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How To Make Sure Blogging Doesn't Dominate Your Life

It may have escaped your attention but for the last week or so I've been absent from my blogs and YouTube channel.  Long story short, I had some news that rocked me a little and I took the time to be digest, interpret and plan the way forward.  Fear not people, it's nothing that I can't handle and perhaps with time I'll share what's happened - but right now I don't want to and that's cool. 
Whilst I was going through this I was acutely aware that I had massive blog guilt and it got me thinking about how much it dominates my life.  I love blogging and the communities I'm involved with - you guys rock and the amount of gratitude I have for every opportunity is huge!  However, after being sat down and given a stern talking to (mainly by myself, that was a weird moment...) I decided to set some firm boundaries and found that as the week went by I started to feel a little more relieved.  

These magical rules worked so well for me that I wanted to share them with you guys in the hopes that if you're in the same position they may prove useful.  I'd like to think these rules are flexible to most situations (whether that be work, study, etc) so please feel free to add in the comments below with any additions to suit your situation!

1. Take it easy!

Being a blogger comes with a certain amount of pressure and culpability, as you gain a readership and subscribers you tend to feel this pang of guilt whenever you miss a day in your regular posting  schedule or if you have a week off with no new content to be published.  It sounds odd that you can stress out of something that, for me, is a hobby but it's a very real thing.
Two things happen in this instance; either a) I feel guilty for not posting and end up quickly cramming a post together that actually isn't that brilliant just to keep up or b) I miss is completely and then do a big post explaining the reasons for my absence.  Whilst I love you guys completely, I shouldn't feel the need to explain these reasons and I know that if I need some space then you chaps are cool with it.
So, with that in mind, I took my own advice - popped a little tweet out to say I needed a break and then tuned out for a week.  And d'you know what... the world didn't end.
Sure, there were conversations with James that started with 'do you think I should post som-' to be returned with 'No, no I don't.  Now eat your chocolate and shut up.'  Harsh but true.
Have faith in your readers and viewers, if they loved you before they'll love you after and you're the only person giving you a hard time on having a break.  Take it easy.

2. Dedicated Blogging Time

After a super busy day at work, cooking, tea, running errands and doing that load of washing that you've been avoiding all week, the last thing you want to do is sit down and write a blog post/film a video.  Your energy's been sapped and you're most likely writing only to keep up with your posting schedule, so let's face it - your content's going to be sub standard to what you're happy with putting out there.  You'll loose enthusiasm, you'll hit publish and your readers will pick up on it. 
I've found that dedicating slots of time to blogging (that are flexible, it's important to remember that) in my week meant that I was not only fresh when I came to the keyboard but also looking forward to getting stuck in for a few hours.  It completely took the stress away and I began to enjoy blogging all over again.  
I personally give myself a couple of hours to film and do photos on a Saturday or Friday, then a few more to edit and write on a Sunday.  Normally I do the latter sitting on the sofa with my boyfriend, we have 'laptop club' and just work together with cups of tea and a little music in the background.  It sounds geeky but it's cool to have someone to work next to!

3. Doing Stuff Other Than Your Blog

When you're a blogger it's easy to get sucked into being a blogger 24/7.  I was (and still am) guilty of watching blogs and reading blogs if I'm not working on my own, as well as keeping my social media up to date and do market research.  Without realising it, I became immersed and lost track of... well... life.  This needed to be toned down immediately and I started to de-blog myself by doing other things.
I picked up a book, turned the phone onto silent and curled up on the sofa.  Then I went shopping and didn't blog the haul (this one took me HUGE restraint).  I've started introducing more things into my life that are little escapes from the 9-5  and don't involve an internet connection.  It's so liberating.

NB.  I still love this blog the best though.

4. Turn Cyberspace Off

This was a massive challenge, being part of my generation means that where there's wifi there's happiness and making myself turn away from that left me feeling a little bit like a lost puppy.  I mean, I had an amazing bagel for lunch one day and I didn't instagram that.  What. The. Hell.
By turning off the cyber space it gave me time to appreciate the moment and realise that sometimes I was actually sharing stuff that wasn't particularly interesting to anyone other than me.  It gave me some more quality time with my other half at home and these pockets of time magically freed up that I didn't realise I had before (before being a half hour cruise on twitter before hopping in the shower before work...)
I felt more chilled and my family and friends commented that they saw more of me too.

5.  Be Ready To Come Back To Blogging

After having a week and a little bit off, I knew I was ready to come back.  I missed tapping my fingers on the keyboard and editing footage, my notepad was bursting with ideas I had scribbled down during the time off and my creative flair had well and truly returned.  In short, I was ready (and ripe) to come back to blogging.
If you're getting a bit of blogger's guilt and start feeling like you have to come back then you're returning for the wrong reasons, take some more time and think about why you want to come back.  You'll appreciate that extra time and it will also show you that you're missing it rather than feeling the need to do it.  However, if your inner blogger is climbing the walls then why not appeal to your fellow bloggers for a guest post?  It takes the work out of posting (good 'ol cut and paste) and also builds your collaborative relationships within your community whilst letting you readers discover bloggers they wouldn't have normally found, win win!

So that's my top 5 tips, they worked for me and I hope that they work for you too.  I'd love to hear how you cope with a demanding blog and how to prevent it from dominating your life!  Let me know in the comments below!

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