content fatigue

Are You an Online Writer With “Content Fatigue?”


“Another shitty article?”

“It’s not shitty, and besides, I need to be publishing multiple times a day or Medium won’t push my stuff,” I said in the snooty way I have when I don’t want someone to know they offended me.

“But you are burnt out. You don’t even realize the articles you write are absolute garbage!”

“They aren’t garbage and I’m not burnt out!”

“Oh yeah? You are so burnt out that you don’t even realize you are talking to yourself again. Maybe you should get away from your desk for a while and at the very least slow down publishing this nonsense.”

I am not talki…. Oh.”


I know more about “content fatigue” than the average writer. I got to a point where I was so burnt out from writing every day and publishing that I quit and didn’t look back.

I started publishing on Medium every day in October 2018. I had been doing freelance writing and web design up until that time but was growing tired of dealing with clients who wanted everything for nothing and expected the world on an oyster in a day.

I have massive respect for anyone who can succeed in freelancing with the stresses of entitled clients and companies that want you to work for “exposure.”

I heard people were making real money on Medium (one report even said people were making $25,000 a month) and I felt if I could satisfy a client, I could build an audience and start making as much money as the top earners. I went into online writing with a big head and bigger dreams. After all, hadn’t I been blogging for longer than there even was such a word?

Shouldn’t I be able to attract and grow fans and get people to read and “like” my work?

It took me a year to realize that I was doing it all wrong. I wanted to be a superstar like Jessica Wildfire and grow my following as fast as Shannon Ashley, but I just didn’t have the writing chops to command such an audience.

I was at best a hack.

I was a self-taught writer. I learned my craft from books and sitting down to marathon writing sessions on the laptop. Up until a few years ago, I never had the college experience to hone my skills with critique and workshops until much later.

Mrs. Wildfire was the one to set me straight after I complained too much that my followers weren’t growing. She was brutally honest and said my problem was that I wasn’t writing for the audience.

I never gave them a takeaway.

They left my essays and articles without learning or gaining anything. I was writing for myself — vapid personal essays about my dysfunctional life that were more for my own therapy than to help anyone else.

Everything changed from then on. I started reading more books about the craft of writing and analyzing the masters of online writing. I copied what they were doing. I started adding to my skills with copywriting. I learned about headlines and hooking readers in the first few sentences. I learned how to write with scenes and to “show, don’t tell.”

I was growing faster than I ever had before and was making decent money. For a while life was good and I was enjoying every part of the publishing process.

But I bit off too much and somewhere along the line I grew tired. I was publishing multiple times a day on several platforms. I had “content fatigue.” I was writing all day and sometimes all night, trying to make enough money to support my family.

Then something happened almost overnight on Medium — my earnings went from thousands of dollars every month to hundreds. I was still doing the same things I had always done. I was publishing daily; I was writing content the audience wanted and giving them a takeaway.

Even my follower growth slowed.

Of course, I blamed it on Medium and the algorithm, and I still believe that was part of it because other writers were experiencing the same problem.

But the real problem was that I was spread too thin. I was publishing on Medium, Newsbreak, my newsletter, Vocal.media — anywhere I thought I could make a few bucks. I was writing upwards of 10,000 words per day and editing them, revising, formatting, and publishing.

I was tired.

I could see the fatigue but instead of slowing down and focusing on creating amazing content, I quit altogether. It got to the point where it just didn’t feel like it was worth it anymore. I lost the joy of writing, of creating. Worse yet, I couldn’t even make a living doing it so I would have to go back to freelancing.

I stopped publishing on Medium. My earnings went in the toilet on Newsbreak as well, so I quit writing there too. I decided since I was in college, I would focus all my efforts on it and my newsletter.

Fast-forward.

Now that I graduated, and I have more time to write, I can feel the difference between what I am doing now, and what my life was back then — a never-ending merry-go-round of content — bad content.

I’ve learned a few things about what makes a piece of writing good, and what mistakes ruin the story for the audience. I’ve learned that I need to focus on slowing down and putting all my effort into one thing, instead of jumping all over the place and creating content for everyone on every platform.

