Taking a break



By Caitlin Kelly

I’m not doing any paid writing this month.

I’m really tired and need to rest and recharge.

While Broadside has more than 20,700 followers, according to WordPress, (which is lovely), the number of readers-per-post remains extremely low — most posts, no matter what the subject, get a maximum of 100 views before I post another one, hoping for more.

I’ve published 2,105, starting on July 1, 2009.

I enjoy blogging and will continue, but I am feeling generally dis-spirited and need a break.


If anyone wants to offer suggestions on how to improve readership of Broadside — more/fewer posts? shorter/longer posts? wider variety of subjects?  — feel free to comment here or send me an email; the address is on the welcome and about pages.


I appreciate every one who makes time to read, and especially to comment!

I really value those who return year after year (!) and whose insights make writing this stuff more compelling for me and for other readers,


But I’m going on hiatus until January, probably the first week.

I hope to meet you back here then.



Have a great holiday!


59 thoughts on “Taking a break

  1. Susan Dunphy

    Thanks for your blog and all the time you put into it. I understand feeling “burned out.” You’ve had a difficult year. Have a great holiday. Get lots of rest.

  2. Robert Lerose

    I look forward to your posts and enjoy seeing the world through your unique perspective. I always learn something new and feel more enriched for reading your words, so I have no suggestions for “improvement.” You deserve a break. Do whatever you have to do to recharge and refresh. It’s sooo important. All your faithful readers will be here when you return. Have a happy, healthy and fun holiday season!
    Warm regards,

  3. I won’t claim to have any advice, but I do very much enjoy your blog! I don’t remember how I first found it, but it’s the only one I read. I like experiencing the feeling of being you.

  4. Steve

    I always enjoy reading your posts when I can find time to actually sit down and read them. Seems like the older I get the less time I have to do what I want. I thought it was supposed to be just the opposite. i think what i actually enjoy the most is how you can look at the same issue and come to a completely different conclusion or opinion than myself. You and I almost never agree and I have never met you personally but I really think that we could probably sit around a table or a campfire, throw back a couple of beers and have a good time. That comes across in the essence of your writing to me that you are probably a really nice person that doesn’t think like me ….but thats OK. I sincerely hope that God grants you a wonderful Christmas and a Healthy, happy and prosperous New Year. Steve

  5. The thing that appeals to me the most about your blog is that, often as not, it ends with a question mark. This invitation to bring something of myself, an opinion, a memory, an observation, draws me in and holds my interest. You know people, even self-effacing people, love to talk about themselves. I think you would be well served by exploring pretty much any topic that elicits a reaction from you. Encourage your commenters to read all the comments and reply to any or all of them if it seems appropriate. That’s the difference between the free exchange of ideas and live streaming your sushi on Facebook.
    I can’t say this is anything you haven’t heard before but I do hope there is something in here that helps. My blog is a VW Beetle, yours is the Magic Bus.
    Have a great time over the holidays and tell us all about it when you come back.

    1. Thanks, Kenny.

      Anyone can fling words into the ether — and I do that for pay. This is where I do it in the hopes of finding and creating civil, fun conversations. It’s a real joy when that happens.

      It’s been a year of unexpected/unwanted intrusions (hello, breast cancer!) and it has really depleted me much more than I thought it might. All very humbling.

      Also, a new commitment to taking really good care of myself.

      1. O Death! Where is thy sting? Obviously not sticking out of Caitlin Kelly’s butt! Not to take anything away from those who care for us when we are down, but ask any doctor: Strength and resilience and determination get us back on our feet. So don’t feel bad about taking a little credit and being a little bit proud of saving your own life. Take it easy.

      2. Thanks.

        Luckily, it was not (this time) nearly so dire. But the healing, mentally and physically, has been a much slower experience than I thought it would be. I ended radiation October 15 and only now (just) does my poor breast almost feel normal again.

  6. Breaks are good. Enjoy yourself. I find people/readers come when they’re ready. Just keep writing about what you believe in, what you’re curious about, what sustains you.

