Tuesday 5 February 2013

Mother.wife.me says Leave your blog alone!

Luci McQuitty Hindmarsh is a mother, wife and writer. She is based in London and started her career in journalism before accidentally languishing in PR for too many years. Motherhood allowed her to change track and get back to what she loves – writing. Luci has two blogs. Her personal blog, mother.wife.me, is about all things parenting, marriage and anything else that piques her interest. Her other blog, Ma Puce, is part of her Ma Puce website, an online resource to help parents teach their babies, toddlers and young children French as a second language.

Luci can regularly be found loitering with intent on Twitter as @motherwifeme and @mapucebilingual

Take your hands away from the keyboard, disengage your brain from thinking in ‘Post Mode’ and step away from your blog. No really, you can do it. Now take a long, slow, deep breath in and exhale. Feeling better? I do hope so.

Blogging can be a wonderful thing, especially when you first get into your groove, your blog traffic starts going up and the comments are flowing. There may be times when you feel like you want to be blogging 24/7.

But at other times you might feel burnt out, pushed for time to spend on your blog or worse still… bored of blogging. The danger being that if you are bored of what you’re writing there’s a great chance that your blog visitors won’t be finding it enthralling either!

I’ve taken time away from my blog on a couple of occasions and it’s served to make me come back feeling clearer headed about what I want my blog to be and surer of how I go about it.

The longest time I had away from mother.wife.me was last summer, when I started working on my Ma Puce website. The fact it was so easy to let go of mother.wife.me for a while proved to me that I needed a break.

Running a blog, keeping up with post writing and all the associated sharing of your most recent posts is extremely time consuming. Especially if you set yourself an intensive schedule to establish your blog in the first few months.

Leaving your blog alone for a while gives you time to reflect on how far you and your blog have come, look at whether your blog is what you want it to be or whether you’ve gone off on a tangent. Maybe you like the tangent, maybe you’ll realise you want to get back to why you originally started blogging. All these things can be considered at leisure whilst you are on a break.

After my summer break from mother.wife.me my mojo returned quite suddenly one day, igniting a renewed passion for blogging. But instead of carrying on as I had before, I gave myself a loose blog posting schedule, something that was achievable and stress-free.

It’s great actually because the schedule acts as a natural filter; now I have given myself parameters there are some post ideas that a year ago would have gone flying onto the blog that simply don’t make the grade to be included, that’s got to be a plus for both me and my blog visitors!

Of course you may be reading this post in horror, wondering how you could possibly leave your blog unattended and run the risk of it falling out of the blogosphere as hard won rankings and visitors fade away.

In the first instance, you can make sure to tell everyone that you are planning a break. If you have an idea of a timeframe you can manage expectations about how long you are going to be gone and when you are coming back.

There are then several ways to handle your break from blogging. One would be to write extra posts and schedule them in advance of your break – a big ask if you have time constraints. Or you could just write the same amount of posts you normally would and then schedule them to go live further a part than normal.

Another option is to open your blog up to guest posts. Plan your break and put out a call for anyone who would like to guest on your blog. This is a great way for fellow bloggers to reach a new audience and for you to maintain blog traffic, everyone wins.

Of course leaving your blog alone doesn’t mean you need to vanish from Twitter altogether. I continued to tweet because tweeting is a way of life for me! But this also served to keep my blog in people’s minds.

That said, you could simply use the kamikaze method that I took and just shut off for a while. I have to admit it felt most liberating. Yes, my traffic did go down, but it didn’t completely fade away and when my blogging mojo returned so to did site visitors, in fact more so than ever before.

So, if you have begun to feel that you’ve reached a plateau in your blogging or that it doesn’t feel as joyful a pastime as it did when you first started, you may find that some time away from your blog could be the perfect tonic. It could replenish your creative juices, renew your passion for writing, allowing you to come back blogging better than ever.

I can safely say that I agree with Luci, I've had many breaks from writing Mummy from the Heart, even a full 6 week break for Lent in 2010 and I might just do it again this year, it is very good for your wellbeing!

Don't forget to stop in again tomorrow for another great post as part of New Bloggers Fortnight. My Two Mums will reveal why it is important to blog with your own unique voice.