Juggling blogging, and work, and uni, and other life commitments feels like a LOT sometimes. It’s hard trying to do everything. After all, there are only so many hours in the day, and we do have to spend a large chunk of them sleeping (as much as I wish I could be turned into a vampire and never have to sleep again). So if you feel a bit overwhelmed at times, you’re definitely not alone.
I’ve been blogging for almost seven years now, and I’ve picked up a few tips and tricks along the way. People always ask me how I manage to blog while also having three jobs and doing a bunch of other stuff, and I never really knew how to answer that question. There’s been a fair bit of trail and error and seeing what works best for me. And yes, I have burnt myself out a few times by trying to fit waaaaay too much into a week. But finally, FINALLY, I think I’ve worked out the kind of schedule that works best for me.
But instead of telling you how to blog or what your schedule should look like (because everyone’s lives are different), I’m instead going to be talking about a few things I’ve learnt from my time as a blogger. If you’ve ever felt drained or overworked, I hope a few of my insights are helpful for you!
Don’t feel guilty for saying no to things.
This is still something I struggle with, trust me. When you’re on your eighth shift for the week and your boss asks you if you’d like to pick up another one… I’m the person who’ll usually say yes immediately. I mean, who doesn’t want a bit more money to buy that latest release? I know I do. But what I have to remind myself is that if I’m constantly working, I won’t have the time to sit down and read it. One of the most important things in our busy lifestyles is carving out precious time for you to spend doing the things you love, and even if you love your jobs like I do, it’s necessary to take a step back occasionally.
But it also works the other way: sometimes you have to say no to friends and family members wanting to make plans. It might be your only day off that week and you might need that time to regroup mentally and prepare yourself for the coming week. And that’s okay! Don’t feel guilty for having to say no to people if you just need some time to understand. If they love and respect you, they’ll totally get it. Push aside that guilt that might start to surface whenever you say no to something and reclaim those precious moments of solitude in your life.
Take time out for yourself.
As I touched on, it’s important to take time out for yourself. I, personally, love going to see movies. They’re a place I can go to where I can completely relax. I don’t have to worry about work, or reviewing, or anything like that. While I love reading, I’m always thinking about how I’m going to review the book, or what themes I might bring up in my discussion. But when I’m watching a film, it’s just me and the characters. And I also don’t feel guilty because I know storytelling, in all its different mediums, is always going to help me with my own writing.
Besides movies, I also love going out exploring and taking long walks. These two things can be done alone or with people, and I do both depending on how I’m feeling. This is such a great way to get out of the house and take some time away from the computer or whatever work might be bogging you down. You shouldn’t feel bad about spending a few hours away from that WIP, or even a couple of days. If you’re tired or feeling drained, it isn’t going to be your best work anyway. So take some time away, give yourself some breathing space, and allow yourself just to be.
Don’t pressure yourself to constantly put out content.
One of the things I struggled most with during my final years of high school and university was making sure I was regularly posting reviews and book tube videos. I was obsessed with having a schedule and being fixed to it to the minute, which led to a lot of late nights and stressful posting. And sometimes I just felt like I didn’t have any good ideas to put out there, which was hard. As a perfectionist, I’m always wanting to put my best work out there. To showcase what I’m capable of. But I’ve come to realise that perfectionism is impossible, and you shouldn’t feel pressured to constantly put out content.
I know a lot of creatives out there want to stick to a regiment and try to build a following based on posting schedules, but at the end of the day, this is a hobby for most of us. I don’t get paid for blogging (except occasionally in books), so we shouldn’t feel the need to damage our mental health stressing about getting that post just perfect to upload. If you’re too busy to post one week, that’s fine! If you’re taking a vacation, focus on having a break and not about what you should be posting! Blog and booktube and bookstagram is meant to be fun, not a chore. If you constantly pressure yourself to create new content and post multiple times a week, you risk your hobby turning into something you despise.
Have a supportive network of friends.
Perhaps my biggest tip for balancing life and work and blogging and everything is to have a supportive group of friends and family members who are there to listen and help you. I’m lucky to have such amazing friends who I can rant with and meet up with to take my mind off whatever’s bothering me. I love catching up with my pals for coffee and writing sessions, and I know they’ll always have my back. Plus, it’s great to have friends who are also in the book community because they understand what I’m talking about when I say things like “TBR” and “WIP”. Those non-readers just don’t get it sometimes, do they?
Throughout my time blogging, by far the most rewarding aspect has been all the people I’ve met in the book community along the way. I’ve had my blog for over six years—nearly seven years—and I’ve been lucky to become friends with incredible bloggers, and authors, and people in the publishing industry. I’m so lucky to live in a place where I can hang out with cool bookish nerds and geek out and not be looked at weirdly. After all, you can always be weird around book nerds. It’s good to find your people.
How do you balance blogging and other life commitments? Do you stick to a schedule? Have you met many other bloggers in real life? I’d love to know!