Blogger’s Block: Or, Has Anyone Seen My Attention Span?

For the last couple of weeks I have been experiencing the most terrible blogger’s block. It’s similar to writer’s block, except I can’t call myself a writer because I’m only a blogger. Unfortunately for me, this has coincided with starting a Diploma in Journalism where I am obliged to write a number of pieces to a deadline, you know, like an actual writer.

Last week we were given the task of writing a feature piece of 700 words, to be handed in the following week. Normally I would think that 700 words is not much at all to write a balanced piece, with quotes and information. In my current state, I waded through words at a snail’s pace, counting them up sentence by sentence in the hope that I would eventually meet the elusive and enormous target. If it’s as turgid to read as it was to write, I don’t hold out much hope for my grade. Anyway it’s done, and I used the skeleton of it to write a blog post Paternity Leave, Breastfeeding and Gender Equality. And here I am writing a post about how difficult it was to write it, and so the world folds in on itself.

bloggersblock2

Aside from the course, I’ve been having a hard time coming up with blog posts. I have a couple of ideas in drafts but can’t manage to carve them into anything of any note. I stare at the screen and my brain fuzzes. I tap my phone, to see if I got a message, even though I heard no beep. I check my email. I write a sentence more. I check Twitter on my phone. I read my last paragraph, and delete a line. I check Twitter on my laptop. I search for photos to use with the non-existent post I’m writing. I literally cannot concentrate on the task of writing for longer than three minutes without checking to see what’s happening with the people who live in my phone. RIP my ability to concentrate.

It’s not just the distractions though, I’m thinking about it too much. I’m thinking about who is going to read it, rather than writing truthfully. On my journalism course, I’m supposed to write articles with balance. But this is my blog, and it’s a space for me toΒ voice my opinions. I would imagine that most of us would agree that our most popular posts have been those that come from the heart. In my own experience, the easier a post is to write, the better feedback it gets, presumably the interest and passion transfers to the reader. I was starting to experience increasing panic that I hadn’t written anything for a week or so. I have to write something. I have to write something. The more I panicked, the further my brain fogged over.

Then came despondency, Β ‘What is the point?’ What am I trying to achieve here? Even though I generally am not concerned with my stats, sometimes I look at them on a low day and feel despondent. Humblebrag coming up – getting Mumsnet Blog of the Day is great, but boy does it make the rest of your posts look measly. But chasing numbers is a fools game and generally the dissatisfaction comes from comparing your own figures with someone else. Someone who is not you and, as we all know, comparison is the thief of joy.

bloggers-block

So what have I learned as I stared at my screen waiting for inspiration to strike?

It happens to everyone and there are great ideas to get yourself out of it. I really enjoyed this post from Island Living on How to Overcome Blogger’s Block.

Take a break. It really isn’t the end of Β the world if you don’t publish a blog post for a week or two.

This is your blog, your space. To thine own self be true.

Finally, consider putting your phone under something very heavy, and very far away.

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55 comments

  1. I’ve so been there. You can do this.

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  2. I can relate to all that.

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  3. Yep, I hear ya! I feel blocked so often.

    As for not calling yourself a writer because you consider yourself a blogger… you are still a writer! The medium is a blog, but don’t let that discount the validity of your writerdom. That is probably the one thing I learnt by being a non-attender at the Surrey International Writer’s Conference, as up until Saturday, I would have said the exact same thing about myself. I got corrected so many times, that now I accept “writer”… that could probably be a blog post on its own, haha.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I feel your pain, really lost my mojo, good luck with your course x #ablogginggoodtime

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  5. alisonlonghurst · · Reply

    A really well written piece you brilliant writer you! (Stop that, ‘I’m only a blogger’ nonsense!) I nodded at this post because of the first part in particular. I was just thinking yesterday how much I love writing, but I wondered whether I would love it so much if I HAD to write. So when I read about you starting your course and finding inspiration tricky, I thought to myself: yes! This would be my difficulty. Relax and your creative juices will flow. Try and blank out deadlines and take yourself back to when you started writing and how you just wanted to get all those thoughts down. Then, as Catie at Diary of an Imperfect Mum says, just breathe out and let the words flow. Alison x #StayClassyMama

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    1. Thank you Alison, much appreciated coming from your good self !

