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What to do when you drive into a rut on the Blogging Road to Bliss

blogging rut advice and tips

 

Yes, as the title says, I drove straight off the blogging road to bliss and landed in a deep rut on the side of the road. It happened so quickly, I had no time to react. There I was. Stuck. It felt like I lost every creative bone (and brain cell) in my body. I wasn’t sure if it was because I’ve been going 24/7 (almost) with Socks for Sandy since the hurricane hit our town, or because my craft office is beyond chaotic, or what. But my one-year blogiversary was a day-ish away, and I had no motivation whatsoever to post or to create, and no plans for any snazzy giveaways to celebrate, which made me a bit depressed. Like I was failing somehow. Although I was working on new card designs for my Etsy shop, the creativity didn’t translate to my blog, to crafting, or to me in general. Even my husband offered ideas, “What about writing about your garden plans?” but nothing was getting me out of the rut. Over and over in my head was, “I should be happy to reach a year of blogging. What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I craft? Why can’t I write?”

 

After almost a week of being stuck, I decided to call my version of roadside assistance and asked several of my blogging buddies for advice – my own version of a craft and blog intervention: a bloggervention. All of the awesome suggestions I received are compiled below. Think of this as a road manual to keep handy just in case you ever veer off the Blogging Road to Bliss.

 

Reach out to other bloggers.

This first suggestion is from me! I can tell you right off the bat that reaching out to other bloggers in your circle is the BEST thing to do. My blogging pals showed up almost immediately to the scene with lots of helpful ideas and encouragement. And another benefit? You’ll hear from others who have either hit that same rut you drove into, or are in a similar rut to yours. There’s power (and safety!) in numbers, and it was actually reassuring for me to realize I wasn’t alone – not that I wish any blogger gets into a rut, but you know what I mean, right?

 

Don’t be hard on yourself.

Everyone has ebbs and flows with blogging. Go easy on yourself. Give yourself time to unwind and inspiration will strike again! (Malia at Yesterday on Tuesday)

Realize that it’s totally normal to be uninspired at times. I try not to put pressure on myself and just take it as it comes. Unplug (see below) and go back to things that make you happy. It will come back. (Tracie at Cleverly Inspired)

This happens to all of us, especially to creative thinkers who put too much pressure on ourselves to create. Sometimes our minds and bodies just need to get away from what we love, so that we can focus on ourselves and get back to it with a new perspective and a fresh and clear mind…so we could enjoy doing what we love so much! (Barbara at Chase the Star)

 

Unplug and Recharge.

Get offline. Take a break and do something guilt-free. When I start picking stuff up and fiddling, I’m creating in no time. Then suddenly I have something to blog about. Totally unplanned. But that may not happen either. Just give yourself permission to be OK to not have to blog and it generally all works out. (Donna at Funky Junk Interiors)

Unplugging is key. Take a few days away from the computer and do other stuff you love. No blogging, no Etsy, just reading a book, lunch with a friend, taking a nap, etc. (Sarah at Forced to Cook)

Take some time to recharge by nurturing your spirit doing whatever makes you feel happiest. When your head’s in the right place, it’s likely that your creativity will be energized – not just to get you through a few posts, but for the long haul. (Jennifer at Rook No. 17)

 

Do something different. Play with your craft supplies.

Doing something new or different, such as playing with a new craft supply/recipe or reading a new book, helps. Even just going to the mall and looking at the displays for inspiration – seeing what’s trending – may inspire you. (Shannon at Madigan Made)

Sometimes sitting down with a boatload of magazines helps me get reinspired. (Tracie at Cleverly Inspired)

The way I get through a funk is to go shopping. Hitting up the dollar store, Target’s dollar spot, going through Target’s seasonal section, and then following that up with a trip to my local craft store always gets me inspired. And I usually end up with a bag or two of new supplies to play with! (Carolina at Always Expect Moore and 30 Minute Crafts)

Sometimes cleaning my craft room helps jog things in the right direction. It’s like a metaphor. When inside my head is a jumble, I organize the outside of my head surroundings and it “unjumbles” my inside. (Lisa at Condo Blues)

Sometimes for me it’s just taking an inventory of my supplies ( my workroom is a total disaster right now). (Carol at The Answer is Chocolate)

 

Write…or not.

Keep a running list of ideas on your computer. When I hit a rut, I’m able to review that list and work from there. I think its harder for creative bloggers to go through blog PMS because we aren’t just writing about our days. (Jill at Create.Craft.Love.)

