Ironically, I originally published this on 100 word anime. This post about blogging breaks is now painfully ironic. Ouch.
You know guys, when you’ve been around the blogosphere for a while, you start to recognize certain patterns. Signs if you will. When you pay attention, you can sort of tell when a blogger is no longer as excited by their blog as they use to be. Then again, some bloggers really manage to take us by surprise. One day everything is business as usual, next thing you know, they haven’t posted in a month and you have no clue why!
I’ve been reading a lot of “how to blog” posts from my esteemed colleagues(?)… fellow anibloggers, as of late and I noticed that quite a few recommend taking breaks to avoid burnout. On paper, this makes perfect sense. I cannot think of a single reason why this wouldn’t be great advice and in fact, it may be great advice.
In practice, however, every time I’ve seen a blogger announce a hiatus it’s usually followed by another, then another until they become indefinite, if the blogger comes back at all. As if once the momentum is broken, it becomes exponentially more difficult to get it back.
Since the anime blogging community is quite dear to me, this state of affairs makes me a little sad. And I do understand that blogging burnout is definitely a problem for us. As such it would be great to have a solution. But if taking a step back from your blog isn’t it, then what is it?
Again, I’m not saying a break isn’t a good idea, but I think there’s just a bit more to it.
I can’t and shouldn’t speak from personal experience here. I’ve always been a give it your all sort of person and never look back. If I stop blogging for any span of time, I’m much more likely to just pick up a new hobby than come back to this one. For people like me “break” might as well mean ending. And that gets exhausting.
I have found a few tricks that work for me. Instead of slowing down on posts, I might pick up some collabs. I find collaborations very motivating and I have been lucky in that the bloggers I’ve worked with are a great source of inspiration. I’ll also take a step back from all the extra blogging stuff. I won’t get involved in debates and maybe ignore twitter for a bit. I’ll read posts but if I disagree, I’ll keep it to myself instead of trying to start a discussion because I know I’m not in the best headspace for it. Things like that. I’ll also write “just for me” posts. The posts I personally want to write because I find it interesting, but I know will be ignored by everyone else. They don’t require much aftercare and make me happy. These posts remind me what I like about blogging even when I feel like I’m just talking to myself.
However, these strategies aren’t going to work for everyone. In fact, they might not work for most people.
When thinking about it carefully, the taking a break from the blog approach does seem to work much better under certain circumstances. One of these is the “planned break”. I read Bliblionyan’s post on the subject (I had seen this advice before as well but sadly I couldn’t find the links again. Please feel free to let me know in the comments and I’ll gladly add the link), and I really liked this idea. Basically, instead of a loosely structured “break” until you feel like coming back to your blog, you can take blogging vacations. Like a week out of every month or a specific month off that you can announce ahead of time. I’m a strong believer in sharing my schedule with my readers, it makes me feel like we’re part of a team and holds me a little accountable. I have a reason to come back, people are waiting for me (even if it’s just in my head).
Another way I have seen that makes breaks more viable is to pepper them with regular check-ins. If you’re studying for exams or changing jobs and you simply no longer have time for your regular blog posts, you can replace those with short diary-style posts. Like little emails to tell your readers what’s up. It’s a lot less time consuming and makes you feel like you’re still part of the community. Plus, it lets readers know what you’re up to. Like dropping a text to friends you don’t have time to see as much anymore.
I send my friends super cheesy pick-up lines like “Baby, if you were words on a page, you’d be fine print.” Out of the blue and without context or explanation. I have gotten in a bit of trouble that way a few times… But I always like seeing one of those pop up a Tuesday at 3pm on my phone for no reason.
In a way, a blogging burnout isn’t always about the workload. Sure, you may just be too busy to actually post but if you still enjoy doing it, you’ll probably come back to it. Burning out can often come about because you’re just not having as much fun as you use to. Whether it’s because you feel like you’re not achieving the goals you set for yourself and are “wasting your time” or because the feedback you’re getting isn’t what you need right now. In those cases, just going away for a little while probably won’t change the core problem. It may make the experience less frustrating if you’re not putting as much effort into it, but it might also make it feel less rewarding.
