I’m back this Friday participating in another Let’s Talk Bookish post! It was created by Rukky @ Eternity Books and co-hosted with Dani @ The Literary Lion. However, in April of 2022, Aria @ Book Nook Bits took over! For this week, our topic is: Blogging Balancing Act, suggested by Aria!
Blogging Balancing Act
Here’s this week’s prompts: How do you manage balancing blogging and life? In what ways do school and work get in the way of blogging? Are there any ways that blogging can help with everyday life? Are there certain times of year when blogging becomes harder or more overwhelming?
So, let’s dive in a bit, where I’ll discuss: my own tricks and tidbits, resources I use and how to be kind to yourself as a blogger.
Tricks and Tidbits
As you may know, I’ve been blogging for 10 years. Yes, I am An Ancient.™ I’d like to think I’ve learned a few things about the tricky blogging balancing act in that time! So, I’ll share a few things that I like to do, but, as always, YMMV. And, because I love alliterations, I shortened it to three main P’s: planning, prioritizing and (being) practical.
Honestly, I wouldn’t be able to blog as much as I do without planning. I’ll get into more about what I use to help me plan in the resources section down below. But, at the start of each month, I usually try to have a goal list of what posts I want to write. Then, on the weekends, I try to write out the posts for that upcoming week. I started doing this after realizing I wanted to post on MWF. I used to post daily, but that was quickly unsustainable for me. If I have some free time or I know I’m about to get busy, I’ll try to write more posts and schedule them, so I don’t miss them. This doesn’t always happen, however!
Guilt was not an uncommon feeling when I couldn’t keep up with a blogging schedule or meet all of my goals that I planned out. Yet, as I’ve gotten older and my plate is fuller, I realized that you must give yourself grace (something else I’ll talk about below). Hell, in the second week of August, I had planned for three posts and only wrote one. Instead of feeling guilty, I adjusted my schedule and moved some planned posts for August in September. It’s okay to do!
On top of planning my content, I also need to know where my blog falls in my priorities list. For me, it’s typically a high priority, because it brings me joy. And, because I write many personal posts here, that processing is something that is truly beneficial to me. However, I’ve had to learn to be flexible when prioritizing and with planning. Some weeks, it’s just not going to happen or I need to make it a lower priority. Having that flexibility and giving myself grace has allowed me to pick back up and regain momentum quicker. When I used to beat myself up (more, I still do sometimes) for “messing up,” it was harder to bounce back.
Working in tangent with the two above, the best way to complete your blogging balancing act is to be practical. Don’t be afraid to compare it with your other commitments and desires in your life and be honest about what you can do. Make your goals moving and adaptable, rather than cemented. It’s important to not compare yourself to other bloggers in this instance! Where one blogger might blog 4x a week, you might blog 4x a month. That’s okay. Your lives are different and it’s important to be honest with yourself about what you can practically handle and want to do. This will change and evolve over time. Let it.
Resources I Use
If I can make things easier for myself, I’m all about it (kinda obvious, I know). Once I got into the swing of things, I realized that I needed support in some areas, to make blogging consistently a reality. Here are a few things that help me:
- Kal’s Spreadsheet: I’ve spoken about this spreadsheet so many times, I swear Kal is annoyed by this point. 😅 But using Kal’s spreadsheet, which comes with a monthly breakdown to plan your content, was a game changer for me. It allowed me to plan out as much as I wanted, so if I had some free time, I could write posts in advance and plan for busier seasons.
- Feedly: Blog hopping is a huge component of blogging for me. I never feel worse than when I’m unable to blog hop for a while and miss all the wonderful posts you’re all working on! I used to try and scroll back through WordPress Reader, but that ended up being horrible if you weren’t always on top of it. I easily missed posts. Using Feedly to combine it all and read when I was ready was a game changer. (Note: I did purchase a yearly plan so I could upgrade how many blogs I could follow there, which I recognize is not feasible for everyone!)
- Duplicate Posts and Templates: Something I think is super great is templates, templates, templates. The more things you can have that you can edit as a template rather than starting from scratch will save you so much time! After I went self-hosted, I was able to utilize plugins, which allowed me the godsend that is “duplicate post.” So, I have “templates” that I use for all of my reviews and series posts, like Let’s Talk Bookish, Novels and Narrations and my Bookish Breakdown posts. It saves me a ton of time on formatting and allows cohesion across my site!
I hope some of these tips were helpful, but I saved the most important one for last. I’ve talked about bloggers needing to be kinder to themselves before. Guilt, pressure and the comparison game seem to be pretty common experiences, for new and old bloggers alike. So, it’s important to remember that, no matter what, you need to be kind to yourself.
At the end of the day, book blogging is a hobby. (Most) of us aren’t getting paid for it. Sacrificing your mental health to finish a post and not break a streak doesn’t serve you. Obsessing over stats never helps you. Succumbing to guilt when you don’t manage the blogging balancing act isn’t necessary or required. You’re human, a multifaceted individual with so many commitments, interests, needs and wants. Be kind to yourself and your expectations, in all of them.
So, that’s my take on the blogging balancing act. Because it is very much a balancing act, whether you’re balancing it with a few commitments or loads. It takes practice and patience, on top of learning your own rhythm. It’s okay if you fuck up.
What about you? What do you use in your own balancing act? Any tricks, resources or tidbits you like to use? Lessons you’ve learned (or are still wanting to learn)? Tell me in the comments below, I’d genuinely love to hear from you on this!