Dust Bunnies Take Blogger’s Family Hostage – News at 11!

Please help!

I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed and I need some advice. My family’s nutrition is suffering and the dust bunnies are multiplying at an alarming rate.


My name is Jane.

And I’m a blogaholic.

I’ve been blogging for almost 6 months now and I can’t stop. I can’t stop reading blogs. I can’t stop writing posts. I can’t stop commenting. I now lie to cover up my addiction. “Mommy’s working. Just pull up your pants. Daddy can wipe you when he gets home.”

It all started with that silly movie, Julie & Julia. I love Meryl Streep. I love Amy Adams. I love to cook. What’s not to love? So, despite the movie reviews, I loved the movie. I checked out the blog. Hmmmmm….

No offense, Julie Powell, but I wasn’t blown away. And neither was the real Julia Childs.  When asked about her opinion of the blog she said, “She just doesn’t seem very serious, does she?”  While I was reading the blog it seemed as if book/movie deal was ALWAYS on Julie Powell’s mind, more so than the actual cooking. It was entertaining, sure. But I wondered what spark ignited such an entertaining movie. And I realized it was the creative genius of Nora Ephron. She realized a captivating story within the premise, the idea of the blog.

Now, to Julie Powell’s credit she was one of the first paid-for-movie-rights bloggers. A pioneer in the money-making business of blogs. Who knew?

I realize blogs had been around for almost a decade before I finally discovered them. Wait. Scratch that. I knew blogs existed. I followed more “professional” blogs. What I didn’t know was that simple, insignificant, lil’  ‘ol me could actually create one. For fun. If Julie Powell could do it, surely I could do it. I wanted to check it out.

And so Theycallmejane’s Blog was born. (cue fanciful music, shining light from the heavens and angels singing in the wings)

I wrote for myself. I checked out other bloggers like me. I commented. They commented here. I read some more. I wrote some more. I commented some more.  I found myself on some of your blog rolls. I figured out how to have my own blogroll. I received my first award. I gave out my first award. And then more and more of you found your way here. So I wrote faster. I read faster. I commented faster. And you still kept coming back for more.

A tiny little snowflake of an idea was growing into an avalanche inducing snowball. I would spend hours at the keyboard. I remember one day (and this is the honest to God truth) I dropped the kids at school, ran through the drive-thru at Starbucks for my beloved Caramel Macchiato, came home, sat down at the computer, typed and read to my heart’s content and suddenly I was feeling a little light headed. I felt faint, nauseated, dizzy. I looked at the clock. I had been sitting at the computer for a full four hours with nothing but a sugary coffee drink to sustain me since the dinner I ate almost 18 hours before.

I’ve been known to check the length of a movie (choosing the longest one) before popping it into the DVD player (just did it). When someone calls and asks if they caught me in the middle of something I’ll say, “Oh, I was just folding the laundry. What’s up?” I’ll race around the house 15 minutes before my husband gets home, pile all the clutter into a laundry basket and before I actually pull out what’s for dinner I start sauteing onions (Makes your house smell like you’ve been cooking all day long. It works! Trust me on this one.)

I mean it. I’m pathetic.

How do you all do it? When do you find the time? How much time do you spend at it? Is your family suffering? How do you decide who gets on your blogroll? How many blogs do you really read daily? Do you feel pressure to comment? What about responding to comments? Every comment or just some of the comments? Do you have dust bunnies the size of the Mall Easter bunny wallowing in dark corners? Do your butt cheeks hurt from sitting on that hard chair for hours at a time? Do you Google search for 5 minute meals to serve your family?

I’m not kidding.

I need help.

Serious help.


Filed under Lessons Learned

33 responses to “Dust Bunnies Take Blogger’s Family Hostage – News at 11!

  1. ck

    Caramel Macchiatos! My first true Starbucks love. I knew we were similar beings, Jane.

    I get up at 4:30 in the morning to do my blogging. And then I check back in during naps and after bed to read blogs. That’s why I sometimes I don’t comment for days and then I comment in chunks.

    But I only comment on blogs when I have something to say. Otherwise I’d spend all day reading/commenting and forget about my kids. Which I’ve done in the past…and it got messy!

  2. Blogging is the most time consuming thing I’ve ever done in my entire life. No joke.

    I took all last week off from it because I can’t get anything else done when I blog. I’m entirely too black and white, all or nothing.

    If you figure it out, let me know!

  3. Too funny. Blogging quickly becomes a massive investment in time.

  4. Mel

    Jane, I feel your pain. I got hooked on librarything 2 years ago, and it became pretty time consuming, but not socially satisfying, as librarian types can be prickly if you aren’t meticulous with word choice. Then I joined an online group of nerds, mostly art and writing types and learned how to make friends all over the continent. It was amazing. Then one of them started a blog and eventually, so did I, and my time online has increased exponentially. Housework unfinished? Check. Meals from a box or can? Check. Conversation slanted toward online events? Check. I’m not sure how or if I’ll manage to balance this out. Because I keep finding more interesting people to read and talk to every day. It’s those darn blog rolls. Every interesting person I read, I figure their blog roll must have some good sites too, so I check them out and then theirs…I faithfully read about 20 blogs a day, and the blogroll thingy on dashboard on blogger makes it easy to scroll through and weed out the ones I don’t have time for, but I have 80 blog sites marked in my favorites file. That’s too many, I think, but they are funny, interesting, relevent and lovely. I comment every time someone touches a nerve, because I live for the me too moments, knowing we’re not alone out here. I don’t often comment on my comments because I figure who’s checking back? Of course my butt cheeks get numb, and my neck suffers terribly – bloggers, stretch your arms and necks every 30 minutes, my neurosurgeon insists!
    It can be so addicting, reading and writing the blogs. I have found that when I take some time away, for whatever reason, the blog world goes on without me and the reading piles up. But I’ve also found that blogging has given me much more than it’s taken. And so far my family is forgiving, if not completely understanding. Good luck figuring it out, and I wish I had more to offer than just a big ME TOO!!!

  5. suzicate

    Jane, I feel like I wrote this! In fact, I almost wrote something similar yesterday as I was feeling overwhelmed trying to catch up on blogs from being a way on Sat. Dang, I’ve got to set my priorities. My intentions are to rework a novel I started, and guess what I pulled it out three weeks ago and haven’t even opened the folder because I’ve been transported to blogosphere YOu and I should start a slef help group for blogging addicts. And of course, we’ll offer Caramel Macchiatos which is also my fave!

  6. angelcel

    This is why I deliberately keep my reading list small. I know *I* like comments so I like to comment on other’s blogs but it always has to be a considered thought (because I can spot a ‘lazy’ comment at a hundred paces). Even with my limited list it takes *time*!! I put people in my Google Reader and periodically have a pruning out session to keep things at a manageable size. Those pruned may well be people I like but if I don’t have that spark to comment because I haven’t connected for some time with what they say, then they will be ‘out the door’ I’m afraid. Otherwise I’d honestly be here all day.

    I don’t know the stats but I suspect female bloggers are heavily in the majority and I think this is because we’re communicators and have always looked to each other for support. If you think about it, in the old days we’d all have been down at the river, beating the washing on the boulders, chatting away, and I think blogging has somewhat fulfilled that need for a chat with the girls. This is my artsy fartsy way of saying don’t feel too guilty!

    The ladies up above me are right. Step away from the ‘puter when you know stuff needs doing (you know we’ll all be here waiting for you) and or, give yourself specific times to write and read. I’m a ludicrously early riser so I tend to be here in the very early ayem, occasionally dropping by between other tasks during the day.

    I love the idea of the onions! How very honest of you – which is so typical of you and why I love coming here. 🙂 I could pretend to be coy and say that I hadn’t thought of that but yes, I’ve employed a trick or two to make it look like it’s been a hive of activity around here all day! (And I know I’m not alone even amongst my non-blog, real world friends…although what *they’re* getting up to, who knows)?!

  7. Nice post, Jane. How long did it take you to write? 🙂

    I’ve been “blogging” intermittently for well over 10 years now. Back when I started, though, I merely called it “slapping my opinion on an HTML page on my web site.” I still have archived copies of text on my hard drive from the 90’s where I pontificate on things like Carl’s Jr. TV commercials, taxes (social engineering), the state-run lottery (unfair taxation of the stupid), mission statements, the volume level of TV commercials and much much more.

    It was a very intermittent thing, though. Maybe once ever few months I’d spent time working on one. Now, I’m going to be brutally honest here. That “Julie & Julia” movie was part of the reason I started blogging, too. It popped on my radar around the same time as a few notable blogs. Suddenly I decided it was time the world needed me pontificating on a daily basis.

    Good writing does take time. A lot of time. My secret? I only do bad writing. That bears repeating. Bad writing takes less time. I whip out some one-pass prose that hasn’t been worked on or thought out at all. Really it is nothing more than a raw, quickie brain dump. Call it the text version of an artist taking paints and throwing them on the wall. (Only that takes more talent.)

    My other secret? I dumped one obsession (which shall remain nameless) so I had already made a little space in my life for blogging to live. And I try really hard to keep in that space.

    Good luck on taming your blogging beast. For our sake I hope you have much success, but that’s just being greedy. We like to read you. 🙂

  8. Sigh. I know, I know! It’s a huge time-suck. I try not to comment unless I have something to say, but sometimes I start to worry that if I don’t comment, people won’t think I’m reading.

    I need an intervention, too.

  9. Mel

    Hey Jane, I do have a few suggestions, though you probably are already doing most of them:
    Set minimum standards. I always do the dishes.
    I bought a roomba (half off!) who gets most of the dust bunnies for me. Think of writing as educational, therapeutic and worthwhile, because it is. So is the reading.
    Cook in batches, freeze stuff for next time. I pick one day a week and chop, saute and freeze vegetables, and I cook rice in batches for stir fry.
    Get everyone excited about sandwich night, breakfast for dinner or my favorite, dinner out somewhere affordable.
    Run errands only on batches or on specific days, saves gas and time.
    And mostly, try not to obsess on what your friends are writing while you’re doing the mom/wife/life stuff!
    Hope this helps with the guilt, but you’re on your own with the avalanche! Have fun getting it all done.

  10. Jane, Jane, Jane… Have you been hiding in my house secretly recording me? I SURELY commiserate. I thought it was just me since I’m so new to this. I confess that I LIVE for comments and I also will some days “skip” others than a select few and come back a few days later and try to catch up!

    And the Caramel macchiato? Seems to be the bev of choice of the blogosphere, huh?

    Thanks for letting us all know we are not alone.

  11. Janelle

    Here’s another tip…while you’re cooking the onions spray some Pledge in the air…you’ve been dusting all day 🙂

  12. It’s crazy isn’t it!! I think we all feel this way at some point. I comment when I actually have some input or to say I sympathize. I do not blog everyday anymore. I catch up on my reader once a week and comment like CRAZY then! …still figuring it out….but I LOVE BLOGGING! Can’t wait to hear others’ secrets!

  13. I have been blogging for almost two years, but have apparently been quite clueless about the broader blog-world! I have only followed one blog religiously, and I rarely comment–even though I LOVE to read comments on my blog. (how self-centered can you get?)

    Thankfully, I accidentally came across a couple blogs like yours, with voices I relate to, find encouragement from, and can use to (yes!) justify my time spent in cyberspace.

    I will often time either my cooking, laundry or dishes so that when my children get home from school they catch me “being productive.”

    Thanks for your delightful rant on this ever-more consuming obsession–I look forward to reading (and commenting) more!! 🙂

  14. Wow. This is like one big 12-step support group. I’ve found myself wanting to do the same things. I’ve become a master at work of “looking busy” just so I can sneak in a blog read or two during the day…and write snippets of ideas in my drafts folder to expand on over lunchtime. Sometimes my blogging/reading happens in the evening, after a long work day. I can lose an entire evening reading blogs if I’m not careful. Like angelcel, I think my list of regular reads is smaller than most, but I love finding new blogs to explore through others’ comments.

    Whoops. Here comes the boss. Must. Look. Busy.

  15. I don’t drink coffee. I feel so alone.

    I’ve never been the greatest at housecleaning anyway, so I can’t blame that on my blog. I do my best to keep dinners nutritious and unprocessed and — what’s the word — there. I am a big fan of the cooking in big batches and freezing for later.

    Every time I discover a great new blog, I feel simultaneously excited and dismayed, both because if I read too much I start to think GAH, what on earth can I add to this, and also, how much more time can I spend reading blogs? I keep my blogroll fairly small and only visit certain blogs weekly or so. When I sit down, I try to write my own post before reading other blogs. Other than that, I’m adviceless. But on the whole blogging has been great — forcing me to organize my thoughts, introducing me to a new community and giving structure to the days that lack it.

  16. It’s an obsession! A compulsion! I started because I read about Dooce.com somewhere and looked it up and thought I could totally do this. And then the half hour became an hour became two hours became as much as I can get. I still have nap time, which is when I do the bulk of my writing and reading. That’s about a little over two hours. If they get up sooner, they have to “rest” in front of the TV. I get my chores done during DVD time, and I split my big chores across the week so I really don’t have to do more than a half an hour or so a day. But could I sit in front of the computer and read and comment all day? Oh dear Lord, yes. Do I feel horribly guilty if I miss commenting on someone’s blog (like I’m horribly behind on TKW)? Oh dear Lord, yes. Do I wish I could read even more people (like some of the cool people who comment here)? Oh dear Lord, yes! But we’re all doing what we can, reading when we can, writing when we can, cleaning when we can so social services don’t come. Good luck, Jane, finding a balance. It’s all about balance. Right? Or forgoing the much needed pregnancy nap. 😉

  17. Wow! I truly hit on a hot topic. Thank you, thank you, thank you everyone for commiserating and for the extra tips. And Rebecca, you caught me! I do my “productive” work when the kids get home, too. “See how busy Mommy’s job is, kids?” I am in such good company. I love you all!

