Can You “Pause” Your Blog? 7 Solutions for Coping with Unexpected Sickness

What do you do when you’re too sick to blog?

I’m not talking about when you’re sick and tired of blogging, but rather when you are in physical pain and are experiencing health problems that prevent you from doing your “job” of writing blog posts and answering comments; when you are literally sick; when you’re ill and just cannot keep up with the demands that blogging brings.

You may not think that this will ever happen to you. And it might not. But what if it does? What are you going to do? Can you put your blog on hold? Can you “pause” your blog?

Expect the Unexpected

Imagine this: You’ve just been in an accident and have to undergo surgery. Your healing process is going to be arduous and painful. Are you really going to feel like blogging? Think about it – accidents are called accidents for a reason. They are unexpected. So how do you keep your website or blog running in your absence?

Now imagine this: You fall asleep and wake up in pain. The right side of your neck and right shoulder hurt so bad that you don’t even want to move. You try taking various painkillers and anti-inflammatories (Tylenol, Advil, muscle relaxants, etc.) but they don’t help. You try using a heating pad with a built-in massager in hopes of alleviating the pain, but to no avail. You apply medicated ointments that have little effect, even though they promise results you’ll love. You even try a new product but it burns your skin and causes it to become so red and painful that you cry for five minutes straight while a family member helps you wash it off and then applies honey to your burnt skin to take the sting away. Your initial soreness remains and continues to aggravate you for over a week. You feel miserable, fall behind in your work, and don’t want to do anything because it hurts so damn much.

Now imagine this final scenario: You’ve just been to the doctor’s office and have been told that you have to undergo surgery next week. You’re recovery process is expected to last a couple of months. Are you really going to be in the mood to blog?

The last two scenarios are those that I’ve been unfortunate enough to experience quite recently. These experiences prompted this post, by the way. πŸ˜‰ The first scenario is kind of true, too, in that I was in an accident that required two operations and six months of healing time. Fortunately, I wasn’t blogging at the time.

Of course, your accident might cause you to start blogging.

7 Solutions for Coping with the Unexpected

Whatever the scenario you are envisioning yourself in, my point is that you need to expect the unexpected. We don’t live in a perfect world. People get sick. They have accidents. They endure pain. And yet, our websites remain. So how do bloggers deal with the unexpected, and how are we supposed to run our blogs when we’re ill or in pain?

  1. Have some pre-written posts in reserve that can be scheduled to run at any time. Obviously, the more you have in reserve, the better, in case it takes you a while to heal.
  2. Outsource your posts with either free or paid guest posts. Invite readers to contribute, ask some of your blogging friends to help you out (like this blogger did) or hire a writer to help you.
  3. Hire someone to run your website for you until you recover. (Good if you have money to do this!)
  4. Have a plan in place for when emergencies arise. This relates to point #1 to a certain extent, but includes other ideas like closing comments until you are well enough to resume your blogging duties.
  5. Run scheduled posts as you normally would. (You do schedule your posts, don’t you?) Your blog won’t suffer any interruption, you won’t have to put your blog on “pause,” and your readers won’t even know you are having health issues!
  6. Suspend posting until you are better. This is not a great option, but it puts your blog on “pause” until you are able to continue blogging. This also ties in with point #7.
  7. Be honest with your readers and inform them of your situation. Most people will understand and even sympathize with you. This is what I did when I wrote my post I’m Having Surgery Today. And yes, this is one hundred percent true. πŸ™

Of course, you could always work through the pain. However, you should realize that your health is the most important factor in the blogging equation. Put your health first and your blog second. You can’t blog if you’re dead!

What do you do?

What else could you do to cope with unexpected health issues? Have you ever had to run your blog when you were really sick? I’d love to know what you did. Share your thoughts in the comments, please.

Photo Credits
Guy blowing nose – photo credit | Guy kneeling – photo credit | Comforting girl – photo credit

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37 Responses to "Can You “Pause” Your Blog? 7 Solutions for Coping with Unexpected Sickness"

  1. Fun post about un-fun realities!

    I photographed my meds from a prone position, which put them on a precarious slant, got my husband to take dictation right there on the “create a new post” window, etc. I told my friends I was sick and added humor about how I got that way. Then I asked for funny input. Amazing how funny my readers could be!

    Also told them to expect a pause and to read and comment on each others’ humor, made it a contest, and promised a prize. It was a riot. I told them I got well faster because laughter does good, like a medicine.

    Got husband to paint my toenails ten different colors and named each toe, according to its history and usefulness, for my entry. with a photo. Readers were very kind and added more humor, literally writing the post, themselves, in the comment section.

