Blogging Overwhelm: Having A Break, Not A Break-Up.
This travel blogging lark sure is a story of ups and downs…
This week I fell out of love.
I fell out of love with blogging.
I went days without even thinking about our little corner of the internet, not wanting to put fingers to keyboard to produce anything at all.
I also found Twitter stifling, Facebook cluttered, Pinterest visually irritating and my own blog...just a source of massive stress.
My natural response was to take a step back, avoid these spaces online and just give myself a break.
Sadly my other natural response was to fall into a pit of mild creative despair and stress.
I felt pretty upset and anxious that when it came down to it, during the time where I was realizing just how much I want to do this professionally and long-term, I also felt completely bored, bummed and baffled by it.
I suddenly didn't want to write anything, and I didn’t fancy reading another ‘How To’ post, experience another sea of graphics and headlines on my Pinterest feed, or even read posts from my favourite bloggers.
I know that it's entirely normal for my energy and enthusiasm to wane time to time. If things in other areas of my life aren’t going so swimmingly, I am more likely to sink under, instead of swim in the ocean of expectation I have for myself and my goals.
That has definitely happened recently as my casual job role, outside of the blog, has pretty much dried up due to the end of the tourism season in this part of Australia. We are yet again experiencing money struggles and feeling disillusioned and discouraged from our life of perpetual travel.
We still have no regrets about embarking on this crazy and unpredictable adventure but the downs have been more powerful lately than the ups.
In the face of our work struggles I knew I had to get more serious about my freelancing career, and I had to truly knuckle down.
But it’s amazing how when you actually zero in on your creative expression to try and make it something more, the fun gets sucked right out of it in the same moment…
This week I had 7 days of no paid work outside the house. I suddenly had a long week ahead of me with no structure, and it was easy to feel overwhelmed by this void of spare time. Usually I strike a balance whereby I work for 3-4 hours outside the home and then I do the blog, but this week I felt like I should take this chance to work non-stop on it.
Instead, I pretty much shut-down and turned my back on my to-do lists, plans and creativity altogether. For me, if I spent all my days off working on the blog that would mean wholeheartedly acknowledging my financial worries. It would mean giving into the crappy part of travel, whereby you feel like the thing you love doing is at threat because you can’t maintain a decent and sustainable income on the road.
But when it comes down to it, it goes beyond just my external stressors; I also have a chaotic number of goals and ambitions exerting internal stress.
I have so many ideas, about so many different things, all hanging over my head like tiny little speech bubbles. They follow me around and steal my mental clarity, and even my sleep. I tried to unload some of my ambition baggage onto a wall of post-it notes; I literally wrote down all the different goals, short and long-term, that were muddling up my brain. Then when I realized my cheap post-it notes didn’t fancy staying stuck to the wall I had designated for them, I thought I’d try something more compact and functional.
I moved to Asana to try and outline my different ideas and suggest practical tasks relating to them. But since opening an account 2 weeks ago I have probably revisited it once…
Am I my own worst enemy, neglecting the very problem-solving routines I know can probably help me out? Or am I just totally overwhelmed?
Overwhelmed by my goals, and the wealth of advice available out there designed to help me reach them.
Overwhelmed by the acute internal pressure of building something financially viable out of a life-long vocation.
Overwhelmed by the knowledge of potential and the struggle needed to make it a reality.
Overwhelmed by the amazing output of my fellow creators and my desire to be a fledgling part of that community.
You might be feeling something similar, or, if you are passionate about your creative pursuits and have the goal to take them to the next level, then it's likely you too will find yourself experiencing general overwhelm.
What can you do to ensure a little break doesn’t become a full-on break-up?
You need to get back to the most fun part of blogging and make it simpler to do.
You need to implement a simple planning system.
You need to accept the bad days and write when it feels right.
You need to acknowledge your fears and worries as well as your goals.
Foremost, you need to enjoy the life you have chosen and live out the mantra's you advocate via your blogging creations.
You need to remember that having a passion and something that you are good at, is truly a privilege, something to be grateful about and empowered by.
Also, how can anyone find the stories they read on a blog truly aspirational if they feel like the writer is not actually enjoying living out those experiences, and relishing the opportunity to share them in honest and authentic detail?
I personally would rather see my favourite blogger produce one amazing blog post a fortnight, and take their time creating products, than try to produce and publish non-stop, because the quality of their offering will suffer.
I get that us creatives are always tweaking our strategy, changing our routines and finding what works best for our audience, but we shouldn’t lose sight of what works best for us.
I truly believe that blogging overwhelm is a double-edged sword; on one hand it proves your passion and reaffirms your 'Why' for doing what you do, and on the other hand, it literally sucks to experience.
But the path to where you want to be, who you want to be, is littered with obstacles, up-hill climbs and stress, but so much of that will come from your own internal dialogue.
Pressure isn't bad, ambition isn’t either, but when the two become bigger than the act of doing what you enjoy, then the balance has been tipped out of your favour.
I took some time out, time I didn't measure or dwell on, and I did all the random things I felt like doing, like binge-watching Grey’s Anatomy, and reading a novel, but what felt like wasted time was actually a much needed break.
The break clearly worked because I felt refreshed and ready to write this post. It wasn't a long break but it was enough.
I did think through my goals, and realized that I can likely reach them one day, but if I don’t chill, take a step back and remember to enjoy creating and living, they will become insurmountable dreams instead of entirely possible outcomes.
Suggested reading for some inspiration when you aren't feeling so overwhelmed:
Thanks for Reading!
Hannah here, one half of NomaderHowFar. I love reading, the beach, proper fish and chips, and a good cup of tea. But I mostly like to chat about minimalism, simplifying your life, the beauty of travel and sometimes I get a bit deep. Get to know us here!
Be social and come follow us across the virtual world!