Saturday, May 24, 2014

LET'S TALK: Finding the Time to Blog

For me, it runs something like this: you've been blogging for a while now. You have a schedule; post regularly (or irregularly); you interact; you participate; you have fun. There's the books, the lists, the memes, and, best of all: the friends.

Why would you ever want to take a time out from this community, you ask yourself. Are you crazy? Sure, it's hard work sometimes, but the rewards--and I'm talking the intangible ones here--friendship, community, fun, make up for that--
Then life gets in the way.

Family emergency, deadlines at work, exams... your husband taking two and half months vacation from work and having a baby.

Life has well and truly gotten in the way for me.

And, as the dust has settled, and life has regained a new sense of normalcy (though a very different kind) I've rediscovered an itch. I've missed you. You, my friends, my blog, this community, and the BOOKS. Oh oh OH the books.

Yet, I'm left with a question: how do you manage blogging around your busy lives? Mums: how do you blog with children? Students: how do manage blogging with school, study and work? Those who write: where do you make the time, balancing writing with day jobs, families, and often an impressive social media presence?

I'm curious as to how you about finding time to blog in your busy lives--especially when, in order to blog, one must also READ. I'd love you to share any hints or tips, my friends!

P.S. OH HOW I'VE MISSED YOU ALL!

53 comments:

  1. Yayyyyyyyyy!!!!!! Congrats on the baby - but more importantly ... yayyyyyy!!!!! Um - can you tell I'm happy to see you posting again?!

    Okay - to your questions. I'm going through something similar right now, and my answer has been to scale back. Scale back the amount of posting - because I think you're like me, and it takes a long time to put posts together. But also, scale back expectations - expectations - and I mean, for the amount of visitors / comments you receive / comments you make.

    Take a day to yourself or a couple hours - I know not everyone can do this, but it's a must when you lead a really busy life and want to blog. My husband is about to retire, and has been home a lot, and when he is, I try not to be on the computer too much. Instead I read if he's watching tv. - and since that's a huge part of blogging, that counts.

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  2. EEEP SAZ *hugs* missed you too! So glad you've got some normalcy back, the book blogging community just wasn't the same without you.

    I know what you mean about the work-life-blog balance. Last year when I was doing study + work it was really hard - I think it's one of the reasons why I don't have as many followers as others because my posts were more irregular. The biggest this had though was that I didn't get to interact as much - I basically NEVER had the time to read reviews and comment on other people's posts to meet others which meant my blog's outreach wasn't as much.

    Back to full uni now and I'm finding some more time but when exam/assessment period hits my posts/commenting become more sporadic. I'm still getting used to commenting on posts again!

    It is definitely hard and I know people say you need to make the time but sometimes there just isn't enough of it and when that happens I need to set my priorities in order. That means uni comes first and I'm sure my followers will understand that my posts will yet again become sporadic.

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  3. Yaaay, you're back! :D Also, seeing the photos on Facebook - you're wee boy = GORGEOUS!

    I work part time at the moment, so I have quite a bit of time to blog and read. All going to go out the window once I work full time.

    However, I did reach a point where blogging started to feel like a chore. Not exactly the same situation, but I think the solution is the same: do what feels right for you. I took a two month hiatus, and now I'm back... I'm more relaxed about the blog. I've never been someone who schedules reviews (unless it's for a blog event that's months away), that's too stressful for me. I read a book, I write a review, I post it, I read another. That's how I do things. But, if I don't quite manage three books a week like I was earlier this year (amazed me. AMAZED me!), no big deal. No reviews at all? Ok. I don't stress about it. Life happens. When it comes to readers, I never had that many to begin with, and my hiatus turned some of them away, so it's quite common to see reviews on my blog that have no comments. I wouldn't mind more comments, but I can't change the way I do things.

    Community wise, it's mostly on Twitter. But even then, not as much as I'd like. Even with cutting down how many people I follow, it still goes by quickly for me to not get lost, and I don't like Tweetdeck. I don't read many other blogs because I'm kind of picky about style, and most don't work for me. Probably hence low readers of my own.

