As I settle in to write this post—the first I’ve written in many weeks—the first sentence that flies from my fingers is an apology.
Dear regular readers, I’m so sorry I disappeared with little contact or explanation. I was too busy nibbling on saltines and praying to God to take away my first trimester nausea…
But then I deleted that sentence. Why apologize when all I was doing was living my motto, walking the talk, practicing what I preach?
Yes, I spent the first few months of my second pregnancy feeling downright awful most hours of the day, and to deal with it, I turned to the very philosophy behind this site.
I prioritized what was most important to me at the moment—in this case, taking care of myself & my little fetus, spending quality time with my toddler whenever I felt capable of it, and managing essential work projects. Everything else (including but not limited to: chores, laundry, cooking, exercising, and blogging) simply fell by the wayside.
And like I always say, that’s ok. No need to apologize or feel guilty!
Now here I am, 18 weeks along and finally feeling like myself again, albeit a bit rounder in the midsection.
My belief is that my break from blogging wasn’t just necessary for my personal health and wellbeing (and that of my inside baby); it will also make me a stronger blogger in the long run. Win-win!
More specifically, here’s what I learned from my weeks away from the keyboard.
4 Benefits of a Blogging Break
1. You give yourself a chance to miss it.
Let’s be clear: Blogging isn’t for the weak. It requires a lot of hard work and dedication for payoffs that don’t always feel direct or tangible (i.e. not usually a big paycheck in your pocket).
All of that means it’s easy to get frustrated, tired, and burnt out. It’s easy to want to throw your laptop against a wall when your heartfelt post gets a few measly comments or when Facebook changes its algorithm again.
It’s easy to forget why it’s worth it.
Stepping away—be it for a week or a month or more—gives you the space to miss that which you love so much. In this case, absence really does make the heart grow fonder.
2. You discover your true motivation.
It’s not just that you miss the act of blogging; it’s that you have a glimpse into what exactly you miss about it, or why you love it so much in the first place. This is key for making blogging work for you in the long term.
Do you find yourself itching to write and create—to get your words, ideas, and photos “out there?” You probably blog out of a love for the creativity behind the craft.
Do you find yourself longing for contact with the friends you’ve made through the blogging world? Your primary blogging motivation is probably one of social connection.
Do you miss that paycheck, even if it was a small one, because it covered your Starbucks obsession or padded your vacation fund? You probably see your blogging as a side business.
In the midst of your blogging break, ask yourself what your motivation was when you first started out, and if and how that motivation has evolved. The true answers may surprise you!
3. You learn which aspects of blogging burn you out.
During my blogging break I quickly learned that writing is not the problem (no surprise there, considering I write for a living).
The other aspects of blogging, however, are a different story.
I struggle to make eye-catching, Pinterest-friendly images because a graphic designer I am not.
Keeping up with social media is a challenge because I have trouble setting appropriate boundaries around it. Either I’m on it all day or I don’t want to touch it.
My blogging break has brought these issues to the surface. I can now more clearly see where I struggle and where I shine.
4. You can be smarter moving forward.
The real value, of course, is in figuring out how to become a better blogger from here on out—with “better blogger” being defined solely based on your unique motivation and goals.
So, for example, if you’ve learned that posting three times a week totally drains you, being a better blogger means cutting back to a posting schedule that’s more reasonable for you.
For me, I’m left asking these kinds of questions:
What’s so important that it’s worth outsourcing?
What should I simply let fall by the wayside, acknowledging that it’s just not my strong suit?
How can I use maximum time and effort for the aspects of blogging I truly love and enjoy?
Sometimes it takes time away from the blog to identify and answer those questions clearly. In those situations, taking a blogging break is totally worth it.
What benefits do you see in taking a blogging break?
By the way, many thanks to those readers who reached out to check on me! I know I wasn’t the best at responding, but I so appreciate your thoughtfulness. I’m looking forward to stopping by your blogs again soon!
Did you enjoy this post? If so, I’d be honored if you shared it with other bloggers!
31 responses to “4 Serious Benefits of a Blogging Break”
Welcome back! I’m happy to learn you are better than ok and coming back refreshed. I learned some of these lessons when my blog crashed last spring and I thought long and hard about coming back (i.e. paying for the blog to be restored). I learned that posting more than once a week just wasn’t practical for me, especially when I didn’t feel like I had anything to say. I’ve been happier posting when I want to since then.
Sometimes it takes things like broken blogs to get us to a better place. Glad we both learned what we needed to!
Katie, I am the same exact spot (in more than one way)! I recently took about a three month break because of first trimester sickness and just knowing that I needed to take care of myself before anything else. I am actually 18 weeks today as well! I loved your post about the 12 Signs you are in the First Trimester, I was reading it and nodding profusely though it was before I told anyone I was pregnant so I didn’t share it until now. I’m glad you are back and that you don’t feel the need to apologize, I struggled with the same feelings.
Angela, I am absolutely THRILLED to learn that we are going through our second pregnancies on the same schedule! Such fun! I’m sorry that you were sick as well, but I hope that from here on out we both feel wonderful! CONGRATS!
Yay you’re back! Yeah, don’t apologize, because blogs will pick up right where you left off. I did the same when the twins were born. There was just no way I was going to blog, and while the traffic was low, once I started writing again, it picked right back up.
Thanks for the warm welcome back, Nina!
I’m glad you’re back – I kept checking! I took a little break after my girl was born. The benefit to not writing if I don’t feel like it is preserving the quality of my posts. I don’t want to write crap for the sake of posting something.
YES! Quality over quantity for sure.
