Taking Time Off

Is it OK to Take Time Off as a Creator and Still Succeed?

Online success for any kind of creator often revolves around the constant development of content. If you don’t keep posting and publishing new things, you can quickly fall into obscurity, especially on social media. Is it worth the loss when you need some time off?

There could be a number of reasons why you need some time to yourself. And in many instances, taking that time can kill off any momentum you have built.

The bottom line is that algorithms, corporations, and even a lot of new consumers really don’t care about personal issues. All they want is a constant feed of content.

Even I have had negative comments on YouTube when I once talked about losing my son to suicide. Although most of my regular viewers understood my plight, there are people out there who just don’t care.

Algorithms Promote the “Grind”

Perhaps one of the worst elements of being an online creator is dealing with algorithms. For the most part, these collections of coding promote and reward those who are consistently active.

That’s because the platform in question wants you to consume as much content as possible and avoid using an alternative. If the algorithm discovers that you like a certain creator or type of material, it’ll keep pushing it out to you.

It’s all about engagement…nothing more.

I noticed this shift a few years ago while running an experiment of my own on the blog. The more often posts were published, the more likely Google showed my entire collection of content in search results across the board.

Meaning, the entire site as a whole would increase in visibility the more active the blog appeared. Every post would increase in impressions and rank position in search if I published three or more times per week.

Of course, that was back in 2018. I am currently running another experiment regarding consistency to see how true it is today. But the fact remains that almost every online platform uses algorithms and pushes active creators over those who are not.

So, if you want to stay in the good graces of any platform, you have to keep posting as much content as possible.

Taking Time Off for Mental Health

The biggest problem with these algorithms is how they push the “grind” mentality. Even the best engines in the world can only run in the red for so long before breaking down.

I’ve seen many creators take time off to breathe, and some have never returned. Currently, there is a bit of an exodus on YouTube of major creators taking a step back because they are done with the grind.

At the end of the day, you can only do so much from the perspective of mental health. If you don’t take time away and find a moment of Zen here and there, you’ll face burnout.

But the algorithms don’t care about burnout. The only primary concern is to deliver what people want to consume, whether it is from you or a similar creator.

For instance, I know an author who took a hit on engagement and visibility because she wanted to take a day or two away from Instagram. For many of us, a day or two worth of losses is massive, and it could take time to get that momentum back.

However, taking time off from constant creation can offer a lot of peace of mind. And that’s the most important thing for any creator. Because if you grind yourself into a thick, gooey paste and burn out, you’re no good to anyone over the long term.

Sometimes, taking the hit to engagement is worth avoiding a severe crash. What was once a fun hobby, can quickly turn into a dreaded chore, especially if you’re one of those people who relish in the likes, shares, and attention.

Focus On Your Core Audience Instead

So, what do you do when faced with that dilemma? Do you adhere to the algorithms and keep up with the grind of producing an endless stream of content?

For me, it’s more about focusing on my active audience. Sure, I’d love to keep growing and get more exposure. But my audience knows that my life is chaotic and I’ll produce content as soon as I can.

In other words, I don’t placate to algorithms, which is why I don’t have as many followers as others who produce similar content.

Don’t get me wrong, I still try to get into the good graces of Google, YouTube, and various social media outlets. However, I’m not going to force myself to keep up the grind to do so.

For one thing, I just don’t have the time, especially if I actually stick to my daily schedule. I have my fingers in too many pies to care whether Instagram is going to push out my image or not.

Instead, I try to create something my current audience would appreciate. It is my core audience that gives me motivation to keep doing what I’m doing.

Most will understand if I have to take some time off for the various elements of life. And those who don’t can simply go elsewhere. I’m going to continue doing what I do whether they stick around or not.

Unfortunately, this means my growth on any platform is ultimately slow. But I’d rather have slow growth than risk burning out.

Eventually, I’ll hit a good stride that will make more people and algorithms happy. Until then, though, I will do what I must to keep myself sane.

Balancing Creation and Time Off

The trick to being consistent as a creator is to find a balance between life and content. Not everything you do needs to center around apeasing algorithms.

You need to find a good flow that you can maintain over the long term without the risk of burning yourself into dust.

Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. We all have a different boiling point, and avoiding it may require a bit of trial and error.

Not to mention how our lifestyles can interfere with content creation.

For example, some of us with smaller children would have less available time. That is unless you want to have a “family content” brand…which is a story for another time.

Full time jobs, caring for relatives, a seemingly non-stop barrage of emergencies…all of these can easily throw a wrench in the works as a creator.

You have to build a consistent brand according to your capabilities. If this means you consistently push out one video per week on a YouTube channel, then so be it. At least you’re getting the ball rolling.

Consistency doesn’t mean constant.

It’s true that you won’t be awarded with visibility as opposed to someone who is constantly firing on all cylinders. But you also have less risk to your mental health. And that is far more important than seeing a few more likes or follows.

The Grind is Real

Taking time off is vital for anyone to continuously be successful over the long term, contrary to the belief of some. It’s all about making sure your mental state is stable enough to continue doing what you do.

While the algorithms might punish you with less visibility, you’ll be in a far better position to keep creating content at your own pace.

Hopefully, some of these companies will make a few adjustments to ensure the mental health of their users. But in the meantime, focus more on engaging active users who understand your situation.

They are far more supportive of you than corporate algorithms.

Michael Brockbank
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