August was the first time since starting my blog in January of 2011 that I gave myself complete permission not to worry about it one bit. I felt no pressure to draft a post, snap a picture of something I was doing so that I could post about it or to check blog stats. It felt wonderful!
Even though, or probably because, my blog is something I do completely for myself (I don't earn any money through blogging or podcasting), I put a lot of pressure on myself to continually create content that I'm proud of and that I hope will resonate with readers and the community I want to cultivate.
Taking a little break was a really great way to reflect on what I love about blogging and to remind myself that it's something I choose to do, and I continue to want to choose to do. I love having the freedom to do what I want with my blog and I love connecting with readers. At the same time, maintaining a blog is essentially a part time job, a job that I do outside of spending quality time with my family, being a partner in maintaining a household and of working my full time job. And there's so much more I always want to be doing with my blog, from updating design aspects of my blog to writing all the posts that I have ideas for to connecting more with readers via social media. I'm reminded that it's a balance of being energized by all the possibility but not letting it overwhelm me, because let's be honest, it's just a blog.
Lately we've been in simplification mode with our budget, with our stuff, and even with our time. For me that's meant taking a break from blogging for a month and also from reading blogs and from checking Facebook. I realized that I checked my blog reader and Facebook reflexively and it usually only served to break my attention from whatever task I had just been focused on. I definitely love the community, inspiration and reflection that comes from reading blogs and I enjoy reading many of your blogs and knowing what you're up to! But I want to be intentional about how I consume them and to make sure it's in a way that is fulfilling and not detracting.
I'm feeling such a pull to focus on the small sphere of the world that includes our little family and our home as we prepare to welcome another baby. There's a wonderful community and support network that comes from being part of the blogging world but there can also be the feeling of needing to do more - more with my blog, more recipes, more DIY projects, even just a message of "be more of yourself" which can be inspiring but sometimes it's OK to just be.
All of this rambling is to say that it's felt good to quiet this part of my life (and brain) for the past month and to gain perspective on finding a balance of taking part in a community and being inspired without letting it be draining.
I'd love to know what you think about finding a balance between reading blogs and being inspired versus feeling drained. And what about taking breaks from social media? I have loved making Facebook a very occasional part of my life.
P.S. On the new episode of The Girl Next Door Podcast we're talking about back to school season and catching you up on our latest obsessions and all the neighborhood news, which includes a creepy chair.