This post gives 7 lessons learned to avoid becoming overwhelmed as a Christian blogger.
Current Trend-Quitting Blogging in 2018
In the last month, I have read about some very admirable Christian bloggers needing to take extended breaks from their blogs. Some have decided to quit. Some are burned out. Others have family commitments and need to put a priority on their family.
This trend is even in the secular blogging world. If you search for terms related to “quitting blogging”, you will see many posts. People are finding other ways to make money online where the personal costs are not as high.
Why Being a Blogger Can Easily Lead to Burnout
The amount of information you need to consume in the ever-changing world of blogging is astounding. There is a very long list of daily tasks needed to keep your blog running optimally. There is a constant demand to be active on social media. Social media exposes you to information that can draw you off course.
All of these factors can easily lead to burnout. Many people have very full lives outside of blogging. They are already close to being overwhelmed in regular life and adding blogging tips them over.
As believers, we know God comes first in all things. Blogging is so time-consuming, it creates a tension in your life with your God-given priorities.
All of these factors make the world of the blogger one where burnout can happen easily.
My Brush with Blogger Burnout
I launched this blog in June 2018 and just learning to set up a blog almost burned me out. Among my pre-existing commitments: day job, caring for elderly parents, maintaining a happy marriage, self-care, friendships, ministry, devotional time/learning from God, and caring for our home.
I can honestly say that since starting the blogging journey my life has not been balanced in a God-honoring way. Blogging and learning about blogging have been consuming. I have gone many sleepless nights. My physical health has suffered. Devotional times with God have not been as deep as they used to be. I have not cared for my mother to the best of my ability. I have not been fully present to the people in my life. So not surprisingly, last month when I heard the news of these big Christian bloggers stepping down, I started to examine myself and realize I am close to a burnout myself.
7 Lessons Learned About Preventing Blogger Burnout
Dear friends, God gave us just enough time for everything He created us to do. If we are overwhelmed it is because we have taken on things that are not part of His plan. Everything in the world can draw you off course, and there will be a lot of pressure from all the voices coming at you on social media about blogging to go off course. Here are some things I learned with my brush with burnout that I am now applying to get back to loving the call towards blogging God gave me. These steps have put blogging back in its rightful place and I have put the rest of my life back in line with Godly priorities. I can happily report life is so much better since I did. I hope these help you too.
Lesson 1 Focus on Blogger Advice in Line with Your Values
Sift the source of the advice about blogging before you begin applying it. Before you buy one more blogging course, e-book or even sign up for another blogging freebie….please….pray about it and wait on God’s answer.
How I Learned this Lesson
I, my friends, did not do this. I signed up for several blogging courses in the last few months that were expensive. This was done on the recommendation of other bloggers who are secular-minded. The courses are designed for a secular person. The focus is on making money from one’s blog almost exclusively.
One teacher gave a suggestion to generate content in a way that for me deeply violated my core values. Another modeled behavior in how the course was run and how students were dealt with which is behavior I do not want to learn. Most teachers advise being on all social media channels soon after starting. Very few talk about blogging and living a God-honoring balanced life.
As Christ-followers, God can and does show us creative and faith building ways to do things. The blogging teachers in the secular world do not have all the answers for you as a Christian blogger. God does. If it is His will we make lots of money doing a ministry blog, He will bring the money. Money is never the foremost focus of any believer, especially one in Ministry.
Take the blogging courses God prompts you to take, but prayerfully sift through what you are hearing. Only apply what fits with your values, priorities and what God is telling you directly. Only take courses you pray about, let the Holy Spirit give you discernment to avoid wasting your money on courses that draw you into things that are not God’s plan for you.
Lesson 2 Stay Tuned Closely to God’s Promptings and Your Values
Going Rogue with God’s Leading
So, in one of the myriad courses I am taking, the advice was to focus on niches where lots of money was available (not necessarily your passion). Of course, at first, I ignored the suggestion as it doesn’t fit my values nor the reason I started blogging. However, on that course’s social media, there were literally tens of brand new students reporting huge dollars earned within just a few months of starting. I started to feel a draw towards trying to get a second blog up just for extra money. This was against my values (doing something for money primarily) and was also not something I felt God calling me towards. However, the voices in the course were drawing me.
So…..I also ignored my husband’s advice (he strongly advised me against doing this, he reminded me why God called me to start a Christian blog). I decided to start another blog in a popular niche. I hired a designer to install the theme and a graphic designer for the logo. I wrote content and put in affiliate links. I rationalized all the good we could do with the extra money.
As I started to work on that second blog, I started to increasingly feel that disturbing lack of peace you feel when you know you are willfully disobeying God. When I did not stop, I got physically ill with pneumonia. Laying in bed, struggling to breathe, God whispered to me what He had been telling me all along. That second blog is not His will for me, and it is going to draw me off course from His purposes. So, I repented and asked forgiveness. I stopped all work on the second blog immediately. I am disconnecting everything for that second blog this month and right now it is under a cover. If you want to see the fruit of my disobedience, here below is a mobile image of that 2nd blog.
If you can stay focused on God’s voice despite the many other voices about blogging yelling in your ear, you can avoid getting overwhelmed the way I did here.
