Monday, January 21, 2013

Moving Forward


I'm back... remember me?
Two weeks in Florida was the perfect way to begin 2013. Most of our time was spent in Sanibel, but we also visited The Everglades and Key West. I went for long walks on the beach, biked all over the island, and, of course, read a few books.

The trip was remarkable in many ways. First and foremost, it was the first time my husband has ever taken two consecutive weeks of vacation... and we have been married since 1985! It was also a family vacation without Daughter #1, who stayed behind in Manhattan for a new career opportunity. Further changes in family dynamics occurred when Twin A's boyfriend (an outstanding young man) joined us for the second week. Finally, we stayed at my father-in-law's condo as he prepares to move to a retirement community.

Given all of that, it sure feels like we are heading into a new phase of life.... and perhaps it's time for a new phase of blogging, too. Lakeside Musing has been around for four and a half years, and I don't know what 2013 has in store. In the past several weeks, I've learned of the demise of some favorite blogs - including one that inspired me to begin blogging, and another written by one of my first blogging friends. I've had plenty of time to think about how blogging should fit into my life (and I do want it to fit into my life), but with so many commitments, something has to give. Should it be reading, blogging, visiting other blogs, or commenting?

I have identified my primary blogging goal for 2013:
Read more; spend less time on the computer.

And have a few ideas on how to make it a reality:
Write shorter reviews. I enjoy writing Monday Mention posts and will adjust my review format to reflect this.

Rethink comment strategy. Several bloggers respond to comments via email instead of on their blogs and I'm considering this, too. I also wonder if I really need to respond to every comment. Any feedback would be very welcome. As far as commenting on other blogs, I simply cannot comment on all the posts I'd like. I will leave fewer comments and try not to feel guilty about it.

Change up my routine. I'd like to read in the morning and visit blogs later in the day. Who knows, I may even try scheduling posts!

I still have plenty of books to review, Christmas books to share, thoughts on my new kindle paperwhite, and a few photos from the trip. (Yes, we visited The Hemingway Home.)

It's time to get back to blogging. I've missed you all!


28 comments:

  1. Just popping up to say that Darlene is still blogging but at a new venue - http://cosybooks.blogspot.co.uk. I'm glad you're not disappearing for good only shifting your focus, I don't comment much but I do enjoy dipping into your posts. :)

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  2. We missed you too! :)
    I really admire the people who respond to every comment (am definitely not one of them), but can I just say that I've thought that one thing about commenting has always perplexed me? If I leave a comment on someone's blog, it seems odd that I need to go back to their blog to see their response. I like it much more when someone repays a visit (like in Edith Wharton!!) by leaving their calling card at my metaphorical door. I've almost schooled myself to stop commenting on blogs whose writers have never returned the visit. It's nice to be able to ask a question and get an answer, but other than that, while it's lovely to have a comment acknowledged, I'd rather have a visit, if I had to choose one or the other. (And I'm mystified by the comment by email thing. We have to enter our emails to leave a comment, but I don't see the emails of the people who comment on my posts. Or do I? Is that not a Blogger thing?) Anyway, this is a much-too-long-winded comment (sorry) -- my vote is "Read more; spend less time on the computer" {me, too! me too!}, and as for what to give up, I can only say reading {of course not}, blogging {please, please not}, visiting other blogs {please not}, or commenting {thank you, but sure}. :)

    And so happy to tell you that Darlene hasn't given up - only moved!

    http://cosybooks.blogspot.com/

    Too funny - I thought I was reading a lovely new blog, but the reality was even nicer!!

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  3. So glad to see you post JoAnn and it sounds like your family had the much needed vacation they deserved.

    Like you I have been rethinking the whole time spent blogging saga (it's been 4.5 years for me). I was sad to see some of my favorite blogs close shop recently, but yet I understand the demand and self-imposed pressure we sometimes put on ourselves.

    In 2013, I plan to post when I can, visit when I can and comment when I have something to say. I hope other bloggers understand and hang in there and still visit, but if I lose some followers, I totally understand.

    Have a good week.

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  4. Welcome back - it sounds like you have a lovely break. I'm only about 50 miles from the Texas Gulf Coast beaches, and every year I resolve to spend more time down there - even just a day now & then.

