work, dedication and organization and honestly, wouldn’t you rather be vegged out in front of the TV or tucked away in your bed, dreaming your life away? Of course you would, and I know a few cats who would agree with you. But what do you do when you find that you’re caught up in that exhausting cycle of writing, publishing, promoting and engaging? When the freedom from the 9 to 5 office grind has got you totally regretting that impromptu beach trip with your family?
Well today’s your lucky day, because I’m here to share with you (with the help of a few of my feline [mostly] friends) several fool-proof ways to disengage with your audience, slow down or stop your production and ensure that your audience and profits will drop faster than the speed of light!
You remember how it was before you started your own blog, right? You lurked for months or more in the blogosphere, perusing the comments sections and related social media posts, looking for answers to questions that you yourself were afraid to ask. I get it. You’re a bit shy at times and people can be scary, so the less risk you take by immersing yourself in social engagement with readers and fellow bloggers, the better. And if it ain’t broke… After all, networking is overrated and you surely wouldn’t want to risk drawing attention and traffic to your brand or the posts you’ve worked so hard to write. We’ll talk more about writing posts in a moment. But first:
Nothing you have to say is really important, so why bother sharing who you really are with your readers? Valuable information is valuable information whether it’s doled out in a way that amuses or in a way that bores, and since you don’t really owe anybody a damn thing, don’t feel bad about lulling your readers into a snooze fest with your monotonous writing style. After all, if you really wanted people to get a feel for your down-to-earth nature, delightful humor or scathing whit, you likely would have tried your hand at stand-up comedy, not incorporate these charming qualities into your writing, amiright?
You’ve heard the saying: “Opinions are like _____ …” It seems everybody’s got one and can’t wait to share it, whether you want to hear it or not. Screw them. This is your blog and you can run it any way you like. That a few well-meaning readers might have a question about, or an alternate perspective on something you’ve written does not obligate you to engage in respectful mature debate. And who would blame you for giving the occasional dissenter a real piece of your mind? In fact, the sense of security and anonymity the internet offers can be a real advantage when the urge strikes to respond with contempt to anyone who dares exhibit a thought that conflicts with your own. This strategy is guaranteed to drop your readership, too. It’s a win‑win!
As pointed out above, dazzling others with your winning personality and engaging with your readers and fellow bloggers is a lot of work that takes time away from other activities you could be doing, like napping or bingeing on your favorite Netflix Original show. Happily, this problem is best solved by becoming lax in your blog output all together. By simply learning to prioritize in a way that allows you to be inefficient and maximize the precious time wasted, you’ll soon lose inspiration and ambition, run out of ideas for blog posts and eventually be free of those pesky readers who’ve kept your analytics counter moving north. So free yourself of the guilt you’ve been carrying around the past couple of months because you’ve neglected your writing and embrace your MIA status with open arms. Your conscience will thank you.
Despite employing all of the above, is entirely possible that you will find yourself with a few remaining blog subscribers or readers. Whether these hangers-on are the result of loyalty or the consequence of being too lazy to click the “unsubscribe” link, don’t despair. Their small number won’t bring you enough troublesome traffic to warrant any profit. Just the same, these too are handled with comparable ease as the above-listed steps. Are you ready for it? Simply walk away. Resign your blog to the vast graveyard of dashed hopes and save yourself the hassle of checking your blog dash for comments, keeping up the social media accounts or the expense of a domain and monthly hosting. You’re in good company. One New York Times article cited that 95% of blogs go belly up. That’s huge. Why should you stand apart from the others? You’ve got nothing to prove. Soon you’ll be free to spend your time doing the things you really love. Your couch awaits.
We all experience days where we just cannot get motivated, and some of us more than others. Lackluster motivation can be a detriment to any task, but when you’re trying to pump out blog posts or accomplish any other imaginative work, it can be a real creativity killer.
As I gain more experience in blogging, I’m learning that I need to take advantage of the moments that I have ideas and/or things to say about those ideas by recording, writing or typing them right away. That way, when I am in the mood to write something and my creative juices aren’t exactly flowing, I have a stash of ideas ready and waiting to be elaborated on. Also, I’m terribly forgetful and thoughts and ideas dash out of my head almost as quickly as they come in.
