April 18, 2014

Outdoor Community Question: Internet Lows

I can’t quite put my finger on it.

Maybe it’s a summer slump.
Maybe it’s burn out.

Maybe it’s just so nice outdoors that’s all I can think about…

Maybe it’s a combination of everything, but I’m currently experiencing an Internet Low.

It’s a lot like knowing there is a pile of dishes in the sink that need taken care of and avoiding the kitchen at all costs. I’ve been doing everything I can think of to avoid my computer these days.

I’ve experienced it before when online time feels like a chore rather than a fun thing to do and know eventually I’ll shake it off. I was just wondering if others have experienced the same feeling before? Especially when you are a blogger and know you should power up the old computer and get a post up, but just can’t muster the motivation…

So, the Community Question(s) for the day:

So what’s your tricks? Tips? Things you do to keep your online time enjoyable and not a chore? As a blogger, do you think to much time between posts hurts your traffic and readership or do you think it isn’t a big deal? When you feel stuck in a blogging rut do you wait it out or force yourself to keep posting?

Lots of questions! I’d love to hear all of your thoughts on Internet Lows.

Rebecca
(writing this from my laptop out on the patio)

 
 
About Rebecca

When Rebecca isn't running the Outdoor Blogger Network, she is off Fly Fishing her favorite rivers. Occasionally she writes about those adventures at The Outdooress.

Comments

  1. 1

    Hmmm….no answers, but I want to know too!

  2. 2

    I keep it enjoyable (to write) by mixing up the topics and trying (trying!) not to force anything. Whether or not the time between posts hurts or helps readership depends widely on who reads, why, and how they get to your blog. My readership is cut in half on weekends and holidays, meaning that people read my blog while at work. That shapes how and when I post (early morning M, W, F, with occasional thursday and saturdays). Another third of my readership comes through Google, Blogger, G+, and FB feeds (I rarely update my Twitter).

    Last couple of months, leadership lately seems to pop into a low cycle for 10 days or so, and then pop back out pretty strong, but it’s about a 15% swing. Haven’t figured out why. Last four months have been my strongest readership in six years, though, so I’m not complaining!

    • 3

      Congrats on the last 4 months stats! I agree with your posting times for the best visitor traffic. Mondays seem to the strongest day to post (when I look at all the sites I run statistics, so that’s across the board) so I try to never miss a Monday.

      Trying not to force anything is what I’m trying lately =)

  3. 4

    Fortunately, I seldom have that problem. My problem is forcing myself away from the computer to get outside – but that’s really more a product of finances than anything else. If I did ever have trouble finding something to write about, I think I’d start my recovery by visiting other blogs and reading some great material on various subjects. If that doesn’t work – try finding something controversial to write about. If that doesn’t work – go fishin’ because you’re not going to accomplish much starting at a blank page all day. :)

    • 5

      Owl,
      Great Ideas to get inspired again.I really like the idea of visiting other sites to get motivated.

      I keep trying that go fishing concept and all it makes me want to do is go fishing some more =)

  4. 6

    I am trying to do a steady diet of certain posts… Ie. Every Monday post a Fly Pattern (tied myself or by others). Sunday’s are scenic pictures from the area, Thursday’s is an online video, etc. These I can normally schedule in advance, so they post automatically on the given day. I don’t have one for every day of the week, but it does seem to help.

    Then any time I come up with an idea for an article on my blog, I create a draft with that idea. I may not write on it right away, but it helps ensure that the idea doesn’t go away.

    I have found that if I neglect to post, my traffic starts to dwindle quickly. I picked up quite a few readers from the TU/OBN contest and now I’m trying to keep them onboard.

    Paul

    • 7

      I really like the ‘diet of certain posts’ idea. To some degree, I’ve been doing that on the OBN for quite awhile (although during this current Internet Low of mine I’m struggling to even do the predictable) and it’s helped, a lot.

      As for my personal Outdoor blog, I’ve always just splashed up random things on there and maybe it’s time to attempt a bit more focus so I can be more productive. The draft idea….I’m going to roll with that one…

      And I love that you picked up new readers from the contest. That’s a fantastic side bonus!

    • 8

      Paul,
      I love your idea of doing different things on different days of the week. It would kind of take the pressure off to write a great ‘story’ each blog post, as I am currently trying to do.
      Right now, I’m stuck in the middle of a story about a recent road trip, kind of out of steam, and feeling like I have to get something posted ASAP but don’t want to compromise the quality of my ‘story’.
      I’m pretty new to blogging, so any tips and ideas are so helpful, especially since I haven’t had the opportunity to push through a writer’s block yet.
      Thanks again for the idea.
      Liz

  5. 9

    I don’t know if this is the “right” answer, but when I find myself getting into that kind of slump I just force myself through it. I tend to turn out some pretty crappy posts when this happens, but at least it keeps the flow going until I get back on track.

