Saturday, June 23, 2018

Book Blogger Hop No. 133: Balancing Work and Blogging

Welcome to the Book Blogger Hop,
hosted by Billy @

This Week's Question

For all of you worker bees out there!
How do you balance having a
day job/career and managing your
blog at night? Is it hard or easy
to do, and what do people in your
work life  think of your blogs? 

(Submitted  by Danielle @

My Answer

GREAT QUESTION!! I've been asking myself this very same thing ever since I started blogging, back in 2010. Lol. Somehow, I've managed to stay afloat, but just barely, to be honest! I have to be even MORE honest and add that I've thought of quitting many, many times..... Somehow, though, I always find the motivation to keep going, because blogging is really my one creative outlet. Plus, I would sorely miss ALL of my SUPER SWEET blogging buddies!!  

When I started out, I was working two jobs -- a full-time day job, and a part-time night job. My day job was in an office, and no, I didn't like it AT ALL. It was basically just something I did to earn money. 'Nuff said! The night job was much more rewarding. I was teaching ESOL (English to Speakers of Other Languages), also known as ESL (English as a Second Language) in the evening adult program at a local high school. 

My day job schedule was from 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM, Monday to Friday, with an hour for lunch. My night job was from 7:00 to 9:30 PM, Monday to Thursday.

Well, I lost my day job in January of 2014, after being in that company for 10 years. And, of course, the money from the night job simply wasn't enough. So I quickly began to check out other options.  At first, I searched for another office job, but then just as quickly changed my mind about doing that. I was sick and tired of office politics, so that was that.

Finally, I was able to get a tutoring position, at the same high school, and also working with adults. So my schedule expanded to include this. The tutoring schedule is from 3:00 to 6:00 PM, Monday to Thursday. 

With the tutoring and the night class, I work a total of 22 hours a week. But that's just fine, because my husband's income is certainly more than adequate.

I thought that I would be able to dedicate more time to blogging once I had lost that day job, but that hasn't really happened. In fact, now I'm wondering how I was able to blog as much as I did when I had the two jobs! The thing is, I have to prepare classes, too. I have my own copier/printer at home, so I do prepare originals copied from ESOL books, which I then give to an office clerk at school so she can make stapled sets to hand out to the students. However, in a pinch, I have in the recent past prepared sets at home myself.

On May 26th, the night school principal at the high school where I teach called me into his office to tell me that, due to an unusually low enrollment, he had no choice but to close several classes in the night program, including mine. At the time, I was teaching a Level 2 class, and there were only 6 students on the roll. The night the principal closed my class, there were only 3 students present.

Well, I felt really bad about this.....but, a small miracle took place two weeks later! One of the remaining teachers had to leave, due to family problems, and the principal gave me that teacher's class!! I couldn't believe it!! WOWZA!! 

This new class consisted of two levels -- 5 and 6. So I suddenly had to shift gears. I also saw the need to prepare new material for these students, as I didn't have any on hand. The previous teacher had been using textbooks in his classroom that were also used by the day teacher, which meant that these books could not be taken out of the classroom. The students were shifted to my own classroom, because it has computers available, whereas the previous teacher's classroom did not. So I then began to make copies like crazy! But I really didn't mind. I want my students to have copies anyway, because obviously, they can then study at home.

All of the above means that I have had to give up some of my blogging time in order to prepare for this new class. Besides, I also have to prepare material for my tutoring sessions. Unfortunately, my reading time has suffered, too..... Right now, I'm behind on a book I'm supposed to review for a blog tour THIS coming Monday! So I have to finish it this weekend. Yet another problem is that I've been trying to fit too many books into an already crowded schedule..... I have not only been reading the two books shown in my sidebar, but also a couple of nonfiction books, which I know readers of this blog won't be interested in. I might review them on my other blog, the one that's been sadly neglected because of lack of time.....

To top things off, I'm trying to start an exercise schedule (I have exercised in the past, but on a haphazard basis), so that's going to complicate things even 

Compounding the problems is the fact that I'm not exactly the world's most organized person, so I rarely schedule posts ahead of time. With blog tours, I do try to schedule them at least two days ahead, but I have often found myself feverishly attempting to finish a tour post the night before it's due to be published! Lol. With my own posts, I always do them the night before, and frequently get behind with those, as well. In fact, I often publish my "Shelf Candy Saturday" meme post on Sundays! Lol.

I do hope to be able to continue blogging, though, as I LOVE it so much!! And I'd like to take this opportunity to ask those of you who frequently comment on my posts to be a little patient if I don't reply or comment back right away. I might get behind sometimes, but I will always try my best to catch up! 

Bottom line: it's not always a piece of cake to balance work and blogging, but, if someone really and truly LOVES doing something, they will somehow ALWAYS find time to do it. Right? Absolutely! Until, that is, Life throws a monkey wrench into the But that SURE hasn't happened to me yet, and I hope it never does!

As for what my co-workers think of my my office job, I did mention it on a couple of occasions, but no one showed any interest whatsoever in it. Sadly, the same thing has happened at my teaching job. I have mentioned it to a couple of fellow teachers, but again, they just weren't interested. As for my students, I have only mentioned it to a few of them in recent years. Again, there has been no interest. Just about a month ago, I also mentioned the blog to one of my new Level 6 students. She did visit, and then later told me that she thought the blog was great. However, it seems the posts are too difficult for her to read. She told me that she read one, and had to keep looking up words in an online dictionary. She hasn't mentioned the blog since, and I haven't, either. I'm not the type of person who toots their own horn. If I mention my blog at work, and see little to no interest in it, I will definitely not bring it up again. I started this blog for my own enjoyment, and to find fellow bloggers who were just as enthusiastic about books -- and blogging about books -- as I am. It just seems that no one in my immediate vicinity feels the same way my fellow bloggers and I do. It is what it is, I guess! Lol.

