When I started journaling my travels via Facebook Notes, I had no idea that it would evolve into a full-blown travel blog. My blog has steadily grown into a more professional style diary, where I have been able to share our travels around Germany and Europe, expat woes and tips and the occasional trip back to the States.
But I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I was naive about the amount of work that went into keeping a travel blog up to date. Posts don’t write themselves, pictures have to be taken at a million different angles, sorted and edited before finally being able to share your post on all forms of social media. Then comes the hard work… networking the heck out of each and every post to make sure it reaches maximum exposure, creating a blogging community of other travel bloggers as well as loyal readers who come to rely on your blog and fresh content every week.
Being a part-time teacher, I have plenty of time to spend tweaking my blog, writing endless posts and coming up with fresh ideas. For the last two years, I have been go, go, go to travel, write, share, and network every post and lately, a blogging burnout has been creeping up on me. I can feel it just hoovering over me, waiting for me to break down. I have put so much effort into revamping the look and feel of the entire blog with the help of my husband who has likely bore the brunt of that effort. Yet, now I find myself seriously questioning if all this hard work is worth it. I’m never going to be Adventurous Kate or Normadic Matt and get paid to travel the world and have endless press trips.
Which lead to me to the questions, who am I blogging for? Myself or my readers? For my pleasure or to make money?
I almost feel like becoming a professional travel blogger might make me a sell out. Don’t get me wrong, earning money to support this blog and my insatiable need for travel would be nice. But, if I am constantly writing a hotel or restaurant review, going on press trips which were designed to make sure that I have the best time, and then writing a post and raving about how great my experience was, am I realllly being truthful? Not really, as I would be writing about something that isn’t attainable to everyone.
Not only that, but blogging takes up so much of my time, and if you’re a travel blogger, you know what I’m talking about. You’re constantly posting pictures on Instagram, sharing posts on Facebook, pinning on Pinterest, Tweeting on Twitter and responding to endless emails every chance you get. Soon, it dawns on you that when you’re spending time with friends and family, maybe even while you’re at work, you’re living on your phone or computer.
You’re not actually spending quality time with your friends and family and you might soon develop selective hearing because you’re too consumed with keeping up on social networking.
It can become quite exhausting and might leave you wondering, what’s the point? And now my hobby is slowly turning into more of a job and coming up with fresh content every week can be exhausting. Living on my computer when it’s a sunny day outside has started to make me cringe with envy. I should be out there, living my life.
So, does that mean I am suddenly going to walk away from all the hard effort I have put into growing and maintaining this blog? Definitely not.
However, as my honeymoon approaches, I will be taking a break from blogging and social networking for the entire two weeks we are gone. I feel that this is the perfect time to focus more on my husband than my phone, to really take in all of our travels to the best of our ability without worrying about getting all the right pictures or having the best experiences just so I can blog about it later.
To keep the blogging burnout at bay, I have been focusing on ways to make my blogging life easier and not feel so overwhelming. Here are 5 simple tips that may help you if you feel like blogging is taking over your life and you need a step back:
1. Keep a Blogging Calendar
I live by my day planner as I am a part-time teacher who schedules my own appointments. I know the importance of managing my time for my students. When I’m not working, I’m blogging. But I was just blogging about everything and anything. I have since cleaned up my blog and have started focusing on a set of topics, and choosing a steady flow of dates for all of my posts. I no longer just randomly post things.
By having a blogging calendar, (Google Calendar will do), it will help you to organize when your new content goes out. You don’t feel so rushed anymore to post new content. I was previously trying to post 1-2 posts a week, and then I realized some weeks I had nothing new as I lacked inspiration or travel content.
So, to spread it out, I have started using a calendar to help me visualize when new content goes out. New travel inspiration will go out on Mondays, every other Thursday will be an Expat post and on Fridays is #TheWeeklyPostcard link up.
2. Write Little by Little
Now that you have a calendar helping you to keep track of when posts will get published, you should feel like this has opened up so much free time now.
Since creating a blogging calendar, my writing habits have changed. I no longer hustle to write and publish a post all in the same day. Instead, I write little by little, adding information, changing the wording until I feel that my post is just right.
No one likes to read a crummy post which has missing information, spelling mistakes and lousy pictures.
Since then, my posts have actually seen more of a positive engagement, more comments on the amount of information that I have provided and the detailed descriptions I now give let my readers actually vicariously live through my blog. That means my hard work has paid off!
3. Stick to a Routine
It’s important to stick to a writing routine that will allow you the time to write, edit and network that won’t get in the way of your day to day life. As a part-time teacher, I have that luxury to spend my mornings doing all forms of blogging necessities before work, and before my husband comes home.
Having a travel blog (or any blog for that matter) is like a full time job although you’re not always lucky enough to be paid for it. I now try to keep blogging work at a minimum come 6pm so that I can better spend quality time with my husband and there is less rolling of the eyes or exasperated breaths.
I have even now made the time to take care of myself as I found I was sitting at my desk too much. I have since lost 15 lbs and going! Sitting behind a computer screen all day can be bad for one’s health and I now feel like a new woman!
4. Make Time for Other Activities
No blogger can be a good storyteller unless they aren’t living on their computers. They have to be out there in the real world, hanging out with real people and experiencing things for themselves and not just from looking at it on a computer screen.
Find something you’re passionate about and do it! Go for a long bike ride, learn a new language, take a photography class. Something to get you off of the computer and out into the real world. Then come back and tell your readers all about it and share that passion with them!
The most important thing about blogging, working and having a relationship is that you need to prioritize what’s really important. For me, I know 100% that my husband comes first before any career or any blog post. The last two won’t love me back and if my husband should ever leave me because I didn’t give him the love and affection he needs and deserves, I would be devastated and would have no one to blame but myself.
Your job is also more important than your blog, hopefully. However, I have also always grown up knowing there are a million other jobs out there, so if you’re not happy with your job, go find a new one.
We have since decided we will be focusing more on my blog and trying to grow it further (stay turned for how!) in order to become independently financial. We may even buy and live in an RV so we can travel more freely, as we have decided this is the most important goal for the two of us which makes us the happiest. We have a set goal, now we have to work towards it, together.
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