Eleanor Musgrove wrote on her blog, Fandom Wanderers, “How To Take A Break From Fandom(s)” where she discussed how to step away when it gets to be too much. I think it is a great idea to take a break every once in a while. Brief rest periods can be good for preventing a fan from being overwhelmed. It also helps to sometimes focus all your attention on the real world around you. Immersion into fiction is meant to be a temporary reprieve.
The recommendations mentioned in her post are great guidelines when it comes to taking a break. There are instances, though, when a break is not enough. Fandom can be too much for some people, and they feel the need to leave altogether. Charlotte Kinzie felt the need to leave the Supernatural fandom. Kinzie describes the negative side of fandom while continuing to maintain the fact that she was content with having been apart of it. She states that “the good did seem to outweigh the bad most of the time.” Overexposure to the full range of a fandom for too long can lead to the feeling of needing to leave. That is why breaks are necessary if a fan wants to continue to be apart of a fandom without it getting to be too much for them. While on break, though, it does need to be a complete distancing from the entire online environment and all the material that comes with it as Musgrove mentions.
The need to take a break can come from a variety of issues. Something as easy to correct as schoolwork, or something more complicated like a disagreement with the things happening in a show. If it is something simple like putting in more time doing work, the break can happen and then the fan immerse their self slowly back into the fandom. If it is more complicated and the fan wants things to change that they themselves cannot, then a break can only do so much. That is not to say that a show should be given up on, Fandom for Equality discussed why fans should stay and how to do so. They tackle some of the minor flaws within a show that can usually be overlooked if everything else on the show is well done. Oftentimes there will be an event, character, or story line that a fan has a qualm with will be resolved or fade away, and the fan can continue as they were now that their issue is out of the way. The fan can take a break, let the story line they disagree with play out, and then come back. Musgrove says “missing a few episodes will not be the end of the world.”
In the end, it all comes down to how the fan is feeling and what they think is in their best interests.