What to do when your personal blog becomes a burden: 6 tips

drawing of a sad man trudging through rain carrying a huge blog on his back

If your personal blog feels like a burden, have mercy on yourself!

Over and over again I hear two stories: “Sorry I haven’t posted for a while…” and something like this: “My blog has become a burden.” Is this you?

  • Feeling guilty for missing your own schedule?
  • Feeling overcommitted with your blog?
  • Feeling embarrassed about letting down your readers?
  • Feeling disappointed that you’re not living up to your own standards?
  • Feeling secretly resentful towards your blog?

You started a personal blog with one set of expectations, for example:

  1. that you would post daily (what were you thinking?!)
  2. that you would post on the same topic every Friday of the year
  3. that you would write something original and brilliant every month, or
  4. that your blog would continue forever to follow your original plan.

Except for No.1, these are not bad plans. (Sure, some writers can achieve No.1, but very few readers will visit the same blog every day, and some feel mildly annoyed if you overload them.) And in case you wondered, I do think it’s best to start with a plan!

Why you set your expectations too high

Actually, you learn how to blog by blogging. You learn what suits you by blogging. And above all, things change! You get a new job, start writing a new book, undertake extra activities, move house, complete your original project, get involved in another hobby, or just get tired of doing the same old thing. Maybe the content is out of date. Now the blog becomes a burden, a bore, a brute.

If you start to find it’s a struggle to blog, that’s not surprising. You’re good, but you’re neither Superman nor Wonder Woman — and you don’t have to be.

Why you feel so responsible

If you get the guilts it’s probably because you read some articles about how to blog. Those articles say that you MUST blog daily, you MUST keep it up, you MUST build your audience, you MUST stick to one topic etc.

But those articles were not written for you. They were written for people whose goal was to be “successful” — directly or indirectly increasing their sales, customer base, or level of influence. If you regard yourself as a personal blogger, that kind of success was never your aim, so why should you conform to professional rules?

Instead of beating yourself up, think about your values, your real life beyond the blog, your original reason for blogging, and your readers.

6 tips for when your blog becomes a burden

  1. Notice your feelings. When you think about your blog, when you settle down to prepare a post, how do you feel? Anxious, depressed, frustrated? If it’s not fun, take at least one of the next five tips.
  2. Take blogging breaks. Short ones just because, and long ones if you’re feeling stale. Tell your readers but no need to justify or apologise. A personal blog is not a job — and if it was, you would be entitled to paid holidays.
  3. Reduce the load. Cut back. Blog less frequently or provide less text and fewer photos. Explain if you like but don’t apologise: just do it. I’ll stick my neck out and say that your readers may care but they will not mind and you won’t get fired.
  4. Review your topic. Does your original topic still interest you? If not, feel free to change it: you are the boss of your blog. If you have lost interest in your original aim (e.g. to cover breakfasts around the world), switch to a new interest. This could be the start of a great new adventure. Explain the change in a blog post. You won’t get fired.
  5. Have a trial separation. State in a post that your blog is on hold or go-slow for a few months, and disable Comments. Change your About page to make the situation clear, and give people another way to contact you — if you want to. It will soon become obvious that your blog is winding down. People can still visit the archives at this point and you can still comment on your friends’ blogs whenever you want to. If you feel lighter and freer, one day you may want to   close your blog permanently. You are going part-time.
  6. Close the blog permanently. It’s a big step, but other people do it all the time. Change the blog’s settings from Public to Private, or delete the entire blog. You are retiring from this blog. You have not been fired.

What not to do if your blog becomes a burden

Actually, you can do whatever you like — you are the boss of your blog. But I suggest you don’t carry on feeling bad about something that you chose, you control, and that once was fun.

Why do I care?

I’m not feeling bad about my own blog. But I feel sad for those who are struggling with ambivalence or worse, feeling trapped in a blog-prison — when they built the prison and they hold the key. It worries me greatly and this is my way of trying to help.

 

38 thoughts on “What to do when your personal blog becomes a burden: 6 tips

  1. You are my inspiration for the whimsical, the fun, wisdom with wit, and the commitment to writing as a craft.

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      Such a big thank you coming your way!

  2. Great advice. Echoes how I think about it all, but I’m not kind enough or generous enough to try and help others out – like you do! Thanks for caring.

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      I dunno Kay, I get carried away sometimes.

  3. lifecameos says:

    My family and I have had a number of life events that got in the way of my writing time for my blog. For a while now I have been reblogging poems that I wrote over two years ago, hoping to get back to new writing soon. I really hope that will happen soon. Meantime there are still people following my blog. I really would like to keep it going. Here’s hoping.

