Do you feel like quitting?
That deep, queasy feeling in your gut – you cannot blame it on salty lunch soup or the gas price. It is not your subscriber rate – you are slowly growing.
It is not that you are unpopular either. They are still talking about that epic post you wrote on Problogger last month. The emails trickle in explaining how your eBook has changed people’s lives.
If you were to ask anyone if you were a good writer, they would swear you were. No question about it, you clearly know how to write.
But the deep, queasy feeling cannot go away. The reason is embarrassing.
You have not written a serious piece of prose in thirteen days
Your most recently published article was pre-written, stored weeks in advance. Nothing fresh has happened in weeks. Sooner or later, your little tribe is going to discover this. If you do not continue writing, you will soon be a “has been.” You feel terrible.
Do not kid yourself, you are a good writer, you have the chops. But after writing the fiftieth blog post, you have become burned out.
Starting your blog was a kick. You picked just the right theme seven times. You wrote the first four posts, finding the perfect featured images to accompany them. You smacked the blue publish button in real time because that was cooler than scheduling. It was a treat, every inch.
For a while things didn’t go over well, but you stayed up till midnight finding the answers. You discovered that guest posting was important to your online success – you started writing for major blogs in your niche. You hit a couple hundred subscribers and felt on cloud nine.
But something bad has happened
Here a few weeks later, you have become downright depressed. You have discovered that this whole online game is a lot more work than most bloggers admit. The only way to earn free traffic is by writing your face off.
You discover that next month’s thousand visitors will only come if you spend hours and hours writing unusually good content.
And you feel like quitting.
The plain truth is that you are sick and tired of writing. You are going to puke if you write another line of pose. It is simply not going to happen. You have writer’s block.
You are not alone
There once was a writer named Adam. He was so annoyed with his financial situation that he and his wife quit their jobs.
They sold all of their possessions till their worldly assets fit into two backpacks, and they left to explore the world. After circling the globe they returned home to a steadily growing income … online.
Adam had started a blog journaling their adventures, focusing on their personal finances. In other words, he became a writer. The story was so fascinating that others followed it. Adam’s blog became popular and he started making money – good money.
It was a dark and rainy night 6 months ago when, sitting in my office, it happened… burnout. Creative burnout…
I stopped blogging. I stopped talking to my mentors and friends … I played video games. I google’d “how to become a firefighter” … I APPLIED TO WORK AT STARBUCKS (and then skipped the interview when I got called).
You could say I was lost.
Adam was a smart guy. He knew how to write. He made good money.
But he got burned out too. You are not alone.
Burnout happens. Writer’s block happens. It happens to all of us.
How can you fix this?
The best cure is to regain your original vision. Like an athlete running a marathon or a painter brushing an epic mural, you must focus on the goal and stick with it. This requires discipline, and it separates the real writers from those who pretend.
I’m not wearing hockey pants. – Bruce Wayne
There are many wannabe writers who discover they cannot sustain consistent writing. In contrast, “overnight success” stories occur when someone remains in the writing harness for an extended period of time – years of consistent publishing.
Time will prove whether you are a true writer or just a con attracted by the shiny promise of an online lifestyle. Do you have what it takes?
Special thanks to Thoughts About Nothing for inspiring this article and making it a blogging carnival topic.