Write a post promoting your Etsy shop or online store, your latest products, how you designed them, etc. (Heather at Dollar Store Crafts)

Write a post that you will never publish. Sometimes I write a post about the rut or in my case many posts about how I was feeling after Blitzkrieg [her beloved dog] passed to get the stuff that was running through my brain on paper so to speak. I don’t post them because they were free form, but it helped jog my brain back in the right direction. (Lisa at Condo Blues)

Write a post that you will publish. I go through a bloggy rut at least twice a year. It’s usually because I’m on Pinterest seeing these great fantastical things and it gets me down. Or someone tells me I should go back and rename all my pictures for better SEO. Overwhelming. I love to create but the business side of blogging makes my head hurt. So I step away and usually write a post about it because I like to keep things real. And after awhile, I feel the urge to create. It always comes back, thankfully. (Kimberly at A Girl and a Glue Gun)

I am a big believer that blogging should be an “organic” process. If I don’t feel like writing, I don’t. I take advantages of those moments and days where the words just pour out. I may start 7 blog posts in one day and finish them at different times. Same is true for the creative process: If I’m struck with several ideas in one week, I try to get those creative juices out. It is an ebb and flow and that is what has worked for me so far. (Tracie at Cleverly Inspired)

 

Do not let blogging control you.

There isn’t any law that says you have to do something big or splashy for your blog’s anniversary. If you aren’t feeling it right now and need to take a little break to recharge it is OK to do it. (Lisa at Condo Blues)

I firmly believe that creators of good, authentic content have readers that would rather have a lapse between solid posts, than to have daily ones that feel forced, rushed, or insincere. (Jennifer at Rook No. 17)

Remember why you wanted to blog and the energy and excitement that led to that. Don’t focus on the obligations you may feel. You are NOT failing! Sometimes it’s a break that ignites the spark again; sometimes it’s taking a day for yourself and doing something totally just for you (which we are all great at not doing, am I right?) Your creative mojo will come back. Never fear. (Carol at The Answer is Chocolate)

In the beginning, I mainly just blogged to keep my family and friends up to speed on what I was doing. I have good times and bad times and I think the advice that Carol Cook gave is right on target: remember why you wanted to blog in the first place and you will eventually get excited about it again. (Lisa at Stuff-n-Such)

 

So. What worked for me?

A little unplugging, plus being truly OK with not posting until I have something solid to share with my readers, were the suggestions that quickly improved my outlook. Writing this article gave me a jump-start, as did a post about my Etsy shop. I’ve begun organizing my craft supplies and cleaning up my office. I’m breaking the organizing into bite-size sections which has made this monumental task – emphasis on mental – easier and much less overwhelming. You can’t imagine the things I’m finding, and I’m not just talking about supplies: I found a Sephora gift card – almost two years old – that still has $21 on it!

Have you ever hit a blogging rut? Ever been at a loss for what to craft for your blog even though you have been staring crafts on Pinterest for days? Have a tip not included above? Please share your story in the comments.

 ~Laura

 

 Further reading:

7 Ways to Find Your Blogging Mojo Again | Madigan Made

I’ve Got The Bloggin’ Blues | A Girl and a Glue Gun

Dealing With Craft Block & Writer’s Block | Crafterminds

 

About me: I think life is definitely too short to hold off pursuing your dreams until “someday” happens. Someday is now. And living your life in the moment should be what everyone strives for. That being said, sometimes I craft and blog in my pajamas. Sometimes my “bed head” hairstyle is literally natural. You can find me at The Shed blog by Pet Scribbles, where I’m back on the blogging road to bliss! ~Laura

 

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20 Responses to “What to do when you drive into a rut on the Blogging Road to Bliss”

  1. Georgie Lee says:

    A great post and reminder to go easy on ourselves. I find that if I unplug for a while, it helps.

  2. Oh so glad someone said it out loud! I am in that rut right now, having been overwhelmed with orders and family obligations.. both of which I love but it meant putting the blog on the back burner for the time being!
    So glad that I am not alone in feeling like sometimes taking a step back is a great solution to being burned out and being able to continue!
    Thanks
    xoxo
    Amie @ Pinkapotamus

    • laura says:

      I was actually afraid to say something at first, Amie, but felt SO much better when I reached out to chat about it and got all this advice. During busy times when I’m juggling Etsy, my blog, and personal obligations (which of course ALWAYS increase at the same time the amount of Etsy orders increase), I find I must let go of any guilt and just prioritize and accomplish what I can. Like you said – being burned out doesn’t help matters. So give yourself at least a few days and unplug…except for the orders, of course! ;)

  3. Fantastic job Laura, and thanks so much for taking the time to compile this and share with the rest of us. Great reminders all.

