A while back, I read this article about blogging burnout and it really hit home. Not because I'm feeling overwhelmed and uninspired at this moment, but because I've been there before and understand just how challenging it can be. In any creative field, there will be times when ideas simply don't come (particularly good ones), which leads to frustration, self doubt and in extreme cases, unhappiness.
Right before I began Cupcakes and Cashmere, I was writing restaurant reviews online as a hobby. Since I was still a recent transplant to L.A., I loved trying out new spots to eat and then sharing my take on the food, ambiance and service. I got such a thrill from doing something even remotely creative that I decided to take the next step and start a blog. I spent the next week trying to narrow down the scope of what I was going to cover. Initially, I planned to write exclusively about food, about both my dining experiences and my quest to learn how to cook and bake at home (something I couldn't do in 2008). But I quickly realized that if I created too narrow a niche to write about, I'd tire quickly and run out of ideas. So that's why I merged my biggest loves: food and fashion, two topics that seemed almost mutually exclusive. Over time, I introduced other things that interested me, from beauty and interior design to DIY projects and in-depth personal stories. That diversity in content certainly helped me stay motivated and also encouraged change and progress.
But it's not to say that I'm constantly inspired and that each post comes easily. There are some days when I can't keep up with the amount of ideas I have whereas other times, even picking a title of a post proves to be staggeringly difficult. Back in 2012 when I was planning our wedding, writing my first book and still maintaining the blog, I hit a wall. What used to be merely a creative outlet turned into something that I almost resented simply because of how hard it had become. I worked tirelessly in order to get enough content lined up so that when we got married and left for our honeymoon, the blog would still be updated and I could unplug for a bit. That time off helped tremendously and by the time we returned home, I couldn't wait to get back to work.
For those times though, when I'm not working against a vacation deadline, I've come up with other ways to avoid feeling burnt out. This past December when we were preparing to move, I again found myself feeling stretched too thin and subsequently exhausted. My day-to-day routine had become stagnant, I rarely left my desk during work hours and coming up with new content was nearly impossible. My best friend offered to go to lunch with me to talk through ideas and as soon as we started brainstorming, I felt a rush of energy. I left the meeting with an invigorated sense of confidence and just that simple outing helped get me back on track.
Ultimately, it's normal to feel worn down from time to time. For me, even admitting that I'm going through a slump has proven to be effective, since I'm then able to take the necessary steps to fix it. And as my blog has evolved, it's forced me to realize that I can't do everything on my own, which is why I brought on some key people to help the business continue to grow. But it's good to be reminded that sometimes the simplest things can get me feeling inspired again, whether it's a short break from work, a walk around the block or a long lunch with a friend.
I'd love to know - do you have any tricks for breaking out of a work slump?