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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

IWSG and my 80,000lb elephant on the keyboard


I'm frustrated, but most of all feeling humble because I must apologize to anyone who's commented to me over the last couple of months.

For the most part, I haven't returned your comments - which has bothered me to no end - so I want to address the huge elephant in my writing world.

If I sound like I've bottled up some whine and am enjoying a glass or two, you're right, but the kids are asleep, and if I don't get this down now, I never will.

Here's my insecurity, and I shall use a mathematical equation to help me out (perhaps some of you recognize the formula?)

We pause ten seconds for station identification...

(Yes, it’s IWSG time again, so thanks as always to Alex J. Cavanaugh, aka The Dude in the Black Jammies who founded the Insecure Writers Support Group.)

Previously on "This used to be my writing schedule."

Actual can-focus-on-writing time per 24-hour period: 2-3 hours

Blogging needs and responsibilities per 24-hour period: 3-4 hours

Writing to advance WIP (or submit queries for current ms): Zero Time

My finished ms is a memoir of an opera singer. (It's been a true blessing to write, a real labor of love and I know it will find its proper home one day. That project I'm leaving alone: It's all about God's timing.)

The problem was (is) I'm hungry, pregnant with words to complete something that's one hundred percent mine. Therefore, I want to focus most, if not all, of my extremely limited time on pushing WIP and experiencing a natural book-birth :)

But, something had to give - and will continue to give until I find more free time.

For those who know me a little, I love Paying It Forward, so Charlie's Scribes will be my main blogging focus posts for the foreseeable future.*

(*Except for a certain, promised photo that *may* [or not] be published on St. Patrick's Day :)

Lord Baldernot will also guest star, I believe.

And for that, I bow down eternally to Al Diaz and say in my best Oirish accent that, "Oi may be bald and have Mr. Clean as an unpaid sponsor and logo on all my polo shirts, but truly Oi'm not wordy to lose the dance off against the Dude in the Black Jammies."

PS... as return-commenting is my biggest issue, I do have a solution and wanted to throw out an invitation.

I am a Twitter nerd and *ALWAYS* return comments there... and how can you not?

It's a maximum of 140 characters to read (and reply, which also hones your writing skills :)

I'm here or here: https://twitter.com/markjkoopmans

Cheers and don't let the wee Leprechauns mess with your lucky charms  :)


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Mr. Clean is calling though. making you scrub counter tops. And while you were cleaning, you missed the dance off. I win!
That balance of time. I know it well, even with all of the clones in the world. Focus on what matters most.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of leprechauns, I just read The Field of Boliarauns (I most definitely spelled that wrong, I think). lol

Time is so precious, and I had to learn to not be worried when I miss a blog or am late with posting. Take it one day at a time!

Bob/Sally said...

You're absolutely right - sometimes we have to make difficult choices as to what we sacrifice. I don't think anybody would fault you for falling behind on blog comments to get some writing done - social media is a great tool, but it can also be a gaping hole into which time disappears. :)

Jessica Lawson said...

Finding enough time for our own passions can be so difficult, especially with little ones to wrangle. I've cut way back on blogging and reading posts and feel bad about that, but you can't do it all if you want to get sleep and remain somewhat mild-tempered ;)

Robin said...

This is the second post today I've read today giving a nod to Twitter. I have avoided it because I just can't lose any more time to social media. Maybe I should rethink it. Hmmm.

Rachna Chhabria said...

Hi Mark, I have been thinking about Twitter (I am yet to join it). Writing, blogging, teaching and my FB page keep me super busy.

Suzanne Furness said...

There does never seem enough time to do everything! I am on Twitter (although not everyday!) I will say hi.

Melissa said...

You gotta do what works for you and decide your own priorities. I'll still luv ya, no matter what.

And I'm thinking of hiring Charlie's Scribes very soon. ;)

IWSG #268 (until Alex culls the list again or I goof and get myself deleted. :P)

Morgan said...

I can assure you, Mark, that we who come to comment on your blog do so because we love you! So comments in return don't matter one bit. Seriously don't let that be a source of stress--there are WAY too many other things to stress about! :)

Focus on your book. Get those words out. And don't worry about blog world until after that first draft is done!!!! Then we can throw a big party. :)

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

Write first, blog later. Will see you on twitter.

Elephant's Child said...

Understood. Sometimes life gets in the way doesn't it?
And I am a firm believer in 'give us this day our daily whinge...'
Twitter? A step too far for me.
Have fun, work hard, and we will see you on the flip side.

Unknown said...