    Let’s face it. For those of us who’ve made a commitment to crank out regular posts, it’s not always going to be fun. I think you find that in any avocation where a hobby turns into a job. For example, as much as I love hunting and guiding, there have been times during a busy season when I really kind of got sick of it. A day in the field turned into a drudge. Fortunately, that doesn’t happen often!

    Good luck busting your slump!

  6. 11
    Patrick Cooney says:

    Great question Rebecca! I work with others on my blog, and having a support team of two others always helps. When really out of the mood, I ask someone else what they want to learn about, then if I find it interesting, I dive in and before I know it, I am back in the mood. I find that good topics write themselves with proper research or experience! Maybe all the fishing you are doing will translate into some great posts in times of lean fishing. Plus, your patio sounds like a good starting point to transition from the stream to the desk.

  7. 12
    Argosgirl says:

    I stare at a computer all day at work. When I get home all I want to do is be outside – especially when the weather is this nice! Fishing, hiking with the dogs, gardening, playing with the horses… It’s not only my blog that suffers, so does the cleanliness of my house. I like to share stories about my fishing trips so I usually manage to pay attention to my blog at least one night a week. I find if I’m really struggling with posts that it’s best for me to do a gear review – they’re usually pretty straightforward and I love talking about fishing gear. And I do have to force myself to pay attention to the blog – I decided to skip a fishing trip tonight and do some writing (since I fished last night, and will be on the water the next 4 days, I felt I could make this sacrifice!). I doubt I’ll be online much over the weekend, though :)

    • 13

      Sounds like a good sacrifice!

      I work from my computer all the darn day long as well so I imagine that’s why occasionally I feel ummm…. like I’m having a temporary allergic reaction to it =)

  8. 14

    King Solomon of ancient Israel wrote in his collection of wise sayings: “Where the trough is clean there are no oxen, but where there are oxen, there is much increase”. For thousands of years a mess was the evidence of progress and a tidy, clean area was suspicious. -TRF

  9. 16

    I experience “internet lows” with my blog and with Facebook. I’m in one right now. I blame it on being overworked, but that doesn’t explain it in totality. I’m trying to identify the aspects of blogging that make it a chore and eliminate or modify them. For me, spontaneity is part of what keeps blogging fun, and boxing myself into a format kills my enthusiasm. That’s why Monday Morning Coffee has been on the wane lately here at FR. If I’ve been working too much and don’t have much to say it’s really hard to feign enthusiasm just to post, and readers can always tell when I’m faking it. Right now my traffic is half of what it was three months ago, but I’m happier because I’m not pushing myself so hard. I’ve also learned not to post drivel or poorly written posts as these kill readership- you’ll turn off first time and long term readers alike and perhaps never get them back.

    I’ve taken a step back from trying to be the most read or most popular blog. I’m reaching a point where I would rather just write what I want to write rather than give away stuff to bribe readership. Giveaways are fun and I like to do them, but if all a do is cultivate a bunch of “rice readers” and don’t offer any other content of value then blogging is pointless. I also write for several other outlets now and have a hard time keeping up with it all.

    Well, I guess it’s good to know I’m not alone. We all started blogging because we felt we had something to share. Perhaps the key is not to make too great of promises, keep pursuing our passions and let that flow out to others via our blogs. I wish I had more wisdom to share.

    Jason Tucker/Fontinalis Rising

  10. 18

    Inspiration comes and goes. It’s the nature of the beast. I’m with Jason. I’ll never be the most popular or widely read blog and I’ll never make a dime with either my words or my pictures, but I truly enjoy each and every post I put out there and that’s why I do it. Because it’s fun. And if it isn’t, then I go about life until something inspires the next post – a fishing trip, a picture, a new life lesson. Luckily, my life tends to bring each of these, and so much more, along fairly regularly.

    I recognize that others are more driven, more goal oriented, and that’s cool. It’s just not me.

    • 19

      I’d add that NOT having a diet of certain posts helps me keep going. I get to do whatever appeals to me at a given time. I like to think that my blog is made up of a great deal of “whatever.”

      • 20

        The OBN is done on a diet of certain types of posts and it works well (although the last two weeks I’ve been struggling to do even those) and my Outdooress blog has always been a great deal of whatever.

        I have to say, just getting past the hurdle and posting up this community question has got me inspired again =)

  11. 21

    I stopped writing and reading weeks ago except for some local fishing updates. Not even lifting the camera much. I need the mental break. I am working full time, temporarily, so that cuts into my day. I give myself an hour to check email, weather, river levels and that’s about it. Most times I don’t make it for an hour.

    I heard a dozen years ago that as human beings we reached a saturation point on the amount of info we can take in and process. I think at times that shows. I know I reached that point a long time ago.

    Now, for the most part, I’m pretending it’s 1985. If the phone rings, I answer it. I don’t write anything down cause I wasn’t back then. If I feel like a conversation, I call the person. There was no internet. If there were people out fishing back then and writing about it, I didn’t know it.

