4 Ways I Balance My Blogging and Writing Life

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“Where do you find the time?”

Is a question I get a lot so I thought I’d answer it in the form of a blog post so that more than a few individuals can benefit.

I also thought it would be interesting to see if I can write this with a two-year-old around.

With a few exceptions, you can expect a blog post from me almost every day. Is it an obligation? Nope. No one is making me blog and I don’t feel obligated to do so. I actually just enjoy blogging and although we have a long way to go, I like what this blog has become so far. I like the groove I’ve settled into here and the community I’ve built thus far. But, I am also an author and I do have a life outside this medium. I have a career, a husband, and other things to dedicate my attention to.

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Me: “I’m almost finished baby.”

“Huh?”

Me: “I’m almost finished.”

“Huh?”

Me: “Nevermind.”

So, when do I find the time to blog? How do I maintain a consistently updated blog, publish books and not neglect my family?

80 / 20 Rule

I don’t know if it’s because I am getting older or if I’ve learned to love myself more (combination of both?) but I don’t overwork myself anymore. I’m still disciplined but I no longer feel obligated to overdo it like I used to years ago. It’s not necessary. A few hours a day is really all it takes (I am working on removing actually and really from my vocabulary…though I actually like using these crutch words. Work with me here people). Instead, I am always thinking about the 80 / 20 rule and strive to incorporate it into my everyday life.

From Wikipedia:

“The principle was suggested by management thinker Joseph M. Juran. It was named after the Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto, who observed that 80% of income in Italy was received by 20% of the Italian population. The assumption is that most of the results in any situation are determined by a small number of causes.”

This means that with just 20% effort, one can achieve 80% results or 80% of outcomes can be attributed to 20% of the causes. (…and my phone rings. Ignore that and keep writing. Ignoring stuff, that’s another point but we’ll get to that another time).

One way I balance blogging and writing are to dedicate at least 20% of my time toward blogging or 20% toward writing and then get on with my life.

Example: 8:00a – 10:00a = 25% of time Blogging

I found this really neat chart HERE. It calculates how much time you spend toward an 8-hour work day. Based on this chart, two hours of work in an 8-hour workday is already 25% of my day. Pretty neat.

My time can now be spent writing, washing dishes, or doing laundry. (1-2hrs is about the time it takes me to polish a decent sized blog post, that’s only about 25-30% of my day.)

“TT…”

“Yes?”

“I wanna take a bath.”

“OK.”

Scheduling Blog Posts

One of the most valuable time savers of mine is scheduling blog posts to go out. I write my blog posts early and if I can’t finish it in a couple hours I leave it alone and go do something else. In the evenings I come back, use Grammarly to edit them (because I’m not rich enough to hire someone to edit my every blog post) and then schedule the post to publish midnight my time (12:00 or later Central Standard Time). This means I may be asleep when it publishes which does two things:

“TT…?”

(1) Helps those outside the U.S. to catch the post early their time.

“TT…?

(2) Keeps my blog active throughout the day as people are tuning in under different time zones.

“Yes, love?”

“Where mommy?”

The only thing I am doing when I wake up and throughout the day is responding to the commentary, reading and re-blogging articles I like, liking and commenting on other people’s blogs and sharing them online. I may also publish other random thought posts but those don’t take as much time as say a post like this one.

Special Blog Segments

Another way that I balance my blogging and writing time is by introducing special segments. A Special Blog Segment is somethi…

“BJ Nooo!”

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A blog segment is something I made up to mean blog posts that have a specific theme and is published weekly. I have several:

Monday – Author Interviews

Wednesday – No Whining Wednesday / Writer’s Wednesday

Thursday – Throwback Thursday Jams

Friday – Black History Fun Fact Friday / Movie Night Friday

Though I missed you all last week, I use these themes to keep this blog consistent with valuable content.

Re-spin Old Blog Posts

I’m a little obsessed with this because of how much value I get from it. I have to remind myself not to overdo it. Re-spinning blog posts is an amazing way to update the blog in as little time possible. Every now and again I re-publish (re-spin) old blog articles or poems that have proven valuable over the years. This gives new followers an opportunity to read the content, share it and offer their feedback too. But most time worthy, it gives me the chance to update my blog by not having to write anything new. This only takes a few minutes of my time.

  1. Use WP app to access my WP dashboard
  2. Go to posts > all posts > scroll through old posts (to pick a specific category go to All Categories > choose category)
  3. Choose a post I like, preferably a high value one (or one I think should be high value but didn’t get much attention)
  4. Find one and click edit
  5. Schedule it for a future date

For those who have already seen the post, they may not get new email notifications (it will show in the reader again but I will double check if you will get it again in your emails) for those who are new to my blog, they will definitely get a notification of the post as if it was brand new. It will be like I just wrote it and attract new views. (I’d recommend waiting at least a year before re-spinning posts so you have enough content so readers are not like “wait, didn’t she / he just post that tho?”)

