Sunday, May 3, 2015

Top 10 Things I learned from a Blog Break!

I took a long break from writing for about a year. In a sense I had lost my "blog voice" and just didn't feel like I had a passion for it anymore. In many ways, I had let the blog run me and it turned into something that was a source of stress (imagine sewing and contributing to every sewing idea any other blogger has... or something like that) vs. a source of delight and that creative outlet fizzled out. Prior to this, it took me about a year to get out of the blog commitments I had roped myself into and that amount of time to really let it go. And by let go, I mean that weird dream that every blogger has of being HUGE, but never really knowing what that actually means. (insert maniacal laugh while crawling up some ladder with no end in sight). I was also a contributing author for another popular sewing blog and while each thing was a good thing on it's own, it was the string of things that ran me into the ground. So many bloggers tie their identity to their blogs and I was one of them, but not in a good way. If I care more about what my blog readers care about than my own family's needs, or what I knew was true about myself, then something had to give. It's embarrassing to even admit, but it was true back then, and true for many many women and their blogs whether they want to actually admit it.

I slowed down. I quit blogging and with that I quit writing.

I missed that part last part though. And as I have been thinking about how to take care of myself better, I realized something. I love the creative outlet writing gives me and I want that back in my life.

I've always loved writing and sharing with others and what better way than a blog. The great thing now, is that I know exactly what I want from my blog and exactly what I do NOT.

Here are the Top 10 Things I learned from my blog break!
  1. Taking time away actually helps to get your creative juices flowing again. Only you know how long that time should be. For me, it was about a year, which is a long time, but you have to listen to what you need, not what you think others need from you or your blog. My husband and I just got away to the location below and it's the same thing. Taking time away for just us refocused our marriage and our hearts towards each other. Everyone needs time away to unplug and think about where they are going next.
  2. Getting my house under control and loving my family well are more important than any blog. Blogging can be a complete time suck. If your family never has clean laundry to wear or your always trying to keep your children happy while you finish just one more thing for a blog post, maybe your priorities are out of wack. When was the last time you saw the bottom of the kitchen sink and really were excited about it? Taking time away will re-focus you and give you that drive to do what you really need to do. 
  3. Your true audience won't care how long you are gone and they will be there when you get back. Most of us write and share with those around us first. Remember that what you write is making a difference and you are leaving your own unique mark on the world.  Your voice matters. Sing loud.
  4. You shouldn't always bend to every reader whim. Here's the thing. I have some tutorials that the photos are messed up on and readers go to and often email me to fix. Unfortunately, the photo storage site I used in the beginning days changed servers and screwed it up. Honestly, I just don't care. While I am sure those readers wanting that tutorial would be grateful, I just don't have time to go back in and fix it. I am okay with that and don't need to apologize for it. My family comes first and I can literally think of a million other things I need to do. When I can get to it, I will and that's that. If that's wrong, I don't want to be right!
  5. Taking time away refocuses your writing purpose.  For me, for the longest time it was sewing. Now, I'm not so sure. I have realized how much I love interior design and homemaking and honestly, just slowing down enough to sip hot coffee on my delightful porch while I enjoy my children playing around me. I've realized that sewing was just one area that I needed to master in order to get to where God wants me to go. Even though I am still working that out, if I had not stopped to take a break, I would not have discovered that which I really loved.
  6. Writing what you are most passionate about is most important. After finding that purpose, it's easier to write about what you are most passionate about. When meeting everyone else's demands regarding your time and your blog, you actually snuff out your own ability to see what you want for yourself. If you've forgotten what you are most passionate about, then you need to stop and take a break. Don't write for the masses. Write for you. What is it that is on your heart? Let that pour out!
  7. You can listen better to the One who made you. When was the last time you picked up your Bible or sought out the One that made you? I learned that I can be strong in who I am when I listen to God's voice first. 
  8. Not everything needs to be your next blog post. Okay, that might sound silly, but I would literally sit and think about what I would blog about next. Obsess much? They even make blog planners. Okay, I didn't have one of those, but seriously, not everything needs to be a blog post! Blog with intentionality and don't be afraid to blog less! Sometimes less is more! 
  9. While a blog is a reflection of your identity, your blog doesn't make you anymore awesome than you already are! Live in that freedom, friend! Be confident in who you are. If you don't know, take time to know. You will be stronger for doing so!
  10. There's a time and place for blogging and writing and it can be fun and enjoyable! Perhaps this is the most important for me. Even writing this whole post is a bit silly when I stop and think about it. Writing down the top 10 things I learned from NOT blogging! Haha! Seriously, is that a joke!? But really, being able to reflect on something as tiny as that topic made me realize that I do have a voice, that I am strong in who God wants me to be, and I can and will make an impact for His kingdom doing what He has given me to love, even if that's design, sewing, and slowing down to enjoy this all too fast paced life. That's who I am, who I want to be, and I love it! Getting my priorities in check and then having the freedom to write and blog. That's where it fits best for me. And I'm glad I got that right where it needs to be!