We’re told never to stop blogging once we start, but sometimes a hiatus is the best thing we can do for ourselves.
Unless you’re The Oatmeal, it can take years to build a decent-sized readership. Rarely do we start a blog one day and experience viral sensation overnight. Which is why taking a break from blogging when you’re actually generating real traffic is sort of a big deal. Most people would agree it’s not a great move.
My last blog post was written almost two months ago. The one before that was two weeks earlier.
It took me about two solid years of blogging several times each week to crack the five-digit monthly traffic I was proud of. So why haven’t I posted more than once a month for the past half-year?
Instead of checking comments and obsessively tweeting during the past six months, I’ve:
- Managed two website builds from start to finish.
- Run the Facebook pages of five major New Zealand brands.
- Become an active member of the Auckland couch surfing community.
- Gone through an intensive 200-hour yoga teacher training program.
- Visited Australia for the second time with my best childhood friend.
- Traveled across New Zealand via campervan, motorcycle, train, plane and boat.
I wish I didn’t have to give up blogging to make those things happen. I wish I could work full-time, be awesome at my job, study to be a yoga teacher, travel across this stunning country and be part of couch surfing, all while being a hotshot blogger.
But something had to give. While I want to be the kind of Gen Yer that can do it all, my blog had become validation instead of a tool. And I discovered that sometimes dropping something you love—even if only temporarily—can help you experience so much in the real world.
I can’t pretend I don’t feel guilty about abandoning my blog. But this hiatus has taught me three major things:
1. Real-life relationships are priceless
While I can’t deny how amazing social media has been for my career/making friends/meeting new people/finding leads, if you’re ever given the choice between going to a networking event or attending a Twitter chat, think long and hard about the kinds of relationships you want to make during that hour.
2. You can always come back online
I thought blogging was like Hollywood—you disappear for a bit and everyone forgets about you. But my content is there for good. It’s not going anywhere, and I plan on picking right back up where I left off… eventually. Despite a hiccup in my posting schedule, no one gives that much of a crap about what I’m spewing on the internets. There are billions of blogs out there to entertain your readers. They’ll read you when you get back.
3. Blogging is 100% awesome
I wouldn’t trade the past few months’ experiences for the world, but I do know that going forward, I need to make time to write every day. I feel more creative in my daily life when I write on a regular basis. My passion for writing hasn’t waned; it just hasn’t taking priority. Going forward, it needs to.
So, how do you know if you should maybe take a blog hiatus?
I’m not going to give you a checklist of things like “You tweet while you’re eating instead of talking to your partner,” because that’s corny—and if that’s actually the case, you’re acting like an a**hole.
What I will tell you is this: Prioritize your real life over your online life. Always.
Marian Schembari is a blogger, traveler and all-around social media thug. She’s based in Auckland, New Zealand, hails from Connecticut and blogs at marianlibrarian.com.