Sunday, August 05, 2007

MBS Spanko Brunch #81

It's good to be back. I hope you're all enjoying a restful weekend. I feel pretty pathetic in needing to recover from vacation, but that's where I am!

This week's topic was suggested by a blogger friend. It deals with blogging and how this activity fits into our lives. Many of us invest a great deal of time in our blogs and in supporting the larger community. Occasionally, it can feel like too much. Since we can't get more hours (Believe me, I've tried!), we must strive to use the time we can devote more efficiently.

Have you any techniques you use to save time or be more productive when reading or writing blogs? What advice can you offer in terms of time management, setting priorities, and finding the right mix?

If you would like to contribute to our brunch discussion, I invite you to leave a comment below, send me an e-mail, or post a response on your own blog. Regardless of the medium, I would love to hear what you think.


thisgirl said...

For reading i use a feed reader there are so many, and then just comment on ones that i have something to say on. I've found it easier to keep up with people since doing this, & not difficult to set up.
For writing, well for me the main thing is to not feel like i 'have' to write, i dont try and think of something to write every day. Just when something is on my mind and then it seems to flow. I suppose i try and write it as though I am talking to him, and also as though I am processing my own thoughts too. As i'm a random blogger I suppose i dont have time management priorities or anything like that, i just do it when i feel i have something to say and have the time to say it and words in my head to express it :)

Paul said...

Bonnie, I also use a feeder, I try not to comment on too many blogs. I have a favourites list which I visit daily. People who post rarely or erratically I visit once a week.
And I still spend to much time at my computer. *G*
Warm hugs,

Paige Tyler said...

I have a set list of blogs I visit, both spanking and other erotic romance writers. I usually do a quick check on them in the morning before I start working on whatever book I'm currently working.

As for updating my blog, I also do that in the morning before I start writing.

Paige (Tigger)

Hermione said...

I don't have a blog so cannot offer any advice, but I can tell you are extremely conscientious in all aspects of your blog, and it shows! Yours happens to be the first blog I ever visited, and it still remains my favourite. Keep up the excellent work!
I also use a feed to let me know when blogs have posted new material, but visit my favourites each day.
And I also usually need to rest up after a vacation, usually when i return to work.

Mary said...

All I have to offer is that I admire how prolific some bloggers are - I have such limieted time and so I visit only two regularly. (MBS being one) If time allows me to go exploring - I link off of my two faves and see what I can discover. There are about three others that I link to from my faves that I will seek out first - but I may only go visit once or twice a month. If I particularly enjoyed something I see then I will comment on those blogs as well. (Often mentioning that I found them through MBS or Journey.)

Anonymous said...

I have a non-spanking-related blog and I only update when the news is something that I would have to call all of my friends/family about. Saves everyone a lot of time by being able to just read the news when it's convinient for them. Saves me a ton of time by only having to say it once.

For the blogs I read, I open several windows at once so I can read the ones that have already loaded while I'm waiting for others to load. Some that are infrequently updated I'll only check once a month, instead of every week.

Purple Angel said...

Hi Bonnie,
I have to budget my time. I have two blogs, one spanking group, and I am a director for a consortium of 25 groups(totally vanilla on a variety of subjects). I am also a writer with deadlines to meet.

My vanilla blog I finally decided did not need a daily entry. There was no way I could do it on a daily basis. However, I do try to blog there at least every other week. I use that blog to post poetry and short stories related to my thoughts, beliefs, and other events in my life.

My spanking blog is new and my intention is to blog there every day. I found that otherwise I was sort of blogging on my Yahoo spanking group and that isn't the place for blogs.

I make sure I visit each group twice each day. Beyond that I respond to posts as I am able. I usually set a time limit and then the other posts have to wait.

My writing deadlines take precedence and if I don't meet them I can expect serious spanking consequences. I also can expect those consequences if I am on the groups after midnight.

The biggest help in time management is setting specific amounts of time each day and then really sticking to them. I also had to prioritize which writing activities came first. This is crucial because I also want to have a life beyond writing.

Purple Angel

D said...

For updating my blog I find it best to write the ideas down as I have them, so at any one time I have many entries in draft form. I find if I don't do this I forget the idea and it's gone forever!

For reading blogs I do it the hard way, I have a folder in Firefox with my favourite blogs listed, and I open them in tabs with a single click. I never have got into RSS but really I should, so do i say not as I do

LynLass said...

I am way new at blogging; I'm currently aiming for posting twice a week. I have several things that I want to post in time; currently they are in draft form while I figure out exactly what I want to say.

Jujubees said...

I have a blog. I am not much of a blogger, but here goes: I update my blog whenever I feel like it and I write whatever I feel like writing. Most of the time I don't cater to other people unless I feel like doing so. Sometimes I answer questions or respond to feedback by posting more of what a commenter has mentioned they enjoy, such as a type of story. Someone told me they liked pictures and illustrations with my entries, so I have done that to cater to them, but I enjoy doing it. I figure if one person likes something ususally others do too. For the most part I do my own thing. There are enough blogs out there that I figure if someone likes my blog they will stay with it, if not, there is probably something else they would enjoy more. I don't write my blog for commercial or promotional purposes, it is a personal blog and reflective of me and my life. I try to keep that in mind when I write it.

