I started my blog a little over two years ago and it has been equally rewarding and challenging. With apps and algorithms changing CONSTANTLY it’s hard to remind yourself that what you’re doing is worthwhile! I worked hard to get where I am today and there has been many ups and downs for sure (especially when it comes to fighting discouragement). That’s why in this post I want to delve into my 7 tips on how to overcome discouragement as a blogger (and also kind of in general).
When I was in college, I took full course loads each semester AND was also working. However, I somehow made time to start a measly little fashion blog of thrifted transformations, DIY’s from Goodwill + Hobby Lobby products, and me made garments. Starting from this position though is part of the reason it was (and is) easy to get discouraged.
I had no experience in writing other than my ENGL 1101 and 1102 classes and I sure as heck had no idea (or intention) about how to monetize something like a blog or Instagram! There are many causes of discouragement, but I feel like facing the world on multiple social media platforms can cause many types of discouragement.
How to Overcome Discouragement as a Blogger
There Isn’t a “Blogging for Dummies” Book
Okay well actually there is a Blogging for Dummies book and you can buy it (here) which is hilarious to me. My main point here is that there isn’t a one stop shop for everything you’ll need to know for blogging and sometimes it’s hard overcoming discouragement that you, in fact, do NOT know it all. I didn’t have anyone there to show me the secrets to setting up a blog or how to choose a good theme for your blog. I somehow figured it all out on my own!
That being said, just the other day I spent hours trying to figure out one little aspect of my blog that, in the long run, probably didn’t matter as much as I made it out to. It’s hard though because I spent all this time trying to figure out ONE THING and I couldn’t. This is very discouraging from a time perspective when you spend it all on one thing just for it to not come to fruition.
Wanna know something that IS super rewarding though? Spending hours teaching yourself to do something, now knowing every aspect of that difficult task, and then seeing results because of it. It’s hard at first when you’re learning how to set up a blog, but the trials you achieve are enough to push you through the discouragement.
Don’t Focus on the Numbers
When I first started blogging, I thought I would grow sooooooo fast and I had so many plans. I actually did grow fast from a follower perspective. I gained 10K followers on Instagram my first year! I thought my blog would grow just as fast; however, sadly I’m still trying to hit my first 10K sessions (this ish is hard y’all).
It’s difficult seeing people say that they have over 100K sessions per month with like 20 blog posts when you have upwards of 100 and can’t even surpass the 10K mark. This is something I’m actively working on and my goal for this year is to FINALLY hit this threshold by working on my keywords and SEO tactics.
With Instagram, that’s another hurdle in itself. If you’ve noticed a drop in followers and/or likes, I’m here to tell you that YOU ARE NOT ALONE! Most (if not all) bloggers/influencers have noticed a drop in one of these items, if not both. It’s hard when you’re still working just as hard, but not seeing results. In 2020, my goal is to beat the algorithm because it’s what my content (and hard work) deserves.
Create Genuine Interactions/Relationships with Other Bloggers
The hardest part of being a blogger today is when you feel like you’re doing everything you can to grow and bloggers around you are exploding with growth when you are not. Well, I’m here to say that a lot of the growth you see is not very organic. I’m fine with the occasional monthly loop giveaway, but some bloggers are joining Kardashian loop giveaways that legit cost 30K as a buy in (no I’m not kidding).
It’s hard seeing this as a young, millennial blogger fresh into the workforce who doesn’t have half of her years salary to drop on a giveaway. Sometimes you start to think that’s the ONLY way to grow, but I promise it’s not! The best way to grow nowadays is to create good content and to create genuine interactions/relationships with other bloggers/your followers.
I have met so many amazing women through my platform all over the country! They’re just as passionate and dedicated as I am and it’s been amazing getting to know them through social media (and IRL). Read my HerConference Recap post to see some of the lovely women I was able to meet this past June (here)!
One of my best friends, Amber, is a smaller fashion blogger and it’s nice to also have someone understand what you’re going through. Just having someone who is able to empathize with your similar struggle can help the both of you to overcome discouragement!
(We also do fun things like take trips to north Georgia and drink cider + pick apples (pic here)). I also talk about things like this on my stories and it creates such a great space for my blogging friends to share their struggles too! Tune in for weekly on Instagram #bonnetchats with me.
