Starting Over: 5 Things I Learned from my 3 Month Blogging Break!

feature image -balloons 1

NOTE: This post was written in September when I began blogging again!

Foreign Sanctuary - Blogging Tips
Foreign Sanctuary – Blogging Tips

I have been back blogging nearly three months now since my long blogging break over the summer. I decided to take some time to re-evaluate the overall direction of my blog in general. For awhile, I lost my blogging ‘spark.’ Writing posts became somewhat of a chore with self-imposed deadlines. Blogging had lost its appeal because I felt like I was doing it for the wrong reasons.

However, I came back in September with a renewed energy and passion with plans to use my place in the blogosphere to share everything that is beautiful and important to me. I have continued to share travel info as I have done in the past but my new plan is to use my blog to share anything I want to. Gone are the deadlines and feelings of obligation. I am making ‘Foreign Sanctuary’ the space which I initially wanted it to be – a happy place in which to share my thoughts, ideas, reflections, and pictures.

Now, let’s get to the bare bones of this post – the 5 things I learned from my 3 month blogging break!

Caterpillar in our backyard
Caterpillar in our backyard
Cacoon in our Backyard
Cacoon in our Backyard
Butterfly in our backyard
Butterfly in our backyard

~1~ Write about What You love & Share What You Enjoy!

Share a part of you and don’t be afraid to mix it up! Share humor, share personal stories, and share parts of yourself that make you the person that you are.

Showcase your hobbies. For example, I have a passion for photography and my blog is the perfect platform to share my pictures.

Share different aspects and not just the good stuff. I have found that the more honest and real you are, the more people will respond. Give people a glimpse of your good side and your more vulnerable side. Let them know what makes you tick (in a sense).

~2~ Don’t Put Too Much Pressure on Yourself

Basically, don’t take on more than you can chew. If you only have time to write one post a week, then write one and make it a good one. Don’t give yourself pressure to do more. For most of us, it is a hobby and who stresses out over something that they truly enjoy?

I was famous for this. I was strict with myself and I sometimes promised things that I couldn’t deliver. I remember spending a Saturday morning typing a post when I should have been out having fun. But, when I stepped back and took a break, I realized that it wasn’t right. So, what did I do? I changed it!

~3~ So, You Missed a Deadline? Whatever!!

Life happens and we get busy from time to time. So, just like the sub-title says, if you miss a post, don’t freak out! It is not the end of the world.

However, I think it is important to find a schedule that works for you. Like I mentioned in a previous post, I find that right before and after the weekend works best for me. Also, I find that writing an outline for a post on paper also helps to make the writing process easier as I can organize my ideas and write my post more efficiently. However, figure out what works for you.

And with a routine schedule, your readers will know when to expect a post.

~4~ Enjoy The Process!

Blogging, like anything, is a learning process. We not only write posts, but we also learn how important social media interaction is in terms of promoting our blogs. We also interact with other bloggers and become part of the blogging community.

Don’t have the mentality that just because you write, people will come and read. Blogging takes time. It is hard work to build a successful blog and maintain it. If it was easy, then everyone who be successful in the blink of an eye or the snap of a finger. I am by no means a successful blogger but I do give myself A+ for effort (I know, how vain is that) and all I can do is keep writing and learning and improving! Like the saying goes, ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day.’

~5~ Don’t Do it – Don’t Stop Blogging! Keep Doing it!

Word of advice from someone who did it! – Don’t do it! Don’t Stop! Keep on blogging!!

If you stop and decide to start blogging again, it is like starting all over. I lost some regular readers which is sad but I totally understand why they didn’t stick around. I wouldn’t blame them. A three-month absence without any warning or explanation isn’t acceptable.

However, I was lucky enough that some of my readers forgave my lengthy blogging absence. So, to each of you (you know who you are), I say thank you. But, in some ways, I feel like I started over from scratch. It’s like a large portion of my previous effort went down the drain by stopping.

During the Three Months….

