How to Take a Break Without Breaking Your Blog

It’s again the time of year when people start planning their vacations. But not everyone: most bloggers can’t even dream of taking a break. In many ways, bloggers are like entrepreneurs, and the most serious ones actually consider their blogs as businesses. And unfortunately, most entrepreneurs have one tricky problem: they don’t know how to take a break and relax.

Why relax?

Taking a breakPhoto by Rick HarrisSure, blogging is your passion. If it wasn’t, you wouldn’t be doing it. But quite often, getting some distance to the thing you do from day to day will help you improve.When you are relaxing and don’t have to keep pushing out content to your blogs, your mind does its own work, looking at your business from a distance. It starts to see things that you could improve, it notices your strengths and weaknesses.And most importantly, the time away refuels your passion. After a few week’s break you are filled with new energy to pursue your goals with new determination and power.Maintaining a consistent posting schedule is my number one advice for bloggers, but still, even bloggers need to take a break every now and then to keep themselves running until the end of times.

But bloggers can’t leave their blogs!

Storm approachingPhoto by Steve WebelYou’re right, it’s not easy.But it’s not that much because of a lack of options – the real reason lies inside our heads: just like the self-employed entrepreneur we’re afraid of what might happen while we’re surfing at the Caribbean.

What if I don’t have a blog to return to after my two weeks offline?

What if my subscriber count drops dramatically?

What if I don’t want to return to my blog after I have taken some distance to it?

I’m sure these questions, and many more go through your mind when are planning your vacation. But let’s leave them aside for a while and look at the options.The secret is that once you start planning, these questions will most likely become deprecated.

Find yourself some good guest bloggers

A great guest bloggerPhoto by mactenNot so long ago, a blogger from Australia decided that he wanted to travel. He wanted to go all the way to California and participate in the SxSW event, but just like any pro blogger, he didn’t want to lose his blog during his time away.His solution? Guest blogging.Luckily this guy was so popular that people were fighting to get their posts accepted to the blog. He asked for blogging tips and in just a few hours had over 100 to choose from (he was looking for 13) and could safely leave his blog attended for a few days.You all know this blogger. His name is Darren Rowse.

Pay someone to post for you

Use money to keep your blog rollingPhoto by DavidDMuirOn April first, the most famous outsourcer on the Internet today shared his secret: he revealed that he had not written a single post to his blog during the past year. The most intriguing part of the story was that his blog is a personal blog bearing his name – and the writers were pretending to be him throughout the year.A few hours later, Tim Ferris had to come out and tell his furious readers that this was just an April’s fools prank. But even so, there is no reason to think that this would be impossible. Tim’s original post gives good food for thought on how to outsource your blog during your break.Maybe a bit too sneaky for a personal blog, but then again for a niche blog like FreelanceSwitch a similar approach has proven to be quite a liberating option. Most of the pots at FreelanceSwitch are written by freelancers who get paid by post – and even the editing task has been given away from the original bloggers. This way the blog has been transformed from a self-employment job into a real business that can thrive without the owner’s participation – who is now free to take the vacation (unless he’s busy working on something else).If your blog is generating enough money to pay the writers, this might well be the way to go. But if you can’t afford paying $50-100 per post, keep reading.

Save your posts

PiggybankPhoto by Kate E. DidA good practice often suggested to bloggers is to write your posts in advance. A buffer of a few days helps you keep up the consistent posting schedule even in a case of an emergency like you or a family member getting sick that will distract you from your blogging.But the benefits of writing your posts in advantage don’t end here.It’s a bit like saving. If you write one post to your savings account every now and then, and start saving early enough, you can collect enough posts to finance your two weeks away from the blog next summer. And your readers might not even notice that you are gone!Let’s do some math:If you post to your blog once per day, you’ll need 14 posts for a two week vacation. Assuming that you want to take your vacation in July, if you start saving today, you have ten weeks to get your finances together.14 posts divided by ten weeks means you need to write 1.4 extra posts per week. By dropping your post frequency a bit, you can get away by saving just one post every week. Sure it’ll be hard to resist pressing the publish button when you have just completed a great post. But believe me, you’ll thank yourself in July!

Pick your perfect mix

This was the free option. It’s also the one that takes the most of your time, one of your most valuable possessions. That’s why, I suggest a mixture of all the different approaches: pay for a few posts, get some guest posts from your readers and blogging friends, and then write the rest of your posts in advance.This way you can keep your blog alive while waiting for the summer – and during the summer when you are relaxing on the beach and thinking about your blogging strategy for the next year.Bloggers (just like entrepreneurs) can take a few weeks or more off, if they really want to. The next question is: are you ready to do it?

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22 Responses to How to Take a Break Without Breaking Your Blog

  1. This is an excellent post and so simple, I think bloggers just miss it. Most burn-out and suffer.Thank you!Maria Reyes-McDavis

  2. I’m not 100% committed but I do write and save post in advance. That way if I feel like being lazy or I get busy with something else my blog does not suffer.Live From Las VegasThe Masked Millionaire

  3. Simple Mom says:

    I’m absolutely doing this! We are taking a two-week vacation in July, so I’ve been writing about one extra post a week.I’m also trying to write an additional post a week – for a total of two extra – to save in a “blogging sinking fund,” so to speak. I know there are times here and there that are too hard to blog, so I’ll hopefully have a number of timeless posts to pull out.

