You know, I started my blog, but then… things got crazy:
There were a barrage of projects for the blog, I was also reaching my goals and setting new ones, I was living that amazing semi-retired life I had for three years, plus, I had been blogging consistently for around 12 years (WHAT??!). At a certain point, I felt like I could only write about so much, so I threw my hands up all together.
Before you know it, it’s been weeks–or worse–months–since my last blog post. I mean, sure, I’ve randomly published a few articles to fulfill my clients’ requirements but two years ago, I suspected the reason why I stopped blogging regularly was because I’ve burned out.
I immediately Google-d “What is a burnout?” (just to be sure it’s exactly what I was experiencing, lol) and “Signs of burning out” (because I couldn’t believe someone who is naturally hyper like me could experience it). Just as I feared, Dr. “Google” concurred: You’re burned out. After realizing it, obviously, the next step was to Google “How To Recover From A Burnout” (what would my life be without Google?)
Basically, I started living my life without having to share or post every single aspect of it on the blog. I also stopped creating content for my editorial posts because by doing so I would had to invest time, be prepared and be creative on demand. To be honest, once I decided to stop blogging two years ago, I did not miss it. Weird.
I happily welcomed a new lifestyle: Living in the moment.
Things I learned during my blogging hiatus:
It’s OK to unplug.
First and foremost, I needed to acknowledge that there is NOTHING wrong with wanting to take a break. It may sound like a no-brainer – duh, who wouldn’t want to relax? – but in today’s society where we’re inundated with must-do’s and deadlines, it’s not as easy as you think to step away, especially for someone like me whose livelihood depends on blogging and being active on social media.
I even had this grand idea that when we moved into our new house three years ago that I would make every nook and cranny of our home into a mini studio to create content for the blog, BUUUUT the more I savored our stay at Maison Epperson (my pet name for our house LOL), the more I enjoyed quality time with my family because I was not taking photos or having to write about it and just being in the moment—showing less and feeling more. It was magic.
Learn to say no
As a blogger in an extremely competitive and saturated industry, I often felt obliged to take on every opportunity that came my way, thinking it would land me something bigger and better. They say good things happen to those who hustle, right? Not always. Because of that mentality, brands feel empowered to demand free content in exchange for products or gift cheques (unless they are GC’s for Meralco, HAHA). It’s not a difficult concept to grasp but sometimes I forget that my time is actually worth something (definitely more than Php 0!). Why not spend it on myself, my loved ones, or things that’d benefit my overall quality of life? I learned to stop hustling hard and to start hustling smarter.
A rule of thumb that I go by: unless it’s something I feel passionate about or would spend my own money on, I do myself a favor and politely decline or if a friend asks me for a favor, then I will oblige because I’m friendly like that. Haha! Also, if I believe in the brand, then it would be my pleasure to collaborate and promote their products. Just because something is free doesn’t mean your time is, especially when someone else is profiting at your expense. I will channel that energy into creating more substantial content instead. The magic is, the more meaningful content you produce, the more brands will love you. It’s true!
I revisited my “why”
I started blogging in 2006 because the newspaper I used to work for started skimping on the space for my articles. I was young, energetic and had a burning desire to share ideas and not having a platform (at least not enough space in the paper) was frustrating. When a friend introduced me to the world of blogging, at first, I was nervous but as soon as I drafted my first article and hit the “publish” button, I was hooked! I didn’t care whether people were going to read or appreciate my blog posts. I had zero agenda and it was 100% fun!
It made me realize that my passion lies on living life, sharing ideas and being creative. Writing with no agenda or not trying to build my brand (honestly, I never thought of it) was meaningful and joyful. So much so that during the first four years of blogging, I would publish 2-4 articles a day and this was before blogging was even a thing. I blogged out of passion and a genuine love for sharing ideas. It felt like heaven! I believe that because of my passion, I was one of the few bloggers in the Philippines at that time who had major advertisers in my site and won blog awards both internationally (Best Lifestyle Blog at the NuffNang Blog Awards in Malaysia and beating other top bloggers) and locally (Best Online Reporter chosen by the editors of Preview.ph during the Virtual Style Awards). These successes were unheard of during those times and reminiscing about them now humbles me. It also proves that when you love your work, it will love you back.
Tip the balance
With great influence comes with a lot of paid blog entries. While I am truly grateful for all the opportunities and blessings I’ve had for many years, writing sponsored posts consistently for years suddenly stopped being fun. Was it because I was no longer interested in the subject matter? Was it because I felt like I had too much on my plate? The answer is: All of the above. Don’t get me wrong, I will still publish sponsored content (truth be told, I have several drafts already and I hope you guys won’t mind) but there will be more editorial content. Blogging sponsored content vs. editorial content will not be balanced this time. There will be more of the latter.
Two years later, here I am back to blogging with a renewed passion for sharing and a newly redesigned website too.
It was serendipity that I got a random text two months ago from my tech guy, Online Business Strategist Dart Tiglao regarding updating my blog. After all, it’s been 6 years since I had my website redesigned. What better way to begin another chapter of my blog life than with a new and cool blog format. Thank you, Dart & Jenn Manigao-Tan (designer)! I loooove my new site!
I am also at a point in my life where I’ve rested well and lived offline long enough that I have more experiences to impart and energy to blog. As I write this post, I can sense the excitement and fun I used to feel when I first started blogging in 2006—OMG. It’s exhilarating!