I’m Taking a Short Blogging Break (and Why All Bloggers Need to Take One Now and Then)

I'm Taking a Short Blogging Break (and Why All Bloggers Need to Take One Now and Then)

In Monday’s post I mentioned that I’d be taking a short blogging break – I promise it won’t be permanent, and when I say short I mean perhaps only 10-14 days or so. 

However I thought I’d explain why I need to take a bit of time off, and why it’s important that all bloggers (who post a few times a week religiously) take a break now and then.

Many of you very kindly passed on your best wishes – thank you, I really appreciated them! – and hoped (assumed?) that it was for some r&r. I really wish it was…

Unfortunately, the reason is not as nice as simply needing a break. As a freelancer/full time professional blogger (which I’ve been for the past three years) it’s always been a little bit of a struggle to ensure where my next “pay cheque” is going to come from. However, I’ve always kept my head above water and have been very lucky to have had a steady stream of paid blogging jobs come in. Plus I have [had…] a good back up of savings (mostly from from my redundancy money from my full time job).

I HAVE ACTUALLY REACHED CRISIS POINT, TO THE EXTENT THAT I AM OWED SO MUCH MONEY – SO MUCH MONEY – THAT I HONESTLY DON’T KNOW IF I’LL BE ABLE TO PAY THE MORTGAGE AND THE BILLS AT THE END OF THIS MONTH.

The problem is payment. I have actually reached crisis point, to the extent that I am owed so much money – so much money – that all our savings have gone and I honestly don’t know if I’ll be able to pay the mortgage and the bills at the end of this month.

Unfortunately I’m owed money from all over the place, and to give you some idea the total I’m owed from everyone, everywhere is just shy of a five-figure sum (Β£ Sterling). It made me sick to the stomach when I added it all up last week. It’s for all sorts of reasons, none of which I’m going to go into detail about, but it’s fair to say that I reckon I should see (fingers crossed) about one third of the money, one third I’m going to have to fight for, and one third I’ll almost certainly never see.


THE REASON FOR ME TAKING A BREAK IS TO BE ABLE TO CONCENTRATE ON SORTING OUT THIS FINANCIAL MESS, AND TO TAKE FURTHER ACTION WHERE I CAN.

So this is the side of full time blogging no one ever writes about – companies that just don’t pay. As an example, a national newspaper for whom I wrote an article has been chased for payment since the spring but they’ve just ignored all correspondence. What can you do? It’d cost far, far more than what I’m owed to take legal action against them, and it’s impossible to find out who to talk to about it at such a massive organisation. [There are far more complicated details about this one example than I’m going to divulge here, but it’s safe to say there isn’t much I can do about this one.]


The main reason I’m taking a break

Therefore the reason for me taking a break is to be able to concentrate on sorting out this financial mess, and to take further action where I can. I’ve had lots of advice from friends and family which I’m really grateful for – so please don’t feel you need to offer advice here in the comments (that sounds ungrateful – I don’t mean it to be! I just mean that you’d need to know a lot of the back story and much more detail than I’m offering here).

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I got myself into a major pickle emotionally last week, to the point where my parents had to drive over and get me to take me away from my computer and my home office to have a restful day drinking tea and chatting. It did me a lot of good, and by the end of the day I’d at least made the decision to take this break from writing posts for a short time so I could just concentrate on the money side.

I never, ever thought I’d be in the same financial mess I was in when I was a young 20-something idiot living in London, and totally beyond my means. That was different – that was all my own doing. What’s annoyed me is that I have effectively made a success of full-time blogging – the campaigns and offers of work have never stopped coming in – but it’s the actions of others that have caused it all to go (almost) tits up for me.

I’ve worked for this money – and I’ve worked hard for it. It’s the bad financial decisions or dishonest actions of others, not mine, that have put me in this position.

I’m not one to give up without a fight, and after a bad experience a year or so ago where I was left high and dry (I’ve now accepted I’m never going to see that money), it seems I have to get through this stage and almost start from scratch yet again.

