A Short Blogging Break


Turn off the laptop
The world waits beyond your screen
Honor life’s sweet flow

Last summer I wrote a post encouraging blogging breaks
(The Benefits of a Blogging Break).

I made a deal with myself that I’d take a week off every 3 months to relax, go outside, and reconnect with friends and family. Well… the last one was 6 months ago. Oops.

Deadlines are looming on the next two books, and it’s time for a little elbow grease! I’ll be offline for a week or so getting ahead of schedules, enjoying a little reading and a lot of sunshine (I hope).

Have a wonderful week. 🙂







The Benefits of a Blogging Break

Arches National Park, Utah – near my parents’ home.

I’m back from Colorado! Two weeks felt like a month, and though it was wonderful to be off-line, it feels good to be back.


Blogging Breaks seem to work miracles for me in avoiding burnout and reinvigorating my enthusiasm for this time-consuming endeavor. Seeking balance has been an ongoing challenge as my blog grows and worldwide friendships form with people I care about. It doesn’t help that there’s wonderful content all over blogland, too. It’s hard to look away.


A couple years ago, I tried taking weekends off from the blog, and it didn’t work. Notifications amassed, and I spent my Mondays staring at the laptop until my eyeballs shriveled. Days off due to other commitments had similar results – a constant stream of busy-ness of one type or another and days of playing catch-up. My writing time suffered, and my husband started looking like an abandoned puppy.


The question that frequently rambled through my head was, “How does anyone keep this up and not burn out?”


The answer to blog management, for me anyway, seems to be in taking longer breaks than one or two days. Dollie Freeman wrote a short article on the benefits of blogging breaks that rang true: “Avoid Blogger Burnout With Blogging Breaks.” I encourage you to read the full article, but here’s the gist of her advice:


  • Don’t work for your blog – let your blog work for you.
  • Don’t sacrifice your home life, health, and relationships for the next post, the next series, the next promotion, the next…
  • Schedule one week per quarter where you will NOT post anything on your blog. Write ahead and schedule if you’re inspired.
  • In addition to one week per quarter, Freeman gives herself 4 additional weeks of unplanned ‘floating’ time to catch up, get ahead, work on a new product or just soak in the things that make her life meaningful.
  • Stay grounded and humble. Although your readers are interested in your blog, they aren’t hanging on to your every word. They’ll survive without you.
  • Life is too short to live it in front of a screen.

Back to my break!

No major adventures to report. It was too hot to go outside except for some early morning weeding in the garden. I read some great books in lieu of naps and will post reviews over the next few weeks.


Due to the lack of excitement, these photos are all from my last trip when I visited my brother down the road in Utah.


I’m looking forward to visiting everyone. It’s going to take a few days to make the rounds, but I’ll be by.


Happy Solstice!

A Clueless Blogger gets a Clue

image from kelseyempfield.wordpress.com

image from kelseyempfield.wordpress.com

About 6 months ago, I was admittedly clueless about blogging and about social media in general. How clueless? Here’s that old post Confessions of a Clueless Blogger in which I fess up.

I won’t characterize myself as clueful now, though I’ve become much clueier. I’ve passed my 100th post, gathered over 300 followers, and will hit 10,000 views in the near future. I know this is probably a drop in the bucket for many bloggers, but for this writer it’s a freaking marvel!

Just to give you a peek at my past…(don’t laugh)…here are some old stats:

In 2012, my first FULL YEAR of blogging, I posted 11 times, had a total of 7 visitors, 1 like, 1 follower, and 0 comments.

Yep, a real success story! The stats for 2013 and 2014 improved, but at a pace only a slug’s mother could love.

The hilarious part is that I didn’t know this was bad. Even if I’d discovered there was a stats page, I wouldn’t have understood the significance. Ignorance is bliss, right? You don’t know what you don’t know, and I was truly clueless.

WordPress was new-fangled technology. After my daughter set it up, I was afraid to touch it. All the buttons looked dangerous. Any change threatened to blow the thing up and destroy my pitiful, pain-staking progress.

I didn’t know I was supposed to add images to posts, reply to comments, read other blogs, follow other blogs. I didn’t know social media etiquette and didn’t know anyone who did. I was a writer, a myopic hermit, Smeagol in his cave obsessing over his golden laptop. Honestly, I was that clueless.


image by mastercoaches.com

Then in late December 2014, the light bulb in my brain flicked on. The confused electrical synapses in my skull connected. It seems this is how I do life – skip happily along, whack my head on a branch, and then notice the trees. I patted my bruised head, forgave my failings and sucked in a brave breath, ready to tackle the learning curve.

Six months later, I’m still learning, still intimidated by technology, still afraid to click a few of the buttons, still writing and blogging, searching for time and balance. Still clueless now and then.

But, there’s one thing I’m not confused about…I’ve met wonderful people in this spirited journey. Talented, generous, fun people all around the world; souls full of wisdom and heart: writers, bloggers, artists, photographers, doodlers, teachers, poets, young, old, parents, travelers, wanderers, seekers, some who’ve led me to laughter, others to shared tears.

About the joy that comes from connecting with you, I’m not clueless at all. Thank you, my friends, for sharing yourselves and this blogging adventure with me. ❤

image by clipartpanda.com

image by clipartpanda.com

Careful what you wish for…You might just get it.

download (8)If you look back through my posts, you might notice an ongoing desire for balance in my life.