I’ve learned that you cannot create good content if you are fatigued.

How to Combat “Content Fatigue”

First of all, let’s not look at online writing like a sprint. I’ve always said that writing is a marathon, but somehow in the quest to make money, I forgot that.

If you are experiencing content fatigue or tiredness from creating too much online content, try one or two of these things:

  1. Slow down. Creating good content that resonates with the audience is far better than creating garbage that nobody reads. Writing and publishing for the sake of creating a lot of content, hoping the algorithm will favor you, is a fool’s game. Slow down and focus on creating helpful, engaging, and fun articles and essays that people can relate to.
  2. Take regular time away from work. Sometimes, especially if we work from home where it’s easier to get busy with work, we will work 24 hours a day. Ensure you have a consistent schedule. Set time aside to eat lunch, relax, and exercise your body. Set boundaries with yourself and prioritize self-care.
  3. Plan and organize your content. This one has been difficult for me because I am a pantser, not a plotter. Create a content calendar to plan and schedule your posts. This will keep you from feeling like you are doing everything last minute and will reduce that overwhelming feeling of stress. It helps to stay organized.
  4. Practice stress management techniques. Meditation, deep breathing, and exercise are just three of the things I do when I start to feel stressed. Even if you just take your eyes off the screen and stare at the ceiling for a few minutes. All this will help reduce stress and maintain focus.
  5. Take breaks. I get up from my desk every so often and talk to my wife, play with my kid, or walk around the block. I also love a good snack, which is why my waistline is growing every day. Yes, have a snack, but try something healthy. Your brain will thank you for not putting all that sugar and garbage in your system.
  6. Change the way you think. Being successful online is not about how much you can create, it is about delighting the audience and giving them something to remember you by. I learned the hard way that you don’t need to feed the content machine. There is already too much shit content out there. Don’t add to it.

Focus on creating evergreen content that will stand the test of time. Don’t throw garbage online because you can. Plan, research, write, edit, revise — take your time and when you are ready to publish, focus on promotion instead of jumping right into creating another piece of trash content.

I go back and look at some of the work I did during the time I was trying to make a living writing online, and frankly, I shudder. Most of the time, it can usually be saved, but some of it is so bad that I dump it in the trash.

Why spend your time creating crap? Why even think about using AI (as much as I love AI) to create more useless content?

Focus. You will be a success online if you create content people want, not what you think people need.

Look at these websites for examples of content that resonates with an audience:

  • Backlinko.com — Brain Dean is a master of long-form content. Some of his articles are 4000 words long, but people will sit and read the whole thing because the content is well-researched and written with the audience in mind. Read a few of the articles to see how it’s done.
  • Problogger.com — They have been doing it the right way for years and that is why they are known as an authority in the blogging space. They mix long-form with short-form and never run out of interesting topics to hook the readers. They research heavily and spend time planning and revising to get the most out of each piece of content.
  • Iwillteachyoutoberich.com — Ramit Sethi is another master who mixes copywriting with long-form content to get his message about personal finance out to a huge audience. He is an authority who knows how to create effective and interesting content for his millions of fans.

Don’t spray content out to the world hoping that some of it will stick to the wall. Find topics that people want to read. A good place to start is the website, “Answer the Public.” Find out what they want before you even sit down to write.

Research. I started this article talking about my own experience but spent a huge amount of time researching this topic before I even started. Know what you are writing before you write.

There are way too many so-called “experts” out there who regurgitate what everyone else is saying to make a fast buck from suckers who don’t know the difference. While it’s okay to copy and link, you should have your own methods and opinions. The words I write aren’t made up, I have years of experience in blogging, digital marketing, writing, podcasting, vlogging, creating courses, and much more, and I draw from that experience when I write.

We all have our areas of expertise and the experience to match. Use that. Make it personal and explain why you have the methods and opinions you do.

Don’t feel like you must publish for the sake of publishing. That is the quickest way to burnout and content fatigue.

Take it from me. Writing online is a marathon, not a sprint. Take your time and create evergreen content people want to read.

In the long run, you will be successful in the online writing space.

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