June 11, 2010

The Reading List

          The Internet is a wealth of information. And it has been an invaluable resource for me in my pursuit to perfect my writing and become published. It can also be a major time suck, stealing my energy away from other, often more important things I should be doing. 
           I am constantly scanning my favorite blogs or clicking on interesting links shared by others. If the piece was written by someone I know personally or someone I have connected with via social media who has been supportive of me, I make sure I read it and comment when appropriate. 
          I scan through all the others (and there are TONS) briefly to see if I want to read more. If so, I add the link to my "NEED TO READ" list. Trouble is, that list is very long and growing daily. 
          That's not even counting the large and growing pile of actual BOOKS I hope to read at some point in the (preferably near) future. It often feels overwhelming. How am I going to find time to actually read it all?
          This on top of the other things I'm supposed to be doing. Blogging. Social networking. Building my "platform." Oh yes, and I'm trying to finish a book and get it published. All while I have precious little free time. I often wonder if it is worth it. It can cause me extra stress that I really don't need.
          At least once a day it seems, I question whether or not I have bitten off more than I can chew. Made a major mistake. I'm in the middle of one of the most hectic periods of my life. Why did I feel the need to add to my load? Voluntarily?
          And then I remember that I have an important message to share. One that has the ability to touch people in a positive way. That was the most rewarding aspect of writing my first book. No, I did not get rich. And yes, it was a lot of hard work. But I made a difference in people's lives. They told me so. That is an amazing feeling, one not everyone gets to experience. So is it all worth it? The answer is a resounding, "YES!"
          I know there are plenty of people out there who face the same challenges and manage it all well. So how do you do it? What are YOUR tips for making it work? Please share; I'm dying to know!


  1. I know just how you feel and wonder often if what I'm doing (both on and off line)matters, and if I could find a way to better manage my time. One thing I can say for sure is that having lots of great stuff ready and waiting to read feels good. Because how great is it that there is so much great stuff out there to read!

    I'm reminding myself daily that the blog (and all that I do with it, reading other blogs, connecting via social media etc.,) fuel my passion and make me feel more whole. So they are important as long as they continue to do that. As soon as it gets to be too much I'll step back and reevaluate.

    Good post, important discussion! Wish we could have it in person :-)

  2. I went through this same, "OMG! How is this possible?" emotion a few months back, and honestly it was terrible. But instead of letting these "To Do" lists get the best of me, I accepted that there is no way I'd ever be able to get through them all and just kept what was absolutely necessary. This Ahha! moment made me appreciate any form rejection letter I'd received. Seriously, can you imagine how some of these agents feel? WHEW!

    There is a notion out there that if you allow these "To Do" lists weight you down, you'll never reach the goal of what you've worked so hard for in the first place: to become a published author.

    Like with parenting, do what you can as time permits, but don't lose focus of your main objective. Hope you have a great weekend!:)

  3. I know! The lists keep growing daily. I've just started a document where I paste the links for all the things that either are awesome/useful, or seem like they might be at some point. That way I don't have to read it now, I haven't lost anything, and I can still get things done. It's not a perfect solution, but it's working for now.

  4. @ Christine - It would be fun if we could have these discussions in person, wouldn't it? ;)

    @ Tori - I love Aha moments!

    @ Elizabeth - I do the same thing. And it is working for me for now as well.

  5. I ask myself these same questions daily. It's a constant struggle to just step away from the computer. I'm still trying to organize my Google Reader and add in email filters to make it all a little less overwhelming.

    There are just so many compelling writers in the blogosphere and I want to read all they have to say!

  6. I'm in the same boat, so I don't have many tips except to say it doesn't HAVE to take tons of time. Sometimes I'll give myself, say, 30 min. to scan through my favorite 6 blogs and make quick comments on interesting posts. Then another day I'll make a point to respond to a bunch of people on Twitter, and so on. No, I don't have huge blocks of time to devote to it, but even little bits count. As for time to read books? I haven't read one in months!!

  7. @ Mungee's Ma - I know! And I discover more each day!

    @ Abby - They say to be a good writer you have to be reading. I hope that's not true, or I'm in trouble! LOL Oh, and thanks for making time for MY blog today! ;) Appreciate your input.

  8. Never, ever give up, but also remember your message about motherhood has no expiration date. The subject will always be timely. Write a little bit every day and you'll get there.