Here is a mobile screenshot of the second blog I started (and closed) in my disobedience. In retrospect how ironic it was to be about simplifying your life.
Lesson 3 Intentionally Limit the Number of Voices Teaching You About Blogging
Another way to say this is to avoid the “Shiny Object Syndrome”. If you are in Facebook groups about blogging, you will hear daily about the latest course on some new thing (shiny object) that grew blog traffic to huge levels. My friends, to remain effective, don’t take the bait. You will also be assaulted by upsells over email if you have bought any courses. Upsells may be useful to those with time to consume them, but if you are reading this, you are not someone with tonnes of time. The worst shiny objects are sales offerings that have 1000’s of pages of material in them. Avoid them at all costs if you want to avoid burnout. As mentioned above, I am in several blogging courses at the same time. It is overwhelming, confusing (they obviously don’t teach the same things) and expensive.
Seek God’s guidance on what information is right for you to apply to your blog. Listen to God first. If you are in a course that God led you to, stay on that one thing. Shut out any other voices trying to teach you about blogging. You can do this by limiting your time in Facebook groups or other social media. Consider unsubscribing from any email lists where you are receiving constant upsells.
Lesson 4 Put First Things First- Including Sabbath Rest and Holidays
To avoid burnout, prayerfully consider the most important things in your life. For me it is time with God, time with my husband, caring for my parents, caring for myself, doing a good job at work in my day job, keeping a clean house, time for friends and then ministering to the people God has called me to help through Christian blogging. I design my week around those priorities now (in that order).
Once a week (on Sundays), I take a total break from blogging. I do not think about it nor do I open my computer. I make it a complete social media break with no social media at all. Sundays, I get caught up on reading Bible studies and get to go extra deep in my devotional time. I also get to catch up with friends and do things that bring new energy to me. That has helped a lot. I also plan holidays once a quarter for a few days break away with my husband to enjoy him and life in general. That has also been a very joyful experience.
Be clear on your priorities and set your schedule up to reflect them. Take a Sabbath break every week, including a break from social media. Plan your holidays and take them!
Lesson 5 Outsource when Needed
I freely admit when I was learning to blog, the hardest thing for me was the technology. It was so hard I often was in tears of frustration trying to figure it out. I want to recommend to you a man of integrity who provides technical help for very reasonable prices. This is not an affiliate link! I recommend him because he is such an excellent resource. He will quickly solve your tech problem and not overcharge you. The best part of dealing with his company is he has high integrity. His name is Grayson Bell at Imark Interactive. Since finding him, if I get into a tech problem, he is my first call. You can try him out just for one task to see what you think. If tech is a challenge for you too, try him to save yourself headaches and time.
I also suggest getting help in the form of virtual assistance, ghostwriters for blog posts if you are going on holiday (you can put your voice on them later, but make sure you get the intellectual rights in the contract with the writer), graphic designer (MelaniesCornerStudio on Etsy did the logo above), web designer (elancreative on Etsy did this web set up for me). Getting help for blog tasks when I need it has helped a lot with feeling less overwhelmed.
Hire in help for your blog when you need it. If technology is a challenge for you there is great help available that can save you hours.
Lesson 6 Stop Looking at Your Blog Statistics every Hour
I am naturally a bit on the OCD side (I am a medical doctor, and every medical student on earth I met was a bit OCD). It is very addictive looking at your blog statistics. However, when the numbers are not doing what you want, it can also be depressing. This can drive you to make unwise decisions. Figure out how often is reasonable to look at your blog statistics, and do not do it any more than that! For me, right now once a month is all I am doing. It has been liberating not letting the hourly statistics drive any of my emotions on a daily basis.
Blog statistics can become a driver that drives you to burnout. Look at them only as necessary. Set a schedule to look at statistics (monthly, weekly) and then stick to it.
Lesson 7: Plan and Set Up Life Routines and Stick to Them
Plan your life as a whole, including your blogging ministry. Plan out your devotional time, your exercise and meal preparation time, cleaning, time with your loved ones, if you have a day job-time for that, and time for your blog. Your whole life needs to fit together in a joy-filled and God-honoring way. Do not do your blog schedule separately. You need to see how that blog schedule fits in with the rest of your life and your overall priorities.
Once you have planned out your time, set up your weekly routines and stick to it. Consider batching tasks into the same regular time blocks every week. There is some science suggesting batching leads to more productivity than switching between tasks too often. I tend towards multitasking and have discovered when I try to do that, I end of up doing everything at less than ideal quality. So now I am batching.
To keep all of life in balance, set up a weekly routinized schedule that is organized by your top priorities and includes your blog. Time block in the schedule a regular time every week for your key priorities in batches (e.g. laundry Monday and Wednesday evenings; writing posts on Friday evenings; date night on Saturdays evenings; devotions at 6:00 a.m. every day; exercise at 7:00 a.m. every day). Check in on how you are doing with your schedule regularly and adjust as needed.
This post reviews the trend towards blogger burnout in the Christian blogger world. It gives 7 lessons learned from my own life experience as well as the recommended approaches to avoid what I experienced. These tips can help prevent you from burning out as a Christian blogger.
Let Me Know
Have you experienced burnout since starting to blog? How did you deal with it? Let me know in the comments below, please!
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