Sheila Scarborough, Blogger & Mother
I’m a freelance writer, mostly about travel but I also blog for www.fastmachines.com about NHRA drag racing and I write occasional music concert preview articles for the entertainment section of the local newspaper. I like to use both sides of my brain.
My blog is hosted on the BootsnAll travel Web site and it is called Family Travel: See The World With Your Kids. I spend a ridiculous amount of time on it, considering that I’m not paid a dime even with Google ads (BootsnAll gets all that money, if there is any, and I really don’t care. I like posting on a site where I have a ready-made audience, and the Help Desk “Boot Boyz” have quickly fixed any technical glitches that I’ve had.)
In the morning I straggle out of bed and help my husband get our kids out the door (we have a teenager and a kindergartener.) Husband goes off for the day to be a high school math teacher and work a hell of a lot harder than me. When I waltz back into the house after they start school, the day has many hours and of course I’ll get everything done. I walk past my laptop, telling myself not to sit down until the house is a bit tidy and some household-related phone calls are made.
A big mug of coffee is poured, nice and strong, 3 sugar cubes and a good dollop of milk. One bed is made. The cat litter box is cleaned, maybe (we have 4 cats and they generate a lot of detritus.) The cup of coffee would be nice to drink while I check email; it’ll only be a minute. Ah, there’s a comment on an interesting subject that I’m tracking on ProBlogger.net; should go check it out. Look, here’s a contributor who might be interested in my blog; I’ll cruise their site and see if I can leave a relevant, non-spammy sort of comment with my name and my blog’s URL. Check my RSS feeds, just for a moment because I really must get to the breakfast dishes and a writing assignment from a magazine that is actually paying me.
Find four different articles and links from RSS feeds that might be good blog entries. Decide to fit them into an idea I have for a post about Italy. Get up from laptop and flip through about 15 boxes of family photographs (mostly organized but not perfectly) looking for that great picture of my kids in Italy that will go with the post. Find the pics with CD of hi-rez scan of photos on the film roll (this was before I went digital.) Load CD.
Coffee has gotten cold. Microwave it, shoving aside breakfast dishes. Decide that good feminists and creative artistes like me shouldn’t have to clutter our minds with lowly tasks like cleaning up bowls of floating dead Cheerios. Did Hemingway? Did Dorothy Parker? Return to laptop. Really MUST go to the bathroom first, so get back up and walk past one of the beds that needs to be made. There are cats looking comfortable on it so decide to make it later.
Return to laptop. Draft pretty good blog entry on options with kids in Italy, buff up photographs to go with post, double-check spelling and grammar, publish post. Go to my roster of search engine and directory ping services and ping any bot or computer who will listen. “Attenzione world, Sheila’s blog is updated, RUN, RUN to check it out and put it at the top of Technorati and Google!” I wonder if anyone out there gives a rip about taking kids to Italy, much less my thoughts on the matter.
Check NHRA drag racing schedule taped to wall above my desk to see dates of next race, which I will cover for a motorsports Web site. Confirm that upcoming race conflicts with son’s baseball game. Decide to have motherly priorities crisis about it later. Wish the ballfield had WiFi so I could research and post from there.
By now have either forgotten to eat breakfast or it’s already lunch or some combination thereof. Ignore stomach growl, need to lose weight anyway. Need a shower as well but want to run first so why shower now, will get all grungy from run (which I never take so am grungy AND unfit.) Need to eat before I run or will pass out. Would rather look at the rest of my RSS feeds and obsessively check my two work email boxes to see if editor at Magazine That Actually Pays has accepted my latest article query. No luck.
Surf over to Writer’s Market and my article submissions list to see when I’ve scheduled myself to send follow-up query to Magazine That Actually Pays. Not for two weeks. Rats. Don’t want to be what editors call a “stalker.” See news note at Writer’s Market that a magazine I’m interested in is looking for certain articles, which I happen to have in draft. Hurray! Pull up draft article and start thinking about a query email. Remember that I’m supposed to schedule one of the cats at the vet and take the car in to have squeaky belt checked. Promise myself to do cat after I see if my Unique Visitor stats on my blog have gone up in the last few hours. Am pleased to see that I’ve had a few more visitors. Decide it’s too late in the day to take the car in; will do it tomorrow.
Am really hungry, realize I never did eat lunch and it’s already 3:30 in the afternoon. House is a wreck. Jump up and clean breakfast dishes before family gets back home. Eat a banana with some peanut butter. Pour another coffee. Decide it’s too late in the day for the cat, too. Don’t worry, it’s not sick or anything, and they stay indoors so little chance of weird cat diseases. Go check email and blog stats again, look at RSS feeds in case there’s something new, never quite get dishwasher loaded, fiddle with draft query letter and look at ongoing discussions in three forums: travel writers, drag racing and BlogHers site of women who blog.
Daughter comes home from school, looks around and says, “Have you done ANYTHING all day besides sit at that dumb computer?”
She does not want to hear my Unique Visitor stats.
Matt Craven is the former editor & publisher of The Blog Herald. Currently, Matt is the co-founder of Bryghtpath LLC, a consulting practice located in Woodbury, Minnesota. Matt's presently looking for new blogging gigs. Ping him at matt (at) bryghtpath dot com. You can follow him on Twitter.