Let me get a little bit deep on you guys. Blogging, like life, is cyclical. It has ups and downs, busy periods and slow periods. For most of us we can’t help but have our blogs affected by what’s going on in our personal lives. Can’t you tell when your favorite blogger is a little absent? You might not know why, but you can tell that something’s off- maybe they’re busy or going through a transition or even worse, maybe they’re just having a hard time.
For some reason we bloggers seem to want to fight the cycle tooth and nail. Maybe we’re just all addicted to the internet, or maybe it’s all about blog guilt, but I know that I have a hard time when it doesn’t work out for me to put as much into my blog as I want to. I want it to be awesome. All the time. Don’t you feel the same way about yours?
I think most of us assume (and we all know what happens when we do that) if we don’t post that our blogs will suffer.
What we’re not factoring into this assumption is that sometimes when you force yourself to blog, the quality will suffer. And ultimately, I tend to think that posting nothing is better than posting something subpar.
I’ve taken both intentional blog breaks and unintentional blog breaks, and as with most things in life I’ve felt much better about the intentional ones. Here are some things that I learned from my past breaks and my most recent one.
Be strategic. Some times of year are just slower than others. A lot of it is just common sense- for example, the week in between Christmas and New Years usually yields the least amount of traffic out of the whole year, even when I’ve posted regularly during that time. Now I know that I just take that week ( and a lot of times the week before, too) off as time to rest and come up with new ideas since I know not a lot of eyes will be falling on my blog anyway.
There’s probably an argument that can be made for any time of the year, but for me July seemed good because school is out and people are on vacations. It made sense for me personally because I knew I’d be going back and forth between my parents’ house and our apartment, and Brian was studying to take the bar so it would be helpful if I had less on my plate so that I could pick up more of the slack surrounding our move. Do what works for you, just try to make it a conscious choice instead of something that happens because you’re too haggard to make it to the computer.
Set limits. Your traffic might decrease while you’re on your break, and that’s okay. But since you’re accepting that, you might as well leverage the break to create some hype about your return. Set a date that you’ll come back. In my case, it helped motivate me to write content while I was away, and I was able to have a lot of scheduled posts before I came back.
Learn something new. This is a great time to take some of those courses that you’ve been putting off! I went a little nuts with signing up for things, and that definitely helped spark my creativity. I joined Leonie Dawson’s Amazing Biz and Life Academy and I took my first Braid Creative ECourse, both of which I highly recommend.
Follow your heart. “What if I don’t feel like picking it back up again?” To be honest, when I started my break part of me was worried that was what might happen. I realized that if taking a break would help me decide if my life was better without blogging then it was worth taking it. Clearly that’s not how I feel, and I wasn’t really prepared for the creativity that would kick into overdrive when I took some time to just be instead of feeling like I had to create for my blog all the time. Trust your gut, and make sure that you’re blogging because you really want to and not just because you have to or because it’s part of your routine.
I know we’ve talked about this before, but have you ever taken a blog break? How did it affect you? How did it affect your blog? I’d love to hear your answers!
P.S. Tomorrow’s newsletter will be all about how to keep yourself from going crazy when you get back from your break (or vacation.) Make sure you’ve signed up if you haven’t already!)
I’ve taken both intentional and unintentional blogs breaks as well. I love your tips.
Hey Katelyn, excellent post! I’ve been on a blog break this summer and it’s been really nice. I’ve also been working on ideas and posts for my return. I think your tips are excellent! thanks for sharing :)
It’s so true – sometimes we really just need to take a break (especially if we view our blog as part of our job). Getting burnt out is a very real thing, and I typically find that I’m much more inspired if I take time off. I didn’t blog last week, and this week I’m back and LOVING it! There are a lot of bloggers out there who say that you have to blog consistently, and I think that’s terrible advice. People like seeing quality, not quantity. And we can all definitely tell when someone hasn’t put their passion behind their blog. Thanks for the tips Kate!
I must admit I am trying to force it a little bit right now. Class starts for me on August 26 and I’d like to have at least another 3-5 posts done and ready to publish before I return. The first week or two is all about settling in and getting used to a new schedule to an extent so my mind is on figuring things out rather than blogging. Also, I did my own re-design that I hope better reflects me as a writer and blogger. Now it’s just a matter of tweaking pages and adding new content. I’m just at a loss on what to write. It’s there, I think, I just can’t seem to put the words on screen. It’ll happen…I hope.
I took a big blogging break a couple years ago (about 3 months) and really took the time to reassess why I blog. It helped SO much. I came to similar conclusions, that quality is more important than quantity and that blogging is supposed to be fun and a creative outlet, rather than a source of stress. Since then, I’ve loved blogging so much more. I do it for myself and when I’m not feeling it, I don’t force it. Great post!
Blog breaks are so helpful! As soon as I give myself permission to take a break, I’m always flooded with a million ideas. I’m actually toying with the idea of scheduling a regular blog break… maybe a week a month? I know it would be amazing, but I just have to work up the guts to do it!
Rebecca Alexis says
Kate I love this. I took a break, but I didn’t. I didn’t want to really, so I made myself think that I would really be able to keep up with the posts while we were away. I did blog, just not very well. It was all distraction and not much fruit. Next year (or next time) I will own it a bit better. thanks so!
This is a really great post! Stepping away is sometimes the only way for you to evaluate what you REALLY want out of anything and that includes blogging.
Eliza St.Clair says
I second all of this! Blog breaks are truly necessary things. So happy to have you back, though! xoxo
Brianna K. @ Hungry Gator Gal says
Thanks for the advice and reassurance! I took a break from my healthy living blog during summer 2012 because other responsibilities in my life needed attention. Luckily, I came back full force with several new ideas and a greater enthusiasm for sharing recipes, workouts and healthy living tips. My blog suffered from a decline in readership, but it has since rebounded and grown into more than I could have ever imagined. I now see my break as a “reboot” that was completely necessary. :)
I started my blog break in July and have only returned to one (out of five) site. I’m not feeling the others right now, so they are still on hold. Like you, I learned some things and worked on plans to make money from each of them. It was well worth it. I’ll return the other sites soon.
Kathy Brunner says
This post really spoke to me. I recently posted my choice to take my own digital sabbath for 3 days last month. That was 3 days without any digital access. I did use my phone but did not check any internet sites or email on it for those days.
It was, in some ways cathartic. I plan to take one every month to 6 weeks. I posted why I chose to do it and I have no regrets. You can read the post at http: //findingyourfire.blogspot.com
Great post and happy to hear more bloggers share the same feelings.
Hannah Parker says
Hi Kate, inspired by you last month, I am currently on a blog break! I’ve used it to do some reading, do a survey (using the tips you pointed us to) and get my site redesigned and rejigged in my head.
I did, however, do most of that in the last 2 weeks! I was worried to begin with that actually I didn’t want to blog anymore. Really I think that time was just my mind having its break. Within 2 weeks I was really excited to get back into it; read, see what people thought, do some of my own thinking and I’m so much happier now…only problem is I have 2 days (not including today) to write 2 posts and finish off the redesign! I do love a deadline!
Thanks for your tips xx
Kristie Hill says
Leaving is the easy part, it is coming back that is hard.