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Wednesday, 20 July 2016

BLOGGING: Managing frustration and burnout

This post should have been out a week ago. It also should have been about what I've been doing this summer, and maybe been done in enough time for proof reading and editing. 

Unfortunately, as is pretty obvious I've been struggling with making time for writing recently - a florid combination of university, socializing, and fatigue has near on obliterated any timetable space for this blog. On top of that has been a lot of frustration and discontent sapping my love of blogging; a mix of reasons are behind those feelings, but it wasn't going away no matter how much time I had. And I figured given it's showing, I might as well talk about it. A problem shared is a problem halved, right?

Try as I might, sticking to a posting schedule has been really hard this year - it seems stupid and over-dramatic to talk about burnout with what is essentially a hobby with benefits for me, but I do miss what posting on An Honest Drug was for me in the past. You can read all the inspiration prompts and blogging resources you like, but if you're not in the right head space writing is just not going to happen. (Which isn't to say that you can't learn writing discipline, or train yourself into the right head space - just that it's difficult when there's already a lot of demotivating influences.)

"You can read all the inspiration prompts and blogging resources you like, but if you're not in the right head space writing is just not going to happen."

Some of that has been feelings of inadequacy compared with other bloggers - with everyone monetizing standards have skyrocketed, and as someone who does it in their free time that's hard to compete with. I've posted before about some of the camera troubles I've been facing, and whatever the recommended post frequency is I probably can't do it. Comparing yourself against others is never a good idea, but it's really hard when you've already noticed your own shortcomings. I've also been feeling like my blog isn't representing me, and I'm not actually sure what I want to write about now - combine all of the above with a rapidly changing personal style, bake for several months, and you have a recipe for existential writing angst. 

So how do you deal with that? I know that taking a break is generally advocated for this, and has worked for me before, but I'm tired of staying away from my blog. Giving myself deadlines and hoping it trains me into sticking to them... is clearly a terrible strategy. No, this is a more multi-faceted problem, and I've been looking at how I can make more room in my life as well as what I like writing about (and whether some of that belongs here, or in a separate place. But you didn't hear that from me). Learning to be accepting of what I'm capable of is a hard lesson (even posting this was difficult) but viewing my efforts as more of a stepping stone to something better helps me accept what they are currently. And I guess that accepting this - that I have limitations and fluctuations - is really the most important part. From there, I can start thinking bigger, and better.

Has anyone else experienced burnout with a hobby? What do you you use to get your writing urge back again? I'd really love to know, so please let me know below!