Set Goals That Work for You
You might remember about a year ago when I was trying to pump out three blog posts a week and it just WASN’T happening. That’s a lot to put on yourself when you’re working full-time but are still a freelance blogger. This was also a lesson about how to overcome culture shock. I had started my first full-time position at Walt Disney World and it was my first time working full-time consistently.
I realized that my goal to write three blog posts a week was just too much and that I couldn’t produce as much content as people who did this full-time. This is the first way I really started to overcome discouragement because I listened to myself and decided what was best for me and my body.
You also have to set realistic growth goals for yourself. Before Instagram started implementing all of their algorithm changes, it was a lot easier to grow. I spent hours and hours engaging two summers ago after work and it was a lot easier to interact with people! Now Instagram blocks you for days for replying to your own comments *rolls eyes.*
You have to anticipate and accept that this is just how things are now and not worry too much. You’ll realize that everyone else is struggling right along with you and people that aren’t are either cheating the system or just have freaking amazing content. I’m working in my own way to this goal and intend to get to that level!
How to Overcome Discouragement As a Blogger of Color
I also wanted to add a section about this topic. I have another post about this subject that’s linked (here). I wrote a post about noticing a lack of diversity as a blogger because it’s extremely discouraging to see companies (especially boutiques) who only work with one demographic of influencers.
You see yourself working just as hard, with just as good of an engagement rate, and similar photo styles, yet you’re being passed up. It’s a hard thing to accept until you realize this happens all the time. In the workplace you see similar issues coming up and in society as well.
This section is probably the hardest to have encouragement on because it’s not something I myself can affect. The one thing I CAN make sure to do is to work with companies who make it a priority to work with bloggers of color (especially black bloggers). Diversity is very important to me and I really want 2020 to be the year I work with companies who agree with this too!
Remember Why You Decided to Start a Blog
It’s hard to remember why you actually started a blog when sometimes you feel like you don’t even have time for it. Working full-time and blogging in itself is discouraging! I feel like I never have enough time in the day. If I am so busy at work that I need my lunch break to actually breathe, I feel like I’ve wasted thirty minutes that could’ve been spent engaging on Instagram.
If I’m exhausted after work, it’s hard to come home and pound out more work on my blog. This is also difficult when you have random stomach issues that leave you in pain. It’s also hard when you want to get back into shape and need time to work out too! The lack of hours in a day is a hard thing to cope with, but I have finally established a routine that works (read more about how I balance both blogging and a job here)!
The reason I started a blog was because I loved fashion and wanted to share that. I loved making clothes and needed an outlet to put out the things I created. It then turned into a fashion/lifestyle blog and now I also offer blogging tips! Every personality test says I love to help people so this is the small way I’m able to do so.
Taking a Break is Okay
This is a tip I still struggle with to this day. I hate taking it easy/taking a break because I feel like there are so many other things I could be doing! It’s hard when you’re a perfectionist workaholic and want to just work work work; however, taking a break is NEEDED and necessary.
The ways I take a break are ways that don’t take up too much time, but still give me the chance to relax a bit. On the weekends I generally try to take time when my boyfriend is over to not work on blog related tasks. This doesn’t always work out, but the majority of the time I try not to work for at least one movie/show!
During the weeks I usually try to take one day away from posting on Instagram (usually a Tuesday/Wednesday). This really helps combat discouragement because you can’t compare yourself if you aren’t looking for something to compare yourself to! On the blog side, I try to work on Pinterest throughout the week and I’ll sometimes work on blog posts too.
The main take away from this section is to just really listen to yourself and your body! My signs of burnout are usually irritability and a lack of motivation. Taking a break can really be the next wind of energy you need to kick it into gear the following day! If you’ve ever watched Parks and Recreation, there’s actually an episode where Leslie Knope does this (>here).
There are many quotes on discouragement, but the one above really resonates with this post. Dealing with discouragement is hard, especially as a woman. It’s difficult to to get out of your head and not give in to the discouragement you feel when looking at social media! I hope these tips helped you realize overcoming your discouragement is a hard thing to do and a daily battle, but that it CAN be done! I have faith in you because I have somehow started to do the same myself.
By focusing on your blog and your goals, remembering why you created your platform in the first place, working through problems, and taking a break, you can really allow yourself to flourish! These are just seven ways that I have worked through discouragement and there are definitely many more, but these are certainly a start.
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