Do Blogging Breaks Work?

There’s really only on gif to use for this occasion, isn’t there?

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?

Inquire 3
accurate depiction of how I feel 70% of the time

Again, I’m not saying a break isn’t a good idea, I just 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 interesting, but I know will be ignored by everyone else. They don’t require much aftercare but make me happy and 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.

Kaguya-Sama Episode 12 - Shinomiya crying
wait, we’ll figure this out

Whem 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 by 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 a few in a bit of trouble that way… 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.

Run With The Wind Episode 14 Fireworks
so how do we change that?

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;

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;

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 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 off. 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.

Amazing7b

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Contributed by Irina
from I Drink And Watch Anime!

You can also check out Karandi’s follow up post on Blogging Habits and Losing Momentum.

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31 thoughts on “Do Blogging Breaks Work?

  1. This is a great post!

    It’s really given me some insight into how to fix some of our (my friends and mine’s) blog issues, as I think we’ve definitely gotten into a “hiatus after hiatus” situation, and I don’t want to overshadow this post by talking about any of that in particular (I plan on writing a full response post about this after taking care of some other blog business).

    You would think that a site with multiple writers that are also friends would make this problem easier to resolve, but in fact makes it harder to do so, especially when adult life can get REALLY complicated really fast.

    As for what I think is best in fixing these sorts of issues for me: changing whatever you’re doing up in some kind of way. I know at least everyone at my blog feels rather excited and gung ho for new projects, as long as they don’t increase the workload by extreme amounts. That, and also just having a schedule of posting I feel really sets a hard deadline that feels like you’re getting stuff done instead of just sitting around waiting for opportunity.

    It’s different for everyone, of course, but those are what I think works best for me, personally. There’s a lot of good advice in this post and I definitely want to go more into detail about it later. Thanks for this!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. New projects do have a way of getting out of control fast in terms of work load, and yet they do really help generate excitement for writing. It is a tricky problem as to whether taking on a new project will actually make everything else harder or whether it will energise you again. I’ll look forward to seeing your post on this.

      Like

  2. Great advice. For me, taking a reduced-schedule type break seems to have worked when times have gotten rough. Reducing the number of posts and interaction levels gives me a chance to step back a bit. I think I may have done a planned hiatus a few years back too so that I could get some other bits in order. I think that finding whatever works for each person is the key though.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I enjoyed reading this! I found myself on a huge burnout several years back, and I’m now slowly getting into writing. Looking back, I found myself overwhelmed with content ideas, followed by a couple of huge life events that kept me back.

    Before I was burned out, I was also looked down because of the content I blogged about. I blog about other Otaku interests besides anime, and I had discovered an anime blog aggregator (not giving out the name of it, but it was similar to Otaku.fm) that had blogs similar to mine. When the owner got back to me, he said it was “too video game-y” without providing useful details, which dealt a blow to my motivation and made me paranoid of anything I posted.

    During my sudden hiatus, I decided to rebrand my blog, and took a step back to see what works now compared to earlier in the decade–and I’ve seen it’s changed quite a bit, especially for SEO. Some of the content styles I used back then I now use to compliment on social media to catch the eye of a new audience. I’m also taking the old posts and touching them up, or completely rewriting them to new readers–including those that may have stayed around–as well as giving me ideas to write about in the time since I’ve been away. And I’ve also been using the unusual criticism to actually pursue more Otaku interests both online and offline! 😀

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Real life events can have a major impact on blogging. When things get really huge it is sometimes hard o find the time, energy or interest to blog when there is so much else going on.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. From the girl who I’ve never seen be on hiatus ever!

    That is not a negative.

    Onto the topic, I recently came back from a month long hiatus. Although that was mostly real life circumstance and not something I wanted to actually do. I am guilty of promising posts then not following up on them, though. The problem with me now is I have a distinct lack of ideas for dailyposting. Hiatuses help me brainstorm a few ideas for when I come back, but like you said, one too many breaks and the momentum, well, breaks.

    I’ve limited myself to two posts a week, usually a serious-ish Tuesday post and fun Friday one. Due to not watching much anime as much lately, dailies simply aren’t an option right now.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. “As if once the momentum is broken, it becomes exponentially more difficult to get it back.”

    So true! That’s why I’m trying the “staycation rather than hiatus” method this time around.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I agree that losing momentum is a real issue and it is really hard to turn things around and that difficulty may be enough to make someone on the edge of giving up on blogging the reason they need to just stop.

