How to feel less guilty about taking a break from blogging
I have been thrilled and—dare I say it—blessed to watch as my business and blog have started to really flourish over the last few months. It’s been magical to see all the hard work paying off. But behind the scenes, these last couple of months have been a bit rough on me. Yep, I’d definitely file them in the ‘rough’ category.
In March, my business partner and I parted ways and I reformed the business as Hedera House (formerly Hedera Editing & Publishing). I’ve been inundated with client work, I’ve been dealing with an unexpected family situation, I’ve launched a free eight-day mini-course, I’ve been researching and writing my book, and on top of all that, I’ve been trying to grow my blog and social media followings.
I am sure you’re not going to be surprised to hear that my priorities got a bit out of whack while all this was going on. I put the needs of my clients above all else, including my blog, my book, and even my own health and happiness. (I’ve never been good at prioritising self-care, but I’m working on it.)
So my priorities were wonky and I could feel myself careering towards burnout. I’ve been there before and I know the signs, so I was able to pause before I reached peak burnout. I’ve taken some time out and I’m feeling refreshed and back on top of things.
Taking some time out meant stepping away from writing blog posts for a little while. And even though I thought my blog was going to suffer from my absence, I just couldn’t keep going. Not only did I not have time to write (see above: putting clients’ needs above my own), I didn’t have the brainpower or the inspiration, and I didn’t want to create content just for the sake of it.
So I didn’t write any blog posts—at all. At the time of publishing this post, I haven’t published a blog post in 62 days. Wow.
At first, I felt guilty. I felt guilty that I wasn’t producing new content or sticking to the consistent schedule I’d previously worked so hard to build and maintain, and which so many of my favourite bloggers advocate—for good reasons.
And I know that if I struggled with the guilt of it, someone else out there is probably going through the same thing, too. If that’s you, I wanted to let you know that you’re not alone. I also wanted to come up with some ways that you can avoid (or minimise) the guilt that often comes with taking a break from your blog.
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Create other content
Just because you’re not blogging doesn’t mean you can’t create other stuff for your blog or business. Breathe some life into your email list by writing an email course or creating a new opt-in freebie, which could be as simple as a checklist or guide.
Update the appearance of your website or blog
Been thinking about rebranding, or maybe even just updating your blog feature images? Do that now! You never know—it may spark some inspiration.
Spring clean your website or blog
Do you have blog tags that you thought were a great idea when you first started, but then never ended up using? Get rid of them. Got spam comments you never had time to sort through? Do it now. What about old website pages you created for ideas you never saw through? Delete them! Use this time when you can’t create content to organise your blog. That way, you’re still contributing to its overall health, even if you’re not posting.
Go back through all your old posts and improve them
Do you have old posts in your archives that betray how clueless you were when you first started blogging? Or have you implemented new elements in your new blog posts, like click-to-tweet buttons, that need to be added to your old posts? Create some sort of checklist of things you need to update. Then, go through each post and fix those things up.
What sort of stuff might you include in your checklist?
- checking grammar and writing style (take my free eight-day mini-course Unboring Your Writing first so you can use the tips in there to polish the writing in your old posts)
- adding/updating click-to-tweet images
- adding words/phrases from your brand word bank (I cover this on the first day of Unboring Your Writing)
- making sure you have a call to action or a call for responses at the end of each post
- making sure you’ve pinned all your blog posts (and pinning them again!)
- double-checking that all links in your posts work
- adding more links to your newer blog posts, to direct readers to other information they might find useful
- adding affiliate links.
Focus on social media
Just shift your focus for a bit. If you’re so sick of your blog that you feel like you never want to look at it ever again, move your attention to your social media accounts, so when you come back to blogging, at least you’ll have a larger and hopefully more engaged audience to promote to. Research the best ways to use your social media accounts and focus on writing great posts. Plus, researching and creating tip-top social media posts is probably going to spark ideas for your blog.
Promote old posts
Even though I haven’t posted in so long, my blog has grown more in the last few months than ever before. Why? Well, I focused on getting more people to the posts that I did have. I scheduled tweets, I started pinning more regularly, I started to post more often on promo days in Facebook groups, and I joined a mastermind group full of beautiful women who help me by promoting my work. Combined with releasing my email course, I hardly even noticed the lack of blog posts—my traffic and email subscribers went up more than ever.
As you probably know, creating high-quality content requires you to know your ideal reader. Use the time away from writing blog posts to research more about what your ideal reader wants and needs. You could do that by taking a look at blogs that are similar to yours, by doing a poll on social media, or by taking a better look at your current followers. When you do get back to writing, you’ll be more prepared than ever.
You could research loads of other things, too—new platforms or software you could be using, other bloggers you can collaborate with, smarter strategies for your blog…
Read posts from other bloggers who have been through the same thing
If you do decide to take a break from blogging, you’re not alone, and reading about other people’s experiences might help.
Check out these posts:
- What happened when I stopped blogging
- How to prevent and recover from blogger burnout
- Four benefits of a blogging break
- Let's talk about work ethic, rest, and guilt
- Seven reasons to take a break from your blog
- How to take a break from blogging
Remember that it’s ok to be imperfect
When you’re a solopreneur, sometimes it feels like you have to be perfect all the time, because it’s just you—and if you stuff up, that’s it. I also think that to want to become a solopreneur in the first place, you probably have to be wired a little bit towards perfectionism, or at least high standards.
But you don’t have to be perfect. If you set a blogging schedule for yourself but need some time off—that’s okay. You’re human. You’re a work in progress. Give yourself a break once in a while.
Remember that your blog and your business are both yours, and you can do whatever you want
If you’re anything like me, you’re consuming so much all the time in an effort to keep up, and you’re working with so many different people who all want chunks of your time, and sometimes you forget one vital thing: This is your blog; this is your business. You don’t need permission from anyone to have time off your blog. It’s yours, and you call the shots.
It’s funny, isn’t it? Usually we get into business for ourselves because we want freedom, but we impose all these strict rules on ourselves. We do it for good reasons, of course—because we don’t want to let people down or because we want to grow consistently or because these rules just work. But sometimes you need to remember that you have imposed these rules on yourself, that they’re usually arbitrary, and you can break them if they’re not serving you. That’s totally ok.
So those are my ten tips to help you feel less guilty about taking some time off blogging. If you’ve ever taken a break, or if you’re thinking about it, I’d love to hear from you—let me know in the comments.
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