    I enjoy it though. I'm not going to stop doing what I love because not many people comment. I read on a Alexandra Franzen's general writing blog (http://www.alexandrafranzen.com/ - she's awesome!) recently, "Operate like the world is already listening". So I'll keep doing what I do. Maybe readers will come :) Not that you need help with that - everyone loves you and will come flooding back :)

    We've missed you too! :)

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  4. Congrats on the baby and it's nice to see you posting again! Blogging (and reading of course) can be really difficult. I'm trying to schedule as much ahead of time as I can. I think having other posts besides book reviews is good...you have to write still but you don't have to find time to READ as much if you can't. Though I am trying to read more. I don't know how parents do it, but with work and school, I just try and find a balance and use breaks to my advantage. lol It's hard, but it IS worth it.

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  5. We have missed you too!!!! I would love to see you back. Your baby is beautiful! I have been watching him grow on facebook.

    Anyways. I am a student, I have two jobs, and I write. It's really hard to read and keep up a blog, but I just simply find the time because I love it so much. I can't stop reading, ever. I find an hour here and an hour there and it just happens. I mostly read at night. I do less reviews on the weeks that are super busy. I just post other kinds of post, like discussion posts or my Kindle and Nook Freebies post. It's all a balance.

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  6. I missed another post - again! I now might have signed up every way possible so this never, ever happens again :)

    Anyways! I am so very happy to see you back. I don't work and I'm not a typical student and I've considered stopping before. In fact, I was very close to shutting the (online) door at the beginning of this year because of things, and I'm glad I didn't. It takes time and effort to blog and sometimes I'm not up for it, so I do what works for me. I'm still trying to work it out. But the important thing is we love books and this community so very much.

    My advice: carry a book with you always, so if you get a free minute, read a chapter or two. I'm not reading as much as I have in the past which you can probably relate to, but that doesn't mean you can't chat books - you could chat about the books you hope to read soon and why you're excited for them, etc. I have no idea if that's any help, so.

    I'm so excited to see you back and to hear that you're settling into a new kind of normalcy. Sending you all the hugs in the world. Boy, have I missed you.

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  7. When I saw this post pop into my email this morning, I SQUEEEEDDDD!

    I can't comment on the mom portion, but I will say that you know already what it's like to juggle blogging, books and a job. I think when you have a baby, you just squeeze it in wherever you can. I know several moms who do audios!

    **HUGS YOU AGAIN** I've missed you so!

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  8. Congrats on the baby saz

    Yaay you're back

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  9. I literally SMILED the biggest smile when I saw your comment on my blog show up in my inbox - I was literally like OMG IT"S SAZ?! SO excited for you to be back! And so excited to hear about the new baby! WOOOHOO!

    I'm glad you're feeling back to a sense of normalcy - evne if it is a new normal! I never had time for blogging when i was in school - let alone a kid, so I can't answer that. I DO know that blogging irregularly is better than no blog posts at all - so if we have to get used to THAT new normal, I think we're all happy to do that - just to have you back blogging is awesome!

    Here is a recent post that Kimberly shared on my blog when I asked her how SHE did it all (hopefully it'll give you some ideas?) Ask a Blogger: Caffeinated Book Reviewer Reveals How She Manges to Do it ALL

    YAYAYA *jumps up and down* so glad to see you back and again congratz on the baby! <33

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  10. SAZ :D Congratulations with your baby <3

    I'm a student and I manage it by finding the right balance between life/blogging. I always make sure I blog on hour when I'm back from school and sometimes I spread that by by making a schedule of all the things I need to do. Let's say I have a lot of homework, it's 15 min. blogging - homework - 15 minutes blogging - homework. That way, I get everything done :)

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  11. Oh, your comment made me feel wonderful! Thank you, Tanya!
    You're right. I can't just 'throw a post together'. Even a post like this takes me hours to think through, write, edit, schedule. And I have a similar policy with my hubby--I don't like to be online when he's home.

