I wrote this post back in the midst of 2021 when life was crazy and I felt bad because I was really struggling to blog regularly. This is a very different post from my usual, bookish content, but I truly believe these kinds of posts are too important to simply let them live in my Drafts folder forever.
I don’t know if blogging is a source of stress for you, like it can be for me. But I do know that for some bloggers, it can be really hard to balance their blog time with work, school, and a personal life. So, if you’re one of those bloggers, I hope this post speaks to you and helps you feel just a little more seen.
Over the past year, I’ve seen a few bloggers talk about how they’re struggling to find the right direction with their blog. For many of them, it’s to the point that they aren’t sure if they will continue blogging. And while I firmly support whatever they decide, it makes me wonder why so many bloggers are feeling this way…and if this is part of a bigger problem in the blogging community/blogger culture.
I think many bloggers begin blogging because it’s something that brings them joy. They do it, not because it’s what is expected of them, but because they want to; they love the community and they love the idea of writing things and having other people want to be part of their corner of the internet. But over time, they start to feel the expectations that come with being a part of the blogging community: posting on a schedule, creating “good” content for their readers, replying to comments, reading other blogs, commenting on those blogs, and a million other little things that very quickly become overwhelming and lead to burnout, a lack of inspiration, and an overall feeling of blah.
And this isn’t to say that any of those things are bad, because they aren’t—at least not inherently. Reading blog posts that my internet friends took time and passion to write brings me so much joy; posting on a schedule is a great way to help readers know when, and sometimes what, to expect; replying to comments is one of the biggest ways that bloggers build connections and create community. So, if these things aren’t bad, then what’s the problem?
I think the problem lies in the idea that we, as bloggers, believe that other people expect us to do these things.
As bloggers, it’s so easy to fall into the mindset of trying to live up to expectations that we think other people have about us. We think, “I have to post today because that’s what everyone is expecting,” and, “I can’t post this because it’s not what they’re expecting.” But in reality, we don’t know that this is what our readers expect from us (unless we ask them) because we’re simply trying to follow what we think the expectations are.
I firmly believe that a lot of the expectations bloggers have about themselves come from their own thoughts.
I know it’s true for me: I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought to myself, “I should really have a blog schedule.” This thought isn’t coming from my readers because not once has someone commented that they wish I’d post on a schedule or that they’d read my blog more if I posted regularly. This thought stems entirely from another thought that says, “I know what the blogging community expects of me as a blogger,” even though nobody in the blogging community has voiced these expectations and directed them at me.
So, what do we do? How can we combat these thoughts that are, basically, lying to us?
Well, the answer is something I learned from listening to Corinne Crabtree, who is a certified life coach and focuses on helping people lose weight, largely by teaching them how to overcome mental challenges and obstacles.* While Corinne’s advice is focused on weight loss, I’ve found that her advice is also applicable to almost every area of my life. So, what is her solution? Change the thought.
I know, it sounds really simple, doesn’t it? And that’s because it is. For a long time, I believed the lie that I couldn’t control my feelings and my thoughts. I knew that I could control how I responded to my feelings and thoughts, but the idea that I could change them, well, it never once occurred to me. But Corinne said something like, a feeling is caused by a thought, so if you don’t like the feeling, change the thought, and it immediately just made sense.
If you’re tired of trying to live up to blogging expectations that are caused by your thoughts, it’s time to change the thought. So, instead of thinking, “I should really have a blog schedule,” I can think, “I don’t need a blog schedule because I’m not blogging to please other people, I’m doing it because I love it.” It takes time to learn how to rewire our brains to autopilot to new thoughts, especially when our old thoughts have become a habit, but if you stick with it long enough, these new thoughts will eventually become the habit.
And in the end, I think that both myself and other bloggers will not only feel better about ourselves and our abilities, but we’ll also be able to produce better content because we’ll be free from the expectations that we used to think others had of us.
*Disclaimer: I am not part of Corinne’s weight loss program, but I have overheard some of her coaching sessions and talks because of one of my friends. To learn more about Corinne and her programs, check out her platforms: Website, Blog/Podcast, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.
I know this is kind of a different post than my usual, but I think God really put this on my heart because I know how often bloggers get in their own heads and create all these unhelpful expectations of themselves. So, I wanted to open up and talk about it because it’s something that we need to discuss, or we’ll always feel like we’re the only ones experiencing this, when in reality, I think it’s a lot more common than we want to admit.
Do you struggle with blogging expectations? What thought is causing you to put unnecessary expectations on yourself about blogging? How can you change that thought into something helpful and constructive?