Let me guess. You’re:
- Drowning in information overload
- “Working” on something with no clear end goal in mind just to make a dent in your daunting, never-ending to-do list
- Suffering from paralyzing indecision from too many differing opinions online
If any (or all) of these statements apply to you, friend, you have a case of beginner blogger overwhelm.
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Despite the overwhelm, here are the resources that helped me get over this valley to turn my efforts into a profitable venture:
- Resources from this stay-at-home mom are very thorough and constantly updated, but you can try this 31-day blog plan* for free
- The Pinterest strategy* that skyrocketed my traffic from 1000 to 200,000 in one month's time
- Although I didn't discover these beginner SEO tactics* until later, this would've helped me reach my goals sooner
I’ve been there too. Here’s a gist of how it went down for me:
Huh, seems simple enough. (Did some casual research, got convinced that it’s worth a shot).
Okay (deep breath). I’m gonna to do this.
Opened flood gates. Researchresearchresearch. Signed up for every freebie I laid eyes on. Made a to-do list a million items long. Let blogging consume every second of my life, told myself I really need to slow down, but couldn't stop reading through more blogs and sign up for more things (seriously, why do I need 5 different Pinterest email courses?). Finally, reach a breaking point, became an emotional wreck, and hung my head in defeat.
Now at this crucial moment, I had two choices: throw my hands up and give up completely on the blogging, or, take a step back, and figure out a plan of action that would actually be within my reach.
Luckily, this is a tale of the latter.
And I’m here to show how you too can recover from beginner blogger overwhelm by recognizing the symptoms and then tackling it with a vengeance.
The ridiculous goals I set for myself
First, let me share some stats to put things into perspective. In the month of August/September, I:
- Read through countless blogs, free email courses, and freebies
- Started my blog on WordPress in September with very little tech background
- Learned Pinterest and Twitter from scratch (I only occasionally went onto Facebook prior to blogging)
- Learned Photoshop with zero prior knowledge
With the hopes that I would launch my blog with:
- 5 epic blog posts
- An awesome opt-in email series with a launch prize to get subscribers
- A deadline funnel product with a countdown on a landing page that I would DIY for free (no, really)
- Have systems to schedule Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest down pat
- Content for the following month already set and would just need to publish
...all in one month. Along with raising a 7-month old son. And keeping my full-time day job.
In my defense, when you want something so bad emotionally, you think that you can do it if you put your mind to it. In hindsight, I can see how illogical and impossible I was being...but moving on.
Here’s what actually happened:
- Scrambled to barely get 3 posts up
- Created an opt-in that got 3 bites
- No deadline funnel
- Dormant Facebook page
- No Pinterest pins scheduled
- Nada on Twitter
So yeah, fail (as in matching my goals to my ability, not as in the progress made on my blog because that’s about par).
The worst part? I was so focused on my blog that I didn’t pay as much attention to my son (I missed his first attempts at mobility, which was this backwards scooting thing).
And I was a MAJOR grouch, hunched over my computer at every waking moment, screaming how much I hated WordPress and Photoshop, and snapping at my husband when he reminded me to feed our son, take a shower, go to sleep, etc (sorry, husband).
Umm, yeah. MASSIVE FAIL.
Symptoms of beginner blogger overwhelmThe above were telltale signs of beginner blogger overwhelm, but in case you miss those signs (as I had), here are other symptoms which may or may not accompany or exacerbate your overwhelm.
Shiny Object Syndrome
Wanting every blogger product in sight.
I swear, I told myself I needed to stop inputting my email address as my fingers typed away for freebie after freebie.
(Luckily, they weren’t typing my credit card numbers left and right, amirite? Though admittedly, I inputted that number way too many times than I should have...)
Fear of Missing Out Syndrome aka FOMO
Wanting to be involved in everything.
This explains my inclination to sign up for so many courses on the same concept (like starting a blog) to make sure I wasn’t missing out on any critical piece of information, but honestly, they have the same basic message and so I wasted a lot of time and energy. Oh, and I only retained like 5% of what I read.
This also refers to wanting to start up Facebook and Pinterest and Twitter and everything that every other blogger was doing. Yeah, I tried that, and probably followed through on <1%.
I felt like a fraud in two ways. First, I was so obsessed with gaining more knowledge about blogging for my benefit that I felt like I talked bigger than what I could deliver my target audience.
Second, my whole purpose to get into blogging was to be able to get away from the 9-5 and spend more time with my son, which is plastered on my homepage, about page, and any intros I did.
In actuality, I wasn’t really focusing that limited amount of time with him during August/September.
If you think you’re immune to beginner blogger overwhelm
So did I.
In my normal everyday life prior to blogging, I am level-headed person, carefully weighing my options before deciding what I do.
I’ve never been a big spender, yet I was on the verge of making so many impulse blogging buys and ended up spending close to 4 figures on blogging stuff (most of which I could have done without...)
I’m also known for thinking two steps ahead of everyone else. Yet, I couldn’t get a handle on my life and felt so lost and off-track in September.
