What Writer Burnout Feels Like & How I Deal With It

burnout-fire

Blogger Problems #001

October was an amazing month for me, I had over 28,000 page views and lots of blogger love. Last month, my blog sister told me she was going through a blog burnout. I was wondering where my burnout was because we started around the same time and we usually have a lot in common.

Then I recalled she started blogging approximately 1 month before I did. March 22 for her blog birthday and April 22 for my blog birthday.

(How cool is our blog timing by the way?!)

So yeah, 1 month later, I’m feeling the dreaded burnout. It’s a little different from hers though. It’s not a blogging burnout; I really like working on my theme design and messing around with Canva. What I don’t like and can’t seem to get over right now is how every word that comes out of me sounds like something out of 3rd graders essay paper.

(Do 3rd graders even get essays…?)

What Writer Burnout Feels Like

Gurahgghhhgh, I can’t write anymore. Somebody put me back into 3rd grade because I don’t remember how to assemble words.

Everything I write sounds like a joke. I go back and just delete, delete, delete. Who is laughing at this mess? Oh, a fun fact, I never attended 3rd grade…so…yeah. #Excuse

Talking to Ms. Raggedly Riches

I try to post 3 times a week. It’s essentially like unpaid part-time work to produce legitimate content three times a week all by yourself. It doesn’t matter how fun or amazing anything is (and it can be) if you do it day in and day out, it will get tedious fast.

Me and Ms. FAF’s consensus demonstrates if you survive past the 6th-month mark, you need to survive the 7th-month burnout mark. In my case, the 7th-month of ‘second guessing what in the world I’m doing/am I writing 24-7.’ Like I mentioned before, I’ve got zero experience prior to this so there are things I would have done differently if I could hit the rewind button.

Thankfully, I’m not short on ideas. You can write about money in so many ways. I’ve been writing down a lot of topics that I wanted to dig into. The topics keep growing but my interest in using legible human words on them keeps waning. I have 35+ drafts. More than 35 horrible, incomplete, ugly drafts that will probably never see the light of day. I could rescue them by devoting some time to rewriting and doing research but I end up zombie-ing out to something else completely irrelevant.

I told my husband the symptoms where every word I utter sounds like a fish trying to talk human. Jared diagnosed it as a self-esteem issue. Everything and every word come off crusty like dry bread, that’s how a writer burnout feels like. That was definitely not the case before where I feel super excited to write about personal finance.

How I’m dealing with a writer burn out

Taking a break?

I took a short blog break over the Thanksgiving holiday because I felt so burned out from writing. Except…I don’t feel particularly better. Perhaps because 2.5 days isn’t enough to recover. But that’s as much break as I’m willing to give myself right now. Being temporarily drained is fine but it’s not a real excuse.

Do overworked, under-appreciated mothers take a break from their baby? Nope, that’s not an option.

I’m blessed to have seen this blog come thus far (despite being the complete donut that I am) so I can’t waste that blessing. Taking a break is not something I’m willing to do for what’s at stake.

For the bloggers out there who are intelligent enough to prepare some posts beforehand, it’s completely fine to take a break. But if you are like ME and you do everything last minute then post it 2 seconds later (sometimes not even proofreading…) then taking a break might not be the best option besides making you even further behind. I don’t recommend a break for myself but your miles may vary.

Read other blog reports

Reading other bloggers blog reports makes me feel motivated to blog which in turn makes me want to be productive.

I don’t keep track of bloggers who publish blog reports or don’t publish blog reports. In my circle, I know who writes them, but other than that I just wait for Twitter to deliver me the news. In most blog reports, you hear bloggers go “oh shoot, this is hard WORK” and I nod along because I fully understand that point. It eases some of the guilt I have, seeing that I feel like I’m screwing up constantly. If I see someone else having issues growing on Pinterest, I nod along and go “ah, yes OK, it’s not just me.”

I try NOT to focus on the numbers or get into a comparisons game. In the beginning, second to third months in, I was a little crazy trying to find blogger metrics to measure up to. By the 5th month 6 month, I just got over it, thank God! I stop checking my daily stat counts multiple times a day and used that time to reflect on things outside of the blog life.

Related:

Glossary of Our Monthly Blog Reports

Avoiding distractions & grind it out

Avoiding distractions is really beneficial to getting the words on paper and that’s basically what’s keeping me glued to typing this post up right now. Just grind it out!

