18 December 2013

Beginner Blogger's Bootcamp: Week Nine: Staying Motivated and Wrapping Up

The Beginner Blogger's Bootcamp is a series of posts published once a week on Monday (or Tuesday) evenings. It is designed for new bloggers, those thinking of starting a blog, or seasoned bloggers wanting a refresher, and covers everything from starting a blog to photographing your nails to using social media. Check out past posts in this series.

Hi bloggers! This is our last post of the series, can you believe it!! I'm almost teary-eyed, this series has been a part of my blogging life for the past two months. I have enjoyed reading all of your comments and hearing about how you've enjoyed the series and/or found it useful. I've been thinking about how I can take this series to the next level, but for that I need your help. I've included a short survey at the end and it would mean a lot to me if you took 5-10 minutes to fill it out. You don't even have to give detailed feedback, any feedback would help.

Before we get started, I have a quick announcement: If you participated in the group critique and haven't received any feedback, please leave a comment with your blog name (links are not necessary, just the name you signed up with) and let me know that you're still looking for feedback!! Since it is hard for me to visit and give feedback on 70 blogs, I will make sure to visit anyone who hasn't received any feedback.

Today's post is on how to stay motivated, and further resources for learning about blogging. Motivation is a key thing when it comes to blogging. Some bloggers just have enthusiasm spilling out all over the place: they can post all the time, sometimes multiple times a day, be involved in multiple challenges and groups, do reviews, and still not get tired of blogging. For most of us we will struggle at some point to keep up with blogging.

Staying Motivated

Some people struggle after they have been blogging for a long time. Let's face it, after awhile it can get boring writing about nail polish over and over again, trying to think of original things to say. Or it might be difficult to find inspiration for blog posts. Other bloggers struggle at the beginning of their blogs, they feel like no one is reading what they post, and they stress over how to get visitors to their site. While other bloggers find it hard to stay motivated under the pressures of everyday life and trying to maintain a blog when juggling work/school/life/family obligations.

Here's some tips on how to deal with motivation issues. Several of these tips will appeal to some more than others, for example, more experienced bloggers might benefit from a blogging vacation, yet this wouldn't appeal to newbie bloggers who are just getting started.

  • Join blogging groups: There are plenty of groups on Facebook, some better than others. Choose a group that has good discussions and interaction, and not a group where everyone is self-promoting by posting their blog posts and leaving. If you can't find a group that suits your fancy try forming one yourself. If you are a new blogger, try contacting other new bloggers and see if they might want to participate in a challenge together or set up a Google or Facebook group where you can chat about challenges you face as new bloggers. 
  • Set goals: I cannot emphasize enough how important it can be to set goals. Setting goals will help you stay focused on the road ahead and what you want to get out of your blog. It gives you something to work towards. Just make sure that the goals are manageable and achievable in a certain time period. They can be either blogging goals (i.e. to post a certain number of posts a week, or to redesign your blog), nail art goals (i.e. to try a certain technique, or complete a nail art challenge), or swatch goals (i.e. to swatch your untrieds, or to set up a swatch gallery)
  • Start a series: Speaking from experience, writing a series can be a rewarding experience. If you have a topic that you would like to explore over several posts, a series is a good way to do it. Your series might be posted over the course of one week, or it might be one post a week for several weeks. When you write so much on a topic, it forces you to know that topic well, then people start to see you as being somewhat of an expert on that topic - cool, eh!?
My series
  • Change it up: Maybe you're stuck in a routine. For example, perhaps you always post swatches, and you're struggling with motivation because you've been doing too much of the same thing. So doing something new in your blog might be good for you. Instead, try to do some nail art, or research and write a post on nail care. 
  • Challenge yourself: There are plenty of challenges that you can try - the 31 Day Challenge is the most well known - these are mostly for nail art, so they wouldn't be of interest to someone who primarily posts swatches. If that is not your cup of tea you can always try to set up your own challenge. If you do want to challenge yourself, a good idea is to put that challenge in writing and publish it on your blog - this will help you stay accountable and will get your readers interested and involved. 
  • Take a break: This is mainly for more experienced bloggers who feel like they have lost their blogging mojo. If you do decide to take a break, figure out in advanced how long that break will be, and notify your readers that you will be taking a break. As a reader it is really frustrating when your favourite blogger just disappears and doesn't say anything. 

