Blogging

The Art of Unblogging

Who are you on the days you don’t publish a post?

Who are you when activity fills up every crevice of your week and you have not time to dance with a pen?

I’ll tell you what you are–you’re an Unblogger.

The Art of Unblogging via @TrinaHolden

Don’t let the negativity of the term fool you. This has nothing to do with UNderacheiver, UNqualified, or UNinteresting.

An Unblogger is someone who embraces time between posts, because waiting is part of the art of writing, and silence will make our words louder. Let me explain:

What Waiting Does To Your Writing

When I want to write a letter to a dear friend, I have two options. One, I can brain dump whatever’s on my mind at the moment, knowing my friend loves me enough that she’ll accept whatever words I have time to write. Or, I can plan for a few days in advance of sitting down to write, collecting anecdotes and quotes, jotting down highlights and “P.S.” material in my journal as I whisk by. When I sit down to write and I have prepared, I bring variety and depth to the letter, not simply whatever thoughts and emotions I have in the moment.

A writer, more than any other artist, is a collector, able to defy time and space and bring together beauty from different days, even different centuries, to present both the question and the conclusion in the same breath, the illness and the remedy, the ugly and the beautiful. No other medium fosters such a juxtaposition of content, delivering the recipient so much dimension in a single moment.

Brain dumps have their place, but a truly memorable epistle involves some time.

My snail-mail-pal embraces the element of time, as well. She writes over the space of days or even weeks, as evidenced by 3 different colors of ink and a postmark much younger than the date on the first page of her letter. A month passes between our letters, but the content is richer for the waiting, fuller for all the life lived between the lines.

I’m realizing the best way to prepare for a blog post is not by writing, but by living life fully between posts, resulting in richer, deeper words.

I believe that if we want to truly impact people with our words, we must embrace the art of unblogging.

What Unblogging Looks Like

I’m still reading A Million Little Ways (I told you it was a book to be savored) and recently finished the chapter on waiting.

“Sacred and secret things happen in the waiting. The work is invisible but the result is not.”
-Emily Freeman, A Million Little Ways

Her words gave me such peace, and I wanted to share with you how I’m applying them to my art–how waiting applies to blogging.

You may not realize it, but behind the flat, bright front of this blog there has been a lot of striving, folks. A lot of pressure to produce perfection, much effort toward meeting expectations and self-imposed deadlines. Much study of the art and business of blogging, and much application at the expense of sleep and peace of mind.

In the past year, though, the Lord has been gradually focusing my vision for my online space–away from a dazzling little empire that’s a show piece for all the correct blogging practices, to a place where ministry, art, and joy abound–both for those who read, and the one behind the scenes.

What this looks like for you is fewer posts, slower response to comments, and a site redesign that’s gradual, rather than an overnight reveal.

What this looks like for me is days, or even weeks, that I don’t blog. Nights I fall asleep quickly instead of stewing, stewing about this decision or that idea. It’s letting posts sit in drafts till it feels right, not publishing just because my editorial calendar says a post is due. And it’s lots and lots of putting ideas and inspiration for the blog up on the altar–as fast as they come, handing them to the Father to care for them until they are ripe.

waiting is part of the art of writing, and seasons of silence adds depth to our words

That’s the hardest part, you know. Because I’m an idea person–they flow out of me like drool from a baby. You can’t stop it, and it leaves you constantly damp. I have probably 10-15 blog post ideas a day. I used to stress about this feature of my brain, trying to write them all down. Now I let them go–trusting that if its something God wants me to follow through on, He will bring it back to me along with the time required to write it out.

There are days anymore that I don’t look much like a blogger, though I’m more committed than ever to this space. If you don’t see me for a while, know this: I’m just unblogging. Living and writing and praying and reading and embracing the time it takes me to bring you my best. (This post itself took 6 weeks from idea to final draft!)

It’s between posts that we grow and learn and are better prepared for the moments of blogging.

The waiting is part of the art.

As an Unblogger, I come to the computer at peace, instead of harried. I come bearing little treasures I found in the waiting. I offer them to you, hoping you, too might catch sight of the beauty that comes from quietness, trusting, and waiting.

Have you neglected the space and time between the words you write? Have you let the pressure to produce result in less than your best, or even burnout? Have you considered it might be better for you, your art, and your readers to celebrate the space between posts? I’d love to hear if you have felt bound to a certain blogging schedule, and if unblogging seems like a way to breath more freely when it comes to your art.

