I am suffering from Bloggus Interruptus.
Like anything, the more you blog, the better you get at it. Bloggers who commit to a consistent schedule find that it becomes easier, faster, and more fun. Even the creative juices start flowing better and the blogging ideas come once you adopt the discipline of regular writing.
For the past five years, I have blogged my butt off. I have been extremely disciplined in my writing and approach, churning out at least two strong posts a week without fail.
Until last month.
For the first time since 2009, I turned it off for almost four weeks during an extended business/vacation trip to California, Australia, and New Zealand,
I prepared for this trip for months by “writing ahead” so I could keep the posts coming to my readers. I even tried to publish posts that would create limited conversation so I could focus on relaxation, and it worked — during this month I did not write a single blog post. In fact, short of addressing a few reader comments, I didn’t write a single word.
I was ready for this break, not just from a physical and psychological point of view, but as an experiment to see what it would be like to disembark from the blogging train for an extended period of time. Blogging has become such a big part of my life that I wanted to see how I would react if it went away.
Here are my two big learnings:
1) There is a lot of pressure associated with “new.” I love blogging. It is the most fun part of my job. But I probably didn’t fully realize the pressure created by the unrelenting need to be original with blogging ideas until I put the brakes on. Creating a business presence based on a continuous flow of new ideas is difficult and it was liberating to be removed from that for a little while. I probably need to do this once a year.
2) I had a surprisingly difficult time re-engaging. Out of the daily routine for so long, I felt a little blog-dizzy trying to get back on the train. I have a lot of post ideas but getting started again felt dis-orienting.
So here is what I did to overcome Bloggus Interruptus.
The “fuel” for this blog are the ideas — just headlines, really — that I collect constantly. I was out of this habit on my trip which meant I really had no fresh ideas to riff on. So I spent a few days just collecting random ideas for potential posts. These ideas might come from something I read, a question somebody asks me, or a discussion with a friend.
Brain dump of blogging ideas
I had to get back in the writing groove so I spent two hours writing a few paragraphs on anything that came into my head. These may or may not turn into blog posts one day but it at least got my head focused on the writing process.
Re-establishing the discipline
Years ago I realized that blogging was an essential part of my business so it could not be an afterthought. I had to schedule time to blog just like I might schedule time for meetings or business trips.
Even though I might not be psychologically ready to re-start the process, I simply had to get back on that schedule. I blocked out time to blog and stuck to it even if I had to drag my mind along for awhile.
Anyway, I was a little surprised by this post-trip blog grogginess and when I am surprised by something it usually makes a good blog post, so there you have it! My first attempt to overcome Bloggus Interruptus!
Thanks for sticking around while I was gone. I appreciate each and every reader and the time you spend with me. Do you ever take a hiatus from blogging? Can you share your ideas on how you get back to blogging after a break?
Illustration courtesy of Toothpaste for Dinner