Adjustment Anxiety

I am now over a month past my last day at my job. I didn’t have to spend a lot of time adjusting to things at first. Two days after my last day both of my kids came home for the holidays. We then had Christmas and New Year’s to distract me. My son went back to his house, but my daughter was still home. My afternoons were reserved for watching TV with her. I just had a few hours in the morning to fill and then I was good. She moved back to her apartment Thursday night. Friday I picked books up at the library and drove around dropping late gifts on friends’ porches. Saturday we finally took the tree down and vacuumed. Sunday I cleaned bathrooms and watched the football games. Then came Monday and the first real test of our adjustment to the new reality. Here are some of what I’m struggling with this week.

Inadequacy

My plan for the interim between leaving my job and the eventuality of going back to work was to work on writing. Improve the blog, look for other writing opportunities, and try to see if there is a book in my jail experience. The blogging part is relatively easy. I’ve been doing that. I have a decent amount of readers. I never really expected to make money with it. The other two make me feel inadequate. I have written about 5000 words about working for the state prison system. Most of those over the past two days. I am going back over it today for editing and such and I know I will find that the writing is bad and simplistic and not good enough for more than a series of blog posts. I don’t feel like I’m good enough to even try to do any freelance work or write anything to submit to any sort of real publication or website. It makes me lean toward just trying to get another library job even if I would hate it. At least I know I can do it.

Guilt

I know I can’t fill up the entire day with writing. I start around 8AM or so, sometimes later if I sleep past 7. Even on a good day, I am pretty much done with any productive writing before noon. I eat lunch. I walk the dog. Today I will sweep and mop the kitchen. I still feel guilty that I’m not doing enough. I’m not making money, though technically I have a few more weeks before we reach the end of my vacation pay out so I’m not officially not making money yet. If I take a few minutes to read my book I feel like I’m wasting time and the guilt creeps in. When I get to the point in the afternoon when I feel like I can quit and watch TV until my wife is finished with work I feel like a slacker. If I’m not doing something that I think others will view as productive I get really stressed out and think I should have just stayed at my terrible job. I was miserable, but at least my time was somewhat productive.

Fear

Fear that when I do decide I need to get a job that I will be unable to find one. Fear that my family will see me as a disappointment. Fear that my wife will decide that a “retired” husband is not making her happy. Feat that I will eventually be doing this alone. Fear that I have hurt us more financially than I expected. Fear that I’ve made a terrible mistake and that everyone is judging me harshly for it. Fear that I will never figure things out and I will feel like this forever.

Depression

I spend a lot of time alone now. I wake up early and go downstairs. My wife works upstairs with the door closed. I only interrupt her if it is very important. I don’t talk to another human for 12 hours. Add this alone time to the feelings of guilt, inadequacy and fear and it does not make for happy times.

It is a big adjustment. I judge myself harshly for not being what I think others would consider productive and then assume everyone is is judging me harshly. I need to find some sort of regular volunteer work to do so I get out of the house to do something at least once a week. I spend way too much time alone with my thoughts and it leads to bad places.

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Outstanding Blogger Award

Many thanks for Pepper Valentine for nominating me for the Outstanding Blogger Award here. Its nice to be recognized by other bloggers. You should go read her blog. Its a good one. So, here’s my response post.

The Rules:

1. Provide a link to the creator’s original award post.

2. Answer the questions provided.

3. Create 7 unique questions.

4. Nominate up to 10 bloggers.

5. Ensure that they are aware of their nomination.

6. Now let’s continue to support and cheer each other throughout 2021 for the Outstanding Blogger Award!

Questions by Pepper Valentine

1. Tell us your 2021 goals for your blog. My 2021 goal for my blog is to post at least 4 times a week. I would love to have content Sunday through Friday, but I’m not going to force it. I would like to increase the number of people reading.

2. How do you plan on implementing your goals for your blog in 2021? Plan more. Less writing whatever pops in my head in the morning and more writing planned, well thought out posts. Be more active in commenting on other blogs. Be better at Twitter.

3. What inspires you to write your blogs? I generally write what is in my head in the morning when I open my laptop in the morning. It has trended more toward my personal life recently. My life is pretty boring these days, so I will have to find inspiration elsewhere.

4. Why did you begin your blog? I was working alone at the jail and social media was a way for me to not feel so alone. I had done a boring work blog for a training and decided I should try to do more. At the time I started it long, long time ago I thought I might blog about library stuff but figured out pretty quick that it would probably be a mistake to write about library stuff given where I worked. I saw trouble and didn’t want any of that. I actually wrote about why I started blogging over 10 years ago here.