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65 Comments

  1. Thank you for this. So often I find myself bound by the ideal that I need to write everyday (which I have never done) and in all honesty the thought alone makes me freeze up. But this idea of Unblogging . . . it’s freeing. And so, so true. Thank you for helping clarify this for me.

  2. This post is exactly what I needed to hear right now. I’ve been blogging for almost a year and have been weighing the decision to stop blogging with the decision to continue. I’ve allowed the need to have a post and have it be perfect to take over my life to the point that I don’t enjoy blogging or the process of creating. I’ve decided to continue blogging, but that I need to take a month to regroup and refocus. I need to have a better idea of who I am and where I want my blog to go before I continue. And after reading your words, I am sure that this is the right idea. This is my time of unblogging where things are still happening behind the scenes that will lead to a better blog for my readers. Thank you so much for this inspiring post!

    1. Bekki, Thanks so much for your comment! I love hearing others who are in the same boat, but looking for a different current. I had a little peek at your blog and LOVED the sword fighting post…especially the safety rules. Your writing is practical with a bit of humor (my favorite mix)–keep up the good work (but embrace rest, too! ;))

  3. Great post, shared! We post 4-5 days a week and feel that is a good number. Daily is just too much. Lots of our blogging friends have burnout from the “daily chore”. A break is a good thing. Thanks for this post.

  4. This post was like balm to my soul! Thank you thank you for allowing the Lord to use you and encouraging us to do the same ! Bless you in all of this! 🙂

    1. Hannah, thank you so much for your sweet comment. 😉 BTW your blog is awesome and I shared your DIY Design post with my mastermind group!

  5. Trina,
    THIS is AMAZING!!!!! It truly is some of your best. Thank you for the time you put into this post. I don’t read many blogs because I just don’t have the time, but I saw Lisa recommend it in the West Coast Christian Bloggers fb group and thought… hmm… what is unblogging.

    Love it. Going in my bookmarks {and I only have like 5 bookmarks in my new computer, so that’s an honor friend}.

    I feel so stressed out sometimes that I don’t post very often… thank you.

  6. Trina….loved this post! I smiled because at the moment I have several drafts sitting until God moves me to edit and publish. There is something sweet about embracing the time we’re given in all things, including blogging. How and when we blog should be God’s design not ours. There is peace in that. Thank you for the encouragement today. I needed it. Blessings.

    1. Naomi,
      It’s a delight to hear of another ‘Spirit-Led’ blogger…I can testify to the joy and fruit that comes from such an approach. Blessings on you and the words He leads you to share.
      Trina

  7. This couldn’t have come a better time. I have many deadlines that I’m going to be striving to reach by the end of the next couple of weeks, but I am striving to make my personal posts more polished.

  8. I am in love with this post! I sat down to write this week and it had been 5 days since my last post. At first I felt so bad, but as the words poured out of me, it felt right and good. I wrote from my heart and with intent.
    I’ve received meaningful emails, and comments from people who felt like I did, or they decided to leave an encouraging word.

    Writing for the sake of having so many posts up a week is something I’ve been struggling with for a while now. Thanks so much for sharing your perspective on the art of unblogging.

  9. This is incredibly brilliant. I have been very focused on not publishing just to say I did and being very mindful.

    In the end, it’s all about balance. Being manic about any one thing is not healthy and this post perfectly outlines the bliss that comes from practicing the art of balance and unblogging.

    Do you have a group of unbloggers? 🙂 I would join!

  10. Love this. I’m a new blogger trying to figure out how to actually execute the vision that I have for my blog in a way that is effective and inspiring… but doesn’t leave me feeling like I’m constantly scrambling or that I’m forgetting to do all of the things I’m *supposed* to be doing.

    And oh, this paragraph: “A writer, more than any other artist, is a collector…”. Absolutely beautiful. You have such a gift. I was pointed here from an email from Jeni Elliot/the Blog Maven, and I’m looking forward to exploring more! You have yourself a new subscriber 🙂

  11. Yes, yes, yes. Being on sabbatical is from publishing public blog posts is reminding me of the importance of ‘unblogging’. Thanks so much for this reminder too – just loving your perspective on writing and blogging, so what I need right now. Thank you Trina.

