Hello creative people! if you type away at a blog, film and edit videos for youtube, labor away at book projects or work in anything creative related, you might have heard, taken, or thought about a hiatus.
Now, if you googled hiatus, the internet dictionary would tell you it’s a pause or gap in a series or progress. I suppose that definition really applies to George RR Martin’s break between A Dance with Dragons’ and the Winds of Winter. What is that, going on an 8 year gap???
Anyway, this post isn’t about what to do while on a hiatus. Because lord knows, I’m terrible at actually doing something good with my hiatus time. Typically, I am forced to take a hiatus when I’m completely totally slammed and just have to stop. Fun. (no, it’s actually terrible.)
But I have decided the secret to having a good hiatus is ending your last break well! So, today, that’s what I’m brainstorming about with today’s post. And I mean that brainstorm point quite literally – I need all the hiatus ending tips y’all have as well!
So far, here’s the ideas I have. But I’m totally confident the internet and my friends reading along with this blog also have great ideas, so be sure to share in the comments your ideas for creatively ending a hiatus well.
Doing Everything All at Once
I think this is a rookie mistake. You think, well, I took a month off, I need to start the next month with a running start. not just a running start, but an olympic sprint run start.
That turns into a frantic dash to instagram everything, tweet all the thoughts, publish lots of blog posts, edit, edit, edit and ends in a complete mess. You simply can’t try to do everything all at once at one time. So when you’re coming back from a hiatus, just chill.
Ease back into your posting schedule, pick up the blog one week, your youtube channel the next, focus on taking pictures for instagram another time. Or you can be like me and pretty much never take a hiatus from our fav problematic child, the instagram. (or maybe that’s twitter for you, to each his own)
Comment on a Few Posts
This is actually probably my number one step into easing out of a hiatus. I actually start reading my friends’ blog posts. Am I confessing that I don’t read blogs when I’m forced on hiatus? (yes, this is a confession)
Earlier this month, there were 172 email in my blog pile of blog posts I “needed” to catch up on. Now, there was no way I was ever going to read all 172 of those blog posts. So I kind of have to pick and choose what I’m going to read.
First, if I read a post, I want to comment on it. So I’ll read posts that spark immediate interest, book reviews for books I’m curious about, a certain blogger’s review of 2019 albums, and monthly round ups because they’re always my favorite.
And second, I’m going to try and catch up on what my friends were writing while I was hiding from the blogosphere. Now, I do follow quite a few blogs but there are a dozen or so bloggers i definitely consider friends. Reading their posts always encourages me and reminds me why I enjoy blogging and staying involved in the community. So yes, I’ll definitely read quite a few of their posts and make sure to add comments.
So moment of truth, of those 172 blog emails? I probably opened and read about 25 of them. maybe less 👀
Maybe Do a Social Media Check?
Okay, so when i came back from my hiatus, I was following over 1700 accounts on twitter. It was crazy. Not sustainable by any stretch of the imagination.
Seeing the constant deluge of tweets from people I didn’t know, who didn’t know me, people I was not invested in, well, it drained my reading energy and my creativity. This story best summed up by this tweet.
So, that was actually my first BIG step to coming out of my hiatus cave. Cleaning up my social media felt really good in a way I didn’t expect.
It made checking twitter somewhat refreshing? All of a sudden I was able to see news from authors I cared about and updates from my friends. Instead of countless lines of information that made me mindlessly scroll, it became easier to engage.
Now, once I did this, I kind of translated it over to my professional twitter and instagram. And while it’s harder to unfollow folks on my professional twitter account because that’s the account I use to follow national news, I definitely could clean up all the accounts I was randomly following on instagram. it’s so easy to click follow and not think about why.
And that’s a question I kept asking myself when I’d click through an instagram story. Why am I following this person? If I don’t know, the chances are I don’t need to follow this account.
Moral of the story, don’t mindlessly scroll. Use social media healthily. Your time is limited, so don’t get dragged up in trying to see everyone’s posts.
Write down all the Ideas while on Hiatus
A hiatus is supposed to be a time for you to recharge, enjoy the sunshine, and let your brain come up with crazy ideas. SO GRAB THAT NOTEPAD!
I know that when you’re on hiatus, you can get disconnected from your established brand. Maybe those ideas you wrote down don’t feel like they jive with where your blog or channel was when you left.
But that’s okay! Because I think when you’re not constantly creating content, your creativity is allowed to remember itself. When you’re constantly thinking about an audience, it might lead to a disconnect between your passion and audience driven content.
Don’t be afraid to explore those crazy sounding dreams you had while on hiatus. When I’m on a hiatus, I don’t open my wordpress dashboard. But I do keep that notepad handy. Keep that notepad hand when you’re back from your internet pause. Let your passion and creativity lead you forward, not the constant fretting about audience retention and stats.
don’t forget, Plan Another Hiatus!
This is where I have routinely failed, but no longer!!! (and I’m serious about that!) right now I am planning my next hiatus. This is what that looks like.
Some things I know about next year: I’m going to take the LSAT in April 2020, my blogiversary is in June, and I always feel burnt out in August.
Knowing ALL that, I know I’ll need a break to study for law stuff and give myself breathing room throughout August. So right now, I have a hiatus planned for April and August 2020. And know the presidential race is in November and politics takes over everything for me for about six weeks, maybe the first two weeks of November will be a short hiatus. We’ll see.
Planning a hiatus allows you to work, knowing you have a space to rest. I think this should help avoid seasonal burnout. Burnout is cruel and relentless, I know because it happens to me every august! We’re going to blame the absolute weariness I feel with the summer by that point ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Alrighty, folks those are my top tips!!! And I think this is the first time I’ve really consciously decided to plan a hiatus and plan how to end a hiatus? We’re all about that character growth and creativity learning.
But if you don’t learn to pace yourself while being a creative person on the minefield that is the internet, well it’s going to go badly. We don’t want that. 🙂
Also, I haven’t had a chance to talk about creative things in a LONG while, mainly because I resisted taking a hiatus and started to feel VERRRRYYY burned out. Who knew graduation, moving, a new job, the constant florida humidity, all of that might wear you out.
But iced pumpkin spice chai is back, I’ve budgeted the GRE into my fall budget, Taylor Swift’s album is on repeat, and I discovered I could watch the Today Show on antenna TV for FREE! while typing this post, so you know, September is going splendidly. Hope yours is too!
How do you handle going on a hiatus? Do you have a time of the year when you regularly experience burnout? What’s your best tips for ending a hiatus?
Favorite thing about September so far? Anyone else love chai with a shot of pumpkin spice? Definitely my favorite fall drink!