What I Learned From a Month off of Blogging

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It was tumultuous. It was crazy and my mind was fuzzy and my eyes were picking up my blinky anxiety tics that I get when I’m overwhelmed and confused. Yes, I have blinky tics. You have permission to totally make fun of me.

So I decided to give myself a sabbatical from blogging, and it was exactly like when cops on TV are given time off because they are at the brink of snapping since they’ve been pushing themselves to the damn limit. There was even moody music, and lots of scenes of me staring out the window, turning my Glock over in my hands.

My plan was to get organized, create some focus, rearrange and pare down, and generally learn to love blogging again. Here’s what I figured out:

1. You should never ever let something stress you out to point of insanity:

I did it, as is my custom. I let something I love to do grow so big and unwieldy that it consumed me. I got anxious, I couldn’t make decisions about it, I wasted tons of time obsessing over it and whether I was making the ‘right choices’. I got very annoyed with myself and finally decided to just make any choices, already and got myself out of analysis paralysis.

2. THINGS MUST BE SIMPLIFIED:

Commenting on blogs, keeping up with social media, planning blog posts, researching everything! right! now! (I read about and listen to far too many podcasts on blogging/social media/creativity, business) a lack of systems and organization, trying too many new things, general mayhem, all combined to burn my ass out.

So I:

Combined my blogs, unsubscribed from lots of email lists (except the ones that are super-excellent, like mine), planned out a basic schedule for Facebook posts- batching tasks works beautifully to help you focus and free up time. I Stopped trying to comment on every social media post from every person I follow. Alternatively, I have chosen to chat with people on social media instead of their blogs. Sometimes I’ll leave blog comments, but mostly I have swiped that off of my list. I don’t know why I hate doing it so much; I guess it feels forced most of the time.

3. Oh sweet mother of gob, it’s nice to take a big chunk of time off:

I didn’t actually take it totally off, but while I wasn’t posting new posts, I spent the time tweaking a lot of behind the scenes things, thinking about my direction, weeding out some extraneous crap. Sometimes taking time to think is as important as getting all sorts of work done. I rekindled my excitement for blogging and thought up some fab new ideas.

4. I grow massively bored and horribly useless-feeling when I’m not blogging:

Blogging gives me purpose, pride, excitement and creativity (in addition to tics), and it’s my favorite thing I’ve ever found to do. Not doing it for too long makes me feel like Beckett looks when he’s in the final stages of a massive pee-pee dance and doesn’t know if he can get to the toilet in time.

*****

Bottom line: I will schedule in a couple of 2-week periods each year to get the hell away from blogging and let my brain gelatinize for a while. Yes, I said schedule, because I am “miss organization-pants” now. I even have 2 giant dry-erase calendars to plan my blog posts on.

I will not worry about if my posts are being scheduled for the optimal times, or if I am posting enough of a certain type of thing on Facebook, or if some phrase I write will cause one person to unsubscribe from my email list. Ack. Basically I have distilled it all down to: Organize and simplify, work really hard, don’t give a shit about rules. Oh my God, that’s good. Time to go make a pinnable image.

How to blog.

21 Comments

  1. 09/03/2014 / 2:09 pm

    Cheer, Jeanette! You’re such an amazing power house of creativity, wisdom and humour, I know that it’s going to go great! I think your post is fantastic!! I also think it’s incredibly healthy and productive! You’ve been working so hard, spreading creativity and community and you’ve already planted the seeds! Great post, as always and I couldn’t agree more!

    • 09/04/2014 / 2:06 pm

      Gina, you are always just so supportive and positive. I need to hang out with you some day.

  2. 09/03/2014 / 7:49 pm

    you’re awesome and i love these words of wisdom. a break is great and not giving a shit is even better. thanks for sharing this. and nice pinnable image ; )

    • 09/04/2014 / 2:03 pm

      Oh, thank you so much there, Meri. I had to come up with a pinnable image! It’s hard to write these posts that aren’t visual and try to share them on social media where everything has to be visual or it won;t be given a second glance. Yeesh.