  7. My blog’s the same way, as are the blogs of many people I know. Lots of followers, but not very high reads per post. I’ve basically just accepted it, and hope I can continue to at least draw in more people who like what I have to say with time.
    How about you try something new? Write a post about something you’ve always wanted to try but have never had the time or whatever to do. I can already think of a few ideas, if you like. They’re from the less horror-based side of my weird interests, so you don’t have to worry about me recommending you check out a haunted house or something

  8. caitlin – i’ve always enjoyed your blog, and find you engaging, intelligent, warm, and knowledgeable in many areas. over time, i feel that I’ve gotten to know you a bit better and look forward to the give and take of writing and response. i wouldn’t recommend any changes, as i see you blog as wonderful as it is. that being said, i understand working for hard for not much return, literally, as well as figuratively. enjoy your much-earned and needed break from it all. use that time to take care of yourself and to figure out what you’d like to do next. your readers will be here, myself included, and look forward to following your journey as you head into your next chapter.

  9. I think actually blogging has declined in popularity as a venue in the last few years. Most people who follow are actually looking for readers themselves and may not be voracious readers themselves–we are also just assaulted by suggestions of what to read that it’s hard to compete. I do enjoy your writing and read most of your posts. I think I have been reading for five years.

    1. Thanks, Ashana…your blog has always inspired me.

      Of course, with the explosion of the Internet — Reddit, Twitter, Snapchat, YouTube and the now nefarious FaceBook — blogs were bound to take a serious beating! I agree. We all have much more limited time and attention and SO MUCH competition — which is why I am lucky and honored to have found readers like you who keep returning. My paid work is so insanely non-linear — far too many one-off clients! — that the blog, for me, is still something of a refuge and a place of continuity I really value. I occasionally think…why bother?

      Then I know how much I would miss the people who come and appreciate it and share their thoughts as well.

      I’ve been thinking a lot about what happens here, for me and for readers. In real life I am a notably closed and wary person (even my lovely husband of 18 years says so and I believe him) but this is a place I feel oddly comfortable being more candid.

  10. Caitlin, a French author (whom I heard on the radio) recounted, just as you did, her meaningful everyday interactions with medical team members during her cancer treatments and hospitalization. I was impressed by both accounts. And SO glad to hear you’re starting to feel normal. You have my admiration, as usual.
    Re blogging, FWIW, I’ve expended huge amounts of time and energy (but not enormous $, since that’s in short supply) trying to get my blog to look elegant — as does yours! Meantime, until I’m satisfied with the look, I’ve made few efforts to attract anyone but intimates. My real purpose is to self-motivate to write (to “work things out”) and to have at hand current writing samples… if and when they’re needed.
    So just when I’m closing in on my design goals, y’all mention that blogs are taking a beating. Oh, well — as noted, readership wasn’t my point. Maybe you also noticed, WP chose NOW to overhaul their editor and sideline their “classic” version. Simplified formatting, they announce… er, once you get past the steep-ish learning curve, of course. But never mind.
    Happy, happy New Year to you and yours on Broadsideblog!

    1. I haven’t switched to the new editor….not interested in more “learning” on my own time and dime.

      I know some people make lots of money blogging. Not my goal. This is where I come to have fun.

      The cancer treatment, on site, was very good…but no follow-up made the healing less amusing. I have written a long, stern letter to the clinic and hospital explaining how it could be done better — I discovered that all other local hospitals do follow-up calls to see how we are doing. It’s a slooooooow process.

  11. carolyn

    Enjoy your break, I wish you the happiest of holidays and all the best in the new year. As for your blog, do you have a presence on Instagram? I find most of the blogs I follow there, as it’s an easy way to check what’s going on in areas that interest me. You have beautiful photos on your blog, you could easily put them on IG, with a few thoughts, some relevant hashtags and keep the link to your blog in your profile. Just a thought…

  12. Heide

    You’re a WONDERFUL writer, and I love everything you post — from your “favorites” lists to your journey with cancer. So I say, use this space to do/write whatever brings YOU joy. Enjoy your break and know that this subscriber at least will be very happy when your blog pops up in her reader again.