  12. I am so ablsolutely thrilled to see someone else feel the same way I do!

    Never thought of the “unblogging” word but that’s exactly what I have been doing. And that is how I also wrote my book. So tired and unable to keep up with all the posts that flood my inbox everyday! I don’t post because I have to post. I do it because I have something to share that came out of molding an idea for a while and then share it.

    As for my blog design? A step at a time too!

    Thank you for validating my …unblogging, with a beautifully written and wise post!!!

  13. People tell me lately that my blog has been just what they need (I mean that humbly), and only tell you to say that You? This? You are just what I needed. To give to them, thank you thank you. Brilliance and freedom indeed

  14. Looooooove this take on it 🙂 Ever since I started blogging, I’ve been on this wild ride, following people who are experts and worrying I didn’t do ‘it right’.
    I decided it is totally ok for them to do it and be real professional bloggers, and I decided it is totally ok for me to not aspire to be a professional or hugely famous and popular blogger. (This decision was very useful in being ok with not being famous or popular ;))

  15. Oh, Trina, this is JUST what I need!! I have a handful of drafts that I just haven’t gotten back to… posts that were connected to linkups in January (oops). And my Five Minute Friday post from this past week still hasn’t been written… hopefully tomorrow!

    And a blog redesign that isn’t overnight, THAT is an idea I could get behind… hmm, now my brain is whirling with ideas!!

    1. Seriously, when did we give ourselves all these deadlines? lol I mean, deadlines are helpful if you need a kick in the pants to get writing, but that’s not my problem. I need to be told it’s ok to slow down. 😉 And my blog design? It’s been in progress now for 6 weeks. That’s ok, too. 😉

  16. Trina,

    I really loved this post and completely agreed with your points of unblogging. I’ve struggled with unblogging too but the more I practice it, the more I know it’s the right thing to do. Thanks for sharing!

  17. Very encouraging for the pressured to post blogger. I am trying to find balance in not spending too much time with social media/blogging and daily life focusing on those blogs that really encourage me like yours…

  18. “A writer, more than any other artist, is a collector, able to defy time and space and bring together beauty from different days, even different centuries, to present both the question and the conclusion in the same breath…” YES! This entire paragraph is artfully written…just truth wrapped in the beauty of your words.
    I’ve been a blogger who has needed the space between words, but carried guilt because the blogging gurus say it’s important to post often or at least consistently. Thank you for this post. I feel a bit freer to live and blog, freely.
    blessings,
    Gay [email protected]

    1. Gay, I think that it’s so important to filter any and all blog advice through what God’s vision for your blog is. For years, I didn’t do that. So much of the advice out there is for money making blogs–as that is not my primary goal in blogging, it has allowed me the freedom to be more Spirit-led in my blogging. I’m so exciting that you feel a bit freer–embrace it!

  19. This post is excellent!! Oh the waiting is so hard! Sometimes I feel like I’ve got a “great post” and just can’t wait to share it. 🙂 ha!! But, you are SO right…there is such a beauty in the waiting…that is where the growth is. Thank you for this reminder!! I’m not sure I had ever applied it to blogging before!

  20. Thank you! I have had to take a huge step away from my blog, my first real break in over 5 years of blogging. I self-published a book in November, and afterwards I hit a wall. I know that I am called to write, but I still feel guilty not writing. I needed to read your words, that it’s okay to take the time away, to wait on God. I love what you said about the waiting being part of the art. I just started reading A Million Little Ways last week and it’s really ministering to my heart. Two of my blog friends send me your post through a FB message today, so this is very timely for me. Blessings!

  21. Thank you for this! I was just sitting here tonight fretting over the fact that I didn’t have anything scheduled to post for tomorrow due to lack of inspiration. Now I’m going to turn off the computer and leave the blogging behind me for the nigh with a sense of freedom that wasn’t there a few minutes ago!

  22. You completely described me here, but I hadn’t put it into words. Love this! I love the slower pace I’ve developed over the last couple years after being a full time blogger. Life is so much better this way 🙂

    1. Angela, your blog is absolutely scrumptious. It’s apparent you are blogging from a place of peace and confidence. I’m looking forward to exploring your site.

  23. I love this. I’m not really new to the blogging world, but I am new to learning all the ins and outs of what you’re suppose to be doing when blogging. It’s a tough balance. On the one hand, for someone like me, not blogging means potentially losing your current audience and not growing, but on the other hand, breaks are necessary and real life has to trump your blog. I really enjoyed this post!