    It’s been refreshing. A nice mental enema.

    One thing I do now, I’ll be back. It’s a matter of how and when.

    • 22

      “One thing I do KNOW…”

      Rookie mistake.

    • 23

      Ken,
      Your comment is basically where I’ve been. Maybe it’s been a whole information overload and I needed to just step back whether that was a couple of days or two weeks. It happens to the best of us =)

      We’ll be here, reading your words when you get back!

  12. 24

    I guess I’m different, through that doesn’t mean better. I find inspiration all around me and I love to write. I’m rarely at a loss for words, written or spoken. It’s the journalism training I think. I find much day to day life is connected in one way or another. It’s up to me how to work that connection. Serious or humorous, they all start the same, with some basic facts.

    I saw a truck in front of me on the way to work one day. It had Georgia plates and looked pretty redneck. A funny story about being stalked by Owl Jones popped into my head, which could have actually happened because Owl was passing through on his way to Montana last summer. See, inspiration is everywhere.

  13. 25

    It’s quite simple. Really. You just go on a trip…an adventure to write about! I just spent five days in Montana…now I have a jump start for my writing once again! = )

  14. 26

    I think you also – and this is for new bloggers that may read this – you also have to find people that enjoy what you write and how you write it. Or I should say, they find you – and that takes time. I used to worry about how many hits I got each day or how many comments. Now, like alot of the others on this conversation, it’s less about that than about writing what I want to write. If people like it, that’s great – and if they don’t, that’s OK too.

    I also think original content keeps people coming back. I’ll readily admit to you that I almost never visit those first few “big name” blogs I found when I started this journey. Why? Because two of them almost never post anything beyond someone else’s ideas, writing, videos, etc. If a really killer video is going around, there’s no need for me to visit X site to see it – we’ll all see it eventually. But you can only get Fishertainment in one place. I think originality is a huge key. I’m off topic, but there ya go. That’s what I do. :)

  15. 27

    I’m with Owl, Mike and a few others in that I don’t feel compelled to publish on any set calendar though often there’s something that needs to get out and so it does. Sometimes I’m prolific and sometimes not. At one time I thought it would be interesting to publish on a schedule but that seemed too much like work and I’ve got enough of that already.

    I haven’t found a solution to the summer slowdown and I’m not sure a solution is needed. We’re all outside doing what we do and by the time the sun goes down we’re just too exhausted to write. But then, in the fall and winter, we’ll find time to weave this stuff back into tales that are worth reading (or not) :)

    As far as the measurements – I think if you put out a quality product you’ll eventually find the community that appreciates your stuff and they’ll stay as long as you continue to do so, even if that’s only once a week. One of the things that is true on the internet is that it’s not content creators (i.e. all of us) that get the traffic, but the content syndicators (i.e. Moldy Chum, Midcurrent, etc). So, while I like to see the numbers in my traffic report, it’s not the point.

  16. 28

    One thing that helps me through my slumps is backlogging a couple of posts to publish when I’m having a tough time writing. Although I agree with other who have said that a weekly formula can become monotonous, I think having a couple different styles of posts can help break up the blog writing. For example, if I only wrote trip reports, AZW would be pretty thin. Breaking it up with book reports, gear reviews, fly patterns, hunting, etc. helps to keep my ADD satisfied.

    Summertime is easy for me. With my teacher schedule, I fish a ton more and therefore have more to write about. My writing slump comes in the middle of school, parent teacher conferences, and junior high drama.

    One thing that keeps me going is the legacy that my stories are going to leave behind for my kids and grandkids. I love hearing my grandpa’s hunting stories and looking at old pictures. It makes me smile to think about sharing these adventures with my grandkids someday.

    At the end of the day, we all know blogging isn’t easy. I have lots of respect for those who have been at it for a long time.

    Ben

  17. 29

    Like some of the other comments, I don’t really keep a production schedule, but rather focus on providing original content. Occasionally when I see something of interest I’ll mention it on the blog, but usually find twitter the best place for other content.

    Are there any OBN meetups planned?

  18. 30

    Really interesting to read how everyone views their blog and how they deal with productivity slumps, especially from some of these that I read often.

    We were told in our pre-marriage counseling that if you’ve got nothing to say, just start talking about your feelings. Everyone has feelings, it’s part of being human.

    That’s kind of what I’ve done with my blog and it’s been rewarding, and challenging because I’m not used to opening myself up to strangers. It is nice to get away from the fish porn, gear reviews and general chest beating and just kind of explore your thoughts and let other people read it.

  19. 31

    Well first I thought Fly fishing with Mike from http://troutrageous.com would help with my writers block… Then I had to shoot a Javascript for dummies book… Yep… Shooting books and fishing.

    I’VE FOUND THE CURE FOR WRITERS BLOCK!

    Oh and the story is here if anyone is interested http://funcfish.com/2012/07/a-hellish-week-and-finally-some-fishing/

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