Why “Should’s” Suck The Life Out of Blogging (And Everything Else)

This post is about getting caught up in the wrong things. It’s about the “should’s” that have been crushing my bloggy soul and preventing me from being here. If you also have “should’s” that are sucking the life out of your passions, you might be able to relate with me on this.

Clearly, writing this blog and finding new coaching clients have not been at the top of my priority list this past year.

First, let me tell you what I’ve been doing instead. And then I’ll tell you why.

After my big surgeries in 2015, I realized that I’d been working too hard as the owner of my online business. I became an entrepreneur thinking I’d have more freedom, but it was strangely the reverse. I tend to go lady balls to the walls when I set my mind to something, so I’ve learned that I don’t have to do it all now.

Instead of launching new coaching programs, I’ve been taking care of my loved and loyal repeat clients. Some ladies have been with me for years, since my early Lean and Strong online groups. I respect them so much for their ongoing commitment to their goals.

I’ve also been working as a freelance writer (keyword: paid writer). I have a journalism degree and was a technical writer for over 10 years… Writing has always been part of who I am. I’m having a lot of fun as a copywriter, and honestly, the sky’s the limit with what I could do.

So Why No Bloggy Blog?

The question I’ve asked myself is: Why haven’t I continued to blog, even though I’ve backed way off my coaching business?

The answer is that I got too caught up in what I “should” do. I really hate the word should. I try to avoid using it, but sometimes there’s just no better word. Regardless, knowing your blocks is the key to overcoming them!

“Should” #1: What to Write

First and foremost, I’ve been tangled up in what I “should” blog about. I don’t lack for blog ideas, mind you. I think of a killer blog post every few days. But my creative expression has been utterly thwarted by focusing on what I “should” write to reach more people. You know, the “how-to” stuff that everyone’s looking for.

But in reality, I started this blog to share my passion for weightlifting and my clean-eating lifestyle. (And oy! Clean eating is such a loaded, disordered term now. I’m going to have to abandon it, but that’s another post.) I wanted to express myself as the savvy woman lifter I am and who owns it in the weight room and beyond. I wanted to help other women find that vibe, too, because it’s completely life-altering. Unfortunately, in the process of trying to be “helpful,” I lost my passion for, well, sharing my passion.

“Should” #2: All That Other Posting Crap

Along with feeling boxed in by what I should write, still other “should’s” got in the way, like these:

I should always write for search optimization… I should promote the content on 10 different social media channels… I should link to my own and other articles… I should have a Pinterest-worthy image… I should blog every week or I’m a loser blogger.

These should’s took the joy out of blogging for me. They’re necessary for running and marketing a business, but I’m simply sharing ideas, not promoting my business (right now, anyway).

“Should” #3: The Social Media Vortex

The Beast named social media has also bogged me down. Social media is actually where I get about half my blogging ideas… the other half come from my own or my clients’ training experiences. Unfortunately, social media is also a source of constant frustration and should’s.

Take, Instagram. I’m a visual person and love this platform. I find the community to be supportive and positive, and it’s a really fun way to keep up with friends’ lives (I’m not a Facebook person). Plus, I actually dance on Instagram Stories (I wouldn’t lie).

The downside of Instagram – and other social media platforms, really – is the constant barrage of new exercises and workouts.

You would think that seeing countless new exercises and workouts a day would be FREAKIN’ AMAZING. After all, I could only DREAM of such variety back when I was a 20-something lifter. Back then, the internet was a limited, unfriendly place. I relied on a monthly print subscription to Muscle & Fitness for new exercise ideas, even though I didn’t look remotely like any of those juiced-up bodybuilders.

But now there is too much variety everywhere. It’s overwhelming. Think about how novice fitness enthusiasts must view the barrage:

I see so-and-so doing hyperactive, metabolic shit all the time. Should I do that, even though I’ve got bad knees and elbows?

Why is so-and-so changing what he does every workout? I must be doing it all wrong!

