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K is for Knowing When to Quit

Hi everyone,

I have some disappointing news. Even though it is really difficult for me to drop out of something once I’ve committed, I’m afraid I’m going to have to withdraw from this year’s A to Z Challenge.

This was my third year of the A to Z, and I find it so valuable and a lot of fun. I enjoy reconnecting with my blogger friends and discovering new ones to follow. But this year I definitely bit off more than I can chew…and then my personal life imploded. So spending four hours a day writing blogs, reading blogs, and commenting on blogs is not how I can or should spend my time right now.

I’m also leaving the country for part of the month, which was adding a ton of extra pressure.

I will return to the blog in June with renewed energy, posting each Tuesday in theΒ same vein as the topics you’ve enjoyed so far this month. These spooky posts are the regular focus of this blog, so if you’ve enjoyed what you’ve read, please consider signing up to my blog or checking back in June. I’ll respond to any unanswered comments at that time, so hopefully we can get back in touch then.

My apologies to the A to Z committee and everyone else who has been working so hard on the Challenge. If there was any way I could make it work, I would, but it’s just impossible.

I’ll probably be back next year, but I’ll definitely planΒ things better the next time.

1 part newsletter, 1 part unnerving updates,
2 parts sneak peeks of new projects.

80 Comments

  1. Madeline Mora-Summonte

    Sorry to see you stop A-Z/blogging for bit, but more sorry to hear about the personal issues. Please hang in there, and know your readers will be awaiting your return. Take care!

    Reply
    • JH

      Thanks Madeline. I hope so. I’m always scared I’ll lose everything I’ve worked so hard for if I take time off, but I really do need to take time off.

      Reply
  2. Alex J. Cavanaugh

    Bummer! But thanks for letting us know. It is a huge time suck.
    Safe travels and we’ll see you soon.

    Reply
    • JH

      Thanks Alex. I was hoping to be a featured A to Z’er this year too! I had some great posts lined up.

      But there’s always next year.

      Reply
  3. Michele Truhlik

    I am so sorry that you are having to drop out. I’ve really enjoyed your series and I’m so glad I found you!
    This challenge is indeed that: it takes so much time and effort and when life doesn’t cooperate, well, it just makes it hard to go on. Because once you get behind, there’s almost no catching up.
    I do hope that all goes well for you. It’s never fun when the personal life blows up…

    I hope we’ll stay in touch J.H. All the best to you,

    Michele at Angels Bark

    Reply
    • JH

      We definitely will, Michele. Thank you for your kindness.

      And no, it’s definitely not fun. This year the A to Z was a train wreck waiting to happen for me. I kept putting off the collision, but it was going to happen now or later.

      The idea of how on earth I was going to keep up with the mutual visits and comments when I’m in Italy was making me panic.

      Reply
  4. Tami Von Zalez

    You know I am one of your biggest fans! Sooo understand how life interferes. Glad my posts are all scheduled as I seem to be having some health problems now, I can just let those posts fly and visit the few favorites I have on Feedly.
    Looking forward to your return in June – travel safe!
    http://www.thriftshopcommando.blogspot.com

    Reply
    • JH

      Thanks so much, Tami. I’m so sorry to hear you’re not feeling well. I hope it’s nothing serious, and that you’ll soon be on the mend.

      You were very smart to write and schedule your posts ahead of time. I planned to, but never managed to cram it in, and suffered because of it. But the three hours of daily blog visiting and comments would still have been an issue.

      Reply
  5. Tarkabarka

    I am sorry to hear it, but I understand. I am looking forward to reading your blog in the future, and I definitely hope you’ll join us again next year! I wish you all the best in the meantime πŸ™‚

    @TarkabarkaHolgy from
    The Multicolored Diary
    MopDog

    Reply
    • JH

      I’ll plan on it for next year, unless I’m going to be out of the country again!

      Reply
  6. Patricia Lynne

    Aww, bummer. I was enjoying your posts, but life is a pesky thing. Hope you get things all sorted out and have fun traveling.

    Reply
    • JH

      Thanks, Patricia. I’ll be back with more of the same in June!

