Tag Archives: Lessons from Teachers and Twits

On Blogging & Bacon: The Balance

A few months ago, I wrote a post called, “On Blogging & Bacon,” which covers the top three things I’ve learned about blogging. Essentially, I said in a super charming and funny way I got out of blogging what I put into it.

I feel this slipping… Oh dear god. Not the bacon!

Ironically, shortly after that, I realized I’d put too much time into blogging. I wasn’t able to write new blog posts, respond to comments, and read and comment on other blogs without devoting several hours a day.

I’d been eating way too much bacon (is that possible?) and neglecting other responsibilities and relationships. It wasn’t healthy.

Between working full-time as a project manager, part-time as a freelance writer,  earning a web design certification, maintaining personal relationships, a marriage, home, and dog, I had to find the right balance between blogging and the rest of my life – fast.

But one thing was certain:

I needed this blog.

I needed you.

You were, and are, my Jack Dawson (go with it). You opened my eyes to a whole new world, and if you jumped, I’d jump. And I think we all know there’s enough room on this blog for both of us.

Rather than struggle alone, I reached out to some of the busiest bloggers I know. Bloggers juggling kids and/or full-time jobs and/or other writing gigs. I wanted to know how they struck the balance, and where blogging fell on their priority lists.

Angie is my hero. In so many ways. Here she is on a totally regular day.

How, for example, did they make time for both family and blogging? Angie from Childhood Relived shared her 9pm cut-off rule, at which point the computer goes away and she spends time with her husband. Darla, from She’s a Maineiac, took a hiatus for part of the summer to spend more time with her children.

And what about how often to blog? How important is it to post regularly? Would I lose readers if I started posting less, or more sporadically?

Deb Bryan – lovely inside and out.

Nina Badzin posts once a week. “If I’m guest posting elsewhere,” she says, “then THAT is my post of the week.” Deb Bryan blogs 1-2 times a week in the hopes that it will allow her to “maintain an online presence without doing so at a huge cost to [her] offline life.”

You should see Renée in a bikini.

One of the most comforting pieces of advice came from a phone conversation with Renée Schuls-Jacobson. In a [chipmunk] nutshell: No one was going to stop following me because I didn’t publish a certain amount of new posts every week. Her words reminded me that while I want to hold myself accountable to writing goals, I never want to stop having fun. And ‘forced and rushed’ don’t equal ‘fun.’ For anyone.

One of the biggest struggles for me was finding the balance when it came to reading other blogs. If I tried to keep up with more than a few blogs a day, minutes turned to hours and Peppermeister (Husband #1) got that puppy dog look.

The bloggers I interviewed also agreed that they had to get real about how many blogs they tried to read each week. Following more than 30 blogs was unanimously impossible, though some of us had, at one point or another, tried to follow over 100.

Renée shared my desire to want to get to everyone, but she also reminded me that using all my time to follow the same blogs meant denying myself the opportunity to meet new people. I decided I didn’t need to read and comment on every post. Even my favorites.

It’s still a hard pill to swallow. I still worry people will take it personally.

After all, we bloggers rely on our community.

I heart D-Pants.

As Darla put it, “I am grateful that I have a chance to show a slice of my world to people and they respond in a positive way. So over time, we are able to form a relationship that’s full of laughs and tears. That is my favorite part of blogging. Making a genuine connection.”

“The best part of blogging,” according to Angie, “is friendships with the other bloggers.” Deb said, “Thanks to blogging, I’m able to see life through the eyes of so many other observant, compassionate eyes.”

Don’t hate Nina ’cause she’s pretty AND smart.

And if you’re still wondering why I called you my Jack Dawson, I’d like Nina Badzin to speak for me: “I love that blogging has allowed me to just be more ME. …Even in real life now I feel more confident and have a stronger sense of self.”

Thanks to all of this wonderful advice, I feel much more comfortable reading blogs and writing new posts when I genuinely have the time, and hope that this approach won’t alienate the community I’ve come to cherish.

But if there’s one thing I could change about my blogging experience? I’m with Darla: “I’d have WordPress install a button so that every time I clicked ‘publish’ I’d get five bucks. Or some beer. Or Skittles. Something.”

A heartfelt thank you to Darla, Renée Schuls-Jacobson, Nina Badzin, Deb Bryan and Angie Z. for taking time out of your busy lives to openly share your experiences. I look forward to blatantly misquoting you in the future for my own amusement. My blog and I are the better for knowing you!