Living a more frugal life

We’re cutting back. No more trips to the cinema or restaurants. No more fancy presents at Christmas for each other. My husband will take on all the overtime hours at work he can get his hands on. I’ve just started to list things on eBay – we’re having a major clear out at home and will sell anything and everything.

IT’D BE ONE THING TO GIVE UP BLOGGING FULL TIME BECAUSE I JUST COULDN’T GET ANY PAID WORK, BUT IT’S ANOTHER THING ALTOGETHER TO GIVE IT UP BECAUSE NO ONE WILL PAY THEIR BILLS.

At my lowest ebb last week I honestly thought it spelled the end of the blog, that I’d have to start looking for full-time employment. I’ve been so happy working from home, going to London to work on campaigns and networking at events and conferences.

I love my job as a blogger, and always knew that as long as some money came in each month to pay the bills I’d be happy. It’d be one thing to give up blogging full time because I just couldn’t get any paid work, but it’s another thing altogether to give it up because no one will pay their bills.

Why All Bloggers Need to Take a Short Blogging Break Now and Then | Not Dressed As Lamb

So I’ll keep you updated once I return in a week or two. The Monday #iwillwearwhatilike link up posts will still continue, and I’m hoping for normal service to resume by the latter half of September.

This girl doesn’t give up easily, and now I’m over the mean reds from last week I’m in full-on fighting mode. Woe betide anyone who owes me money, I’ve been taken for a ride for too long…

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… It ends right here.



Why all bloggers should take a break now and then

It’s really important to take a break from something that you just “can’t” take a break from. In five years of blogging I’ve been on holiday three times, and every one of those times I’ve scheduled posts to continue throughout my time away. And even then I’ve kept on top of my emails and social media messages – I ensured our hotel I chose for our holiday in Santorini last year had good WiFi: It’s a blogger’s prerequisite.

But in most jobs you get a certain number of annual leave days per year, and many of those you can take and spend pottering about at home, doing the garden or the decorating, or going out for day trips. Not so with blogging (or, indeed, most types of self-employment): If you don’t work, you don’t get paid. (Or in my case, you do work, and you don’t get paid. But I’ve covered that already πŸ˜‰

But as a blogger it’s very hard to convince yourself that the world won’t end if you go a couple of weeks without posting, you just have to explain why you’re doing it and when you’ll be back – as I’ve done here. Yes, my page views may drop and that’ll be detrimental to the stats that I have to provide to brands when they ask to see my media kit, but I’m fairly confident that I have a loyal readership (YOU!) and that it’ll pick back up in time.

The world won’t end. Your readers won’t desert you. The blog will still be there when you get back. So take a proper break, knowing you can just pick up where you left off.

It’ll do you the world of good, as I hope it’ll do me.


HAVE YOU SUFFERED ANY MAJOR FINANCIAL CRISES THAT YOU’VE HAD TO SORT OUT – OR HAVE YOU HAD TO TAKE A BLOGGING BREAK FOR ANY REASON? COMMENT BELOW, OR TAKE IT TO TWITTER @NOTLAMB

P.S. A warning about Passionfruit Ads…

If you’re a blogger with a Passionfruit Ads checkout on your blog, remove it NOW. You may or may not have heard that it’s shutting up shop at the end of the year – I only found out inadvertently via a newsletter – and it seems bloggers are fighting to get the money owed to them. I’m owed several hundred dollars from them for banner ads I’ve sold, so that just added to my total. Likewise do NOT buy a banner ad from anyone with a Passionfruit checkout – they may well not see the money, and if it’s rejected by them you may have to fight to get your PayPal payment refunded…!

Catherine

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87 Comments

  1. September 29, 2016 / 7:18 am

    Oh no, I'm so, so sorry to hear that you are in this position. It's so hard to make people pay what they owe you and that is just so wrong. You worked hard for that money and you should get what you're owed. This is exactly the reason why I've always refrained from relying solely on my freelance work. I've always worked part-time somewhere else alongside as I need the security of a regular income. It's a sad reality that these big companies think that they can rip off bloggers in this way. I sincerely hope that you manage to get this sorted and get your money.

