Southern Belle in Training

Fashion, Travel & Lifestyle Blog || Est. 2012 || Virginia Beach, VA

April 29, 2022

My Sabbatical - I'm Taking a Break From Blogging!

       The title of this post says it all: I'm taking a hiatus from blogging / influencing for the next few months! 






      A few years ago, I never would've guessed that I'd someday be making an announcement like this related to blogging. But here we are! It is a little scary to take a true break from something that I do love so dearly and is a big part of my life, but I know that if I don't do this now, I will continue to burn out (and possibly want to quit blogging for good... which I don't want to happen!).

      In September 2012, I started Southern Belle in Training as a hobby during freshman year of college, and it turned into more of a full blown side hustle as the years went on. Over the past 9.5 years, I've had so many incredible experiences thanks to this blog. Things that would've been beyond my wildest dreams during that first year of blogging! I've been accepted into affiliate linking programs (back when it was a lot harder to do that years ago vs. today!), and thanks to linking my favorite retailers I've made a decent side hustle income from that specific income stream alone. I've worked with many brands, including some of my favorite companies that I've been shopping at for a decade or more. In 2021, I finally got to partner with my all-time favorite brand- that was probably my best blogging memory to date! I've also fallen in love with travel blogging, and had the chance to explore all over Virginia and beyond on behalf of travel blogging projects. I've even gotten to partner with a five-diamond hotel and share it with my readers. Even just making enough money from blogging to do taxes on it for the past several years would've been mind-blowing to me back in 2012-13! And I haven't even touched on some of the wonderful online friendships with other bloggers that have become real life friendships. Those might be the biggest blessing of all.

     I've always said that I'll either quit or take a step back from blogging when it stops being fun. And for 9.5 years, it remained very fun for me! But for the first time ever, things started to change around last year's holiday season. I typically have a lot of annual holiday content posts that I enjoy writing (Christmas decor in my apartment, styled holiday outfits, gift guides, etc).... and for the first time in years, it felt like a burden and a chore to do any of that. I wondered what was wrong and what lead to my change in feelings, and I assumed it maybe had to do with how crazy of a year 2021 had been for me, with moving to Virginia Beach and starting my new job. A few weeks after this, I was writing out my annual blog post of New Year's Resolutions for the year ahead. I always make personal resolutions and usually share some blogging goals as well. 2022 was the first year where I couldn't think of a single blogging goal. All I was able to come up with for a blogging resolution for 2022 was "Keep blogging?" 

     As the months went on this winter, all of these feelings got more intense. I started dreaming about stepping away from blogging for a few weeks, yet I didn't go through with it. I just kept going through the motions of writing my normal types of weekly posts, although I was enjoying it less and less as the weeks went on. To be honest- had my beloved old MacBook Pro from college not died last month, I'm not sure I ever would've had the guts to go through with doing an extended blogging break! I feel like I would've kept chugging along until I was even more burnt out, and eventually maybe wanted to quit altogether. But alas, in March one day my old laptop stopped turning on for good. (Completely randomly! It hadn't been having issues leading up to this.) I honestly took this as a bit of sign from God that it is time for a break.

     I don't want to lose the love and passion that I have for blogging. But for the past several months, I've felt 110% creatively burnt out. With each year that goes by, the blogging world gets more and more competitive. I think the fact that I have a day job definitely helps keep me grounded, but it doesn't mean that I'm immune to all of the negatives. While it is great to make money through blogging, I miss the days when it was just a daily public diary of your life and the things you loved! When outfit photos were taken on mediocre little digital cameras, and you shared outfits online because you truly liked them, not just so you could link your clothes and people could buy them. Back in the day, most bloggers felt like very "real" people to me, just everyday real people that happened to share details of their lives on the internet. But over the past couple years and this year especially, everything just feels so much more fake and staged all of the time. I miss true authenticity in the blogging world. I also hate the term "influencer" and how platforms like Instagram have completely overtaken the importance of having an actual website.

    It is also such a huge time commitment to run a blog while working full time! So many of my afternoons, nights and weekends for years have been tied up with blogging projects and to-do lists. I want a break, and this summer especially I want other things and new priorities to be occupying the majority of my time. While this blogging break truly has been in my mind since the holidays... I will say that the timing of doing it now just works out really, really well. I have some bigger travel plans coming up in the next few months, I want to be outdoors as much as I can be this summer (whether at the beach or playing tennis or golf), I just accepted a leadership position in Junior League which will be a learning curve to get used to, and as of (very) recently I am happily in a new relationship. 😊


     So with all that said, I'm officially taking a break!! The break from posting on my blog starts today, and I'm planning to have it go through early September (!!). I am half in shock to actually be committing to a break for this long, but I know it will be so needed. I won't be completely disappearing this summer though. While I won't be sharing a lot of regular blogging type content on my Instagram, I will still be posting updates about my day job in morning radio (we have lots of concerts and fun events this summer), and lots of travel photos from my upcoming summer adventures. So I won't be completely disappearing on Instagram or anything! And I have also gotten more into TikTok in the past few months. I crack up sharing that, because I was pretty vocally anti-TikTok for the longest time. But last summer I finally downloaded it and realized it actually is a very fun app- ha. I've never really used it for blog related stuff, just fun and random videos when I feel like it! And I plan to keep that up for the next few months too. And of course- you can always find me on my favorite form of social media, Twitter!!


      I look so forward to coming back to this space in September and re-convening with you then! I think the frequency and pace of blogging might change for me coming back, but I definitely have no intentions to actually quit this space for good. Blogging means too much to me to do that. Here's to a much needed break... and then the next 10 years!!


     God Bless,


     xoxo Annaliese 
      
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6 comments

  1. So happy for you in so many ways! It is always difficult to make these decisions but I know you will feel better now that you have done it. Enjoy your upcoming adventures and hoping you relationship is wonderful.

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  2. You will be missed - but it sounds like you have wonderful things to spend your time on! Thank you for being so transparent and honest about how you're feeling!

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  3. You need to take care of yourself and do things for yourself and then you can help others and doing a blog that helps others qualifies. You will enjoy the time away and when or if you do return it will be better because you have recharged or taken time for yourself.

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  4. Glad you are taking a sabbatical, a summer break . . . I too miss the days "when it was just a daily public diary of your life and the things you loved!" Enjoy this break

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  6. Enjoy your break and I agree with you. Blogging isn't as fun because it's super competitive and very sale-sy. I feel like it's more about the products than getting to know anyone anymore. I am glad though that you recognize that you need to step away. Have a great summer and looking forward to your return in September!

    Maureen | www.littlemisscasual.com

    ReplyDelete

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