Heceta Head Lighthouse

It’s no secret blogging can become addictive.

So addictive in fact, we may neglect our health, spend less time with friends and family or even let our blog consume our life. In some ways it’s like we’re connected to our blog via an umbilical cord; afraid to become completely detached from it.

That can’t be good.

As much fun as blogging is, just like with a real job, we need to take a break from it now and then.

Today’s Lesson

Over the course of the last month I’ve taken two breaks from blogging. One was to spend time with family and friends and to catch up on work commitments, the other was to take a short vacation to the Oregon Coast.

During both breaks, I was completely detached from the blogs. I didn’t use a Smart-phone to check in. I didn’t carry a laptop with me, nor did I let my thoughts drift to the topic of blogging. Instead, I concentrated on creating memories, contemplating life and enjoying my time off.

Needless to say, the breaks did me good.

I feel rested, rejuvenated and inspired to proceed forward.

That said, with blogging being so addictive, for many reasons many fear taking time off.

  1. Visitors to our blog may not see updates and will unsubscribe or not come back.
  2. Comment counts may drop.
  3. Visitor stats may decrease.
  4. The dream we have for blogging may dim or die.
  5. Other ________(fill in the blank)________

In the comments of the “You’re Not A Failure” post, Patricia of Patricia’s Wisdom stated how she worries about her blog while she takes care of real life commitments and asked,

Will I have a blog to come back to?

What I’ve found is, our blogs will wait, as will our regular readers.

Living life is much more important than worrying about “the numbers”.

At least that’s what I think.

What say you?

Today’s Assignment

When you take a break from blogging, do you check in from time to time?

Or do you cut the umbilical cord and not worry?

What is your biggest concern when you’re away from the blog?

Care to share?

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  1. Lori HoeckNo Gravatar says:

    When I take a break, I still check in, but not out of worry, just curiosity and perhaps even habit.

    Now that I finally have some strong pillar content, the numbers stay steady when I don’t write as frequently. It’s a perk I’ve never had before, and it makes me realize this is a marathon, not a sprint.
    Check out Lori Hoeck’s awesome post.Self defense requires this key understandingMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Lori,

      I know what you mean about checking in out of habit. Although I don’t when I’m away, I do on the weekends when I’m busy with life. It is like a habit, isn’t it?

      I like how you put that. Blogging is a marathon, not a sprint. All the more reason for us to enjoy the “run” and the scenery along the way. 🙂

  2. I don’t really take breaks, but I am not as consumed by my personal blog as I used to be. I spend very little time on it every day.
    Check out vered | blogger for hire’s awesome post.Kid Friendly Food- I Hate To Admit It- But Sometimes It IS NecessaryMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Vered,

      That happens almost naturally, don’t you think? The more we blog, the more we realize it’s not going anywhere, nor are our visitors.

  3. Keith DavisNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara
    Another down to earth post.
    I start a post and just keep adding, tweaking, looking for good graphics and when it looks good… hit that publish button.

    I blog in between doing other things such as exercising so I don’t feel that I’m spending too much time blogging.

    My weakness?
    I love those comments on my posts and I like my posts to rank well for my keywords.
    I often go back and add or change h1 tags etc to improve rankings.
    Check out Keith Davis’s awesome post.Facts tell… emotions sellMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Keith,

      It sounds like you have your blogging activities under control.

      Like you, I also love comments, but don’t worry too much about rankings. Hmmmm. Maybe I should. 🙁

  4. LL Cool JoeNo Gravatar says:

    I have to say I do check my blog when I’m on holiday. I even write an occasional post just to keep things ticking over. I find that if I follow a blog and the person disappears for a long time, I do lose interest in that blog.

    I don’t care about how many comments or followers I have, I just want the loyal readers that visit my blog to find me there.
    Check out LL Cool Joe’s awesome post.The Little Chef vs the Pillsbury DoughboyMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi LL Cool Joe,

      That’s a good idea to post date articles for when we’re away to keep the blog updated since new posts will entice readers to keep coming back, even if we’re not answering comments.

  5. LizNo Gravatar says:

    When you take a break from blogging, do you check in from time to time?
    Depends on what kind of break it is. I may, or I may not. If I do, I most likely will not reply.

    Or do you cut the umbilical cord and not worry?
    Sometimes I put it in Maintenance Mode. ^^ I recently did so from July to about September or so. xD

    What is your biggest concern when you’re away from the blog?
    I don’t really know; I don’t worry all that much.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Liz,

      I haven’t used maintenance mode except for when I’m completely updating my theme, but I can see how that could work especially if the “splash” page tells your readers when to expect you back.

