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Random Thoughts: Blah-ging

Random-Thoughts-1It’s easy to blog when you’re excited. It’s just as easy to blog angry. But when you’re feeling blah, it’s nearly impossible to put fingers to keyboard, wrangle thoughts and come up with something, anything, to post.

When it’s just a day or two, having a case of the blahs is not so bad. You take a day off from the blog, you dive into a book, you watch TV. But when it goes beyond a few days to a few weeks you may start to wonder whether it’s time to close up shop.

I’ve rambled about blog-related ennui before. I’ve talked about dissatisfaction with and exhaustion from blogging. But being unhappy or stressed out or tired is not the same as feeling blah.

When you’re feeling blah you’re not concerned with having a blank day on the blog. You don’t mind skipping a review for a book you read. You don’t care that you missed your stop on a tour you signed up for.

You can’t muster up the energy to care.

Maybe you’re bored with hearing your own voice inside your head from trying to craft your posts. Maybe that voice is saying, “blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.” Maybe the newness has worn off and blogging feels more like pressing repeat when creating your posts, writing your reviews. Maybe the types of books you’re reading have all started to blend together and even they too feel a bit blah.

Maybe it’s your blog design. Maybe it’s your blog platform. Maybe it’s the bloggers you hang out with online. Maybe it’s seeing yet another tweet about how some author or blogger behaved badly. Maybe “book” and “read” have become four-letter words.

But whatever has brought on the blahs – which you probably don’t care enough to wonder about because you’re feeling blah – you just can’t shake them. Which makes them more dangerous than any other emotion when it comes to blogging.

You’re not depressed. You’re disinterested. And while apathy and ennui are similar, they’re not the same.

Ennui can be fixed. You’re tired – you rest, you take a break. You’re frustrated – you vent, you rant. You’re listless – you come up with something new, something exciting. You’re unhappy with your blog or your voice – you change it, you redesign it, you rename it, you shift your focus.

But when you’re feeling blah you just can’t seem to care enough to do anything about it.

So how can you get over the blahs?

Don’t force it. You can’t make yourself be interested in something if you’re not. You can lie to yourself, but that only lasts so long. You can go through the motions and continue to blog day after day but your heart won’t be in it and your readers will know.

You can fill your blog with book blasts, promos, giveaways and memes in the hopes that the spark will come back at some point and you’ll be once again moved to post original content. But it’s more likely that spending even that fraction of time blah-ging will cause your case of the blahs to get worse.

If a complete disconnect is what it takes to remind you how much you love doing what you’ve been doing, then it’s worth it. If it shows you that you’ve reached the end of your rope and are ready to move on to something else, it’s also worth it.

Nothing lasts forever. And if you’re just limping along, trying to keep going because you’re too stubborn to quit, you’re doing yourself a disservice. Life is short. And if you’ve been thinking that blogging is really just blah-ging then maybe it’s time to seek out a new creative outlet.

Of course if you’re still not ready to give up the fight, here are a few suggestions, distractions or other ways that may help to banish the blahs….

Start a new blog. Sometimes blogging about something else entirely – movies, fashion, food, celebrities – can help bring the spark back. If finding a new love interest is what it takes to rekindle your love for the old one, why not go for it?

Pin it. Don’t have much to say anymore? Sign up for Pinterest. Pin those inspirational pics. Stalk some other creative pinboards like A.G. Howard’s.

Feast your eyes on some Bookshelf Porn. What better way to fall back in love with books than to stare at some awesome pics on Bookshelf Porn’s Tumblr. Miles of books on shelves… could there be anything sexier?

Find a meme. No, not a bookish meme. An internet meme. Like the infamous Ryan Gosling “Hey Girl” meme. Check out Know Your Meme and find a meme that makes you LOL. Maybe even start your own.

Stalk some interesting blogs outside of the community. It doesn’t have to be all books, all the time, does it? There are actually blogs and websites outside the bookish community that are wildly entertaining. Maybe all it will take to send the blahs back to where they came from is to be reminded that it’s not just book bloggers that have a voice. Here are just a few – The Bloggess, The Onion and Literally Unbelievable, Gawker, White Men Wearing Google Glass, Actresses Without Teeth and Awesome People Hanging Out Together.

Vlog or podcast. Tired of typing but think you still might have something to say? Vlog it or audiocast it if you’re camera shy. Maybe the ease of rambling in a non-post environment will chase the blahs away. And isn’t being mortified about how ridiculous you think you look on film or sound on audio way better than feeling blasé?

Change it up. I’m talking a gut reno, not a patch job, on the blahg. Posts too serious? Throw in those gifs, get silly. Felt like you’ve been too Pollyanna? Try out your snark. Blog too cluttered? Go naked. Clear those sidebars, find a minimal theme, ditch the flash for simplicity. Try out a different you. Take a risk. You might like it.

Share those epic fail moments in blogging. You can also share the wins. But if you’re feeling blah, the fail moments will likely be those you remember most. Talking about them can help you move past them. Readers will relate. Add in a touch of humor, make it a weekly feature, such as “Epic Fail Moments in Blogging #1: That time I tried to install a countdown widget” or “Epic Fail Moments in Blogging #73: That moment when I realized I spelled Pinterest wrong in 15 of my posts.” If you can look back and laugh while writing those posts you’re well on your way to blahg recovery.

Write. If you started a blog because you wanted to familiarize yourself with the industry or get a foot in the door, then now that you have, maybe the reason you’re feeling blah is because it’s time for that next step. Turning that idea into a WIP. With NaNoWriMo just a few months away, maybe creating that outline, jotting down those story ideas or developing your character profiles is what would pique your interest. Maybe those blaghy-blahs stem from your desire to be the writer of a book instead of a reader or reviewer of one. Go for it! What better time is there than now if your interest in blogging has waned?

Anyway…

I could probably go on, but now I’m feeling a little bit blah after having listened to my voice inside my head for these past couple of hours while creating this post. And at this moment I’m more interested in visiting the I Can Haz and Fail Blog sites or playing with my blog design than continuing to babble.

I feel fortunate that when I’ve come down with a case of the blahs it has only lasted for a few days. But I imagine I’ll contract a more virulent strain at some point and I plan on attempting to combat it with any number of the above options.

But how about you?

What do you do when you come down with a case of the blahs? Do you put up the good fight or do you take time away from the blahg? And if you are struggling with blah-ging, or have been in the past, what works or doesn’t work for you?

Have you known someone who succumbed to their blah-ging apathy? Have they disappeared from the blogging community for good? Or have they tried a comeback with great success and all they needed was time away?

Whatever your blah-ging story, I’d love to know!

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