How do you strike a balance between blogging and everything else? To non-bloggers: How do you balance work/family life with your other passions? If that question bores you: What’s the coolest bacon-themed product or website you’ve ever seen?

And okay – enough of the serious stuff - on Friday we kick off the September ‘Stache Glasses Giveaway!

About these ads

Summer is Hot and So Are You – Issue #4

Cover Story – Kate from Old, new or true

Something old: Well, not that old, but never you mind. Kate runs a very fun ‘Scribble Challenge’ on her blog. This weekly writing prompt encourages you to hush your inner critic because you’re on a time crunch – you only have 15 minutes. Let your creativity wander in whatever wacky and wonderful direction it chooses!

Something new: Kate’s blog design! Go ogle. Go compliment. It’s snazzy.

Something true: Kate’s a med school student, an avid reader and apparently a cartoonist. If she tells me she models in her spare time, I’m going to jump off a bridge. Look what she drew for me us! (Kate, please tell me where I can send you some complimentary ‘stache glasses and slap bracelets.)

By Kate from oldnewortrue.wordpress.com.

Featured Article – JM from Accidental Stepmom

After a year and a half of bloggy friendship and two NYC meet-ups, JM and I have officially crossed over. Get ready for raging jealousy: I met #5! The infamous, hilarious, bacon-loving #5! He showed me his fort!

In case you’re confused, JM numbered her stepkids 1-5; number 5 is the youngest, and only boy. He’s almost 10. (I was put to the test on Sunday night, trying to keep the names of 2 adults, 5 kids, 2 dogs and one AWESOME 1966 Mustang straight. I think I’ve got it.) I met nos. 1-4, too, and they were all sweet, social and funny. And seriously handy when it came to housework.

#5 (putting leftover steak in a large Ziploc bag and getting some ‘juice’ on the tablecloth): It’s okay. It only cost $12.

I can’t think of any stronger endorsement for JM than the truth: Thanks to this Freshly Pressed post, hers was one of the very first blogs I read and fell in love with. My best friend, Jenn, a talented writer herself, will tell you the same. JM’s not only a wonderful person, but an extremely gifted writer.

She also knows the best pie EVER when she tastes it.

That Fun and Quirky Last Page of Every Magazine – Renee Schuls-Jacobson from Lessons from Teachers and Twits

Nothing says ‘fun’ like Renee. (Exhibit A: Her winning ‘guilty pleasure gift basket giveaway’ entry.) I had the pleasure of talking to Renee on the phone for the first time recently, and we had so much to say, I killed her car! For reals. Her cell phone was plugged into her car and both batteries died.

But Renee’s internal battery never dies (eh? Like that?) – she’s full of positive energy and humor, just like her blog. If you’re not already reading, please head over there and say hello. I’m a huge fan of her direct (yet often poetic), funny and heartfelt writing, and she’s got something for everyone (that’s what she said).

And guess what? Even though Renee just had to splurge on a new car battery because of me, she still sent this!

Thanks, Renee! Too bad it’s just going to collect dust since everyone knows I don’t drink!

The quality of this photo was saved only by Peppermeister’s photo bomb. Side note: This is as full as our wine rack ever stays.

Back Cover

Why have one ‘stache picture in this post when you can have three?

Reminder: The latest mustache glasses giveaway contest ends MIDNIGHT EST on Friday (August 31st)! All you have to do to enter is share a ‘conversation bomb’!

Thank you for being so hot this summer, Chipmunks! I like to think you have made me hotter by association.

And the Winner of the GoGuiltyPleasures Gift Basket Giveaway IS…

Happy birthday to ME, fuzzy wuzzie li’l chipmunks!

Oh wait. This isn’t about me. Right. The contest.

You did NOT make this easy.

Click play to watch me announce the winner (and runners-up)! Or you can be a total party-pooper and simply scroll down.

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GRAND PRIZE – Renée from Lessons from Teachers and Twits

Renée, please consider this your open invitation to guest post on my blog any time; I know the below submission is only the tip of your guilty pleasure iceberg.

Renée’s Entry:

Okay, you know I love to break into dance. But that’s the small stuff. Another guilty pleasure?

*whispering*

I sometimes sunbathe topless in my backyard.

And there is a middle school in my backyard.

