Discussion Post: The Need to Churn Out Content

Posted 24 May, 2013 by Amanda / 16 Comments

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Blogging is HARD. If you’ve ever searched for a road map only to come up empty handed, you’re not alone. (Re)Discovering the Basics chronicles one blogger’s (Gaby’s!) journey to finding her own way in the online world. Together, we’ll open the discussion on how we blog and what both new and established bloggers can learn from each other.

Amanda’s note: Ever felt burnt out or like you’re not doing ENOUGH for your blog? READ THIS POST. If you’d like to read the reasoning behind this discussion series, you can check out my interview with Gaby.

Last week I got coffee with my friend, who I will from this moment on refer to as M. M is a BIG reader and, as such, possibly one of my blog’s biggest supporters (don’t worry, guys, I thank her in book recommendations. And hugs). I hadn’t seen her in a while so we had a lot to talk about on the book front. At a certain point, M turned to me and said something to effect of: “I go on your blog every day and sometimes I get mad there isn’t more content because I love it so much and I want more. But then I remember: OH, this is Gaby’s blog. I know her, she’s a person and she has a life that doesn’t solely revolve around her blog.”

I think we can all agree that M’s made a VERY interesting and accurate point. I’m not a machine. None of us are. We have lives, jobs, friends, family, school, homework, other interests, WHATEVER. We are busy people. And yeah, we all love our blogs and I don’t think we’d have them if we didn’t have SOME time for them, but I don’t think it’s even healthy to spend all you time working on it.

Which I think addresses the need to churn out content. We all feel somewhat beholden to our blogs. Whether you feel that way because you want to up your number of followers, respect the followers you already have, are really ambitious or you’re just a little OCD like I am, you want to post every day, maybe even multiple times a day.

But here’s the thing, just because you feel like you need to post every day, multiple times a day doesn’t mean you have to, or even should. There definitely is a lot of pressure – for the reasons listed above and others. And when you feel like those reasons are making the room around you smaller, as they inevitably will, you need to remember that you aren’t another blogger. You’re YOU. Maybe it’s at this point you need to revisit your reasons for blogging. Or maybe you just need to take a step back and breathe. Either way, you should definitely do SOMETHING because anxiety and other really bad things come from those walls closing in and who really wants something they started for fun to become something stressful and unexciting?

It is worth noting that there ARE ways to deal with the urge to churn out content:

Amanda has a post on scheduling posts–although it’s totally okay if you can’t schedule months in advance. I’m a born procrastinator and while it’s not my favorite thing about myself, it works. Mostly.

Jamie from Perpetual Page Turner also put together a pretty sick blog post about finding the time to blog. I like all of the different blogger opinions in one post. A lot.

There are also a lot of other bloggers who have already about this scramble to churn out content and how THEY deal with it. I’VE even talked about my issues and the solution to my issues on my own blog.

I will say that there is no easy answer and nothing works for everyone. You just need to find YOUR balance so you don’t burn out or start hating your blog or something else equally terrible. Don’t fall to the pressure to write a million blog posts if you just can’t do it. No one will like you less if you don’t post every day. They might occasionally forget you’re a human being, like M sometimes does to me, but they won’t stop reading your blog. Or at least, I won’t.

Do you have an M in your life who makes you feel like you want to be posting more? Or is it just your internal anxiety pushing you forward? Do you have other tactics (y’know, aside from what’s discussed above) for keeping calm in the face of the need to churn out content? Maybe you just have different feelings about all of this? Either way, be sure to share all in the comments below!

Filed under: Discussion,

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16 Responses to “Discussion Post: The Need to Churn Out Content”

  1. Actually not many of my friends that I see in person often ever mention my blog to me. I know they read it but they don’t really weigh-in one way or another.

    I used to feel pressure to post often, be brilliant, and be really consistent. Now though, I post as I feel the need too and oddly enough it is more consistent that when I tried to force myself on a schedule. For me, all my pressure used to come from internal as opposed to external forces :)

    Great Post!

    • Not many of my friends ever mention my blog either, Felicia. I am my own worst enemy when it comes to pressure. And it’s a big part of the reason why I took on another reviewer. Less pressure for me, more bang for On a Book Bender’s readers’ buck. ;)

  2. I’m a self-pressure-er, with deadlines and stresses I put on my own self. And, because I’m a very Type A person in many ways, there’s not much I can do about it if I want to keep blogging (it’s either keep up the pace or drop it all together. I’m not great with inbetween sometimes!). And I want to do more. I want my blog to be prettier, to do discussion posts, to interact more…more-more-more! But I can’t. I need to have a life. So, I stick with my 5-day-a-week schedule the best I can, try to write a post a night so I don’t get overwhelmed and keep moving forward. It’s working pretty well, until I look at my stack of TBRs and practically faint. The finisher in me wants to read them ALL, NOW. *deep breath*

