Less pressure, more love.

October 10, 2014

less pressure, more love. - drifter and the gypsy blog
I know it may not seem like it because I keep things lighthearted here on the blog, but I put a lot of pressure on myself. A LOT. I felt a climax of that pressure develop over the summer. Since I had time off from school, I immediately became absorbed with Drifter & the Gypsy. Constantly taking pictures, posting at least 5 times a week, brainstorming ideas for posts, reaching out to companies, writing emails, networking, planning photo shoots, etc. My mind was always ON and I was burning out. I’d beat myself up if pictures I took weren’t up to my standards or if a post on Instagram didn’t get a lot of likes. Not good or healthy at all. I was genuinely scared about starting school again in September because I didn’t know how I’d ever keep up with my schoolwork if I felt like I was running just to stay in place on my school break.

I talked to a dear friend about how I was feeling and she asked me, “Is it really the end of the world if I didn’t post every single weekday?” I thought about that to myself, and well, the answer was NO. So where was all this pressure coming from? ME!

For the month of September, I did a little experiment: I only posted an average of 3 times a week (sometimes more if the spirit moved me), but I made sure the posts were mainly my own (high-quality) content. It was my own modified version of slow blogging. And you know what? I really liked it. I always say I’m the type of person who likes to focus on one or a few BIG things rather than a bunch of little things at once. Posting less times a week enabled me to focus on/put more effort into delivering rocking solid high quality content (and if I’m really busy one day and skip a blog post I had planned, the sky isn’t going to fall down; everything is going to be okay). Quality > quantity after all.

I wasn’t going to write about this until I read this post by Katie, which really resonated with me. And then came this one from Erin, which was in conjunction with this New York Times article. And then Grace wrote this blog post in response to the NYT article. All this made me realize that blogger burnout wasn’t just an issue with me, but so many other bloggers were experiencing the same pressure I was feeling.

I started blogging in 2008 when the blogging environment was completely unrecognizable compared to what it is today. Now that blogging has a far more commercial aspect to it than ever before (which is both good and bad), there are deadlines to meet, proposals to pitch, emails to send, pictures to take, pictures to edit, business meetings and brainstorming sessions, among a laundry list of other never-ending daunting tasks to complete. A lot of us bloggers (and also entrepreneurs in general) have this unwavering determination to keep up with the Joneses (the Joneses being other bloggers, magazines, newspapers, companies, etc.). However, working ourselves to the point of exhaustion is not the answer. Taking a break is not a bad thing. It’s not something to be shunned or to look down upon; it’s not a sign of weakness. One thing I’ve started asking myself is, “Is what I’m doing right now a sustainable way of living my life?” and if the answer is no, I know I need to change something.

I had a bit of a rude awakening when I recently went to the doctor for a routine checkup. He had me fill out this questionnaire. I had to write about what I did for work (blogging and student), if I ever had surgery, if I had allergies, etc. and then I got to the part where it asked me what I liked to do in my free time. And I couldn’t for the life of me come up with anything. I like to take pictures? But for my blog. I like to design? But I’m always designing for school projects-graphic design is my major-and for my blog. I like to write? But I’m always writing essays for school as well as blog posts. I like to read? But I’m always reading other blogs or articles about blogs or books about blogs. Do you see the pattern here? I didn’t do anything purely for me. I didn’t have any free time.

The thing is that blogging is my passion. And a passion plays a large part in your life. And when that happens, it’s hard to differentiate any semblance of a boundary between work and life.

What changes have I made to my schedule? I’ve stopped working at night and I’ve been relaxing for at least 2 hours before I go to bed. Relaxing could involve watching TV, reading, stretching or talking to my family. I’ve noticed I’m sleeping a lot better because of that. Additionally, I’m reevaluating my priorities so that I’m more efficient throughout my day. Do I really need to browse Instagram for 1+ hours first thing in the morning or could I be putting my time to better use by writing blog posts or doing schoolwork first, THEN browsing Instagram after I’m done? Most recently, I’ve heard of the Pomodoro Technique, which is a time-management method that breaks your day up into 25 minute segments to boost productivity. Have any of you tried that? I’m curious to see what your thoughts/experiences are with that technique and get your thoughts on blogging burnout as a whole.

