Saturday, April 10, 2010

How do you keep up?

Obviously no post, inspired or otherwise happened yesterday.  Instead what happened was a trip to the pet store where little blond person picked out a dark red beta fish and dubbed him Swimmy Ben.  She then proceeded to select hot pink aquarium rocks, plastic red, pink, purple and clear accent stones to go on top of the aquarium rocks, and a plastic purple plant (say that three times fast) with, you guessed it, hot pink stripes. 

After we got home, my husband assembled the bowl with accessories, put the fish in and Swimmy Ben - disappeared.  I didn't know there was such a thing as camoflauge for a red fish, but we discovered it.  However, Swimmy Ben, when we catch the occasional glimpse of him as he flits past a clear accent stone, seems quite happy with his psychedelic home and my daughter is over the moon and, most of the time, wet to the elbows despite all my admonitions to look, don't touch, because of her new pet.

Now onto the issue at hand.  I love this blogging thing.  I love putting things out there into blogosphere and receiving in return the thoughts of like minded folk.  Traveling from blog to blog each day makes me feel like an astronaut bouncing from one strange planet to the next, always eager to see what each new destination has in store.  I love the little thrill I get when someone new decides to 'follow' me.  I love the jolt of recognition when I read something on someone else's blog that explains in terms I would never have thought to use exactly how I feel or think or write. 

I also recognize the importance of blogging for an aspiring author.  We have to be out there.  We need to have a following.  We need to know what's going on in the writing community.  I get that.

Here's my dilemma.  I have very little free time and once baby number two comes, free time for me will be like unobtanium for those nasty, corporate stuffed shirts in Avatar.  I'm already following more blogs than I can reasonably keep up with, but I would like to join more, both to see what other aspiring writers have to say and also to bring more folks into my little corner of the sphere.  However, to be a writer, I have to write.  Even if I have 2,000 followers, but no manuscript because I've spent all my time attracting and upkeeping my blog relationship with those followers, I've got nothing. 

Because I enjoy it so damn much and because it's easier than working on my WIP and also because I need to build a following, I'm spending about 60% of the free time I have cruising the blogosphere.   Case in point, I logged on tonight, told myself I had twenty minutes to browse the posts on the blogs I was following and crank out a post for my own blog.  I logged on at 11:00.  It is now midnight and while I read every post on every blog I follow (though I didn't take the time to comment) and wrote this post for my blog I haven't even opened my WIP yet. Not good.

So I'm wondering, do the rest of you writers out there have this issue?  If so, how do you divvy up your time so that your actual writing doesn't suffer because of the time spent blogging/tweeting/facebooking, etc.?  And how do you find the time to upkeep your personal relationships with friends, family, etc. while still maintaining an online presence and working on your craft?


Charmaine Clancy said...

All I can tell you is yes I do have this issue, but how to solve it? Hmm I'm definitely not succeeding there. I do try to schedule my writing and editing time, so no blogging during that time.
Of course my kids are 8 and 12, so not nearly the same as young bubs to feed. I can only suggest that you limit the days you're on, so you can't be tempted to keep browsing, maybe just blog two times a week? I would think that's plenty to keep an online presence. As for keeping in touch with friends and family - tell 'em to read your blog ;-)

Joanne said...

I find Blogger's Scheduler to be a great help. I'll write several posts in advance and put them in scheduler so they post automatically and I don't have to tend to that. I also limit my posts to 3 a week and find that is sufficient. It's a balance, I guess, and sometimes it tips more one way than the other, but all seems to work out.

~Nicole Ducleroir~ said...

I definitely have the same problem. I keep telling myself I'm going to do what Joanne said and write blog posts in advance, but I haven't been organized enough to get that done. I do spend time on my WiP every day, but I have from 7 when the kids get on the bus to 3 when the first gets home to write. What doesn't get done enough is housecleaning and my workouts. *sigh* There truly isn't enough time in the day...

We have a blue Betta fish -- LOVE him!

Have a great weekend :)

#167 Dad said...