An admitted writing addict, there’s nothing more I like to do more than rise from bed at 4:00 in the morning, brew a cup of coffee, and relax back in my recliner, laptop across my knees. I can write for 12 hours straight without a break (except for that second hot cup).

image from taragallina.blogspot.com

image from taragallina.blogspot.com

In truth, I can write for 16 hours straight, oblivious to the passing time. I have no particular desire to eat, shower, cook, do housework, enjoy the sunshine, go to movies, or communicate with friends, family, or spouse. My husband comes home from work and I’m still in my pajamas. I haven’t moved. He thinks I’m in a coma.

image from lilaccu.deviantart.com

image from lilaccu.deviantart.com

In truth, I’ve been extraordinarily busy. I’ve had a tumultuous and exhausting day battling the soulless. I’ve lost loyal companions, my sword arm weighs a ton, the city is in flames, and the future of human civilization hinges on my next choice. I need to unearth the enemy’s fatal flaw before time runs dry and the world descends into chaos. With all this responsibility, who has time for laundry?

He rolls his eyes when I tell him I need a maid…and a cook.

Well, this real world of friends, family, and chores only has so much patience for my writing addiction. I know with utter certainty that I don’t want to wake up one morning and find that all I have left in my life resides inside my head. Therefore, the need for balance.

Careful what you wish for…you just might get it.

  • The Overlord

    The Overlord

    My daughter graced me with a grandchild. I now spend two full days a week with a drum-obsessed overlord. Almost-two-year-olds are more exhausting than the soulless (though much cuter).

  • Big energy is trying to run a mega pipeline through my little town’s drinking water supply. As a writer and advocate for my community’s viability, I’ve become an activist fighting the oppressive, polluting robber barons.
  • The overlord commented on the spider webs in my living room. You can always rely on a child for the painful truth. He says it’s “spooky.”
  • Over the past two years, the yard has morphed into a prehistoric jungle. I can’t see my patio. I have two months until the overlord’s second birthday party to get it into a less mortifying state.
  • I’ve started blogging and following blogs and making friends all over the world that I genuinely care about. Now, that’s a little too much fun and I can’t stop.
image from site.google.com

image from site.google.com

My initial reaction to the onset of balance was a troubling case of writing withdrawal: shakiness, irritability, insomnia, and hives. I found myself dropping things, burning dinner, taking naps, and – believe it or not – vacuuming. I had shameful relapses, like allowing the overlord to watch cartoons while I polish up some dialog on the laptop.

Five months later, I’m pleased to announce a gradual adjustment. The urge to write all day every day continues to invade my consciousness, but I’m working the program. A sense of balance is taking hold, and I’m settling into a new blend of busy-ness that makes room for more of the chaos and joys of life. The overlord and I have been spending more time at the park, building and smashing sand castles.

How do you maintain balance when the story calls? I’d love to hear your secrets.


Confessions of a Clueless Blogger

Map of the Internet

Map of the Internet

I’ve been posting for 3 years now, and most of you savvy bloggers might assume I learned a thing or two about this art and craft during that time. The wretched truth is, until recently, I floundered in a quagmire of cluelessness. I blogged for the sake of blogging, because someone (my publisher, probably) advised me it was mandatory. Every month, I dragged myself away from my latest writing endeavor to spend a full day laboring over a few hundred words that maybe someone would read.

Now, you have to understand that back in the olden days we had typewriters…yep. Computers existed, of course. They hummed in the secretive cellars of IBM and flashed on Captain Kirk’s console. Don’t get me wrong, there was life before cell phones, microchips, and social media, but it wasn’t wired. Social, in my day, was trespassing at the reservoir with a bonfire and keg on Saturday night and hoping the police didn’t break up the party and send us home.

Once I graduated from keg parties, I toiled in business where keeping up with technology was routine. I spent my waking hours on spreadsheets and typing with all ten fingers. After that, a switch to mental health counseling, followed by a decision to write, began a rather rapid descent into technological fossilization. The social media thing, when it reared its monstrous head, felt overwhelming. It didn’t come with instructions. I was supposed to learn it by osmosis without a teenager’s eye-rolling guidance.

robert-leighton-caveman-looking-at-a-chart-of-the-evolution-of-man-that-is-labeled-you-a-new-yorker-cartoonThen this great thing happened.

Nicholas Rossis, awesome blogger and author from the far side of the planet, read one of my books and reached out through social media.

Huh. Tiny synapses flickered in my primordial brain as I pondered this curious event. You mean…social media is supposed to be social? Yeesh. Took me long enough to figure that out.

Rossis offered advice on blogging and writing, as well as other features that intrigued me. Determined to climb the evolutionary ladder, I started following his blog (http://nicholasrossis.me/). This was a giant leap forward. Up until this point, I didn’t know how to follow blogs without provoking cryptic computer-generated warnings riddled with exclamation points.

Well, I clicked the button and nothing crashed. I dodged the chilling meltdown anticipated by the technologically primitive, and propelled by this remarkable feat, I started poking around. I discovered blogs that shared invaluable information and was swept up in the sublime words of immensely gifted writers. Who knew?

It’s been several months since my mini blogging enlightenment, and I still find the left-brain advice on how to market through social media somewhat overwhelming. I read it and tuck it away for later, content to just be me and offer you a peek inside my writing and my head.

But, I follow lots of blogs now.

I read your stories, pour over your advice, share your trepidation, laugh aloud, and hoot for your victories. I “like” often and comment when something strikes a chord. Who wouldn’t marvel at the talent out there in the blogosphere and want to be part of the vast, supportive community of writers, artists, and readers? Little by little, I’m making those connections. I found an island of solid ground in that quagmire of cluelessness, and I’m leaving a few muddy footprints behind me…finally.

Happy New Year!