  4. Sachin says:

    Buffer part is cool……. though i am ameture blogger i make it a point to have a buffer……….good post

  5. Divya says:

    I wish I had these things in mind before I lost more than 30 subscribers in 6 months because of no posts! But thankfully now I am back to posting in my regular frequency! Thanks for the good post.

  6. Jarkko Laine says:

    @Web Success Diva: You’re welcome :) My hope is that more and more bloggers (as well as entrepreneurs) would start to see that their jobs / activities don’t have to be limiting them from also relaxing from time to time. After all, the fact is that at its best, a business can be a rather liberating thing – when it’s a system running on its own that can keep rolling even if the owner is out…@The Masked Millionaire: Even a buffer of a few posts can make a big difference! And each new post you add makes it easier and easier for you to take it easy ;) @Simple Mom: Sounds like you’ll have a relaxing vacation without needing to worry about the blog! That’s great!@Sachin: Yep, it makes sense also for an amateur blogger if you want to keep your blog going and your readers happy :) After all, in the world of blogging, the line between amateur and pro is kind of fuzzy, right?

  7. ChrisB says:

    Another option: The best of. You don’t want to do too much of it, but you can probably get away with adding a good, older piece (maybe with a bit of an update) into your “mix.”

  8. Jarkko Laine says:

    @ChrisB: Good point! If you have been blogging for a while, you already have a big bunch of articles in your archives that most people will just forget about unless you reuse them in some way.

  9. Koka Sexton says:

    These are all great things to keep in mind. I also think that if you let people know you are going to be offline and don’t want to leave your readers waiting, you should let them know you’re going to be out and have one or two posts saved for release while your gone. It may not be your regular posting schedule but at least there will be some new content while your out.Whats better than coming back from vacation and haveing a ton of comments to approve!

  10. VeraBradley says:

    Hmm.. Why cant one blog while having a vacation? I think it all depends on how one sees blogging. If one is driven to the point that he or she blogs for others, not for themselves, then there is when the stress creeps in. Dont you agree :)

  11. traveler says:

    if let say you won a for a week today, and taking off tomoro. just go on the trip and leave a message on your blog. if the blog does die out.. just start a new.. you have started from scratch once. startin a brand new one might bring you to another top. who knows~

  12. zohai says:

    It’s amazing how your simple steps seems so useful. I’m one who always leave my blog to rot after a while and get back after a few months later. Blogging needs inspiration right? =DThanks for the tips anyway.

  13. jobbank says:

    I am liking Vista and I am not exactly been using XP for a long time, thus I have no idea if it is excellent or what..

  14. Jarkko Laine says:

    @Vera: Of course you can blog when you are on vacation – as long as that doesn’t make your vacation feel like work :) I know I will be doing some blogging on my vacation this year as well, but what I really am aiming for is to plan my vacation so that I don’t have to blog if I don’t feel like it.@traveler: I don’t quite agree with that idea. After all, if you have spent a year or more building your blog, working many hours a week on it to get it to a certain level of recognition, you don’t just walk away from it…@zohai: Yep, inspiration – and hard work :)

  15. blisters says:

    What i would do, is blog in advance! Prepaid blogging i call it. Blog about few articles in advance, and let it auto post when im away on vacation

  16. space code says:

    I usually just write extra posts, that are interesting and informative and set it to automatically publish when the date comes.That way I have time to relax and enjoy myself if im on vacation or busy with projects

  17. Ha, too funny. Yesterday we posted about the same situation, “When do Bloggers Get a Break?”And today, we announced our own break from blogging – without the guest posts, without the stockpile of drafts. No extra work piled on to get away. Just… go.And come back refreshed and better than before.

  18. Bird says:

    I am right now frantically trying to squirrel away a few extra posts, but you know what? I just write it for myself, if I have something to say I’ll say it, if I have nothing to say I’d rather keep quiet than write a bunch of crap just for the sake of a schedule. So I’d add something else to the “write your posts in advance” thing – make sure that the stuff you save for a rainy day is as good as your up front stuff. I should add that I’m not exactly mobbed with readers myself, but I DO know what kind of blogs I go back to and they are consistently GOOD, not just consistently updated.

  19. Bil Bahooka says:

    I had a great blogging experience for 4 years, reached a level of 1,500 visitors per day… then I went from 3 or 4 new entries a week to 1, then to 1 every couple of weeks… then I finally said goodbye – been almost a year now. Occassionally I still send out a few stealth blogs, it is hard to completely stop – but if you become popular it is a great responsibility to keep writing for your loyal fans.Tales from a burnt out blogger………

  20. Ravi Vora says:

    Great post Jarkko.I’ve taken a long break from blogging to live my words, but this is refreshing to see how to keep the blog alive even if you don’t have time to write.

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