So these are my general suggestions, take them with a huge grain of salt:
- As I mentioned, plan vacations instead of spontaneously going on hiatus.
- Keep in touch if you can¸.
- If you start to feel burnt, try figuring out why:
o Not enough connection to the community? Maybe try doing a collaboration with a fellow blogger, starting your own tag, joining a blogging group or doing a community project, join a discord maybe;
o Not enough views? How about brushing up on SEO and divide your time between creating content and advertising your blog (as in create half the content then advertise it in the time you would have spent creating more), learn about different platforms, exploit follow for follow;
o Not enough feedback? Make sure you interact with other bloggers, comment on their posts and talk to them in discord or twitter. People are much more likely to talk to you once they get to know you a bit. It’s always awkward to just leave a comment to someone you’ve never talked to before out of the blue so forming a connection can really encourage others to interact;
o No inspiration? This one is a tough one. This is where I get my inspiration, the comments are also great on there;
- And just remember that breaks don’t have to be all or nothing. You can add shorter sillier posts to your roster. Mix in picture posts if those are easier for you.
This is really all the advice I can think of. I hope some of it is useful. And please, if you have any other suggestions, leave them in the comments. I’m sure it will be a great help to your fellow bloggers.
41 thoughts on “Do Blogging Breaks Work?”
Very lovely post! And honestly it’s important people take planned breaks for themselves and treat their workloads more realistically – none of this is a race of any kind and even if things get dropped off for awhile, hey, you needed it. I wish people (once upon a time, even myself) wouldn’t feel guilty for taking a break or coming back after awhile.
It’s weird when hobbies start to be super stressful
Thank you for your advice! I’m really new to blogging after being a long time lurker around these parts, so I’ve found this post really helpful and motivating. I don’t even have a proper schedule yet but I hope to get better at my own style in time and of course to engage with the community more!
Oh wow – Welcome! I’m sure you’ll do great
I wish i had seen this blog post before i went on 5-month hiatus but it’s impossible since this was posted 2 days ago hahah. Thank you for the insights! This is really helpful. I really want to go back on nothing but I don’t feel like writing yet so i’m just checking out some blogs before finally writing one. Thanks again
I little break also sounds good once in a while
I tend to take very long blogging breaks but that’s because I do see blogging as a hobby and I don’t want to put pressure on myself for something that should be fun and relaxing. I think blogging burnouts are more serious for those who see it as a business as some have pointed out. I guess for such bloggers, it’ll be all the more important to plan their breaks and have a proper schedule like you suggested.
It’s a demanding hobby
The very first paragraph contains all of my guilt. How dare you!
I miss K too
I’m not a blogger but I can get burnout whenever I’m writing my stories especially with series books which can drain all the creative energy from you. Whenever i’m tired of writing one story, I switch to another story to tap back into that creative energy I once had and return after I’m finished. Doing the same thing over and over can make things very boring so try switching things up a bit. I can’t take vacations but I do plan days where I just lounge around and play video games and watch anime. Also, I’m a spiritual person so I read the Bible as often as I can to keep from falling into depression. Balance is the key to a healthy mind.
Sounds like a good plan
I’ve been having some burnout lately with my blog. Work has been busy and I don’t have the time or energy to post as often as I’d like. But also, I haven’t been motivated to watch anime all that much. It doesn’t get me excited the way it used to. Honestly, nothing really makes me happy anymore…
Oh Mari, are you ok? Maybe you should talk to someone.
I can tell you’ve been doing this for awhile — this was one of those posts only someone with experience could write!
Your advice is sound and makes perfect sense. Also, I think you’ve identified a critical bit that I’d like to emphasize:
“In those cases, just going away for a little while probably won’t change the core problem.”
That is the key.
If a blogger can figure out their goal, their reason for blogging, then that takes them 90% of the way to solving any core problem. It’s important to figure out your “why.” That enables everything else.
