I sat down to write a post but couldn't begin. It isn't blogger's block, though I did have that difficulty not long ago. No, it's rather that there's too much going on. I spend my days juggling multiple priorities (as we all do), and I'm finding that it's difficult to get myself to focus long enough to craft a post on a single topic. I tend to use Twitter instead to post thoughts here and there. But I miss writing full posts, so I'm trying to get back in the game. I thought I'd do a bullet post, but even that felt like too much like work. It's back to basics then, just me talking nonsense about whatever.
The Little One is loving preschool. I felt like a pro this year, as our transition back to school was seamless after two years of nursery school. I'm so used to her going to school now, unlike the emotional parents who were saying goodbyes to their 3-year-olds for the first time. We sailed through the first week. Then came week two. And along with it, the clinging and crying. Sigh. BUT, after some talking it over with her last week, she decided she wanted to be a big girl and give me a nice goodbye every day, and she's been great about it since then. She's begun to make some friends, and that seems to have made the difference. Yesterday she was even bored by afternoon and eager to get back to school this morning.
Work is crazy. Teaching four university courses is just nuts. For those of you who don't know how it works, a standard teaching load for academics who also do research is two courses per semester. This allows you the time to do your research and writing. Four courses does not. Even three is a stretch for getting any serious scholarly work accomplished. If you happen to be childless and single, you can make it work by spending more of your free time on your own work. For me, this isn't an option. Instead, I must cut corners where I can on the teaching work (which is very unsatisfying to do when you're developing your courses for the first time) and preserve one 5 hour day each week (the actual working time left between preschool drop-off and pick-up) in which to do my research and writing. I steal bits of time on evenings and weekends as well, but for this kind of work you really need long stretches of uninterrupted time.
It's better than last year, when I was adjuncting, since this year I'm full-time at one university (albeit just for this year), but there still aren't enough hours in any given day to do what I need to do, even when I try to keep things simple. And the grading hasn't even begun yet! So that's why I've been M.I.A. around here.
However, I refuse to let this year slip by in a flurry of working. I'm steadily finding ways to work smarter, if not harder (I don't know who came up with that pithy little idea, but I have to say I love it), and I'm carving out time for myself where I can as well (something we mamas just must do, whether we think we can or not).
My commitment to blog reading and writing is a part of that. Though I've had to be more judicious with that as well. I'm paring down my reader subscriptions a bit, making sure I only subscribe to as many blogs as I can reasonably visit in the course of a week or two. That means I've had to unsubscribe to some (for now anyway), but it also means that I'll be able to comment more on those that remain. I felt a little guilty at first, but then thought, screw that! The fact is, certain blogs speak to you at a certain time, while others don't, and that's okay. I'm hearing many people bemoan the fact that they can't keep up with their reader subscriptions, so I know this is a problem many of us have faced. And some of my blog friends have seen a major increase in their readership and can't visit everyone who comments on their blog (not to mention those in their overloaded readers!). I'm sure it is difficult when you want to give back but just can't keep up.
I don't have this problem (though I'll be honest, I wouldn't mind facing it eventually!). My readership has grown nicely in the last couple of months (yay!), but not so much that I can't keep up with it. I love my commenters and try to visit every one of you (though sometimes it takes me awhile!). I usually don't comment back in my own comments, preferring to instead comment on your blogs to give back that way.
So how do you manage your blog life? Do you post every day or less often? How many blogs do you read in a day? In a week? Do you use a reader or visit from your blogroll? Do you tend to comment often or mostly just read? How do you give back to your commenters (responding to comments within your blog or visiting their sites)? Do you use Twitter? Let's compare notes.