By focusing a small amount of effort toward one task at a time, scheduling blog posts, re-blogging, creating special themed posts, downloading apps that make things easier and re-spinning old posts, you can cut down on your blog time too and use it to write your next book.

Note: How to Blog with a two-year-old: Lock the office door, put non-working electronics in front of him so he thinks he’s typing too, and keep looking back every 3 seconds. Draft your post, save it, give him a bath and put him to bed. Come back later, edit the post, schedule it to go out. 

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Introduce Yourself – Introducing Guest Author Patty Fletcher

Welcome to Introduce Yourself, a new and exciting blog segment of The PBS Blog dedicated to introducing to you new and established authors and their books.

Today I’d like to extend a warm welcome to Patty Fletcher. Welcome to The PBS Blog! Let’s get started.

Go ahead and Introduce yourself. Tell us your name and where you’re from.

My name is Patty L. Fletcher, and I am from a town in Northeast Tennessee in the United States called Kingsport.

Nice to meet you Patty! What would your perfect reading/writing room look like?

It’s funny you should ask. I am currently redoing the home I live in. Even though it is a rental, I feel very much as if it were my forever home, and thanks to a special grant I have recently received due to being Multiply disabled, the owner and property manager have given me a free hand. My perfect reading/writing room is going to have soft comfortable furniture for lounging, so that when I have free time or I’m working on a book review for another author, I’ll have a relaxing place to sit and read. I am also going to put in a desk for writing which will have plenty of room for my computer, Bluetooth keyboard, and other writing implements. Of course, I’ll have a big dog bed because I have a big beautiful beast of a Labrador from The Seeing Eye and he will need a place to hang out while Mommy works. There are two wonderful windows in the room, and I’m going to put in new shades so that when the sun is shining and temperatures allow, they can be open wide to let in the light, and breezes that seem to always blow through. I’ll have a big rag rug on the floor and even a bean-bag chair. I’m excited to be designing this room, and cannot wait until my dog and I can hang out in there all the time.

Wow! I think it’s so cool that you get to design your perfect room now. Congratulations on the grant too! You’re winning Patty. What is the most annoying habit that you have?

I believe the most annoying habit I have is that I obsess about things. If I get something stuck in my head like a problem that has not been resolved, I cannot let it go until it is resolved in some way. This can affect my writing because if I have a passage of a book, or blog post that I’m working on and it doesn’t feel right to me I’ll work, and work on it until it does. Thus, leaving other tasks undone.

In your own words what is love?

Love is being able to give all of yourself to another, yet still retaining your individuality. It is knowing all there is to know about another and still being able to be with them no matter what. It is being able to dislike something they do, say, or are, and still being able to find room in your heart for them, and it should always be unconditional.

That’s beautiful Patty. I LOVE it. Favorite line: “Love is being able to give all of yourself to another, yet still retaining your individuality. You mentioned blogging, does blogging help you to write?

Yes, Blogging Helps me to write. When I discovered blogging I realized I had a way to connect with those who had read my first published book, Campbell’s Rambles: How a Seeing Eye Dog Retrieved My Life, in a whole new way. Recently I was interviewed for a podcast, and they asked me about my blogging. I told them I called it “Reality Blogging” because I didn’t necessarily plan my writing. I just wrote what happened as it happened.” I write what I see and do. I write what I feel. I write what others do to me, for me, and with me, and how that works or doesn’t work in my life. I use it to publish excerpts of things I’m working on. Someone asked me why I do that, and I said, “Because I can get feedback from the ones who are going to buy my books, and find out what they like, or dislike about it. It is my way of sharing who and what I am. It has helped me to grow in all ways as a person, thus it has helped me grow as an author as well.

Indeed. So, Patty, what’s your favorite food?

Well, that’s hard. I suppose there are many reasons that I was matched with a Labrador for a guide, because just like a Lab I’ll just about eat anything that won’t eat me. I suppose if I had to name a food I really love it would be fried shrimp. I could eat my weight’s worth of the stuff. Just give me a big mountain of Fried shrimp and a large cup of dipping sauce, along with a large jug of Micro-Brew and watch me go!

Nooo. Not Shrimp! Lol. Who is your favorite writer?

My favorite writer of all time is Stephen King. Not only do I love to be scared silly, but I find his books, such as, The Dark Tower Series, 11/22/63, The Bill Hodges Trilogy, The Talisman, Black House, and Joy land, have helped me learn things about myself in ways that nothing I have ever read before has done. I love how he writes notes to his, “Constant Reader” and although his books aren’t Nonfiction, they touch on reality in a unique way.

I loved King’s On Writing. If you could shadow your favorite artist who would it be?

This answer is the same as above. ‘Laughing’ 😊 Stephen King. It is my Dream to meet him. Sit and talk with him, and have him read my book.

