Maybe I’m getting superstitious, but after reading through a quarter’s posts on 520 (or so) liblogs, I have a suggestion for anyone who’s been neglecting your blog for a while, but thinks you’ll do better in the future:
Don’t write a post saying so!
Just, you know, start blogging again. Or, if events turn out differently, don’t start blogging again.
See, here’s the thing: On too many occasions, the most recent post I saw on a blog was along the lines of “Sorry I haven’t been posting much, but I’m going to do much better”…
And, well, “the most recent post” means anywhere from a month to two years ago.
Sure, there were a few cases where someone noted their absence, said they’d do better, and actually kept on blogging…but more often, when someone returns from unplanned blogging hiatus, they just do it.
If I had to guess, I’d guess there’s a very strong correlation between swearing you’re going to do more posts…and never doing any more posts.
It could be coincidence, of course, and correlation doesn’t always imply causation, but it’s such a frequent pattern. And I wonder whether, in this case, there isn’t a causation of sorts: You recognize that you haven’t been doing it. You take the time to craft a careful message saying “I’m back!”…and you get blogger’s block.
So what do I suggest, if you’ve been away from your blog for a few months and you really do believe you have things to say that belong on the blog?
Just do it.
Let the new posts speak for themselves. Oh, if you feel the need to note why there’s been a hiatus, that’s as interesting as any other post–and frequently there are good reasons. (Marriage? Health problems? New job? Ennui? All good reasons…)
Just leave out the part about “And I’m going to do lots more posting.” It may not always be the kiss of death, but it sure does feel that way.
PS: My guess is that, for most of us, where most readers subscribe to a feed, a hiatus isn’t noticed all that strongly, with a few high-profile exceptions. As a reader, I’m always delighted when someone who’s been missing returns–but I can’t say that I necessarily notice their absence, any more than most of you would notice mine, or should.
But now, as an informal researcher, I get nervous when someone who’s been missing returns with one of those “Hi guys, I’m back!” messages…because I wonder whether they’ll ever be heard from again.