After blogging entered the picture, all the discipline that I built for almost three decades flew right out the window.
Wanting so desperately to succeed at blogging turned me into a beast; it was pretty scary how easily I was overtaken by beginner blogger overwhelm.
It’s not a matter of if, but when
Beginner blogger overwhelm is an inevitable part of the blogging cycle because you don't truly understand everything that goes into blogging until you put yourself in it.
You will reach a really low of the lows. And when you do, it won't be pretty.
I would like to say that I had some sort of epiphany where I admitted my problem, but that is not how I came to terms with getting my butt kicked by blogging.
When did I finally buckle down? When my physical health was suffering (bloodshot, sore eyes and exhaustion).
This was rock bottom for sure. But instead of feeling depressed, it's actually cause to celebrate. Because from here, things can only go up.
You are now ready to take the following steps to recover from beginner blogger overwhelm.
Ways to overcome the overwhelmBelow are top firsthand tips for pushing past the lows in the beginning of your blogging journey.
1. Admit there’s a problemOnce you come to terms that it's not possible to do it all, then you can be more realistic with where to focus your efforts to actually move forward with your blog.
2. Give in, but don’t give up
You may think that you need to constantly spend every possible moment on your blog or else you'll fall further behind, but on the contrary, the fatigue is cramping your style.
Don’t fight the losing battle. The best thing to do is to back away from blogging and take a breather.
That’s exactly what I did, and I got a playdate with my son out of it, which was a nice change from constant blogging madness. And it totally made me refreshed.
3. Put things into perspective
Do you really need to be as stressed out about your situation?
For me, I have a day job so my family’s livelihood is not riding on my immediate blogging success. There are only so many hours in a day, so dedicate a reasonable portion rather than trade my life for it.
It can be hard to accept that growth may be slow and steady when you read all kinds of income reports of bloggers making bank from the get go.
But for the majority of people, this is not the case. In fact only about 1% of bloggers make enough to earn a full-time income blogging.
The reality is there’s no easy way to do blogging. It’s tough work that you gotta put in if you want to reap the results. But as with any good thing in life, it’ll take time to nurture.
No one goes into blogging and becomes an overnight success (even for those that make it seem that way, I can bet you that they've also felt frustrations and setbacks that only propelled them to put in 200% to succeed).
Be patient yet persistent and if you continue to work towards your goals in a smart way by getting consistent traffic through Pinterest and Google and setting up your blog to make money, you will eventually reach where you want to be.
4. Connect with others bloggers
As supportive as my husband is, he doesn’t truly understand what I’m going through when the learning curve for blogging feels like a vertical cliff. I'm glad I reached out to other bloggers.
Here are insightful advice I got on how to stay motivated when blogging gets the best of you.
Get clear on your goals
From Meera Kothand of Meera Kothand:
"My no #1 tip is to define what success is for you from the very start. Take a piece of paper, and try to get as specific as possible with what that is. Because that definition of success will be your roadmap.
It’s easy to get swayed by all those 5 and 6 figure blogger reports. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and dejected when others who have started at about the same time as you seem to have have achieved lots more.
This is when your passion will start to fizzle out.
But if you know your goals and you keep your ‘why’ centered, you’ll have the passion to wade through the rough patches when nothing seems to work as well as you want it to."
Meera is an email marketing specialist and Amazon Bestselling Author of the book The One Hour Content Plan*.
Her speciality: Simplifying marketing strategy with no-fluff, direct and actionable advice. She has been featured on Smart Blogger, Marketing Profs, YFS, Addicted 2 Success and several other sites.
If you want to get started with email marketing from scratch, sign up for her free course.
Recenter your whyFrom Cath Oneissy of Catherine Oneissy:
"Blogger burnout. It’s pretty common.
My top tip to getting through it, staying motivated and getting ahead is to remember your why. And not just your me-focussed why, but your audience-focussed why. It’s easy to get demotivated if you’re just chasing extra income. But, if you’re trying to make a real difference in people’s lives… well, that’s motivating.
When your goal is to serve others with your content, it’s easier to create. Changing your internal dialogue from ‘what would make me the most money?’ to ‘what would my audience find the most helpful?’ is one of the best mental leaps you can make."
Cath blogs at Catherine Oneissy where she teaches moms how to build a passive income empire through their blogs using the power of Pinterest. Take her free Pinterest course.
Pace yourselfFrom Elna Cain of Twins Mommy:
"As a new blogger, everything is shiny and bright, eh? New tools, new stock photos, no graphics and new social media profiles.
Everything is fresh and new as a beginner. But, then something happens.
You start to feel overwhelmed.
Suddenly, you're dumped with hundred things you need to know as a new blogger. From SEO tips to WordPress to how to write a post that people will comment and share.
It's too much and you stop. Weeks go on and now the passion has died.
I don't want that to happen to you! As a newly full-time blogger, I'm learning to pace myself and to make sure that my creative juices are always flowing.
My #1 tip (and a half!) to help new bloggers have that passion and fire for months and years to come, is to figure out your greatest passion niche. LOVE what you write about and CARE about your readers.
