Pull yourself together soldier! *slaps you round the face with a wet kipper*
Did that work? No? Oh. Then here's some random thoughts for those who are going through a bit of a blogging lull patch at the moment.
Read Less Blogs
This sort of goes against everything I have ever said about blogging, community and getting involved. But if you are the sort of person, like me, who suffers from 'comparison fatigue' it's the way forward. This is a deeply personal thing, some people can read beautiful blog posts and only feel love and inspiration and that's a truly lovely quality. However there are some of us that feel that love and inspiration with after feelings of something like 'I wish I could write like that', 'I wish my photos looked that good', 'If only I came up with a cool idea like that!' which soon translates into 'I'm a crap blogger, why do I even bother?'
Those feelings do not make you a bad person. They just mean that you need to focus on re-kindling the love and enthusiasm for your blog, think back to a time when you were loving the bones of it - what's changed since then? It's easy to get caught up in a 'well everyone else is doing blahhh so that must be what people want to read' mentality. Sit down and write a list of what you enjoy doing, what you love, what you are good at and ideas for how you can actively be different, try and think of one thing that you do that not many other people do.
I've started to read less blogs (more on that further down) for this very reason and I personally don't think there's any shame at all in admitting that although I know comparison is the thief of joy that actually it's something I do far too much.
It's an app that I stumbled across whilst looking at customer examples of Squarespace templates. I instantly fell in love with it's ethos, how time spent wisely moves us towards the quality relationships, career progression, health, and well being we desire. How unshepherded, time is easily squandered leading to days ending with an unsatisfactory answer to “What did I get done today?” Handle is about directing your attention with care.
I have been using the free iPhone app (it's not on android - soz), there's also a Chrome extension for desktops but to be honest just having it on my phone has been all I have needed. It syncs with my Gmail, making my email look way more beautiful than the Gmail app, and it gives me the option to add an email to my Calendar or To Do list. Invitation to an event email that I accept goes into my calender with a quick swipe. It's genius.
The Read Later option is what I am using to be my blog reading list. This ties in with my earlier comment about reading less blogs and also into the 'creating a ritual' aspect of the '7 Steps to Slow Things Down' free email course that Eleanor from Creative Countryside offers. I subscribed by email to a handful of blogs I really love, when their emails come in I mark them as 'Read Later'. Then, when I get a quiet moment, maybe a mid-morning cuppa or when I am early for the school run, I dip into the Read Later list and click straight through to a blog post. For me that works wonderfully as it's enriching little moments of the day. I'll still sit down maybe once a week with my macbook and my 'Blog Reading List' on there and catch up with other blogs, but very much as an when, no pressures.
The To Do list is really handy, I pop in the blogging work I need to get done, setting two reminders to poke me, I simply check them off when done. The whole 'doing it all from my mobile phone' thing works perfectly for me. I've tried personal organizers and Google calendar in the past but they never clicked - Handle clicked instantly, because it's all wherever I am, in my pocket, in my phone.
Do check it out here, it's seriously changed the amount of time I have to myself and pigeonhole work time.
Remind yourself what you love to blog about
I've done that this week and it's made a huge difference to my blogging mindset. I've been back out in the forest taking photos and loving every minute of it. This reminded me that I started the year with my 'Year in Footsteps' promise, to walk a different walk every day. That lasted a month till I wandered off the routine, in hindsight I put too much pressure on myself to write a post about where I had walked everyday. Now although that didn't work it does hold some key things that I love - the love of being outdoors, in the forest, taking photos for no other reason than I enjoy it. So I'll be doing that a lot more from now on and my content will reflect that. I'm not going to overthink this, there's no need to ask myself questions like 'Won't everyone get bored if I keep posting photos of the forest?' because frankly that's not the point is it? What people think, what you think. It doesn't mean that I don't care what my readers think, more that I know that I will produce better content if it's content that I can be proud of.
If you are in a bit of a blogging state of 'mehhhh' the good news is that it's nearly the Summer holidays, the one time of the year when everyone de-camps for family time and blogging in general becomes more quiet. The perfect time to reassess what you blog about and if it's making you happy. Don't just look back and think of content that really made you happy and worked, think of the things that didn't work so well too. That will help guide you going forwards.
You do not need to start a new blog because you are unhappy with the one you have
Now I did that last year with the whole Manneskjur thing so here's my nugget of advice from someone who has been there. If you have been blogging for a while your blog is an asset. I bloody hate the name Mammasaurus to the bottom of the pits of satanic hell. You know why? It scream mummy blogger, the first impression when you hear that name is 'mummy', it's irrelevant to 99% old my content these days. Hence why my new logo only has an M in it. Obviously think long and hard about your blog name before you start it kids.
Because my blog has history it means that new content will be more likely to be found, people will be more likely to want to work with me. Starting a new blog and getting it's name out there is not easy, way more harder than it was 5 years ago, bear that in mind. A blog is more than a name, it's a person, it's you. You can dye your hair if you fancy a change and your blog is no different, change if it is you want, what you write about, the focus or design. Defeatism is the easy option, not the smart one when it comes to this.
Most bloggers live near other bloggers, whether they know it or not. Why not ask around on social media to see if there's anyone who lives near to you and take the plunge and suggest meeting for a coffee? Talking, like proper real life talking can be great for supporting you as a blogger, the opportunity to bounce ideas off each other, find similar interests, learn of new connections and opportunities and to just make a friend who understands blogging.
If there is a blog that you follow and relate to, one that has similar qualities and who you feel a connection or common interest with then consider dropping that person a line and introducing yourself. A comment is nice obviously but an actual email that reaches out and lets someone know personally that you like what they do is a beautiful thing.
Collaborations between bloggers are great too. You don't have to run a blog together to collaborate. Some bloggers run linkys together but there are other ways to consider, such as working on a series of posts as a collaboration. For example, say you like foraging and you know someone else who does too, one of you could post a series of foraged savoury recipes and the other one a series of sweet recipes, linking to each others, sharing a readership, supporting each other. I really do believe that this era in blogging where there are so many of us, that there's a really good opportunity to help each other along.
Obviously this post is WAY TOO LONG, but that's the first of blog club, there are no rules...If you have any advice or words to add to this do feel free to share in the comments.