      I know some bloggers will publish a post saying they’re taking a break and that works well, too.

  6. Hi Barbara – Did I see that lighthouse in your photo on Ghosthunters or one of those shows? 🙂

    We found no big numerical change after a hiatus of about a month this summer, which was gratifying. We needed the time off for personal reasons, and what we experienced during the time off made for great posts once they were allowed a little leavening. I think if I’d tried to write then and there, the perspective wouldn’t have been as compelling, and I may have missed some conclusions. Lori’s right: good pillar content will sustain.

    I think everyone has to run their business in the way it makes the most sense. You’re not going to create good content if you’re coming from burnout. Isn’t blogging supposed be about what we experience anyway?
    Check out Betsy Wuebker’s awesome post.Finding DimesMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Betsy,

      I’m not sure Heceta Head lighthouse was in a show, but I did learn it’s supposedly haunted, as is the guest house (B&B).

      Isn’t it amazing how when we do take a break, we come back with a different outlook and more inspiration?

      I agree. If we get burned out from blogging, our content will suffer. All the more reason to be aware when it’s time to step back and take a break.

  7. I agree wholeheartedly. blog was made for people, not people for blogs

  8. MikeNo Gravatar says:

    I don’t think any of my blogs are as much of an obsession as they used to be, but I seldom really take a break from them. They are just a part of my life and we take them along with us when we travel, and we plan for being able to access them away from home. If, by chance, though, we are unable to get on line, we have plenty of other things to keep us interested.

    Mind you, if when I go back to work in January for a 6 month contract, something will have to give.
    Check out Mike’s awesome post.Antelope Valley to Antelope PassMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Mike,

      Time teaches us that, doesn’t it? To be less obsessed.

      I know you’ve traveled and blogged for some time now and by the looks of it, you have the technique down to a science; posting photos and stories as you go.

      Back to work? I can see how a commitment like that will change your blogging rhythm. Hopefully you’ll still have time for updates even though they may not be as often.

  9. I took a week off from blogging in September and only went online once during that time to check email. It was a great choice for me. I felt so inspired when I came back! I did have less visitors during that time but I let people know when I would return and when I came back, so did they. I think it’s something I will do about twice a year to refuel and rediscover that wonderful passion for blogging. Thanks for another great article, Barbara. I always find the best stuff here. 🙂
    Check out Clearly Composed’s awesome post. Shake it Up!My Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re welcome Clearly Composed,

      Isn’t that great how that works? Even though we may worry the numbers may drop, when we come back our readers are still there and we’re in a much better place. Everyone benefits.

      I like your idea of intentionally taking semi annual blogging breaks. Like you said, it refuels us, as well as our passion for blogging.

  10. I started my blog June 1, 2007. For 3 weeks during Sept.-Oct. 2007, I went to India where I had no access to the internet. I worried that my readers might leave even though I had posted several articles about my upcoming trip before I left. My stats actually grew during the 3 weeks that I was gone. I was very pleasantly surprised. It was nice having some comments about my trip waiting on me when I returned home.
    Check out Patricia – Spiritual Journey Of A Lightworker’s awesome post.Revisiting Dear Family Member Letter About IncestMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Patricia,

      That was a good idea to let your readers know you’d be gone for three weeks. And to have your blog grow during your absence must have been wonderful news to come home to. I think it goes to show how even though we’re not updating our blogs, via search engines or referral traffic what we’re sharing continues to impact the lives of others.

  11. PatriciaNo Gravatar says:

    Thanks for the link…though I am not getting any pings lately or still

    Yes I am worried, and because it took me 3 hours tonight to just get caught up and I have not read but a couple of posts….time seems to be melting…but I do not think I am addicted to blogging…or social media and I do not take a smart phone when I am away….either…

    I have taken Sunday’s off the computer for all of 2010 and this works out well. It has not hurt my stats at all…but February where I was so ill and fatigued….I nearly dropped off the blogging planet…it has been hard work to recover…..I believe my post reflected my fatigue ….and that is something to consider if we do not take time off now and then

    Also I understand absence makes the heart grow fonder!
    Check out Patricia’s awesome post.WorshipMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re welcome Patricia,

      That’s great that you take Sunday’s off from the computer. I think even short breaks like that can help us to keep blogging (and social networking) in the right perspective.

      I remember when you were so ill you were unable to sustain a regular blogging schedule. That’s a good reminder we need to take care of ourselves first, otherwise we’re useless to others (both in real life and in blogosphere). I’m so happy you’re feeling well now.

  12. AmyNo Gravatar says:

    Thank goodness I found you/this link, Barbara. I’ve been blogging for 8 months and have been spending lots of time at it. I’ve been aware that it has become my #1 priority. I have justified the time spent as my learning curve. The learning has been great, but it’s now time to bring my life back into balance.

