This year marks twelve years that I have been blogging under the ‘ananyah’ pseudonym, an extremely long time in the blogging world, in any world really. I’ve had my ups and downs since starting this blog back in 2003 and I wouldn’t change a thing.
Through this blog, I’ve documented my thoughts, feelings, expectations and inspirations, letting you all into a part of my life. Ananyah evolved from a personal blog that I started while at University in Aberdeen into the Food & Lifestyle blog it is today.
How do you measure your success?
Long before PR events, press releases, product samples and review opportunities that I’ve been lucky enough to be offered, I’ve spent many an hour ensuring that what I write is honest, trustworthy and meaningful to me.
Statistics are one thing but the relationships you build with your readers and your peers are my main focus, the engagement between yourselves, whether it be via social media or the comments on your blog. My statistics are like a rollercoaster at times, if I haven’t blogged for a while, naturally they plummet and I’ve since learnt that with the bad comes the good. If you solely measure your blogs success on stats, you’ll be pulling your hair out!
Blogging is hard work and at times feels like a full-time job in itself. You have to blog for the love of it, not for the possibility of something for free.
Am I good enough?
These days, there are millions of bloggers around, some good, some bad and some magnificent. You cannot help but compare yourself with your peers sometimes. “What are they doing?”, “Are they getting more page views than me?”, “Why am I not getting enough comments?”, “What can I do differently?”.
With blogging, you need to evolve with the times but at the same time, you have to stay true to yourself. I love food, technology, architecture, travelling and photography. I chose to write about those topics as it is an extension of myself, what I love and what I love writing about.
Blogging is a never-ending learning curve and one that I embrace openly.
The Vicious Bloggers Block
However, twelve years is a long time. In all honesty, after working 8 hours a day staring at a computer, fixing computers, testing computers, the last thing I have recently wanted to do when I got home was to sit in front of my computer blogging. I’ve been going through the nasty bloggers block and it is a vicious cycle that I’m trying to get out of. At times, I find myself sitting in front of my laptop, hoping and wishing that the blog post I wanted to write suddenly appears itself but alas, I find myself at a loss for words. I put it off until tomorrow, tomorrow I say, tomorrow ends up the next day and then the next.
I think having gone through the vicious cycle is a make or break stage for your blog.
Are you passionate enough about your blog to continue? Or does the viciousness eat you up so much that you quit?
Today, I’m excited. Excited to blog again.
How did I get out of my rut?
It wasn’t easy. I pulled my hair out, kicked myself and thought long and hard about if I wanted to continue with my hobby. The problem with being in a rut is you end up with a built up of posts that you have to do, especially if you’ve been invited to PR events and review opportunities. You feel like you are a massive failure and you’ve let everyone down. I know I did and still do.
The following tips have helped me be passionate once again about my blog:
Look at your peers and blogs you admire. What are they currently writing about? Is it something you’ve always wanted to write about but haven’t? Is it a subject you’d want to write about? Do they have a cool feature you want to introduce? Looking at those blogs can help motivate you. Do not think of them as your competition. Blogging isn’t a competition and if you think of it as such, you are doing it wrong!
Scrolling through your own archives is inspiration in itself. Scroll back to your first 10 posts, your more popular posts or posts that you are really proud of. Rediscover what made you first want to blog. What was your writing style like? What have you changed since you first started? Do you want to go back in time and write like you used to? Do you want to write a version 2 of a particular post that meant something to you?
I’m not talking about getting a new hair cut or a new wardrobe for yourself, unless you really want to! I’m talking about giving your blog a face lift, spruce it up. I love nothing better than a new look to give me the motivation to start a new chapter afresh. This is what I have done today.
I have revamped my blog completely. I’ve given it a massive overhaul, a new lick of paint and a wonderful new header by the fabulous Ina of Folklorique. I’ve been a fan of Ina’s illustrations for a long time and after meeting her at a blogger event, we kept in touch and I approached her (okay I begged) to see if she would possibly help create a vision I had in my head. She is wonderful!
Switch up your location
Do you always blog in the same location? Switch it up. I would normally blog in my living room, in front of the TV and I can easily distract myself or get interrupted. A simple blog post that would normally take less than 30 minutes to write could end up taking hours to write because I wasn’t 100% focused on the task at hand.
Blog somewhere new, gather inspiration from your new surroundings. Grab your laptop and head to your garden, local cafe or even another location in your own home. It’s incredible how a little change can make all the difference. Get in the zone, listen to some music with headphones on and soak up your surroundings.
Put pen to paper
Even though I love technology and love nothing better than my Macbook, iPad Mini and iPhone, sometimes there is nothing better than jotting down ideas on the good ol’ traditional paper. Doodle your ideas, images in your head and then start planning them out from there. Whether it be printing off a monthly blog calendar and planning out future posts you have in mind, to new features you want to introduce.
Sometimes if your head is all cloudy with technology, you find yourself at ease with a notebook. Start by writing down 5 topics you really want to write about, create bullet points you want to focus on and expand on that. That’s what I did with this post and it definitely helped me.
Don’t think too hard
One of my biggest downfalls is over thinking and forcing blog posts. If I over think, I’ll end up getting myself into such a state that I get out of my blogging zone. If I then start forcing myself to blog, I lose the love for it and I end up with a post I’m not 100% happy with. That is more than likely why bloggers get sucked into bloggers block. It spirals out of control.
Instead of over thinking what you are going to write, just start with one sentence and go with the flow. Even if in the beginning you have no idea how a post will end, eventually your thoughts will become more conclusive. Write something you are passionate about and you will find that in no time, you have mapped out a start, middle and end. You too will get your mojo back!
Have you ever been through the vicious bloggers block? What did you do to overcome it? Do you have any tips for bloggers that are currently suffering? Let me know in the comments!