Distractions are my biggest issues with multitasking. Ms. FAF said in her post to multitask but I know I’ll get distracted if I do anything else while I’m writing. If I go to peep on YouTube for just the audio, I’m still not going to get a lick of work done. Case in point: 6 hours later, I have no more than 1500 words written because I just spent the last 5 hours watching Stranger Things. No regrets though, I love that show. 😀

Writing is very personal. It takes a lot of resources like your attention span, fine motor skills, and of a lot of neurons firing to jot those words down. Even with all that, the last biggest thing is the emotions. Sometimes I share really personal stories with you guys and they are hard to write. I’m trying to be as honest as possible, reflect them from a neutral standpoint, all the while trying not to come off as a complete psychopath.

Related:

Debt & Suicide

The Fight That Made Me a Better Wife

The Dying American Middle Class (Free Documentary)

3 Profound Things I Wish I Knew Before Adulthood

The Influential People Of My Life (Past & Present)

Writing anything else just for fun

I love to write. I just don’t like to write about personal finance right now. Today, I was penning a post about the Millionaires Next Door and I had to stop because I couldn’t write another word about the US national salary or the widening wealth gap. I wanted to stop the monotony.

To remedy this, I’m decided to take on Adventure Rich’s streak challenge. My mission is to write at least 1,000 words a day for the next 40 days (on any topic). Swear words included; it should be a piece of cake.

That is why blogging about blogs is really important. It’s there to break up the monotony. I’m getting really sick of writing about personal finance. I’m a 3-dimensional person with needs and other passions. Ever since I listened to Les Chants de Maldoror by Lautréamont, I’ve been inspired to try my hands at a horror novel. That has no bearing on personal finance so I’ve been unhappily typing away about frugality even though I don’t really want to write about it now. Introspection on being frugal is weird…sometimes I think I’m just cheap…

Socialize with others (& bloggers)

Before I started this blog, my husband and I had date nights every weekend. Now I stay in (that’s why our eating out budget is so low) to type, type, type. This Thanksgiving weekend, we went out for Peruvian food, churros + ice cream for dessert, and Black Friday window shopping. It was really fun and we planned another date tomorrow to catch up. Socializing outside of the blog-o-sphere helped get me out of a writing rut a bit.

I can’t speak for any other blog communities out there but in this realm of personal finance, these are some of the nicest most supportive people ever. If you’re in this niche and you’re going at it alone, may God help you because you’re not going to last long. That is honestly what I believe in. The web is too big for you to conquer alone. I don’t understand why some bloggers don’t seem to reach out or choose to socialize, aka, act human.

For times like a burnout, it’s nice to have a support group of others to take your mind off it or to make you feel saner by relating to your problems.

Remind yourself why you started

“I started blogging because I realized my privilege was being wasted and there’s nothing more ungrateful than wasting privilege on the self. I am an individual with a functioning wallet, mind, and body. I live in a country with free speech and good internet access.I have enough $$ resources and experience to get into something like finance without recourseandddd I really like making pretty pictures for each blog entry!

I re-read why I started blogging and I still stand by it wholeheartedly today. The reason I started blogging has nothing to do with the feeling I’m currently experiencing so that’s good. If the original syllabus of why I started is still sound then everything else (including burnout) is only temporary – you know what I mean?

Quiet the ugly self-talk

If I don’t know enough about that certain topic I just simply won’t write it. Unfortunately, I can’t know about everything so I end up just not saying anything and deleting every word. You don’t need to be the master expert on it all (impossible to do) to write about your experience. I just need to avoid my ugly self-talk.

I just can’t bother to make myself write it if I don’t believe I know enough of what’s going on. I’ve debated if I should write about my side hustle experiences on eBay, Rover, and Etsy. All platforms I’ve been and have made money on…but they are in itself…very in depth platforms. There is a big learning curve for selling yourself on eBay, Fiverr, Rover, and Etsy. Plus those platforms change all the time. I have only scratched the surface of those platforms so it makes me feel a bit strange talking about something that I don’t completely understand…

Spark passion with accomplishments from others

Ummm…being curious…I Googled a list of personal finance bloggers on Wikipedia because as you know I’ve always wanted to be on Wikipedia. That is a dream of mine. There are so far only three personal finance bloggers with their own Wikipedia article for now. Mr. Money Mustache (of course!), Wisebread (duh!) and an investment one that I have not even heard of called Sense On Cents?

Anyways it just made me squeal that bloggers can end up on Wikipedia just by blogging! It makes me feel like the plan is so much bigger than just suffering from a little writer burnout. Talk about getting me going!!!

The success of these blogging giants makes me want to dream and follow suit. Bloggers who have met success and are public about that success deserves it. Whether you like it or not, they did something surmountable that others didn’t. We, new bloggers, are standing on the shoulders of Giants – never forget that.


