It’s pretty easy to start a blog, especially when you’re excited about it. Brainstorming names is fun! Deciding on a platform takes some work, but it’s still pretty neat. Making a banner? Fun. Before too long your blog is set up and you’re ready to write your first post. The whole thing might take a few hours or maybe a few days, but it’s not terribly difficult.
It’s also easy to publish your first few posts. That whole time that you’ve been setting up your blog you’ve probably had ideas swirling in your mind and now you have somewhere to put them. Hooray!
A new blog comes with a bit of an adrenaline rush. It’s exciting. This thing could be anything! The future is so bright
And then as the weeks pass it begins to get hard. All the initial ideas are used up. It seems like a lot of effort, hours and hours of effort really, to write and edit and photograph every post. And for what? Where’s the benefit? What’s the point?
This cycle doesn’t just apply to blogging, of course. It applies to anything new that you begin with gusto. The beginning is propelled by the project’s novelty and your enthusiasm. Once those two begin to fade, things can start to fizzle.
It’s possible to get through that fizzle stage. If you’re able to keep going even when you really don’t feel like it, you’ll come out the other side with more devotion than you began with. And over time you’ll begin to see the rewards of your work.
I often run out of ideas, or just don’t feel like working on my blog. When things seem endless and without reward here are some strategies that I employ:
Get back on track as soon as you can. Did you set out to publish a new post on Mondays and Thursdays, but failed to publish anything last week? Yep. That happens. When you slip up, just get back on track as soon as you can.
For several years I went to Weight Watchers meetings every Sunday morning. We had a really exceptional group leader and I learned so much from her about our internal dialogues and how they get in our way. She used to say don’t tell yourself, “Screw it, I blew it.” In the context of weight loss this meant you shouldn’t say, “I ate a piece of cake at a birthday party today so now I’m off my diet and can eat a four slices of pizza for dinner.”
Instead, the self-talk should be, “I ate a piece of cake today so now I’ll have a healthy dinner and get right back on track.”
Monday will be here before you know it. Write a great post and keep going, no apologies needed.
Restructure the project so that it’s achievable. Were you planning to publish a free tutorial once a month, but now feel overwhelmed at the thought? Change the project to make it work for you. How about every other month, or once every three months?
Or maybe you were only going to blog about polymer clay, but you’re also passionate about science fiction and find yourself wishing you could write about that as well? Just do it. You can have a polymer clay and science fiction blog. I have a softies and creative business blog! It’s entirely okay to edit a goal to make it something you’ll enjoy doing if that will help you to keep going.
Pull on your own strength. Think back to a time in the past when you tackled something that felt really hard. All of us have done it, whether it was living alone in a new city and having to make new friends, or working a demanding job, or taking care of an aging parent. If you got through that, you can do this, too. It might seem dramatic to say that in the context of blogging, but continuing on with any project, even a craft blog, is difficult and it’s helpful to remind yourself that you’re strong.
Impose deadlines. Almost every aspect of running a creative business on your own involves self-discipline. Knowing that you have a bunch of things to accomplish with no deadline is dangerous. Since they aren’t going to come from a boss or someone else, the deadlines have to come from you.
I blog Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. I air a new podcast on the first and third Monday of each month. I send out my newsletter on Wednesdays at 10:00 EST. These three things structure my week and my month and all of them come from me putting stuff on my calendar and then sticking to it, even when I don’t feel like it.
If you’ve started something like a blog, or an Etsy shop, or a podcast, or even a quilt, and are now in that dreadful uninspired middle phase, get right back on track. Restructure the project, pull on your own strengths, and impose some deadlines. Instead of feeling badly that you let things slide, just get going again. Soon you’ll likely remember why it was you started in the first place and be energized to continue.