  18. Steven Harris

    It’s the performances that make the movie, as well as Nora’s direction. Meryl Streep is having so much fun with her role and Amy Elfin-Whatshername pitches her part just right too – two parts frustrated wannabe, one part determined little blighter.
    As for the blogging, try taking a few days out. I’ve left it longer between posts lately and, while I don;t think it;s made me a better writer, it has meant I’ve done a little more living and can feel less guilty too. But don’t give up altogether cos I like dropping by.

  19. unabridgedgirl

    I’m glad you’re addicted to blogging, Jane. I love reading yoru blog.

  20. I fear this. I haven’t fallen down the slippery slope yet (only blogging 2 months), but I’m very aware that it exists. When I started my blog I established a structure of posting on MWF only. So far this has worked well for me. Also, since I work full time, I only read/comment on other blogs during down time at the office. I do very little blog-related stuff at home. This helps me keep it from taking over my life. If I were a stay-at-home mom I suspect I would have a much harder time of things. I don’t have much to offer you in the way of advice, but I appreciate the warning!

  21. unabridgedgirl

    PS I couldn’t even make it through the first chapter of Julie and Julia, so I didn’t even bother with the movie, in spite of my love for Meryl Streep.

  22. My name is Jana, and I’m an addict.

    I’m fairly new to the blog world, but already, I’m sensing trouble.

    I blame my in-laws. We needed a new computer around Christmastime. We bought one. Then my in-laws revealed that they, too, had bought us a new computer. We were shocked by their generosity, and I needled my husband to advise them to take it back. If they wanted to give, we needed a dryer and windows. But they still gave him the computer, so we could have a his and hers. (And gave us money toward those necessities.) So now, I have my own, pretty pearl computer. And I spend too much time at it.

    I don’t know that this can be helped. I don’t know that I want help.

    But Jane, let me assure you: you are not alone.

  23. Okay, I want to join this self-help group too!!
    I have limited my postings to 3 a week and am trying to comment less too. I need to get back to my novel!! It’s so time consuming and nobody understands that. I don’t comment on the comments made to my blog ON the blog because do people seriously check back again later?? But I do answer most separately….more time. But I love the people I’ve met. Like you!

  24. I was heavy into blogging when I first started last July. And I dropped everything else around me. Bad mom, bad wife…kinda.

    I think I have a better balance now…either that or I ran out of things to yap about?

    Love your writing though, so don’t look to me for ways to stop you 🙂

  25. Oh Jane, I hear you. Absolutely. And it seems we are not alone. Bloggers of the world unite. We have nothing to lose but our sanity!

  26. Let’s be honest, the social isolation of parenting combined with the back-pat of a group of readers who think you’re a genius are enough to get us all blogging several times a day. I manage by: not editing my posts. I write, I hit publish. I don’t care if it’s not perfect.
    I do not blog or read blogs on the weekend. I did in the beginning, but my stats suggest nobody else does, so it’s a waste of brilliance.
    I only read about seven blogs regularly and comment only when I’m in love; I read about 20 blogs total twice a week. That’s it. There aren’t that many good writers who speak to me.
    Finally, I don’t blog or read blogs (or facebook or email) while the kid is awake. I’ve always had this rule about the computer and it helps me limit myself.

    • Oh, and I skim. When bloggers go on too long (hello, people, edit) I just skip to the end, comment on the first couple of paragraphs if they compelled me, and move on with my day. Life is too short for blogs to be a freaking Proust masterpiece.

  27. Just yesterday my husband said, “Do you know how long you’ve been on that computer?”

  28. Wow!! This was a great post and really got an awesome conversation going. I didn’t read all the comments, but it certainly sounds like most everyone struggles with trying to find a balance while blogging and having a family life. I myself have no great answers. My husband is forever accusing me of having an affair with my blog. He does not really appreciate all my anecdotes of fascinating things I learned in other people’s wonderful blogs, mostly because he is jealous. Or at least that’s my theory. He’s a great guy, though. Probably my fault for being so obsessed with blogging. Maybe I should enroll in a 12 step program?

  29. Time suck? I hadn’t noticed. I have wondered why God shortened the day by about 18 hours. That is really the explanation, right?

  30. You said it! It feels like a second job on most days. One accomplished blogger told me that she spends at least 6 hours every day. The general rule: if you want people to comment you need to read and comment <– THIS is the most time-consuming part and where guilt comes from. I dare not leave comments during work hours 'cause everything is time-stamped so I often have to choose between sleeping and commenting. At this moment, I am on a biz trip, but I am foregoing dinner so I can catch up on blog reading/commenting! If this is not an obsession, or actually a JOB, I don't know what is. LOL.

  31. By the way, I want to thank you for starting a great conversation here. I was nodding my head vigorously when reading Allison’s comment. I too feel both excited and anxious whenever I find yet another great new blog. Time. I am running out of time!

  32. Pingback: The Six Degrees of Separation in Blog World. No, Make That Four. No, Three. How About One? « Theycallmejane's Blog

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