    I think what you said about scaling back is key--especially about expectations. It's a matter of priorities, isn't it? And making sure we have the right ones <3

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  12. JAZ! *huggles*

    I think you're right. It's damn hard finding BALANCE. And it's even harder f you'd really love to be seeing GROWTH, but knowing the work that takes just isn't something you can take on board. So it's about priorities, and really taking a good look at why we (I) blog. I think that, if I want to be here long haul, I need to learn to be ok that sometimes it's ok not to post. So it's about learning to blog for ourselves?

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  13. Jo, that is WONDERFUL advice, you wonderful human being! Thank you! I understand completely what you mean about it feeling like a chore... And frankly, when there ARE more important things in life--and I've actual chores I'm not getting done, that's not right... I feel like I'm letting my family down, too. It's what drove me to 'take a break' (that wound up WAY longer than I'd planned) last year, before everything else happened! I think it's about learning to
    Do it for yourself, and be ok with what yourself is capable of--like you said. Thank you so much for such a beautiful, thoughtful comment.

    And seriously--3 books a week? WHOA! I haven't done that in... Um... Ever? ;D

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  14. Thank you, lovely! Oh, that is a fantastic tip. If he lost without scheduling. If I've 2 reviews, I'll post one, and buy myself another week's time with the other ;D

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  15. And you're right--it's SO worth it!

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  16. Judging by the comments, I wasn't the only one who missed you! *squishes Sarah* It's still SO great to see you back.

    I know how hard it can be balancing everything, especially when it comes to the fun stuff and work. I've changed the way I blog so much over the last year or so, what with a job and studies. Before, I had a schedule. Now, I just post whenever I feel like it or whenever I can, and kind of apply the same process to keeping up with other people's blogs. It can be difficult, but the great thing about social media is that I can keep up with friends even if I'm not always reading their posts, so I don't feel totally excluded from everything. I find there is always time to catch up later, if I need to, so I don't worry about doing everything immediately. That said, when it comes to reading, I like to make use of every spare minute! I love having my kindle on me, as I can dip into it whenever I am waiting for something or have a free moment. When you get used to doing that, you actually get through books pretty quickly. :)

    Don't be afraid to take breaks, though. Sometimes we all need that, and the great thing about this community - no one will disappear just because you aren't posting! xxx

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  17. […] SAZ101 wants to know how you find the time to blog when life gets in the way […]

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  18. Ha, you're welcome! I didn't think I said anything all that great, but if it helped, awesome :)

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  19. Brilliant AND humble. You're 2 x wonderful ;)

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  20. Aw, thank you! You're super human, Jen! Seems to be the answer, huh? Knowing yourself, and being ok when you need to cut back.

    What are you studying? Xx

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  21. BECCA! Oh, I've missed you too, Hun! And I'm glad you didn't shut the door, either!
    That's a great idea about always carrying a book. It's not always possibly for me at the moment, but the beauty of reading digitally is that I can always have Kindle on my phone. I just need to get back into that habit!

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  22. JENN! Oh, I've missed you! But also love that I haven't had to miss you TOI much because I can stalk you on FB! You're right about squeezing it in when you can (I'm in AWE of Giselle at Xpresso and the Cuddlebuggery girls). Little guy's JUST started taking regular naps, so I've discovered I'm able to read/do things again! It's lovely ;D

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  23. Just getting a certificate in Graphic and Web Design. Couldn't afford getting my Masters yet.

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  24. That's exciting! I don't know about the US, but here, if you've a certificate under you belt, from there it's mostly just industry experience (specifically talking web/graphics here). What promoted the career change? Love that you're doing web!

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  25. My job as a social media consultant kept requiring more and more experience in those fields. I knew enough to get me by but I wanted to be good at it. I keep changing where I want to take it though. At first I wanted to start creating websites for people, but right now I am loving making book covers for authors. Plus, I want to start my own blog tour business. I just love the whole book/author world.