Has anyone felt a writer burnout like mine? Did I describe it right? Do you have any tips and tricks to add?



39 thoughts on “What Writer Burnout Feels Like & How I Deal With It”

    • I check it 2x a day, max! It use to be 20x! I’m more the burning the candle at both ends type which is getting annoying, time to get down to business 🙍

  • My first few months blogging, I really tried to go it alone. I’m glad I stopped, because I think when I hit that burnout feeling (about 1 year in) I wouldn’t have made it through. It feels weird to blog about blogging, but you’re right; it does break up the monotony. There’s nothing wrong with slowing down your posting pace (which is still so impressive), and maybe trying to build up a backlog? Easier said than done, I know. I started posting less frequently to do the same and I just ended up writing less haha. I fully believe you’ll be able to push straight through your burnout, no problem!

  • Great, honest reflection. I feel like I’m right there with you! I have about 5-6 drafts that I can’t seem to finish or every time I open them to work on am like “ahhhhh! This is terrible!!!!” So then I close it and look at something else.

    I post once per week and I think my big problem is not writing something every day. I post on Monday, check my stats way too often, then sometimes don’t start writing something new until Saturday. The week is gone before I know it then I’m super stressed!

    I’m not a writer by background so sometimes I feel like my writing is awful and nobody would read it. That’s when I usually get frustrated and take a break and come back to it later. Sometimes when I come back to it I think, “wow, this isn’t nearly as bad as I thought it was.”

    I don’t know if I have any tips. I was debating writing a non-money related article and focus on a life update or a blog update. Thanks for sharing your struggles. It’s reassuring knowing that this happens to a lot of bloggers!

    Let’s get through the burnout!
    Mr. Jamie Griffin recently posted…How an Emergency Fund Can Save Your Finances

    • I love reading about personal things of bloggers. That’s my big 3: money, life update/stories and blog. And I can so so so relate to everything you just said. Sometimes I think what in the world am I doing…then I read it over a week later and go “oh this isn’t too bad”…we some bipolar people…

  • Pretty much nailed it. I’m going through the same thing, and also had my first real post on April 22nd just like you! 🙂 Haha but that makes me so sad because my traffic is a fraction of what you get still 🙂 It’s okay, you and FAF serve as good inspiration!!

    I took a break since about Tuesday this week. Did some short posts, skipped my Saturday roundup, and didn’t engage really in anything social media. It’s been nice.

    I need to get more caught up on posts because I’m definitely closer to your end of the spectrum vs weirdos like Ms FAF who have 3 months of posts done 🙂

    Keep hanging in there. If you ever need to vent, we’re in the exact same spot as far as timing goes (literally to the day) so I’m sure a lot of what you’re going through I also experience.

    Thanks for the tips in the meantime to help keep me sane. Definitely going to need it…
    Dave @ Married with Money recently posted…Financial Fridays: Net Worth – Take Stock Of Your Assets and Debts

  • I think taking a break is a good idea from time to time as it’s hard to produce good content on a consistent basis when you’re focused on one particular area. The truth is that there’s only so much around finance and frugality that one can talk about without rehashing subjects. One thing to consider is expanding the scope of the blog to other areas in writing that interest you and/or start a new blog. I’m a big fan of food and eating well and I think I might start a second blog about that since my current blog isn’t really that expandable in terms of subject matter.

    My main problem is starting a topic and then getting halfway through it and deciding I don’t really want to write anything about it anymore. I probably have 4 or 5 drafts right now that I vaguely like but haven’t had the urge to go back to and finish like my post about how much to spend on an engagement ring that I started right after I got engaged a few months ago and never really went back to finish.

    • Phenomenal ideas! I do wish I chose a more general name because I’ve been meaning to go into food blogging as well (hit me up when you make yours!!)

  • I went back to my calendar to see when I felt burnt out and it was right around 7 months too! Strange. Tons of insecurities crept in- the site doesn’t look good, it’s too slow, i have no idea where I’m going with my content, blah blah blah. I took two weeks off, assessed my goals, went back to my WHY, figured out what was a sustainable schedule going forward and it was the best thing for me. You’re doing awesome and helping a lot of people, don’t forget that!
    Passive Income M.D. recently posted…Seven Things I’m Grateful For in 2017

    • Very noble deed – that’s so true! I think I’ll take the next 2 days off in addition to Thanksgiving to regroup. I don’t want to get burned out or jeopardize quality.

  • Thanks for sharing your honest thoughts with us, Lily! I think I know how you’re feeling because I’m still not 100% over the burnout yet. Whenever I have an idea, I cringe when thinking about typing it up.

