Not Enough Hours in a Day

Serenity - Francis Guenette - photo

Today, I’m dropping into the blogosphere asking advice of bloggers both old and new. The first draft writing of Chasing Down the Night is in gear now and, though I’ve been through this twice before, I had forgotten how intense this phase of creativity can be.

I definitely need to do a bit of pre-planning for the day ahead before I enter the world of Crater Lake. I emerged in a daze the other day to realize it was almost 5:00 pm, I had no plans for dinner, the breakfast dishes were still in the sink and a cold wind was whipping through the cabin. When did it get cloudy and when did the wind shift?

Clearing the decks of a few tasks before writing time begins is a great idea. But here’s where your advice comes in. The WordPress blog world is a wonderful place. I follow a number of blogs and new ones catch my interest at a fairly regular rate. I try to stay caught up with most of the posts that stream into the WordPress Reader – at any rate – with the one’s that catch my eye (and so many do!) and posts written by long time blogging friends.

It takes time to read a post with the attention necessary to like it or make a relevant comment. We all know there are people out there who whip down the Reader clicking like, like, like without ever reading more than a couple of words we’ve written. Seriously, what is the point?

Even with a degree of winnowing out – let’s face it, not everything is of interest at any given time. Some days I’m in the mood to read a movie review or a list of the top ten places you don’t want to be seen taking a photograph and other days it’s more like serious writing tips or advice only – the process of staying caught up is daunting and time consuming. When I’m first draft writing, it seems impossible.

I want to be a blogger who is engaged with others and time must also be allocated to write a decent post now and then and respond to comments. That is the triple header of blogging to me – writing, reading, responding.

I know there are bloggers out there who simply make an announcement – I’m off the radar for x amount of time – period, end of story. Oh to be so firm on setting boundaries. If that was me, I wouldn’t be asking for advice and I wouldn’t be me.

So, how do you chase after your daily pursuits and stay caught up in the blog world? Does anyone have a method they could share? I’m all ears.

The sun is out today in our little corner of the world and the rock wall garden expansion is happening. I will definitely leave Crater Lake a couple of times today to walk in the sun, enjoy the garden and get inspired.

Rock Wall - in progress - Francis Guenette photo

35 comments on “Not Enough Hours in a Day

  1. I can’t offer any advice in this department as I have exactly the same time management problem but I wanted to respond to your plea. I also love to read and comment on quite a few of the daily posts to the detriment of my writing time and I hope someone comes up with some good advice that we could both follow. Here’s hoping…

  2. Reblogged this on New Author -Carole Parkes and commented:
    Has anyone some good advice for this blogger?

  3. Oh, if only I knew the answer to your dilemma. I also notice the “like, like, like’ brigade. 😦

    • Misery does love company 🙂 Two years of blogging has taught me that I always have so much more to learn and tapping into the wisdom of the community is a smart thing to do. Necessary to accept that people have all kinds of different agendas when it comes to the blogosphere – a number of people are using WordPress as a platform for free advertising and like, like, like down the reader is a way to drive traffic to their site. Different strokes for different folks.

  4. thepensmight says:

    I hear you in spades, and the dishes and dinners to plan leads to the shopping and house cleaning and errand running, etc. Being the home-body in my house, these fall to me, yet I am also a fine artist, a digital artist and a blogger. And, I can’t keep up. I once wrote a thank you-piece to the bloggers I haven’t kept up with. That salved my conscience, but not much else.

    After reading Austin Kleon’s “Share Your Work”, I’m currently posting two serialized novels; one Tuesday and one Friday. So maybe you should try to find a way to incorporate your fiction into your blog, though I realize this doesn’t help you catch up with the other bloggers, social media connections and sites you enjoy. It certainly hasn’t for me. I’ll live with that. I believe creating is more important to me at this time than keeping up, though I also find kinship, ideas, and inspiration in the work of others. I’ll leave you with the start of a poem I wrote, called “Keeping Up.”

    I can’t keep up. I can’t catch up.
    How does anyone do it?
    In a modern world so full
    Of clash, clamor, clang and boom

    Just the simple daily chores
    Seem mountainous and daunting
    No waiting pass I can forge through
    To see the promised land of time

    There I could freely share my gifts
    Be nourished by the gifts of others
    But wait, a shooting, bomb, a horror
    Or someone’s having pizza dinner

    So do my words, my art, my thought
    Impinge upon the time of others?
    Well not so much these hectic days
    I’m running to retrieve my self, my song

    Where quips and likes and voyeur views
    Shared with social friends and neighbors
    Reflect my contributions to the whole
    Am I thought mad to even try to better

    If you should find a solution, please let the rest of us know

    • Thank you so much for the lovely poem 🙂 The part that really struck me was the line about my own words, art and thoughts impinging upon the time of others. A bit of a catch-22. Here’s to keeping up the best ways we can – and please check out Gwen’s comment on this stream. The woman is a genius – limits and discipline are the answers to our shared dilemma.

