How to Take a Break from Blogging (Without Looking Flakey)
I have a pink Post-It taped to my computer monitor. It says, "Stop doing the same things everyone else is doing." This goes against traditional wisdom. Everyone else is doing all those things because they work. So if we want to grow our blogs and businesses or write a book or take over the craft world with our Etsy shop, we have to do those things too . . . right?
The advice you'll find in the blogosphere is given with good intentions, but sometimes the noise gets so loud you can't even hear yourself think anymore. If you keep trying to do it all, you'll only end up overwhelmed and burned out.
The one thing that seems to stress creatives out more than anything is sticking to their blog schedule. Because surely the world will come crumbling down if you skip a week!
Obviously none of us really believes that our blog posts keep the world spinning, so why do we keep putting that kind of pressure on ourselves to blog every. single. week. no matter what?
I know it feels like you have to constantly keep putting out new content. But you're not a hamster on a wheel, you're a person. You need breaks for your own sanity, and to keep producing content that's worth reading.
Creativity comes in cycles. We weren't made for continuous production without times of rest and refreshment.
Do yourself and your blog a favor and take a blogging break. Here's how to take a break from blogging.
Be intentional and plan ahead.
Don't wait to take a break until you're already burned out and behind on your posting schedule. Plan blogging breaks throughout the year like you would any other vacation or day off.
That's not to say that some blog breaks can't be spur-of-the-moment---family emergencies and unexpected setbacks happen to all of us. I like to have a few "emergency" posts prepped and ready to schedule if I can't meet my blogging commitment for one reason or another. These posts should include evergreen content that will tide your readers over until you can post again. (Having posts scheduled out a few weeks ahead of time will do the trick, too!)
Don't just disappear.
One of the biggest things that keeps us from taking blogging breaks is fear of looking flakey. What if all your readers forget about you while you're gone? What if your blog traffic drops and never ever comes back up? What if no one likes you anymore when you come back?
Seriously? These are the fears that are going to keep you from some much-needed rest? Readers understand that you're only human. Many of them won't even notice that you're gone for a week or two!
Still, it's best to give your readers a heads up that this is a planned break and you're not dropping off the face of the earth. Let your readers know that you'll be off for the next X number of days or weeks and when they can expect you back. You can also point them toward posts that have done well in the past in case they'd like more to read while you're gone.
This works best if you're intentional about it. If you dash off a post after a two-week absence to blab about how you got so busy but you'll be back soon, readers will see desperation and overwhelm oozing right out of their screens. That's what makes you look flakey.
If you're really unwilling to let your blog sit empty for a few days, you can work ahead to preschedule posts so no one knows you're gone. Just remember that working ahead takes extra prep work, and readers will still expect you to reply to their comments and engage on social media!
Take breaks when everyone else does.
I take my breaks around the same time everyone else does: Christmas, New Years, and throughout the summer. Since most of my readers are spending time with their families anyway, I'm not missing out on much traffic.
Ask yourself when your readers aren't around anyway and schedule your blog break for the same time.
Be smart about the information you share.
Every blogger needs some boundaries around the information they share with their readers. If you're taking a break for medical reasons but don't want to share all the personal details, it's okay to tell everyone you just needed some time away. If you're going on vacation, don't advertise that your house is going to be sitting empty for the week.
There's a lot of pressure to be open and vulnerable with readers, but that doesn't mean sharing details you're not comfortable giving out online.
Arrange for guest bloggers.
If you're going to be on an extended break, like maternity leave, and don't want to see major traffic drops while you're gone, guest bloggers can be a great option. Reach out to bloggers you already have a relationship with who write about similar topics as you, and be sure to give them clear expectations for what you're looking for in a post.
Asking people to guest post for you doesn't mean you're completely free from blogging duties, however. You should still plan to respond to comments and promote your guests' posts on social media.
How to Take a Break from Blogging and Still Be Productive
We're a society that's ALL about the productivity. I can't tell you how many times I've decided I had a "bad" day because I didn't get enough done! We should be able to take a blogging break without worrying about sacrificing time that we could've used to get something done . . . but since I know you're thinking about productivity anyway, I'll just leave these tips here.
Remember what I said about creativity working in cycles? Give yourself a few blog-free days and see how many ideas come barreling into your head just because you took yourself off the hamster wheel of constant production!
Blogging breaks are the perfect time to get ahead on content without the pressure of a deadline. After you've taken a few days to really relax, draft up a few of the posts you're most excited about.
Tackle that admin work.
Plan upcoming content and play around with your editorial calendar while you watch Netflix in bed. Bring your DSLR along on vacation and load up on your own personal "stock image" collection. Start a spreadsheet of SEO keywords to target in the next few months. Create images for next month's posts while you wait for cookies to bake.
We all know there's more to blogging than just writing posts. A blogging break is the perfect time to take care of those extra tasks without feeling rushed.
Evaluate where your blog is going.
It's a good idea to check in with yourself about what's working and what isn't. Which content is performing well? What does your audience want more of? Is it time to rebrand, upgrade your website, or shift directions?
Most importantly, why were you feeling burned out in the first place? Maybe it's time to scale back your posting schedule or hire a virtual assistant to help out.
It's hard to give much thought to these questions when your time is at a premium, but a blogging break gives you the space you need to ponder where your blog is headed.
Announcing . . . a blogging break.
You knew where this was headed, didn't you?
I typically take off the weeks of Christmas and New Years, but thanks to a full writing and editing schedule, I'm giving myself a little extra breathing room this year. This will be my last post for the month of December, but I'll be back sometime the week of January 4. (But I'll still be sending out weekly content prompts to my email buddies! Sign up below if you're not already on the list, or click here.)
I hope your December is filled with plenty of hot cocoa, Christmas music, and coziness!
What are your best tips for taking a blogging break? Has anything ever stopped you from taking one?