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10 Things to To Do When You Lose Your Blogging Voice

There are times when blogging seems easy.  Natural.  Maybe even like breathing.

Other times though when it’s hard.  Awkward.  Perhaps you feel like you’ve become a stranger on your own blog.  Or that there’s nothing more  you can add to the words that pour out into the blogosphere, day after busy posting day.

Perhaps it starts to feel like you’re losing, or have lost, your blogging voice.

I don’t know if that’s ever happened to you.  It does, to me, from time to time, and the last month is the hardest I’ve ever found it.  Hard to get back into the groove.  Hard to find the way back in.  Hard to re-find what it is that allows me to say, remember, believe, that my words, too, count.

Happily, I think I’m there now.  How do I know?  Well, my unconscious mind is back waking me up in the middle of the night with brilliant ideas for posts she’d like to write (thank you, dear sweet muse).

And what did I do to try and get my voice back?  Well, mainly I waited.

There were a number of other things I did too, and I’ve shared them below.  They won’t necessarily work for you, but maybe some of them will help you start blogging quietly… or loudly… if you ever find yourself losing your blogging voice.

Quaaaaack by tifotter on Flickr

1. Give yourself breathing space

Enjoy some time away from the online world.  Spend time outdoors.  Read a novel.  Breathe in and out.  Take photos.  Switch off your blogging mind for a while.

2. Give yourself permission to be quiet

You’re feeling like this for a reason.  Give yourself the time and space to reflect, be quiet, work things out.

3. Remember it’s part of blogging

As some of you have reminded me before, the relationship we have with blogging is fluid, dynamic.  It changes over time.  That means going through high points, and low points.  We need to learn how to ride through both.

4. Remember your readers are human

Your readers will probably notice you’re being quiet… and not mind.  They’re human. They’ll understand.  They might be concerned for your well-being, but they’ll understand, and will be glad to see you back when you’re good and ready, but not before.

5. Comment quietly

Writing comments on other blogs is a quiet, gentle way to work your way back into blogging.  Pick those blogs where you feel most at home.  Where you know you can pop back, quietly, without fuss.  Start rejoining the conversation there.

6. If you’re on Twitter, keep tweeting

Twitter is rapid, conversational, fluid, friendly.  To rejoin the stream you don’t need to do more than say hello, and give an update on the weather.  No need to explain your absence, or write something clever when you’re ready to get started again.  Just show up.

7. Check in with your purpose, values and intention

Make use of the time and the space to remember why it is that you’re writing, blogging, spending time online.  Check to see how that aligns with your values, purpose and intention.  Look for things you need to change to re-align your actions with your values.

Identify things you can do less of.  Perhaps things you want to do more of.  Things that will allow you to write more clearly, with greater confidence.

8. Start back with something easy

Share something personal as a way of breaking the ice and making contact with your readers.  And personal doesn’t need to be deep, reflective or introspective.  It doesn’t need to be private.  It could just be a report on the weather, or some pictures of where you had a sandwich lunch.

9. When you’re ready, acknowledge some of the stuckness

It’s a way to reconnect with your readers. To share something of what’s been going on, and how you worked through it.  Sharing some of those more reflective moods is a way to establish a sense of connection, of rapport with those who read your work and support and encourage you in what you do.

And it helps you to feel connected back to your own words too.  Rather than trying to convey a sense of confidence  you don’t feel, you can just tell it as it is.

10. Write a list post

Yep, it works a treat, every time :-)

Have you ever felt like you were losing, or had lost,  your blogging voice?  What worked for you to help you get it back again?

Photo credit: Quaaaaack by trifotter on Flickr

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Comments

  1. Joely Black (@TheCharmQuark on Twitter) says:

    How appropriately timed, and what great advice. I have been in a state of not-blogging, simply because of what’s been happening in the rest of my life.

    I come back to blogging and lo and behold, WordPress’ add-new-post screen doesn’t work. So now I couldn’t blog if I wanted to!

    Joely Black (@TheCharmQuark on Twitter)s last blog post..A possible solution to the problem of outlines

  2. Viv McWaters says:

    This is excellent advice and mirrors my experience. Thanks. I’d add one other: Try something different. After all, what’s the worst that could happen?

    Viv McWaterss last blog post..Indonesian Cat Haiku

  3. Facilitation - Evaluation - Beyond the Edge - Viv McWaters says:

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  4. Bo says:

    This is one of those posts that I read and bookmarked immediately. A great list for the blogging blues. Thanks.

