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?
Here are three tips for when you want to take a blogging hiatus:
- 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!
- 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!
- 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 😛 )
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.
Here’s a special question for you to answer today: Have you ever taken a blogging hiatus? What was your experience?