When I decided to start a blog I never realized the amount of work it took. I knew it would require time and dedication, but I didn’t quite know how much. I actually don’t think anyone understands the work behind a blog unless you start one yourself. For me, blogging and reading are my biggest hobbies. As such, they shouldn’t feel like a job. But if you aren’t well prepared (or even if you are!), sometimes they can start feeling a bit stressful.
Accepting Advanced Reader Copies (ARCs) or requested reviews from authors is incredibly fun and definitely a book blogging perk, but if you go overboard, you can feel pressured by it. The same goes for writing posts. If you overthink it or try to keep up a schedule that is too much for you, you can feel anxious about it. As of lately, I’ve been struggling with this so I thought that I would share my own experience and hopefully hear about your own and how you cope with it.
THE FINE LINE BETWEEN HARD WORK AND PRESSURING OURSELVES
Blogging has been a wonderful experience since I started three months ago and I always want my blog to be the best that it can be. Because of that, I put a lot of work and thought behind everything I do for it. I took my time designing the logo, finding the perfect background, and figuring out my writing style. I’m happy with how it all turned out, but I would be lying if I say I don’t doubt myself. It can be a little stressful when I can’t think of new post ideas or when I don’t like how a review turned out. To this, add books you have to read and review before publishing date and you can understand where my stress stems from.
I’m constantly looking for improvement and that is what I call hard work. I reread everything I write, edit, and take care of the words I choose. If I’m happy with what I publish, I’m having fun. But the moment I start second guessing myself and comparing my blog to other ones, I cross the line. I start feeling pressure to write “better” posts or more posts weekly. I get nervous thinking of the books on my TBR that I have to read soon. All of this has proven to be a terrible thing for me and it even put me in a bit of a blogging slump. I was too nervous to open the blog to write a review because I wanted it to be perfect and I didn’t know where to start writing it. The same thing happened with other types of posts, no matter how easily I wrote them in the past.
TIME TO REGROUP
Whenever I stop looking at blogging as a hobby and it starts feeling like work, I give myself a day or two to regroup. I go back to what I’m comfortable with to get rid of the pressure. For example, I outline a post with short phrases of what I want to talk about or post just the days I can without having to stay up late to meet my own scheduled deadline. I hate not posting and feel a little guilty, but from time to time is necessary to give ourselves a break. Hard work doesn’t mean being perfect. Nobody is going to stop following your blog or stop respecting your reviews and posts if you miss yout schedule some days or if you mispelled a word.
HOW TO AVOID THE STRESS
- If you have a writer’s block, don’t force yourself to write. Step away for a while, check other blogs that inspire you or, if that increases the stress, do something else entirely. When your head clears off a bit, grab paper and pen and write a few points you want to talk about in your post. If outlining is not for you, open up a document and start writing whatever pops into your head. Anything at all. When you are done, go back to the start and edit edit edit. This is a trick I learned from the amazing Zoey from Magiverse.
- If you are doubting your writing or an idea, ask for someone else’s opinion. Book bloggers are the most helpful people out there. So if you’re not sure about something, ask another blogger to read it or to comment on it. It is also helpful to step away for a few minutes or more and then reread something you wrote. Sometimes I get so tired of my own writing that I use one of those online “text to speech” tools. Hearing it gives me a new perspective and it highlights things I want to change, like spelling mistakes or sentences I don’t like.
- Trust yourself and don’t copy someone else. We all admire others and strive to be more like them. This works as inspiration, but if we try to copy them suppressing our own style, it hinders our productivity. Do what comes naturally to you.
- Give yourself a break. I mean this in many ways. You don’t have to post every day of the week. You don’t have to participate in each tag or award you are nominated for. You don’t have to review every single book you read. It’s your blog, do what you enjoy! You are allowed to take breaks, to change, to make mistakes, to try new things. Don’t be too hard on yourself.