  2. September 23, 2016 / 8:21 pm

    Thank you so much for posting this. Your honesty is really refreshing. In a world obsessed with perfect images of perfect lives we've all forgotten that life behind the curtain is beautiful and messy. Yours may be messy at the moment but it won't last just try to stay positive and positive things will happen. xxx

  3. September 21, 2016 / 8:33 pm

    Hi Catherine,
    Firstly, I am so sorry to hear your new, really I am and shocked! I'd also like to thank you for your honesty and courage and in writing your latest post – I think it was very brave of you to share.As one of your followers , from this side of the screen , it all seems very glamourous and exciting, I had no idea of the business implications behind it. I feel aggrieved for you – it seems so unfair when you have given up so much of your own time to support and encourage the rest of us. But please take heart, a deep breathe as things have a way of working out. (I'll get my angels to speak to your angels ! πŸ˜‰ ) I hope it all gets resolved quickly in your favour and remember to be kind to yourself first Big Hug LA xx

  4. September 20, 2016 / 1:48 pm

    I have often thought of becoming a professional but it all seems so complicated and I just don't understand how it works, no matter how many posts on the topic I read. Now after reading this, I think I'll just stick to my hobby blog. But yes, I take blogging breaks all the time. At least 4x a year. I don't think it affects my stats at all. I take them when I go on vacations because even if I pre-write and schedule all my posts, when I'm on vacation I don't have time to promote my posts or respond to emails/comments and then the post doesn't get a lot of hits anyway. I just do a post explaining I'm on a vacation and I will be back on such and such a date, that's it.

  5. September 20, 2016 / 3:10 am

    I feel angry on your behalf. I am also chasing some debts at the moment (different industry, different location). It offends me that people take advantage of others in this way – if you have a problem paying then arrange a payment plan, if you are unhappy with the service, query the invoice, but otherwise act as an honourable human being and pay up.

  6. September 20, 2016 / 3:10 am

    I feel angry on your behalf. I am also chasing some debts at the moment (different industry, different location). It offends me that people take advantage of others in this way – if you have a problem paying then arrange a payment plan, if you are unhappy with the service, query the invoice, but otherwise act as an honourable human being and pay up.

  7. September 19, 2016 / 2:25 pm

    So sorry Catherine but glad things are looking up like you already explained. If there is ever anything what I could do to help, please do not hestitate to contact me. Seriously! xo Sabina

  8. September 19, 2016 / 11:42 am

    Oh Catherine, I'm so sorry to hear about this and only hope that you find a way back soon. If there's anything, absolutely anything I can do, please just ask x

  9. September 19, 2016 / 10:59 am

    Dearest Catherine, you are one of my favorite bloggers for your style and also your honesty and I hope you will have everything – or at least most of it – sorted out soon, this is so unfair because you are a hard worker ! Sending you warm wishes and I hope to read you again soon ! Many kisses

    Fashion and Cookies – fashion and beauty blog

  10. September 18, 2016 / 6:23 pm

    Catherine, I haven't been keeping up with reading my favourite blogs lately but have just seen your Instagram message. What a nightmare situation. Hopefully by now, roughly ten days or so after this blog entry, you've managed to sort your affairs out and are feeling better.

    Look forward to seeing you back soon.

    Emerald xx

  11. September 15, 2016 / 7:36 am

    Dear Catherine, I'm so very sorry to hear this sad tale – what a bunch of crooks there are out there. As well as fighting for your finances I hope you also take care and rest and recuperate as well. I don't often comment but I am a loyal reader (and usually take part in the links). We will miss you, but we know what you're doing is important. Good luck with the finances!
    With every best wish, Penny
    http://frugalfashionshopper.co.uk

  12. September 14, 2016 / 7:04 pm

    I'm so sorry dear Catherine to hear about this horribel situation. It is unbelievable how big companys work, if it's payday. I hope you'll find a good and quick solution for all this mess. I think of you and it's awe-inspiring how brave you are to write about this. Wish you all the best, Conny