      Liked by 3 people

  6. Irina, the Anime blogger who wants to stay amateur forever, but has advice like a professional!

    Great advice and I couldn’t say any better!

    At the moment I’m in a blog hiatus and I can’t wait to come back. Initially, the hiatus was because I wasn’t being able to both blog, find a new job and work full time at the same time. Even if I’m usually able to write posts in my work breaks and get home with everything done, I just knew that I couldn’t be thinking in the blog if I wanted to get a new job. I mean, when I’m active blogging I’m always thinking about new ideas, watching Anime and so on. So, yeah, I just had to do it!

    However, when time went by, it was the perfect opportunity to start working in the Anime Shelter Shop, start talking with companies with affiliate proposals and so on. Basically, those kinds of things I’ve been postponing for a while due to blog writing.

    Before this one, I think I had a couple of breaks. However, most of the times are to have time to change things a bit, such as changing the website design or completely change the website as when I went for the animeshelter.com and left arthifis.com

    I completely agree that it’s important to have a couple of days on a weekly/monthly basis to stop and give yourself a slack. Truth is if you are working a full-time job or you are studying, writing a blog can start burning out. It doesn’t mean you don’t love it, it just means you are doing too much and not let yourself have time to rest.

    That’s why I like my new schedule with the following seasonal Anime. It’s true that in the beginning and until the Ultimate Guide is completely written I just don’t do anything besides blogging in my spare time. However, after that, I always have a month or two where I can be more relaxed and just wrap-up everything I watched, do some tops and all of that. Hopefully, this Summer is the one I’m able to stay on schedule (it would be nice to do it at least for once xD).

    Again, great post Irina!

    Liked by 3 people

  7. I’m terrified that if I stop, I won’t start again.
    Or at least I’ll lose a ton of my momentum which’ll take a long time to build up again.
    So I refuse to take breaks out of a combination of fear and pure stubbornness.

    This might sound egotistical, but I weirdly find motivation by going back and looking through my own stuff, the result is I either remind myself of the feeling I had writing a post I was essentially proud of, or it puts fire under me to do better if it’s one I didn’t think was that great.

    One of the upsides of having a memory like a sieve.

    Liked by 4 people

  8. Good advice!

    I’d add a suggestion to the list too: shake things up a bit in some way. If you’re getting burnt out, it might simply because you’re getting bored. So take some time to do something a bit different.

    Revamp your site’s theme.
    Think of some new post formats.
    Rewrite your static pages.
    Add functionality to your site such as indexes or different ways of collecting info together.
    Organise your tags, categories and posts.

    I’ve done all of these a few times over the years except changing the theme; I like my current one too much to change at this point, I think.

    The first “rethink” like this resulted in my Cover Game format, which I love doing. The second added the static “All Games” pages for each and every game I’ve covered on the site, allowing quick and easy access to all the articles and related media I’ve written about a particular game. The third made me a little less “rigid” about my schedule; less anxious about squeezing everything in within a time limit, and more interested in saying everything I want to say.

    Each of those rethinks were productive, healthy and made me even more enthusiastic about working on my site.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Every time I think about changing my theme and start looking at other options, I come to the conclusion I really like the one I started with. That said, I would like to update a few things about my blog at this point and I’m glad I started this year by revealing a new avatar. I was getting a little tired of looking at the old one.

      Liked by 2 people

  9. Planned breaks have been working wonders for me versus random ones that sprout up. Sometimes life and mental health don’t allow me room to plan, and I’ve gotten better about coping through those. I think breaks work for some people and not so much for others; it really depends on their individual processes and the reason for why they do what they’re doing. Blogging is my job and also treatment for my depression and ADHD, so for me personally, breaks can be healthy, but also have some negative repercussions. This was a great post! Thanks for linking my SCS segment.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Blogging is just a hobby of mine. In my case, I have a job which requires a lot of my attention, even when I’am at home. Blogging is fun but my time needs to be utilized on more important things as of the moment although I give credit for those who can actually write posts in a timely manner.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. I’m certainly guilty of doing blogging hiatuses. Most of the time it’s with a crazy amount of work with my job situations, but there have been times like being disillusioned with so many things like how I am currently with Iridium Eye.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. That I do, so you’re right about that. Granted, I have blogs that aren’t on hiatus like the main Ospreyshire one and my fiction blog. I can’t just ignore something if I get comments or having people wanting to see how I’m doing.

        Like

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