Hard work, far from causing burnout, can be liberating, if it’s in the service of the right goals. I started blogging to share my enjoyment of anime moments with the community. I also wanted to learn the toolset (WordPress, Jetpack, Yoast, etc.) so I could get better at sharing my thoughts.
Not only that, I wanted to prove I could consistently write content over the long term and give my readers something they’d enjoy.
That last bit is like my life’s ambition. I’m not going to burn out over that. I may change tracks, but that’d be a deliberate change. It wouldn’t be me just flaming out.
TL;DR: Success breeds success. Succeed in hitting your goals, and burnout is far less likely.
Success is also a lot of fun.
You said it perfectly. And goals don«,t have to be admirable or lofty. They can just be – having a content page with at least one reveiew for every letter of the alphabet…. That’s sort of mine….
Excellent advice! I don’t think I will get into blogging any time soon (did mine for a class), but I admire those that keep it up.
I love coming back to your blog because you are constantly interesting and interested in those around you, you spark new ideas and conversation and I always learn something.
I don’t even want to do a blog, yet I find myself reading your posts all the way through.
Thanks so much, Irina!
awww thank you Maica!
Lots of great advice here and I’m going to bookmark this because I’m in a situation right now where I don’t know if its partly burnout or other life shtick, granted the latter definitely has a big part. I know a lot of people worry about blogging vacations for fear of their numbers dwindling, or there’s the stress of trying to have scheduled posts for the vacation, which can just contribute to burnout.
The timing is quite incredible. I had forgotten I had even scheduled this post for today.
Also just want to mention not everyone is a good conversationalist so it might be difficult for some to build connection with other bloggers, especially loners like me. 🙂
That’s true. Although it also doesn’t bother some people. There are a lot of introverted bloggers that don’t necessarily seek out a sense of community and that’s just fine as well.
You are making me feel guilty. Lol my work is demanding and I often suffer from mental fatigue. Trust me I love my blog and wish I can devote to it full time.
Really. That wasn’t the point at all. I don’t devote much time to my blog either which is why it’s written in typo. You should put in whatever makes you happy as far as I’m concerned.
Perhaps it might be nice to double check before posting to avoid confusion? Just a suggestion. 🙂
I’ll keep that n mind. What made you feel bad by the way?
Many things. Trying to dedicate time to blog, but work gets in the way. It’s never ending cycle. It’s for a good cause though, but it’s not good for my mental health. A part of me know that climbing the cooperate ladder might be difficult no matter how much I try, especially for someone as soft spoken as me. I just feel a little frustrated. It doesn’t help that I am a perfectionist at everything I do. I tried not to be though.
Well there’s really nothing wrong with posting just a few times a year. A lot of great bloggers do that. As for your work it may take a while but I’m sure your efforts will get recognized. I’ve been there and I know how draining it can get. You seem very dedicated and earnest so I’m sure you’ll find your place in time
Thank you. I’m not expecting much out of it. I just like doing it a lot.
I normally let the readers know that I am taking time out. Blogging is a hobby for me and if it starts to feel like a chore, I take a step back. Even when we were given 3 months to stay at home during lock down and I had more time on my hands, I did not post as frequently as I do now, as back then my mind and mental state was just in shards. Haituses are fine in my opinion, but I do prefer if people let me know before hand if they are gonna be in active. other wise I just unfollow after a month or two of not posting. Great post.
It gets difficult to know if people ever plan to post again when they disappear without notice.
True. Last time it happened to some one i followed i contacted you as I thought you were close to him. Turns out he was well under the weather and did not have energy to do blogging. He has come back since then
I more or less halfly do what you say.. when I take a break I do announce it and plan an end date, I update people on Twitter and sometimes with an update post for a longer break or something.. sometimes life happens.
Last year my father skipping out on my Birthday really locked me up emotionally and cause me to derail, I have a heart thingy that could put me in the hospital without a proper way to reply to all of you. So you can just drop of the radar by accident.