    Today, I spent time with 2 friends and thoroughly enjoyed taking time making a great squash soup. I read other blogs but have not posted today. I like the feeling of balance.

    I’ve noticed that I feel great after I have freshly published – the pressure is off. It’s a sense of accomplishment. Then, I feel really good when the reader numbers keep growing.

    Of course, I love comments but have really been thinking about this since your previous blog. Your readers’ comments were so helpful. I really appreciate authenticity, giving and receiving. That last blog helped me to remember to stay true to my purpose.

    I don’t know how much I know – or don’t – about tweaking tags and all those strategies, but I need to trust that because I write from my heart, it will be attracting who is meant to read it.
    Check out Amy’s awesome post.Who Has The Power The Porsche Or MeMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Amy,

      I know exactly what you’re saying. In the beginning there is SO much to learn we can easily become consumed with blogging.

      I’m with you on the feeling of “pressure off” after publishing a post. It’s like we have a little bit of breathing room before we need to publish again.

      I know others might say we need to learn about and use tags, keywords, and keyword phrases, but like you said, if we’re authentic and write from the heart, we’ll eventually attract the right audience. (I’m lax on them as well).

      P.S. Squash soup? That sounds delicious. 🙂

  13. I haven’t taken any conscious breaks but at times the situations are such that I am forced to be away from blogging. I do think of my blog while on a break but I don’t allow that thought to consume me that I ought to be connected.

    But if I think that I have written a “nice” post, I would like to know what my readers think of it. During those times of “nice” posts, I tend to become a bit restless about not being able to check the comments.

    I can’t say that I am addicted but sometimes I think I venture near the verge of getting addictive.

    Hope you’re well Barbara.

    Joy always,
    Susan
    Check out Susan Deborah’s awesome post.I am a lyricistMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Susan,

      That’s true. When we publish a post we’re real proud of and then need to be away from the blog, it’s hard not to want to check in and see what our readers are saying.

      Personally I think it’s easy to get addicted to blogging and at one time admitted I was. Now I see it more as a passion and can’t see my life without blogging being part of it. (Maybe it’s a fine line 🙂 )

      Joy to you, as well.

  14. Kelvin KaoNo Gravatar says:

    I don’t update when I am busy (like, up till a few hours ago) but I do go visit blogs that I usually visit (like what I am doing right now). I still tweet, though at a lower frequency. So I never really disconnect entirely though I haven’t been posting on my blog.

    I will soon though.
    Check out Kelvin Kao’s awesome post.Walking with DinosaursMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Kelvin,

      Sometimes that’s all it takes is to cut back on our online activities and not post, or visit blogs, or tweet, but instead get other things done which are on our list. It’s like a vacation away from the internet.

  15. LindaNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara,
    You’ve had some great topics lately on which I would like to have commented. Time and other distractions didn’t permit that, though.

    Today’s questions is when I take a break do I check in or forget about it? I rarely take a break, and always check in even on vacation (as now), although most of the week’s posts. were prewritten. I haven’t solidified a reader base, and if I don’t post I do feel as if I may lose what ground I’ve gained. Some of my earlier visitors have quietly slipped away so I guess I am still figuring out who I am writing for, besides myself.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Linda,

      That happens. Our reader base changes as we change and find our spot in blogosphere. I think persistence pays off as long as we’re enjoying the blogging journey.

  16. FriarNo Gravatar says:

    Right now, I don’t see any difference in my readership when I post somethign really good and original…or when I take off for a week and don’t do anything.

    Doesn’t exactly motivate me to blog very much, anymore.

    Maybe I should just stick to Facebook, and gush with approval when people post photos of their grilled cheese sandwiches or their zucchini-carrot muffins.

    • Facebook = Scrabble – (gushing over grilled cheese sandwiches + zucchini-carrot muffins)
      Check out Davina Haisell’s awesome post.Puzzled by Your StoryMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Friar,

      Facebook may end up being the means of online communication that works best for you. It’s a lot faster moving and commenting on others posts is certainly a lot easier. In the meantime you could keep your blog alive to showcase your art and cartoons, as well as your writing talent.

      BTW: I was gushing over the yummy looking food you were sharing just the other day. 8)

  17. LindaNo Gravatar says:

    You earned your time off and it is good to hear that you did cut the cords! I have always been told that the internet will be here when you get back and so will your blog! Congrats!