5. What have you learned about yourself in writing your blogs?  I have to learn patience in my writing and editing the same way I need to learn patience in my real life. People actually want to read what I have to say. I worry too much about stats.

6. What would you change about your blog? Better editing. Add more images to my posts. Be better about writing real reviews of books, TV and movies.

7. How do you feel about collaborating on your blog? I would welcome collaboration. I don’t really know how all of that works. I’m not sure why anyone would want me to write for them. I’m sure anyone could do better on my blog than me.

I am leaving the same 7 questions for my nominees because I’m lazy.

I’m going to list the blogs I read regularly. If you want to take this as a nomination and answer the questions, great. If not, I hope you at least get a couple of new readers from being on the list.

I’m sure there are many more I missed. Apologies.

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Giving Myself a Break

I’ve spent some time this morning fretting over the fact that I have not been very productive in my writing so far this year. My blog stats are down. I haven’t worked on the book much at all. I didn’t have a blog post idea for this morning. Rather than let the fretting continue, I instead decided to look at what I have done and will do this week. While I have not been productive when it comes to writing I have:

  • been more active online which is important in getting your work out there when you do write
  • cleaned the bathrooms
  • taken down the outdoor Christmas lights
  • cooked dinner most nights
  • taken out the trash
  • done a load of laundry
  • organized my sock drawer, throwing away ones with giant holes in them
  • spent quality time with my daughter
  • taken multiple walks
  • exercised more

This week I may not be productive writing but I know I will:

  • pick up holds at the library
  • stop by the grocery store while I’m out to pick up some essentials
  • maybe also buy a lottery ticket while I’m out
  • go to my therapy session online
  • deliver some belated Christmas gifts to porches
  • virtually attend the funeral of a friend’s mom
  • do more laundry
  • go for more walks
  • clean the kitchen
  • vacuum the house
  • spend more time with my daughter

So, even if I don’t get much writing done, it’s not like I’m sitting around doing nothing. I need to give myself a break. Next week, when my daughter is back at her apartment and my wife is home I can get into a more regular routine.

Year in Review Posts

Welcome readers to a post where I write about what I might write. Exciting stuff, huh?

Several sites have started posting their best of 2020 lists. It made me start to think about my year in review posts I generally write. The ones that I will definitely do:

My 2020 in review – Highlights from my year. It will be very thin this year. I might do it on Monday since I doubt anything exciting is going to happen over the next few weeks.

My year in reading – Coming January 1 or so – I will use Goodreads for stats on books and pages read. I will go through my list to try to figure out my top ten books I read over the year and which one I would most recommend.

My year in blogging – Maybe next week I usually take a break from posting over the holidays, so I can write thus one early and not much will change. It will be stats on views and such, a look where visitors come from and which posts were the most viewed. Riveting stuff.

Ones I might write:

My year in TV – I might try to think about what I’ve watched and do a top ten list. It won’t be top ten new in 2020. It would be the best of what I’ve watched in 2020.

My year in movies – Again would be what I watched, not necessarily new stuff. I’m not sure I can remember enough to make a decent post.

I don’t listen to enough new music to do a music post.

So, my questions to you – Do you like year in review posts? Do you write them? Any other year in review posts you would like to see?

What Now?

Yesterday was a big day. I announced on my blog and Facebook the news that I resigned from my job. I still have a month before I am actually free, but the end is nigh. The blog post gave me my second highest views ever on the blog. The highest is still the day a Twitter celebrity retweeted my post about Michael Vick. So now I face the question What Now?

Obviously, the question applies to real life, but it also applies to this space. What do I write about when my life is spent at home writing? How do I use the extra writing time to make my blog posts better? How do I find the discipline to sit in a room and work on writing projects when it will be so easy to let things distract me? How do I decide when it’s time for me to merge from the distraction of writing to look forward another real job? How to I keep myself from getting depressed about my lack of success? How do I stop myself from second guessing my decision to leave my job when things get hard? How do I coexist with my wife who is working from home full time when she needs quiet for work and I can’t work in silence?

I’ve always used the excuse that my blog isn’t great because I don’t spend time on it. I vomit words into a post in the morning before I go to work. I don’t edit anything. I hit publish and I’m done. Now that I have the time to actually work on it, plan posts, edit, etc. how do I cope with the fact that it probably won’t change anything about the number of readers I get?

