We all know how it usually begins: you're feeling slightly lazy one day and opt for an evening of Sherlock instead of photo editing and writing, then the next day something comes up and you run out of time, then you're suddenly no longer in love with your original post idea... Before you even realize where the time has gone, a week/ a fortnight/ a month has passed and you've completely lost any inspiration and/or motivation to blog. Poufff! Your blogging mojo is gone - just like that.
I've been blogging for six years now and I've experienced major blogging crisises a good number of times. However, as you can see, I'm still here - so there must have been some strategies I've been using to deal with my posting malaise. This post was actually inspired by a Twitter conversation with Charlotte, and while I do not aspire to offer some incredibly innovative advice here, I hope someone somewhere will find my mind tricks at least amusing, if not helpful.
Let's start with an easier case of blogging idleness: you still really love posting, you've just fallen off the wagon and don't know where to start again. You know, I firmly believe there's nothing wrong with typing up some random nonsense to be completely scrapped later on, just to get you back in touch with your writer's voice (or in my case, hitting 'Publish' on it in a strange moment of bravado that I'm going to deeply regret some day). There are two choices you can opt for in terms of subject matter: either safely fall back on an easy feature you've done before, like a monthly favorites round-up, a tag, or an empties post, or if that feels too boring, go the opposite way and post something you've never talked about before: a recipe, a travel journal, maybe a book review. Or experiment with your photography, change up your lighting, angles, background, whatever. It's YOUR freakin' blog - you can post whatever YOU like. I also find that keeping a notebook with post ideas is immensely helpful when I scrabble around for something to talk about; whadd'ya know, this is exactly where the post you're now reading originally comes from.
Now, for the exponentially more serious MAJOR blogging crisis, by which I mean feelings somewhere along the lines of: 'I hate my blog', 'I hate posting', 'I can't stand social media', and, of course, 'I'm a lousy writer' (no judging: I've definitely been there before, my friends - still occasionally am). This is the stuff that makes people abandon their blogs overnight, to linger in a limbo of half-finished series and interrupted conversations. But how do I go back to loving blogging again?
Don't try to guess the ultimate reason behind the hulking mass of a writer's block - there can be many. It doesn't always help to try to pin it down, despite what psychotherapists may lead you to believe. Writing is not like childhood trauma, or Oedipus complex: it's such a twisting, intertwining nucleus of creativity, emotion and discipline that not only are any efforts at untangling the knot bound to fail in the end, they may actually hurt 'the magic' more than help it along. In the rare case of knowing exactly what's stopping you from blogging, go ahead and get it off your chest: I find that a good rant always feels good. But otherwise, leave the thicket for now. Don't poke at it.
For me, the first step of finding my way back to writing is in fact to disconnect from it entirely. Go, stand up from the blank laptop screen, get out there. Take a trip, go see an art exhibit, talk to new people, or an old friend. I've learnt again and again that ideas strike when you least expect them, especially when you're actually thinking about something else completely - and then when they strike, don't force them, just store them for later, to have just in case. In a more practical sense, disconnect from the elements of the blogging world that frustrate you, like maybe those rapid-fire reviews of just released products on multiple blogs, accounts from press events, instahauls, page view and follower counts. Just don't look at them - stop reading, tweeting and instagramming for a while. And please, please, under no condition try to compare yourself to other bloggers. It NEVER helps.
What fundamentally helps me to enjoy blogging again, is connecting with you, my Dear Reader. No, not readers, the strangely anonymous crowd of blog visitors: a singular Reader. I know you - you've left comments before, and from these, I've gathered glimpses of your personality, and I've kept them close to my heart. I know you're an amazing, critical-thinking, kind, unique human being, and I try to imagine my posts as personal letters to you, snippets of a longer conversation with a wonderful, caring friend somewhere out there, miles and days apart. I imagine we're sitting at a cosy cafe, drinking chai lattes, and I'm spilling my heart out to you, and you listen, you understand, and then you further contribute YOUR thoughts to my story. I'm sorry if this sounds vaguely stalkerish - I didn't mean it that way. This is just to say that I never cease to want to talk to (or with?) you, and yet it boggles my mind that you even exist. Because blogs are very much unlike books or magazines with their 'target audience' and 'ideal readers', because you're a real breathing person who brushes her teeth in the morning, NOT a concept, and definitely not a business venture, or an obligation. Reminding myself that you're there for me is enough to dispel the worst case of a writer's block. I just need to keep reminding myself. We all need to.