    Bos last blog post..Liberty at Sunset

  5. Meghna says:

    Yeah, this phenomena happens to me frequently and I was wondering whether this happens to me only! Now since you have come up with such a useful post, I think I can overcome this ‘illness’ and look forward to some early blogging days…. Thank you for sharing.

    Meghnas last blog post..Terrorism : The Aftermath. The Other Side Of The Story

  6. Joanna
    Twitter: joannapaterson
    says:

    Joely sounds like the universe is trying to tell you something! Maybe you need a wee bit more quiet time yet ;-)

    Viv yes, shaking it up often works.. you mean doing something else other than blogging, or varying the way that you blog? I’m quite attracted to experimenting with different forms - stops us getting bored (us and our readers)

    Bo thanks… think I’ll bookmark it for myself too :-)

    Meghna hi there :-) I’m pretty sure you and I are not alone in this… I think it’s probably part and parcel of the blogging experience

  7. Karen Putz says:

    Ever since I started working full-time, I definitely lost my blogging voice mostly because I was pressed for time. I’m learning to pick up the momentum again and get back into it. Nice post, Joanna!

    Karen Putzs last blog post..Karen Putz Named To National VCO Position

  8. 10 Things to To Do When You Lose Your Blogging Voice » The Write Network says:

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  9. Tanmay Vora says:

    Hi Joanna, a very well timed post. For me, when I loose my blogging voice, I write short, crisp lists of things to do. For example, I recently went through a slump time in writing when I decided to think about 25 things one can do to have productive meetings. Started noting down points and there I was with a meaty post on conducting productive meetings.

    It is also a great time to comment on other blogs as you rightly say. I think it is very important to stay connected with your feed reader to get fresh lease of ideas which keeps blogging on.

    Tanmay / @tnvora on Twitter

    Tanmay Voras last blog post..Thoughts during a poorly planned meeting!

  10. Get paid, inspired and informed | The Writing Base says:

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  11. Julie - Inspired to Write says:

    Yep, I have been there (am there). I think I still have a blogging voice, but too busy to let it speak! :) I actually am going out of country for two weeks and have been asking for guest blogs while I am gone. I have three so far! I got that idea from your blog here! Great way to keep getting followers/readers. I liked your tip on “remember your readers are human”. I am always fearful I will lose readers (not that I have many). Thanks again for your post!

    Julie - Inspired to Writes last blog post..Using A Writing Prompt For Inspiration When Busy

  12. write a writing says:

    Can we call it a writer’s block or more appropriately a drop dead after churning out a horde of articles :)

    I often feel, that writing is also similar to working over a tread mill, one runs out of breadth after some time and @ Mcwaters ya it helps, just letting go of things and doing differently

    write a writings last blog post..The Writing Business : Smart Trade for Smart People

  13. Jan Scott says:

    I’m about to print this list and keep it by me, Joanna. I can’t tell you how much it has comforted and reassures me. Well, I could, except I may have lost my blogging voice! ;)
    I use writing as a tool for everything - and when I stop my brain fills up with fuzz. At my advanced age you’d think I’d have learned, but no. Yesterday I spent time making a list of all the ways in which writing helps me live me life (a blog posting there, I think!) and my intention today is to act on some of those. Your posting couldn’t have been more timely, reminding me that it’s OK to let the fuzz build up a bit, that’s it’s all part of the process, that tweeting needn’t be a daylong commitment (daren’t start, or I’ll be there all day), and that it’s OK to be quiet (tough one, that).

    Jan Scotts last blog post..gamelan

  14. Naoko says:

    I’m going to bookmark this entry when I get home.

    Another method I’ve found is simply to announce to my friends when I’ve been away is that I’m alive, but I’ll be posting soon. This often means I set myself a deadline to post, but it’s often helpful in making sure I’m not skipping posting simply because I’m lazy. :P

    The meme method’s also good too. It helps get you back into the groove without really being too personal (if you’re short on ideas).

    Naokos last blog post..[Review] The Sims3

  15. Karen Swim
    Twitter: karenswim
    says:

    Joanna, no doubt this post will resonate with many of us. It seems that many bloggers recently (including me) have been in a quiet period. I realized last week that it takes as much courage to be quiet as it does to publish. When I have tried to force my way through the quiet I have felt out of sorts. I’m learning that they serve a purpose a time to check in, reflect, recharge, and rebalance. We are all human and when we re-emerge from the quiet times I believe it is with a stronger voice.

    Karen Swims last blog post..What’s in a Name?