      Reply
  7. Yolanda Renee

    I will definitely miss your posts, so interesting. I will keep you in my blog roll and will look for your return. Have a great time! See you in June!

    Reply
    • JH

      Thanks, Yolanda! So glad to have met you during this Challenge. You’re one of my new Bloggers to Watch. πŸ™‚

      Reply
  8. Barbara In Caneyhead

    I’m so sorry for your personal issues. You’ll be missed, but we all have to do what we’ve got to do. I don’t plan on disappearing any time soon, so I’ll see you in June. God bless.

    Reply
    • JH

      Thanks, Barbara. Always appreciate your kindness.

      Reply
  9. Birgit

    This is a bummer but you need to concentrate on you and your health. When something like this becomes a bad pressure then you know it’s too much. I will look forward to your posts and you may continue in this vein. Take care

    Reply
    • JH

      Thanks, Birgit. I’ve enjoyed your posts and cards immensely.

      Reply
  10. Michelle Wallace

    Sorry that you have to bow out, JH!
    See you in June! πŸ™‚

    Reply
    • Michelle Wallace

      You’re on my blog today. Don’t forget to pop in.

      Reply
      • JH

        Thanks, Michelle. I’m sorry too. It’s very difficult for me to quit anything.

        Reply
  11. Lexa Cain

    I’m very sorry to hear about your personal troubles. Those obviously come first, and I hope you can solve them or at least survive them intact. Wishing you the best on your trip. I’ll wait patiently for June. πŸ™‚

    Reply
    • JH

      Me too, Lexa. Thanks for the kind words.

      Reply
  12. Susan Scott

    So so sorry J.H. I know this wasn’t an easy decision. I’ll miss your posts for sure. May Italy revive and refresh you and whatever issue is plaguing in your personal life right now, I hope it diminishes. All my best wishes are with you, Susan

    Reply
    • JH

      Me too, Susan, and you’re right–definitely not an easy decision.

      I’ll miss yours too. Thanks for being my friend. πŸ™‚

      Reply
  13. Denise D Hammond

    So sorry to see you go. I know how difficult this challenge can be with time commitments. I have not had a chance to look at the list of bloggers since the challenge started. I look forward to your return.

    Reply
    • JH

      Thanks so much, Denise. It has been a most challenging Challenge this year!

      Reply
  14. Tasha Duncan-Drake

    *hugs* so sorry to hear you’re dropping out – your posts have been wonderful. Good luck with everything you’re doing and I hope everything settles down for you.
    Best Wishes,
    Tasha

    Reply
    • JH

      Thanks, Tasha. I’ll be back in June with more of the same!

      I’ve enjoyed your posts too. πŸ™‚

      Reply
  15. Samantha Bryant (@mirymom1)

    Ah, I thought that was what it might mean when I saw your title. We all have to choose where to focus sometimes. I enjoyed your posts so far and will stay subscribed for when you come back. Best of luck getting your personal life straightened out and back in balance!

    @mirymom1 from
    Balancing Act

    Reply
    • JH

      Thanks so much, Samantha. I’ll be back in June for sure!

      Reply
  16. Sara C. Snider

    This couldn’t have been an easy decision to make, but it sounds like it was the right one. So good for you for doing it. Take care of yourself, have fun in Italy (woohoo, Italy!) and we’ll see you in June! πŸ™‚

    Reply
    • JH

      Definitely not easy at all, Sara. Thanks for your kindness.

      Reply
  17. Nikki

    I’m happy you are taking care of you. That’s all that matters to me! πŸ™‚ I’m hoping your time away will refresh and rejuvenate you!

    Reply
    • JH

      Thanks, Nikki! Me too.

      Reply
  18. Zeljka

    I’m sorry you had to quit the challenge but completely understand and your life is way more important than anything else. Hope everything is ok. I’ll subscribe for sure. Thank you for wonderful posts. Best regards from Serbia!

    Reply
    • JH

      Thanks so much Zeljka! I’ve loved your posts. I hope to get to your end of the world someday.

