Yesterday demonstrated perhaps the most concrete example of how little time I have to blog.
If you were paying attention, for about three hours last night, I featured, for the first time, an incomplete post on Night Owl Cards. The post ended with about only 40 percent of it complete. Thank goodness it didn't end in mid-sentence, but if you were reading to the end, you probably knew something wasn't right.
I had actually finished writing the entire post. But in the process of writing, my daughter signed me out of Blogger in order to do a school assignment and didn't alert me. While trying to edit and save the story, eat dinner, and get it all done before I returned to work, I didn't notice that the version I published was only the part that was written before I was logged out.
And, so, because I was at work and way too busy to check the blog, a half-written post appeared and remained there until I could remove it. That looked bad because I was attempting to thank people for taking the time to send me Christmas greetings. Pretty half-assed showing there, NOC. (I'm happy to say the complete post is now there).
But in a way, I'm glad it happened because this was actual visual evidence of what I've been saying for years: There is no time in my life to blog.
I write that sentence over and over but I get the impression that some people don't believe me. "Well," they say to themselves, "you're still writing this, right? You must have time."
No, no I don't.
I don't blog because I have the time. I blog because I WANT to blog.
I make the time even if there isn't time.
This is the basic key to blogging. You have to want to do it. When people take sabbaticals from blogs, whether announced or unannounced, and return, saying they disappeared because life got too hectic or whatever, most of the time I don't buy it.
Sure, there are some times when you just can't blog. Family issues and upheaval. Tragedy. Illness. Overseas trips, whether for work or pleasure. But most of the rest of it is just regular life busyness. Raising a family is not conducive to regular blogging. In fact I said so yesterday.
Raising a family takes all of your time. It is a second job ... or a first job. You have the job where you go to work, and then there is the other job of your family. It is forever time-consuming. If someone isn't logging you off of Blogger, they're demanding that you go out and get them something for school, or having an epic meltdown, or coming down with something or ... well, if you have kids, you know. And I haven't even gotten to the spouse.
Meanwhile, my first job in of itself is like working two jobs. When it's not a day off, I am basically thinking about work all day. And when I'm off, I'm probably thinking about it, too. In the last few weeks, there have been plenty of 10-, 12-, 13-hour days.
But the blog hasn't gone dark for more the day.
And that's because I want to blog. Time is not the main factor, for the most part.
Sure, I blog less than I did a few years ago, so time is somewhat of an issue. But lack of time is not the death knell for a blog.
Lack of want is.
If you're not blogging for an extended period, it's not because there isn't time. It's because you just don't want to do it. For whatever reason. Maybe you don't have anything to say. Maybe it suddenly seems tedious. Maybe something else is more interesting. Maybe you want to devote more time to your cards. Maybe Twitter has given you ADHD. Whatever.
That's OK. Go to it. We'll miss you, but nobody is getting mad. You don't have to write a note to the school secretary.
Lack of time is an excuse.
Because I have lack of time. And yet here I am.
I continue to blog because it's important for me, that's the biggest reason. But I also continue because I have received enough emails and letters and cards over the years, specifically thanking me for what I write and how much I write and what I've done for the hobby, that I feel somewhat obligated.
Someone said yesterday to me, that you only answer to yourself when you blog. And, yes, that's a good way to keep yourself sane. But I feel a little bit of a responsibility to others because I know people like this blog -- I'm trying not to brag, it's just what I've heard (when I start getting hate mail, maybe I'll slack off a little). That's why it bothered me when I noticed a half-written post on the blog. But also, I like the challenge. I like being in the hinterlands, far from card shops and card shows and trying to come up with new stuff to write about -- I am a writer and that's what keeps my brain going. This is part of the thrill of writing.
Plus, this is me devoting time to my hobby. Sure, I like collecting the cards and trading cards and sorting and filing cards, but blogging about cards is just as important to me. It is equal to all the other things ... if not even more important.
And that's why I keep beating back time in whatever way I can.
Today, I had a day off. I spent it doing all the things that I can't do when I am working. I worked out, because I want more time to collect on this earth. I cleaned crow crap off my car for the third time this fall, because the crows congregate near my work place -- and have for the last five years -- and bomb blocks of parking lots with bird shit every night between 6 and 8 p.m. I cooked dinner for the family. Because my wife works a demanding full-time job, too. I paid some bills. Because the family need heat and food. I gave the dog his medicine. Because he is more time-consuming by the week. I went to the bank. To cash a check that has sat on my desk for weeks. I packaged up some trade envelopes. Because it's been 2 weeks since I last did that. And I spent a few hours Christmas shopping. Because there's even less time at this point in the year than ever.
While standing in line with my purchases, I couldn't believe my luck. For once, the register next to the card aisle was operating. And it was the back register, meaning as you stood in line, you could view all of the cards at your leisure.
I grabbed a single pack of Stadium Club and a single pack of Series 2.
I got three cards from each that I needed:
I felt these were enough reward for finding a little bit of time for this hobby amid all of the chaos.
Look, I'm not trying to say I'm doing this better than anyone else or being more attentive than anyone else. I think publishing half-done posts undermines that theory. People blog and collect in their own little perfect ways.
I'm just saying that if you really want to blog, then blog. And if you don't, don't use time as an excuse. It's OK not to want to do it and be interested in other things. Believe me, when I don't care about this anymore, I will stop. And there won't be any excuses. I'll say I'm not interested and why.
But for now I am saying -- again -- that I want to blog. Whether there's time or not.
I'll just have to clean up the mess afterward.