  16. Robert Hruzek says:

    Yeah, I’m with Karen Putz up there (figuratively, of course!) Been so busy lately it’s been difficult to keep up with everything. ‘Course, it doesn’t help when sickness adds its jolly presence, either! (*cough*cough*)

    I must admit, though… it’s kinda nice to have a rest from the pace. Might have to try it - on purpose - sometime!

  17. Janice Cartier says:

    Seasonality.

    It’s a word I read over at Creative Lifestyles that hung in the air and lingers with me. That word “seasonality” made me stop and think, doesn’t it apply to what we are writing about too? Isn’t this more the time of year to let the heavy keep me warm kinds of things fall away to lighter more let us frolic kind of things? Let us change our pace kind of things? Even be silent or more brief if we need to be.

    And couldn’t that be knowing when to rest and be gentler with ourselves too. Give ourselves this breathing space?
    I love your list Joanna…it’s an invitation to breathe if we forget how to do just that. A keeper for sure.

    Janice Cartiers last blog post..Bucking the Tide

  18. wilson says:

    Yeah, you’re right about it, Joanna. We’re only humans and we all do make mistakes. It isn’t shame to have the weakest moment or losing our blogging voice, just stand out and admit it! Sometimes, we need more courage to face the truth than keep hiding in the back of a curtain…

    wilsons last blog post..Make Sure Your Children’s Clothing Are Not Too Sexy!

  19. Meryl K. Evans says:

    All excellent tips and what I do. Not necessarily lose my blogging voice, but too busy to blog or just plumb tired. Until today, my last three blog entries have been interview with authors and those went well.

    I agree — don’t feel guilty about not blogging. You can make up for it by staying active in other communities (twitter, other people’s blogs, etc.).

    Meryl K. Evanss last blog post..10 Tasks to Prepare for Time off

  20. C. S. Lane says:

    Wonderfully marvelous advice—much of which can (and should) be both extrapolated and applied to all other forms of writing.

    Many thanks for your excellent advice.

  21. Joanna
    Twitter: joannapaterson
    says:

    Karen being so pressed for time is challenging indeed - I’m glad you’re still managing to blog and tweet though, otherwise we’d have to come looking for you :-)

    Tanmany hi, and thanks for your comment. I’m a fan of short crisp lists too… list posts are really a great way to get the words flowing, even if it’s not exactly poetic. And yes, writing comments is a great way to stay connected… unless your voice goes completely, in which case it’s just more time out that’s required…

    Julie I’m glad the guest authors idea is working for you and allowing you to take a break. Remembering your readers is human is so important - I always feel more like writing when I think of you as individuals behind the screen :-)

  22. Joanna
    Twitter: joannapaterson
    says:

    Hi to ‘write a writing’, yes, I think some of it is burnout… maybe some of it is when we just need to take stock and listen to what’s going on inside. Letting go helps with both for sure

    Jan I think you and I think and work in very similar ways :-) When I’m not writing the way I want to my mind gets fuzzy too… I had a bout of that recently, which most definitely coincided with the quiet / lost blogging voice. I’m glad this post comforted and reassured. I loved your follow up post on writing too…

    Naoko I like the idea of setting a deadline for yourself… when you’re ready (and not just being lazy;-) ) Memes are also good - I find Robert’s WiLF projects a great way to (make myself if needs be) stay in touch

  23. Joanna
    Twitter: joannapaterson
    says:

    Karen hello, and thanks for taking the time to comment in what I hope is a safe place for you :-) I know exactly what you mean about pushing yourself through the quiet, and the out of sorts feeling that can result when we do. Sounds like you could do with some properly quiet time petal.

    Robert having a rest from the pace is something I’ve been thinking about too… def thinking about slowing the blogging down a bit more. Hope you recover from the coughing soon…

    Janice it’s definitely about knowing when to rest and be gentle. And yes I think seasonality is a great word for it - might be inner shifts of season as much as outer, but yes, definitely a recognition of the natural ebb and flow

  24. Joanna
    Twitter: joannapaterson
    says:

    wilson oh the courage to be human… yes indeed :-)

    Meryl ‘don’t feel guilty about not blogging’… that should be written up in the internet somewhere so we don’t keep on forgetting it! Good point re staying active… though if you’re really feeling the need for quiet & reflection even that can seem hard. I do find Twitter the most forgiving of mediums though… always someone around who you can chat to gently

    C S thanks for that feedback, and taking the time to comment. Much appreciated.

