We’ve both been blogging for years and have taken breaks from our blogs for days, weeks, and even months at a time. There have been productive blogging breaks and not so productive breaks, so I thought it was time to share our experiences. With jobs, school, family, and hello, the weather, it’s just not feasible to be tuned into blog world 24/7, 365. Taking a break is normal and should be celebrated. Most of us who blog love it—no one is forcing us to—so if something is pulling us away for more than a few days it’s important. Of course, you still want readers to remember who you are when you do check in, which is why the first thing we wanted to talk about was the prep work.
The Prep Work
If you have time, make an announcement that you’ll be gone, even if there’s no specific time frame. Usually when I need time away it’s just to catch up on other “life” things. Obviously the larger your following the more responsibility you’ll feel toward keeping people updated. I never thought of leaving an announcement until I started thinking like a reader. What I noticed was that when another blogger I followed disappeared without saying anything, it would take me awhile to notice. It may not be the case with people you’ve made the closest connections with, but as for the other bloggers who casually visit, if it doesn’t come up in their feed/email, they’re likely to forget. If you want your blog to stay active, it’s nice to have guest posters lined up or to at least direct people to social media for updates—so people can see what you’re up to while you’re away. But it’s totally up to you + what you want to share.
Taking Time Away
Right when I was thinking of all the benefits of taking time away—benefits for the blog, that is—I came across a post by Shanice Cameron called 6 Things I Did On My Blogging Break. In it, she talks about all the things she did while away. Some were personal and some were more blog-focused. Even the recap of her time away made for great content that helps other bloggers trying to make the most of their breaks. So once back on it, might as well share what you did/learned.
With any pursuit, allowing ourselves to take a step back is super helpful. Love this post by Jenny Purr about being kind to yourself and taking time to rest when needed. Ultimately, if we actually give our minds a break when needed, we probably won’t need to check out and purge ourselves of the internet clutter so often. But when that does happen, a few weeks or month away can help. But we don’t need to completely check out. When I do that, I always fall back into the same rut I was in in the first place. But when I detach a little, though not completely, I gain perspective. That could mean making sure to stay up on important reading or allowing myself more time to work on DIY projects as opposed to blogging nonstop. When launching The Blog Market, Jennifer paused to make sure things were running smoothly and kick off her design work. It helped because honestly—all that other stuff wouldn’t have been possible while blogging daily. Plus, she got to work with clients, launch a new project, build relationships… all content that will feed into her personal blog later. Plus her followers do know what she’s up to because she still checks in, writes here, and updates social media.
When I take a blog hiatus I like to explore in real life. Discovery is a big part of my blog (hence the word ‘found’) so when I can get out and experience life, it helps my blog too. Instead of fishing for content, I end up with a stream of ideas. I also make a point to organize those ideas before re-approaching the blog. This is another way you can make the most of this time—organizing ideas so you can hit the ground running.
With gaining experience, working on projects, and planning for your comeback, there are tons of ways to be productive while “off the grid”. And you can STILL do all those non-internet related things that prompted you to break in the first place. I hope this is a reminder if you’re overwhelmed and may want to take some time away this summer. If you want your blog to maintain its momentum, log those experiences as you go. Even if it’s a few ideas in a Word doc, when you come back from your hiatus, you’ll be armed with stories to share. :)