I think most blogging burn-outs are caused by asking to much of yourself , a lot of people in the community talk about the art of blogging as a craft, about their work not being up tp par with some of the other pieces out there on the net. I think as a hobby blogger you should not start there. As a hobby blogger I feel like blogging should be more for you.. Akin to meditating as it were.. clearing your mind. From there on out we grow.
A blogging break can do well to help you reduce the pressure of ambition a little. I treasure my readers but I have come to terms that I am a gear in the community. WordPress is not like YouTube where people idolise you or condemn a lesser video. It is more about community, having fun and showing each other our passions and talking about it with each other. If you don’t bring something for show and tell one day.. it doesn’t matter THAT much. Breaks in my experience are a product of asking to much from yourself.
I have noticed though that regular content makes me flock to you..on a regular basis. I know when Foovay uploads so I try to visit on those days, I check on your blog every day and I used to do that with a lot more.. like Meg. With the hiatusses though I do notice there are blogs I now frequent less. Some I .. have to admit kind of forget about because they fall out of that routine. That takes a while to happen but if say Karandi would ever return.. I probably would not know untill like weeks after she returned. Because checking her stuff is not in my routine anymore. So I do agree that if you update your socials or put a small update on your blog .. I would at least keep you in my routine and not forget.
So you make a lot of solid points.
However I do think that blogging breaks can work very well if you get obsessed by your numbers. I got very depressed for a while when my numbers go down, I feel strange when likes shifted.. for example I do notice currently my posts get a lot less likes. I kinda feel people have vanished again though.. Like the end of the year culling or something?! It might be a thing .. I do remember losing a lot of blogging friends around this time last year as well.
It’s possible that some bloggers ask so much of themselves because they monetize. I have spoken to a few that were hoping to make blogging an important source of income and I’m sure that adds a lot of pressure. I feel super bad about the amount of typos I make and I try hard to catch them but dyslexia and just plain old lack of time can make that tricky. But I would feel way worse if someone had paid for those posts and I let them go out with typos. I would probably reread everything 5 times before letting it go out and I would burn out instantly.
I kind of got inspire by YouTubers.. people donate money for them for less than flawless video as well. People can choose to donate, they dont pay for content.. if they Donate for quality, pitty or for treating my weirdness that is up to them.
I try to spell check my posts, but.. with software but due to posts being correct in my head I just can’t re-read . On my old blog though, in Dutch I had a LOT of stress from that. People where really mean there as well. Here I play the Gaijin card of typing.
But yeah the head thing is kind of like Dyslexia.. but not completely.. Memory Blindess maybe?
I honestly like your typos actually. Gives you a bit of flavour.. Internet slang is bad enough where we snap off words or turn everything in Portmanteau’s that I think spelling mistakes aren’t that bad.. just pretend you are being cool!
I think the Patreons are just happy to contribute but I could see how it could be a source of pressure for certain bloggers. K was definitely like that for instance and I totally get it. And I would be like that too even though I know my readers are super nice and wouldn’t hold it against me.
I hope to attract people donating for reading about me having fun.. in whatever way is me!
With words like Sus and Simp and Stan we butcher language enough anyway.. so Awesoe and whatever I mess up is fine as well 😉
If one day I find a millionaire employing me to write.. I try harder.. but I have memory blindness.. (I can’t really reread my own texts.. I remember it word for word so my brain fills in the word before I re-read it so I always read it correctly)
I honestly like your Typos , not sure why but it feels more human. You do it as a passion thingy and thing you enjoy and it doesn’t have to be perfect.
If people want to donate money for such a thing I am happy with it.. but if they don’t I am fine either! ..
Based on Twitter most people seem to run out of ideas or passion to write. So perhaps we should all just lower our standard so people can make posts about their favourite anime shoes or list of cross series ships
That’s nice of you. I’m very self conscious about my typos though. I will keep working on them
That was a really insightful post. 😄 I appreciate the advice!
Glad to hear it!