Help them with their problems and you'll always have that drive to inspire and connect.
My half tip is to be okay if you don't have that spunk. This means you need to re-evaluate your blog's purpose and to shut the noise. Stop following other bloggers in your niche. Stop reading Facebook posts on groups.
Put your head down, focus on your plan and goal and I know that motivation will start happening. New ideas will form and your blog will thrive."
Elna is a blogger and course creator. She help moms make money by giving them tips to grow their blog traffic and email list as well as grow their income. Follow her on Pinterest.
Go with what you know
From Elise McDowell of House of Brazen:
"Document, don't create. I learned that from Gary Vaynerchuk.
Basically what he means is that instead of constantly needing to come up with new and creative blog content, write your blogs from the perspective of documenting what you've already done.
That way you will never run out of content and you won't burn out from lack of ideas or creativity. That's how I've run my blog since the beginning and it's made the whole process so much easier!"
Elise McDowell is the founder of House of Brazen where she helps women business owners make money online through sharing no-BS business advice on how to find the gumption, install the mindset, implement the systems and sell with personality to make the money you deserve so you can have the freedom you want.
If you like the sound of that, then come stalk Elise over at Instagram and Facebook!
Keep believing in what you do
From Ana Savuica of The She Approach:
"To the bloggers out there who write about what you love and what you feel that you're called to write about, know this.
You're going to meet resistance. You could be 100%, no doubt about it, on the right path and doing what you're meant to do and still feel discouraged, unmotivated and unpassionate about it sometimes. It's not always going to come easy. And it's not always going to feel good.
The hardest part will be dealing with that inner resistance, that self-doubt, those "is this really worth it?" moments.
Know that it is. Trust the path that you've chosen because you got there for a reason. And yes, this path still has roadblocks. But sometimes they are not there to show you to take another route.
They are simply there to make sure that you're committed to the journey. (And from my own experience I know that includes a few bumpy rides.)"
Ana is the blogger behind The She Approach, a platform that teaches women how to speak out online and be heard through blogging.
Started by her passion for empowering women to build their digital empires, the blog soon became a resource for new and established bloggers to grow their readership and social media accounts and even make an income blogging.
If you want to follow her journey, check her out on Facebook and Instagram.
Seriously, you'll need to take a chill pill.
As my husband tells me, blogging should be fun, not a chore. So instead of fixating on how to SEO my posts up the yin yang (when I'm not 100% sure what I'm doing), I’m trying to enjoy the writing more.
I also reminded myself of the little guy whom I’m blogging for and am now making a conscious effort to spend less time on my blog and more time with him and my husband.
I actually exercise now. And take our son out on weekday nights. It's quite nice.
6. Work Hard, but Work Smarter
In line with not letting blogging get the best of you, try to find ways to cut down your tasks and come up with systems to work more efficiently so you don’t overexert yourself.
For example, I have a blog post template so I have the basic structure for my content every time I write. I also use a similar template for all my Pinterest pins.
7. Learn Where to Focus
You cannot do allthethings. As much as you want to be the person who will prove the rest of the million others wrong, unless you have a previous background in blogging or social media, etc, then you're gonna have a realllly tough time.
I stopped all social media platforms and just focused on my blog and Pinterest. That's it. I learned that one platform in depth and it has returned dividends.
It can be hard to judge what warrants your focus when you're starting out and have no clue. This is when I feel grateful to have followed this framework* so I can have the knowledge presented to me and then just work from there.
8. Just Do Those Important Things
So easy to get distracted. But really, know what you need to focus on and just do those things.
If you find yourself spending way too much time reading up on things than actually implementing, set a timer to allot yourself the time to get the research out of your system.
If you are going to buy courses, set a max budget, spend only up to that much, then cut yourself off (or have someone you know do that for you to help you stick to this). Also, it is important to note that you do not need to buy tons of courses to succeed in blogging.
Having experienced a bad case of beginner blogger overwhelm has taught me some crucial lessons that help me in moving forward with my blogging. By following these tips, I have went from hot mess to having greater calm, confidence, focus, and balance.,p>Blogging has turned into something more meaningful yet still on track to achieving my goal to make this a true career.
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I love your post Sylvia. Yes putting things back into perspective is a good advise. I haven't been blogging for long but I got caught up in the learning it all now . I also got addicted to checking my page views and got really down because my numbers were so low. But just like you , I don't need the blog as a mean to make money and it is supposed to be fun so I am getting better at getting past all this.
Sylvia Wu says
Thanks for the feedback! I've never felt as incompetent in my life as I do with blogging, yikes! But, slowly and surely, I'll be trying to figure this thing out!
Sylvia Wu says
I know, right? Well I think you're doing an awesome job because you're definitely connecting to readers. You totally should be blogging! I will always be a fan!
Ms. Frugal Asian Finance says
I have blogger overwhelm too! Sometimes I just feel like I don't know what I'm doing and if I should even be blogging still.
But you're absolutely right. There are ways to get over such feelings and keep moving forward with what we're passionate about! ^.^