During the three months that I fell of the ‘blogging face of the earth,’ I continued to get out and about and explore. The pictures included in this post were taken during the three months. Hope you enjoy!!

Now, it’s your turn! Have you ever stopped blogging? Have you ever felt overwhelmed by the whole blogging process? Do you have any tips to keep blogging fun and interesting?

Sunset in Taiwan
Sunset in Taiwan
Lingering Lotus
Lingering Lotus
Orchids
Orchids
Paper Pandas
Paper Pandas
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53 thoughts on “Starting Over: 5 Things I Learned from my 3 Month Blogging Break!

  1. I LOVE the last three photos, Constance. That orange sunset sky with the bird fyling away looks spectacular. An A+ from me ❤ I think going away for 3 months has refreshed you and gave you lots of energy and stories to share with us. We all need time away sometimes from the things we love doing. If not, we might get stuck in an uninspiring, dull routine and feel bad about ourselves – which translates into what we do.

    I totally agree with you when you say we should find a blogging schedule that works for us. I used to blog once a week, every week. Now I've scaled that back to once a week, with a blogging week break after every 3 weeks of posting believing in quality over quantity. The blogging week break also gives me more time to check out other blogs too, and to catch up reading books I've wanted to read. Might scale back blogging a bit more in the future depending on work and writing the book, but we'll see 🙂

    1. Yes, it is true! We all need a break sometimes. Plus, you are right!! I came back feeling refreshing and inspired. I have written several blog entries that I haven’t even published and I have so many more ideas. I guess the creative juices are flowing to the max! 🙂

      And it is good that you have figured out a schedule the works for you. I think it is important to know our limits and to know what works best for us.

      I am glad you like the last photos. I have been wondering how I could incorporate some of the photos in a post for awhile.

      1. When the creative writing juices are flowing it really is hard to stop. It’s passion that comes straight from the heart – no one to tell us this is right or wrong. What we want to write and put into stories just comes naturally, very beautiful and honest.

        I am definitely looking forward to more photos from you. I hope there will be more coloured ones 😀 Maybe you could look at the photos and they will inspire a story.

  2. The lotus, the orchids and the pandas!!! Want them! You can keep the caterpillar 🙂

    I have to sometimes that I have a post on my mind already a week or weeks before posting it which leaves me plenty of time to write it and prepare it. Other times I sit down on a Sunday with no idea at all what I will write about for that days article but once I open WordPress and take a look at my new pictures I always get some kind of spark and start writing (not always good but still it works as well)
    Once you start putting pressure on yourself to write it won’t work anymore well enough as everything will be forced

    1. Thanks!! I have to agree – the caterpillar is a little, let’s say too ‘green,’ but I love the shot. Actually, there were several in the backyard I didn’t even notice them but my husband was complaining that they were eating all the leaves of the trees!!

      I think your system works for you then keep doing it. I love how you have a wide arrange of stories from your MIL, to you family, to your son. You mix it up and keep it interesting!

  3. I can so relate to your post! Very true points. There were so many times when I wanted to take a break, sit back and reflect on what I am doing. But I was afraid I’ll loose momentum, so I kept going. Now I am not sorry I did. I love that picture of the caterpillar in your backyard. Gorgeous!

  4. You’re right. Blogging shouldn’t become a burden and although you lost some readers, the decision to stop might have been a good one for you because you now know what’s important to you. I do think that many people do know if someone writes with passion or not.

    1. Yes, I agree. Writing for the sake of writing lacks passion and drive and I am sure people can sense that it is forced. However, if it every happens again, I think I should announce a break instead of just stopping without any notice or explanation.

  5. Completely agree with you there! I used to have a blog when I was 16 (ah back in the days) and I managed to keep it on track for about three years. Then I moved, life changed and suddenly I didn’t want to write about everything and anything. I started blogs here and there but I never did blogged more than a few months. I didn’t fit in my schedule, I had other things going on. Then I started my current one and it took me more than six months to actually get back my old writing style again and find that love I had for writing. I’m not there yet but I’m still satisfied with myself. Sometimes especially when I’m travelling, I find it hard to find time to sit and write something when I could be doing so many other things. I write when I feel like it and that works for me 😉

    Definitely an A+ from me (Thank the pandas!)