  3. 09/03/2014 / 8:20 pm

    Wow, sounds like it was a very productive August and thanks for sharing what you learned.
    I need to figure out how to use my time more effectively so I am not sitting here all day and night 😛

    • 09/04/2014 / 2:02 pm

      That’s the problem with being your own boss, eh? All time is sucked away…

  4. 09/03/2014 / 9:42 pm

    Been there and have had all the same feelings and paralysis too!

    • 09/04/2014 / 2:01 pm

      The paralysis is the worst! It’s so maddening because you know you’re doing it to yourself, yet it’s so hard to get out of. And exhausting.

  5. 09/03/2014 / 9:48 pm

    I could have written this myself. I hope you stick to your vacation schedule. I seem to burn myself out every two months, take time off, contemplate giving it all up, come back recharged, and then proceed to escalate myself right into another burn out session. I am trying to figure out how to do this all in moderation.

    The worrying about doing everything the right way gets me every time too. Talk about spinning your wheels!

    • 09/04/2014 / 2:00 pm

      It’s a horrible cycle, isn’t it? So up and down. I think planning out a schedule (on a calendar) is such a help, because you can look at it and not feel like you have to everything immediately. What also helps is forced time off the computer. Easier said than done, but so helpful for recharging.

  6. 09/03/2014 / 9:57 pm

    Sounds like a great blog-cation! I need to focus and get organized too. Great example for me!:-)

    • 09/04/2014 / 1:57 pm

      Blog-cation is right. It’ll do you wonders and then you can thank me profusely when you re-emerge all refreshed and brilliant. 🙂

  7. 09/07/2014 / 12:15 pm

    Okay, well, I’M leaving a comment. I just love you to death, and this totally speaks to me. I’ve been having major and minor meltdowns about blogging for years (and months) and it usually comes back to just putting too much pressure on myself, scattering my resources, and spending too much time on the computer. It’s like, just chill, damn it.

    The problem with blogging is that there’s ALWAYS something else you could do. So it’s so hard to shut it down.

    Anyway, so glad you’re back. I just love ya. You kick ass.

    • 09/09/2014 / 10:27 am

      I love you to death too, Tammy. And thanks for leaving a comment- I think we may have the same brains, because everything you wrote are things I struggle with. It’s just like sugar. We should send each other random messages or tweets sometimes to snap each other out of our blogging wormholes.

  8. 09/08/2014 / 8:42 am

    Congratulations on all these realizations! It’s inspiring.

    I’m crossing over from Artchoo and looking forward to reading this blog. You have a lovely gift with words.

    I can relate to all this too. My way of letting go was to blog based on google keywords, luckily I’m niche enough to have it make a difference. So then i feel like each blog is still helping, even if I don’t post that often.

    It’s

    • 09/09/2014 / 10:21 am

      Thank you so much, Aruna. yes, Google keywords help a lot, and you can see what people are looking for, so it’s good for everyone. Thanks for coming on over here; I’m finding it so interesting to see who was around just for the kid projects and who doesn’t mind a little more of me in the blog. 🙂

  9. 09/15/2014 / 3:32 am

    Oh good lord, I didn’t even know there were optimum times to post! What a complete amateur I am!
    Do you think it’s our natural instinct to compare ourselves to others that makes us “loose it” a bit? (Look at all their followers/page views/advertising/affiliate links/superdedooper everything)

    • 09/16/2014 / 9:23 am

      Definitely I think that! I feel like blogging is one of those things where it’s natural to want to compare yourself to everyone else to see what they’re doing, and then you start trying to learn more (like best times to post), and then you want to know EVERYTHING, and then your head explodes. 🙂

  10. Pam Bonifacio
    09/22/2014 / 8:35 am

    Just found your blog, and I’m a subscriber. For years I’ve wanted to start a blog and now, with a fractured bone in my foot, I’ve decided to settle down and spend some quality time on the research. I like your attitude and think following your blog will help me get started. One problem I have is that I have too many interests and can’t see myself only focusing on one.

  11. Casey
    10/05/2014 / 4:52 pm

    I literally just went thru the same thing. I started hating my log and wondering why my following was not picking up so quick. I took a few weeks off re-organized and examined what really did well. Now Im back at it and feel better about my blog and myself.

    • 10/09/2014 / 7:50 am

      Isn’t it the best feeling? I love the clarity you can find by stepping away from something for a bit…

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