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  6. I’ve been there. Most weeks. The pressure I put myself under can be HUGE.
    PS. You are a writer. And a bloody good one at that. Looking forward to reading about your journalism course, that was my childhood dream x #stayclassy

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    1. Thanks Rach. Why do we put pressure on ourselves like that ? Weird and unnecessary

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  7. Theianhope · · Reply

    I can relate to everything you wrote. I can spend days trying to write something, yet when an idea pops into my head, I can have it written in moments. So for me it is easier to write when I feel it rather than forcing it because I haven’t written a piece in however long.
    Also, the stats thing gets me too. I schedule tweets & get no hits and I feel like screaming. Don’t beat yourself up, keep up the good work.
    Ian

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    1. Thanks Ian. The number chasing is a nightmare – but I think a lot of ppl prob aren’t 100% truthful about their stats and we’re actually in the same boat !

      Liked by 1 person

  8. prettyinplaydough · · Reply

    I’m there too, I am struggling so much! I tell you what I did find though, 1001 questions by Gary Poole. I found it really interesting and for me it just begins blog posts because some of the questions are so interesting. If you want to message me on facebook @prettyinplaydough or twitter @cradley_ I can send you the link (because I found it for free on my ipad – woohooo!) and I’m happy to pass it on! #StayClassyMama

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    1. I think you sent it to me on twitter – I have saved it to my laptop for when the block strikes again which of course it will !

      Liked by 1 person

  9. It’s definitely worth walking away when it gets that tough to get the words on the page… And I’m pretty sure it happens to all of us! My preferred tactic is to go jump in the sea. Especially refreshing now it’s October πŸ™‚

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    1. That’s an interesting distraction! I’ve always wanted to take up sea swimming

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  10. You’re right. We shouldn’t get caught up in frequency of posts but instead focus on quality. So when we are having bloggers block, we should just take a break! It’s not that big of a deal, your fans aren’t going to banish you for life lol. Thanks for sharing with #StayClassyMama!

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    1. Yes – as if anyone is sitting around thinking wow I really wish motherhub would post something

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  11. I’m new to blogging but already put myself under too much pressure and find myself worrying about what friends or family will think of my posts. I will try and keep what you say in mind and put less pressure on myself! #brilliantblogposts

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  12. I’ve been there this week! Sat in front of the computer with literally no idea what I wanted to say – in fact I’m pretty sure I had nothing to say which was incredibly depressing! But eventually I walked away, did some baking with the kids, spoke to my mum on the phone and generally did real life stuff – and it worked – I suddenly had something to say! It’s a painful moment though isn’t it! #fortheloveofblog

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  13. maddy@writingbubble · · Reply

    I can empathise with all of this (in fact I wrote a post about having bloggers block a few weeks ago!) That paragraph about checking twitter, picking up your phone, writing a sentence, checking emails etc is exactly me when I get in a block-y mood. My last block was to do with not really feeling able to write what I wanted to write which made everything else I could write feel pointless. It’s a funny business being a blogger and very easy to compare ourselves to others and feel we should be writing in a particular way or writing a certain number of posts. i can get tangled up in those comparisons and lose sight of the truth that you express in your penultimate sentence: “This is your blog, your space. To thine own self be true.” I think we need to remember that and not put ourselves under too much pressure and the block will (sooner or later) go away. Thanks for linking to #WhatImWriting, I really enjoyed this post. xx

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  14. Damn straight. Couldn’t agree more with any of this. I love the phrase “humblebrag”. I had a mumsnet blog of the day too and I hated the way it made my graph look shit for the rest of forever! And even worse, I had to delete the post that was featured from my blog for personal reasons, lol. I just so relate to everything you’ve said here and all I can say is: you are unequivocally an amazing writer, and keep writing what you want to write when you want to write it. #kcacols

