Anyone who blogs will tell you it’s all-consuming. What started out as a little hobby on the side to be indulged in in your free time quickly escalates to become a finely-oiled machine requiring maintenance every day of the week, taking up more time than you actually have available.
I sometimes refer to my blog as the monster I created, because sometimes that’s what it feels like.
One of the golden rules of blogging is consistency so there’s posts to be dreamt up, written and published on the same day every week, photos and videos to shoot and edit, linkies to take part in in order to promote said posts and feel part of the blogging community, comments to make on other blogs as part of said linkies, your own comments to reply to, not to mention the hours you spend on social media promoting all your hard work – because what’s the point in writing it if you’re not going to tell anyone about it?
Non-bloggers might say ‘don’t do it then’, or ‘have a day off’, but it’s not as simple as that, especially when you’ve got your Tots100 score to nurture, the monthly proof of your worth as a blogger lurking in the back of your mind. (Anyone who says numbers don’t matter is a big fat liar!)
I routinely find myself exhausted by it all, behind in my commenting and wondering how on earth I’m going to find the time to write my next post, but then something happens – like the latest Tots100 ranking or a great paid opportunity – and I forget all that and bash away with a renewed sense of vigour.
Since I went self-hosted in June 2015 I have posted consistently and religiously on the same days each week regardless of birthdays, holidays, anniversaries, Christmas and whatever else was going on, like BB being taken into hospital with pneumonia. There have been no exceptions.
I’ve been fuelled by a terrible sense of fear of what will happen if I don’t publish my post on the specified day – will readers go away and never come back? Will I drop off the Tots100 chart? Will brands not want to work with me anymore?
All this came to a head in the May half term when Misery Guts and I were due to go on a mini-break and I hadn’t written any of the posts I’d planned to schedule. Desperately in need of a total break from screen time I decided the only thing for it was to go cold turkey and take a complete blogging break.
It filled me with dread but I did it, and actually it wasn’t that bad – in fact it was liberating! There was no notable dip in my stats, I continued to climb the Tots100 ranking and I doubt the brands even noticed.
So, if anything I’ve written here sounds like you, here’s how to take a blogging break without feeling guilty:
1. Go completely cold turkey. That means no checking your wordpress app for stats, no ‘checking’ your comments and definitely no going on Twitter.
2. Don’t feel guilty. Everyone needs a break and you can’t give your blog 100% all the time if you’re running on empty. Go away, take a break, clear your mind of all things blogging and you’ll come back refreshed and raring to go with lots of new ideas.
3. Plan your blogging break over Christmas, Easter or school holidays when your readers and many linky hosts take breaks anyway, so you won’t feel like you’re missing out on so much.
4. If you can’t bear the thought of a break in your publishing schedule, be super organised (unlike me) and schedule your blog posts and social media before you go so no-one even need know you’re away.
5. Use guest posts. Organise some guest posts to fill the gap while you’re away, and schedule them in advance.
Admittedly I only actually took one day off blogging (or three days if you count the Wednesday I usually post and the Tuesday and Thursday either side of it which are all linky days), but it’s a start.
I might try and progress to four days next time.
Do you blog and have you ever taken a blogging break? I’d love to hear your tips!
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