    Instituted the humor contest by putting a poll in the third post, so all could vote over the previous two days, which they thought was funniest. Allowed the winner to guest post. Which took care of the fourth day.

    You can tell I was not very sick, but I definitely did profit from that bug. Some of them still laugh if I say I’m feeling a bit yuck.

    The funniest thing is that my site is straight, not really humorous, most of the time.

    I have a blog friend who gets sick a lot and whose husband is on permanent disability. She writes the most hilarious “grumbles” in the world: “I’m sick as a blue jay that tried to eat a bit of dog food and found out it was a rock.” Junk like that. We almost hope she gets sick.

    Ah well…in my dreams. You surely can inspire a lot of great ideas! Ha! πŸ™‚

    Reply
    1. Katharine, that is totally hilarious! It sounds like using humor to get over (and through) sickness has worked for both you and your blogger friend!

      That’s a great addition to dealing with illness or the unexpected! Thanks for adding that wonderful suggestion and sharing your story.

      What were your toes named?

      Reply
  2. So sorry to hear you had to go through some tough times, Greg; adversity makes us who we are, as cheesy as it might sound.

    I too had to step away from the business for a few months recently (nothing as tough as what it sounds like you (or Lorraine) went through) and it pays to have a great readership who loves you, understands life happens, and is ready to come back when you are back.

    Of course, it takes time to build such a loyal readership, and it’s mostly done through providing the best content you can and building lasting relationships – everything that you are already doing at dearblogger.org.

    Reply
  3. So sorry to hear you had to go through some tough times, Greg; adversity makes us who we are, as cheesy as it might sound.

    I too had to step away from the business for a few months recently (nothing as tough as what it sounds like you (or Lorraine) went through) and it pays to have a great readership who loves you, understands life happens, and is ready to come back when you are back.

    Of course, it takes time to build such a loyal readership, and it’s mostly done through providing the best content you can and building lasting relationships – everything that you are already doing at dearblogger.org.

    Feel better!

    Reply
    1. Ana, thanks for your comment. I hope you are well, or at least better now!

      I’m still recovering from surgery and will be for a while, but the surgeon says that things are “looking good.”

      What did you do while you were absent? Did you simply schedule posts or did you stop posting?

      Reply
      1. Glad to hear you are doing better, Lorraine.

        I simply disappeared for the most part for almost 4 months. I published a couple of mediocre guest posts in that period, but largely ignored everything else.

        I had to take care of a renovation project at the house and couldn’t handle both running the project and the business.

        Reply
        1. Renovations can be a nightmare, for sure. But SO worth it once they’re completed!

          It’s nice to have you back on the scene, Ana.

          What I was getting at was how you dealt with your readers – did you tell them you’d be away for a bit? (I know I was wondering about those marketing skinnies, and I don’t recall getting any “inside info” from you.)

          Reply
  4. When started blogging I always worked to have weeks of back up posts at the ready, yes weeks. Then at some point I stopped doing it and now find myself in a scramble every week. This is a great reminder to me not to take it for granted that I’ll be able to pull together a post. I have about of week off in the next little while and I’m going to take the opportunity to write some posts to have on stand by.

    Hope you feel better soon Lorraine.

    Reply
    1. Debra, thanks for the good wishes. From what I can tell so far, my recovery from my recent surgery will take a couple of months at least. (Ugh.) Fortunately, I’m able to use my laptop with ease!

      I remember one time when I had three weeks worth of posts ready. Boy, that was a happy day! It’s tough to stay ahead of the game, though, and even tougher to create so many posts to have as “backup” but it’s good if you can do it.

      From the sounds of it, Debra, I think your time off is going to be spent being creative! Great idea – scrambling sucks, for sure. Good luck! πŸ™‚ I know you can do it – think of your Saturday morning chit-chats and you’ll come up with topics to discuss with ease. You can use those posts when you’re in a pinch.

      Reply
  5. Hey Lorraine,

    Hope I am not late!

    Anyways, solid plan you have got here!

    I don’t think I have anything else to add….the best way to counter these situations is to plan ahead (and take care of ourselves. Like you mentioned, we can’t blog if we are dead!).

    Of course, most of these methods that involve publishing posts require more work on our part (when we get back – like replying to comments….I really don’t like closing the comments section..so, I wouldn’t recommend that option).

    I think the best way to go is get some guest writers (writers whom you can trust….they will reply back to the comments and keep the community active :D).

    Of course, don’t forget to announce that we will be away for a while.