      Reply
  19. Mary Aalgaard

    What?! I will miss you so much. Yours is one of the first blogs I read in the morning. Your research and stories are excellent. Just enough creepy to make them interesting. Just enough fact to give me the chills and satisfy my love of learning. Take care. Sorry for the additional challenges in your life, and safe travels. Looking forward to reading about your new adventures!
    Mary at Play off the Page

    Reply
    • JH

      Aw, thanks so much, Mary. That means a lot that anyone would feel that way about my blog.

      I’ll miss you too. Every day it’s been like connecting with a group of dear friends.

      I really appreciate your kindness. I’ll be back!

      Reply
  20. Kelly Gunter Atlas

    I’m sorry you’ve had to drop out, but I completely understand how life can derail even the best laid plans. You do what you need to do for you. We’ll still be here waiting for you when you come back. Safe journey and best wishes.

    Reply
    • JH

      Thanks, Kelly. That’s so reassuring. I think every blogger fears they’ll completely lose their audience if they take a break.

      I certainly don’t want to go back to having two readers! πŸ˜€

      Reply
  21. Frank

    I was considering the same thing. I simply cannot keep up reading and commenting.

    Still, it makes me sad to see you stop, especially with the knowledge you won’t be back until June! NOOOoooooo.

    I’ll miss ya!

    Reply
    • JH

      I’ll miss you too, Frank. You’ve been a good friend. And, knowing life, the next five weeks will fly by.

      I hope you can stay the course, but if you need to quit, quit.

      Take care of you.

      Reply
  22. Lisa S.

    No worries, babe! We’ll be here for you when you get back. Big hugs to you while you sort through the personal stuff. Love you heaps!

    Reply
    • JH

      Thanks, Lisa!

      Love you too. <3

      Reply
  23. Rebecca Douglass

    I’m sorry to hear that life is challenging, though travel to Italy sounds good! I was a little dismayed by the “3 hours of visiting and commenting.” Oy! I limit myself to one, and I admit that is the first thing to be dropped when things are too hectic (though that’s not fair to the other bloggers).

    Take your break, enjoy Italy, and be revitalized to return.

    Reply
    • JH

      Thanks, Rebecca. Yeah, I approach the A to Z as a firm contract. If you comment here, I *will* visit you in return…the one exception being people who are obviously cut and pasting a one-sentence comment in the hopes of getting comments back. Those aren’t relationships I’m interested in building.

      Good luck with the rest of the Challenge! Hang in there, my friend.

      Reply
  24. C. Lee McKenzie

    I’ll miss you and your wonderful posts, but I do understand. Let’s reconnect in June and you can tell me about Italy.

    Reply
    • JH

      Thanks, Lee. Sounds good. I’ll miss you too!

      Reply
  25. Chris Chelser

    Brave decision! Brave to try this challenge, and still braver to call it quits and look after yourself and your life. Hopefully things will work out and figners crossed that Italy will give you plenty of energy to face whatever life throws your way next.

    Take care <3

    Reply
    • JH

      Thanks, Chris. I really hope so. I honestly wish I could cancel Italy or put it off, but that’s not an option.

      Maybe it’ll end up being good for me, but it’s not how I wanted to start the trip of a lifetime.

      Reply
  26. Ryan Carty

    Sorry to read this (more about the personal explosions than the blog). Take care of yourself.

    Reply
    • JH

      Thanks, Ryan. I appreciate that. I’ve really enjoyed getting to know you a little through the Challenge.

      Please keep in touch, and we’ll reconnect in June.

      Reply
  27. Tamara Narayan

    This has been one of my favorite blogs to visit so I’ll miss reading about spooky stuff, but don’t worry about taking time off. The blogoverse will be here when you come back. Heck, I took a whole year off from blogging. It was the right thing for me to do.

    Reply
    • JH

      Oh, thanks so much Tamara. That makes me so happy to hear that!

      It’s a relief to see that others have done this too and it worked out okay.

      I’ll “see” you in June!

      Reply
  28. Haneen Ibrahim

    My friend, I know exactly how you feel. quitting after committing is difficult. But it is all for the best, better know what one’s priorities are. At least your travelling, I’m stuck where I am! :p Your posts this year were class as expected, we will meet on June I guess, good luck.