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  26. So, SO cool! It's awesome that you can play those skills so many different ways--and that you can cross private and professional interests to pursue your passions. Blog tour business would be AMAZING! You are brilliant (and kinda inspiring)!

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  27. You. Are. Wonderful. Thank you!
    I think that's it, huh? Letting go a little but, and being ok with letting life come first. SUCH a great point about social media. We're all always here, blogging it not! So with you on the Kindle--I find the app on my phone super useful, as well! Maldonado finding my Kindle a lot easier to read one handed than a paperback ;)

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  28. And YOUR comment left the biggest smile on MY face! *hugs*

    Ok, seriously, Kimberley's post is BRILLIANT! And I LOVE the feature!

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  29. Thank you so much, Mel! It's so, SO good to 'see' you! That's a really good way of fitting it all in--and not letting yourself go mad from either the study or blogging pressure!

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  30. […] SAZ is Back! My girl went on a hiatus from book blogging, but she couldn’t stay away. But, LET’S TALK: Finding the Time to Blog – sometimes it’s […]

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  31. I know! I am so glad we facebok fraaandz!

    And all the mom bloggers have my utmost respect.

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  32. Congrats on the baby !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :D
    To answer your question, it's hard to blog and to live, especially when you're a working mom. I manage to blog, mostly, but I have trouble following the updates on everyone's blogs. People interrupting me, unexpected things happening, not enough time anyway. I love seeing visits on my blog, but I feel so sad that I'm not able to return the favor regularly. The best way to live would be to get payed for blogging, but let's not dream... I took a break these last two weeks because my computer broke down, and I'm probably going to take another because of job issues. Well, that's life, you can't have it all, savor what you have if you can :)
    Congrats again on the baby *hugs*

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  33. Definitely. I think we need to go back and look at why we started blogging in the first place - to share our opinion and love for books. After a while this became almost an obligation for me: the need to constantly and regularly post to 1) show publishers I'm not doing it for the free books 2) to please my readers. And it almost became a chore at one point and I had to take a step back and realise that no it's not a chore/job. I'm not getting paid for this. It's a hobby. I do because I want to and it comes with responsibilities but I'm willing to take on those responsibilities to keep doing what I love.
    Once I realised that + my priorities I thought it was ok to step back from blogging for a bit before coming back for more regular posts once life eased up.

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  34. I'VE MISSED YOU SOOOOOO MUCH!!!!!!!!!! I AM SO SO GLAD YOU ARE BACK!!! I love seeing pics of your little one and how happy you are! I totally get what you mean about being busy, when I was abroad in China I BARELY blogged! I just figure: life takes precedent over blogging so I'm like C'EST LA VIE. I'm always scrambling to post, haha. :/ SO BASICALLY, I don't have any great advice but I think as long as you are happy and not overwhelmed, you can ease into it!

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  35. It's great to see you back, Saz! I think you just have to use whatever time you can find, and don't stress about what you feel you should be doing eg. posting every day, or posting X times a week. Do what suits you :)

    Mands @ The Bookish Manicurist

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  36. Oh Sarah, are you well and truly back?? We've all missed you so much! I didn't know you had a baby!! Congrats :) As for making time to blog, that's really tough. I feel like the key thing is not to pressure yourself to blog because then you become stressed and it's not fun. I blog when I can and at the moment that's about two times a week - not very much compared to most blogs, but I've got a good relaxing thing going and I like it that way.

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  37. OMG HUSBANDMAN HAD A BABY??? You didn't tell me!! All this time I've been fawning over Ollie and completely ignoring Husbandman's baby. Let's face it though, Ollie's unbeatable except by cats, namely mine.

    I think you should totes do blogging ALL the time, since you're not busy now or anything. :P

    I can come and baby sit the Olliepants and we will play our favourite game of TOOO INFIIIINIITYYYY AND BEEEEYYYOOOOOOOOOND and I will walk him all around the trees in the front yard. And you can type type type away your thoughts.