    • “No waiting pass I can forge through to see the promised land of time.” That pretty well sums it up for me too.
      I am constantly frustrated by the things that seem to be demanded of me while my creative time suffers. Wish I had an answer.

      • Yes – me too! Love the quote. I have come up with action plan after action plan in the hope of being proactive about it all but I’m not sure I’m making any headway at all. This social media thing seems to be an all or nothing endeavour. I guess we just keep plugging away. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

  5. Yolanda M. says:

    Don’t know if this is much of a tip and maybe this is not going to make me popular but I doubt I’m the only one who does this – I don’t click on the ‘notify me of follow-up comments’ and I rarely read other people’s comments on posts I like. I know I should but it is more email than I can handle at the mo’. I feel like a bad person now for admitting this 😦 Anyway love this post Francis! I think most of us are wanting to build a community and it is especially important if you’re a writer to find and engage with other like-minded bloggers or supporters/fans so somehow we have to ‘make’ the time.

    • OMG Yolanda – don’t feel bad. You are not only the only one who doesn’t keep track of all follow-up comments or read comment streams – for the most part, I have never even considered reading all the comments some bloggers get on a great piece. I wish I had the time, though because more often than not you really hear some great stuff. Now and then, I will read the blogger’s responses – helps me get familiar with their voice and style. To me, comments should be like conversation. We should craft and refine our posts but I think we should really let our own personality shine in the response to comments. So glad you like the post. After I clicked publish, I thought maybe the whole thing sounded a bit desperate.

      • Yolanda M. says:

        I think it is a great post Francis 🙂 I felt bad (no more thanks to your response) because I actually know of a few bloggers who do keep up with every comment made on their favourite blogs – exhausting stuff! Also I agree with you I do think I miss out on some great insights and on ‘finding’ other great bloggers. Ah well…have a great week!

  6. jennypellett says:

    I can identify with this! My story writing gets completely hi- jacked while I spend fascinating hours going through my WordPress reader. I get side-tracked all the time and yes, it’s detrimental – I wonder where the time goes, but it’s so much fun and so worthwhile. Sorry, haven’t been much help, have I?

    • Just nice to know I’m not alone in the whole distraction factor and the fact that it can be fun and I can end up reading some worthwhile things. Do check out Gwen’s great advice in this comment stream. I’m really going to be trying to put her words into effect over the summer.

  7. Fran,
    The only thing I find that works is to simply disconnect from WI-Fi until my writing time and other “duties” are complete. Then, I check e-mail and blog posts and don’t feel quite as guilty–for ignoring readers and my writing goal. It’s not an easy solution because we all want to read and respond right now! 🙂

    • I hear you on the simply unplug for the internet option, Mark. I long for the completion of my garden house writing retreat where I will go to write with no interruptions and no internet. Until then I am going to be following Gwen’s great advice (in this comment stream) which comes down to two words (ideas you are already expressing here) limits and discipline.

  8. Gwen Stephens says:

    Fran, I think any blogger can relate to this dilemma. I’ve cut back my posting to twice monthly this summer so I can concentrate on first draft writing, too. Since you’re looking for advice on how to juggle it all, here are my methods for managing the writing, reading & responding triple header.

    1. I don’t follow any new blogs, unless I come across one that really blows my socks off.

    2. I follow something in the range of 100 blogs, but I only consistently keep up with about 20 of my favorites (including yours!) I’ve set up my WordPress reader so the new posts of my favorite bloggers are delivered to my email. The rest roll straight into the reader.

    3. I set an hour aside each day for blogging maintenance. It’s usually late afternoon or early evening, when my creativity and energy levels are depleted for the day. This is when I respond to comments on my blog and read the new posts that have come in over email.

    4. If I have any time left before my hour is up, I’ll scroll through the reader. If I see a post from a blogger outside my “inner circle” that looks interesting, I’ll click, read, and comment.

    5. I usually draft new posts on the weekend, since I’ve established a Monday posting schedule. That gives me a little time to revise/tweak before Monday rolls around.

    Scheduling is how I manage most things in life. I’ve found sticking to the one hour a day rule works well for me, and I really make myself stick to it. When the hour is up, I’m done for the day. Sometimes I don’t even do the whole hour.

