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In Defense of the Hiatus | Manolo for the Big Girl

In Defense of the Hiatus

Don’t Panic.

I’m not going anywhere, neither is this blog. No one here is taking a break.

Do you know why no one here is taking a break? Because it’s our job.

Being the editor of this blog is my job.

I do it for the paycheck and I earn the hell out of that paycheck.

Of course I do it for other reasons, too. I love my readers, Manolo is a doll, and Twistie and Raincoaster (you’re visiting them at Ayyyy, right?) are great colleagues. Most importantly, I believe in this blog, its message and our eclectic, size-inclusive community.

BUT

If you think for one hot-buttered second I’d do this for free; you’re drunker than an acolyte on Easter.

I know a lot of people –many of whom I haven’t even killed– who, upon finding out that I’m a writer and blogger tell me ZOMG!!! they’re writers and have a blog too and it takes a great deal of teeth gritting and counting to ten to not throttle them while they tell you allllll about their uniformly grim “poetry” and mommyblogs (there is exactly one mommyblog I love) because God forbid the world doesn’t know about little Aidan and Madison’s opinion of the artisinal gerbil milk smoothies they were forced to glug down because of some twee made-up allergy conceived just to illustrate the speshul speshulness of your “gifted” little snowflakes.

Which isn’t to say you shouldn’t keep a blog if you want to, or write bad poetry, but let’s have a little intellectual honesty here: keeping a hobby blog –while a worthwhile thing to do– is just not the same as a “content-rich” blog with thousands upon thousands of hits a month full of readers wanting you to dance, monkey, dance.

Uh, great Plumcake, so what’s the point?

It’s this:

For those of you who follow Style Spy –and you should– you’ll have noticed she’s been on hiatus.  You can argue back and forth whether you ought to announce in advance when you’re not going to be updating for a while –ideally yes, but this isn’t an ideal world– but I was shocked and mightily ticked off at the emails devoted readers had been sending her harassing her for not updating.

Here’s a woman who parlayed a hobby blog into a professional blog with all the demands but none of the benefits (read: profits) and people have the gall to threaten her to  update more frequently or they were going to O NOES take her off their favorites list? Unacceptable.

Now fair play: it is frustrating/disappointing when one of your favorite bloggers takes a hiatus. I get it. I check Style Spy every day too, and a sign of a good blog is when your readers become emotionally invested.

But therein lies the danger. It’s shockingly easy to think we know our favorite bloggers, especially when their blogs offer a peek into their daily lives.

We don’t.

Bloggers, even indiscreet ones like your pal Plummy here, show what we want to show and no more when it comes to our private lives. Once a close friend called me after months without contact, horrified to find out from a mutual acquaintance that I’d had six deaths in my family over the course of those four months. She hadn’t realized how long it had been since we’d actually seen each other since she read me every day and just assumed we’d spoken.  She had literally forgotten we didn’t talk. I didn’t take it personally because I know it’s just a hazard of the industry. She assumed that if something major happened in my life, naturally I’d announce it on the blog.  Whoops.

The fact is, we don’t know what’s going on when a non-pay blogger takes a break.

They could be working on other projects, burned out, uninspired, busy with family, school, friends or work…heck, they just might be getting laid regularly for the first time in years (Aims, if this is the case, call me immediately. I miss you and I want to know everything!)

Whatever it is, it isn’t about you.  They don’t owe you anything. Blogging is a hard gig and everyone deserves a sabbatical now and then.

If you want to encourage your favorite non-pay blogger to pick up the virtual pen, send them an email of support, encouragement (DON’T ask them for advice) heck even email them a gift certificate or donate to their server fees if you’re feeling generous, and let them know you miss them.

If they come back, it was meant to be.

12 Responses to “In Defense of the Hiatus”

  1. Orora April 15, 2010 at 11:15 am #

    Abso-frickin’-lutely, Plummy. If someone is blogging because they just like doing it and they aren’t getting paid, you don’t have a right to bitch if they decide to stop, for a week, a month or forever. Some of my favorite blogs and podcasts have gone on hiatus, and it’s terribly disappointing to me because I love them and miss them. But I understand they do this for free; I’ve donated to those podcasts that I love because I want to show I support the podcaster. It can be exhausting to run a blog or podcast and everyone deserves time off. You’re getting free entertainment, so shut yer piehole.

