Spoilers: very little
Some of you may have noticed that I took a 2 week blog break at the end of January. I didn’t do much blog-wise except keep up with my collab and episode reviews. I do have way too many this season but that’s another story. This said, other than that I read a few posts for fun but I wasn’t as present as usual and I didn’t write or format anything. I didn’t even brainstorm blog ideas. In fact, when not working directly on it, I managed to largely forget the blog altogether. This is the first time I’ve ever done anything remotely similar since I started this place, and here are my takeaways.
First, so that you can understand where I’m coming from, let me tell you a bit about myself. I am a 4 year old. Not literally but in many respects I tend to be childish and uncomplicated. This is why for my personal habits I tend to have this rather immature all or nothing stance. I exercise all the time or I don’t at all. I spend years not watching anime now I don’t watch anything else. That sort of thing. So in a lot of ways, I’ve kept up my blogging momentum through this all out philosophy. I post every day or else I might not post at all.
Moreover, I have always personally said that although stats aren’t meaningless to me views and likes aren’t my primary motivation and I enjoy posting for other independent reasons. Those are both assumptions that I held as important truths to shape my blogging experience in my own head.
For two weeks, I completely challenged all of it. I wrote and posted sporadically and without schedule. I did nothing to help the blog grow or even maintain it in any way. I didn’t check my stats page at all. So was I right about anything?
Firstly, I am relieved to confirm that for me, a schedule really is essential. It was nice to let go for a few weeks but I started really missing writing. It’s a relaxing and engaging activity that he become an important part of my routine. I imagine I take something from it that’s not entirely unlike meditating. Unfortunately, without some type of framework, I just don’t do it. I always find something more immediate to do. Let’s face it, in this case it was video games… Point is, I need to form a habit to stick with something.
And I could clearly see that if I didn’t have episodes to review on a schedule, if I just adopted an “I write when the muse strikes me” attitude, I would probably stop posting fairly quickly. This is happy news for me. I find a nice little defined schedule comfortable!
The nuance I found however is that I don’t actually need to write *a lot*. A while ago I was talking to a pretty popular blogger who told me they only put in 10 to 15 minutes to complete a post. Editing and pictures included. And I thought… well to be honest I thought they were grossly exaggerating. When you factor every thing in, I usually spend between 1 and 2 hours. Much closer to 2. Their posts were a bit shorter but still…
However, because video games exist, I was actually looking forward to finishing a post during my vacation, because I had something waiting for me. Now I never got close to 10 minutes but I manage to par down my time for an episode review to about 45 which is pretty good. And what’s more, I was enjoying writing them. I wasn’t straining for material or obsessing about getting every single stray thought I had out there. I was just having a happy chat about an anime I just watched. It was nice. I’m gonna try to keep that vibe going.
Now for the most revealing part, well for me. I have always said, and honestly believe that putting too much importance on your blog stats is a great way to burn yourself out on blogging. And I always encourage new bloggers to not pay too much attention to them. But I also understand that it’s perfectly natural for people to be results oriented and a lot of us have been conditioned into believing that numbers = results. So if you have a blog and you’re only in it for the views, that’s fine too. I don’t really think there’s a right way to do but I was sort of wandering if I was still doing my blog for the enjoyment of writing and the communal experience or whether I was now getting my motivation from my stats. Would I really want to keep posting if I didn’t get the attention I thought I deserved. Can you see how horribly self aggrandizing that is… Just because I don’t want this particular hobby to be some sort of competition. That sort of goes against what I was going for in the first place.
So for a few weeks I didn’t even open my stats page at all. I wasn’t tempted to either. I lost track of how many visitors I had or how many views completely. I only knew about the likes and comments in the moment and I wasn’t keeping a tally or anything.
And you know what. It was super relaxing. And I can’t say I’m any less motivated. Not at all. I was eager even to write more. It’s so much less intimidating without the numbers, there’s no pressure. What I did notice is that I changed my approach a bit. I lost the drive to write a post that “would do well”. I didn’t really consider any ways to promote my blog in that whole time. I just wanted to write fun stuff and hopefully somebody else would think it’s fun too. That’s pretty much how I started this blog so it feels great to get back to that.
This said, I don’t entire dislike the little rush of having something you enjoy writing get a lot of views. It spurs me on. I just need to find a good middle ground.
So that’s it. It’s what I learned from my blogging vacation. Not much but better than nothing. Have you ever taken a blogging vacation? Was it fun?