    Hope this helps, and good luck with finding the right balance. I know it’s hard. Gotta run now – my hour’s nearly up 🙂

    • I don’t know how to thank you, Gwen, and from this comment stream, I think I’m not the only one who will be taking your five step plan seriously. Two things I’ll be doing right away – converting my A-List to email notification and limiting my own blogging to once a week – at least while I’m in the active, creative stage of writing. I may have to divide my WordPress time between a bit in the morning and a bit at the end of the day. I let out quite the laugh when I got to your last line – limits and discipline. Got it 🙂

  9. For writing or editing time I reward myself with social media …after I have done some writing….but you know what? I feel the same as you and sometimes I just like other blog posts because I have hundreds to get through. I read them but just don’t have the time some days to leave a comment. I am not offended when people don’t comment on my posts all the time because this world is such a crazy busy place. Good luck with your latest WIP.

    • Thanks 🙂 I really want to get on top of these dilemmas because I don’t want to end up hating the blog world and I’d like to be able to think of social media as a reward instead of the feeling I sometimes have that it’s a necessary evil. Check out Gwen’s advice in this comment stream. Limits and discipline.

  10. Roy McCarthy says:

    Good advice above, especially Gwen. I get email notification on about 50 blogs. If I follow a new one then another, maybe inactive, has to die. I read them all but if I don’t feel moved to comment then I won’t. If that particular post doesn’t interest me then I don’t feel as if I have to ‘like’ it either.

    Fran you’d be a saint if you religiously read and commented on everything. There isn’t time, as you have discovered. No one out there will notice or be offended if you simply move on 🙂

  11. ocjarman1 says:

    I, too, have difficulties in attempting some semblance of a blogosphere presence–between the severe fatigue due a chronic illness & writing a novel, adding to my blog is at the bottom of my priority ‘totem pole”; however, I do my best!

    • Adding on the layer of chronic illness to balancing writing and life – I’m not surprised a blogosphere presence is a challenge. Hang in there and I’m honoured that you had time to read and comment on my post. Best wishes with juggling a full plate.

  12. I resonate with all of these comments and am amazed that any of us get as much done as we do. Thanks to you, Fran, for bringing up the topic and to you, Gwen, for your helpful suggestions. I’m hoping to implement as many of them as I can. One different view I have is that I “like the likes.” I know how difficult it is to find time to read others’ postings, much less to comment on them. So, I figure if I am getting some likes from other bloggers, at least they are reading and finding something valuable in them. Of course, I love it when somebody comments, especially if it is a helpful comment, whether complimentary or critical. Look for a post from me in the future about an editor’s musings on bloggers comments.
    Gayle Moore-Morrans

    • Hi Gayle – good to hear from you. My post did seem to resonate with more than a few. Good point about being satisfied with the likes. I’m still working on putting Gwen’s great suggestions to work. I’ll keep my eyes open for your upcoming post.

  13. dex says:

    Great post. “Writing, reading, responding”–that’s what good blogging is. Sometimes I manage it, and sometimes I simply don’t.

    Take what I’m doing, literally, right now for example. I haven’t read any other blogs in about 2 weeks. So, I’m ticking through my favorites and reading (okay–sometimes reading and sometimes skimming) my favorites. It’s a lot to keep up with, and when I allow a week or two to pass, it takes time to get caught up.

    But, as any blogger can tell you, feedback is a bit part of what makes blogging satisfying. It’s critical. Even if it takes time, it’s worth the investment. I want good writers to keep writing, and this is one way to encourage that.

  14. To be honest, I’m not sure I achieve this. I only regularly read a handful of blogs. I know my limits and I wouldn’t be able to keep up with more. I understand the give and take and I am ALWAYS extremely grateful for any feedback I acquire, but I want to be sincere, and as you say, not “like” something simply for the sake of perhaps drawing attention to myself.

    I try, once a week, to sit down and read (really read) my handful of blogs and leave meaningful comments. Any more than that, and I’m scrolling which, in my opinion, defeats the purpose.

    I think people do what they have time for. After all, all of us have goals and it’s important to keep moving towards them.

  15. mooremorrans says:

    See my post of July 25, 2014, An Editor’s Musing: Why do some writers “let it all hang out” instyead of editing their posts or comments? How can comments be helpful?

  16. Wish I have an answer. New to WordPress. Guess it boils down to joy in doing something. If it becomes a chore, perhaps something is not right…

    • Welcome to the WordPress world. Sometimes it reminds me of a vast and subterranean subway system that one is always only learning to find one’s way through. Best of luck! I think you are onto something with the idea of joy. When social media becomes a chore, something is not right. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

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