    I've enjoyed your Monday mentions and I've been mulling over shorter, more frequent reviews myself. Commenting is always interesting. I agree with Audrey above, that I enjoy return visits from time to time - and also that I'm not sure how to respond to comments by email. I'll have to check that out.

    I look forward to your posts, whenever & however they come!

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  5. I reply by email, but the reply also posts to my blog when I select "reply all". I believe that worked for me in Blogger too when I was using blogger.

    I understand the need to reevaluate blogging. I work full time and my kids are very active but blogging sort of holds me accountable. I blog to remember what I read first and foremost but the interaction is a bonus that I've come to reply on. So for me, I post when I want to and that's it. No schedule. It's taken the pressure off.

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  6. I have really cut back on my computer time and although it seems I am doing as much, I pick and choose when I poke around, visit blogs, write posts, etc. I do pre-schedule a lot now so that a lot of the pressure is off in terms of blog content. As for commenting, I am not the best and tend to go in spurts but since that works best for me, that't the way I'm going to handle it. Because of this though, I don't often (ever?) see the response to my comments on someone else's blog so I wouldn't sweat that all that much myself. All in all, you have to do what makes you happy and sane. :-)

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  7. Welcome back - sounds like the perfect vacation. I've been reevaluating too - last year I said I'd cut back on reviewing because I always end up under pressure and it didn't really happen so trying again - short and sweet in future unless I really want to write more.

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  8. That photo is gorgeous! I'm glad you've had a great time in Florida. I know, we live in different worlds. So, I can only get a glimpse of yours and admire. How? Only through your blog. So, whatever you decide, hopefully it's just renovations and not a close down. This is the only place we can share, pulling us closer despite geographical distances. And did you come back in time for E3 of Downton? A great show last night, don't you think? ;)

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  9. So glad to see you back! Florida must have been lovely. As for blogging, I try and keep my posts short and simple and frequent. I also like to respond to comments as they come up right there on my blog to keep up a sense of conversation. I try to reciprocate visits, too. It's been working pretty well so far but I do make tweaks and changes here and there as needed.

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  10. It sounds like you had the perfect vacation, one in which you rested physically and mentally. It helped you think through what you want to happen with your blogging life. Good for you. I suspect many of us are thinking about this. I'm so sorry to see so many blogging friends checking out, but I do understand why they are leaving. I'm re-evaluating my blogging life too. I'm not going to quit but I am slowing down.

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  11. Welcome back!! It sounds like you had an amazing vacation. I'm still sad that we had to cancel our Sanibel trip a few years ago (thank you, Mother Nature!) and hope we get there someday. I can't remember the last time my husband took two weeks off all at once! We have a few trips on the calendar, but they all tend to be for 4-5 days. (Oh! How could I forget! We took a 2-week "cruise" on my dad's boat, though the San Juan Islands back in 2007. Wish we could do it again!).

    I understand exactly what you're going through with the changes in your blog. I'm glad I found a compromise to my original decision to hang it all up. I don't fret about lengthy reviews and only respond to comments that seem to need a response. I thought about doing the whole email reply thing, but then I figured it wouldn't be any different than responding on the blog. I think people understand that there's no need for us to reply to "Oh! I loved this book!" or "I can't wait to read this!" You'll figure it out, but I'm very happy you've decided to stick around. I miss Nan and Kay... :(

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  12. Welcome back! I have the same reading goal that you do too. I've found reading in the morning to be a great way to get my day off to a good start.

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  13. What a lovely lovely trip JoAnn!! I know several people who vacation regularly at Sanibel...thinking that one day I need to see what all the fuss is about. ;)

    I've struggled with this as well JoAnn and it's been sad to see so many oldtime bloggers call it quits in the past year (though I was thrilled with Les came back and said "just kidding!"). I cannot imagine my life without blogging but I also know that I can't keep up like I once did and I canNOT hold on to guilt over leaving comments, posting regularly, responding to comments, etc. I do try to respond to comments by email but even that gets overwhelming sometimes (and you'd be shocked at how many people don't have email linked to their profiles). (and that compulsion to respond to comments doesn't go away...! I just don't have all the guilt attached)

    I hope you're able to find a balance that works for you. Mostly I'm just glad you'll be around in some form and fashion. ;)

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    1. It made my day when I saw Les pop up in my google reader again, too! One of the reasons I want to keep things going is that I would HATE to lose touch with all my blogging buddies :)

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    2. You guys are too kind. But I agree...I would hate to lose touch with all my online friends!