  4. katie says:

    So many great tips. I think unplugging and not letting blogging control you is what really hits home to me! :)

    • laura says:

      Thanks for weighing in, Katie! You make a good point: we say that we write a blog, or that we’re blog owners. We never say that we’re owned by a blog named ____. A good thing to remember. :)

  5. Serena says:

    Thanks so much for sharing this with us. I know it may not have been easy to talk about this topic, but you’ve helped so many people with your candidness. I don’t feel so alone when I come across others who are struggling through similar issues as I am. Not only do the suggestions you shared apply to blogging but to any endeavor you’re involved in, whether it’s writing or running a business.

    • laura says:

      You’re right – many of the tips offered can definitely apply to things other than blogging. I’m so glad this article helped, Serena! Thanks!

  6. Amy* says:

    Wow! This really hits home. Do you drive a Toyota per chance? My blogging breaks failed recently and I found myself in the same rut. Sadly Flo from progressive never showed to help me out of it (I’m with the lizard anyway).

    This is a great list of tips and I used many of them to climb out of my un-creative quagmire. A trip to the thrift store helped jog my creative memory (and annoy my hubs because I came home with a flamingo for the bathroom), but the best thing I did to get back in the swing of creativity was organize my studio. Not only does having an organized space help clear your head, it also helps to rediscover those “someday” project squirrel aways and had my head swirling with ideas in no time!

    Thanks to all for the Sage advice and great job putting this together Laura!

    Amy*

    • laura says:

      A flamingo? For the bathroom? Nice! ;) Yes, I concur with having an organized craft studio. Tidying and cleaning mine up is taking way longer than I’d like, but at least I’m making progress (although it doesn’t look that way to anyone but me right now!) Last night, as I was able to carve out a space just big enough for me to decoupage a small object, it occurred to me that I really MUST get this studio in tip-top shape. Too many things need a home…and “the floor” doesn’t count as a home either…she tells herself over and over. Ha!

  7. Love the advice. I try to unplug every weekend. And I’ll also add when you play with your crafts, try playing with someone or with your kids. It’s always nice to get a different perspective on things

    • laura says:

      That’s a really good bit of advice, Joanne! I definitely get a different perspective when I’m crafting with others, you’re right. I don’t have kids, but I know from seeing many posts by my blogging friends who do have kids, that there is a benefit of viewing things through a child’s eyes…or through a child’s creativity. Thanks for sharing!

  8. malia says:

    This is a good article to pin and refer to when discouragement strikes! In your case, you have been doing SO much online… I am not sure how you were balancing everything for so long! Superhuman!

    • laura says:

      Superhuman? More like super crazy! LOL You’re right – I was doing way too much online. Well, you didn’t say “way to much” but I am. When I step away from the laptop and iPhone, and just craft…or catch up on inspirational reading (mags, craft books)… I definitely feel that creative spark start to ignite. Thanks for pinning the article. I got so much helpful advice that I’m definitely going to refer back to this post too, I’m sure of it!

  9. So I happed upon a pin that led me to this article, and I read it, soaking up every word. (I have a blogger friend right now who is going through feeling “stuck,” so this helped me to know best how to support and encourage her.) And then, I got to the end and realized that it was written by my bloggy friend, Laura, from Pet Scribbles! My Silhouette Challenge friend! How fun.

    Laura, this is truly a wonderfully written piece. Thanks for sharing your story so honestly here with us, and for gathering together such practical advice. I, and I know many others, appreciate it.

  10. Nadine says:

    So glad I stumbled upon this article today! I’ve been stuck in a rut for 2 months now and can’t seem to pull myself out of it. I’m gonna work on these ideas and commit to getting one blog post in this week.

  11. Cerise says:

    I like hearing all the ideas and thoughts from so many other bloggers I recognize. It’s nice to know a lot of talented and seemingly “always amazing” bloggers run into the same issues and there’s some great advice here. One thing that has become an issue for me personally is dealing with commitments that make unplugging to recharge not really possible. I’ll have times when I’d love to just take time away when I’m drained or out of creative ideas, but I can’t walk away from blogging because of giveaways or sponsor-related to-do’s that are on the schedule. A lot can be date sensitive, so it’s not like it’s easy to just postpone them. It’s a bit frustrating since you never know when you’ll get hit by a rut and it’s usually when you’ve got a lot on your plate! I’d love to hear how others balance the commitments & snagging downtime when unexpectedly hit with a big wave of “un-creativity”.

  12. Laura says:

    Great article sweet friend!! I find myself in a rut about every month!!LOL!! These are great ideas!!Definitely need them!!

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