Earlier today, as I got my laptop out and started the inevitable social media procrastinating I came across Retro Flame’s latest post All or Nothing. She was talking about the importance of not settling for something if your heart isn’t really in it, applying it to a blog post that she had planned to post earlier in the week but found herself not entirely happy with it and instead of posting it for her schedule’s sake, she held off a few days until she had it just how she wanted it. It really got me thinking because as a blogger, this is something I can completely relate to.
After a motivational chat with the always lovely That Belfast Girl a few weeks ago I decided that now that I have the time I was going to churn out as much content as possible, challenging myself to one blog post a day.
That was all fun and games until the inspiration ran out.
A few weeks ago I was overflowing with blog post ideas and couldn’t silence the thoughts buzzing around my head. There were a few days where I would take out my laptop and the words would just come to me without any planning of a post. While this was fun at the time, it wasn’t realistic and sadly the ideas and their words started fizzling out. In a very short space of time, I had let my blog turn from something I did out of enjoyment to a chore I had created for myself. I’ve mentioned before how I tend to put a lot of pressure on myself and without realising this is exactly what I did with my blog last week.
I started valuing myself based on whether or not I wrote a blog post that day. If I was able to post one that day then I was headed the right direction, I was on the right path, I was being productive and I was positive that everything was going to work out. But if I didn’t, I was overwhelmed with guilt and anxiety and felt like I had wasted my day, that I was a failure and that I was going to end up unemployed forever. This all seems very dramatic considering it was all over the space of about 7-10 days but if I had continued to function this way, I know the exact anxiety filled black hole I would have found myself in very quickly.
There were a few posts I planned to write and some I even went ahead and published that I wasn’t entirely happy with but that I posted anyway because of my one post a day rule. I was sacrificing quality of my content to reach quantity goals which is not what I want this blog to be about, nor is it something I want my writing to be associated with. Thus came the realisation that I need to just chill out so this week I’ve been taking a more relaxed approach.
It’s Thursday (insane – where has the week gone?!) and this is my first blog post of the week. Last week’s Niamh would be up the walls at this point but this week I just wasn’t feeling inspired to write anything or produce any content and so I didn’t force it.
Everyone who has been telling me to take this time off to just chill out and enjoy some downtime, you’ll be happy to hear that thats exactly what I’ve been doing. I’ve been enjoying reading a lot more but I have to admit, even as I try to relax with a book in my hand, I find myself sub-consciously following a strict reading routine, reading at the same time every day and reading a certain amount everyday so I’m not sure I’ve nailed relaxing completely just yet but it is a start.
Even as I’m writing this post I feel guilty and silly because I know that there are a few of you that will read it and assume that all I’m doing is relaxing and I don’t blame you for thinking that because that’s exactly how it looks on the outside (especially to my family who see me in my pjs and dressing gown more than I care to admit). But what’s going on inside paints a completely different picture. My emotions and thoughts are doing everything but relaxing and that’s unfortunately just the nature of anxiety but each week is getting easier than the last and hopefully that will continue.
At the BLOGGERCONF at the weekend, one of the speakers on the panel mentioned about how you should ask yourself what the point of your post is every time you produce content. Applying that theory to this post, I’m not entirely sure what the point was other than to just get it off my chest and maybe help someone else to know that it’s ok to just chill out and enjoy yourself every so often.
To anyone else in a similar position, I’d love to hear from you and hopefully you’re not feeling as guilty as I am about doing ‘nothing’.