What to Do When You Hate Your Blog

What to Do When You Hate Your Blog

Years ago, I started this blog with a pretty big mission in mind: to help you succeed.

I wanted to tell you things you didn’t know. I wanted to point you in better directions. I wanted to share lessons I’d learned the hard way so that you didn’t make the same mistakes.

I wanted to give you shortcuts that helped you succeed faster, easier and with a lot less stress than I had to go through to get where I am today.

Somewhere along the way, I lost sight of that goal. My business got big. My blog became popular. It was explosive growth. I got busy. I had clients and readers who wanted my attention, and I had responsibilities and obligations to both.

(Oh yeah. And then there was that thing.)

Life got a little crazy, and I got caught up in it, stretching myself to make ends meet.

Then things got a little worse.

Worse was that I spent a lot of time writing for my blog, sharing good solutions, smart advice or better methods… but I wasn’t seeing many readers put the advice I shared to good use. They’d whine about this or that, and when they did, I worked harder to bring them even more ideas and advice.

I poured my heart and precious time into helping them do better. Years later, many of those same readers were still whining. They were still stuck in the same place they started from. They’ll still be reading blogs full of smart advice five years from now.

I’ve since learned that there’s nothing I can do about that. Some people just don’t want to change. They don’t want a better life. They don’t even want to try. (Sorry, people. I can’t help you if you can’t help yourself.)

But until I learned that life lesson… well, blogging was discouraging.  It was disheartening. It felt useless.

But wait – things got even worse.

Worse is that I started to think I’d said it all. That I had nothing left to say. That I’d run out of new material to cover. After all, this blog has well over 1,000 posts, and I’ve been blogging good, smart advice for years.

There’s only so much you can say before it starts to sound redundant.

Pair that with readers who kept whining about being stuck, and I thought this blog was done for. I’d done what I’d could, I’d tried as hard as I could, I’d given it my all… and the well of smart advice had gone dry.

But I had a problem: I couldn’t abandon my blog. So I started doing what everyone was doing: rehashing the same old, boring topics we’ve all read a million times before.

I hated it.

I stuck with my blog out of a sense of obligation, battling nasty bouts of writer’s block (that were really just my mind’s signal that something was wrong and that I should pay attention). I stared at blank pages. I hired a business shrink. I spent frustrated hours trying to cobble together something “good enough”, something that made me feel awesome again. Like I’d nailed it.


I started losing my writing voice. It sounded bland and disinterested. It wasn’t the vivacious, bold, brash tone I used to have. I looked back on older posts and wished I could write like that again – but I couldn’t. The spark was gone.

I felt like was just keeping up appearances.

This wasn’t fun anymore.

This dragged on for well over a year, and I shudder at what could’ve happened had it continued. I nearly abandoned this blog to go run off to play in the sunshine of Damn Fine Words, a project that’s always sparked my motivation like a lit blowtorch.

Until the day I realized this blog was completely, utterly, falling apart in tiny little pieces. It was done. Over. Reached its end.




This blog was burnt toast, and I was absolutely relieved! Now I could finally – finally! – rebuild it to be whatever I wanted it to be. The potential of Everything I Could Do Now was so exciting I actually laughed out loud.

Ideas hit me so hard and fast that I must’ve sounded crazy as I told my friend, hands waving in the air.

“I can go back to my roots! The reason why I started this damned blog in the first place! I can do exactly what I’ve always wanted to do – write about the lessons I learned the hard way so others don’t make the same mistakes.”

This was risky thinking. Admit I blew it? Admit mistakes? In public on my blog? Me, a successful entrepreneur?!

You bet. It might be refreshing to have someone tell it to you straight and say, “Man, it’s hard being successful, and boy, did I ever screw up along the way. Here’s what NOT to do.”

You might be thinking, “Well, why didn’t you just do that years ago, James? I mean, if that’s how you felt… Just… do whatever you want.”

