First of all, I want to visit what was going through my head when I decided that I needed a blogging break.
It was kind of an odd time for me. Some major changes had just happened in my life, including my move to USA (and the setbacks that came along with it). While all this has begun to settle down now, at the time it was rather toiling.
The stress I felt from this moving debacle was compacted with the stress I was feeling about blogging. I won’t go into detail, but lets just say that my sanity was starting to be affected.
I decided that to get myself back into a good headspace, I needed to eliminate some of my stresses, so I forced myself to stop blogging for an indefinite amount of time.
It was surprisingly difficult to suddenly drop what I’d spent the past 14 months doing. I’d constantly been thinking of post ideas, taking photos for Instagram, and putting aside time every day to update my social media accounts. Blogging had become a solid part of my life. My daily routine was completely thrown off without it.
All I’d really intended to do was give myself a chance to get back into a good headspace, but taking 5 weeks off had a few other side-affects that I didn’t expect. Here’s what happened when I took a month off blogging.
1. I became more creative
I’ve always been a creative person. From scrapbooking as a kid, to photography and design as an adult, being creative has always been a part of my life.
That creativity didn’t disappear when I got caught up in blogging, but it was a much less prominent part of my personality. I found I wasn’t making things for fun anymore. My mind was too focused on blogging to think about creativity.
Once I took a blogging break, my creative streak came flowing back. The free time I had meant I was more inspired to design new products for my Etsy store and do some DIY projects for my new apartment. I even started a whole new online store on Creative Market!
This creativity is what made me open my online business and start blogging in the first place, so without it, I’d be lost. It’s great to have that back again.
2. I started allowing myself to relax
As a blogger, it’s easy to blur the lines between work and play. I was always thinking about something productive that I needed to do for the blog, even on weekends. This meant that there was barely any time that I put aside for relaxing.
When I forced myself not to think about blogging for a while, that thought process dissipated and I began to enjoy not having all those things on my mind. When I felt like chain watching Netflix for a few hours, that was totally ok. If I wanted to spend an hour in a craft store browsing for some supplies, or go for a walk for no reason, or see a movie, I stopped feeling guilty about it.
This small change made me immensely happier.
3. I realised what my strengths are
One major realisation I had during my hiatus was that I am actually rather good at blogging.
I was looking through my old posts for two to include in a blogging awards application. ‘An example of your best writing’ and ‘An example of your personal views’ were some of the criteria, and I actually struggled to whittle it down to only two posts that reflected these.
I started blogging because I thought it would be fun (which it is!) and I hoped it might assist me in building my online business down the track, but submitting this application made me realise that a year of practice has actually turned me into a decent blogger.
I’m sure some people might think this sounds a bit conceited, but I really think that it’s important to notice where your skills lie, and then use them to your advantage. Do you think all the people who are successful in this world were quiet about their strengths? Hell, no. They knew what made them great, and they made it work for them.
4. I FIGURED OUT EXACTLY WHAT I WANTED TO DO WITH MY BLOG
This is something I’d been thinking about for months, and I’d never been able to figure it out. On my blogiversary back in July, I asked myself what I wanted for the future of this blog, and I only had a vague idea.
When I distanced myself from blogging, it allowed me to look at it from a fresh perspective. About 2-3 weeks into my break, I took pen to paper (my old school way of getting my head around a problem) and completely reevaluated what I wanted.
And the results? I discovered that my reasons for blogging hadn’t changed since I started back in 2014, but I’d been going about it in a way that wasn’t working so well for me. I had been treating my blog as a business, but what I needed to do was go back to my ideals and use the blog to share my ideas and stories rather than blogging to maximise comments, shares, and likes.
It’s hard not to get caught up in the blogging game, especially when there are so many posts out there that draw you in about making money through blogging and growing your following quickly, but it’s so important not to compare yourself to other bloggers who might have more followers or who are making more money than you. Everyone’s blog has a different audience, different merits, stories and perspectives.
5. My stats didn’t suffer
One of the reasons I’d put off taking a blogging break for so long was that I thought it would have a detrimental effect on my blog stats. I still wanted people to visit the site, but thought that my readers would take off when there were no new posts to read. Surprisingly, this didn’t happen.
In fact, there were weeks when my pageviews were higher than when I was actively blogging. How could this be?, I thought. There have been no new posts, and I’ve been much less active on social media.
Turns out that most of it was from Pinterest and SEO. All that time I’d spent making sure I had some sharable images for my posts and taking the time to make them searchable online had paid off. The 150+ blog posts I had published over the past year were still getting views.
This was another push for me to get back into blogging. If people all over the world were still enjoying my posts, then that must mean I’m writing something that’s worth reading.
I could never have predicted what a great thing it would be for me to take some time off. It’s made me aware that blogging is something I really love doing and I don’t think I’ll be giving it up anytime soon, though I’ll be treating much differently to how I did before.
If I’ve learnt anything, it’s that the blogging game is something I don’t want to be a part of. What matters most to me is that I’m making a positive difference to people’s lives. That’s what I should be aiming towards.
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