Blogger Burnout: Avoid It, Embrace it or Just Take a Freakin’ Break

bad writing writers block funny frustrated author
“Someone please give me a match.” — Image Credit: Drew Coffman (https://www.flickr.com/photos/drewcoffman/) — Image subject to CC 2.0 License.

If you work passionately to maintain a quality blog, pour countless hours into a never-ending hobby, or work frantically hard at a job without an end goal, you will, given enough time, experience burnout. (Unless you’re a workaholic freak of nature; then you probably aren’t reading this at all because you’re too busy doing whatever crazy shit you do while ignoring the divorce papers in your spouse’s hand and the hot tears running down the cheeks of your neglected children.)

So, for my fellow bloggers out there on the verge of blogger burnout, check out the following articles. I hope they help:

Personally? Yeah, I’ve been struggling with burnout for about a year now. But that’s not the real problem. See, in the back of my mind — like, where the really naughty bits live — I’ve been planning to write a book based upon this blog. Hell, I’ve been planning to write it since I started Oh God, My Wife Is German way back in 2011. Now, here I sit — over half a decade later — and I haven’t even started the goddamn thing.

Writing, designing and self-publishing this book is one of my life goals. In fact, it’s number one on my bucket list — far more important than commingling my cocksure American sperm cells with my wife’s hyperconservative German ovum. (I mean, c’mon, we’ve still got a few fertile years left in which to conjure our malformed uterine troll.)

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“I said ‘go to bed,’ Valeför, or tomorrow your mother and I will take away all your snack-gerbils.” — (Image Credit: Lwp Kommunikáció [https://www.flickr.com/photos/lwpkommunikacio/] Subject to CC 2.0 license.)
Sure, my writing has been published a few times in various print anthologies and online magazines (under a variety of scantily clad pseudonyms, of course), but those were older life goals. I achieved them and promptly set a newer, bigger goal: creating this blog. (After begging like a little bitch for my wife’s permission, of course.)

I distinctly recall having exactly zero readers at first. Then a few friends and family members subscribed. I was genuinely shocked when a couple of fellow bloggers — total strangers, mind you — joined up as well. I remember checking my WordPress statistics one morning to find I’d hit a total of 12 followers. I was ecstatic! But later that evening, I’d dropped back down to 10 because I was posting every single day and flooding these poor people’s inboxes like an overcaffeinated Russian computer hacker with a cold sore. (That — or more likely — because I was such a clueless newbie my writing was absolute dog shit.) Anyway, losing those followers broke my heart, but I kept on going.

I had to keep going, you see. I loved blogging. I was obsessed with it — so much so I couldn’t stop for any reason — not even billable work. I was so passionate about it, I could easily lose myself for an entire day; just writing and writing and writing without even noticing just how badly I needed to pee, eat, take a shower or change my undies. It was like a hypnotic trance of creativity. Challenging creativity, of course — and rife with self-doubt — but creativity all the same.

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“I think… yep, I definitely just loaded my shorts.” — Image Credit: Shane Adams (https://www.flickr.com/photos/ishane/) — Subject to CC 2.0 License.

Earning those first 1,000 readers was an exciting time, but it took far longer than I would ever have expected. (I mean, I was convinced I was dropping solid gold every week: how dare more strangers not flock to my blog by the tens of thousands to appreciate my undeniable genius?) But still I kept on going, because I wasn’t writing for them; I was writing for my wife, and for myself.

With a bit more experience, I managed to write a couple posts which went viral, and my followers jumped up to 3,000 in a single day. Then 5,000 the next day. Then the next day, WordPress picked up one of my articles and featured it on their Freshly Pressed page (now called Discover), and the numbers really started to jump. And that’s when I started to panic.

It freaked me out so many people were reading the things I was writing. This made no sense, I realize, since the point of writing a public blog is to have it read by others, but I don’t know — suddenly I just felt so… exposed. Like, maybe one of these people would turn stalker and decide to hunt me or my wife down in person. Even one single online attack would have been cause enough for me to shut this mother down. But it was my wife who told me I shouldn’t stop. She said I should keep the blog going because she loved it, because other people loved it, and because she could see it brought me such obvious pleasure to write it.

