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Thursday, March 5, 2009

The Post in which Half the Content is Parenthetical (For Reasons I Can't Explain)

Back when I first started this little adventure, I did a lot of reading about blogging. Well, that's not strictly true. I started it without any clue whatsoever, and then about four months in, I did a whole bunch of reading -- seeking blogging tips, advice from those more experienced, trying to learn as much as I could. (Whatever. I'm a dork. I like to do research. I embrace that side of myself.)

One of the things I remember reading -- in the context of the Great Warning (what is the Great Warning? Oh, you know, that Blogging Can Be Addictive) -- is that one should never blog first thing in the morning. The logic was that it's too easy to turn on the computer, start reading other people's posts, replying to your own comments, and generally frittering time away, and then, suddenly *poof!* it's lunchtime, and you've done nothing productive.

Of course, I, on reading this advice, was all la la la la la la la la, I can't heeeeaaaar you (with fingers in ears, obviously). I prefer to check my blog in the morning, read a few posts while the children are taking 8 frazillion hours to eat their bowls of cereal, leave a comment here or there.

I could say that this has never become addictive for me, and that I have never frittered away a day until suddenly *poof!* it was lunchtime. But since I have no desire to change my name legally to Little Lying Lucy McLiarson, I won't say that. I'll even cop to burning the heck out of the butter in a pan just now, since I got so distracted writing this post that I forgot to add the eggs to the pan. (I know. I'm just feeling confessional for some reason today.)

I know some people do the blogging-in-snatches-of-time thing -- where they check in over lunch at their desks, or while the children are napping, or during commercials of their favorite show. Other people do the super-organized schedule thing, where they write posts in batches on one or two set days (or nights) of the week, have allotted times for perusing their feed readers (and actually close the window when the timer dings), and so on. Other people seem to have mastered Zen and the art of blog maintenance, and they write (beautifully) when they are inspired.

Here's me: I can't do the "snatches of time" model because I will "snatch" two hours as soon as you give me ten minutes. I can't do the super-organized thing because I like to write when the mood strikes. (Also, I will not close the window of my reader when the timer dings.) And I am not Zen.

Also and, I can't emulate the schedules of people for whom blogging is a full-time job, since eight hours a day is nowhere near the amount of time I can spend blogging. In fact, some days, it's about ten hours more than I have to spend blogging. (If you don't have days where you have at least two more hours of work to get done than there are hours in the day, I don't think I know you.)

And yet, in a world where time was of no consequence, I could easily spend eight hours a day blogging, given the number of writers that I love to read, plus the number of people who leave comments that make me want to visit them back, plus the amount of time it takes to write my own drivel. (This post has taken a nice quiet breakfast time to compose, since the kids are already at daycare -- which of course means that I am Seriously Wasting Daycare Dollars by writing a blog post instead of grading papers right now. And yes, the fried eggs on toast were quite tasty. Thanks.)

So I'm curious: what do you do? What are your strategies for keeping up (enough) with the blogs you like to read, replying (enough) to the comments you get, writing what and when you want, while yet keeping blogging in its proper place? (Which is to say, not ahead of your children, the job you do that earns money, the housework, paying attention to your spouse, or whatever else in your real life is vital.) How do you find your balance?

Because while I am pretty good about staying focused on Son and Daughter while I am home with them, I fritter away inordinate amounts of time at night online after they go to bed, when I could (and should) be working on other writing/grading/reading projects. And I'm pretty sure that keeping a second window open on my computer, so that I can see when I get a new comment or a new post pops into my reader, is not making me the most productive person I can be while I'm at my day job. So I clearly need some help.

Got suggestions?


CaJoh said...

I'm still working things out. I tend to want to read a lot of the blogs that I follow, but lately have been uninspired to comment as often as I used to.

I do know that I have several favorites that I try and read before all the rest, but otherwise I try to read through postings in reverse chronological order (newest to oldest).

I will have to read what the other solutions are and perhaps apply some of them to my own blogging style.

Scribbit said...

I'm just so honored to be one of your parenthetical friends :)

I found things terribly ironic this week that after posting the organization post last week I got so busy this weekend I didn't get to read anything. Go figure.

Aimeepalooza said...

I have no suggestions because I am trapped in the blog suck. That means I lose whole days to reading commenting....

Heather of the EO said...

Yup, I do the timer thing, but let me make sure it's clear that many times I don't set the timer. I do it when I know I have too much to get done or when I know my kids need more mom time. Then I remind me with a timer.

