There is this silent, yet omnipresent fear within each blogger that threatens our very existence in this online world – the day blogger burnout arrives. It swoops in slowly, the recipes starting to sink like stones, the photographs blurred and flat and soon progresses to words that wont flow from your fingertips. In many ways, it mirrors that feared condition of writers block, but as a writer by trade, I have no other option but to power through that interview or the article at work because a deadline looms no matter how hard it is to get the words to appear on screen. Yet as a blogger, the responsibility is entirely your own. There is no editor tapping their foot waiting for witty and well-structured sentences to magically appear. There is no photographer patiently editing pictures for you to use at your leisure. Your subject is a bowl of butter and sugar sitting in your kitchen, unaccounted for as you struggle with the creativity to bake it into something magical. As bloggers, we take on the all-consuming task of writer, photographer, editor and social media expert. Then the piece is done and we start the process again. Those with a hardcore schedule keep at it day in day out, never seemingly losing focus and uploading beautiful and inspiring content multiple times a week. It’s no wonder that sometimes it gets too much, and you have to take a step back.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the responsibility that comes with my baking blog – I write sentences that I know I couldn’t in other articles, structure sentences the way I would a conversation and take endless photographs rather than just one beautifully crafted shot. But it is tiring and time consuming, and when your cake fails to rise for the third time in four days, it feels easy to slump on the floor and let the thing burn in the oven, convinced you are a failure and that you’ve lost your touch. It’s incredibly easy to be hard on yourself, especially when there are so many other inspiring sites and ideas out there. You feel lost in a sea of words, scrabbling to grab hold of just a few to keep you afloat, but when the sentences are jarred together for the sake of hitting publish, blogging loses its loving feeling. Recently I’ve felt the same, tempted to post nearly-there recipes with words written in snatched moments, but it feels forced and unnatural. To me, blogging is an exciting and fun way to share my love of words and cakes but when I don’t feel inspired by my own content, it’s difficult to see how any reader would feel anything but the same.
Dealing with blogger burnout can seem like a risk. There is the fear that followers will dissipate, the stats will drop and the site will look tired and outdated. But there is hope in taking a break, regaining your thoughts and re-evaluating what it is you want to bring to the internet. Much like a well needed holiday, the chance to reflect rather than churn out content tirelessly will give you the space to dream up those ideas that have lingered long enough in the back of your mind. When you feel the passion once again rising in your fingertips, that feeling of incessant typing because your ideas and thoughts are too brilliant to miss capturing on the page, then it will feel like the break following the burnout was worth it.
If you feel like you’re losing your grip, then you should take that step back. Go on an ideas trip – as cliché as it sounds I get my best ideas at all hours of the day, so forever carry a notebook with you and scribble down ideas as you experience life without the chains of a blogging schedule weighing you down. Be inspired by the seasons and take a trip to markets and parks to get a feel for the time of year, imagining what you would eat in that very moment that encapsulates your surroundings. Blogger burnout is not a lifelong prognosis – those ideas that fuel your desire to tell stories and take pictures will return. You just need to give yourself space to let it happen.
I’ve shared a few pictures in this post from recipes that haven’t inspired me to write or been a particular success – including a pistachio cake I am determined to perfect – to show what I’ve been up to these past few weeks during my radio silence. I’ll be back properly this weekend with a delicious bejewelled pancake stack that will kickstart your weekend in style – and my return to the blogging world from my own blogger burnout.