As I deal with the what now in life I’m also dealing with the what now for the Common Tater.

Some Things I’ve Discovered About My Blog

I have run out of interesting pictures to post for Wordless Wednesday so I will instead bore you with some random things I’ve discovered in blogging and my stats.

  1. I never intended to write so much about myself, but the more personal posts are the ones that people actually read. When I post about news or what I’m reading and watching I have my lowest views.
  2. I get more views when I post in the morning. I generally post in the morning around 8am east coast America time. When I do that, I get the majority of my views for the day within the hour. Many of those are from India. When I post in the afternoon or evening it is much lighter and most of my views are from the US.
  3. Views are nice, but comments are more of an indication that people are reading. Even likes are suspect as some people who like my post don’t seem to actually click on the link before liking it.
  4. I need to be better about commenting on other blogs and replying to comments on my blog. If I want to actually grow my blog I need to be a bigger part of the blogging community.
  5. I’m never going to be one of those bloggers with thousands of readers unless I spend more time on it. I can’t spend more time on it while I have a job. I should quit my job.
  6. I will never make money blogging. I make less than a dollar a month on ads. I can post my link to my Kofi page as much as I want and only a couple of real life friends will ever click, Random strangers on the internet are not going to buy me a coffee because they like my blog post. Feel free to click above and prove me wrong.
  7. The only things that will change from these realization – I may write in the evening when I have more time, but I will schedule the post to publish the next morning and I will be more likely to keep it more personal as I move forward.

Maybe I will find a good picture for next Wednesday.

A Quick Update

Just a quickie today to say three things:

I have decided to use NaNoWriMo to try to start a memoir about my time in jail. We will see how that goes. Maybe that is a good enough alternate plan to convince my wife I should quit my job. I’m sure it will be a bestseller and I will be famous and will need all my time to do interviews and such.

I have also changed my Support the Common Tater link. Instead of it linking to our PayPal account that has my wife’s name on it. I have signed up for Ko-Fi. So, click here if you would like to buy me a coffee or something.

Finally, today was one of those strange blip days where I had a weird amount of traffic and I can’t tell where it came from. I will take it.

Happy Thursday!

Happy Blogiversary to Me

12 years now. Nothing new to say.

I didn’t get any official notification from WordPress that it is today, but my Facebook memories told me that last year was 10 years on WordPress. My math is good enough to theorize that today would now be 11 years. 11 years of babbling about nothing. Before that I babbled a lot on LiveJournal, but under the name Demoncatch. I’ve been boring people online for years. Yay me.

As I enter the next year of blogging, I think maybe I should consider again the point of the blog.

Do I continue what I do which is post whatever pops in my head whenever I have time to do it even though it is not exactly a successful formula?

Do I veer more towards pop culture and media and do more TV/movie/book/music reviews, recaps, etc with a little more general pop culture thoughts thrown in?

Do I go back to posting more thoughts on current events, but take more time on crafting an essay and not just vomiting my thoughts out for 10 minutes and posting?

Do I just stop thinking about it and do whatever makes me happy because no matter what only about 20 people are going to read it anyway?

You would think after 11 years I would have more of a sense of what I want to do here.

 

What to Write Right Now?

I have not written anything new here since Sunday. It’s hard for me to think about doing a new post now. Anything I have to say seems petty and insignificant right now. I had a post written after this sentence and it seemed whiny and petty compared to what’s going on in the world right now.

So, assume that I am still whiny and depressed. Assume I still desperately wish I could “retire” for a bit until I figure out what I want to do with the rest of my life. Assume I will be back Friday to post about my reading and viewing for the week.

Assume al of that and then go find posts by people who have the voice that needs to be heard right now.

 

 

Is There Anything Worth Writing?

My day:

Wake up at 7.

Drink coffee and read the paper.

Shower.

Get dressed.

Work from home as best I can.

Take the dog for a walk.

Watch TV

Go to bed.

Same day. Every day. Some days I have video meetings that change my day up. One night I did my mystery book club virtually. The highlights of my week are the one day we decide to order takeout and watching Survivor on Wednesday night.

Pretty boring week and it makes for a pretty boring post. Why are you still here?

What do you write about right now? Do I try to remember funny stories from the past to tell? Do I finally try and fail at creative writing? Do I write another sad post about what I miss about normal life? Do I give up for now? Are you tired of my posts about giving up when you know I won’t?

Any thoughts from the people reading this? Any ideas for me? Requests? Suggestions? Complaints?