    I also cut the cords when I take off…. it is so much more fun!
    Check out Linda’s awesome post.Neptune Teaches Mariah How To Help EarthMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Linda,

      Yes, that’s true. The internet waits and so do our blogs. All the more reason to detach completely and enjoy the time away. 🙂

  18. It’s all in how you look at it. I used to post and comment much more but it really is a matter of following ones priorities. I’ve learned that we can come and go at will and although our blog action may slow down it can always be boosted back up if that’s what we want.
    Check out Tom Volkar / Delightful Work’s awesome post.Success Via Authentic ConnectionMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Tom,

      You’ve raised a great point. Even if our blog begins to wane, like you said, we can easily boost it back up just by making the rounds, commenting and letting others know we’re back in the game.

  19. suzenNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barb! I took many breaks from blogging this summer and while I did check in maybe once a week, I wasn’t into a daily mode. I find I’m better off now if I actually do stick to that once or twice a week thing. And I can do it, since I read wayyyy fewer blogs, which, fact it, takes a lot of time. I also cut my blog schedule down to once a week and tend to write a month or two ahead when I can. Are my stats down? Yep. I feel I have it in better perspective, like it is NOT my “life” so maybe I’m too busy to fret over it now. As you know I’m in transition – totally – so it’s all good. I still bring positive energy and enthusiasm for whatever I write. And whoever reads my blog was meant to. Hats off to a Zen approach! Saves a myriad of useless worries.
    Hugs
    suZen

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Suzen,

      It sounds like you summer break was just what you needed to find a blogging rhythm that works for you. That’s really the key to avoiding burn out, but still keep a blog alive.

      I agree, our stats may suffer, but when we look at the whole picture, living life is much more important than “the numbers”.

  20. When I first started – I think I lived a life centered around the blog – and then it was facebook… and then I felt pressured by the blog because it isn’t always finding something to write. Somewhere, between the concern as to how many comments and “who” was reading… I realized that I could write when I wanted – people could read if they wanted – they could comment if they wanted… and it was all great. I can leave the blog now without a second thought and know that it will be there as will the people who enjoy reading it. I write for me and am thrilled when others read. I don’t know how I would feel if I were using the blog for financial purposes though – perhaps that makes a difference?
    Check out The Exception’s awesome post.PLAY!!My Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi The Exception,

      Isn’t it amazing how our blogging priorities change over time? In the beginning we strive to get found, but soon realize if we keep that pace, blogging will begin to feel like work. It’s at that point where we learn to settle into a routine that works with our real life schedule, and like you said, can easily leave the blog without a second thought.

      I agree. For those who blog to make money, it may be different.

  21. Evelyn LimNo Gravatar says:

    I take breaks every now and then. The breaks are always to help me gain clarity. I often find myself feeling much better after taking a break. Blog comments may drop but what I have gained from taking the time off is usually priceless. Also, much of my fears about no one else reading my site when I return are usually unfounded. Recently, I also find that I can go a few days without the internet without experiencing discomfort or withdrawal symptoms.
    Check out Evelyn Lim’s awesome post.Keep Holding On To FaithMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Evelyn,

      That’s true. What we gain from taking time off is priceless. Even though we may experience fears of losing readers or comments, returning to the blog rested and with a new perspective may be just what we need to propel our blog to the next level.

  22. Hi Barbara.
    Welcome back 🙂 I haven’t taken a holiday since last September and at that time I had no Internet access. It was wonderful! I didn’t worry about my blog at all. I love my blog and appreciate the regular readers and commenters, but I’m learning that it is only a small part of the picture. We can’t put all our eggs in one basket.

    What Betsy said rings true regarding blogging about what we experience. If we don’t have a life outside of blogging, we’re writing from an empty well.
    Check out Davina Haisell’s awesome post.Puzzled by Your StoryMy Profile

  23. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Thank you Davina,

    I agree. We shouldn’t put all of our eggs into one basket. Although a blog can be the beginning of a new adventure for us, often it’s not the blog itself that creates a better future for us, but something that’s born from it.

    I like that, “If we don’t have a life outside of blogging, we’re writing from an empty well.” Great quote! 🙂

  24. mirabelleNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara,

    Oh this picture reminds me of a recent trip to the same spot in Oregon!
    Yes, I agree, a blog shouldn’t replace your life, it should enhance it.
    My priority is living 😉

  25. HilaryNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara .. great thought .. I could scream at myself – just deleted my own comment!! Irritation to say the least!!

    I just haven’t taken any breaks .. as it is my break life in between hospital visits .. which until now has been all encompassing – I’m starting to get out a little .. but cannot go away for long.

    Having been blogging regularly I haven’t wanted to stop, as new things and ideas keep popping up – which is wonderful .. new opportunities in the blogosphere … so each post is another asset giving me lots of choices later on ..

