By Deborah Baudoin
When I first started as a Blogmutt mutt, I was on fire with my dedication to content creation. For a person who is genuinely curious about a great variety of things, writing for Blogmutt was a dream come true. And I was a BlogMutt glutton, churning out posts as quickly as I could.
Of course, we know that the SuperMutt tendencies couldn’t last forever. After several months of intense blogging, I sort of…well, there’s no nice word for it. I sort of stopped. Just stopped–submitting, writing, thinking about writing, wanting to write. It got so bad that when I did actually post an article, Scott emailed me to say, Hey, I thought you had died or moved to Guam or something…. (Maybe not exactly in those words….)
The truth is, I had burned myself out. Working full time, having a full time relationship, writing and publishing novels–wow, can’t imagine how something like burnout happened! Since I really like paying my bills, the full time job couldn’t go–but something had to give. And that something was my Blogmutting.
Okay, fast forward several months later. Still working full time, still writing my fiction, relationship doing fine, thank you very much. But guess what?
I missed my Mutt status. I missed learning about new things and translating the mysteries of various industries into layperson-friendly prose. (I also missed the additional monthly paychecks–truth time, yet again.)
My Inner Mutt was howling at the moon, and if I ever wanted another decent night’s sleep I was gonna have to throw her a bone.
So I decided to tentatively put my foot back into the pack, sniff out the situation, and try if possible to recapture my Mutt Mojo. I love this company and the team of writers involved in it. I love writing, and I want to get paid for it.
In light of this decision, I’ve come up with a few guidelines to help me avoid burnout and keep my enthusiasm high. Thought I would share them with my fellow (and potential) Mutts.
- Pace Yourself. As a BlogMutt writer, you set your own pace with voluntary self-chosen monthly goals. I, like most other Type As, was taught early on that bigger is better, more is preferred, and the goal for all things was 100% (110%, if they grade on a curve). It never occurred to me that too much of a good thing even existed. When it comes to blogging, I realized that I had to be realistic with my goals in order to avoid burnout and continue to provide quality content. Better 1-2 great blogs a week, than 4-5 thinly-researched, stressed out versions of my best work.
- Work with Your Schedule. When I first started as a Mutt, I was in complete denial of my situation, schedule-wise. I thought, “Of course you can work a stressful 40-hour a week job and come home every night to blog about construction and cloud computing!” Once I looked realistically at my life, I realized that I had to be creative with my scheduling. Mondays, Thursdays, and Fridays at The Day Job are highly stressful for me–don’t expect any posts from me on those nights. But Saturday mornings, after I’ve had a decent night sleep, are usually quiet and peaceful–a perfect time for me to explore my newfound curiosity about HVAC systems and SEO marketing!
- Patience is a Virtue. While I like getting that quick paycheck, I’ve discovered it’s nice to set up blogs that are scheduled to pay two, three, even four weeks in the future. While I do try to get to the more urgent clients, I know myself well enough to know that I will write better and more frequently if I’m interested in the topic. So maybe my client won’t need my post for three weeks–by the time they get it, they will be thrilled with how much passion I’ve put into it.
- Don’t Fight the Feeling. Expanding on that whole passion thing, I’ve learned that there are some topics I’m just never going to want to write about. I hereby publicly give myself permission not to write about them. On the other hand, it never hurts to explore. Today, I found one topic I’d never heard about on a client keyword list. Instead of just ignoring it, I Googled it. While I ultimately wound up not writing about the topic, at least now I know what it is. (I never would have discovered “upcycling” had it not been for Blogmutt and my curiosity…)
- Be Yourself. This may be the worst advice to give to writers-for-hire, but I have to say it works for me. I spent so much time trying to change my writing style to match my clients’, and it didn’t work. Eventually, my blogs just sounded forced and fake. I learned that my voice as a writer is my calling card. It will work for some clients and not for others, but it is who I am as a writer. Faking it for a paycheck will only result in poor-quality, fake work. So I write what I write, and I don’t stress about it anymore. I can usually tell five minutes in what type of writing the client wants, and if my style matches theirs. If it doesn’t, no foul. I just move on to the next client–there are so many writers here, somebody will be perfect for that client (just not me).
If I can offer one bit of advice over all others to Blogmutt Mutts (and potential Mutts), it’s this–never forget why you signed up to do this. For me, it was never just about making money. I love to write. I love learning things. And as long as I keep that in mind, I can do this work and adore it.
If you love to write, if you love to learn, if you want to be a Mutt, contact us. It’s a whole lot of fun, and you get paid for it, too!