Oh Mark, it is so hard to find a balance in it all, isn't it? And you have a young family on top of it all. I had to step back in Feb and regain my perspective, and I'm so glad I did. Love blogging and visiting blogs, and it is part of the "job" of writing I enjoy so much, but I have to discipline myself or it becomes a monster time-eater. All the best to you and your book. I KNOW it will find its timing and home.

Anonymous said...

Aloha Mark! I've missed you and I understand how you feel about not being able to reply to people's comments in a timely fashion. While I was away from blogging for a bit, I was lucky to have my online bff, Marilyn oversee my blog for me. It's awesome that you now have Charlie's Scribes; I could've used you several times. :) Have a fabulous Wednesday Sir, and I will 'see' you at next month's meeting. Lily

Chrys Fey said...

Blogging does take time (along with all the other sources of social media) and it can take away from writing time, which is what I've been dealing with. Although, I'll still be blogging once a week, after my April A to Z challenge, I'm going to cut back so I can have more writing time.

Best of luck to you with your writing. And a memoir about an opera singer sounds fascinating!

Johanna Garth said...

I think everyone understands the huge commitment blogging requires and understands when any writer steps back a little. I'm down to once a week for much the same reasons are you are. :) And hey, do I follow you on Twitter? Not sure. It's my favorite chatty site.

Rena said...

I think everyone is saying that you need to write before you blog. I don't know about you, but I started my blog because of the writing, not the otherway around (carts and horses and all).

So yeah, do what you need.

Dianne K. Salerni said...

Mark, we totally get it. There are many times in my writing process where I have NOT ONE WORD OR SECOND TO SPARE on anything that isn't my WIP. In those times, you won't see me.

But I always come back. :)

Sheena-kay Graham said...

I have had issues with commenting back myself recently. My one week blogging break (minus IWSG/Sidelined Cover Reveal and Friday Scribes post) was set to help me get back on track and have more time for my wip. We understand that time can get away from you and focusing on your WIP is no crime Mark. We love you and wish you the best of luck.

S.P. Bowers said...

We'll take you wherever, whenever we can. I understand the dilemma with writing vs blogging and I'm not doing to well on the blogging front either.

Kimberly said...

You definitely have to do what works best for you - it's not easy keeping up with all of it. So much juggling to do. :)

P.S. you won a $5 Amazon gift card on my blog awhile back and I just noticed today it wasn't picked up, so I sent it again. :)

Nicole said...

No worries here! I totally understand the feeling. Go do what you've gotta do, and we'll catch you down the road a ways.

Meradeth Houston said...

There just aren't enough hours in the day! Best of luck with your WIP, er, birth... :)

klahanie said...

Sir Mazza!

Thought I'd saunter over and see what's happening. I'm good like that.

Yes, it's "I Was Seeking Gary" time, yet again :) Yet, I see no mention of shy and humble me. I'm devastated.

You focus on what's right for you, dude. WIP it good :)

And no, you can't pimp my blog!

You're on Twitter? LOL

Your adoring fan,


LD Masterson said...

Find your own balance. We'll catch you wherever.

Krista McLaughlin said...

Time is definitely a struggle. I work two jobs, totaling around 50 to 60 hours a week with no days off. But I'm learning to balance, slowly.

You'll find the time and we'll be here. :)

Tammy Theriault said...

whoa whoa whoa...you're pregnant???

dolorah said...

Ah, gotta do what speaks to your writing soul and "push" at the proper time. Don't forget to breathe between contract-ions :)


Shah Wharton said...

I'm really looking forward to your posts on my blog Mark. I keep threatening to stop blogging for a long time (like 6 months) and never seem to manage it. I would miss the community too much. But I know I would get more time to write that way and so it's a constant consideration. Good for you making and sticking with the decision. :)


M.J. Fifield said...

I'm sure this has been said before, but write first, blog later. I think we can only do what we can do (how's that for brilliant?), and as long as we know that we've done our best, then that's all that matters.

Elizabeth Seckman said...

I try to keep to a schedule. I write X number of hours, blog and social media X number of hours. It works for me. For the most part. Until I favorite a month old tweet and have to bear the jibes of my goofy cyber twin.

Do what you can, leave the guilt in the bottle after you finish the wine (or whine)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Mark .. good luck with all that's going on .. as the others have said - time is just for writing .. and doing what needs to be done ...little ones too!

Cheers and the book will out - Hilary

Kirsten said...

So here I am going through my overstuffed Inbox to find this post from you. I totally get this!
The need to write fiction supersedes everything.
And I'm excited to see what you come up with. I'm certain it will be great. :)

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