  13. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you, Caitlin. I, along with most of your regular readers, look forward to your return, it’s time for you to take some “me” time for yourself …

  14. Caitlin, I wish you a peaceful rest and recharge! Don’t crunch numbers, just breathe 🙂 It could be that we’re all a little worn down, and need a respite. I know when blogging first took off, I signed up to a healthy handful that I thought would enhance my life (and for a little while, some of them did), or did it to support friends who started blogs. I even have a few myself, with maybe a dozen readers 🙂 I have no advice, except to figure that the number of followers in stats probably includes people who were initially enthusiastic, but life got in the way. That’s how I was for a lot of blogs I technically still follow. Just know that you have a solid core, you are great at involving your readers, and perhaps another outlet will present itself. Podcasting? Anyhow, wishing you a very happy holiday!

    1. Thanks…We’re all inundated now with so many apps and options that I know everyone’s attention is hard to get at…

      I don’t listen to many podcasts (time?) and don’t think I would do one. Our costs are so crushingly high right now (health insurance) that any time NOT spent making $$$$$ is very precious to me.

      I’m balancing my time, as we all are, between enjoying radio (my favorite medium), TV, film (2nd favorite), CDSs/vinyl, books, magazines, newspapers and….REST! Just sitting still. Going for a walk. Talking to a friend.

      The balance between creation and consumption is one thing….then zzzzzzzz.

      Have a great holiday!

      1. I actually have never listened to a podcast :/ I just know people do it. I am streaming Kanopy films (NYPL) and highly recommend it. In fact, “Charade” may be the perfect antidote (as it was for me the other evening)! Regardless, you will figure it out. Or let go of trying and it will make itself clear. Be well!

  15. Hello! that’s curious – I’ve got 4k followers for my blog, but my hits tend to be about 150 a day, it varies a fair bit. I read your blog often – but most usually in my email, so if I don’t feel moved to comment, or I’m pushed for time, I don’t land on the blog – which is probably more often the way of it. It is hard when people don’t respond, to tell if they are evening reading, but I would trust that with 20k readers, there must be a fair percentage who do read the blog – if not here, then in their inboxes or wordpress reader.

      1. I think I’ve seen some of this, too, and people who follow only in the hope of getting a follow back – which seems to happen on all platforms and seems totally pointless to me.

  16. Jan Jasper

    Caitlin, I greatly enjoy reading your blog. It’s one of the very few things I read shortly after it arrives in my Inbox, whereas many other things I postpone reading. I don’t know enough about blogging to have any advice on how to increase your readership and engagement. For me, your range of topics – and the way you present them – is just perfect.
    I really hope you are recuperating; you’ve had a tough several months – not that life was easy before your diagnosis. Please take care of yourself. Your voice, and your insights, are important!

  17. Margaret

    I very much enjoy reading your posts. You write about a wide range of topics and many of your ideas resonate with me, perhaps because we are of a similar age, or perhaps because you write so well. It doesn’t really matter, I mostly like your honesty.
    I was wondering if the low number of views truly represents the number of people who actually read your posts? I nearly always read your posts within my email client and rarely go to your actual blog so I wonder if this means that my view isn’t counted? Just a thought…
    I tend to judge blogs by the quality (and tone) of the comments and I’m also impressed that you have such wonderful thoughtful comments. High quality readers and more important than quantity as I’m sure you realise. I’m impressed and a little envious of your readership.
    Kindest regards and have a great rest.

  18. I love all pretty much all your posts. I started off mostly interested in your descriptions of freelance life, then started really looking forward to the yearly gift idea ones. Reading what you’ve shared about your health issues this year was particularly powerful for me as my mother was going through a similar situation at just about the same time. On a happier note, as a brand new, first-time homeowner (!), I’ve discovered a whole new appreciation for your interior design posts. Thanks for writing! Here’s to recharging!

    1. Thanks! I hope (?) your mother is doing better. It’s quite a journey.

      Good to know you’ve enjoyed the posts on freelancing as I will likely do some more of those…and always (!) up for writing about interior design.

      How cool to own your first home. Congrats!

  19. Well, your writing is one of my must-reads, and your blog is one of the few that isn’t filled with blogging noise. Very calming. I wish you great health and great words in 2019, Caitlin.

    1. Thanks, Lorna! Really glad blogging brought us together as friends….and hoping to meet the mighty Isla maybe next fall if we get across the ocean again.

      Today, I’ve been doing a massive edit of my mages going back a long way — and found one of you when we met in NYC! Pre-Isla…

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