But what about those times – and we all have them – when the obstacle we face is lethargy, lack of desire or disinterest? When the desire to curl up in bed or lounge in front of the TV for a Netflix binge overpowers our self-starting nature?
I do take time out on occasion to regain my sanity by indulging in a lazy day of nothing, but it’s a slippery slope. Add to that the day-to-day stresses that can pile up and sap me of energy and even hope, and I’ve got to have a strategy ready to implement when I’m stuck in a cycle of inertia or else I’ll end up putting off my writing or worse, neglect it long-term, and that doesn’t work for me.
Following are my go-to steps for getting back on track and into the game:
Endorphins or “feel-good” hormones are secreted in the brain and nervous system and activate the body’s opiate receptors, reducing stress and fatigue, lifting our moods and causing us to feel more focused, among other things. One of the most powerful endorphin boosters is exercise. A mere 10 to 30 minutes (each person is different) can make a world of difference in your mental outlook. So, go for a run or do some intense exercise to raise your heart rate and produce a good sweat. Or if you’re like me, you benefit from simply blasting music and dancing around your house. It’s free and nobody has to know but you! A quick high-intensity workout really refreshes me and gives me a positive perspective when I’m feeling down and blah.
Another free and easy trick to feeling better and lifting the mood is to get natural sunlight. The serotonin boost occurs when sunlight goes through the eyes and triggers receptors in the retina that signal the brain to produce more of the hormone, reducing stress and anxiety that can get in the way of creative thinking. Five to ten minutes is all that’s needed!
The sights, sounds and smells around you can have a drastic effect on your focus and creativity. Waking up to a cluttered bedroom or walking into a cluttered office can really hamper your ability to be productive; so, when fighting to get back into a creative mindset, take time to ensure your environment is clean and organized before going to sleep at night, allowing you to wake up in a clutter-free space. This contributes greatly to mental clarity and ability to focus on necessary tasks.
Additionally, a pleasant workspace can be very inspiring when you need to write. Decluttering your desk or worktable, playing some mood music and lighting your favorite incense or candles will go a long way toward getting your creative juices flowing and help you out of your slump. And if you need to, get out! Take your work to a coffee shop, a park or the beach. Change your surroundings and get flowing, stat!
Finally, what you put into your body has a huge effect on your state of mind. Nutrient-dense whole foods nourish the mind as well as the body, while sugar and starches make you sluggish and slow down the thinking process. It’s science! So the next time you sit down to work or write and you’re feeling foggy, reconsider reaching for the sugar-laden coffee drink with pastry and instead opt for something that will rev your engines, like a handful of almonds and a nice flavored mineral water (if that’s your thing).
Of course, you will have days where you will have no choice but to submit to a good day of relaxation for your mental health, and there’s nothing wrong with that! But if you’re like me and you find that one day leads to
a week or a month a year (okay, ya got me!) of neglectful lounging, it might help to have a few tips up your sleeve to start climbing out of your hole.
Try all or a few of these tips and let me know how you get on. I’d love to hear from you!
From time to time, I find myself feeling a little frustrated when I don’t quite “have it all together.” Case in point, I’m currently sitting in my home office which very visibly has not been vacuumed since my return from vacation nearly a week ago; the mail basket sitting on my desk is overflowing with envelopes I’ve yet to open; my voice mail box is so full it can’t take any new messages; and I’m sipping coffee from one of 3 drinking vessels left on my work station during the course of the week. (About 10 minutes ago, I picked up the wrong mug. Ugh!)
Far from simply being the 1980’s advertising campaign in the U.S. War on Drugs (yeah, I know, I’m totally dating myself here), “Just Say No” has become a personal mantra for me, from dealings with over-entitled friends and family to pushy salespersons and more recently, clients. While the idea has held for decades that the client is always right, a new perspective with a hefty dose of logic has wandered onto the business scene.
The rich warm aroma of brewing coffee; the clicking of fingers on keyboards; the clacking of high heels on hard floors; the background hum of paper-shuffling, printers and voices – these are just a few of the ambient smells, sounds and sights of the typical office that I have come to miss while working from home, a sentiment I’ve discovered to be beyond the grasp of many I know still subject to the conventional grind of their occupations and even at times a surprise to myself.