True. You cannot make this stuff up. ;-)

If you’re feeling a little sore from Renée’s victory, perhaps this picture will help.

Zeal has never been happier.

After Renée submitted her scintillating entry, I tried to Google Earth her house*. Here’s what came up:

Can you tell which house is Renée's?

That’s right, Renée, all of this is YOURS! ALL YOURS!

*If you’re feeling stalky after seeing that bikini pic, please don’t waste your time haunting the above neighborhood. That isn’t where Renée lives. And duh. Just email me for her address.

RUNNER-UP #1 – Peg from Peg-o-Leg’s Ramblings

Peg’s Entry:

My guilty pleasure might surprise you.  There’s nothing I like more than spending a quiet evening playing my favorite game:  Go Guilty Pleasures, the home edition.
~*~
First I obsessively click on your blog.  If I’ve left a comment, I see if you’ve responded to my comment.  Then I go click on the Recommended Humor Blogs WordPress page to see if I’m still on there.  Then back to your blog to see if anyone has responded either to my original comment or your response to my comment.  Back to the Humor page to see if anybody else I know is cycling through the list more often than me.  Back to your blog.  I leave a follow-up comment if necessary.  Then I rate all the other comments and compare their cleverness-quotient to my comment.  If anyone else’s score even approaches mine, I spend some time worrying about that.  Finish up with just one, teensy-weensy peek back at the Humor page (with my stopwatch to catalogue relative hang-times.)
~*~
Next comes the best part of the game.  I BECOME you.  I put on the Side Pony of Super Fun-ness.  I put my custom-crafted Uncle Jesse mask on my cat, Beeby (this part isn’t as easy as it might sound). I line up some champagne (actually Asti – I’m on a budget) and break out the bacon candy bars and Reeses for snacking.  I use mice instead of chipmunks as my life coaches because they’re a lot easier to catch around my house.  That may be why they don’t really give me any advice, no matter how many times I ask. But I pretend they do while I make funny, fun faces.  I get lots and lots of guilty pleasure from taking lots and lots of pictures of myself being blondly side-ponied and fun.  A lot.
~*~
Yup, for my family, there’s no more relaxing way to spend the evening than playing Go Guilty Pleasures.  As my hubby said to me just the other night,  “Why do you keep calling me Peppermeister?  Who the hell is that??”
~*~
Happy Birthday to us!!

I told Peg I was jealous of her side-pony, because it's longer than mine, and probably curls like a dream.

Peg – here’s your loot-for-a-hoot!

RUNNER-UP #2 – Erin from Catstache

Erin’s Entry:

I voted at that link you posted, posted to facebook (i’m not sure how i will prove this with my security settings) and my blog. I have twitter but don’t use it (that’s a story for another time if you get bored) and i got the tattoo and performed the ritual sacrifice.

I emailed you this pic but incase it comes down to bloggers voting in the contest, here is the link (see below for picture).

Now for the guilty pleasures:
I sing to my cat Alex every day when i come home. I even sing as alex sometimes. I am not a good singer so he’s probably embarrassed.

Speaking of bad singing i also am a big harry potter nerd and i used to be a part of an online Hogwarts website where you took classes and met other nerds. You would think that would be a guilty enough pleasure right there as it’s terribly embarrassing but i used to compete in a yearly singing contest there called HOL idol and i would actually record myself singing and enter the contest. 0________0 SO EMBARRASSING. I wrote bad fanfic too.

As perfect as a guilty pleasure can get. Did you see the tattoo on her hand??

Erin – here’s your ‘stachey stash!

RUNNER-UP #3 – The Byronic Man

Click on the picture of The Byronic Man in drag to read his entry.

Picking just one grand prize winner was a total drag.

B-Man, may I present your winnings. ‘Cause I know how you like to get drunk and dress up.

Honorable Mentions

Renee from Life in the Boomer Lane

Renee’s Entry:

I eat entire pints of coffee Haagen Dazs in the car as I drive alone in the car. No spoon. No napkin. By the time I’m finished, both the steering wheel and I are covered with ice cream. Yum.

AJ’s Mom from Bibeautyful

Click here to read AJ’s Mom’s touching entry.

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Thank you so much, Chipmunks! You have truly made my guilty pleasure heart proud. Now – I’d better go - I’ve got a hot air balloon to catch!

I’m totally serious.

Photo credit (before annotation): http://www.sacramentohotairballoons.com/