We’re taking a break from Office Hours this week
There is an easier way to taking breaks. You don’t need to pause your posts, just schedule them. I have about 13 posts sitting in my drafts and I am vacationing in Mykonos, Ibiza, St Tropez and my office releases a newsletter each week. Write your articles in advance, keep them in draft, and go away for weeks. It isn’t rocket science, it’s called Time management.
My archive is up to 1,015 stories as of today. I understand that people need breaks, but I promised daily and feel like I should deliver. So I do. One unplanned break with COVID since I began in August 2020
I love the “encore” post approach... bringing back an older piece with the benefit of hindsight. Sometimes I add a voiceover. I think it’s a nice way to share growth with the audience, and slate something to publish in my absence
Guest/ cross posts are huge. Also having a post or two ready to go and in reserve is tool every writer should have in their bag.
What a lovely and supportive read. I try to stay 3-4 stories ahead at any given time to combat life’s inevitable distractions. Since my Substack is primarily focused on rock history, I don’t have to worry about keeping up with current events. I’m curious if anyone else does this and, if so, how many do you have in the can at the ready?
Appreciate this post so much. I took a three week vacation last month and another strategy I used for one week was reprinting something I had published elsewhere (for The Guardian) with a preamble that linked it to the content of my substack Today You Will Write and an announcement of the vacation, set to post while I was away. Don't forget your b-sides and earlier work as an option, too!
Thanks for this - I’ve made an effort to keep my weekly schedule even through the birth of our second child, but I’m sure there’ll come a time when I need to take a week’s break from publishing on a weekly basis, especially with summer holidays coming up. These are really helpful pieces of advice for how to manage it!
Thanks for including me among the examples!
I should note that I got ZERO blowback from readers about rerunning an old feature. And no dip from the usual when it came to the open rate, number of likes number of comments, etc.
A few noted in the comments that they remembered when I first ran the story in February 2022, back when I had very few readers, but it was more along the lines of noting, with some pride, that they had been with me since the beginning.
In the past when I wanted to take a week off, I just didn't publish an issue that week. This felt a LOT better!
I am definitely going to investigate the guest column, during my next vacation. Thank you for this post. Great suggestions.
Very useful - just as I was feeling bad for not having sent out a post last Sunday - I was sick! Thanks for giving us permission to break the flow... I'm taking it with both hands and a sigh of relief. (All that boarding school education: YOU HAVE TO FINISH what you started!!)
These are great suggestions. Plus real readers understand that real writers are not AI. But actual humans. HI. Hi! I’ve been a disciplined content provider for decades and it took me a long time to accept that not taking breaks is a kind of clinging. The break is often harder for creators than for the readers.
I understand the sentiment and I think it is different for each person. For me, I have to keep the momentum. I have had to cut back because I have a job which requires about 20 hours per week. I didn't have that before. So I aim for 2 posts per week but I have been averaging 1. I plan to do 2 per week again as my daughter is going to summer camp and it will free up more time. I think whenever you come up with an idea, write it down! I do, and then I talk into my phone while on a walk with my dogs and I get home and the first draft of my post is done!
I'm always so impressed by many writers who do weekly newsletters. Because for me, and my newsletter being able to take a week break to gather my thoughts has really been great for keeping me from getting stressed out with doing my newsletter.
I just sent my subscribers an update advising I am cutting back for the summer months. Readership is down during the summer months and a good time to slow the pace, which gives me time to do more reading and smell the roses.
I created a “sub” newsletter partly to address this idea of rest and expansion not being mutually exclusive. My main newsletter is written by me (two long form essays a month), and what I’m thinking about as the “sub” newsletter, The Spectrum Spotlight, will (as more people pitch their guest ideas) fill in the gaps. I think weekly touchpoints is about as much as I can sustain. And with a cross-country move coming up, I’ll be able to rely on these guest posts to nurture and nourish readers without stuff coming from me while I’m frantically chasing a toddler between Colorado and Texas.
I write daily, so I have a slightly different take... but my writing also energizes me. If it stops doing that, I'll consider breaks.