    Thank you for sharing this, Lorraine πŸ™‚ Do appreciate it πŸ˜‰

    Reply
    1. Jeevan, the option of closing comments has been blogged about by quite a few bloggers – including Greg/Dear Blogger – so I’m not going to address that issue here. But I will say that freelancer Linda Formichelli has closed comments on her blog while she creates new books and other stuff to sell. It really depends on your priorities! If you’re trying to grow a blog, comments and engagement are necessary. But it takes time to answer them, and if you’re severely ill, you’ll not feel like doing even that, so, again, it all comes down to what you can and cannot do.

      Thanks for adding to this discussion! I hope all is going well with your college courses! πŸ˜‰

      Reply
      1. Yes, indeed πŸ˜€

        Now, that I think about it, it seems like a great option! (In the past, I have had time to manage everything – blogging and studies…I still do, but I have to limit blogging mostly to the weekends).

        It will only get harder, since I am starting to take more of my core classes.

        It will be especially hard when I start my projects (I am planning to write an eBook – hopefully more than one, if everything goes well).

        No mention, Lorraine πŸ™‚ Thank you for bringing up the point!

        Reply
  6. I haven’t had to deal with this yet (and hopefully never will). I try to get ahead with posts by at least one week so if something crops up the posts will still go ahead. At the moment I am trying to increase that to 2-3 weeks of being ahead so that I can then block other times out to concentrate on other work instead of the blog.

    But if I did have this problem occur, I would definitely tell my readers of the problem and let them know that my posting would decrease for a while, perhaps to once per week (currently I’m at 3 per week). I would then change around my currently prepared posts so that they posted only one per week in the hope I could get a stray post written here or there to keep the stockpile going. I would put out a call to specific bloggers in my niche to see if they could help out – basically it means that I would have to help them out later but that’s okay. And then if all else fails, I would try doing posts that link to previous posts that I’ve done. I have a food/nutrition blog, so I would do something like…My 5 favourite breakfast recipes, or My 5 best tips for healthy eating. And then you just need a few sentences to introduce the post, then put the links to your previous posts and maybe a sentence or two on why you like those recipes, etc.

    Reply
    1. Glenda, it sounds like you have a great plan! I think your idea of switching your posting schedule from three to one per week is fabulous! It would certainly allow you to “recover” from whatever situation – unexpected or health-related – that may potentially hold you back from blogging.

      Your idea of assembling a TOP 5 list would be super-easy to do, too.

      Excellent tips, and thank you for adding them!

      (And as far as calling out for help? I know you are not the only one to come to Becc’s rescue; I will also be included among the many guests she’s hosting while she recovers. It’s nice to have reliable friends to count on, and I’m sure she’d repay the favor if you were stuck!)

      Reply
  7. I do have a small stockpile of barely viewed posts from back in the day that I could use in a pinch if I got sick, but that has yet to happen. However, if a blogger has to take a week or two off, I don’t think it’s a big deal, though the scenario slightly shifts if the blog is a blog with a HUGE following….

    Reply
    1. Jeri, I tend to agree with you. Small, personal blogs are read by those who have connected with the blogger and become virtual “friends.” The scenario is completely different for websites who have a large readership.

      Your idea of resurrecting older posts is a welcome addition to the tips offered in this one. Thanks for adding that!

      Reply
  8. Dear Community members, I’d love to take your hear on my issue. So let me tell you a little story…

    I started a Hungarian personal development blog, around the middle of december 2013. I already have about 10-15 posts up, and I’m well aware of what to do, what is what, and so on. I’m kind of asking your opinion here.

    Regarding traffic, I’m having 55 facebook fans (every other social media is widely unpopular in Hungary) and I’m seeing 10-50 Unique visitors/day.

    Now the problem: GETTING TRAFFIC

    The majority of the otherplayers in the niche are mainly NLP, or service providers, so basically 95% I have no business with, for one reason or another.

    I did found a few “big players” (with 40000-100000 fb fans), but they’re less bloggers, and more coaches and experts as well. So they don’t do content marketing delibarately, and I don’t see any chance of guest posting either.

    The only expetion is webpage called “successcommunity”, with 12k facebook fans, and a separate group, with 3000 fans.

    How I see it:

    1. I can relate to the “successcommunity” (in terms of topic/niche), I already attended one of their first webinars, and I’m building a relation with them. I could comment with my fb page (so people could see and click on me), maybe ask them in time for a chance to promote meself (on their fb page, with relevant content). Perhaps a guest post could be a possibility here, but it’s not their main profile either.
    2. I could ask my rather unresponsive fans, to please invite all of their friends.
    3. Paid advertising? Personal Development isn’t the easiest regarding keywords.
    4. Start making youtube videos (not a quick fix, but rather a longer process).

    So whats your take on this? How can I get visitors, where the blogging culture is weak, where options are limited?

    Every answer is deeply appriciated.

    Reply
    1. Hi Adam!

