Don’t Be Afraid to Take a Vacation From Creating Content
With Thanksgiving (here in the U.S.) just a few days away, taking time off from work has been on my mind lately. Very few of us mind being told, “You don’t have to work today.” Frankly, I love finding a day or two with no looming deadlines and a little bit of free time – as rare as it is. But what about when you work for yourself? Can you or should you take a vacation?
Taking a break is absolutely necessary as a self-employed smutlancer – whether it’s a full-time or part-time gig. It’s also one of the hardest or scariest things you might do.
Medically Necessary Breaks
Some breaks from writing, working, publishing, and creating don’t happen by choice. They’re forced on us by our own bodies. The first ever “vacation” I took from blogging came as I spiraled into a mental health break that terrified me. I couldn’t afford to lose a paying client, but I also couldn’t keep up the grueling pace of content creation I’d set for myself.
Since telling clients I wouldn’t submit work wasn’t an option, I decided to decrease my blogging schedule down from seven days a week to only two. Yes, I was still publishing, but it felt like a vacation! Several weeks later – with anxiety and bipolar disorder diagnoses in hand and a better grip on my mental health – I came back to blogging with a vengeance.
Your break might be due to physical or mental illness of your own or that of a partner or child. It’s easy to worry that you’ll be forgotten by your audience. You won’t. I worried I’d forget how to write smut. It sounds silly, but there it was. In case you wondered, no, I didn’t. In fact, after the break, I was fresher and filled with more ideas.
Taking a Vacation to Recharge
My partner, John Brownstone and I, are planning a Christmas/New Year vacation from the Loving BDSM podcast – and probably everything else, too. On one hand, it’s terrifying. Will people forget about us? Will they find another podcast they love more? The answer, whether you publish all the time or not, is always maybe. But the reality is that our best fans will still be there when we get back – and they’ll be excited to see us again.
On the other hand, we’re also both ecstatic. The last vacation we took from podcasting was to build a website. All we did was exchange one type of work for another – not really a break. But when we came back to it, we were also full of ideas. It worked out well even if it wasn’t a “real” vacation.
That’s the benefit of taking a vacation from your blogging or writing. You give your brain a rest. Instead of worrying about the next word you’ll type or the next promotional tweet you’re going to send, you get to look up and out at the rest of the world. Once your focus is off of the work in front of you, the ideas can come rushing in.
Time Your Vacation with a Holidays…or Don’t
A vacation you can schedule feels much better than the break thrust upon you by health or life. Give yourself permission to rest and enjoy whatever holiday season you’re in. In my experience, readers and listeners fall away over a holiday. People are focused more on their family obligations. They might want to read or listen to our smutty words, but they don’t have time.
It’s a perfect time to schedule a break for yourself and get some rest. You can do it without feeling guilty and come back re-charged. But it’s also okay to take a vacation outside of the holiday season…especially if a holiday is your time away from a day job to get some work done. Ideally, your break will be when you want it to be, and if you schedule it, you give yourself time to prepare and time to get excited about the extra time.
Some people worry that taking time away means they’ll lose their desire and/or their skills. I disagree with both, assuming the break is short enough and (ideally) purposefully done. In fact, you’re likely to be impatient for your vacation to be over because you’ve got so many ideas.
It’s funny, Dr. J. Tagged me in a retweet of this post when I mentioned my vacation downtime writing plans. Due to unforeseen circumstances, I’ve only written a few paragraphs, but I’m okay with it. I’m the first person up in the morning, so I’m sipping coffee while piddling around on the web or in a story. ????
I think piddling in a relaxed way counts as a break. It all depends on what you need. I’m always terrified to take a break, but this last one was sorely needed. And for the first time in a while, I went to bed last night looking forward to sitting down at the keyboard again. For me, that’s the clue that it’s time – dread.