  25. Debbie Yost says:

    Yeah, I’m still struggling. I think I’ve been doing several of the things you mentioned. Mostly just taking my time and not feeling obligated to post 3 times a week like I intend do. I’m slowly getting back into it, but not fretting over it. I really think Twitter and Facebook have helped me stay connected. Reading other blogs has helped also. Even if I’m not interested in posting, I can read and comment in other places so people don’t completely forget about me. I’m still struggling with keeping positive. A lot of what I want to say sometimes either on my blog or in other comments is so negative, so I just don’t say anything at all. That way, when I do get my voice back, I won’t have lost a lot of my followers because of it.

    Debbie Yosts last blog post..Wordless Wednesday - Window Display on the Plaza

  26. Joanna
    Twitter: joannapaterson
    says:

    Debbie I’m glad you’re not fretting, and like you say, staying in touch through blogs, Twitter & FB means you can keep the connections going util you’re ready. I think it’s a good idea to wait until the negativity has faded - it tends to come out twice as strong when you’re writing online. There might be hard things you still want to write about, but it’s best to do that when you’re feeling strong and may I say it… confident, so you can put the point across just the way you want to.

  27. Raima says:

    Your timing is impeccable, Joanna. I had hit a dry spot in my blogging and was starting to worry. This post is exactly what I needed to read this week.

    I liked this post so much, in fact, that it inspired me to write one ABOUT it on my blog. How’s that for helping break through my writer’s block?!

    Thank you!!!!

  28. bizsugar.com says:

    10 Things to To Do When You Lose Your Blogging Voice…

    There are times when blogging seems easy. Natural. Maybe even like breathing.

    Other times though when it’s hard. Awkward. Perhaps you feel like you’ve become a stranger on your own blog. Or that there’s nothing more you can add to the words that…

  29. girlopinion says:

    Hi Joana, great list! I just recently lost and regained my blogging voice. The tips you listed worked well for me. ;)
    .-= girlopinion´s last blog ..Watch Free Online: Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakuel =-.

  30. Shawn says:

    Really, really good advice, Joanna. Especially “Check in with your purpose, values and intention”. My experience has been that if my goals remain focused on why I started a particular blog originally, I can’t go wrong. This is not to say that a blog can’t change, but I really believe when you’re stuck it’s either because you did not have enough to say on a specific topic in the first place or just that you need to expand on your exsisting theme, expand the scope of what you’re doing while still staying true to that core mission.
    .-= Shawn´s last blog ..Creating tables with HTML =-.

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  33. Sugar Jones says:

    It’s so hard to quietly wait when three days have passed and nothing is coming. The list post is a great idea. I used that recently listing ways of finding my joy. That did the trick!
    .-= Sugar Jones´s last blog ..The Dish on Food, Inc. =-.

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  35. Danielle Ingram says:

    Really good tips, not just for bloggers but for anyone that writes!
    I particularly like point number 5 not only is this a great way to get yourself back in the game it is also an ideal way to draw a little inspiration from others.

  36. Joanna
    Twitter: joannapaterson
    says:

    Raima I’m glad it helps. Actually I’m not surprised writing about it helped you get blogging again - I find each time I write about my stuckness I get magically… unstuck :-) Glad it worked for you too

    @girlopinion - glad the post struck a chord with you. Thanks for letting me know.

    Shawn hi, and thanks for the feedback. Checking back in with purpose and intention is very powerful. As you say, sometimes we lose sight of it - realigning what we’re doing to what we set out to achieve can really make the difference

  37. Joanna
    Twitter: joannapaterson
    says:

    Sugar lists never fail to work for me - even lists of why I’m stuck! Glad it helped you too

    Danielle hi :-) Yes, I think reaching out and making some quiet connections is a good way to get our words flowing. We need to chose our responses carefully, but our focus is on the connection and the other person, rather than ourselves, which I think makes it easier to get past the blocks

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  41. jan geronimo says:

    Saw the link to this post in Brad Shorr’s blog.

    “Giving yourself permission to be quiet.” Love that. I went quiet for quite a spell. But I felt heavy with guilt and unnecessary fretting. Now, I know why.

    And thanks for pointing out it’s part of the blogging cycle. Makes more sense to me now.
    .-= jan geronimo´s last blog ..When a Question Is the Answer =-.

  42. Joanna
    Twitter: joannapaterson
    says:

    Jan, it’s a shame how much guilt seems to get attached to blogging. I hope we can learn and teach each other to be free of it. There are cycles and rhythms attached to our relationship with our words, our blogs, our readers… better to go with the flow of those cycles than fight them.