Blogging

Please, Don’t Try to Contain Your Raging Jealousy

Oh, Chipmunks. I can’t stuff a cheek without bumping into another compliment / award / congratulatory butt slap these days. So it goes when you have brains, charm and a disarming perma-grin honed from years of smiling and nodding.

Great! Whatever you say! …Wait, what?

This week I received not only a rad ‘stache-themed award from the lovely xdanigirl of The Life and Times of a Mom, but also my very first…

Jafee!

the-jafee

That’s right! The brand new “Jealous as F***” award from The Byronic Man!

Third Hub claims he’s wildly jealous of a video blog I made some time ago. I’ll take his word for it, though he couldn’t even find said video, because I know he’s heartbreakingly envious of my amazing memes everything I do.

He's always had exceptional taste.
The Byronic Man has always had exceptional taste.

Normally I try to revel in others’ successes, but let’s get real. There are some bloggers out there who make me want to hurl myself down a set of stairs. I’m talking about bloggers who, in the spirit of the Jafees, make me rip out my hair and scream, “DANGNABBIT I wish I’d thought of that first!”

So here, in random order, are my first Jafee Award winners! Please accept this nod as a token of my seething resentment.

(Note: Anyone can pass along Jafee awards; winners are under no obligation to do so.)

Becca-25tofly25tofly

I’m not kidding when I tell you I’m shamefully jealz of Becca from 25tofly. She’s young(er), pretty(ier), funny(ier), has killer dance moves, a great following, and she can put together a video blog like nobody’s business. When I saw this, and this, I kind of wanted to cry. What’s more, Becca recently quit her day job in order to pursue making videos, so no, no, I’m not jealous at all.

Nina BadzinNina-Badzin

Nina is not only a social media guru who penned Twitter advice that’s garnered oodles of attention, but she writes for a bunch of other websites, a top source of my blinding jealousy. In addition to being a truly talented writer and all-around nice person, Nina’s got 4 kids and a rockin’ bod (hate her). She also just kicked her public speaking fear in the ass [by reading a piece on stage], which is something I so wish I had the nerve do.

JM-AccidentalStepmomAccidental Stepmom

I’m lucky enough to call JM of Accidental Stepmom a real-life friend. This confuses me, because she is way too cool to want to hang out with me. She does sound for Broadway for crying out loud! She’s authored some of my all-time favorite blog posts, and she’s the type of universally appealing blogger that non-bloggers love to read. She’s irresistibly smart and funny without trying too hard. Now that is envy-inducing.

Rian-TruthandCakeTruth and Cake

If you’re not jealous of Rian from Truth and Cake, it’s only because you don’t know her. Her second ever blog post was Freshly Pressed (i.e., featured on the home page of WordPress.com). She came out guns blazing, with exceptionally sincere, thoughtful and well-written posts. Rian has one of those voices all writers strive for – you want to hear what she has to say, and feel confident taking her advice. What really gets my jealousy meter fired up, though, is the fact that she married a South African with an undoubtedly awesome accent her drool-worthy graphic design / photography skills and overall style.

Rachels-Table-gravatarRachel’s Table

When my dear friend Rache decided to go on video with her first ‘Peppermeister Roulette,’ I thought, “Well. This is it. Husband #1 is divorcing me.” Rachel took home some of my husband, Peppermeister’s, spiciest peppers with the warning, “Don’t tell me what any of these are.” Fearlessly, she ate one after the other, determined to conquer his hottest homegrowns. Don’t think someone can look amazing and offer cooking tips with their nose running, eyes watering and ears ringing? Guess again. The only thing hotter than the peppers was Rache.

I seem to be forgetting someone… Hmm… Nope. Can’t think of it. Happy Thursday! 

OKAY FINE. The man behind the Jafees-which-I-totally-don’t-wish-I’d-thought-of-first…

The Byronic ManBMan-Gravatar-stache

Just to be nice. I’m really only jealous of his intelligence, stand-up comedy, acting skills, stick figures, photo captions, and uncanny ability to get into the minds of animals and share their points of view how good he looks in jeans.

Bloggers: Feel free to pass along your own Jafee awards! Non-bloggers / All: Who drives you loco with jealousy (in and outside of the blogosphere)?

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Blogging

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!