But it’s not that simple. You can easily get away with admitting mistakes when you’re a small blogger or start-up business, but when you reach a certain level of success, your reputation is everything. People expect you to know it all. And you hide the screw-ups. Very few people at my level will admit them.

Me? I’ve got nothing to lose.

I am who I am, and I’ve done well. I’m going to keep on being successful. Admitting mistakes is part of who I am, and I think you appreciate honesty. I think you want to hear that the big guys screw up too.

And I think you’ll appreciate learning how to avoid the pitfalls I dropped straight into.

Oh, and I think you’ll appreciate the fun. It’s good to get my voice back. It’s good to write again. I’m churning out blog posts like there’s no tomorrow.

Kind of like someone lit a blowtorch for me.

Post by James Chartrand

James Chartrand is an expert copywriter and the owner of Men with Pens and Damn Fine Words, the game-changing writing course for business owners. She loves the color blue, her kids, Nike sneakers and ice skating.

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  1. Yay! It’ll be great to have YOU back, we’ve missed your voice.

    Best decision ever.

  2. Some good advice. persistence is pretty important in Blogging i think. I’m still in the honeymoon stage and i’m interested in seeing how i react months down the line when doubt, tedium etc sets in. I mean it’s bound to happen isn’t it?

    Matt (Turndog Millionaire)

    • “… it’s bound to happen, isn’t it?”

      Not at all, and I’d try to avoid planting that limiting belief in yourself! Some people have been blogging for far longer than I and have absolutely still got the spark going on. It all depends on how you think about your blog and your obligations towards it.

  3. I actually thought you’d be selling this blog, but I’m really glad to hear that you’ll start writing again. Let’s keep writing, James.

  4. This is why you’re my hero, James. Top level honesty and brilliance right here folks! SO very glad you hit the refresh button. I just hope to one day have the same problems you faced so I can remember to avoid them 🙂

  5. James…

    One of the things that I like most about you is your generosity. And that you’re a straight shooter.

    This post represents the James that I’ve come to know through taking Damn Fine Words..
    Inspirational, inclusive, helpful, chock full of good advice, written in your authentic voice.

    You’re the best. Fran

    • Aw, thank you 🙂

      It’s a good thing DFW came along, actually. The difference between how I felt I could behave over there – where expectations for my knowledge and ability were probably much higher – and over here were so phenomenally extreme that I would’ve had to be oblivious not to see it.

      I’m glad I did, and I’m glad to be back, with all my authenticity.

  6. You may have run into some whiners over the years, but never forget that you’ve helped and inspired so many people. You’re one of my heroes, and I say that genuinely. I may not be the perfect success that I envisioned when I first started, but I’m pretty young and I’ve been learning some great things along the way, with help from people like you that keep me informed and motivated. Glad to hear that you’ve gotten your blogging mojo back, so to speak!

    Can’t wait to find more great posts waiting for me in my inbox. All the best, James.

  7. Rocking stuff, James!

    Something you know, but that I’ll say anyway, is that often the people who get the most out of your stuff never tell you about it.

    I’ve been sneakily reading MwP for years without telling you (not often at least).

    People just go on living their improved lives in quietude, while you hear from the whiners. Funny how that works, isn’t it? 😉

    • That’s very true, eh? It reminds me of an old saying about how it’s so much easier to get complaints than it is to get accolades. (And I think the ratio is 10 to 1, even!)

      Improved lives in quietude is what I want – and it’s what I’ll go for 🙂

  8. Great post James! I think most bloggers are too anxious about exposing their flaws/mistakes but not only does it make for great reading material, it positions them as more human, more relatable and more well rounded.

  9. James,

    May the muse favor you once again, and bring back your joy in writing for MWP.



  10. Great post! I also hit a wall with my blog writing this past year, and decided to scrap the old boring noise, and find my way back to my authentic voice. My new blog is reflective of real-life (hilarious) office situations that resonate, instead of preach to my audience about professionalism.

    Congratulations – I look forward to reading more.