But if I don't set a timer, I'm just one big scattered mess of terribly time management.

I think it takes a long time to find a groove. VERY.SLOW. for me anyway. I do think scheduling time is a good idea, but like you, I get hit with inspiration and want to get it down before I forget. Right then.

Just today I realized that if I'm going to love blogging and keep up with doing it the way I'd like, it IS going to simply be time-consuming. I just have to figure out if I'm OK with it taking a lot of time I could use elsewhere. Not sure yet.

GOOD question (;

Domestic Goddess (In Training) said...

My God, I can't wait to hear the advice! I am a SAHM and have a toddler and 7 month old. I blog when I can and I read when they nap, if they nap at the same time. My whole day is spent anticipating having the time to read and write. And when I don't... I get all tingly and itchy. Am thinking of turning to crack to break blog addiction.

MamaGeek @ Works For Us said...

I feel ya. Let me know what you learn. Because the more I blog (timewise), the less I blog. I went from daily blogging to once a week blogging and some days that one day of week seems a wee bit too much.


Miss High Heels said...

I love nothing better than to read over some blogs while munching on my breakfast cereal. That way I know I only have a limited amount of time before I need to leave for work.

Between working during the day, studying two nights a week and planning a wedding I'm so far fitting in a lot of blog reading but not so much writing.

What I'm trying to do is whenever a post idea rears it's head I just start jotting notes down. In class the other night I 'noted' 3 blog posts. Now that I have lots of things to write about I'm just trying to find some time to write them up!

Mrs F with 4 said...

Hmmph, and I don't even have a real live blog of my own (yet. But I'm still working on it.). I scan the new feeds while the children are scarfing breakfast; run back to it when they nap; read rather than scaling the North American Laundry Mountain; and when Mr F is away (which would be most of the time), stay up waaaaay too late.

Oh look, I have a crop of parentheses to match yours!

OHmommy said...

This is exactly what I am speaking about at BlogHer. Are you going?

I write at night. Only when I have something to say. I have never had anything waiting to be published. I scroll through my reader at breakfast, comment very rarely, and check in on twitter. I come back to the computer at nap time for a couple of minutes. And then again at night. I have a serious issue with not being able to comment back to my readers. There just isn't enough time. Once a week, I usually skim through the weeks worth of comments that really "touched me" and check them out on their blog.

I skim through my reader at night and morning and comment when I have something to say. I don't comment often anymore.

Fawn said...

Hahahahaha! Balance?! There is no balance! I am the most unbalanced person I know these days. Partly because there are very few "others" in my life these days, except for those who reside within these four walls...

Twenty Four At Heart said...

No suggestions whatsoever! BUT -- I so want to hear the solution once you get it all figured out!

anymommy said...

I am beyond flattered that you see me as zen (and over the moon that you like my writing), but no, I stress. I spend too much time on the computer and feel guilty as hell. I'm addicted.

I have let go of having to post a certain number of times or a certain number of days. I truly do wait til I have something in my brain to write. But...I can't sleep sometimes if I've been unable to return comments or I'm hopelessly behind on email. I love the community part of blogging and I hate feeling like a slacker.

So, no, I haven't figured it out either.

foolery said...

MT, how you write beautiful, thoughtful, well-crafted posts AT ALL is a mystery to me, especially knowing how full your life is. You are an inspiration.

After four years of blogging here's how it goes, for me:

-- check comments while I check e-mails at work, first thing
-- reply to one, maybe two comments during the morning when I can
-- read one or two blogs at lunch and comment
-- write when I put the kids to bed, from about 8:30 to 11:30
-- all composing done in e-mail, sometimes in one sitting, sometimes over days of refining
-- at any given time I have 5-10 drafts in my e-mail folder (sometimes they're only topic sentences or referential web addresses)
--writing is first, reading is second, commenting is third
-- I try to post 6 times a week, but if I just don't feel it I don't post

Hope this helps someone!

supertiff said...

i've become trapped in the silence of not being quite honest enough. i know, it's hard to believe for people who know me--i tend to let even the most personal details tumble out of my mouth at any given time. but, a while back, a started holding back a few things, and it's really worked against my blogging. i hardly have anything to say anymore, because, as i've said before, i don't MAKE UP stories. i only have my story, and if i'm holding some of my story back, then what's the point?

i'm really struggling with this right now.


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