  3. THIS! I don’t have an M, but I put a TON of pressure on myself to post every single day and be sure and comment on the blogs I regularly comment on. I feel guilty if I don’t make it to someone’s blog to comment, which is silly because I know they don’t care, just like I don’t keep track of everyone who does or doesn’t comment on my blog each day. But it’s still there. Same with posting. If I skip a day, I feel guilty. The guilt is a little less now that I’ve been blogging a bit longer, and I’ve forced myself to take weekends off from blogging completely, I just need to get away from the blog for those couple days so I don’t burn out:)

  4. My pressure is all self-inflicted. When I first started my blog I knew I wasn’t going to post every day, but I wanted to have some sort of schedule, and yet not get stuck in a rut (it may seem haphazard but it does make sense, if only to me). I do have a rather obsessive need to stick to my plan, but I think I’m harder on myself because I’m still such a new blogger. A year from now I might not care as much if I get a little off, but I’m so new, I really do feel that need to keep up… and if I didn’t have my carefully laid out calendar, I’d probably be pressuring myself to post even more often than I do.

    • I’m a big fan of schedules–as long as they’re realistic and you can maintain them. That’s more important than anything else, I think.

      You can do it, Charleen! Everyone was a newbie once. Though I do agree–now that I’m established, I can afford to slack off a bit. I think it’s because when you’re new, you’re still building an audience. If you disappear for a bit, you might lose people. When you’re established, your audience is there, waiting for you. (Though it’s still possible to lose people. It’s ALWAYS possible to lose people.)

  5. *Internet hugs!*

    God, I needed this this morning. My problem isn’t that I’m not writing enough, it’s that I’m writing for at least 4 different “brands” and feel like I need constant quality content on all of them. My internal nay sayer is shouting that I’m letting some of them go in terms of quality, but I’m finding it really hard to keep up. I’m going to move to a editorial calendar soon and see if that doesn’t make some sense of it and, if that doesn’t work, will think about scaling back posts. Whew. Just writing all that made me feel better. THANK YOU for an excellent post, Gaby!

  6. Internal pressure, check. Stressed out over scheduling or content being charming, witty or perfect, check.

    My blog is a HOBBY, it never was intended to be anything else but back in 09 when started it was fun to post stuff 7 days a week as finally had Road Runner high speed internet and found oh so many things to share to the bookish community that fell in love with when finally found it.

    Now after 4 years my fire in the belly has dimmed quite a bit, my health issues have given me problems for 2 years straight, our personal lives were turned upside down in 2011 and have we have not really come back from that 100% yet, this and that and these and those things take priority over my time to sit down and devote to my blog so that is stressful as know that need to get out there and reconnect again with people that I have followed faithfully past 4 years but very rarely do I venture out onto the comment box anymore due to lack of that very time!

    However it is still a HOBBY and have learned to let it go and enjoy my family life on the weekends rather than spending time on computer and that has helped quite a bit in putting the fun back into the blog.

    • Yes, Jackie! I think making yourself do things outside of blogging and, in some cases, forcing yourself to stay away from it for short periods of time (like taking the weekends off) is enough to make you appreciate the time you do devote to blogging. That’s what I’ve found, anyway. :)

  7. I swear I’m a special flavor of perfectionist. My problem is that if I can’t do it perfectly I don’t want to do it at all. I’ll start out with a good idea or project and then if it doesn’t go 100% the way I think it should I give up. I’m working on that. It’s also REALLY hard to remember that I’m not a full time blogger no matter how much I want to be. I’m not.

    I’m also a slow reader so two reviews a week for me is pushing my limits. It’s good to challenge myself but not to the point where it becomes a second job and not just a hobby. This post was just the shot in the arm that I needed. :) Excellent post!

    • I’m a recovering perfectionist–I’m learning to push past the desire to have it perfect and get it done. One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned while running my business is that if you wait until it’s perfect, it’ll never be done. So you do it, put it out there, and make changes if you need to–but it’s all about forcing yourself to take action before you feel ready.

  8. I get that a lot of people have dived headfirst into this blogging thing, and put themselves under a lot of pressure, and feel a lot of pressure. . . but i’ve never been that kind of person, about anything.

    When I first started blogging, my goal was to post once per week, at least 500 words per post. and it was a struggle. That was 3 years ago. Now I’m at about 3 times per week, and it’s a cakewalk to churn out a 500+ word article. I wanted to 1)review every book I read, and 2)post other interesting things I came across in the SpecFic world. and I’ve done that. None of my local friends are bloggers, and the blog hardly ever comes up in conversation.

    With other commitments, I know I don’t have time to blog “full time”, nor would I want to. It’s a hobby, it’s a fun thing. When I haven’t got a book review or an interview or something to go up, I get tons of discussion ideas from old blog hop posts, i09 posts, sunday salon, or just posting a bunch of links to think I find interesting, or maybe a silly picture.

    • I think a lot of it has to do with recognizing that the majority of our pressure is internal. If we let go of what we think we should do and focus on having fun, we’ll probably have fun.

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