  11. Love this. I think more bloggers ought to be honest with themselves about the life span of their blogs and not be afraid to make a change. Your reaction to realizing your blog was dead exactly mirrors my own experience when I set about torching my career/fashion blog last year. It was the most freeing thing ever, and now I get to channel all the creativity I used to waste on my blog (which I didn’t want to turn into a business) into fun new projects and ideas in real life (that have much more payoff potential in the future).

    I’m glad you found your passion again. It’s a great thing.

  12. Hi James,

    It reminds me of what happens to everyone once they start to hit it big — they tend to freeze up and become so afraid of failing that they lose what made them take off in the first place. They want to be seen as tough and invincible.

    We are programmed to be afraid to fail when success can only happen if you dare to fail.

    Best wishes for your new blog state of mind.

    The Fearless Tales

  13. It’s good to see you posting again. I’ve always liked this blog.

    P.S. I may have stopped commenting, but I never stopped reading. 🙂

  14. Oooh, this is exciting, James. Can’t wait to hear what you’ve got to say. Like Laura, I’ve never stopped reading either, but it will be good to hear more from you. 🙂

  15. Hey James,
    I for one can’t thank you enough for this blog post. I have been stuck in the same place for months and just not know what to do about it.
    What do you do when you’ve got a following of people but you no longer feel inspired to write because you’re answering the same uninspiring questions over and over and over again from people who will be asking the same questions two years from now?
    Taking a sabbatical seemed like the only option for me… in hopes I may somehow get re-inspired to write… something… at some point.
    But you’ve just given me brand new hope, inspiration and motivation to begin again… writing about what I love.
    And breaking free from uninspiring, writing-out-of-obligation blog posts.
    As always, Thank YOU!
    THANK you!

    • Good. That’s EXACTLY why I wrote this – because if I’m sitting here thinking, “I hate my blog,” then I can sure bet there are hundreds of other people thinking the same thing. It takes someone to step up and make a change… might as well be me that starts the whole thing off, and if it frees up other people to do what feels right for them, excellent!

  16. Really enjoyed your article, though it appears to be written for those who are already followers of the blog and at least somewhat familiar with you – I’m new here so in places your references left me scratching my head. That said, I could especially relate to your comments about falling into rehashing old stuff … I recently found myself drifting in that direction. I don’t hate my blog, but I did lose focus and slipped into a rut for awhile as a result of trying to balance creating new posts with creating new product to actually s-e-l-l. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Good to have you as a new reader, Marquita! And I agree – there are lots of references in my posts of past times (and the occasional inside joke to boot), but I think that helps show people that I do have history and a past… one that I’m happy to share so that you get to know me more.

      Also… Yes. S-E-L-L. Excellent word, that!

  17. Siita Rivas says:

    Ditto ..on the never stop reading your posts James.
    I like your clear strong directional self – I’m also reaping the rewards of your great teachings.

    Occasionally though! I’d love a post that breaks ALL the RULES – kind of like a ‘behind the back shed’ rendevous where we might go at lunch time to read something completely different that has nothing to do with learning or business. Like snippets from your own fictional writing.

    So that one day on my blog I might show ‘what I’m reading right’ now is by the great James Chartrand.
    How ’bout it James?

  18. Love a good rant. Great to here your gutsy voice again James.

  19. Whoa, James, you blew me away with this. I haven’t “known” you very long, so I am just now appreciating the toughness of your journey. I was already impressed with your writing, your voice, and your presence in our Damn Fine Words course. Now my opinion of you has just shot up exponentially.

    It will be a treat to watch your trajectory now that you’ve loosed the chains that were making you feel shackled. I’ve got my binoculars on! 🙂

  20. Great! Looking forward to this.

    (I reserve the right to whine though. 😉 )

  21. @James: I think what you should do when you hate your blog is stop by and write more assassin stories. Let the creative writer out more often. 🙂

  22. James, whenever I’ve had the blessing of getting the “Ahh, fug it, I’ve got nothing to lose” attitude, it’s been so freeing. But not in that, “I’ll wreak hellish havok and all in my path will bleed” kind of freeing, but much more the “Oh, I remember—I have an actual personality, a voice I buried. Dig it up and dig it!”

