Hey, I've not been around. There are reasons. Life throws things at you sometimes and when it does so, you need to be equipped in order to deal with them. This is something I realised a few years ago when I discovered that I was dumping myself under undue pressure without respite.
If you want a tl;dr version of this: when life gets hard and you are feeling the pressures of creating content, put down the internet and focus on a little mental hygiene.
At one point I was a Deputy Editor of Inverted Audio. I was sourcing pieces, getting mixes in, sorting track premieres, doing interviews. The whole lot. As the pressures of general life closed in at points, I found it triggered crippling writers block. Eventually I ended up at a place where I had to step down from the editorial team and become more of a casual writer.
Let's just talk about writers block a second here. If you perceive it as a scenario where you sit at a computer and find that you cannot think of the words, you've probably got an incorrect assumption. Instead, you mind can be alive with words, yet you are physically unable to realise them. The thought of sitting down and committing time to producing content is utterly repulsive. You find yourself indulging in pointless procrastination, leafing through endless social media and watching the clock creep into unsocial hours before resetting. A terrible cycle begins. Gradually deadlines slip by, commitments are not met, a sense of debilitating inadequacy descends and the mental pressures double down. At some point you'll break, and it is important to realise this and take actions before this happens.
I started a new day job recently. The last month of my previous job was an absolute horror show and the first two weeks of this new position was spent without a laptop. My wedding is in 3 months, I have a metric tonne of things to afford and some crazy out of the blue financial pressures to contend with. The house is a disaster, the result of too many people in a small space. Somewhere over all of this is the continual nag to create content.
In terms of how this relates Steem, the pressures here are awful. The eternal 7 day countdown of rewards, the continual guidance posts for success that encourage you to post frequently and at incredibly high production values. If you ever find yourself sitting with nothing in your pending payouts, you will experience a gnawing guilt, a sense that you are missing out, going to lose ground.
Don't let this get to you. These are all self imposed constructs. It is ok to step away from the content machine, take some time off, do something else. Focus on the immediate concerns that are facing you. For the past two months, I've been hammering Zelda, Mario Kart and Splatoon 2. The house has had a full declutter and sort out. Everything just feels like I am able to breathe a little more and start tackling matters like finances and the wedding. Gradually, the scope to create content is creeping back in, and I can start hitting up the IA front page once again. The most important factor here is that I stepped away, didn't beat myself up about it and, most importantly, didn't break my back to continue to live up to some sort of expectation.
So this is my plea to all of the creators out there having a hard time. Step away. Don't feel bad about it. Take a moment to yourself and, when you are ready, step back into the Steemit arena slowly. You don't have to justify yourself to anyone, so make sure you put yourself first.
I'm still going to be a bit patchy. I've got some old Inverted Audio articles to slap up. But I'm sure I'll return in earnest when things are a little less challenging. You'll notice that this post is completely without images and formatting. It has also been written entirely off the cuff and without my usual passes of self-editing. This is intentional, just to let you know it is ok to simply put a post out there and not to worry about the make-or-break burden of viral rewards.
Look after yourselves Steemians and don't burn out.