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.