    Obviously my way to still find time is to be an almost total recluse and to avoid doing any and all TAFE work so that I can never further my position in life.

    Plus, everytime I think I've had enough and want to quit I remember at I have absolutely nothing else to do anyway, so I may as well keep going. But I try to give myself a nice big slab of scheduled posts because that way I can procrastinate all I want as is my main custom in life.

    Cupcakes.

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  38. SAZZZ! You're back! Hopefully for good?! I can't believe how long it's been already -- so much has changed! But all that don't matter, I'm just glad you're back and that things have settled down somewhat. Congrats on your baby, though! You must be some kind of superwoman, juggling so many things at once. O_O

    To answer your question: it really depends on what kind of person you are and what kind of student. I just finished my finals last week, and unfortunately I'm not the kind who can multitask and blog while still getting good grades, so I had to stop and take a hiatus until my exams were all over. But before I stopped, I had a sort of schedule that I tried to follow (I like planning things out, though that doesn't necessarily mean I'll follow it :P), so I'll plan out my day with loads of breaks which I could use to blog. But then the workload got too much and I started to get really tired and my grades were dropping, so I ended up ditching the schedule and blogging altogether and just focusing on my studies. I know plenty of other people who didn't need to take breaks, though, and I'm so jealous of them! Reading was never a problem, though -- blogging takes up so much more time because you have to comment, reply to comments, type up posts, publicize your posts... it's CRAZY.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is that blogging may be important, but your welfare and your life is more important, so it doesn't matter much if you aren't able to blog and live life all at once. We're all patient and understanding people, and life gets in the way. Sometimes the most sensible thing is to focus on one thing at a time. I found that that really helped, for me, at least. Not much of an advice, huh? :P I'm sorry I don't have anything good or constructive to say about multitasking, but -- there you have it.

    Okay, I've embarrassed myself enough with all this nonsense-typing. Um, again, super happy that you're around, and it was great chatting to you on Twitter the other day! The Darkling sends his greetings. ;)

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  39. Welcome back Sarah! * Hugs* Welcome to my world of kids. Your baby is very beautiful.Congratulations again to you both!

    I have three kids and I have been blogging for nearly 4 years now. I have a little job on the weekends. We just do without, which is not easy in today's financial society, so I can be at home for the family. We always said I would stay home until youngest was old enough to cope with the demands of two parents working. It's not easy, but that's how we roll in this house.

    My kids are 17, ( yes, I know!!) 14.5yrs and 11.5yrs. Sure they are older, can look after themselves mostly, sort of ( I am talking boys * rolls eyes * ) My youngest is a girl and mini-me she is pretty darn cool at her level of maturity. Every day is uber busy for me. I do sink a LOT of time into blogging, but I have learnt to balance. Family no matter what comes FIRST. I have learnt not to be upset with myself if I can't make blog tour deadlines etc. I do it all for free, I love to help authors out, but it is my time and it is free , but not free to me. My time is very valuable to me. It's an unpaid hobby and I have to remember that. Problem is I say 'yes' to too much and get a little bogged down. But I am learning.

    I have almost finished writing my first book, too. So I have fitted that in . I mostly get little sleep, that is my reading time. It's quiet and I find I can absorb a lot better when I am not trying to stick myself away from the family, when I should be interacting with them. They grow up uber quick.

    Take a lot of photos, because boys especially get camera shy once they get older. Not with their ipods and snapchat but with their mummys snapping away.

    We don't have any family at all where we live, so we can't off load kids for a break or if we wanted to go somewhere, so we had to work around all that.

    Blogging just fits in. I don't play sports but I like to climb a mountain few times a week. I think it helps clear the brain from sitting on my ass at a computer a lot. I learn to make certain days for certain postings and it kind of all works. I also know there are so many bloggers you want to say hi to each week, that there needs to be time to do that too.