      I’ve offered my 2 cents below. Hopefully at least a couple others will join in too.

      Aka calling all PD bloggers in the community πŸ™‚

      My 2 cents….

      — Facebook: Looks like you’re at 57 now, your comment helped! Is Twitter not big out there? Twitter can be huge for engaging random readers.

      — Keep talking to successcommunity. Build rapport. Do a guest post. This helps long-term traffic if they offer a normal backlink

      — Don’t ask your fans for too much, unless you have a CLEAR because or way they’ll gain, like an eBook. People generally won’t help out much.

      — YouTubes, great idea. If you’re passionate, make them. If not, no prob, but don’t half-ass. This is how Derek Halpern went from nobody to 6 figure blogger (I’m guessing on that figure πŸ™‚ )

      — You could try PickTheBrain.com. They are a personal development blog that runs guest posts, though watch out, very competitive/selective

      Overall advice: Do one thing and do it really well. Guest posting is waning. Try YouTubes or live speaking for the best results…

      And keep on discussing here!

      p.s. join Bloggers Helping Bloggers

      Reply
      1. Thanks for the reply Greg!

        I gained that 57th fan by hitting on a nice girl and telling about my blog. She’s promising fan. πŸ™‚

        Anything that’s not Hungarian won’t help me, and that includes pickthebrain.

        As I said, facebook accounts for +90% of the social media traffic in Hungary. Every other thing is 80% effort for 20% (or less) return.

        Possibilites:
        I am going to develop my relation with “succescommunity”. They’re growing quite rapidly in terms of fans.

        I’ll dive into youtube videos in the coming months…

        And probably make a product and start an email sign up form too (mailchimp is free up to 2000 subscribers).

        More traditional ways of building traffic could work too, such as speaking and word-of-mouth marketing (using my social circle).

        Alas, there aren’t many fast or direct ways I could implement right away. But there’s lots of ways to expand to, and I’m feeling very optimistic. πŸ™‚

        Reply
        1. I’d also do some research on – and then follow through with – submitting to blog registries and sites that promote others, especially if your blog is a business.

          You can use sites like Justretweet2 and Triberr to market your blog on Twitter.

          There a ton of resources out there to gain traffic. Ana Hoffmann from Traffic Generation Cafe has an excellent free ebook available, too. Don’t let the title throw you off – “Mommy, Where Does Traffic Come From” is packed with useful info!

          Reply
    1. It looks like your eyes have now been opened! (Well, that’s what we do here at Dear Blogger, so it’s nice to know we’re doing our job!)

      I’m happy to have alerted to you to expecting the unexpected.

      Having posts in reserve is great. I’d also recommend reading through the comments left on this post, since several other bloggers have added valuable ideas and things to do as well. πŸ˜‰

      Reply
  9. Hi Greg,

    Glad to know that you back & at it…you share invaluable information! Great questions – as the unexpected is likely to occur. For the past 2 years, I’ve had blogs in reserve. Staying ahead of the game is a good option. ~Storm

    Reply
  10. I like to write my blogs close to the publishing date in case I want to use something in the news. But your article has prompted me to prepare some ahead that aren’t time sensitive just in case I have a serious medical problem. Thank you.

    Reply
  11. Hey Lorraine
    You know I have been there, although it was the start of my blogging not during it. So I can’t imagine what would happen if I had such an issue now. What a pain, literally!
    I hope your recovery is fast and you get your blogging up to speed again. Although to be honest, you seem to have it under control despite the set backs! you are super strong I think
    ashley

    Reply
    1. You know, surprisingly, I do have it under control, and am guest posting more than ever these days! Perhaps the fact that I can’t move has something to do with the amount of time I’m spending in front of my computer. Not really complainin’ – just sayin’.

      I think you would be wise to consider having a plan to fall back on.

      Just. In. Case.

      (Hey, isn’t he a guy?)

      Thanks for your comment, Ashley. Are you going to start planning for the unexpected now?

      Reply
  12. Wow – first of all, I am so sorry you experienced such pain and suffering. I was rear-ended last month in a car accident and, although, not as serious as you describe, it wrecked my blogging mojo for a while.
    All of your suggestions are great ones. Hiring someone or even dictating, if possible are good alternatives. And, sharing your story with your readers is the best one yet. People like to know their favorite bloggers are human. Being vulnerable and sharing is an excellent ideas. Best wishes to you for a speedy recovery!

    Reply
    1. Laurie, showing your readers that you are human is really important. Your ability to be candid with them will go a long way towards strengthening your relationship with them. For sure.

      Thanks for the wishes; they are reciprocated! Car accidents are terrible (I’ve been in a few, as a passenger, myself).

      Get that mojo back soon!

      Reply

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