  13. September 13, 2016 / 7:50 pm

    Dearest Catherine, this is a salutory tale for those of us who are just dipping their toes into the paying world of blogging. I have always wondered how on earth you full time bloggers make ends meet, and now I know – you barely do! Relying on others honesty is a huge leap of faith and I'm sorry to hear that you've had your fingers burnt. I do hope that it's worth the worry and reshuffle in your life to continue with this career choice. I admire your tenacity. You have great blog in place and I hope your money starts to roll in again. Good luck my lovely x
    Anna
    http://www.annasislandstyle.com

  14. September 13, 2016 / 5:23 pm

    Ugh. What horrible news. So sorry we're going to be without you for a while, Catherine. Reading your blog is always such a treat. But I understand the pain of being self-employed and at the mercy of people who don't want to pay. The shock is that it's so often big household names that are shifty about paying! 'You'll get great exposure,' is what I've been told when asked to write for free. Well, people die of exposure, don't they?

    Catherine, you deserve to be paid for your wonderful work. I hope your blogging break sees you return rested, paid (!!) and three times as enthusiastic. In the meantime, we'll all miss you.

    xxx

  15. September 13, 2016 / 8:24 am

    God, some people (and businesses) are absolute b******s, aren't they? I'm so sorry you're going through such shit right now. It's so wrong for so many reasons and I hope you manage to get the money you've worked so hard for. It makes me wonder whether you ought to name and shame them!!
    Thinking of you, Catherine.
    Hugs
    Suzy xxx

  16. September 13, 2016 / 7:37 am

    A good piece of advice someone gave me when I had a client not paying me – go to a solicitor and ask for a demand money letter (I believe you have to pay Β£60) and send it to the client. What this does is demand payment or legal action will take place after a certain day. I found this is cheaper then short claim court and often scare the person/client into paying. The client did pay me after I sent him that letter and it worked out well. It doesn't hurt. I hope you are ok Catherine. xx

    http://www.annanuttall.com

  17. September 12, 2016 / 8:57 pm

    Hi Catherine – When I saw (somewhere) in my feed that you were taking a short blogging break – I had to go and read (I'm from Baby Boomer and Mature Women Clothing Styles… Who came up with that name!!) Anyhow I read through the article and feel for you… you will come out of it a more experienced and wiser person. Believe me. I lost everything in my late 20s, then early 40s and aha – now it's struck me again (through financial woes through my husband – before we were married)… I have found – worrying just never fixed the problem. Us women are good at that. My husband has terminal cancer and is so positive (well compared to me!). I have found that this 3rd time has been easier – so though I'm not wishing a 3rd time for anyone – once you adjust, accept, relax, calm yourself and then organise yourself (I know you are a good one- I can tell)you'll be happier. And do take a blog break periodically. The reason? I think I heard Wall Street talking about having breaks as their men are burning out. Don't burn out! πŸ™‚ Hugs across the miles πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ Deborah

  18. September 12, 2016 / 2:58 pm

    I am so sad to hear that this is happening. It's simply unacceptable! Your blog is one I rave about to *everyone* – I love your commitment and style. What is happening is absolutely shocking – imagine if that happened in any other walk of professional life?! A blogging break is exactly the right thing to do and your loyal readers are supporting you all the way. Looking forward to hearing about your success in getting what's rightfully yours. Lots of love.

    Kat x

  19. September 12, 2016 / 1:58 pm

    Catherine,

    I pray all goes well in the next few weeks. Thanks for your transparency in this and yes I totally agree we all need a break from time to time.

    Blessings,
    Shellie

  20. September 12, 2016 / 12:21 pm

    Have you tried factoring to release money from your invoices? You don't get the whole amount in the short term it helps with cash flow. Definitely try the small claims court, Citizens Advice and also writing to a consumer page of the newspaper – the Guardian is the champion of the small business and always seems to get the money owned to the customer.

    Your blog is an inspiration, I have recommended it to so many of my Wardrobe Angel clients. Take heart – your honesty will inspire.

    Wishing you all the very best and come back fighting when you are ready.

    Love x

    • September 12, 2016 / 3:59 pm

      Thanks Stephanie – unfortunately there's a lot more to it (information and details-wise) than I'm willing to offer here, so thank you but it's all in hand… But thank you so much for your kind words, and yes I hope to be back posting regularly soon!! x

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