If there’s one thing I’ve learn from being a blogger and following your passion, it would be that your passions change. Blogging is a journey, just like life. You are human and meant to explore, learn, and grow with your journey. So, why wouldn’t blogging and starting a business be any different? It’s rare that the first idea is the most successful. So, give yourself a break and don’t be so harsh on yourself. If you think you need to make a change with your blog because your interests are changing, then do it.
Larissa from The Larissa Monologues is here today to discuss her blogging journey, how it all began, what her days look like, and how you should deal with blogger burnout. Her insight is spot on.
Hi Larissa! Thanks for agreeing to discuss blogging and balancing life. So, what inspired you to start your blog?
I began my blog The Larissa Monologues in 2007 mostly as a personal creative outlet. I had recently met a 45-year-old woman who told me that she had just quit the job she had held for half her life, and had begun a brand new career in creative writing. I thought to myself, “I want to have enough courage to do something that I really want!” A blog seemed to be a great way to cultivate creative things I loved – writing, cooking, DIY crafts – and share them with others.
More recently, I launched a second blog called Spiritual Journey, where I help guide people deeper in their spiritual journey and encounter God. I started it because I have a passion for guiding and equipping others to pursue God.
Starting something new can be scary, how did it go at first?
Before launching The Larissa Monologues, I already followed a handful of other blogs. I loved the idea of connecting with others online through blogging, and figured I should just give it a shot. I bought a domain, got a Blogger account, and hit publish. I had no vision or plan for my blog, other than to simply write what I felt like writing. So my earliest blog entries are embarrassingly uninteresting and random.
I know you have a lot going on with a family and your websites. I’m curious, what’s your daily routine like?
I thrive on structure, but have definitely had to learn to be more spontaneous as a mother of three young kids. My typical day usually begins with our kids (ages 1, 3, and 7) waking us up around 7:00am. My husband and I both help our kids get ready for the day, then my husband takes the two older kids to school.
Then I launch into my day with strong, pour over coffee and a light breakfast. I try to work and write while simultaneously tending to my one-year-old daughter. My current work is a mix of several of things: I am a spiritual director and Director of Spiritual Formation at my church Bluewater Mission, which means I meet with people to offer spiritual guidance and counsel, lead various meetings, and speak at events. My ongoing writing includes the content for my two blogs, as well as contributing to The Huffington Post. To stay on top of things, I depend on my calendar and the Bullet Journal system. I get most of my focused work done while my daughter naps. When she is awake, I hang out with her and sometimes get little bits of other things done, such as checking email, posting on social media, or planning dinner.
In the afternoon, the kids get home from school, and it’s mostly “hang out with kids” time at that point. We play, go to the park, have dinner, and do chores together. The kids go to bed at 8:00pm. My husband and I trade-off putting the kids to bed every other night.
After the kids are in bed, it’s rest time for my husband and I. We drink wine, catch up with each other, watch TV, and then get into bed. I need about 30 minutes of reading time in bed to wind down. Usually I read a novel or browse Facebook, then fall asleep.
What’s your number one tip for preventing burnout?
Do the things that bring you joy. In other words, prioritize what you most WANT to be doing. If certain tasks or responsibilities begin to feel like life-draining “shoulds,” consider letting them go or changing how you do them.
As you know, beginner bloggers can experience burnout quickly. What’s the number one sign for burnout you look for and how can a blogger cure it?
I think the primary sign of burnout is feeling like you’ve lost joy and passion. When you are doing things simply out of obligation, that’s when you know you’re getting burned out. Bloggers hit moments or seasons of losing joy and passion. If that happens, my advice is to pause. Take some time to reflect:
Why are you blogging?
What is your purpose in it?
How can you do it in a way that brings you more joy?
You can also make space for some self and soul reflection.
Pausing and reflecting may lead to you let go of blogging for a season, or you might realize that you have a renewed vision for it. Blogging is meant to evolve with the blogger. When you feel burning out, give yourself permission to get reconnected to your joy and passion.
What keeps things interesting in your life?
My family keeps my life incredibly interesting. I have a funny and thoughtful husband who has his own unique passions. We make a great team – we work together on various things (like planting Bonfire, a ministry movement on Oahu), but also maintain our own separate interests. Our three kids, with each of their unique personalities, add craziness and joy. Because of them, boredom is not a problem in my life.
Can you tell us something that people might not know about you, but that you don’t mind sharing?
One of my dreams is to publish a book one day. I have several unfinished, ongoing book projects that are currently collecting dust on my nightstand. My challenge is knowing which project is worth the time and effort to finish.
So Larissa, what does the future hold for you?
I truly have no idea what the future holds for me. I love all of the things I am doing now – parenting, writing, ministry – and I feel like they are the right things for me to be doing. But I also have lived long enough to know that life changes (sometimes unexpectedly). I hope my future involves bringing more good and joy into the world.
What do you think the future holds for blogging?
I think blogging will continue to be a powerful platform for creation and change. Our world is getting more and more global, with more shared ideas and a diversity of voices. Blogging is a great way for people’s voices to be empowered, cultivated, and heard.
Last but not least: What’s your favorite blog that you follow and can’t get enough of?
I love Emily P. Freeman at Chatting at the Sky. She feels like a kindred soul, and reading her blog is like being with a wise, compassionate friend.
Larissa Marks is a spiritual director, ministry planter, and Director of Spiritual Formation at Bluewater Mission Church in Honolulu, Hawaii. She is the creator of Spiritual Journey, where she helps people go deeper in their spiritual journey and encounter God. Sign up for her weekly Spiritual Journey notes for guidance sent to your inbox. You can also find her at her personal blog The Larissa Monologues, Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook.