Reclaiming My Life

ImageMy mother has been under the weather quite a bit lately, and I spent a chunk of the day on Saturday helping/visiting with her. When I came home, I was simply too tired to read blogs.

On Sunday, I spent most of the day in the den with Rich. I ignored him for the most part as I finished reading Gordon Kessler’s Knight’s Big Easy. I’m liking my new Kindle Paperwhite quite a bit and appreciate that it is four ounces lighter than my Nook Tablet. That lousy quarter of a pound on the Nook definitely starts to feel heavy after a few hours.

Monday morning, I slipped out to grab a new notebook. Blogs were calling to me, but I refused to allow myself to be sucked into the blogosphere. I started filling my new notebook with ideas and Imageinformation for Maple Leaf Hunter. This book will take place three years after Windy City Hunter, so there are some big changes. I had to double check the ages and hair color of everyone in the book, and when I wasn’t looking, some of the characters changed their residence. Mick’s son, Alex, will, for the first time, play a prominent role, and Nate will be back. There are no ghosts to torment Nate in this book, but I think the Sasquatch could have a bit of fun with him.

It truly is enjoyable to write lighthearted fare, and I found myself smiling quite a bit as I worked on my notes.

The next thing I want to do is set a loose schedule for my day. There have been days when I started my day by reading blogs, and I kept reading all day long! It’s hard to tear yourself away when everyone you enjoy has a new post up on the same day. And just when you think you’re caught up, your WP Reader informs you there are nineteen new posts. Crikey! The entire Imageblogging experience – reading, writing, commenting – was nearing full-time job status for me.

I’m going to work with blocks of time. I know I would never adhere to a strict schedule, but I can work with blocks of time. Two hours at a time to mess with blogs. Three to four hours to write. An hour at a time to do whatever needs done around the house. I want to take the time to start cooking again. We are not doing the Chinese/fast food thing this year just because I want to write and blog. Instead of reading blogs late into the night, I want to read books.

Finally, I think Rich would appreciate it if I would start carrying my weight around here and get back to my work-from-home business.

So, I’m reclaiming my life and am going to attempt to find a balance.Image I still intend to read all the blogs I am currently following, but I may not see or be able to read every post. I’ll probably leave more likes than I used to – as opposed to like then comment on every blog, but if I leave a like somewhere, I will have definitely read the post.

I intend to do a some catching up with blogs today, but I’m going to start writing tomorrow. I am really, really tempted to start my new book with dialogue. I have my own drum, you know.

110 thoughts on “Reclaiming My Life

  1. Your blocks of time thing sounds awesome. I want your (future) day. I want time to read and whatever. Time for me. One day.
    In the meantime, best wishes to your mum, hi to husband and son, and can’t wait for Susan to return!

        • I knew that! I got tired of Googling the time in Australia, so I finally figured out that I needed to add four hours to my time, and then flip. If it is a.m. here, it is p.m. there. Easy-peasy. But I was tired last night and forgot to do the flip. … You have an awesome job. You will get back into the swing of things soon. My new “blocks of time” will mean more work for me, but I really need to get back to work – housework and real work. … My mom is doing better, Rich and the boy would say HI if they were here. … See you soon. I have a nacho poem to read! 😉

    • Thanks, Pam. I should have started writing yesterday when so many ideas were rolling around in my head, but I wanted to get them jotted down before they got away from me. Some days my brain is a sieve!

  2. Oh yes, I know that problem. I do the school run. Walk the dog, then sit down at my desk and get sucked into checking email and blogs when I should be doing Job 1, the one that pays. Then there is coursework, paperwork, Job 2, that pays a little and can be done later. Playing with the puppy, the afternoon school run, cooking tea, homework . . .
    Blocks of time would be great, but there are not enough blocks to fit it all in.

    • I thought about that. Not enough blocks of time. There won’t be if blog block runs over time. That’s the one I will have to enforce. Writing block can take the whole day if the inspiration is there.

      I sort of blame you for my epiphany. GOYBADS sent me out into the front room to put it back together. I sorted all of my hardcover books while I was out there, too, and the reading bug hit me pretty hard. Hence, the new Kindle for WP authors and the fact that I just read a hardcover book.

      Then I GOYBADS here in my office and cleaned a mountain of miscellaneous and books off of my shipping table, filed a ton of papers, cleaned my desk, and started looking through the books for my business. I even started organizing the listings.

      That was when I decided that I needed to get back to where I was when I was taking care of everything, and blogging wasn’t the whole. So, thanks! 🙂

      (Piper’s GOYBADS – Get Off Your Butt and Do Something)

      • I am not sure of GOYBADS is good or bad now 🙂

        Well I am working on my February GOYBADS list – although I have already started. I borrowed my mates carpet cleaner 4 weeks ago – today I finally cleaned the carpet. 🙂
        I am working through the rest now – I’ll probably blog it all later.
        It does feel good to be getting sorted though. One task a month is better than none 🙂

        • Good for you cleaning carpets! That’s a pretty big task. We tend to take care of things downstairs better than we do upstairs, so I’m going to focus on the upstairs next. I kind of hate deep cleaning (move furniture, take down curtains, etc.), but it’s time to do it.

          • I enjoy moving the furniture and getting the place super tidy (I have never gone so far as to clean curtains though. How often do you have to do that? Once every 10 years or so?)
            I want to decorate my living room next – I just need to sell a load of stuff on Ebay to get the funds together first.
            Aha – Something for Februarys list!

  3. I know exactly where you’re coming from, Maddie. Blogging is addictive! I had to take back my (real) life as well. Now I post whenever I want, read blogs when I have nothing else to do and don’t care about stats!
    It’s been a big relief…

    • I understand, Maggie. When you first started to pull away, I hated to see you do so. I was still making a circuit around all the blogs I follow, and I couldn’t imagine missing so many interesting blogs to read and so much fun to be had. But I thought about you when I was writing my post last night. I really understand the need to get a balance back into my life. I think it will be a relief and make writing easier, too.

  4. I am so glad to hear that you are going to work on your next book. I do understand about the blogs. I keep finding new blogs through other blogs like I found you through Bo and David and Rita Kay through you!! And, so it goes.

    • That’s the problem, Barb. I keep finding new blogs – mostly through recommendations. And I’d like to keep up with all of them all the time, but I think it’s just about impossible. I’ll probably have to do some rotating. Rita Kay is one of the most interesting people I’ve met. I love that she’s been a head chef in restaurants and even cooked for the wealthy. What a fun life she’s had/having. I’ve been going back and reading some of her archives and enjoying myself. … After yesterday’s note session, I’m looking forward to getting started with the new book. I’m especially looking forward to messing with Nate. 😉

  5. I really get where you are coming from it is really depressing to finally accept we are not wonderwomen and actually can’t do everything, read everything, write and still have a home life balance has to be found

    • I have to laugh, Paula! There must be stages for this. Exhaustion, stress, guilt for not cleaning the house … it’s crazy! For people like you who post every day, I don’t know how you do it. I suppose posting every day wouldn’t be the biggest hurdle; it’s getting around to all of the blogs you follow. As an author, I want as big a reach as I can manage, but it’s become so much more than that; I truly enjoy all the blogs I follow and I simply need to budget my time at each blog better. Read/like/move on … comment only if I have something I really want to say.

    • Dallas, my problem is not that two hours pass, but six hours will pass. I’ll break to spend time with my husband, and then I’ll spend another seven or eight hours reading blogs. Following nearly 200 blogs is a lot of reading material, and some of these people post more than once a day. Phew!

      I definitely have to dial it back. … But – look at your blog. I’ve gone back to read posts I missed, and I’m so glad I did. I would have missed some wonderful stories. … It’s going to be a challenge to limit my time, but I have to do it.

    • Schedules are not for me, but I can decide to stop doing something at a specific time, and that has worked well in the past. Our son and I used to set a timer for 45 minutes and then we would clean like crazy. Whatever got done in 45 minutes was good enough and made a good enough difference. I’ll have to report back in a month and tell how the blocks are working out.

  6. I know exactly what you mean, Maddie. It can get to be a lot of time to keep up with everything. I used to do my social media stuff first, but like you, I was spending most of my day that way. Now I work on my WIP for 1-2 hours BEFORE I open any social media. I try to do more later as well, but at least this way I’ve produced 1000-2000 words before I do anything else. And I now follow too many blogs to visit every post every time as well, especially for those bloggers who post daily. But I try to stop in when I can.

    By the way, I’m always impressed with those of you who write series. Until you mentioned it, I hadn’t really thought of how difficult it must be to keep up with some of the details. I imagine you have to have good, up-to-date character sheets available for reference.

    • You are smart to start writing before social media. Once SM is started, it’s hard to break away. … I *should* have good character sheets, but I simply keep notes in my notebook. Character sheets probably would have saved me a lot of time though, because I’ve had to search in past books to remember a detail here and there.

  7. I’ve read a lot of chatter about this issue of late. I am dealing with the same struggle . . . life, writing, blogging, kids, parents, travel, blah, blah, blah. In fact, I have a similar post half written about finding balance and resetting priorities. Sigh.

    • You mentioned you were working on a post, and I was hoping for some advice. Desperation finally drove me to making a decision. After spending time with Mom on Saturday, I was either spending my evening catching up with blogs, or relaxing with Rich in the den. Rich and the den won out, and by Sunday morning, I knew I wanted to make some changes. I want to enjoy writing this next book, and taking a more relaxed attitude toward blogging, while also doing more around the house, will likely let everything fall into place nicely.

    • I suspect your schedule will either become more hectic once the RUC arrives, or it will settle down due to necessity. 😉 I haven’t talked to Mom today, but meds were kicking in on Saturday, and she seemed better. Thanks. 🙂

  8. I truly feel honoured to share your time as you give it then. ps that is the Canadian spelling 🙂 As for your new book I am, biased of course but, extremely happy that you are doing one based in my fine country 🙂 should you need any info let me know. All the best to ya eh! I hope it goes well and all my best to your mom.

    • Thank you, William! I suspect one of my characters is going to fall in love with the “eh” and torment the others with it. The funny thing is that I have used the term (not excessively) since my teen years. You just gave me a thought though. I may want to watch if I mention signs or establishments. I’ll need to be sure to use the proper spelling in context. … Thanks for the well-wishes for Mom. 🙂

  9. This comment is not for Maddie.
    It is, however, for everyone else that should be jealous now because my blog recently got a like AND a comment from the ever-so busy Maddie.
    Whos the man now?
    (and I hope you mom is up and about now)

    • And I hope every follower of Susan Hunter and Maddie Cochere runs right over to your blog and reads your most recent post where I left a comment. It was for your stellar review of Always Maxi Pads! 🙂

      (As to my mother, she is better. Thank you for asking.)

    • Connie, it does feel great! I was offline and up to see my mother again yesterday, and it was nice not feeling “guilty” for not reading new posts. I’ve given myself a window from now until noon today to read and respond to blogs, and then I’m off for groceries and then back at my desk to write. It is quite liberating to get control. … Thanks for well-wishes for mom. She is feeling better. Now if we could only find a cure for arthritis.

  10. Your life has to come first for sure and I think it’s great that you’re working towards balancing things out more 🙂 Received your gift, btw, thank you again! Haven’t had a chance to start reading yet though, but will let you know once I’m done 😉

    • You never disappoint, Tim. The last line was written with you in mind; I knew you would pick up on it. 😉 I’ll still be here. I’m just gong to spend “less” time here. I’m looking forward to the next couple of months of writing and editing … and then it will be time to ride the motorcycle again. 🙂 All of that will be easier to do if I tear myself away from blogs a bit.

    • It’s only been a few days, and already I feel more in control of my life. I felt as though if I was going to follow someone, I should read all of their posts and show support by commenting. Silly me. I can still do that, but not every time for every blog. Not when you’re following nearly 200 blogs. I’ll just do my best within my two hours each day. 🙂 Thank YOU for your supportive comment! ♥

  11. G’day Maddie, it was lovely to see your blonde bombshell visiting my posts. I’m in awe of how you can fit in so much, wow you mentioned 200 blogs!!!! :0 and writing books plus HOUSEWORK….:0 :0 But hang in there for a few more years old age,retirement, the golden years, call it what you will, eventually brings release from pressure. No family to feed, poor eyesight so can’t see the dust and you can take off into the wilderness or whatever you like to do with no guilt. So pleased to hear you spent time with your Mother and she is now feeling better.

    • Heehee … poor eyesight so I can’t see the dust. I’m working on that already, Pauline. 🙂 I can only dream that we could take off at some time like you and Jack and Matilda do. … But I won’t say no when the opportunity presents itself. I’ll need a good camera! 🙂

  12. I do understand where you’re coming from. Blogging takes up so much time and it’s easier to get about your life if you don’t have to worry about maintaining a posting schedule or reading every single post there is. I’ve been doing more or less the same in the last couple of months, and it feels refreshing to just post whenever I feel like it instead of stressing to find engaging blog content.
    Good luck with everything! Especially writing and editing. 😀 Also, I hope your mother’s feeling better now!

    • I really wonder how people post every day, respond to their comments, and then read other blogs and comment on them, too. They must not sleep! Glad to hear you found what works for you, too, Zen. It is much less stressful all around. Mom is doing better; thank you!

  13. I need you to do this…..I will soon be caught up on your books and I need the Maple Hunter ready to read! 😉 There are sooooo many wonderful blogs I follow, some weeks though, I just can’t read them all. (and yes…I feel guilty…..) Hope your mom is feeling better….and you go write! ♥

    • You’re making me blush, Mary. … I find it kind of fascinating that as I meet people and get to know them, they are like old friends. I never thought I would kindle so many friendships and care about so many people. And you know I appreciate your friendship very much, Mary. ♥

  14. Sounds like quite the fast paced writers’ life you’ve got going there! I’ve always loved the word and idea of a “den”. It’s cosy picturing someone reading in a den, it sounds cave-like. In any case, it’s funny you mentioned the Kindle Paperlight, I was looking at those this morning. I have the Nook Glow, which came out last year and I suppose is the Barnes and Noble equivalent. It’s pretty nice, and I agree, that Nook Color can get a bit heavy if you’re holding it up reading in bed.

    • The Nook Color and the Nook Tablet are both just under a pound. They really do feel heavy after a while. I switched to Kindle rather than to buy the Glow because so many WP authors only have their works at Amazon. I was really tired of trying to read their books on my computer, so I went with the lighted Kindle Paperwhite. I’m satisfied now that I have both.

      It *is* always hectic around here, but I’m excited to be writing again.

    • Oh, and I love our den. It is a bit dark with only one small window, which it too high to see in or out. Rich has a desk in there, but there is also a sofa and recliner. It’s super cozy and perfect for watching television or reading – or playing Dr. Mario on the old Nintendo 64. 😉

  15. Blogging is a full time job (at least that’s how I feel). It’s Maddie time ……. time to do what you want to do and enjoy every moment of it. Thanks for all the post on my site. I must admit I’m a little misty eyed typing this, make sure you stay in touch. I hope your mom is doing better and Rich and your son are doing fine. Enjoy your time cooking, if I ever can be of any help let me know. Your the best Maddie !!! 🙂

    • I’m not going anywhere, Rita Kay. Just spending less time in the blogosphere. I’ll be back to check out more of your posts, because I don’t want to miss any tips. 🙂 Mom is doing better, and although we are back to being cold today, we are all well. Thank you! ♥

    • That’s what we’re thinking. If we get away from fast and processed foods, and start cooking and eating lean meats, vegetables, and fruits, we will feel better in a big hurry, and I can drop the weight I put on while writing last year. (good pun :-))

  16. Hey Maddie! I’m alive, I think! Whew that was a rough week for me as I don’t get sick. Anyway, so glad you stopped by for a few. You’re schedule sounds awesome lady. You go! I will be looking forward to your new book for sure. I almost feel like I’m a teeny bity part of it. (weird right?) I too want to read more this year, as the past year I haven’t read that much (books) and I miss it like crazy. If there is anything I can do to help you out let me know (research?? I love research ) And cooking more will be better for you then take out. There are tons of things to cook fast yet healthy. Got to keep you and the boys healthy. 😉

    • Hi Jackie! So glad you’re back amongst the living. I’ve been really run down and tired, so I’m trying hard to avoid the public. I don’t want to pick anything up. … I’m about 2,000 words in on the new book. I was to a book sale this morning and then to my mother’s for the day, so I haven’t had time to write yet. I’ll have to see what the evening brings. Make sure you get enough rest!

    • That’s entirely up to you, Rita Kay. I always try to post my openings on my blog, so I’ll be sharing it with the world soon enough. You can leave it on your blog or take it off. It doesn’t matter to me. 🙂 Hope you’re having a good weekend!!

  17. I can totally relate to this post Maddie. I have seriously considered quitting my webcomic at times, not that it takes up too much time but that visiting all the comics/blogs of those who take the time to visit & comment on mine. I struggle to keep up with all the updated posts in my RSS reader & I feel bad when I can’t as those people support my site so much with their great comments. With my new work schedule, permanent afternoon shift 2pm – 10pm, I spend way too much morning time on blog reading/commenting as try to keep to myI workout at my gym 3 – 4 mornings a week if I get off the computer. Plus now that I’m learning the Sax I try & get in some music practice each day as well. There’s also jobs around the home & yard that I should be giving more priority too as well. A tough decision as I really love doing my comics & I feel obligated to support those who support my site as well. I can’t help to feel it would be selfish/inconsiderate of me to continue my comics but not take the time to visit all my regular visitors sites.

    • Tony, here is the honest truth from my perspective. I would hate to see you give up your webcomic. I truly enjoy it and am delighted to have found you. I’m not a “stats freak,” and there isn’t anything here at my blog that you would be sad to miss. You never have to stop by here; I am happy to visit with you at your place. I think you should do all the wonderful things you are doing in your personal life, then do your webcomic (because your fans will still come … and what would become of Harold and Bruce, and Cedric and Barry, and Sam and Wally, etc!). If there is any time left over (not daily – maybe a couple of times each week), stop and visit some of your favorite blogs. Blogging was starting to feel like work for me. After a week of less time and visiting here and there, it feels much better.

      • Thanks for the suggestions Maddie. That’s how it has become lately, it has become like a chore to try to keep up with all my favourite sites. I do love creating my comics & my characters are like a part of me now. I am going to try your Time Blocks idea by using my morning coffee time to read comics/blogs & try to limit it to about 1 hour each morning, then onto other tuff

    • Thank you, El Guapo! The sun was shining today (yay!), and Mom was feeling pretty good. I’m having a wonderful time writing, but we aren’t off the Chinese bandwagon yet. Hunan Chicken for dinner tonight. I haven’t chosen a genre of music yet for this book. I listened to “today’s hits” for most of my books, but chose 50’s music for the last one. What a hoot that was!

  18. I believe that you can do this, Maddie! Your writing is spectacular (from what I’ve seen just on this blog!) and deserves a chunk of your time. I have had to start limiting my WordPress time as well… so many good blogs, so little time!

    My best to your mom and your family.

    • I’ve been trying to do as you did today. Stop by a few at a time and read several posts at once. I do think my “blocks of time” have been working well for me. Thanks for dropping in! 🙂

    • Thanks. I’m actually reading most of your posts. I still fight simply hitting the like button if I’m not leaving a comment. I will do that more often though to let you know I’ve been there. Thank you for popping in, too. 🙂

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