    1. I am glad to hear that you are back into your blogging groove and you are happy with the material your are writing and producing. I think it takes time to find your ‘blogging voice’ and there is no set way as everyone’s style is different. Thanks for dropping by and sharing your views. I really appreciate it!

      Oh, and thanks for the A+ – those pandas have definitely been a hit in Taiwan!! 🙂

  6. I wholeheartedly agree with number 1. In a world where almost everyone is a blogger of some sort, there are bound to be trends in the blogosphere. Now that we’re nearing the end of the year, it seems like my Feedly is flooded by “TOP 10” or “Christmas gifts ideas” lists, both of which are okay, I suppose, but definitely not ones I will find myself writing about. As bloggers, I think it’s crucial to write about what we LOVE and what we are PASSIONATE about instead of just blindly following trends. Not sure about everyone else, but I can totally pick out posts that I’ve done out of sheer “Oh everyone else is doing it, so I probably should to” because they sound forced and pretentious. Glad to have you back! 🙂

    1. I know exactly what you are saying. I find that I am drawn to reading posts that are more personal, posts that let me see the world through that person’s eyes, or posts that just interest me in general. Therefore, it can’t be because everyone else is doing it. There has to be something that draws me in. But, that is just what I think.

  7. For a moment I thought the 5 things you learnt were insects and wildlife, glad it was more than that! 😀
    I agree that you should write what you love. Success comes to those with passion. If you write something while lacking interest and passion, people will feel it. Nobody enjoys reading those stuff.
    And yes, keep blogging! You never know, one day you write something that accidentally goes viral and BAM! You’re a celebrity blogger! And celebrity rocks! (I just saw Ariana Grande posted a selfie on Instagram and it got 500 000 Likes in 3 minutes)

    1. LOL – I guess I should have put the explanation about the pictures at the beginning! haha Oh, and I had to look up who Ariana Grande was and then my husband read your comment and asked me who she was, so now I don’t feel so out of the loop so to speak. 🙂

      And I agree! You can tell posts that are written with passion.

  8. I’ve taken a break from blogging. I needed to find clarity and direction for blogging. It started to feel daunting to pump out 5 posts a week with quality pictures AND engage in social media. It was truly overwhelming.

  9. Okay missy, what is a “successful blogger” to you?? 😀 And I hear you about pressuring yourself, losing the fun factor and being okay with “mixing it up”. I’ve had some trouble with all three the last 6 months. Like you, I want my blog to be sunny and I’ve been feeling like it’s been forced sometimes. I feel like my blog is a teenager figuring out who she is and her place in her world. I’ve decided it’s okay to fumble and flounder in public and if I stick with it, I’ll improve and find my bloggy home.

    1. I successful blogger is someone that I am not! 🙂 😉

      I think you are on to something with your recent posts about Ko Phi Phi (or is it Koh?) You just sucked me into the story and I felt disappointed when I read I have to wait ’til next week. You made me feel that I was there.

      1. Ha ha ha! Okay, I will not jump into a philosophical debate… YET. ;D
        Thanks much! I’ve been thinking about what you’ve said and figuring out what I did. Yikes! The pressure is on. I look forward to hearing what you think about part 3. I realized that I’ve got probably up to part 6 although the Thailand part will finish with part 4.

  10. I may be in the minority, but I love the caterpillar. He’s so fat and real looking. Of course I love the progression from caterpillar to butterfly. The lingering lotus takes my breath away. It’s gorgeous!

    I haven’t missed a deadline with my blog yet, but I may miss one or two when I’m away for the Christmas holiday, so I liked reading your 3rd point.

    Re. point #1: I started my blog thinking I would only write posts that were related to the subject matter of “Tiger Tail Soup.” But since it’s a historical novel, it was hard to write something personal about a time before I was born, so I began writing about other things I was interested in.

    1. Thank you so much, Nicki! I am glad you enjoyed the pictures. I love the caterpillar as well. There were many of those in the backyard this summer and it was my husband who spotted this one.

      I love the stories you write about as I can totally relate to some of them. Plus, I just love how your husband shared aspects of Chinese culture with you as they make such beautiful stories!

      I hope you have a great Christmas and you enjoy the holidays to the fullest!

  11. Totally related! In my case it wasn’t a complete hiatus but nearly for about 6 months… partly technological but mostly time and energy.

    #1 – What I enjoy about blogging is that I’ve not restricted myself from any topic that tickles my fancy or frustrates the heck out of me.

    When I originally came up with the blog name “Every day adventures in Asia (mostly)”, my goal was just that – write about anything from every day experience that may seem ‘normal’ to me but potentially not quite so ‘normal’ to others – especially folks from my Canadian life.

    What I discovered that is so super cool is how much some offhand observations resonate with folks in my Indian life and all over Asia and more.

    #2 & 3 – Pressure is evil and deadline shmeadline!

    #4 – Absolutely enjoy the process (except technical glitches!) and never expected to have such great interactions with fellow bloggers. Present company included! 🙂

    #5 – You know you are in trouble when spam comments far outnumber real comments. 🙂 Last year this time was go go go in the blogging groove! This year still in recovery mode!

    PS Luuuuv the caterpillar pic! 🙂

    1. I am glad you liked the caterpillar pic!!

      And I agree with every word you say! I can especially relate to the fact that what has become a normal everyday thing for us as expats shocks people in our native countries. Can you imagine the looks I got when I told my friends about the Beethoven singing garbage trucks in Taiwan? haha

      And I love interacting with bloggers as well because they understand the trials and tribulations of blogging plus they know how much effort goes into writing a single post and everything else that goes with it (present company included as well 😉 🙂 )

      Hope you are getting into the holiday swing of things.

      1. Beethoven singing garbage trucks? Now that I can get ‘on board’ with! 😉 I’d just love to have functioning garbage bins rather than the daily mound that shows up outside our door. 😦

        Am absolutely enjoying my break time and the holiday swing of things.

        With all the talk of ‘ghar wapisi’ (i.e. converting Christians and Muslims ‘back’ to Hinduism) on Christmas Day, I’m planning to join an outdoor carol concert at a church nearby… never done anything like that in India before and it somehow feels vaguely seditious in the current climate…

  12. I started blogging just before I moved to Japan in 2007. I started it as a means to keep family and friends in the Netherlands up-to-date on my new life in Japan. When I lived in the States before that, I had to keep emailing the same stories over and over again to seperate people which was quite a hassle, a blog reaches everyone at the same time and I liked the efficiency.

    I really got into blogging and loved doing it, I wrote hundreds of posts. A few years later after we moved to the States, I lost interest and got so behind on posts that blogging became a chore and I took a long, long, way-too long break.

    Now that we’ve moved to the UK (yes, we move around quite a bit), and that we’re growing a baby in my belly I have felt a desire to document our memories again. I’ve switched from Blogger to WordPress, which makes blogging so much easier and funner. I like to compare it to when I switched from a PC to a Mac, wondering why I waited didn’t I do it earlier and I’m never going back ;).

    Anyways, I’m happy to have found my blogging spark again and don’t ever want to go on another break.

    1. Thanks for dropping by and sharing your blogging story. I am glad you found your blogging spark again as well. I bet it is a wonderful time to begin again as you will have many stories to share – not only about living in the UK and life in general but about your baby. I look forward to reading all about your adventures as you become a mom and by the way, congratulations!!

      I do have a question though – I decided to start with wordpress at the beginning as I read an article about the pros and cons of between blogger and wordpress and wordpress seemed more suitable for what a wanted to accomplish. What is the major difference between the two for you?

  13. All the way back when I first chose Blogger over WordPress it was because WordPress seemed to complicated. I was a newbie and choose Blogger’s simplicity. It is that exact simplicity that bugged me when I tried to revamp my blog this year. Blogger is too simple and its limitations in blog design made me turn to WordPress. Much more is possible on WordPress, without needing to create my own html, like 3 colums of posts and recent comments in a sidebar.