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    1. Thank you for your two supportive comments ! So much appreciated for when the confidence wanes

      Liked by 1 person

  15. We have all been there! Rest assured that to us, your blog appears just as fab as it always does. I think we are always acutely aware of when we feel like we aren’t writing our best posts, but I quite often have posts I love writing that completely tank, and posts I think are rubbish that people seem to love! Hope the writer’s block goes soon, and good luck with your diploma! #KCACOLS

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    1. Thank you – it is reassuring to know it’s something everyone goes through

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  16. Yup I know how that feels, and I really hate it if I have written and posted something that I don’t think has hit the mark. It’s hard, it’s being creative which doesn’t really turn on like a tap. Sometimes taking break, or just plodding through. But you’re doing a journalism course, a mum and you’re blogging. I think your posts are fab, I love reading them – so don’t worry you’re doing great! #fortheloveofblog

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    1. Thank you – hopefully it’s over for now but I’m sure there’ll be another one along soon enough !

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  17. Waving wildly!!! Yes! Love the honesty!

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  18. I think we can all relate to you. I’ve had blog posts going out but nothing from the heart or what I’ve wanted to say the last few weeks. I’ve simply beenter riding the Blogger wave and not posting the quality content I should be. Time for a pick me up #kcacols

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  19. I have the opposite at the moment. So many ideas but hardly any time. I have 32 draft posts ready to sort out to publish but time is my enemy! I’m hoping you recover soon! xx

    Thanks for linking up at #KCACOLS.
    Hope you join up again next Sunday.

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    1. 32! I’m impressed

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  20. Oh this is great, this really gets me right now. I have just gone back to work and in prep for the transition I wrote and scheduled several weeks worth of posts! As they dwindle down though I’ve realised, not writing properly for a few weeks has left me with writer’s block! I feel almost disoriented like I have no ideas how to get back on track again! I’m sure I will, but yikes, I wasn’t expecting this x #kcacols

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  21. I hate it when I feel like this. In those times I just try editing old stuff of just forcing a few ideas out which I may (or may not) come back to. Well done on blog of the day that’s fab! I also totally relate on the numbers thing. It’s not all about numbers but then you can feel despondent when you spent ages writing something/ bared all and hardly anyone reads it! Good luck on getting through the block. And remember blogging is writing too! #KCACOLS

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  22. I totally know what you mean. But with Christmas coming up it is making it easier! #KCACOLS

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  23. I have so many half written blog posts in my drafts folder that it’s not even funny, but I don’t have the ability to finish them right now. Which is incredibly frustrating, but I’ll get there in the end.

    I love your honesty and for what it’s worth, I think you can definitely call yourself a writer. Blogging is your chosen medium, but you’re definitely a writer.

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  24. Ah self doubt with a twist of social media distraction, surely the recipe for a lot of procrastination and screen staring (which I do a lot). And a looming deadline (self-imposed or not) never helps. I feel your pain. But look what you wrote…a post, fancy that! And a good one too. Good luck with your course #whatimwriting xx

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  25. Yes totally with you on this and I get hit by the block usually the week after a school holiday trying to back into the swing of things, I tend to find that mainlining on talk radio shows (Vanessa Feltz on BBC London / Women’s Hour / Desert Island Discs) will eek out an idea because of the broad range of issues that come up on a daily basis. That..or anything that has me shouting at the telly!

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    1. Yes talk radio is a good place for inspiration – I always listen in the car on the way in to work .