When I am feeling the writing bug strongly, I sometimes write several entries in one day and post them over the course of the following week. My biggest challenge is when I don't feel like writing anything, which tends to happen all too frequently. It usually goes away in a few days, but I try to stockpile entries for when that happens. I haven't been successful at doing that very often. I also brainstorm sometimes and keep a list of ideas that I want to write about in the future to help sometimes when I'm not feeling particularly inspired. Sometimes I can write very well and the words flow out, sometimes not (like today). Sometimes I ask the people reading what they want me to write about. I try to make my blog something I enjoy so I don't get tired of doing it. I started the blog for my friends to read, but I have been fortunate enough to meet many other friends through my blog, which has been very rewarding.

As for reading other blogs, I have some I check frequently and some not so frequently. It varies depending on my mood and the time I have to read blogs, which isn't much. I like to look at the blogs in their original context, so I don't use a blog reading program. There is only one blog I check daily, but I'd rather not say which one it is.

Wow this is long, sorry about that!

Bonnie said...

I will be the first to admit that I often fail to make efficient use of my blogging time. I do a little of this and a little of that based upon what tickles my fancy at the moment. In contrast, my working life is very structured. I have defined tasks and priorities. Part of the attraction of blogging is that it can be somewhat more relaxed. In this medium, I am free to just let the words and ideas flow where they will.

As liberating as this outlet can be, I find myself fighting against two competing motivations. On one hand, I feel a responsibility to my readers and to the community to produce a quality product and support my friends. On the other, doing so requires more hours than I can devote week in and week out. Distasteful as it may be, there must be some sort of control.

I have fiddled with RSS readers, but at this stage, the concept is more attractive than the reality. I would love to be able to somehow export my lengthy blogroll to an RSS reader and automagically see all the updates for all of the blogs in chronological order. Unfortunately, the reality of RSS readers is that you have to define each feed separately. Maintaining my blogroll is time consuming enough without having to make all the same changes in parallel within an RSS reader.

There is a nice service called the Spanking Blog Aggregator that provides headlines and links for a number of popular spanko blogs (including this one). I use it sometimes, but it includes only a fraction of the blogs I would like to see.

If I had unlimited time, I would create and maintain the mother of all spanko blog aggregators and allow everyone to use it. But that sort of thinking just gets me deeper in trouble.

Comments are another time sink. I like to encourage my friends and colleagues with supportive comments. Unfortunately, even if I could manage to read the huge number of quality posts, leaving comments for all of them is out of the question. But that doesn’t mean I can’t try.

I decided long ago that comments on my blog deserve a response. If someone takes the time to share their thoughts, then I will find the time to acknowledge their contribution. I think I do pretty well in this area, but it too takes time away from writing.

As for the actual writing, I know how to be efficient. The skills I use professionally apply equally to this task. I carve out time to write and minimize distractions. I maintain a list of story ideas and turn to it when my creative well runs dry. There are many more suggestions in my Blogging Smarts posts.

~martha said...

I havent visited here in a long time....I remember now why I so enjoyed reading! I hope you dont mind that i add your link to my blog. If its a problem, then say the word and off it comes. Keep up the great writing...


New Beginnings said...

I know (and Nick would tell you) that I spent way too much time on the computer. I love reading as much as I can. I also love writing and commenting and answering my commnets and emailing my friends and on and on! I do a lot of mind blogging when I go to the gym. Thats one of the reasons I go so much. I also always have a notebook with me for when I am waiting in doctor's offices or something like that. School starting will cut into my time online but it is important to me and I love it so I will be here as much as I can!


Jane said...

Hi Bonnie et al,

I guess I'm more of a random blogger. And probably random within random. I never know quite what it is that I am going to be writing. Or when.
It's probably more like an outlet for me to think my thoughts out loud.
I have a couple of favourites that I read regularly. As always though, there is never enough time.


sparkle said...

Hi Bonnie,

Regarding RSS feeders, Bloglines' service works this way:

You define all the feeds. Yes, it is time consuming. The RSS feed reader is web-based so there is no software to install.

Set up the ones you don't want to show on your blog to 'private'.

Use their code in your "Kindred Sprits" section, and it will automatically produce your blogroll from Bloglines in your blog. Thus, there is no parallel maintenance.

Install the widget(?) so that when you find a new blog, you go to Favorites and hit "Subscribe with Bloglines". It offers you some standard options and then adds it to your blogroll. No fuss, no mess.

It took me a long time to set up, but it's easy to use now and a lot faster than trying to maintain a reading list and a blogroll list, and much easier to add blogs both to my feeds and to my blog with just one click.


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