    Reply
    • JH

      You bet, Haneen. I’ll be back in June for sure.

      Thanks for your kindness.

      Reply
  29. Stephanie Faris

    Yes, it’s getting quite overwhelming for me, as well. But I don’t think you’re quitting–anything you try is a win! I wrote about this for the upcoming IWSG and saved it. It’s all about how people avoid NaNoWriMo and AtoZ because they’re afraid they won’t be able to make it to the end. But everything we try teaches us something and we gain something from it, so NOT trying at all is the real non-win!

    Reply
    • JH

      Thanks, Stephanie. That helps. I just hated having to step down. I really struggled with it.

      But yes, it is overwhelming. I can’t even imagine how you’re doing it, to be honest. Your audience is double the size of mine. I’d probably weep.

      Reply
  30. Random Musings

    So sorry to hear you’ve had to drop out. I’ve been loving your posts and I will definitely continue reading your blog after the challenge. I hope everything works out ok for you in your personal life, and I hope we remain in touch
    Debbie

    Reply
    • JH

      Thanks Debbie. I’ve been loving yours too. You have so many great starts for novels and spooky stories. I really hope you expand on them…please let me know.

      You can find me on Facebook as Holli Moncrieff if you’d like to keep in touch, but I’ll be back in June, lurking on your blog. πŸ™‚

      Reply
    • JH

      Thanks, Heather. Hugs.

      Reply
  31. Gina

    It’s really hard to see you go.

    Reply
    • JH

      Thanks, Gina, but it’s a “so long,” not a “goodbye.” I’ll be back in June, I promise!

      Reply
  32. Crystal

    It’s not easy to take a step back! I’m so proud of you for doing what you need to do to keep yourself happy. I hope everything’s alright and am very much looking forward to reading your posts again in June. πŸ™‚ Hugs!

    Reply
    • JH

      Thanks so much, Crystal. It’ll take time to work this out–it’s not something easily fixed, but it’ll be for the best, one way or another. I have to believe that.

      See you in June! And thanks for the kind words.

      Reply
  33. Loni Townsend

    Whooboy, personal life implosion doesn’t sound like fun. Traveling does, unless it is for un-fun reasons.

    I’ve been there with the A-to-Z challenge. I tried to give it a go last year and had to drop out. April just seems to be a taxing month for me, and not just in the financial sense.

    I hope your personal life un-implodes and calms down!

    Reply
    • JH

      Thanks so much, Loni. The personal life stuff is definitely un-fun.

      But the traveling will be–I’m spending five weeks in Italy, although now I wish it was happening at a different time!

      Sorry you’ve had to drop out before too. I guess they wouldn’t call it a Challenge if it was easy…I don’t know what I was thinking, signing up when I knew I was going to be away for part of the month–and that was BEFORE all this other stuff happened.

      Reply
  34. Mandy

    Sorry things didn’t work out for you this year! There’s always next year! πŸ™‚

    Reply
    • JH

      Thanks, Mandy! I’ll miss your posts, but I’ll see you again in June, I hope.

      Reply
  35. Misha

    Sorry to read that your life imploded! I hope things improve for you. See you in June. X

    Reply
    • JH

      Me too, Misha. Thanks for the kind words.

      I’ll see you in June.

      Reply
  36. John Holton

    Man, that sucks. See you next year?

    Reply
    • JH

      You bet, John!

      And in June, if you’re so inclined.

      Reply
    • JH

      Thanks, Anna! Miss you.

      Reply
  37. Margaret Ullrich

    Enjoy your travels and break from routine. You don’t owe anyone an explanation or an apology. It’s always a good idea to take care of yourself.
    All the best!

    Reply
  38. Shelly

    Life happens don’t feel bad! I thought about quitting when I got to Z because we’ve been so busy with our Valley Fire rebuilding efforts.

    Reply
  39. Crystal Collier

    Sounds like you had the kind of month I had…except yours was probably worse. Sending cheese and good thoughts your way. Be kind to yourself through everything, eh? Looking forward to your return.

    Reply

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