Always know if the juice is worth the squeeze.

Is the juice worth the squeeze? (Image source:

Quite unintentionally, I’ve taken a two-month blogbatical. Isn’t that a great word? I borrowed it from Heather Kopp’s Preface to a Blogbatical, over at She’s taking a break from blogging to focus on the website for her new book.

Other influential bloggers have cut back on their posting frequency, namely:

Michael Hyatt: Why I Will Be Posting Less

Rachelle Gardner: New Blogging Schedule

I’ve used the analogy Michael Hyatt provided in his post several time over the past couple of months at work and at home. It’s such a powerful reminder [bold emphasis mine]:

… I was reminded of a principle I first read about in The 4-Hour Body by Timothy Ferris. It’s called the minimum effective dose (MED). He defines it as: “…the smallest dose that will produce the desired outcome. Any thing beyond the MED is wasteful. To boil water, the MED is 212°F (100°C) at standard air pressure. Boiled is boiled. Higher temperatures will not make it ‘more boiled.’ Higher temperatures just consume more resources that could be used for something more productive.” (p. 17)

Basically, always know if the juice is worth the squeeze. Here’s how the Urban Dictionary defines this term:

“Make sure that what you are doing and striving for is going to be worth any sacrifices you will have to make along the way.”

Lots of writers out there commit to a certain posting schedule. Mondays. Wednesdays. Fridays. With a certain theme for each day. It’s smart. It helps them create a niche and a following. But it feels so constrictive to me. And overwhelming.

As a fiction writer, I tell myself that blogging isn’t critical right now since I’m not yet published; therefore, it keeps taking a back seat to other things. Plus, I can’t be brilliant that many times a week. It’s just way too much pressure. On the other hand, I know that showing up at the writing desk is half the battle, and brilliance appears when you commit to sit down and do the work.

During my blogbatical over the past two months, I have:

  • Met with my writing critique group every other Saturday morning.
  • Made great progress on my WIP. I’ve added 13,000 words to my manuscript; I only need 12,000 more to reach my goal of 75,000 words. That is, if the story is finished at 75,000 words!
  • Started attending church and a small group on Sunday mornings in order to grow spiritually and meet people. I’m grateful for Darla McDavid over at Darla Writes for her encouragement to get back to church. Thanks Darla!

Up until now, Saturday and Sunday mornings have been my primary writing time. However, priorities change all the time and I’ve felt God prodding me to open myself up to community – to in person, face-to-face interaction with people.

Other writers.

Fellow Christians.

My writing time has been sacrificed, but I’m also choosing life. Love. People.

As I’ve accumulated wounds and scars over the years, I’ve realized I’ve retreated a bit into my own little world. I cannot allow myself to be isolated, closed off, or committed to self-protection.

So I’m putting myself out there in people-investment ways.

But I also dearly miss my writing time. I miss blogging and online interaction with other writers – also very real and influential. So I’m figuring out how to balance those things with my day job and life and spiritual growth and community building.

I’m pretty sure those activities are going to help my writing. A lot.

What do you think?

Leave a comment


  1. So there’s a word for what I find myself doing all the time: taking a break, usually unintentionally. Good to know. Also good to know that, in the wake of all the workshops talking about how to be a successful blogger, some bloggers are saying, “Not so!” My family has to come before blogging. Freelance writing often supersedes blogging. Right now, a H U G E project at church and canning season at home are taking that space. I guess…I guess I have only so much “drive” in me, and blogging isn’t the primary drive — though it is life-giving. And so I look for ways to feed myself by making space for writing, while also feeding my family (quite literally). I appreciate the bit of grace this post offers.

    • I love it when you post because when you do, it’s something you need to say… need to capture… to process. And you help others when you do. But you also have your priorities straight and that’s a beautiful thing. The challenge is letting go of the stuff we really really want to do, and not feeling like a failure by letting it go.

  2. I’m so happy to hear you’re enjoying your new church. Face-to-face interaction is so important and I’m glad you’re getting that now and in that way.

    The main reason to have a regular blogging schedule is if you want to gain reader visits, followers, and name recognition. It’s just a technical thing: The more you post, the more your blog will be seen in the search engines. If you don’t care about that right now, then maybe you don’t want to be a blogger. Why not just create a website that contains your bio, contact info, affiliations, and something about your work? Your posts (once a week?) could be some interesting tidbits about your novel — its progress, characters, how you’re choosing the location or names, etc. Or link to a interesting article. Or post nothing at all. You can interact with other writers without having an active blog to worry about. Leave comments on posts and in forums. Then spend the rest of your free time on writing.

    Here’s my post on what a publishing pro says about unpublished writers and blogs If you’re serious about getting published, the least you should have is a “hub” where professionals can find your contact info. You never know when someone will drop your name and they’ll come looking for you. Be prepared!

    • Darla, thanks so much for the suggestions and what a timely post on the subject – thanks for the link!

      I know as an aspiring writer how critical it is to have an online presence, but hadn’t thought of simply transitioning from a blog to a website. A blog is like the hungry lion in one of the Wizard of Oz books – can’t remember the title – always hungry but never satisfied. A website may be a tad more manageable.

  3. Don’t beat yourself up because you needed a break. Everyone does from time to time. If you didn’t take the break, you would be more likely to burn out…and we don’t want that. Enjoy your time at church and don’t feel guilty about it. Real life interaction with people and renewing your faith are more important.

  4. It’s always good to have balance. After all, life is what inspires the stories we write. If we’re locked up in a room writing all day, we lose that which inspires us. 🙂


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