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  26. Totally get what you mean, but the thing to remember is that it’s not about the numbers, even though I feel a bit pants when I haven’t had as many people visiting than the day before, but more about writing things you like rather than for the sake of it x #KCACOLS

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  27. I think we all feel like this sometimes. And it is best to just take a little break and clear your head I find x #KCACOLS

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  28. Going to pile on to what everybody else seems to be saying. We’ve all been there #KCACOLS

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  29. randommusings29 · · Reply

    Some days, you just don’t feel it. When I have those days, I try to concentrate on something else like social media or joining linkys etc.
    And remember, when you compare yourself to someone and feel disheartened, the person you’re comparing yourself with is probably doing exactly the same with someone else
    Thanks for linking up to #BloggerClubUK
    Debbie

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  30. As always i love reading your blog posts (and sorry I haven’t stopped by more regularly over the past few weeks). Bloggers block is a right pain. But I also see it as a chance to step away from the blog and take a refreshing break. We can’t be super hero bloggers and just come out with amazing stuff all of the time. Think it’s fab what you said about asking yourself about what’s driving the blog post or what’s the motivation for the blog post? That can help us to write about stuff (or not!). Anyway good luck with your Diploma in Journalism – what an amazing thing to do. I know studies will feel tough at times but you will be fab at this course. I just know it Beth. x Sunita #fortheloveofBLOG

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    1. Thanks Sunita ! You’re welcome here anytime

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      1. Thanks Beth! Love a good dose of Motherhub with my cuppa xx

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  31. The Pramshed · · Reply

    This is so true and you’ve hit the nail on the head. Your blog is your space, it’s nobody elses. I feel the same as you, I’ve hit bloggers block a few times, or lost my blogging mojo (as I choose to call it). I get bogged down and stressed by not posting for a week, or worried about my stats. But that’s not why I set up my blog, I set it up as an online diary to capture life with my daughter. Every now and again I have to remain true to my core blog values, sometimes it’s busy and sometimes it’s so slow. That’s great news about the Jouralism course, I hope that it is all going well. Thanks so much for sharing this post with us at #fortheloveofBLOG. Claire x

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  32. such a great honest post. Oh and the pressure we put ourselves under but what does it matter if we leave a week or two without blogging. I’ve felt the pressure recently about why am I even doing this? Who am I doing it for? I’ve actually felt a little anxious which is so unlike me. I’m definitely reflecting a lot at the moment about my blog #ablogginggoodtime xx

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  33. Taking a break is so important! Often we come back refreshed and ready to get back at it!

    #ablogginggoodtime

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  34. Oh god there must be something in the air hun. i too have been facing that despondency! Chasing numbers is a fools game though you are so right! I hope inspiration hits for your course! Thank you for linking up to #ablogginggoodtime

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  35. Can I just say that I think bloggers need more value, I know people dis mummy bloggers but they do actually serve a purpose. With regards to writers block definitely with you on having a break and coming back to it. So true about the statement regarding your space, take your time, you can bring yourself down and sometimes just having time away can make all the difference X #ablogginggoodtime

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  36. Alana - Burnished Chaos · · Reply

    I think we all experience this at some point. Have a break and then just write whatever you want to write, don’t worry about who is going to read it or who would be interested, just write whatever is on your mind x
    #Ablogginggoodtime

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good advice – that’s definitely what I’m going to do

      Liked by 1 person

  37. It is hard being creative all the time and if you are doing a journalism course too that is extra pressure. I did a refresher writing course last year and my life was totally consumed by sitting and writing. Apart from getting lazy I became grumpy too. It’s important to remind ourselves why we are doing this sometimes and if that includes taking a break so being it. #ablogginggoodtime

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    1. Hmm that’s interesting – I guess I thinking a lot about the course which is a different kind of writing to the blog. And yes to the grumpiness too, I get grumpy when I’m not writing as much as I think i should be. Sigh. Thanks for reading !

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  38. You know I feel like that today. I’ve a booming tv in my head – that I’ve now switched off and my eldest ranting in my ears! Thanks for the reassurance that we aren’t alone. #ablogginggoodtime

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  39. Ooooh I love this, we’ve all been there. I am not a prolific blogger anyway and recently even a post a week has felt like a stretch. I am a lot busier at the moment but I guess the energy and drive has to be there with blogging and I seem to be lacking it a little. I’ve decided not to beat myself up about it though, like you say – the world won’t stop turning because I’ve missed a few weeks of blogging!!
    I hope your course is going well and you find it easier to write the next one! #ablogginggoodtime

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