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Stick to the rule: Blogging is not a start-stop sport

April 7, 2010

I violated my own rule and ignored my own professional advice until I asked the Chicken-or-the-egg question.

 Which comes first: playing with your son after dinner after work or mommy blogging?

 Oh the guilt! I love Scobby-Doo cartoons, but I watched enough of them when I was a kid being raised by the flickering blue light in the late 1970’s. I can’t stand to sit through another 3,000 episodes. I do anyway. As I sit there watching yet another mystery, I’m usually thinking about everything else I could be getting done. That is until Tommy climbs up next to me on the couch and says, “Mommy, I love your heart.”

I tend to do some of my best writing between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. I don’t know why.

One flutter of Tommy’s mile-long black eyelashes anchored to his big blue eyes and my decision is made. By tomorrow I will turn around and he’ll be a lanky teenager shutting the bedroom door and answering my questions in one syllable words.

My Tommy

Sometimes he hugs me gently, pats my stomach and says, “Mommy, I love this big fat, belly. Faaaaaaat.”  Oh, the fourth year. My babies have me wrapped. I know it and I cave in to them every time, even when I am insulted in a pitch that is too cute to ignore. My oldest is 21 and I’m still a cave woman with her. I can’t say no when she starts a request with the word “Mamma.”

The problem with blogging is you have to maintain momentum. You have to be consistent and you have to plan for that. If I were advising a home building company on how to develop a blog I would tell them to plan out the content so that they have consistent updates. There is never a shortage of topics to write about. Tie it to all into their social media, communications and marketing strategies. Someone in house has to drive that train.

When you are blogging for the love of writing, however, you don’t have a boss giving you the hairy eyeball as deadlines nears. So it’s easy to slip. It happens fast.

I have been blogging since last fall. I have a mindset of the types of writing and, even, the types of photography that I’d like to do.  I set up a cooking challenge to force myself to cook 104 new meals in the next year (Note: I own 124 cookbooks). The challenge has kept pace, but the blogging hasn’t. My photography challenge is on track, but no one except my brother Brian knows about it.

And so, here it is in April and I have a desk full of notes, lots of ideas, lists of cookbooks, and hundreds of photos. I just found files of mostly written drafts. My photos need a tad bit of organizing. The final version of a story about the family cookbook that goes back to 1949 is missing. I might have to rewrite it.

Shame on me. Blogging shouldn’t have a rhythm of start, stop, start, stop, slow down, kick yourself, and start again. I need to plan for this like it is a business: the business of my life.

The trouble is balancing my own time. I could get up early in the morning to write, but really that’s my only time to exercise. I could write at red lights or when I’m in traffic jams, but Jersey drivers aren’t very patient with me. Twice a year I could write in the waiting room of my doctors’ offices, but when they see me pull out a netbook I usually get seen right away.

So I sit on the floor pondering – sometimes sneaking a few thoughts onto a note pad – while I wrestle with the horrible safety standards that exist on the make-believe Island of Sodor where Thomas the Tank Engine is king. My four year old son needs me on the floor, running the Brake Down train on overtime until Sir Topham Hatt (the former Fat Controller) says we are finished…or Dad calls Tommy up for bath time.

I’ll have to write around that.

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