Guest Post: Victoria Jackson | I-Heart Fashion | Suffering from Blog Fog?

UK Blog Awards 2015 - submission from Victoria Jackson, (nominated for Best Lifestyle Blog). Twitter:

There are some mornings when not only do you struggle to wake up, squint against the bathroom light and stub your toe on the door frame, but your brain almost forgets what its like to blog.

I like to call it blog fog. Motivation has completely gone and you feel a bit, well, distant from the whole thing. It could be every day life getting in the way, or you feel like you're working so hard and not seeing anything from it. It's especially hard when you enter something like the blog awards, as you know people are reading your blog and deciding whether to vote for you or not. Obviously you want to create great content, but with added pressure can sometimes come deflation.

I know what it's like, I've been there. I've been blogging for over five years now and there have been days, weeks and even three months back in 2011 when I wanted to press "Delete Blog" in my blogger settings. Obviously now I'm glad I didn't as I wouldn't be here writing this post, but there are some little tips I've learnt along the way which have helped me find my motivation, remain productive and fall back in love with my blog.

Spruce up a lil'

I'm a sucker for a pretty blog and every six months or so I give my blog, I Heart Fashion, a re-jig. I refresh the side bar and I look at the layout. I recently found a template I loved through Etsy which gave it a completely new look. Just by doing this has gives me a new found enthusiasm to create really great content.

Like it? List it

Do you keep a list of blog post's you'd like to create? I do, but I keep them on my phone as opposed to writing them down in a blogging notebook. I just find it easier as I always have my phone on me, no matter where I am, come bath time or bed time. That way, when motivation is lacking, I can look back at the list of ideas I have jotted down and see if any of them spark my interest. And to add to that, when motivation is at its peak, try writing these blog posts up and keeping them as drafts - that way, when you don't have the energy to write anything, you can just make one of these live. At the moment I have a homeware haul ready to go, a travel bucket list, gift guides for Christmas and wishlists of things I'd like from certain shops (H&M is next on my list).

Look to be inspired

It's great to write your ideas down, but what if getting the ideas to spring up in your brain is the main problem. When my brain is running on empty there are a few places I go to gather inspiration. First of all, other blogs. Just scrolling down my Bloglovin feed can give me so many ideas - I'm not saying copy others here by the way, but for instance me spotting a blog post called 24 Lessons From 24 Years led me to want to write 30 Years, 30 Lessons. It's still in the making but when I do make it live, I'll link directly back to the blogger who inspired me and share some of the loving. Other places I find ideas include Pinterest - just looking through the DIY and craft pins has influenced so many of my posts - and finally, asking your readers what they want to see more off. I ran a competition recently and the only rule to enter was the leave a comment telling me what they wanted more off. It turned out people wanted to see more product reviews, so that's what I'm trying to work into my schedule.

Change it up

If you're a beauty blogger, why not switch it up and do an interiors post, or if you primarily focus on the arts, can you widen the net a little and write about literature. By changing your blogging routine, you can feel energised again. If you always work solo, why not try working with a group of like-minded bloggers on a project? Start a blogging book club, look for guest posts or join up as a blogging collective to take the world by storm. Two minds are certainly more powerful than one.

Early bird or night owl?

If you feel really motivated on a morning, then set your alarm a little earlier and blast that blog post out first thing before work. I get up at 6am, go to the gym (sometimes!) and get to work 45 minutes before I actually start so I can sit down and write a blog post. That said, if you work better at night then don't force yourself to write first thing, just set aside some time before bed or after dinner to put a little something together for the next day. If you work a day behind, you can wake up and know that there's something new to go on the blog. Work when you best feel motivation running through your body, not because you think you have to write.

Live a little

Which leads me on to my final point. When your email box dries up, or you look around and you see everyone else doing amazingly well, whilst you're sat in your bedroom up north somewhere wondering if there actually is a blogging world outside London (is that just me?), it's easy for negative energy to sweep around you like a mini tornado. If you don't feel like blogging, then it's simple. Don't. Shut down the computer, forget about social media, pick up your camera and go outside and live a little. How are you supposed to blog about anything interesting if you're not outside in the world living it? Even if it's just to your local cafe, where you can take some snaps and write about supporting independent businesses, or wandering around town taking pictures of interesting graffitti or architechture. Pull yourself out of your comfort zone and you'll soon forget what everyone else is doing. And hopefully by then the blog fog will have cleared and you'll be able to see clearly.