    But my favorite thing about WordPress now, after having moved, is its social aspect and the iPhone app. It’s easy to find blogs with similar interests through tags. And the app gives you notifications when someone has reacted on your comments or blog, making interaction with fellow blogger really easy and fun.

    1. Thanks for sharing! The article I read mostly focused on ownership of material and things of that nature. I am not too familiar with blogger but I know whenever I go to comment on a blog using blogger, it bugs me when I have to go through the letter verification process. I am glad to hear you are happy using wordpress. Merry Christmas! 🙂

      1. Ow yeah, that verification process on Blogger soooo annoys me! I turned mine of for a while, since I did not want to put off commenters from leaving a message, but I would get lots of spam.

        Merry Christmas!!

  14. I love your photos and this snow falling on my screen. You have done so well with your blog!
    I took a break over the summer when I was in America. I brushed it off like I was taking a break from blogging to hang out with family.. and i was. But I also used that time to refocus on what I wanted the blog to be, and how I was going to accomplish my goals when I got back to Australia. It worked well for me, because as of now, I haven’t burnt out despite writing 4+ times a week. Things keep getting easier the longer I stick with it, and the whole process becomes more fun.

    1. Yes, I think once you find your direction with anything, including blogging, it gets easier with time. And I think as long as it is fun, you won’t mind putting the effort into something as it is something you enjoy! Wishing a Merry Christmas and happy holidays!!

  15. First of all I absolutely love the panda photo, it’s awesome! Constance to answer your question, there have been times when I have felt overwhelmed by the all blogging but I managed to find the right motivation and reasons to keep going. I’m glad you did too, like you said it’s so important to enjoy blogging otherwise it becomes another “things” we fell we have to do. Keep writing 😉

    1. I am so glad you loved the panda picture!! And thanks for your words of encouragement!

      I think all bloggers feel that way from time to time but I think I learned my lesson from a three-month break. Blogging is something we do because we enjoy writing and sharing our thoughts. I am glad you found the inspiration to keep going as well!!

      Merry Christmas and happy holidays, Franca! I hope you have an amazing 2015 with lots of beautiful travel stories to tell! 🙂

  16. As someone who has been blogging for almost 2 years, this was really interesting.
    For my first year, I was only posting once a week, so it was pretty easy. Now that I’m posting every day, it can get really overwhelming – FAST.

    Now I just pre-write a handful of posts and schedule them to post throughout the week, so I’m only really “blogging” one day a week (albeit, it takes the whole day).

    PS – I LOVE the photography!

  17. Firstly, your photos are amazing! So vibrant.

    Secondly, yes! Fell off the face of the blogging planet for 2yrs. Only got back into it last October & even then, I still struggle. I just got back from a week long road trip yesterday & didn’t do any blogging the entire week. Felt strange!

    1. Thanks! I am glad you like my photos!

      Blogging is a big commitment and we need to do it because we enjoy it. I think it is nice to take breaks as well and don’t put too much pressure on ourselves – if we don’t feel like doing it for a week or two, then that’s ok.

  18. Sorry this is late but I totally agree with your tips. Posting regularly is also my problem because I’m so busy and tired from work that my brains are fried. In fact, the long break that I took was because I was too exhausted to even think up posts. I love thinking and writing up fun and creative posts but when your brains are tired, the last thing you want to do is trying to think and I didn’t want to post something that I didn’t feel for just for the sake of posting something. I’m slowly getting back into the groove of it though but I still have lots to improve on. We’ll encourage each other instead, ya? 😉

    1. In my opinion, blogging should be fun but sometimes life and work commitments take priority. I am glad to see you are back in the swing of things. Love your recent post about the five things you do because of blogging (taking too many pics – I am one of those people)!

  19. I really enjoyed these pictures! I know I’m rather late…but YES share what you love and what you want!

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