This summer I did something I’ve never done before: I took the entire month of August off from writing newsletters, from writing blog posts, and from using Instagram to promote my business. Would I have preferred to take the whole month off from work altogether? Um, yeah, but a content sabbatical was the next best thing.
Stop Thing A
One thing I realized (or more accurately: remembered) is that I’m the kind of person who needs to 100% stop doing Thing A in order to visualize and create Thing B. I need to get free of the old completely.
I did this before I started this business, you know: I quit my job as COO of an international non-profit WITHOUT A PLAN, without a safety net, without #allthethings, because I was so crushed by the stress of that job, that I couldn’t see a damn thing clearly, let alone the future that I wanted to, could create. It took me about two weeks to get over my very real PTSD/narcissist-boss-detox. And then, the idea for Do Your Thing floated in to my mind as I drove home across the Golden Gate Bridge.
So for me, getting off the hamster wheel of producing was just the step-back I needed.
Letting the Fog Disperse
Next I realized that while I’d been writing all these newsletters and blog posts since I re-launched this as a weekly habit in November 2020, it was bothering me that there was no coherent through-line. Like it wasn’t necessarily adding up to something useful.
Early in my sabbatical (before I was calling it that) when I set myself the task of adding Tags to the blogs I’d written, boy, did I ever realize that I was kind of all over the map. I was creating fog.
Don’t get me wrong: I love the writing, I love every word, but is every one of those words truly USEFUL? Does it have lasting evergreen value it can impart to someone who doesn’t already know me/work with me/read me?
Yeah, in my opinion: No.
Once I stopped, once I took in what I’d made and let that settle, into that quiet clarity floated the architecture for what I want to build with the blog, what kinds of information I want to write and share and in what way, maximizing its usefulness in an ongoing way.
For the chatty topical content, I can still use the weekly newsletter, but what lives on the blog needs to LIVE: to have a longer useful shelf-life for small business owners. Duh, obvious, right, but without taking this break, I wouldn’t now have this handwritten map of the upcoming year, laying out what topics I want to hit when so that in the end, there’s a clear destination for a reader to land.
And what is it going to be about?
Meaning. Strategy. Ease. Basically the Do Your Thing trifecta.
I can’t say enough about the value of taking a break, of stopping One Thing to help create the Next Thing, the Right Thing, the Best Thing. If you’re feeling, like I was, a bit burnt, a bit ground-down and uninspired by what you’re doing: take a content sabbatical. See what happens when you stop, let the fog clear, and SEE.
Have you ever taken a content sabbatical (or a sabbatical of any kind)? If not, WHEN? Click here to email me your thoughts.