How to avoid blog burnout in one easy lesson
Duncan Riley> There’s been a bit of talk around recently of Blog Burnout, firstly with news of Andrew Sullivan of the Daily Dish taking a break, followed shortly thereafter with news that bloggers like Robert Scoble were looking at toning down their blogging. Although some have been critical at the emergence of blog burnout, like any occupation, obsession or hobby (all of which can describe blogging) sometimes too much of a good thing can cause inevitable highs and lows that can result in burnout. Indeed, blogging can be like eating rich food, we all know it tastes great, but eating too much of it gives indigestion. Unfortunately products like Mylanta don’€™t easily fix the issue. But tackling blog burnout is actually quite easy and can be solved in one easy lesson: take the weekend off.
I can, and do sympathise with those who have forgotten what having a weekend can be like, In other jobs during peak periods I think for memory my longest straight working stint was something along the lines of 45 straight days. But I can tell you now I’d never, ever go back to this, no matter how good the money was. Having even one day off on the weekend (for me it tends to be Saturday, at least from the computer anyway) leaves me refreshed and ready to tackle another week. Yes folks, even in the age of WIFI and Laptops sunshine and fresh air still feels better when you’ve not got a computer attached to your lap.
But there is one little issue that gets in the way: the weekend conundrum: when you don’t blog you lose traffic and if your chasing money as well, you potentially lose revenue. Saturdays are always the worst day for the Blog Herald, because even if I do occasionally blog on the day, its always fairly light, and Sundays tend to be only a little better as I’ll blog lightly on Sunday night as I prepare for the week ahead. Personally I figure I’d rather be happy in what I’m doing than forcing myself to blog when after a hard week of work my body is saying to me I need to rest, or my lawn is crying out for a mow and the weeds are starting to resemble an Amazonian rain forest. And guess what, I’m not alone. Check out Gawker Media’s traffic stats on Nick Dentons blog. See the pattern? big dips every weekend relative to the sites either not posting or only providing minimal blogging over the weekend. Now I’m not sure if this is contractual or Nick just likes giving his employees the weekend off, but if the big guys can do it, surely others can. There are also some other ways around the issue, like pre-writing posts to appear on the blog during the weekend, which I know Darren Rowse over a Problogger does, although I’m not quite sure how. Which ever way you go, consider this, would you rather have a break and keep your blog going over the longer term providing better quality material due to improved health and mental well being, or would you rather slog away 24/7 with the risk burnout, ill health or temporary insanity? The choice is strictly personal and the problem probably more relative to heavy bloggers or those who balance their blogging with day jobs, but remember the old saying, a break is as good as a holiday.
(PS I had a great weekend :-) )
I don’t think this just applies to blogs, Duncan. If a door-to-door salesman takes the weekend off, he’s not going to sell any encycopedias. He will make sure he sells enough during the week to pay his bills. Any writer who imagines the world will go into cold turkey if he takes a day or two off is too precious for words :-)
My buddy Dean Esmay at Dean’s World
has a team of contributors that take over for him on weekends or when he’s overwhelmed. (They had a new baby a few months back).
As far as the pre-writing posts issue goes, I believe that Darren uses WordPress and it has a nice feature where you can set the post date. If you set it past the current date and time on the server that post will not appear until it reaches the appropriate date and time.
I sometimes do this if I’m making 3 or 4 posts on one of my blogs. Instead of flooding the blog I set them to appear about an hour or so apart.
I don’t think it works correctly for the RSS feeds though, but I haven’t experimented enough to know.