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      I have missed you! But if you do want to start blogging again, that’s a good way to keep the blog warm.

      1. lifecameos says:

        Thank you.

  4. Sadje says:

    Very helpful tips.

  5. cedar51 says:

    my blog has gone through stages, I was looking at back posts like in quite a few years ago, recently…there were huge lapses at times, then I changed what I blogged, I toured virtually around New Zealand…now it’s a mix of life and my art making…but I note that I’m getting ever closer to my end of free quota … not sure what I will do when that %-clock winds over… Have been looking at posting pictures elsewhere, and links to that other “place” but not happy with most of the prime places…

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      Good luck. I pay a small monthly premium.

      1. Katrina says:

        Clearly I’m out of a loop of some sort – what are you paying a small monthly premium for?

      2. Rachel McAlpine says:

        Check out WordPress plans, or chat to a IT savvy teen in your world.

      3. Rachel McAlpine says:

        Katrina, a paid account lets me do things like post audio clips and use various plug-ins. Not mandatory!

  6. rummuser says:

    No, my blog has not become a burden for me. I don’t feel pressurised or stressed with it. If and when it does, I shall simply stop blogging!

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      As always, words of wisdom from you!

  7. alison41 says:

    Sage and sensible advice. Thank you.

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      Not that you need it!

  8. Ally Bean says:

    As you know I’ve been blogging since before time began. 😉 I’ve done all of your suggestions, including shutting down a blog permanently. It’s odd how personal bloggers, myself included, feel like we have to do certain things to be authentic, but in the end it’s being yourself, whoever you might be right now, that makes for good blogging. Like you said, you learn to blog by doing it.

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      That’s a lovely comment that will hit the spot for many bloggers.

  9. retirementconfidential says:

    This is good advice. I’m happy with my blogging right now, but there are times when I have questioned the what and why of it all, and your insights could talk me off the ledge if I should need it.

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      Donna, you will do what’s right for you.

  10. Elizabeth says:

    I notice that whenever I think it might be a burden, when I get up from writing and responding I am always very cheerful. I think it’s similar to the resistance I sometimes feel about cooking, though I am always delighted to sit down with my husband for dinner.

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      Aha! Well spotted, Elizabeth.

  11. JT Twissel says:

    If you don’t enjoy blogging, don’t do it. That’s what I think!

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      It’s a mystery.

  12. Erica/Erika says:

    Great post, Rachel. I have only started blogging a few months ago. I obviously have lots to learn. Initially I thought I was at a disadvantage and yet, sometimes I think it helps to have a fresh perspective. Overall, I don’t think there is a right or wrong approach. Everyone seems to have different timing, length, voice. This is what makes it fun for me. I like how you say “you are the boss of your blog.” Thank you!

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      We all have a lot to learn as technology changes, the culture changes, and above all we change.

  13. Wise words, Rachel. I recently took two months off from blogging and it was just what I needed. Now that I’m back, I’m determined to be kinder to myself about the (self-imposed) need to stick to a schedule. I will blog when I can and when the spirit moves, but I don’t want it to get in the way of other pursuits I enjoy.

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      Perfect. Sometimes our priorities get out of whack!

  14. interesting post that can reduce or kill some of the origins of procrastination. thanks for posting

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      I think you’re right: a sense of duty can bring procrastination.

  15. Sometimes I will refrain from posting because of the time and work it will involve in responding to comments regarding my post. When I do post I must be aware of this and plan it on a day when I will be able to respond. There is a certain commitment to blogging that I wish to respect both for myself and for those who are so kind as to read my blog. <3

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      That is indeed gracious and respectful, Carol.

  16. Some great advice here, Rachel! I still get a kick out of someone (anyone!) reading my stuff and do stress about getting blocked sometimes. My thing is that I want to make a difference but I’m happy enough when people say they liked something. Varying the length is my way of keeping things fresh and also I write about anything and everything as the mood takes.

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      Your system works like a dream, Dave.

  17. “You are the boss of your blog.” Full stop. Amen.

  18. Ellen Hawley says:

    I see an endless number of posts that begin, “Sorry I haven’t posted anything in a while.” I hardly ever read beyond that. My sense is that they’re not really written for the reader, they’re written for the writer to wrestle with her(usually)self over blogging and goals and productivity. I wish her (or him) well but don’t feel the need to be present. Which may sound heard hearted, but my blog-reading time is limited. I get ruthless about what I’ll give time to.

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      That’s realistic, not reading beyond that first sentence. I expect that’s the norm, don’t you? In reverse, I would be astonished if any of my readers notice when I go AWOL. On the other hand, some communities are extremely close-knit, and some (maybe isolated) people do follow their favorites day by day.

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