    BTW...I really like the new layout.

  9. @ Jeannie - Thank you for your words of encouragement and compliment on the redesign. I'm glad you like the new look!

  10. That's a real tough one. It isn't easy to balance social media time with writing time and our regular lives. I'm still working on achieving the perfect balance but I've learned to limit my time on sites and blogs. Once I reach my write goal for the day I get to jump online, until then I have to keep my distractions brief!

  11. Hi Elizabeth, love the new look! I am trying to find out a system to my madness as well. I have resorted to the fact that I have to schedule things or make them routine or I will go crazy. I have been getting up early to write. Checking Twitter and reading links while I am on cardio machine. Then, I am reading blogs or book research in the afternoon or evening depending on the family's activities. It is starting to work for me but just barely. I think it is a matter of trying things out until you figure out the right set up for you. It takes some shuffling around and then one day, it will all click.

    Did you notice housecleaning, feeding kids, and eating were not mentioned in my schedule? Yeah, I am still shuffling myself. :)

  12. I didn't see "taking care of my daughter" in that list of things to do. There was an interesting discussion on social media and multi-tasking on Science Friday this afternoon. Basically they said that everybody tries to multi-task but nobody does it very well. Set a daily goal and when that is reached, like Heather said, reward yourself with a distraction -- taking your daughter and dog for a walk. Love you.

  13. @ Heather - Sounds like a good approach. I'm in a bit of a different situation. With nonfiction, you generally don't write the book until you have a commitment from a publisher. So I'm not writing at the moment. But when I am, I think your idea of reaching your writing goal, then looking @ blogs, etc. is a great one!

    @ Hallie - Glad you like the look. :) It is hard to fit it all in. I am getting much less sleep these days, and feeling it. Staying up late is not working. So I need to figure something else out...

    @ Mike & Sharon - Taking care of my daughter would fit in to the category of "more important things I should be doing" above. LOL She comes first. And she is very demanding, which is why I have such little time to do all the other things I discuss. But, as you know, she is a joy! You won't believe how big she is when you return home!

  14. It does seem overwhelming sometimes, doesn't it? Guess we all have to practice our juggling, and try not to get too stressed when we occasionally drop a ball. :)

  15. I've been wanting to write a post on this very topic but I haven't had the...um...time ;-) I've written some about my struggles to find a balance and I'm getting better at it. Obviously, kids & husband and household management have to take priority. There have been times when I put off going to the grocery to finish a story and I've suffered the consequences with unhappy husband & children. Part of my solution is to almost never work to due dates, but I work with priorities. I was heaping a lot of pressure onto myself in order to accomplish my writing goals and it was too much. I was overtired, overworked and generally unhappy.

    Twitter is not only educational for me but it's a critical social connection so u will find me checking in at various times thru the day. And I do click on links I find interesting and occasionally bookmark things for later reading. But generally, my google reader goes largely untended and my bookmarked links are often ignored. They are available if I have time but I'm not pressured if I don't.

    I think the key is finding the right balance for *you* and figuring out what works. If you go to bed at 1am and your daughter wakes at 6am (like what happened to me this morning), you realize you're out of balance and most reading ceases (unless I find some time while kids r eating breakfast ;-) Although being a good Twitter / blogger citizen is reading posts & leaving comments, sometimes you have to exchange that for some sanity. Just say no more than you say yes and that's a good start.

  16. @ Linda - I don't drop too many balls, but when it happens I try not to beat myself up about it.

    @ PJ - I knew lots of people face the same issues, and the fact that you were going to write a post on the same subject tells me this is a hot topic. But you're right, we each have to find our own balance. There is no one way that works for everyone. Wait, isn't that a key point of my book? ;P

  17. I wish I had words of advice. I am currently sitting at my computer listening to my two girls argue over a Barbie as I try to write an article (oh...and catch up on reading blogs).

    Many days I think I should just cancel all obligations and play with my kids all day for quality family time...but THEN I remember that I would be a resentful mom who didn't follow her dreams. SO, I play with the kids often and try to fit in the other stuff as I can.

  18. @ San Diego Momma - I took a break from the Internet this weekend and focused on family time. It was great. I plan to make that a habit. Writing/social media time during the week, break on weekends.


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