Unlike most bad things that happen in life, I saw this one coming. I had been dutifully blogging here on Pushing Social for a year and a half. I had settled into a groove and was seeing limited success.
Like a good soldier, I dutifully wrote and published a post. Watched my metrics made connections, tweaked my design and patiently waited for good things to happen. But, I knew something was not right. “It” crouched in the corner watching my every move waiting for me to let my guard down.
I was working hard but I knew that something needed to change. I hoped it wasn’t shutting down Pushing Social. But I knew that the possibility was out there
Finally “It” saw it’s chance last November. The thought was innocent enough. “How about I take a week off? I just don’t have anything to say this week”. That’s it, I took a break and for the first time in 18 months, Pushing Social didn’t publish. That week turned into two weeks – then three. Soon my complacency turned into full-blown dejection.
I didn’t care about Pushing Social. I didn’t want to serve its readers. I was done.
As you know, this wasn’t the end. I found the motivation to move forward again. In fact, Since November 27th, the day I published my first-slump post, I’ve been blogging every weekday non-stop. It’s been an amazing time. Pushing Social’s traffic has tripled. I’ve been invited to speak at my first full-blown conference and with your help, Pushing Social was named at Top 10 Social Media Blog.
What happened? How do I find the motivation to tap the keys again? I will walk you through a few simple epiphanies that you can use when you have to get back on the blogging wagon.
H.A.L.T – Focus on the Basics
Many times you don’t “feel like it” because you’ve neglected the basics. H.A.L.T. is a helpful acronym to diagnose the simple stuff:
H: Hungry – Diet is critical for high performance. Check if you are fueling your body and mind with the proper nutrition. In my case, I was living off of coffee and one meal a day. I was literally running on empty.
A: Angry – Pissed off? Annoyed by your environment, your spouse, your colleagues? Anger distracts and forces you to focus on the wrong stimulus. It’s tough to be generous, patient, and empathetic when you have murder on the mind.
L: Lonely – Where is your home team? Does your spouse support your blogging? Have you walled yourself off behind a computer screen? Blogging is a social activity that requires real word contact. Interaction with flesh and blood human beings establishes our voice and stimulates our imagination.
T: Tired – Getting enough rest? You need 8 hours. There’s zero nobility in permanently depriving yourself of sleep. Everything suffers including your motivation to keep moving forward.
Understand the “Why”
Write down your vision for your blog. What’s your big idea? Spend 10 minutes reconnecting with the reason why you decided to start blogging. You might find that your vision has changed. The gap between what you are doing now and your motivation may be causing the stress and uncertainty you feel.
Clarify the “Who”
Everyone performs better when they know who benefits from their labor. During my slump, I realized that I was writing for a faceless generic reader. I was working my butt off for an “audience” when I should have been writing for Brenda, Tom, Georgina, Ryan, Cindy and other refreshingly real and incredible people.
This epiphany immediately kickstarted my passion to write and unleashed a flood of ideas and new perspectives. I guarantee taking a moment “Clarifying the Who” will kickstart your motivation too.
Identify the “What”
What do you want to accomplish? Let me tell you a secret. The more concrete and specific you can be when answering this question the better. I believe most bloggers fail because the set fluffy, non-specific goals. As a result, their brains can’t get a handle on how to help them achieve their goals.
Brenda Clevenger’s goal is to help women enjoy 50+ women rediscover their verve, passion, and mission. This specific “what” keeps her going and is pushing her to make bold moves on her blog. You can do the same when you reconnect with your objective.
One more thing, it’s time to hold yourself accountable. Stop “hoping” that you are on the right path – get a second opinion about your blog and your mission. Most of the time, you just need to make a slight tweak in your blogging to reignite your passion and motivation.
Celebrate Every Success
Pause to pat yourself on the back. If you are in a motivational slump then get a sheet of paper and write out what you’ve accomplished with your blog. The big and small stuff (i.e. writing last week’s post) should go on your list.
Now share your successes with someone who is in your corner. Hint: A great way to start is by taking a second to tell me a success below. While you are at it, let me know which one of these motivational tips you will use.