    Yeah. Blogging is a big job, but fun. One thing I have learnt over 4 years is moderation is ok. To politely say I am all booked up, is ok. I give myself weekends free of requests 99% of the time. I think giving myself a weekend is the best thing I did with blogging.

    Anyhoo, I think it is time to stop chatting :D

    Welcome back xx

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  40. […] Life can always get in the way. How do you find time to blog? […]

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  41. This really is the million dollar question isn't it? I'm a mom of three kids, and as school gets out in a few days and the craziness of summer starts (which includes everything from trips and camps, to surgery), I've been trying to figure out how to fit reading/blogging into my insane schedule. I'll actually be blogging about this topic on Friday, as I look into the idea of scheduling time to read :)

    Just found your blog and I'm now an email subscriber :)
    Finley Jayne
    http://finleyjayne.com/

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  42. I'm wondering if I'll be in the same boat when I have my baby in the fall. Big life changes demand time and attention so reading and blogging time takes a backseat. But, I'm thinking if it continues to be fun for us, we'll find a way, right? Maybe reduce how much we read and blog, but still do it :) I'm interested in any good tips you acquire in your balancing life and blog journey :)

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  43. Congrats on your pregnancy, Julie! What really got to me was my complete inability to finish a book or blog WHILE I was pregnant. Between feeling unwell, exhausted, work, and the sheer amount of mental energy exhausted on (useless!) what ifs, I'd sit down to read, and find myself unable to make it through a page. It continued until he was about 4 months old, the fog had lifted, and I found myself... Finding myself again? I think you're exactly right. I was prepared NOT to return to blogging--but when it did become fun again, it's what I wanted to be doing.

    In a way I never felt able to do before being a mum, I'm ok with just posting when I can.
    I've been blessed with a gorgeous little baby who'll only sleep ON me during the day, so it forces me to take breaks--it just took me a little while to realise I could read during them. It means I can't 'sleep when the baby sleeps,' (which had been the most irritating, impossible piece of advice, but that's an entirely different story!), and I can't catch up in laundry or cooking or dishes, so we try do those things together when he's awake. I have a carrier and a woven wrap, so I carry/'wear' him to get those things done while he awake, and just wanting to be close. I guess, in a way, having my priorities readjusted, and being made a lot simpler since his arrival has helped blogging become more of a hobby again, than a 'job'--and that's made it more fun. A good thing, I think :)

    So excited for you! Good luck with your pregnancy (I hope it breezes by!) and your impending arrival! Xx

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  44. Thanks Finley! And oh, and I am so interested in your post! I'm off to check it out now.

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  45. Mich, you are WONDERFUL. I don't even know where to start with this amazing comment, but THANK YOU. We've also made the decision to do with a little less so one of us is always there for him, and... It's just a shift in priorities and expectations, I suppose? Which is what needs to happen with blogging, I guess! You are one AMAZING woman--you've written a novel, too?! I can't wait to read it!

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  46. […] 101 asks a question that I’m concerned about as well, how do you find time to blog when life stuff takes up all of your […]

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  47. Bitch, I missed you!!! I thought you gone up and abandoned us! How have you been?!

    I'm not the perfect person to ask at this point because I've been slipping! Oh well, I need a life too and it's not like I'm getting paid to blog. If any it's a passion so I'll do it when the passion strikes!

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  48. Sarah, you would come back right in the middle of the busiest time for me! For us! We have been crazed this whole summer, and June is kicking our butts, too.

    Really quickly, as a follow up to our lovely Twitter chat, I am SO glad to see you back. However you have time, whenever you can make it, just know we're waiting for you with open arms. (( hugs )) I love seeing you pop up in my feed, whether it's on Instagram or Twitter or RSS. <3

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

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  49. Welcome back! so many people seem to be asking this question a lot lately. Which in a strange way makes me happy because I have had a week long blog event in the works about this called blogging on a time crunch. And it starts this monday! I don't know how helpful it will be, but I am going to be talking about how I manage blogging and my career and things I use to save time.

    Michelle @ Book Briefs

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