I came back around to leave you another comment and tell you that I am praying for your pregnancy, as I assumed you were struggling with those lovely first months of nightmarish sickness!!
And you are BACK!!! YAY~!!!
Such great insight Katie. I too, took a break- was kinda forced to with my surgery and hard painful recovery (still ongoing but I am coherent and slowly stepping back in the waters).
It’s so true that stepping back from anything gives you a new perspective and broader vision of clarity. I see mine too, and need to make some changes so I can thrive in writing and connecting and growing… but not feel burdened by the obligatory reading and following so many bloggers. The truth is, I absolutely LOVE to read other bloggers and support them!! But just like everything in life, you can’t do it all.
Oh, how I wish I could!
I know, I wish I could do EVERYTHING I want to do, but ultimately it makes things I enjoy feel more like a burden. We gotta pick and choose!
I took a three week break and it has completely refocused me. I gained a lot of clarity and have a new perspective on how I want to show up in my space.
I feel the same way, Tara!
I was soooooo happy to see this pop up in my email! I missed you! But, I also recalled how I felt during pregnancy and wondered if you were not feeling great. So glad you are better! Yes, I agree. Breaks are good. I usually take off the 2 weeks at Christmas and a chunk in the summer and it’s nice to take that break. For energy and focus! I also struggle with graphics , but you probably realize that just by looking at my blog! The hardest part about blogging for me is the quid pro quo aspect. I want to read blogs because I enjoy the content, not because I am trying to lure people to my blog. It’s really hard for me to find the time to dedicate to reading and commenting on 50 blogs/day. So, I just stick to a few of my faves. 🙂
Glad you are back!!
YES! Well-said, my friend. Marketing your blog through commenting takes away from truly connecting with other writers, in my opinion. I want the connection to be about so much more than that.
Welcome back! I’m glad we are Facebook friends so I was able to keep tabs on you during your break. And I mean that in the most uncreepy way!
I love #2 – discover your true motivation. I still feel like I haven’t discovered mine even after an almost two week break, but I’m closer. I often ask myself, “What’s the worst that could happen if I don’t (post, share on social media, etc). If I’m okay with that, then I let it go.
Thanks for the warm welcome, Dana! Love the idea of asking myself that question to keep it all in perspective.
Well said! Welcome back and glad to hear you are feeling better. From time to time I would check my feed reader and hope that you would be back. Maybe #5 is that you give people a chance to miss you 😉
I’m smiling ear to ear right now over this comment. THANK YOU!
It’s interesting because I seemingly never take a break – posting three times a week all year long. However I really do take breaks in my mind. I might do a linkup or sponsored post or a guest post or two if I’m feeling fried. And during that time, I miss the chance to be my own voice on my own blog.
So in a weird way, I get it!
Glad you’re feeling better. That stuff is no joke.
Thanks, Tamara! You’re so right that breaks take on many forms; they don’t always require fully stepping away from your blog.
As Thoreau said, “how vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.”
My recent break was because I needed to nurture Elena. I wanted to remember every moment. She is our final baby.
Blogging is independent of money. Living fuels my writing. Things happen when it’s best, and we need to honor those cycles and listen to them.
Yesterday I swooped up the girls and we were at the beach in 10 minutes. (Not bad for a 2 year old and 7 week old, if you ask me.) Instead of writing, I walked and lived. I thought about blog posts, and I let them go. I photographed driftwood in the sunrise, but didn’t edit the photos. One day I will.
First of all, I am quite impressed that you got both girls to the beach so speedily! And second, it is so true that living needs to come first; otherwise, what are our words in the first place?
Congrats on the pregnancy, as I don’t think I congratulated before!!! CONGRATS! I also took a needed break from blogging because I was making other things priorities, like preparing for the holidays and spending time with my family. Taking a break definitely helps you assess your motivation for doing it and how to best move forward. Congrats again and happy 2015!
Thanks so much, Lisa! It’s important to remember that our priorities will shift, depending on the season of the year, season of our life, etc. And that’s OK!
I took a break over the holidays and I would agree that it’s definitely given me some clarity in what I’m trying to do with my blog. Which is, basically, document my life, contain my ramblings, and make connections with cool people. NOT make money. I just wish I had more space in my schedule to write a couple posts a week and be done with it, rather than trying to squeeze it in during the week along with everything else we’ve got going on.
Hobbies like blogging are so fulfilling, and yet finding the time to keep up with them is always a challenge!
Glad you’re back! I took a little break over the holidays to work on my blog and then ran into computer problems! Ugh! It was nice to have a breather though. I need to get myself into a better schedule going forward! Happy New Year, Katie!
Congratulations, Katie! I’m so sorry about the sick part, though! Ugh, that is THE worst! But I absolutely loved what you wrote about practicing what you preach. “Pick any two” is my philosophy too. (Just worded differently, “Let Why Lead.) 🙂
And yes yes yes, I took a blogging break two and gained much of what you’re describing too. Best wishes!
Katie, I hope you are feeling better! I took a break over Christmas and I don’t regret it. I’ve also realized that I’m just not going to master Google+ or Pinterest, so I’m going to stop worrying about them. I’ll still use them on occasion, but I’m going to let go of trying to perfect them.
Blogging breaks can be so helpful to regroup. And sometimes other things in life take priority – like family! I’m having a series of guest bloggers this month so I can concentrate on other writing. Sometimes you’ve just got to step back and take a breath!
Great to see you back! I hope you’re better now. A blogging break does do some good, I have discovered. Sometimes, it just puts things in perspective.