Reading, Writing, ROW80, and Rest

First, the ROW80 Mid-week Check-in: So, I’ve written three times since Sunday, which is the right number of writing sessions for a one-session-a-day routine, but I didn’t write every day. I wrote twice on Monday and skipped Tuesday. I actually skipped Sunday, too, and then wrote early this morning. Although I’m not keeping a daily writing schedule, I am discovering lost bits of time for writing during the day, which will eventually help me to develop a daily writing routine. Or so runs my optimism.

I’ve even found some time to read for pleasure during the day. I’ve started Cheryl Strayed’s Wild about her 1995 solo hike on the Pacific Crest Trail. I’m about 70 pages in and so far I’m really enjoying it. What I should be doing is copyediting my friend’s novel which she asked me to do weeks ago, but that’s electronic and the kids don’t much like it when I sit in front of the computer. Even now I’m typing with a three-year-old climbing me like a jungle gym and trying to engage me in conversation with his stuffed dragon. Reading a paper book is just easier. That probably means I ought to print out her novel.

As an aside, my children are also really enjoying their reading. My daughter is devouring Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson books and Edward Eager’s Half Magic series, and still finds time to read books from her parents’ book shelf. She took Dr. Sears’ The Baby Book to an all-day Girl Scout function on Saturday, continues to plan to increase the food-production possibilities of our yard by reading John Jeavons’ How to Grow More Vegetables, and yesterday I found her curled up with her father’s vertebrate zoology text from college. I asked her about that second one, wondering what she was getting out of it. She said that she saw a picture of a tadpole-like creature whose home was some kind of mucus-filled sac, and she couldn’t figure out how that creature was a vertebrate. Which led to a brief discussion about backbones.

And my son! Not only has he started demanding audiobooks instead of Sesame Street videos, my son this morning sounded out to himself—on his own—the word “ham”! Sure, he already knew what it said because it was on the cover of one of his favorite books (Green Eggs and Ham), but still! He looked at the cover and sounded out, “H! AA! MMM! HAM!” I think I’ll start him on one of my English literature anthologies next. I can hear it now: “Mommy! This says ‘William Black’!”

“No, sweetie…that says ‘William Blake.’ The e at the end makes the a say its own name.”

All this and I’m still holding to my commitment to sleeping. I found that I couldn’t go to bed at 7pm two nights in a row, so I had to modify that plan a little, but I’m confident it will eventually work itself into a reasonable schedule if I keep focussed on a healthy amount of sleep.

One might ask, how is it I’m finding time to read books and to write and also to sleep? Did I stow my kids somewhere? Decide to adopt a laissez-faire approach to homeschooling? Nope.

I gave up Twitter.

I never really understood Twitter anyway, and I was finding that the conversations and connections my friend cited as benefits when she convinced me to join just weren’t happening. On the contrary, I found that people were able to be remarkably rude, hurtful, and judgmental in just 140 characters. Rather than swim about in the cesspool, I chose to hoist myself out of the muck, dry myself off, and re-enter the off-line world.

So, without a Facebook profile (and its attendant news feed) and without Twitter and with ample amounts of sleep, I’m carrying on fairly well.

9 Replies to “Reading, Writing, ROW80, and Rest”

  1. I’m so impressed that you’re instilling the love of reading in your children. I tried by reading aloud to them after dinner every night, but they would both rather play computer games.

    Great work getting your writing done! Keep it up.


  2. If I stopped using social media I’d probably end up crying. I’m connected to even my local friends through it. We announce yummy foods to each other over Twitter and then poof, we’re together eating. I don’t think it helps me as much as it used to, in a professional sense, but it still has moments. But it seems to be the best choice for you. Not everyone walks the same path nor does the same thing work for everyone. Rock your own path!

    Regarding kids: The first week or two of summer I usually tell my kids, “The only reason I get things done is because you two are in school.” And then I beg and bribe and eventually I get stuff done (around week 4). But I think reading time was probably the most wonderful part of the day for all of us. Your daughter sounds like a very interested and curious girl. And your son sounds like a little genius. You have lots to be proud of.


    1. The example you gave of how you and your friends use Twitter makes it so it passes Villegas’ first test question: the technology in this case serves the relationship rather than the relationship serving the technology. That was how my friends in my old home state used Facebook, but since we’ve moved across the country, social media has been more of an escape and a substitute for in-person connections than it has enhanced those connections. My Facebook news feed and my Twitter feed became a burden to me. At best, they served to remind me how far away the people are who I used to see and connect with in-person daily. At worst, they left me feeling discouraged with humanity. Although I did really enjoy following Sandra Boynton and Honest Toddler.


  3. I’m a moderate Twitter user, but I can understand why you’d give it up. Other than a few writing things, it’s not as useful to me as I thought it would be. Blogging seems to be doing it better. Besides, how much can you learn from each other with 140 character limits? Twitter is only headlines, blogging is the full story. Also a lot of the peeps on their are really only interested in spamming their books. But I do like it for #wordmongering and #myWANA, so that’s why I hold on. But Row80 has much of the same benefits, so I think you’re fine.


    1. I have had a couple of positive exchanges via Twitter. I learned about Cheryl Strayed’s book, learned that I could stream video of the presidential elections live, and I have one friend who really only stays in touch via Twitter now. But mostly it was just a negative in my life. I do worry a bit that I’m setting the stage to miss out on future innovations in social media, but I totally missed MySpace and am none the worse for wear, I think. I like this: “Twitter is only headlines, blogging is the full story.” I do have some doubts about the significance of blogging in the grand scheme of things, too, but I connect with blogging more than I do with Twitter.


      1. Blogging is your networking key. And here’s the other thing. I attended a writers’ conference in NY with a load of NY agents and at one forum one woman said, do make sure to have a way to contact you available in case an agent stumbles on something you did and wants to connect with you privately. Plus if they see you have a blog with a decent following and good content that may impress them more AND they can get a sense of who you are from it. Bottom line they said they do Google your name. Better, I think, if you have a nice blog for them to feel all comfortable at. It’s also important to keep your digital brand nice and shiny for them either way.


      2. That’s probably a decent argument for blogging under the name I use in real life rather than my defunct childhood nickname (or perhaps starting to go by that defunct nickname, at least with my writing). Something to mull over. Thanks!


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