7 Sources of Blogger Stress (Plus Articles to Help You Kill Them)


In general, I must say that I'm a very stressy person. I worry about everything because I worry that if I don't worry it won't be good enough, but then I worry about not worrying enough.

That entire sentence - like a lot of my thought processes, I guess - is just a worrisome mess.

But the one time I feel like I'm not the only stress-ball around is when I worry about blogging: I find, if conversations on Twitter and discussion posts can be trusted, that most bloggers get anxious, and also that they tend to get anxious about similar things. Being stressed is a terrible feeling, so I thought I'd help the bloggersphere out a bit and summarise those sources. I've even included some articles to help you kill that stress.

You can tell I'm feeling nice today.

The Existential Crisis

This one could also be called the "no-one's reading my blog and that makes me feel worthless and what am I doing wrong and now I'm hyperventilating" but I have a feeling that sentence might be a bit difficult to follow. Oops.

Most of us know that getting hung up on blog statistics is never going to end happily, but that doesn't stop us doing it. I guess it's because we want so desperately to communicate with people and attempt to make connections with them - which is absolutely a brilliant thing - that it's natural to feel a little down when your work might not seem to be reaching anyone.
  • I've discovered that, when these thoughts are running through your head, you need a little confidence boost. You need someone to pat you on the head and tell you it's ok - and I wrote this little post a while back that might help remind you a blog can be successful without a gazillion hits.
Accidental Piracy

The thing with the blogging community is that we are all fiercely protective of our content. That's usually a good thing, because no-one wins when someone copies; it means that the repercussions for such a cheater (I guess that's what you'd call them, if blogging was a test) are severe. Your name will be blackened. Twitter will yell about your misdemeanours. Often, you'll even end up being pressured to shut your blog down.

These things honestly make a lot of sense, if you meant to copy (which the people who are called out on it almost always did) but I often worry about the trouble I might get into if I pirate something by accident, if my post ends up being too similar to someone else's because I was inspired by them, and they don't like it. (FYI, if you're worried about this, just ask permission. Most bloggers will be flattered that they inspired someone and happy to say yes.)
  • Information about what is acceptable and what is not would probably be very useful in killing this particular stress source, because then you know if you're doing the right thing or how to fix your post to make it more unique. Knowing where you stand can be exceptionally calming. With that in mind, I would like to suggest this glorious information mine post by Cait @ Paper Fury, which makes amazingly clear the fine line between inspiration and copying. (Funny story, but I actually got inspiration for this post from Cait's. A POST ABOUT INSPIRATION. I asked her if she was ok with it, and because she's an amazing human, she was really nice about it. So asking permission is absolutely not a scary thing.)
Content Peer Pressure

When I say peer pressure here, I don't mean that people are literally telling me what my content should be, because the blogging community are far too nice for that. It's more that I see what other people are posting, and then put pressure on myself by wondering, for example, if I post too many blog tags and not enough reviews. I suppose a more accurate term for this would be Lara Pressure, because I bring it pretty much completely on myself, but that doesn't stop it stressing me out. (Other types of content pressure include feeling forced to write in a certain style or with particular formatting or to a certain schedule, by the way. My example was just . . . an example.)
  • You'll just have to take my word on this, because I couldn't find an article after searching everywhere - maybe you or I should write it - but it's your blog, and readers can tell if you've forced a post just because you felt you should. WRITE WHAT YOUR FINGERS ARE ACHING TO PRESS INTO THE KEYBOARD.
  • Sorry. My fingers made me do it.

Hacking

I've seen a couple of people suffer from hacking in the book-interweb lately, most noteably Society6 and RedBubble stores, and it's terrifying! I highly doubt hackers would really care about a blog with such long, difficult-to-follow sentences (especially when there are much bigger ones out there to take down - I assume hackers like to make as many people miserable as possible) but I still can't help but be worried. I mean, this blog is my baby. I've spent so much time and I really don't want to have to start from scratch . . . it's horrible to even think about.

*sobs* I'm sorry, I'm sorry! *runs from the room like an X Factor contestant* Um, maybe I'm not that dramatic.
  • It's a scary thought, but never fear! Amber from The Mile Long Bookshelf has written an incredibly useful post to help you protect your blog on Blogger. Sorry, it probably won't be helpful to you Wordpress folks, but I hear you don't have to back up as manually over there, so hopefully you'll be ok. If you know of any helpful posts for other platforms, shout about them in the comments.
What Do I Write About? (AKA The Idea Drought)

There is absolutely nothing more frustrating - and stressy - than sitting at a blank computer screen, all ready to write a post and share yet more of your genius only to find that your brain is an absolute void empty of all ideas. Complete with tumbleweed. Especially when you're on a deadline, it feels like every second spent staring at a blinking cursor is bringing you closer to your impending doom.

And nobody likes impending doom.

I think what makes The Idea Drought so scary is the feeling that you might never have an idea Ever Again, that inspiration has deserted you, the feeling that you're absolutely stuck and will always be. It's horrible. The fear drills into your soul, and I absolutely hate it.

  • The only solution for Idea Droughts is to go out there and grab the inspiration by the neck. You'll find your own way of finding ideas, your own favourite lists, and those are always evolving. For example, I utterly adored this idea generator from Portent for ages, but now it feels like I've used up most of the prompts. Vivatramp's list of 100 ideas is also amazing, especially since it lists all sorts of blog tags to try, which I usually have to spend hours finding.

Tied to Your Topic

Another common root of stress for bloggers, as any bloggers reading this will know, is self-doubt over your content. If you feel like you have to stick like superglue (or, as I've recently found out with night splints, velcro) to your blogging niche, then a lot of brilliant post ideas - ones related to your personal life or other hobbies - can fall by the wayside, and nobody wins there.
  • The saddest thing about this stress source is that it's completely unnecessary - Amber (Mile Long Bookshelf, if you were paying attention above) has another great post about why stepping outside your niche is a good thing to do. She puts it much better than I ever could, so enjoy.

Too Much To Write, Too Little Time

Lack of time is horrendously worrying at all times, but bloggers hate it even more. At least, I assume we do. Posts are difficult to type quickly, especially when the clock is ticking and every tick tightens the fear-spring inside and oh my bookworm gosh I feel like the world is ending.

As you might be able to guess, I'm writing this post on a deadline.

  • The only true way to eliminate this kind of stress entirely is to have a really good schedule, and to write when you know you have the time. Sure, this kind of system takes a while to build - and, as you can tell from how frenzied I am right now, is far from fallible - but Lucy from Queen of Contemporary has an awesome blogging ritual that you can read a bit more about here.


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In the comments: I hope I've managed to de-stress you at least a little! Which of these sources do you think is most problematic to you? Why? What other things make you worried, and are there any posts that help you with those?
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2 comments:

  1. Yayy!! This was an amazing post and I totally related to so many of these. Aghhh. Blogging can be totally stressful, but I think we can let it get that way, sometimes? When it doesn't need to be? Like overthinking things = definitely a problem. And being too focused on trying to meet EVERYONE'S expectations = exhaustion. I love the tips you've listed here! SO HELPFUL. ;D

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    1. AGHHH I'm so glad you like the post! It's always good to feel / be / be called helpful. But I have such a problem with overthinking and causing my own problems. Exhausted it does make me!

      Basically, you hit everything I was trying to say in this post on the head with that comment. Good job. :-)

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