Being a blogger is intense if you want to build and maintain your presence, regardless of how long you have been blogging for everyone out there has the same advice of building and maintaining consistency. But what about breaks?
You have been crushing your blogging content but are starting to feel burnt out, you need to stop, rest and then go back and hit it hard again. The problem though is that many of us (myself included) preach to you that content is king so you feel that if you take a break you may vanish into obscurity.
To be honest, you are not far wrong. The internet forgets fast and if you jump offline for weeks on end it can swallow you whole and leave you right back where you began. So how can you pull it off? Personally I take four weeks off per year from writing and that doesn’t include Christmas where I take around two weeks off completely so we could go ahead and call it six weeks off each year. Here is how I get it done.
How do you have a blog break and still stick around so people know who you are?
I know many of you bloggers will be panicking over the very idea of stopping new content for any period of time. It goes against what you have been taught, if you stop posting content then people will stop reading and forget you even exist.
However, you need that break or your content and commitment is going to suffer. Remember, if you are creating content that has great value for the reader then the chances are you are going to have plenty of evergreen content.
This is content which does not lose value and which can be re-shared over and over again while still applying to readers now. You can also pre-prepare new content and schedule it in but to be honest I find that strategy packs my schedule right up before I take a break and it is far from ideal.
Using a social sharing tool such as Buffer or Hootsuite, you can schedule that older evergreen content on the time you take off each evening for the following day. Mix it up with different copy, images and add some emoji or GIFs linking to the same content to help you stand out.
Don’t just load up Buffer with your generic headline and image pulled right from the blog post, put some effort in and it will pay off when attracting readers. This allows you to take that time off but keep the content flowing from your social media channels.
Most importantly it keeps you visible without having to be actively writing new content every week.
How much time do I take?
That is up to you and it varies from blogger to blogger. Some people will take a week off here and there, others will take two weeks off and I know of some bloggers who take a whole month off!
It boils down to what you want and what you find works best to give you a rest and to recharge. My breaks don’t really change all that much and they tend to be something like this.
– 1 week in April
– 2 weeks in July
– 1 week in November
– 2 weeks in December
Now that may not work for you but that is what I find to be the best for me. It comes down to individual circumstances and what you want, different people will want different things but the most important thing is to make sure that you are taking a break and not trying to be the superhuman blogger.
Do I really do nothing in that time off?
Absolutely not, I have plenty to do. However the pace and volume of work during those weeks are reduced dramatically. I have no meetings, no blog content and what I focus on is very much around planning and evaluating my own business.
I spend time looking at the decisions made over the past number of months and see if they are working or does something need to be re-adjusted. So for example, the decision to push Instagram stories is something I will look at in November and see if there is an improvement over what we were previously doing on Snapchat.
I will plan ahead for what direction I want to continue in or go in next and I will spend time answering emails and planning some evergreen content. That is about it, there is too much for me to switch off completely however on these weeks I do about two hours work per day and the rest is pure downtime.
At Christmas it is a complete power down where there is no new blog content and the social feeds are also pretty much shut down. Festive season, and while I appreciate it is not a happy time for everyone I am not going to spend it working like a demon.
The most important point from all this is you need to take a break!
Like I said, taking a break goes against what you as a blogger have been taught. I can’t stress the point enough – you need a break – and if you do it the right way and plan it out then you can pull it off without fearing that the internet will leave you behind.
Make sure that you stick up an email autoresponder when you do decide to take one if you don’t want to answer emails. This is a mistake I made the first time, I left my email inbox for two weeks and forgot to set an out of office autoresponder.
What I was left with was many people assuming I had not got their email and sending me duplicates and people thinking I was just downright rude but the reality was it was a simple oversight and I spend much of my first morning back sending apologetic replies to people.
Nobody is a blogging superhero so don’t attempt to be one 🙂