  • Read books/articles on blogging: There are plenty of books and articles on blogging. Sometimes just reading about blogging and learning new tips and ideas can be enough to get motivated. 
  • Visit blogs that inspire you: It doesn't even have to be nail polish blogs. Look at blogs that are beautiful in terms of their layout, photos and design. Or read blogs that make you laugh so much you cry. I like food blogs because the photos are always so amazing, food bloggers take such care when setting up and staging their photos. 
  • Limit your blogging time: If you are struggling to balance various aspects of your life, setting aside a small amount of time to blog, but not too much, may be a good idea. Don't try to take on too much, even if it means having to turn down opportunities to review products or participate in challenges. Set a goal to write one post a week, so that you can still maintain your blog without it taking too much away from your other responsibilities. 
  • Do something creative (that doesn't have anything to do with nails): Go to a museum, read a fiction book, make a mood board, start a scrapbook, paint or draw a picture, do some crafts. Eventually, if you still want to blog about nails, you will find your blogging mojo. 

Further Resources for Polish Bloggers

If you found this series helpful and/or motivating, it is possible that reading books or other blog posts on blogging will also be helpful. This is a list of books and blog posts that I have found helpful, and recommend that you check out. I will be adding to this list as I read more. 


The focus of this book is on how to make money from your blog, either through direct sources like advertising, or indirect sources like consulting or writing books. Even if you are not interested in trying to make money from your blog, this book is a tremendous resource for developing unique content, writing strong blog posts, and developing a community around your blog.

Blog Inc.
After ProBlogger this is my second favourite book on blogging. It covers everything from the basics of starting a blog to how to make your blog into a career. There are lots of inspiring stories from other bloggers like Grace Bonney of Design*Sponge and April Winchell of Regretsy. Most of the stories are from bloggers in art/design/lifestyle niches, so it is not too distant from polish blogging.

Blogging for Dummies
This is a great beginner book for bloggers. If you have already started a blog, some of the book might not be useful - it walks you through how to set up blogs on Blogger, Wordpress, and Tumblr. It also goes over the basics of setting up a self-hosted blog. I would recommend this book for anyone who is a technophobe.

Blog Inc. and Blogging for Dummies are both good for providing a broad overview of blogging. Unfortunately they don't go into great depth on the topics they cover. I'm still looking for more advanced books on blogging especially when it comes to developing a following and turning a blog into a professional venture.

Blog Design for Dummies
This book is great if you want to redesign your blog. Even if you hire someone to redesign your blog, it is good to know design basics. This blog covers everything from colour schemes and fonts, designing your blog for easy navigation, and compiling a style guide. It even covers basic coding.

Blog posts:

There are a lot of great blog posts on polish blogging written by experienced bloggers. It is good to read a variety of them to get different perspectives. Some of them go into more depth than others, but you should be able to glean something from each one:

Nails by Kayla Shevonne: Blogging 101 - How to Start and/or Grow Your Nail Polish Blog

Vampy Varnish: How To Start a Nail Polish Blog (Part I / Part II)

The Nailasaurus: How To Get Ahead in Nail Blogging

The Nailasaurus: Oh Snap: How I Take My Pictures

Chalkboard Nails: Nail Photography Basics (Part I)
Chalkboard Nails: Intermediate Nail Photography: The Lightbox (Tutorial)

Every Little Polish: From Nails to Blog (Part I / Part II)
Note: This series focuses on photography. Also there is a third part mentioned but I can't find the post!


Let's hear from you! How do you stay motivated when it comes to blogging? Have you ever been in a blogging rut, and if so how did you get out of it?

See also:


  1. Thank you this very helpful series. I have learned quite a bit and I'm happy I could help other bloggers with my input.
    I have to say the only reason I got kinda tired of blogging is the amount of products I have to review that kinda stops me from wearing polishes I bought. I guess I bit off more than I can chew and it does create dissatisfaction. On the other hand, now I have more experience and I know which companies I want to continue to collaborate, which ones I don't, and now I can allow myself to say "no" to a company, which I wouldn't dare do before. Some of the tips you provided here sound like good preventive measures too.

    1. Thanks for the great comment, and I'm very happy that you found the series helpful. :) I couldn't agree with you more - I also find myself getting burnt out when I have too many reviews to do. I don't really like having to do long swatching sessions, especially when it takes all of my weekend (and I can't now that I've started my own indie brand). I also find it disappointing when it means I don't get a chance to wear the polishes I bought and love. I'm also trying to be more selective, but I have a hard time saying no.

  2. Sorry I missed this as it was happening but now that I've found it, I look forward to learning from you. Thanks for doing this, Meghan.

    1. Thanks Penny, I'm happy to hear that you are finding/have found the series helpful. And of course if you have any suggestions for what you'd like to see if there's a follow up, I'd like to hear it. :)


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