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“YOUR BLOG IS LIKE A GOD TO ME. PLEASE LET ME SUCK YOUR TOES.” — Image Credit: Okko Pyykkö (https://www.flickr.com/photos/data_op/) — Subject to CC 2.0 License.

Once it hit 10,000 followers, I kinda had to let my fears go. It was either stop entirely, or keep right on going. So I doubled down, poured even more creative energy into my posts and just enjoyed the process. Went with the flow, if you will. I hit the 50,000 followers mark. Then 75,000. Once I crossed the 100,000 followers mark, I upped my goal again. Fast forward to today, and my blog has over 200,000 followers and growing. To some people, this seems like a lot. To others, it’s no big deal. To me, it’s just a number; what really matters are the people who actually take the time to engage with my content.

The point is, I’ve got a new goal (though it’s actually a really old one). And to achieve it, I’ve got to take a break from blogging. At least for the next 6 to 12 months. And I need this break because I simply cannot divide what limited writing time I have into this blog and into a book. It would be like trying to maintain a house — one which demands constant repairs and improvements — while simultaneously constructing a magnificent castle. (You know, one of those big, huge, fuck-off German ones.)

So I’m going for the castle. I just need a little extra time to build it.

Want to help? Please take a moment to select your book preferences from the survey below. (You can select as many answers as you like.) And remember: your input is worth gold to me:

And once the book is done? Oh yes, I’ll be coming right back into the blogging game, and I’ll be coming in hot. (I’ve got like 25 articles just waiting to be written, and each one will blow your tits clean off.)

I’ll still be active on social media though, so in the meantime, if you need a laugh, want to read funny stuff, receive updates or check out previous articles you may have missed, just follow us on Twitter or Facebook:

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I’d like to extend a big, huge cyberhug to all my readers. Thank you. You’re awesome.

Have an absolutely wonderful day.

— OGM

 

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16 thoughts

  1. Strange, isn’t it, that wordpress only shows me 5.111 followers on the sideline …

    Take as long as you need – you have a dayjob, that puts bread on the table, you have a cute dog that really needs some discipline instilled into its brain, you have a wife who likes to work long hours herself and when you finally have time for each other you should not waste that time by thinking about blog articles.

    I myself do not see blogging as a challenge, as a point on my bucket-list. I just write – and some people like what I write (about 240) and some don’t – and that’s allright with me.

    Unless you do it for business reasons, do not take blogging too seriously.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. AMEN, SISTER! And yeah, that number represents the direct WordPress blogger accounts following my blog. The rest you can see in the subscribe widget at the top of my sidebar, which is a combination of Twitter, Facebook and the other social media platforms.

      I really dig your attitude toward blogging, by the way. :) You rock.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Your posts will be missed, but really looking forward for that book!

    I’ll definitely keep on following as I soon want to move to Germany, so need that blunt/no crap advice of yours!

    All the best with the writing.

    The Guatemalan who’s soon moving to Germany,

    Marie Andrée

    Like

  3. Great article man! I’m new to your blog, but I’ll still be sticking around no matter what. I enjoyed reading your content, and I think you’ll eventually come around to posting on a semi-daily basis. You have a great sense of humor that shows in your post! Anyways, I’ll also be looking forward to your book! Glad I stumbled upon your blog as well man, keep up the good work no matter what. I’ll be sticking around for sure :)!

    Like

  4. I’ll definitely buy and read your book when it’s published. :) I’ve read your blog for a long time; even before I met -my- German spouse and began to realize we’d eventually move to Germany. Now here we are and my own blog, which was once just for random nonsense and the occasional travel stories, is an expat blog. Your post about the specifics of coming here really put my mind at ease. :) Thanks for all the great stories, good luck to you and your family, and I can’t wait to read the book!

    Liked by 1 person

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