There are a few blogs that I read regularly. I read them for various reasons, from the witty way that the author writes about everyday events to the eye opening information on current events or for inspiration and encouragement with some of the things that I try to do that they've already conquered. These blogs are important to me. Many of the authors have become friends in a sort of profound way that I never would have thought possible. So, imagine my dismay when I hear them tell me how they are getting disillusioned with the whole blogging thing or that they're just plain burning out? And it's not just one or two, I've seen a lot of this lately. How could this happen? Many of the writers I frequent write about simple living. How could we be burning out with that?
A blogger that I truly respect and I were talking about their impending burnout just today as a matter of fact. The thing is, the same things that this person shared with me that seem to be causing a bit of "pressure" for them, are things that to some degree I've felt too. So it occurred to me, how many other bloggers feel the same thing; or for that matter will at some point down the road? Part of the pressure that this person is feeling comes from the same thing that makes them such a popular blogger in the first place, their giving nature. I think that it's a part of many, if not all, of us that choose to share of ourselves through this forum. Of course we do it for our own reasons, but over time doesn't it start to feel like we have a certain obligation to the readers we have that regularly take their time to read what we have to say. I feel it. Sometimes I just feel terrible that I don't have the time to write a personal little reply to every comment that I get. Compound that now with the fact that as bloggers, we begin to feel a part of a certain "community" online. We value the interaction we have with other bloggers and readers, and so can begin to feel obligated to be a good reader of the many other bloggers that stop by our sites. Now we've not only put ourselves in the place of feeling obligated to interact with our readers but to in turn be dutiful readers ourselves on top of maintaining our own blogs, blogs based to a great extent on our families and our gardens and generally all the things that we do over and above the normal duties of maintaining a home. So there in lies the quandary, to blog about life, or live to blog.
How often do you find yourself saying " hold on a second sweetie..." to your little ones because you're trying to "catch up" on your writing, commenting or reading? Where is your "line in the sand"? Do you have one for that matter? I had this problem early on in my evolution in this blogging experiment and through it have found a certain balance. That's not to say that I don't get out of whack once and a while, but generally I have found a couple of "rules" that I stick to and it keeps me in line. For one thing, I blog at night. Usually between 11 and 1 or 2 am. The reason for that is because it's my technique for dealing with priorities. My kids and wife are the most important things to me. The blog gets ignored during the day (with few exceptions) because that is "family time". In the evening time, kids go to bed and that's A~ and P~ time. A~ needs her sleep far more than I so after she settles for the night, I blog, comment, surf. As I said, often times I am up till about 12:30- 1:30, but I'd be up till then anyway so I re-allocate the time to the computer. It limits the intrusion to my life and allows me to focus without distraction. Some days I'm tired and I just forgo it, other times we have something else we're doing and I skip it. That's my biggest line in the sand, computer time is at night when life's obligations are met and takes backseat to family needs at all times. I try to have my biggest technical impact throughout the day be taking photos, that's it.
I don't have the opportunity to comment on others blogs very often either and sometimes feel a bit guilty. I probably don't get as many readers because of it but I can enjoy life, work in my garden, and help out in my neighborhood and I guess in the end those are the things that will bring me more happiness than spending all day chasing readers I'll never meet or otherwise meeting my need to "be there" for everyone else. I've also had an internal struggle about wanting to have a simple life, and trying to reconcile cramming that life so full of "wants" that I lose focus on the simple part. I'd like to work for myself, I want to find a bigger piece of land that I can work, I want to start a community garden, I want to help teach others all the things I've learned through my efforts and research. All noble pursuits I think, but they won't love me when I'm sick or visit me when I'm old? So in the mean time I plan and hope and enjoy what I have right now. Those things will come, I have faith. I'm only 37 right now, and my youngest is 11 so I'll have plenty of time to do things later when they're grown.
I know I'm going on and on now, but I have one final bit to pass on. When I first started blogging I would get so excited about all of the Meme things that get passed around and the great and inspirational challenges that so many people sponsor. At some point I decided two things. 1) Most of these memes are little more than thinly veiled attempts to get people to visit the originators site (my opinion) and require that we read a lot of other blogs just so we have a go to list of good blogs to refer to. Most of us have a favorite links section, to me, that is my permanent meme list. I like them, I read them and I leave it at that. 2) Every challenge I would participate in would end up making me feel obligated to keeping up with it, which would eventually lead to my feeling inadequate at it, purely for lack of time. Any more, I am always honored to receive recognition from others, and am inspired by the challenges out there, but the memes die with me, and I generally don't pledge to post on any challenge, whether I participate or not. So if you've ever nominated me for a meme that I didn't reply to, or wondered why I don't participate in any of the challenges...there you go. Self preservation!
So, what do you have to add? What do you do to "time manage" all the irons that we have in the fire? Where's your line in the sand? I know a lot of my readers blog as well so I'm putting you on the hook (not that you have to be a blogger to chime in). Who knows, maybe the solutions we can share will help to keep some of our favorite reads around a little longer.
Blog atcha later!