Didn’t you know? I’m the Queen of Blog Commenting. I must be a Queen of something, because this is my daughter:
I say this with my tongue in my cheek. I’m not really a Queen, but I’ve heard a lot of people say it and it makes me happy. Stay tuned because that is the first question from the radiant and thoughtful Shana Norris, in this week’s edition of Ask Away Friday.
I first remember hearing from Shana when she let me know she was reviewing our book, “The Mother of All Meltdowns“, on Mamalode. And I just thought, “Who is this wonderful woman emailing me and how can I properly thank her?”
We have been blogging friends since, and I’m happy we were able to swap questions today.
To see who else is participating or to learn how to join the fun, head over to visit hosts: Penny from The Real Housewife of Caroline County, Amber from The Bold Fab Mom, Tiffany from Mrs Tee Love Life Laughter and Stacey from This Momma’s Ramblings. #AskAwayFriday is their beautiful and ever-growing creation! And contact me if you want to swap some time!
To read Shana’s answers to my questions, click HERE. And here are my answers to her questions:
1. You are the Queen of Blog Commenting. If you were to assign a percentage of your time spent writing/blogging to commenting, what would you say it is? And the comments on your own blog. There are so many! Do you reply to comments directly in your WordPress dashboard? Do you have any advice for how to stay on top of commenting (both on other blogs as well as your own?)
It probably evens out 50/50, in the long run! I publish three posts a week and each one does take 1-3 hours. So that’s about 3-9 hours a week. And with reading/commenting, it probably falls between the same. There are days in which I may read/comment for a whole hour or two. And there are days in which I am just too busy and won’t devote more than ten minutes to it! I answer comments right in WordPress, and I also have an app on my phone that does it easily. Usually I’ll pair answering one comment on my own blog, to commenting on another blog. I like to mix it up. Staying on top of commenting is difficult, and taking steps back is ok too. My philosophy is simple and lasting. You definitely have to give to get, but I also genuinely enjoy all you bloggers and your stories. Before I blogged, I read blogs. Now it’s just like..getting paid to do the same, so I won’t do it halfway. I will admit that lately with two sick kids and higher paying jobs coming in, I have let up on it. If people don’t visit me ever, or only half of the time I post, I grant myself the same deal with them! Although there are the 100%ers – they always comment here and I always do on their blogs, unless circumstances get in the way, which does happen sometimes. You’re one of those people!
2. I know yours is a sort of mixed faith family. Do you celebrate Easter in any way? What are your plans for this year?
We absolutely celebrate Easter, and I did as a child too! I love Easter very much. We do a Passover Seder with one set of grandparents, and Easter with the other two sets. We haven’t made any plans this year but Scarlet has said she wants to do breakfast with the Easter Bunny at the park and I’m excited to sign up. We also do the big Easter Egg Hunt at the same place.
Once we even threw our own! Not sure what you’re so mad about, Scarlet!
Three years ago we had a beautiful Easter with Scarlet’s grandparents on the first warm day of the year.
3. As you know, I love books. How do you decide what book to read next? What’s your preferred format: paper, ebook, audiobook or do you mix it up? Are you a book buyer or library user?
Total library user here. I used to always buy new books but we ran out of room, and quite frankly, I couldn’t afford my habit. I have several favorite authors so I will usually first see if they have something out and then I will go by recommendations. I only read paper books. I am one of those people who has never seen the value in an ebook, but I once said the same about digital cameras.. And I can’t do audiobooks. Even as a kid, I was terrible at being read to – I need to read things myself or I tune out.
4. Is there an author you’ve read extensively? If not, have you ever finished a book and thought you’d like to read the author’s entire body of work?
I have read every Jodi Picoult book ever, and I always will! I met her at a book signing and I got the nervous giggles.
5. And music … I’ve seen you post songs on your blog in the form of YouTube videos. Is that how you listen to music most of the time, or do you listen on a stereo system or iPhone/iPod? Do you have a CD collection or is your music housed in iTunes? Or are you a fan of a music streaming site (Spotify, Pandora, etc.?) Are you a playlist maker? If so, tell us about one you’ve made recently.
It’s so sad because I switched from a PC to an iMac over a year ago and I never imported my iTunes library. Still working on that one. I use Pandora a lot at home, and in the car, I either use mix cds or I plug in the Pandora app from the phone. I’m totally a playlist maker but it’s been ages. I got desperate to make a mix cd in September and maybe bought songs or used my husband’s computer. It was about songs that made me feel safe and sound. I was battling situational anxiety at the time!
6. I know that like me, you’ve very close to your mom and have a lot of admiration for all that she is and all that she does. My mom and I text or talk on the phone daily. What about you? How and how often do you communicate with your mom?
It’s funny because we can go weeks without talking on the phone, so when we do finally talk, it’s like an explosion of stories. I guess we forget because we do have email and texting. And she just got an iPhone so we FaceTime her a lot. And then Scarlet gets possessive of the phone conversation and walks around the house carrying my mom’s face and talking to it! Ah, technology.
7. What activities are you excited for Scarlet and Des to do when they’re a little older? Sports, scouting, singing/choir, playing an instrument? Being a runner, I can’t wait until my kids are old enough to do track and I’m crossing my fingers they actually want to do it. What about you: is there any certain sport you’re really hoping one of the kids wants to do?
I can’t narrow down any one thing, but I’m just excited for them to find out what makes them shine. It took me awhile to do that as a kid and I had to quit a lot of things to get there. However, it’s not quitting if you simply don’t have any interest. I hope they sing, play instruments and/or get into the arts. I want them to be athletic but I don’t care if they play team sports or not.
Maybe they’ll dance..or play croquet?
8. I know you’ve been published several times on BlogHer. Tell us a little about how that happened. Did you query them or did they approach you? In general, do you query your writing?
Actually each time, they approached me. I have heard you can query them, though. I don’t query anyone, but maybe I should!
9. Sometimes I get overwhelmed by all that needs to happen after I actually take a photo. How do you manage the process? What program do you use to edit photos? How do you store and back them up? As far as your personal photos, you obviously publish many of them here on your blog, much to your readers’ delight. But do you also print them to frame, put in an album, etc.?
I put them into Lightroom as RAW files and then into Photoshop CS, and then back into Lightroom to watermark them. I store them in Lightroom, smugmug and on my computer’s hard drive. We don’t often print them, but Cassidy has gotten me some canvases, that you can just see on the bottom left of this photo. We use Canvas On Demand.
10. What do you do when you’re feeling stressed or anxious? I’m still in the process of 1.) finding the best ways to manage stress and anxiety and 2.) disciplining myself to actually do them in the moment. I think it’s a lifelong learning process. What have you learned about the process so far?
The biggest thing I’ve learned about my anxiety is to surrender to it, rather than avoid or deny it. That actually helps more than anything. And I have learned that it’s more important HOW I deal with it, than WHY it’s there at all. I used to drive myself crazy wondering why I’d be all up in arms over small things. Well obviously a part of me didn’t think they were small, or saw them as a danger, and then set me into panic mode. It happens. It gets better but I may always fight it. I’m fighting the good fight with talking, music, herbal sprays, playing with kids, taking space, crying, whatever. Seriously, whatever expels those demons. I hope it doesn’t ever come to medication, but if it does, well..then it’s all good. There are worse things.