The Three-Month Burn-Out Death-Trap

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I’m in the middle of writing a post about what happens to my brain during a road trip, but it’s not funny yet. Right now it’s a list of unrelated words and a six-paragraph-long diatribe about mayonnaise that is neither funny nor accurate.

So I’m going to work on it a little more. You’re welcome.

Anyway, today’s post is brought to you by something called honesty.

Honesty is the reason that I mostly write fiction, because when I try to write something biographical, I either make things up or embellish the truth. I have to work really hard to make sure all the stories I tell on here are true. So far, they are (I think).

So as I was driving down the road after work and thinking, “What in the name of mayonnaise am I going to blog about?”, I decided that I should just spill it.

By now you’re like, “OMG, then spill it, already.” And this is where I should have started this post. You see what I mean about six paragraphs of rambling before anything gets going?

Here’s what it is. I tend to have about a three-month attention span when it comes to my hobbies. What I mean by that is that I do something I love obsessively for three months, and then I suddenly hate it and never want to do it again. Well, for a couple of years, and then the cycle repeats itself.

Here’s a list of defenseless hobbies that I have mercilessly loved within an inch of their lives:

  • Yoga
  • Cooking (I still like this sometimes)
  • Writing
  • Reading
  • Star-gazing
  • Learning Russian
  • Eating yogurt
  • Running (but who am I kidding – I really hated this all along)
  • Playing video games
  • Being nice

And guess what, folks? This blog has been up for almost exactly three months. That’s right. March, April, May.

So here I am. I’m on the cusp of doing what I typically do with each and every one of my hobbies, even the ones I really love, like writing and cooking, and I’m about to get burned out. I can feel it creeping in. It’s not that I have nothing to write about—far from it. I have a file with about a year’s worth of blog post ideas. It’s just that it’s starting to feel like work, and not like fun.

Just like when I was cooking a gourmet meal every night of the week.

Just like when I was reading twenty books a month.

Just like when I was going to yoga six days a week, and writing a novel in three months, and playing video games until four in the morning every night.

Because here’s what blogging sounds like in my head. It sounds like, “OMG, I have to write two posts a week, one on Tuesday and one on Friday because then they’ll be nicely spaced out, and they’re each going to be hilarious and have a funny picture to go along with them, and I’m also going to alternate types of posts so that they’re not all stories about my dreams, and then I’m going to comment on all my favorite blogs [which is about a hundred - no joke] and never get behind on my blog-reading, and I’m going to find five new blogs every night and comment on them, and then when I do post, I’m going to promote it on Facebook and on Twitter and Pinterest and Tumblr and Delicious and StumbleUpon and Digg and Reddit and then I’m going to look for other opportunities to submit my writing to different sites online, and then I’m going to tweak my theme again, and then I’m going to check my stats for the billionth time today. And then I’ll start all over tomorrow.”

blogging burnout three months

One might think I didn’t have, like, a job, or a husband, or any of those other hobbies I listed.

But this time, with my blog, I’m going to try something new.

Moderation.

Now, I don’t want to be too optimistic, here, because I’m not really sure how to do “moderation.” But it might start by not checking my stats constantly (except that’s pretty fun). Or by cutting down on the blogs I’m reading (except I love them all), or by toning down the other-blog-commenting (because, let’s be honest, it’s a little creepy if I’m the first one to comment on a blog every single time, right?).

I’m not going to stop blogging—at least I don’t think so. Just maybe dial back some of the peripheral stuff. See how that feels.

Even typing that seems a little foreign  to me. It’s not in my nature to do less than I can. Naturally, I want to do my best and be the best at everything I ever do, forever.

So, help me out. What are some ways that you maintain some balance in your life? Blogging or otherwise? Is moderation even a real thing?

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22 thoughts on “The Three-Month Burn-Out Death-Trap

  1. I tend to overindulge in Bud Light Lime and just do whatever drunken don wants to try, but I understand that’s not for everyone. I’ve struggled to keep up with some of the blogs I’ve liked for a long time because I have some new followers and I like to try to check out everyone’s blog and, like you, comment! I don’t keep myself on a set schedule as to when I have to post, because then it does feel like a deadline to me and this is supposed to be relaxing, darnit! Good luck! I hope you don’t quit; I enjoy your posts.

  2. I would miss you. :( But, I get the burnout deal. I’ve been struggling lately in my posting, though I am trying to relax about it since I’ve never done anything as long as I have with this blog (one year of almost daily posting), and I’ve basically told myself that I don’t have to post every day anymore. So, I didn’t post anything this weekend. And I think that I will continue to do that because it was relaxing not to worry about it and just enjoy the weekend. But, when I try to cut back, I miss it too much. Perhaps when I am employed again, I will cut back to a couple days a week, but for now, I’m just going to continue to be my crazy-posting-all-the-time self.

      • It’s not been easy lately. I’m on vacation right now so I’m kind of posting as I feel like it, but I know I can’t continue this every day thing much longer. Still figuring out a schedule I’m happy with.

  3. I love your committment to truth Lisa. Life, and frankly, your thought processes are entertaining enough that you should never have to resort to exaggeration. Victor Hugo said, “It is the essence of truth that it is never excessive… We must not resort to the flame where only light is required.”

  4. I don’t believe in moderation, except when it comes to things I don’t like, and then I pretend that complete negligence and moderation are are the same thing. But I go on lots of blogging hiatuses (hiati?!) and then come back due to my deepseated and troubling need for compliments. So! There is hope. And your blog is hilarious so don’t ever stop.

  5. Oh moderation…I’m not very good at it! But I’ve definitely had seasons where I’ve had to cut back (or stop) some activities that I’ve fallen in love with a bit too seriously. Thank you for sharing. Your blog is frank and funny at the same time. I love visiting here.

    • You’re welcome! I’m still trying to wrap my mind around the fact that just because I quit something for a while doesn’t mean I don’t love it, and it doesn’t mean I can’t return to it in the future. The things you love can never be fully abandoned.

  6. I’m definitely with you. I, too, tend to obsess with a hobby for a few months, and then I’m bored. I’m not great at moderation either. My blog went dead for about 6+ months, except for an occasional review or random thought. So I have no advice. Just commiseration. But here’s how I’m breathing life back into my website/blog this summer. I spent February, March, and April writing the posts and redesigning the set up. Now I’ve got blog posts scheduled through September, and I’m about to start writing new ones to take me through February. I’m hoping the on-again/off-again writing will work for my motivation, but for readers, my blog will be continuous, entertaining reading.

  7. I found your blog when I went to read about that fabulous lobster/potato salad over at Smitten Kitchen. I was seeing the dollar signs to try to make this when I saw your comment about how expensive Lobster is in Colorado. Yup! Nice to find another Colorado blogger. I’m a new follower.

  8. I found your blog through a comment you posted on another blog, so the time you spend leaving comments is actually time spent working on your blog! I hope you keep posting.

  9. My problem is that I have a ton of hobbies that I want to do most of the time, so I don’t get to most of them as fully as I should. Recently I’ve cut back on a lot of them so that I can focus more fully on one (language learning) that I think will benefit me the most. It’s a bit painful, but necessary, I think.
    I used to also try to update my blog very regularly, but now I just do it whenever I feel like it. It won’t win any awards or grow a huge readership that way, but I’m less stressed and more happy.

  10. Pingback: I’m Not Dead, I’m Just in a Parallel Universe where Blogging Doesn’t Exist | Who Stole My Baby?

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