    So yeah, looking forward to what’s next.

    (I’ve been tired of my blogging too, and I haven’t even done it all that long. But now you’ve given me permission to write on my REAL obsession, Tiny Tools That Allow Hummingbirds to Play the Xylophone. Thank you!)

  23. Most advice on the Internet is that focusing on a niche is an important element of having a successful website or blog. I know that’s mostly true, but it seems to me that selecting a narrow niche sets you up for both success and failure.

    Success comes from the focus that the niche provides, but failure can come in the form of a brick wall you eventually run into because there’s not much new to say. I purposely left my blog’s topic open so that I could allow my writing to lead me to the topics and perhaps eventually to a niche.

    For the moment, I’ve decided to write broadly and hope that my readers like the variety. Thanks for sharing your experiences!

  24. Yes we can all suffer from burn out, need time to recharge for rebirth. I feel a little bit lighter since I decided to give up my personal blog. Blogs can be like gannets they always have their mouths open for more.


  25. Hi, I included this article in my latest issue of Freelancing Weekly (http://freelancingweekly.com/issue-12).

  26. I just discovered this blog, and I’m glad I did! I’m looking forward to going through your 1000 posts of advice as I start to publicize my own blog. Thanks for your honesty and your frank style–it’s a pleasure reading your words.

  27. Wow, this is so true for me. I think I got to this point…like a year ago?…before I stopped blogging. I was surprised to find I missed it this year.

  28. Ah James, I’m totally in that rut you were in at the moment with my blog. It’s not my first and I always seem to bounce back.

    Like you, I have another baby which excites me. Niche and general Internet marketing. I love researching and being the brain that puts it all together. I have employees who build what I dream up and it’s awesome.

    But then there’s my blog. I do have new experiences, just not enough to keep the blog post coming out every week it seems, mainly because testing takes so friggin long.

    Your words are words of encouragement. Thank you for this post.

  29. Blowtorch, eh?

    Can’t wait to see what you are going to come up with. I like you, your journey, your courage… and even the stuff you think is boring.

    The first 3 paragraphs of this post shocked me because they are the perfect explanation of why I started my own blog– even though it is a totally different topic. I’ve been depressed and licking my wounds for the last couple months. I don’t hate my blog. I am the eternal optimist and hope I can pull myself out of the FUNK. But, it is inspiring to know DFW was your catalyst. You didn’t give up. You didn’t just sell out, but instead reinvented yourself.

    Best wishes James, you know we are pulling for you and MwP.

  30. Geez.. is that the truth or what?

    But even when I’ve abandoned a ‘dead’ blog, I find it’s best if I sell it. Otherwise it still kinda nags at me like I need to go write over there or something.


  31. I am so glad to hear some humanity here. I hate my blog too, but on a whole different level. It has been just a mishmash part of my website, there because I feel like it needed to be when I launched my site. What is funny and weird is that I DO have great content to share. I can hear it played out in my head in the voice I would like to use, but just can’t get out on the page. When it does come out, my self-consciousness about being just an acceptable writer or the tone being too bold, prevents me from completing or posting the article. I want to restart my blog in order to accelerate my writing skills and share my expertise that I know will help small business succeed. It is just overcoming that fear and inertia or maybe I am just one of your whiners. Thanks for having the guts to share.

  32. Thanks for sharing James. I can relate, but my blog is worse shape. My blog really sucks because it is not at all what I know that it can be, or worse abandoned for periods of time. I actually have a massive amount of content to share that I know can help small businesses and soloentrepreneurs make more money. Though after much thought on the matter, I realize I am afraid to share it. Afraid my tone will be too bold and I will turn people off. Afraid that I suck as a writer as much as that negative voice in my head says that I do. I would tell anyone else that all this self-defeating talk is no good, but I think just recognizing it may be enough to fight the inertia. So, thanks James for being courageous enough to put yourself out there.


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