Lol Hee hee. OK. Now, as you may know The PBS Blog loves music. What kind of music do you like?

I love Classic Rock! From the 50’s 70’s and 80’s as well as heavy metal. I was a teenager in the 80’s and got really into the Big Hair Bands.

OK, I see you. Heavy Metal. Lil wild there huh Patty? Lol. When did you publish your first book? What was that like?

I Self-Published my first book in 2014. It was a thrill like nothing I’ve ever experienced, and probably will never experience again. It had always been a dream of mine to do so, and when I was finally able to accomplish it I was never so happy or proud. Oh! Yeah! I was terrified, because I wrote about my life, and the people in it, but I had to. The story was just too good to keep to myself.

Nice. I love it that I’m meeting all these memoir writers! Ya’ll are gonna have to give me a lesson or two. Patty, I sense you have a good heart. Who is your best friend?

My very best friend in the whole wide world is King Campbell Lee Fletcher Super Seeing Eye Dog A.K.A Bubba. He goes everywhere with me, doesn’t care that I’m thin or fat. It doesn’t bother him that I am blind, and he is ever happy. He can lift me out of the muck of depression like no other. He keeps all my secrets, and listens no matter what I have to say, and he answers all my questions and never cares how many I ask. He is always there for me, and you remember how I said love should always be unconditional? Well, he’s got that down pat! There won’t ever be a friend like him in my world again after he’s gone. Even though I’m sure I’ll have more guides, he’s absolutely the best friend ever ever ever in my life.

Patty, I understand that you’re blind. Can you share with us some insight into how that impacts your writing? What is it like being a blind writer? What makes it special?

I guess I don’t think of it much. The most challenging thing I think for me as a Blind Writer are the different methods of Technology, and how compatible they’re going to be with my Operating System, and Screen Reader, or Iphone Voice-Over.

What makes it Special? Well, the telling a story in such a way so that the Sighted Reader gets a glimpse into the World of a Blind Person. I have been Complimented many times in Topic Specific Social Media Groups that unless a Specific Topic came up, most did not know, or if they did, had forgotten that I was Blind. This means I’m functioning as “Anyone else would.”

I simply love to write. I want everyone to feel as I feel, Hear as I hear, and experience with all my senses, and how they work.

A Reader came to me one day and taking my hand said, “I read your book! I loved it! I cried, laughed, got angry, and scared, all in the same moment.” I laughed, squeezing her hand and said, “Of course! A Bipolar wrote it” Turns out for her, my Blindness wasn’t the Amazing part, and if that is so, I really did my job! 😊

Ms. Fletcher paints a vivid picture of her experience in training for a guide dog under difficult personal circumstances. A must read for those contemplating the move from a cane to a guide dog, as well as those interested in the physical and mental obstacles faced by the blind. – Amazon Customer Review

That’s amazing. I hope you’re listening writers! Patty is blind and still writes books. You, my writer friends, have no excuse. 🙂 ….Patty, what do you think of the world we live in?

Right now, the world we live in, in my opinion needs a big kick in the ass. There is too much hate. Too much negativity, and entirely too much judgmental behavior going on. We need more love. More peace, and more acceptance, but as a whole, I know there are still lots of great people places, and things left and I want to find each and every one of them. Draw all them out, and help make the rest of the world a better, and brighter place to live.

Lol! I know that’s right *pumps fist* What is the most thought provoking book you ever read?

The most thought provoking book I’ve ever read has thus far been Wolves of the Calla Book Five of The Dark Tower Series. It helped me to define allot of fears I have wrestled with for many years in my life, and I was able to begin to address them, and overcome them after having read it.

Why is writing important to you?

Writing is important to me because it allows me to express my whole self. If I’m writing SF (Which I’m finally getting the nerve to do) I can allow myself to come out in my characters in ways I haven’t yet been able to do. If I’m writing about something that hurts me I can express it fully because if I’m writing about it, rather than speaking directly to another I can say all I have to say without being interrupted, scolded or made to feel small. It allows another to read my thoughts, digest them and then react. Some call this being non-confrontational. I don’t know? Maybe it is, but for me it is the best thing on earth.

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Patty, it was truly a pleasure. Thank you for spending time with us!


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Patty L. Fletcher lives in Kingsport, TN, where she is a nonprofit consultant, the creator of The Neighborhood News, and writes full time.

Her autobiographical book is Campbell’s Rambles: How a Seeing Eye Dog Retrieved My Life (C 2014). There, she tells how she obtained her first guide dog from The Seeing Eye® in Morristown, NJ: what motivated her, the extensive training she had, and the good friends she made.

For more details about her and her book, including where to purchase the book in e-book or print format go to: www.dvorkin.com/pattyfletcher/

To see her blog and newly updated website go to http://campbellsworld.wordpress.com/


Are you a new author? Looking for more exposure? Learn more about my Introduce Yourself Feature HERE.