    I’m just so tired of writing that the act of typing up words into prose doesn’t really appeal as much as before. But I think we made the right decision not to give up blogging. We all need a break from whatever it is that we do. We will get through this!

  • Is the 7 month mark like the new 7 year itch? 🙂 I have been blogging for 8 years but not as frequently as right now so I feel your pain! It’s hard to write three times a week! The prize will come and then it will reinvigorate you and banish your burnout feeling, then you coast.
    GYM recently posted…Car2Go Vancouver Review

  • I’m behind y’all on time blogging, but I definitely have times that I feel that way. I can’t seem to write a post worth publishing. Those are the weeks that I’m glad I’m usually a post or two ahead.

    I agree with your very smart hubs that it’s all the negative self talk that does it. Stating the truths versus the lies you keep hearing tends to help me. And talking it out with my hubs, bc he sees much more in me than i tend to.

    Date nights are a must! Spend a weekend getting a few posts ahead and enjoy your hubs!!!

  • I am glad you posted your experience with burnout because it’s nice to know that everyone gets it and there are different ways to get out of it. I am only on month #2 and it is not burn out but I feel like I need to figure out what I want to say. Like my post for tomorrow, I know what I am trying to say, just not 100% sure it’ll come across when people read it.
    The Frugal Onion recently posted…10 Things I am Grateful for in 2017

  • “Gurahgghhhgh, I can’t write anymore. Somebody put me back into 3rd grade because I don’t remember how to assemble words.

    Everything I write sounds like a joke. I go back and just delete, delete, delete. Who is laughing at this mess? Oh, a fun fact, I never attended 3rd grade…so…yeah. #Excuse”

    This is gold, Lily. It’s also why you need to fight through your writer’s block. Sure, ruminating on the fundamentals of personal finance does sometimes feel like an exercise in futility. After all, what are we saying that hasn’t already been said before? But man does not live by abstract concepts alone. We need real-life stories from real-life people. That’s how we’re inspired and motivated. That’s how we really internalize important lessons. So don’t deprive us of your voice, Lily. Mrs. Groovy and I will be very upset.
    Mr. Groovy recently posted…Just Because Someone Has More Doesn’t Mean You Don’t Have Enough

  • Word. Glad I’m not the only one who struggles with “the dip.” I work full time and try to get two posts out every week, and sometimes it doesn’t happen. Those are the times I feel really disappointed in myself, but at the same time, I don’t have a job where I have a lot of free time to really write posts, so really I only have the weekends and evenings to write, promote, designs graphics, etc. We all should give ourselves a break!
    The Luxe Strategist recently posted…2017 Gift Guide: 20 Affordable Gifts for Discerning Millennials

  • I can totally relate to this. I had a personal blog that I started years ago, and was able to push out content several times a week (I was also unemployed then, so I had way more time on my hands). Eventually I got a job and didn’t write as much because I was busy, but also because I just didn’t have anything to say. Then I got the idea to launch a personal finance blog, which I’ve been wanting to do for a while, but just a month in, I’m running into the same issue of what to write about. Personal finance is a lot more specific than random ramblings about my everyday life, but I don’t want all of my posts to be an echo of every other financial post. It’s a daunting task for sure, but I can’t quit; I just got started!
    K. Wright recently posted…Thankfulness the Wright Way

  • Haha I feel the burnout too! That’s why I only posted 3 times this month which is insane…it actually makes me sad. It’s been a crazy month though so burnout wasn’t the only factor. I also feel someone bored with personal finance writing…especially writing basics articles that just seem dry and boring. And I feel I have a lot of ideas but all the ideas are bad, and then when I write it’s even worse. I’m hoping to ride it out until after the holidays since my life has been a whole lot of traveling and planning other things!
    Jing recently posted…What I’m (Financially) Thankful For This Year

  • I have no idea how you and the other bloggers post 3x a week, I only post once a week and even that’s hectic for me. Can’t imagine what you are going through with this burnout but it must feel very tedious and maybe redundant. You deserve a break after all this work on the blog Lily!
    Kris recently posted…Giving Recognition

  • My first year I posted 3xs a week and it got tough. I definitely suffered burnout…I’ve been doing for 4 years now and have taken some short breaks. I just came back from a break. And after seeing your stats…mine look so miniscule…I might just take another break! LOL j/k…maybe. Oh and you’ve got to come to NYC if you want the best Dim Sum…just saying =)
    Andrew@LivingRichCheaply recently posted…That Time Image Mattered to Me

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