  2. Thea April 15, 2010 at 11:36 am #

    Hey Plumcake,
    I know your intent was to illicit appreciation but it seemed like a good time to add, your blog is one of the highlights of my techno loaded day.

    Thank you

  3. raincoaster April 15, 2010 at 12:03 pm #

    And, you know, if you are really, truly pissed off and you want to stop reading that particular blog…

    just go ahead and stop.

    StyleSpy is a big girl and she’ll find a way to go on somehow. Her sun will rise and set without you, and yours without her. If you want to make it permanent, don’t feel you must Announce! It! To! The! World! or if you absolutely must, do it on your own blog where you can read it two weeks later and get shamefaced about it. It’s just a blog, after all, and it’s not even yours!

  4. Plumcake April 15, 2010 at 12:36 pm #

    Rain, but then how will the WHOLE WORLD KNOW you’ve flounced off because someone displeased you on the internet?!

    Thea, thanks. It means a lot to me. Sometimes the most disheartening thing about blogging is you pour your time, talent and energy into something you believe is worthwhile and there’s no reader response. It’s like you’re howling into a vacuum, so I value pretty much all reader response (even the folks I don’t agree with) because at least you know someone is out there, listening.

    Orora, sing it, sister! And on behalf of my non-pay blogger and podcasting pals, thank you for your support.

  5. Frances April 15, 2010 at 2:03 pm #

    Frankly, even if you were being paid top-dollar by a company to blog, I still wouldn’t feel I had the right to demand that you blog. Your employers would, sure, but me? Hell to the no.

    But this seems like a good time to say this: I adore your work on this blog and really appreciate it. Thanks and best wishes always.

    Also, have you ever been to Durham Cathedral? One of the most majestic Anglican places of worship I have ever seen.

  6. Plumcake April 15, 2010 at 2:08 pm #

    Frances, thanks! And BEEN to Durham Cathedral? I’ll (Lord willing) be moving there in the next two years to do my Master’s of Anglican Studies! Durham is by far my favorite town in England, and I love the cathedral and the campus –plus it’s home to my beloved Saint Cuthbert’s remains.

    Fun fact: The day before a Very Important Friend had organized a private tour/meet and greet at Lambeth Palace, I was in Durham. I got locked into the pub where I spent the night, missed my train and stood up the Archbishop!

  7. Frances April 15, 2010 at 3:12 pm #

    I study in Durham!! This is my first year. Two more to come.

    My Goddess will be walking the same hearth as me! It says something about the magnitude of your personality that I was staring at one of the most beautiful architectural features in England (maybe in the whole of the Christian world) and thinking ‘I wonder what Plumcake would look like playing Jesus on this stage’.

  8. JayKay April 15, 2010 at 11:05 pm #

    “…because God forbid the world doesn’t know about little Aidan and Madison’s opinion of the artisinal gerbil milk smoothies they were forced to glug down because of some twee made-up allergy conceived just to illustrate the speshul speshulness of your “gifted” little snowflakes.”

    F*ck me, that’s funny. THIS is why I come here. Lady, you are hysterical. But if you ever decided to take a break from talking about “speshul snowflakes” (DAMN, I can’t even type that without laughing), that’s your gig. I ain’t mad atcha…and no one else should be either. Do your thing.

  9. Ellie April 16, 2010 at 10:16 am #

    These seem like the complaints of readers who are too stupid to use an RSS reader. You don’t need ’em anyway.

  10. zuzu April 16, 2010 at 12:41 pm #

    Ah, thank you. Demanding readers are one reason of many I left the world of Big Feminist Blogs. I got tired of people telling me what I should write, what I couldn’t write, etc., etc. I wasn’t being paid, either, but that didn’t seem to make any difference; astonishing how people will assert ownership over someone they’re not paying for.

    It would be one thing if it were my job, or if I were using the blog as a means to market myself for freelance work, but it was a hobby. And if your hobby isn’t fun anymore, or if people threatening to out you might interfere with your real livelihood, it’s time to rethink why you’re doing it.

  11. Plumcake April 16, 2010 at 1:55 pm #

    JayKay, thanks! I’m not taking a break any time soon (and if I do you’ll probably not notice it because I’ll just front-load posts)

  12. Miriam April 17, 2010 at 10:51 pm #

    Does this mean you get to see the great Bishop of Durham in person?!