Zugzwang #AtoZChallenge

Any self-respecting ‘Criminal Minds’ fan will tell you the meaning of the chess term ‘zugzwang’, without looking at you funny and asking you for the spelling of the word.

For those of you who aren’t blessed to know Dr. Spencer Reid, let me spell out the meaning of ‘zugzwang’ to you.


In simpler terms,  it is a position in chess in which either way you are going to worsen your position in the game. ‘Either way’ means 1. You prefer to pass and not move 2. You move. By selecting any of these choices your position in the game becomes significantly weaker. (Look, I’m not a chess genius. I got this info from Wikipedia)

Wonder why I’m sharing this piece of trivia today?

This logic can be applied to blogging. More specifically, to taking a blogging hiatus.

The problem with taking a blogging hiatus is the timing. Most people take blogging hiatuses the moment they experience writer’s block. Because like the zugzwang position, the blogger 1. can’t keep writing because the words don’t flow out, and hence has to pass out on blogging opportunities or 2. can keep writing, but lower the quality of the blog posts.

Now do you understand the relation of zugzwang with blogging hiatus?

Z for AtoZChallenge 2017 Fabulus1710

Here are three tips for when you want to take a blogging hiatus:

  1. Get the timing right: I know, writers block is tough. But you have to get the timing right. Don’t throw tomatoes and eggs on me just yet. I also know that writer’s block is as unpredictable as rain in the rainy season. It just happens. What I meant by getting the time right is, that you should always have two or three backup posts lined up. These posts could be saved in the drafts. And published when you feel the WB coming on. If it still persists, even after the two or three posts are exhausted, then take the hiatus. If not, you can get back to blogging, and no will realise the difference!
  2. Decide a ‘get-back-to-blogging’ deadline: If you choose to take the hiatus, make sure you have a certain deadline, say 1 week / 2 weeks / 1 month / 2 months / 1 year. Don’t take a hiatus without defining when you’ll be back. I’ll tell you why: I took a blogging hiatus in 2015, due to exams. The hiatus was planned from November 2015 to the end of exams in March 2016. In February, as the days passed, I felt this increasing desire to get back to blogging. Every night before sleeping, I used to wonder about what I’d write in my first post. What I’d write after that. And then after that. As a result, I felt a bit more prepared for March. I didn’t feel overwhelmed with resuming blogging responsibilities after four months of being offline!
  3. What to do during the hiatus: Since my hiatus last year was exam-induced (and WB-induced, but you’ll never get me to admit that), I couldn’t do much about the writing front during exams. I did write the odd poem or essay here and there, but it was nothing great. But I’d like to have changed that. I’d have enjoyed working on some creative writing exercises, that I mentioned in this post. Looking back in retrospect, the exercises would have helped me get back to writing with a bigger and better impact, and would have prevented certain teething problems in March. The exercises I mentioned in that post can be used anytime, hiatus or no-hiatus. (I didn’t say it that time, because I wanted you to read today’s post 😛 )

Z for 2017

Wassup, happy readers! This post is written for the #AtoZChallenge, and this is the third year I’m participating in this challenge. Do keep cheering me on all through this month, as I’m hell-bent on scoring a hat-trick in 2017, at the age of 18! My theme for this year is : The Encyclopedia of Blogging Memories, Feelings and Lessons.

You can check out my #AtoZChallenge 2015 (Theme: Harry Potter and Hogwarts) and 2016 (Theme: Weird Words) posts, and support my awesomeness!

Here’s a special question for you to answer today: Have you ever taken a blogging hiatus? What was your experience?



8 Comments Add yours

  1. BellyBytes says:

    Thank you Ms Fabulous for your informative posts on blogging. I must say by far they’ve been the best written posts I’ve read and are far more readable than those written by professional hacks.

    I loved the tip on how to take a break without taking a break …. see you around !


  2. I did when I took a new job that absorbed my entire life. Fortunately for me my family performed an intervention and now I am back.

    Congratulations you made it to “Z” !!!


  3. jazzfeathers says:

    True eh? Always hard deciding on this matters because you can never be sure whether reader will still be there when you come back (if you stop blogging) or if they’ll stick with you (if you decide to lower the lever of your writing). This is such a competitive field.

    Congratulation of concluding the challenge! It’s always a great fit. You had a great series 🙂

    The Old Shelter – 1940s Film Noir


  4. Iain Kelly says:

    Thank you for your posts all this month, I have really enjoyed reading them. Look forward to reading more on your blog in the future and congratulations on completing the challenge 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I go on a blogging hiatus every once in a while, but I’ve never set a deadline to come back. Setting a deadline makes me all kinds of anxious, and generally makes my writing worse – so it’s usually the zugzwang situation…


  6. upasna1987 says:

    Ahhh, it happens even when I have more than 10 drafts saved but still fingers refused to write or type. May be its brain. Whatever it is, I had experienced it and being away works.Earlier in my initial days of blogging, I did this but now I do not resume until I really want to. You did a good job girl. Cheers.


  7. shalzmojo says:

    Your blogging tips are like Veritaserum – reading them makes one feel everything is so right in the blogging world and you can conquer any writing challenge – never mind the that dreaded Troll WB!! 😉
    I havent been very regular on your blog in atoz and have been missing them – making up this month in my reading!!
    Cheers to you for completing the hattrick!!


  8. Ranjini says:

    Honey! I am the queen of blogging hiatuses. If you know me even a bit, you’d know that by now. Having written CA final exams for the last four years, every May and Nov, I take a break. Typically, it starts from March mid. So almost 5 months of a year, I am on a hiatus. Hence never active on any of the chats or the a2zchallenge (sigh!) I just wrote my exam and am trying to get back on track.

    I love your blog and everytime I come here, I learn something new. Zugzwang. Thanks for that. 🙂 Criminal minds is a TV show I guess. Will put that on my list too. I agree with the tips you have given. For me, I find it difficult to get back on track coz, all contests or prompts have just died down. I need to get in touch with each blogger (like I am doing now) to let them know that I am back on track and will be blogging and reading posts more often. It all seems like a humungous task and thinking of it, I don’t start blogging 😛 This time though I have some ideas I wish to implement. So slightly excited.


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