    Re Betsy and Davina’s comment about the empty well .. in my latest post I actually wrote .. that people should “Blog and see things in a different light” .. and I do see that in myself .. I am probably more educated now than I’ve ever been .. but each day I add to that education ..

    I also wrote:” It’s a magical film .. that I watched with different eyes .. does blogging cause this – the creative spirit rising up?”

    Interesting takes on life .. but friends and outings, and socialising are all so important.

    Delighted you had the family get-together and then the brief holiday down in Oregon .. sounds gorgeous .. now I’ve seen Bend! Cheers Hilary
    Check out Hilary’s awesome post.Will we watch 101 Dalmatians when we’re 90 or when we’re 84 My Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Hilary,

      I know you’ve had a lot on your plate, so hopefully you’ll be able to take a break one day soon. I know what you mean about not wanting to stop blogging; especially with all of the ideas that surface.

      Yes! It was nice to have time off and see another favorite spot in Oregon. If you have a chance, Google the Oregon Coast, too. It’s beautiful. 🙂

  26. RobynNo Gravatar says:

    When on holiday, I’m on holiday with little to no thoughts about my blog.
    This attitude works very well for me.

  27. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Robyn,

    That’s a great way to take a holiday; leave thoughts of the blog behind, since it will be there when we come back.

  28. J.D. MeierNo Gravatar says:

    It sounds like you enjoy your down town the same way I do … I like to fully disconnect, so I can fully engage with my offline follies and adventures.

    The beauty of blogs is that while they are a “stream” they are also fine for “random access” and they are “event” based … lighting up folks RSs when there’s something to see.

    That said, I do think that to fully give a blog a timeless life of its own, it’s important to turn it into a site (at least for perception.) It’s OK to have a timeless KB, but blogs seem to have an “expiration.”

    I think making the shift is easy. I would simply need to add an “Articles” section to my blog and write a good set of timeless articles. That won’t be perfect and it won’t be done, but it would go a long way to making my blog a more durable asset for the long run … with or without me 🙂
    Check out J.D. Meier’s awesome post.3 Take Aways from Legend of the GuardiansMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi J.D.,

      Your comment made me think of how when us bloggers do take a break, we’re often worried the blog won’t run as smoothly as when we’re attending to it. Like you said, if we have timeless articles, others will continue to visit and keep the blog alive.

      I agree. Blog do appear to have an “expiration”, especially when we’re familiar with one and the blog author goes on hiatus or…

  29. Kelli WiseNo Gravatar says:

    I’m just coming back from a 3 week break from the blog. A visit to the parents and very spotty wi-fi access meant I couldn’t really keep an eye on the blog or the stats. Surprisingly, my stats did not drop, and I even picked up a few new RSS readers. My greatest fear was that all my traffic would dry up and blow away, so I just proved to myself that it would be ok to take a break. I’m also not as worried or obsessed with traffic stats.

    The break was a good thing. I have some new things I want to write about and I got to think about the overall direction of the blog and whether it’s going where I initially intended. And I’m more convinced that I need to sit down and do an editorial calendar for November.
    Check out Kelli Wise’s awesome post.Weekly wrap-up AMTA convention editionMy Profile

  30. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Kelli,

    I think until we actually take a break do we realize our blog will wait, as will our readers. For some reason we develop the mentality if we don’t keep updating it, it will lose its momentum. And as you mentioned, the reverse happened and your blog grew in your absence.

    I like your idea of starting an editorial calendar. I’ll have to add that to my list, as well.

  31. janiceNo Gravatar says:

    I haven’t read blogs for months but panicked when I caught a glimpse of ‘Cut the Cord’ in my inbox while I was clearing out email feed alerts; I thought you’d cut the cord! What a great loss that would be!

    I cut the cord five months ago, and although I miss my online community of friends and only log on to clear all the feed alerts out of my inbox, I’m convinced my health and family have benefited. Not only that, but I’ve had no ‘gut clench’ on the days when I have logged on. I’m longing to write again and feel it bubbling up, but what I won’t be able to do is read lots of other people’s blogs and comment on them for hours a day as I was doing. When I was addicted to writing, I NEVER had a burnout problem with my notebooks and quotebooks in cafés; the burnout came when I got hooked on the interactive aspects of blogging. I tried to be a fair, balanced, supportive and coherent reciprocal blogger but blogging ended up taking up more time than my actual writing did. I find it very hard to leave succinct, witty or pithy comments.

    Hope all’s well with you and everyone in your community. I haven’t forgotten any of you and because of that, I have warm, inspiring memories that make a return to blogging feel more possible.