    1. Jessica,
      I know blogging frequently is often advised, but I think consistent quality is more important than frequency. And? If people have subscribed to you, you taking a break does not mean you lose touch with them! They will be there when you come back.
      Thank you so much for your comment. I agree, real life should trump our blogs.

  24. Thank you so much for this! I am free! I just finished a guest post a friend is graciously posting on her blog and I was feeling so much pressure to write a post for my blog, too. But I am spent. Dry from the other post. And I was stressing about it because while I have lots of blog post ideas every day, too, it takes me time to ruminate and digest and pray and ponder and write.

    1. Oh, my dear–yes, how well I know that feeling–run dry, but still feeling the pressure to produce. Please rest!
      P.S. I visited your blog and your writing is exquisite! I’d say you earn the right to a break in between posts!

  25. LOVE. This is what I’m trying to do with my new blog. I was starting to stress that I hadn’t written anything for a bit, but you’ve given me permission to relax and savor the moments in between. And now I have a name for it – Unblogging! 🙂

  26. Once I ditched the ad network that required me to post several times a week, I’ve been able to embrace this freedom of blogging only when I feel like it. I’ve even stopped participating in link-ups I love, just because I want to step back and breathe and not feel the pressure to write. It’s a beautiful freedom, even if it’s one I may only embrace for a season.

    1. Mmmm…I love the awareness that this may only be a season. That shows that you’re being intentional. (hooray!) Blogging with intentionality AND freedom…you inspire me.

  27. Trina, I love this so much. I had been struggling with this blogging thing for too long and considered giving it up though I still felt called to write. I felt bound but am trying to live in freedom with the blog as a tool that I can use when appropriate and not something that controls. Instead, I’m learning to make it my own and having posts up when I have something to say and trusting the Lord with my words. I’m being more intentional about my “unblogging” times because that’s where my story truly lives.

    I have had a post drafted all week that I haven’t been able to finish but I have kids to homeschool, laundry to fold and a Valentine’s day party to plan so perhaps tomorrow it will get done or not.

    1. Zohary, thank you so much for your words. It is so good to know I’m not alone in this process. I well know the struggle, but am loving the freedom in an unconventional, trust-God-for-every-aspect approach to my blog.

      I have a post I wanted to put up for Valentine’s too. But I, too, have homeschool, laundry, and a party to plan. I will pray the Lord gives us both wisdom and grace to embrace whatever He says is priority this week!

  28. Thank you for this. I’m a new blogger trying to figure things out. It’s a lot of work! I love it but I can get a bit carried away. (It’s a good exercise in self control.) This post feels very nourishing to my soul, like the gentle rebuke of a mother that makes you feel safer and more relaxed when she corrects you. I’m glad I’m following you.

    1. oh, Karyn, thank you for your kind comment? I love a good metaphor, and your’s blessed me! I hope my words can help you find peace and freedom in the beginning of your blogging journey! These are the things I wish someone would have whispered to me.

  29. Trina, this is so good! Just what I needed to hear today. I was just commenting to my son earlier that it has been two weeks since I did a blog post. I’m also finding this to be true :”I’m realizing the best way to prepare for a blog post is by not writing, by living life fully between posts, resulting in richer, deeper words.” and “It’s between posts that we grow and learn and are better prepared for the moments of blogging.” Such words of wisdom. I’ve been doing some writing, some art journaling and poetry, and I’m sure a blog post will come out of some of that when the time is right. Waiting is hard but it is sometimes best. It’s good to hear from you again. I think of you often.

  30. Hi Trina:

    I love this permission to see the space in between as positive space, permission to be filling up, just an open vessel. I can’t regularly blog on a tight schedule because something in me balks and gets all guilt-ridden. I know the signs in my own thinking when I just need to step away and think about and do other things — any things. I am filled up focusing on people I love, digging in the dirt, whiling away hours at the lake, studying the bible without the intention of turning it into a blog post. If I don’t do this, I can’t produce anything worthwhile. Sure, I write a little almost every day, but I don’t write for my blog every day.

    1. yes, yes! Writing every day is part of the process, but not worrying that every word we write needs to be published. For too long I neglected my journal or any freewriting, and thought everything had to be published. 🙂

      Your lake sounds like a lovely way to unblog. #justalittlejealous 😉