Over the Christmas period I didn't post at all for nearly ten days. Life took over, and I didn't feel even slightly guilty about it. In truth, I had the time. You know, when you're sitting on the sofa watching your 7th Christmas movie and eating mince pies? But I didn't have any motivation to write. Who wants to hear about me deep-cleaning my flat (whilst cursing like a trooper), sitting on my bum and scoffing lots of chocolates, or how I went to town for no other reason than I fancied a Starbucks gingerbread hot milk?
It wasn't that I had stopped caring for my readers, or that I suddenly had a blogging breakdown. I just couldn't write and I reasoned that there are FIVE very good reasons why not posting on your blog everyday could be the healthiest choice you make for your writing.
Posting because you feel like you 'should' write something everyday can have a negative effect on your writing. If you have had to sit there, without inspiration, or worse when you should be doing something else, dredging words from somewhere, it's not going to be the most heartfelt or passionate of posts. I've been guilty of writing posts while staring down marking, making myself stressed in the process. These have inevitably not drawn much interaction and when reading them back, I know they do not reflect me at my best.
Blogging does become a good excuse to tune out of real life responsibilities. By nurturing online relationships, I know I have neglected my real life ones, and almost ironically when a night out or a coffee with my friends might have actually led to more interesting content. Maybe it's just me who has made excuses about being 'busy' during times I was just catching up on my blog. No more. Taking last minute opportunities will surely only give me more to share.
If you're constantly 'producing' as a writer, or indeed if you are wrapped up in a project, you don't always give yourself enough time to reflect and review. With this, I don't necessarily mean scouring Google Analytics to check the numbers. Instead I see it as a process of reading my blog, considering what I am most proud of, what was most popular and also what I wouldn't want to see again. This is helping me (I hope) to develop my style - something I am very keen to perfect during 2013. What are you most proud of? What was most popular? What wouldn't you want to see on your blog again?
Reduce your stress levels. You probably started blogging for fun or for a way to express yourself, rather than as an avoidance strategy from all real-life, human contact. You have spent time building a readership and perhaps have some bloggy friends. These people will not disappear if you do not talk to them everyday. True friends, loyal readers, those who look forward to your writing will wait for you to have a break, appreciate the care and caution you take with your writing and keep coming back. And NO if you have a week off, or a couple of days, you DON'T need to organise guest posts or apologise. It's like going on holiday and leaving daily voicemails to your bestie or asking someone else to phone her. When I see a blog that hasn't updated for a while, I just hope they are having a great time and look forward to the awesome update that will inevitably follow. Reclaim the fun folks!
If you really cannot bear the thought of leaving your pages blank, but lack any real content yourself, then pay it forward. Point your loyal readers to a favourite post you've read recently and explain why you engaged with it. The best part of this is you can browse your blog reader and chillax with a cuppa before making someone's day while you appreciate the efforts they have made to hook you in.
I hope that having read this, if you DO suffer from guilt when you cannot put fingers to keyboard, you might be able to rid yourself of some of the weight of the decision to stay offline every now and again. The old adage, 'If you don't have anything good to say, then don't say it' has remained popular for a reason. I am convinced that the flood of inspiration I'm experiencing is as a direct result of having time off. My brain has recharged and my voice has something to say!
Do you ever get posting anxiety? How do you handle it? Where do you go for inspiration when the writing wells are dry? I'd love for you to share your tips in the comments!