The First Rule of Blogging.

The first rule of blogging is to keep a regular posting schedule.


Rules are overrated.

I am sorry for dropping out of the blogging game at random, unannounced moments, for those of you who actually read this. I hit a slump a few weeks ago and haven’t quite managed to make myself functional again yet.

It’s not really a mystery why I hit a slump. I looked at the calendar and said, “It’s September. Time to start teaching again,” and I called up my old job and asked if I could come back. Just like that. I didn’t really think about it. I didn’t even pray about it. I certainly didn’t discuss it with my husband. It was like some kind of automated shame reflex. “I haven’t been miserable for a year, so I haven’t earned my existence.”

And I was really, really hoping that my coordinator would say, “Oh, I’m sorry, the funding has been cut for that program, we don’t have enough work to take you back.” But they didn’t. It’s kind of a curse to be really good at something you really hate. Cuz people keep asking you to do it. They said, “Oh, thank GOD, we were going to call you this week anyway to see if you would consider coming back. How many classes can you take?” It’s so hard to walk away from a place where you’re so needed and appreciated, even if you hate yourself for selling out.

And I haven’t done a single creative thing since. Well, I painted a picture on my last sabbath. Of a tiny boat in a storm. Here:


Here’s how I feel about teaching:

I hate teaching.

I hate teaching.

I hate teaching. I hate teaching.I hate teaching.I hate teaching.I hate teaching.I hate teaching.I hate teaching.I hate teaching.I hate teaching.I hate teaching.I hate teaching.I hate teaching.I hate teaching.I hate teaching.I hate teaching.I hate teaching.I hate teaching.I hate teaching.I hate teaching.I hate teaching.I hate teaching.I hate teaching.I hate teaching.I hate teaching.

And the thing is, I actually have a perfectly viable plan for making a living in a way that doesn’t involve teaching. I lost some steam when we had to go to Taipei, and when we came back, instead of building up steam again, I let inertia take over and then my reflex kicked in and I called my old job, and here we are, in full shame spiral.

Examples. Here are some things I was planning to blog about:

1. The end of the Fundiementals series – my favorite topics, too, on authenticity and vulnerability.

2. Anniversary posts – lots of gooey reminiscing about B’s and my wedding last year, as well as reflections on married life and maybe a delirious ode or two. Like, that was pretty much going to be the whole month.

3. More Bible reflections.

4. Thoughts on Taipei, family, the Canfield Fair, travel.

5. Post on mindfulness.

Here is what I have actually been spending my time on:

1. Facebook.

2. Twitter.

3. YouTube.

4. How I Met Your Mother.

5 Project Runway.

6. Analyzing Miley Cyrus. (On Facebook).

WTF? Why am I a special kind of crazy? That’s all for now. Sheesh.



Filed under personal

8 responses to “The First Rule of Blogging.

  1. i understand the shame reflex all too well. i went after jobs where even at the interview, when i said with my Company Face, “that sounds SO interesting!” i really meant, “i would rather pull my nosehairs repeatedly.” but the shame reflex is not ALL bad, i think, or says my immigrant upbringing – most ppl have to work no matter what – too luxurious to opt out. but then again, when you say you hate hate hate hate hate it yet you called them almost like reflex, that sounds devastating (yet i get it. i’ve hate hate hated jobs, then i felt i had to sign up for another one just like it). more to say but can’t get into it right now. also, re blogging rules. i don’t really know the rules yet (where are they?) but one blogger told me that posts need to be short, like 700 words or else TLDR. as i stated in my FB, when she first said that, i was just distracted, trying to figure out what the acronym meant, “‘Til Later Dominican Republic?” but it actually means, “Too Long Didn’t Read” in case you didn’t know either. but i cannot tell anything meaningful in such a short post so oh well, TLDR me. back to something else you said…i dunno how to strike a balance re Always Striving and Being Able to Relax. how can i practice mindfulness when needs of my little ones have to be met ’round the clock? being able to relax without feeling guilty about it (looking at messy apt and to-do-lists)…gotta go reboil my hot water!

    • Here’s the thing – I don’t think that working no matter what is necessarily a bad thing. I have always been sort of perversely proud that I spent a lot of high school hours scrubbing toilets and mopping floors for my dad’s janitorial company. I’ve been a short-order cook, a library assistant, a receptionist, a hostess in Times Square, and a clerk at Barnes and Noble, and I’ve never had a problem with just working to stay independent and productive. When I was barely eeking a living above poverty (doing that same teaching job), I wasn’t confused or shameful about what I had to do. Survival was necessary, and it was the least painful option of many painful options, but teaching was definitely a pursuit of desperation. It was the most lucrative thing I was qualified to do, even if the stress was making me sick. However, being in a new situation, which is ridiculously privileged and I understand this is an Upper Class First World Problem, I feel like continuing to make the same desperation choices when I’m no longer desperate is just bad stewardship. But I don’t have any developed trust in the idea that it’s okay if I invest time in something that doesn’t make steady money immediately (because all start-ups take some time). Like the prisoner who’s unchained, takes a walk in the light for a day, and then runs back and chains himself up again because it’s what he’s used to. While he was chained, all his chained actions make sense, and there’s no shame in that, but when you’re not chained anymore, it’s just stupid.

      And dude, I don’t know the blogging rules really either, and most people seem to disagree, but the one thing they all agree on is that you should have a regular schedule so that people know when to come back and check for new pieces. The best way to do that I think is to write the pieces ahead, so you have some wiggle room if you fall behind a little, and just auto-schedule them or whatever if you know you’re not going to be around to hit “publish” when it’s supposed to go out. As for TLDR, I don’t worry about it. I like long-form blogging, and I’m okay with having a smaller audience. Whatever.

      Re: striving/relaxing, I’ve never been a mother of two, so I don’t know that this suggestion will be useful/applicable, but doing Daily Offices saved my sanity during my worst teaching years. Every time I had 5 minutes (occasionally I would put the whole class in timeout for five minutes to create the 5 minutes), I would take out my little folded paper with like 3 verses on it, and I used the same verses every time, and it would calm me down and I’d be peaceful and able to re-engage. And also, I find that when I take time to center, I’m actually much more productive in whatever time I have left (my productivity improved by probably at least 50% when I started observing full sabbaths).

  2. p.s. i would love to read your reflections on marriage. i have lots right now but so very personal and so many other things i wanted to write about, didn’t, and probably lost.

  3. Stephen River Smith

    First rule of blogging? Since last reading you, you’ve had enough time to cover rules 2 through 20…in detail…at great length. :o)
    Under the circumstances, being a new reader of your blog, I have no way to get my bearings on you, the writer, without going back and reading blogs from days of yore. So, I have. And here’s what Yore has given me:
    There are more than ONE of you.
    You are both (?) alike in some ways, far different in others.
    You are both (?) having issues, leading to a meaningful yet frustrating lull in your writing, something we can all understand, especially on Mondays.
    And last of all, I shall attempt to prime (both?) your pumps with one last comment, thoroughly thought out, entirely well-meaning and authentically MINE.
    “Who are you really, and where have you gone?”

    • Stephen River Smith! Oh, how I’ve missed our talks. 😉 I’m sorry, personally sorry, for disappearing for so long. The deep slump lasted for a few more weeks, and then as soon as the slump lifted, I was deluged with work stuff, family stuff, creative stuff, figuring out Obamacare, etc. Harder to get back into the swing of things when you’ve been out of it for a while. I’m coming back. Hopefully in December when NaNoWriMo is over.

      Also, I think it’s kinda intriguing that you think there’s more than one of me. There’s only one, I promise, although I’d be interested to know what particularly made you think I was two people. Mental health issues kind of run in the family, and I’ve always wondered if I was maybe mildly, slow-cycle bipolar or something. In a clinical sense, it would be interesting to know which posts you think are so different in tone that they appear to constitute a wholly separate personality. I could map that against what was going on in the background of my life and see if any patterns emerge. No biggie if you don’t feel like it. Goodness knows I haven’t been feeling like analytical writing any time recently. 😉

  4. Stephen River Smith

    Well…as embarrassing as this it to admit, I confess to some slippage (love that word) in my cerebral cortex, somewhere in the prefrontal area, possibly very near that region known to handle up to ten memory items at a time, where if one attempts to retain even one or two more than that, the middle of the pack is lost? You ARE following this, of course? It was during this FairyBear exercise (attempting to identify the writer or writers of said blog), when all hell broke loose. She has children…NO, she does NOT have children…well, maybe…from a previous marriage? I somehow became lost in a swirling vortex of misinformation, my visuospatial “sketch pad” gone horribly amuck, until, as you can see from my previous entry, I landed on the only reasonable answer for those of us wandering around in space- “there are TWO of her.” I sincerely regret opening up your family’s can of earthworms, wiggly as they seem to be to you, and, with all my heart, hope that you can overlook my poorly-timed “slippage.” it was the unintended result of too much time on my hands, the warmth of the afternoon sun, and assorted other excuses–most of which I have forgotten, since there were thirteen of them!

    • Lol. There’s no need to apologize, I’m flattered you would spend so much time invested in the blog that you got confused about the details. And you haven’t opened any worm cans that weren’t already open. Mental illness is treated as a sort of casual fact in my family. It comes in varying degrees and permutations, but there aren’t any deep dark secrets. I myself was diagnosed with depression in undergrad (junior year) and panic disorder, also in undergrad (senior year). The depression lifted, but the panic attacks have remained my frequent uninvited companions over the years. Also, I do NOT have any children of my own (yet), but I could see how a look-see through the blog as a whole might give one that impression, as I refer frequently to my students as “my kids,” and I also have a plethora of kids around me from family and friends, so they show up in stories a lot. But none of them are mine in the traditional sense. Up to 40,000 words on NaNoWriMo! Woohoo! Hope to see you in December!

  5. Stephen River Smith

    Too much tongue-in-cheek for my part. Didn’t see Your honesty and openness regarding your family and yourself for what it was. My apology…really. Look forward to “seeing” you in December. Still consider my tripping on your blog as a rare and wonderful accident. Later. 🙂

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