But overall? Overall, we just need less pressure and more love. ♥

Leave a Comment

  • I know what you mean about blogging being different, I first started my blog in 2009 and I barely even knew what a blog was, back then there was no advertising, no sponsors, nothing that people seem to care about today. And those things are great if your blog is your business, they’re necessary and they compliment it and integrate perfectly, but it seems like now so many people are starting blogs not because they have anything they want to share, or because they love what they do but just because they want to get free things and invites to events, and ad revenue etc. They don’t want to start a blog and take opportunities as they come, they want to start a blog just for those opportunities and they have a sense of entitlement over it as if blogger=free stuff. They don’t care about content and I think it’s really sad.

    This came across as really mean spirited, argh! I’m not this mean usually, I swear.I’ve just become so disillusioned by the whole idea of blogging which is terrible because I did once love it, I loved everything about it.

    P.S. This is probably the first time I’ve commented on your blog, even though I’ve been reading it for years, and I just wanted to say it’s always been one of my favourites x

    • I remember you when you first started blogging! You took the most dreamy pictures and wrote the most beautiful words to go along with your images.

      I’m the same way, when I first started blogging I hardly knew what a blog was. I don’t think most everyone else who started a blog around that time really knew what this new-fangled blogging thing was, but we were all in it together.

      It’s all fine and well if a blogger collaborates with high-profile businesses and make enough money blogging to do it full time, but they shouldn’t make that the sole reason for starting a blog (most times it all works out in the end though, because people can distinguish those who are genuine from those who aren’t).

      You are totally not mean-spirited! I applaud your honesty. Thanks for your comment. I’m really happy to hear Drifter & the Gypsy is one of your favorites and you’ve been reading for so long. A lot of bloggers I knew when I first started have stopped blogging, which is sad. It’s nice to know I still have a reader from so far back. xx

  • i love this post. thank you for being open and honest! it’s nice to see other bloggers that have to take a step back and evaluate why we really do this. its supposed to be fun and inspiring– not a chore!

    xx nikki
    http://www.dream-in-neon.com

  • This is such an honest post and I can relate! I’ve been working a lot this year on redefining my idea of success. I found myself feeling fear, pressure, and anxiousness, particularly regarding my career. I realized I needed a change in my thought pattern; I essentially needed to stop beating myself up so much! This lecture really helped me with the idea of balance:

    http://www.brainpickings.org/2014/06/17/theology-of-rest/

    In the spirit of this post, have an enjoyable and relaxing weekend!

    -Darcy

    • I’ve definitely been redefining the way I look at success as well. Thanks for the link. I’ll check out that article soon. Happy weekend to you too!

  • I can definitely relate with so much you have said. I am still trying to grow my blog into something amazing but already I feel the pressures of posting regularly and growing my audience and balancing that with school, work and me time. But, like you, so much of what I do I love, and so blogging to me really feels like free time.

    But you’re definitely right – quality trumps quantity every time!

    http://wordsbybduncan.blogspot.com

    • Exactly. In my free time, I like to blog, so the lines between my work/life balance are pretty blurred, but I enjoy blogging so much, it’s what I would want to do in my free time anyway! I have a very addictive personally and can become obsessed with things very easily, so I have to watch my balance so that it doesn’t get out of hand. Cheers to growing your blog. I took a look at it and I love your writing! You have a funny sense of humor. I didn’t want to turn 20 either;) xx

  • I’ve been following this blog since 2008 and I’m proud to say that! I burned out from my blog (She Smiles, She Writes) and stopped writing for it all together about a year and a half ago. I’m now focusing on my photography blog, which has been pretty consistent for a while now. Blogging takes so much out of you that it is so easy for it overtake you completely. Balancing it has been challenging but I have set pockets of time to schedule 3 posts a week. Juggling part time retail job, part time photography, college & being a wife is a lot. My husband has kept me sane with reminding me what’s really a priority in my life. It doesn’t have to be a online vs offline war, but rather a working of together of the two. Thank you for posting this, it’s good to know I’m not alone.

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