That doesn’t even include all the confusing food posts:

So-and-so bodybuilder eats two-pound cheeseburgers and cheesecake every day and he’s jacked. Screw my bad cholesterol! Gainz, bro!

I post on Instagram too, of course. Are people wondering how they can build big ole’ muscles like mine or maybe avoid looking like me? (Ha! In reality, I am not as hugely muscular as my IG feed appears. Angle and lighting win.)

I guess what I’m saying is that it’s confusing, overwhelming, and impossible to process so much “newness” all the time. It can lead to feeling like you’re missing out if you’re not also trying it, writing about it, or posting about your own new twist on something. Social media gives that illusion, and thus reinforces more “should’s.”

The fact is, the best muscle and strength gains come from sticking to one training plan for quite awhile, including the exercises. And if others have the time to post their workouts every day on social media and their blog, yay for them. I don’t.

In the End, I Can and Want to Blog

After all this self-reflection, I conclude that I do, in fact, want to blog. I have a LOT of cool insights about lifting to share, and maybe even some how-to’s. But it has to be on my own terms. This is stuff I can do:

  • If I have an interesting revelation about lifting, eating, building muscle, gym fails, or whatever, I’m just going to throw it the fuck up here.
    Most of my best topics are completely wasted on Twitter. Twitter is my very best social media platform, i.e., I love spouting off there and reading others’ tweets. But since a tweet apparently becomes obscure after 18 minutes, my good content can live here, too.
  • I’ll still promote my posts, because you may not hear about them if I don’t. But I’ll do it my way, not the way I’d do it for a business.
  • As far as pictures go, well, you know I’m a visual person. I’ll do the best I can here, but it may not be fancy.

As I write this, WordPress is telling my “readability” needs improvement.

I can read it. Sorry, WordPress.

This article originally appeared on www.workoutnirvana.com.

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  1. I. Love. This.
    Completely hear you about the shoulds. Especially when it comes to frequency of posting on different platforms. Sucks the joy out of it for me too.
    I’ve been much more ‘free form’ this past year.

  2. JOHN DONOVAN says:

    Great post Suzanne! Always remember, You should be happy!

  3. I hear you! That’s why I went to one a week. That’s why my word for 2017 is TRANSITION. You do what YOU need to do and your passion will always shine through. 🙂

  4. I hear ya too! I am just happy to read whatever you decide to share!

  5. YES!!!! I am tired of the shoulds although I never wrote for optimization – I guess the reason for not much activity on my followers. 🙂

    I am kinda tired of it mainly because it takes a lot of work & for me the payoff is not the best AND the shoulds! 🙂

    I want to write a book but I need a ghost write so I am thinking about how to do that. My life is way NOT what others think & I think most would be shocked about what I had to say & even more, I think I can help so many BUT money pays bills so that is the prob right now. I am in debt! 🙂

    • Jody I would totally love it if you wrote a book. None of our lives are like they seem, social media is an illusion, lol. But you’re such a genuine person that you shine through regardless :). I would love to help you if you decide to go forward… I certainly can ghostwrite!

  6. Geez that sounds stressful Suzanne. You should be relaxed when blogging. If you don’t feel it, then don’t. All that should’s you said are all true, but I guess everything has their two faces right? Can’t deny the fun and excitement blogging brings you. I love what you share. They are very “you”. 🙂 Be happy girl!

  7. Aspiring writing and bloggers you need a lot of motivation and determination here. Hard work result to good things.

  8. Great message. The downside of following other’s blog’s – especially one’s about marketing and building an on line business – is that they all tell you “the secret” to success. But while learning from other’s is a great thing, if you listen to too many people, you”ll spend too much time being a reader or thinker instead of being a doer. Thanks!
    Kris recently posted..The Ultimate Guide To Finding Your Next Running Race, Trail Race, Or Obstacle RaceMy Profile

    • That resonates, Kris. There’s so much entrepreneur “how to,” and the pressure to do it all right now is overwhelming. In reality, it takes TIME. Thanks for writing!

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