I beleive writing is more important than blogging, attending semilars, or sending query letters. The more you write, the better you get...

Cynthia Reese said...

Oh, that chicken-or-the egg question!

Love, love, love Blogger scheduler! I write my blogs ahead on the weekends and schedule them, and that leaves me time during the week to scroll through all the blogs I follow.

I should follow this advice that I'm about to give you, because it works: put the big rocks in first. Write first, and then get on the blogs, because writing IS the big rock, and if you put that in the jar first, then all the smaller stuff will find its own space.

And yay on the new fish addition! We have two goldfish, and The Kiddo adores them. I was amazed at how attached I could get to a pet that can't purr or snuggle.

Angie Paxton said...

Charmaine, only allowing myself certain days to blog is a great idea. I'm going to try that out, see if my self control is up to it.

Joanne I didn't know about Blogger scheduler. If I can ever get that organized that would be a great resource to help me with this issue.

Nicole, if only we didn't have to sleep. Then we'd have plenty of time for it all, including work outs :^)

KarenG said...

Angie, so glad you wrote this extremely timely and well-written post even though you really shouldn't have lol! It is a HUGE question. And it boils down to what we women have always had to deal with-- juggling family, career, personal interests & hobbies-- it's the same old story isn't it? Priorities and organization-- that's how you do it. It's how women have always done it, even before the internet exploded in our faces.

Carolina Valdez Miller said...

Oh my yes. I think we all do. It's the same for me. I struggle with this all the time. But unlike a lot, I don't blog every day. I just can't. And I take the occasional hiatus, sometimes announced, sometimes not. It's not going to build a following the fastest, but it works for me. It's such a juggling act.

Amy Jo Lavin said...

I wish I knew the answer to this because I have the same struggle. I don't post on my blog every day, but I try to visit the blogs that I follow. I can't visit every one, nor do I have time to comment on them all, but reading about other aspiring writers helps me stay on track with my writing. So, it's really just about balance, making sure that we balance all that we need to do in a way that works for us individually.

Angie Paxton said...

#167 Dad, I agree that writing is the most important thing. It's just so much easier and enjoyable to blog. I have to get a handle on that.

Cynthia, thanks so much for following me. I think you and #167 Dad are kind of on the same page with your advice. I do need to do that. I just have go dig deep and find some self discipline to make sure that happens. I'm actually pretty surprised and how much both myself and little blond person are enjoying Swimmy Ben. He's kind of fascinating.

KarenG, when I've voiced my worry about having two kids to take care of everyone tells me I'll figure it out because I have no choice. They're right and so are you. Women have been juggling lots of different responsibilities since the beginning of time.

Caroline, I've decided that I'm going to make a goal to only blog three times a week. I just don't think I can do anymore than that and still take care of the other important things.

Amy, I'm hoping my new resolve to only blog three times a week will help me find that balance.

Thanks everyone for taking the time to read and comment!

#167 Dad said...

Then again, blogging is writing...

Jen said...

This one is definitely tough!!! I love a ton of blogs but I don't have the time to follow them all it just doesn't happen that way. I tried this out as a way to learn more about writing and it's exactly what I've done. I had been addicted but I now have devised a plan to better ease my stressed out mind.

Work comes first... this applies to my daily job
Writing... after I have finished all my evening chores I would then write. 1,000 words at least, it didn't all have to be for my story but it had to be a thousand words of something.
Blogging... then came blogging now at the beginning I did it so much it was insane however I have since then downgraded. It's been tough but I have did.

I have roughly 30 bloggers that I follow regularly I never miss their posts (unless I'm unplugged of course) after that it's free range I go through my 300+ followers and randomly comment, I only follow about 90 blogs however I do not always comment on them they have to be interesting and then from there I do a random selection of the 300+ wonderful people following me! It's a balance of knowing that I can't please everyone but I need to be sure that I'm happy with how my time is spent.

I finished my very first draft so as you can see it can be done! Patience with yourself is key!