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  14. Sounds like you had a great trip with plenty of time to think! It's interesting that so many bloggers seem to be suffering burnout at the same time. It seems like it's become too much work for so many of us. I'm constantly working to try to make it more fun and less work. I only respond to comments in email but sometimes I don't even do that; I often just use the comment as incentive to visit the blog unless there's a question of something I definitely want to respond to. I'm huge on scheduling reviews. I take advantage of the time that I have to write as many as I can.

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  15. Glad you had a wonderful trip. This Spring will be the first trip my hubby and I take without kids since the youngest moved out in Sept. Do whatever works for you to keep blogging if that is your desire!!

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  16. Definitely try scheduling posts! I love that I can write several posts at once and not have to worry about it going up. This way, blogging doesn't feel like a daily chore. Also, I echo the comments already made here: there's no need to respond to each and every one of us, particularly if this taking the fun out of blogging for you!

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  17. Late to the party! The biggest change I made in 2012 was commenting less. At first I felt both better and worse: better because I seemed to have found more time and worse because my blogging friends didn't know I was still reading their blogs. But in the end, I went for selfish. I still read or at least look at all the blogs in my reader, but now I comment only occasionally and and look a blogs at different times during the day. It was huge stress reliever once I got over the guilt.

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  18. Glad that you will be be blogging...I would miss your beautiful and thoughtful reviews!!! Key West sounds lovely right about now with the sub-zero temps!!!

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  19. I am very, very touched that you mentioned me in this way. I had no idea I had inspired you. Thank you.
    I miss the contacts, but I don't miss the writing, the thinking about writing, the time spent on the little details. I really do feel I've said most everything I have to say. Let's see, I'm looking through seed catalogues these days. I'm feeding birds and deer. I'm reading. I'm more relaxed in some ways, but less 'connected' in others. For me, if I was going to blog, I was going to answer each comment left on the blog. I feel this is the essence of it - the communicating. And then of course that meant visiting other blogs, and leaving notes there. I had to get off. I was spending hours here, and it seemed like my life was racing by - my life away from this dear computer. So, for me it was the right decision. I have just begun, after more than a month, to visit my old friends. I think I can manage that, and still live my life.

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    1. Nan - I'm so glad your decision has turned out to be the right one! After being away for a couple of weeks, I'm finally catching up on emails and blogs. Before I began blogging, I was reading several (you and Les among them) and felt like I needed to have a blog of my own in order to comment. So I mostly started blogging to chat! It seems strange to start backing away from comments now. I wish you all the best and hope to see you around from time to time :-)

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  20. Happy to hear you had such a wonderful vacation and came to some conclusions about your blog. I know what a hard decision it is to make about quitting or just cutting back. I've only posted a couple of things since I "shut down" (ha ha) but leaving myself the option of posting a Saturday snapshot and I'm fine with that. I still look at my reader and read only those blogs I want to not feel I need to, if that even makes sense. Less computer time is my goal and it feels good.

    I don't think you need to respond to every comment. I liked responding to comments by e mail but then added the option of commenting on the blog. It is weird though that someone has to come back to see if you commented on their comment. Makes twice the time on the computer. Sort of defeats the purpose.
    OK, enough of this longwinded rant. Glad you're back! :-)

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  21. I love to get replies to my comments. It makes me feel more part of a conversation. For that reason I try to say something original or compelling to make it easier for the blogger to think of something to say back to me. I find it really hard myself to find a response to comments like "I liked this book" or "This looks good to me".

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    1. Thomas - I love replies to my comments, too! These 'conversations' really are the best part of blogging. Post writing seems like so much work, unless I'm really in a writing mood. Unfortunately, that happens so infrequently these days...

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  22. Yay, you're back! Yes, I see that you've been back for a while but the news is new to me :) Sustaining a blog over so many years is hard work. Only made worth it by the people you meet. Thank you for not closing up shop - I would miss you!!!
    Gage has kept me from blogging and commenting as much as I'd like, but that means I appreciate the ones who stick around that much more :)

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Thank you for taking the time to comment. These conversations are my favorite part of blogging. Please check back, I almost always respond to comments!

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