What are your thoughts on
this topic?
If you're participating in this hop,
I'll go comment on your 
own BBH post.
If not, I will then comment on one 
of your blog posts!
Thanks for visiting!!!  


  1. Another great post Maria. I am not sure how you found the time to blog at all when you worked the two jobs. I myself struggle. I am struggling a bit now. I tend to work fairly long hours. I have a fairly long commute. I try to excersize three to five times a week. Sometimes, especially now, it is so hard to find the time to read and blog. Lately, I hand fallen a little behind. It has been difficult to even put 15 minutes a day into blogging.

    Your blog posts are so well written. I can imagine how much time that you put into them. I agree that many bloggers probably think about quitting because of such time pressure issues. I would hate to see you do so. But I have also thought about it.

    I have also mentioned my blog to some of my coworkers but I also have garnered minimal interest.

    Have a great weekend!

    1. Hi, Brian!

      Thanks so much for the compliment!! <3 <3

      Yeah, I have NO idea how the HECK I found the time, in the early days! Especially since I was feeling my way around, and constantly re-designing the blog! Lol. And there are times, even now, when I actually wish I didn't have to work....but if I didn't, where would I get the money to buy books? Hahaha!!

      I'm not surprised to hear you say that you struggle, as well. I think most of us do. People with long hours and long commutes don't have that much time for blogging. As for reading, you can at least do that on that long commute. But it does hurt when you want to blog, and just don't have the time.....And I think that only other book bloggers can truly appreciate what we do, what a labor of love it is, and how very important it is, too. People who don't blog -- and/or don't feel any need to do so -- just can't see what the big deal is, unfortunately.

      I'm SO glad I'm out of that office job, nor do I EVER want to go back to office work! Right now, I have the teaching and tutoring, and that's more than enough!

      I really need to start an exercise program. I do some walking at school, but I really need more physical activity. I won't give details, but believe me, I do need it! So that will be MORE time taken away from blogging, as well as reading..... :(

      Thanks for the second compliment, too! Some of my posts just flow under my fingers, while others do need more revision. It all depends. This one went pretty quickly, but I did delete some things I ended up not liking. Then, after clicking on "Publish", I realized I hadn't answered the part about our co-workers' reactions to our blogging. So back I went, and added the last paragraph. Lol.

      I'm happy to hear that you wouldn't want me to stop blogging! Another BIG "thank you"!! <3 <3 I wouldn't want you to do so, either, because your posts are SO interesting and thought-provoking!

      Thank you so much for ALWAYS leaving such WONDERFUL comments on my blog, Brian!! You ROCK!! Hope you have SUPER nice Sunday!! <3 :)

  2. I can see why it would be a struggle for you balancing work and blogging. I am sorry about your cut class, but so glad you were offered another one--how serendipitous! I imagine you have been extra busy with preparations for that class, especially with it being sprung on you at the last minute like that.

    Like everyone else, I find it a challenge to fit in blogging with everything else. I think my blog gets more attention sometimes than my house does. We all have to sacrifice somewhere, right? LOL Seriously though, It is tough. I thought it was hard when I had an infant, but now that I have a school-aged child, I find it even more challenging to balance work and family and home with my own interests. Keeping up with my daughter's school and extracurricular activities alone and all that. If it was just a matter of driving her to and from, it would be one thing, but we parents all have to volunteer too. It's worth it though, I think. I'm just glad we are in a position right now to be able to do this for Mouse. My cousin has five kids and all of her kids are in so many activities . . . I can't even imagine how she does it. I feel like I'm overwhelmed with just the one! So, finding time to sit at the computer and blog, I do it when I can, and it's often piecemeal. It's not like it used to be where I could dedicate an entire day or a few hours at a time to it. And I have to prep way ahead of time or else nothing will ever post. There's no off the cuff for me anymore--at least not entire posts. I comment and visit blogs when I can. Mostly I find myself commenting back when people have visited me. I hate that I can't do more, but it is what it is. As much as I enjoy blogging, my family and my career come first. I think most people understand that.

    As for workmates knowing about my blog, some do. Some don't. It's not something I advertise or talk about much. I'm a fairly private person and like to keep my blog separate from that part of my life. My mom didn't know about my blog until a couple years ago--and it wasn't through me she found out about it. Haha.

    I hope you have a great weekend, Maria. We're off to our second set of rehearsals for the day.

    1. Hi, Wendy!

      Yes, definitely! Thanks for the sympathy on the closed class, and the congrats on the new one! <3 <3 Yes, that was indeed serendipitous!! I could hardly believe it! But you're right that I've been quite busy hurriedly preparing materials for that class..... And I've added something that the previous teacher apparently didn't do much of -- idioms. I have a book on that, and I've made copies for the students. I think that idioms are a VERY important part of ANY language.

      Yes, it IS tough to balance work, Life, and book blogging! And if you have kids -- even one -- it's hard to keep up with them! When they're infants, they keep you up at night, but when they start attending school, then it's homework, plus all the extracurricular activities, and, ad you've mentioned, moms (and sometimes dads) do have to volunteer for certain things. I don't know how the HECK you manage, to be honest!! Lol.

      And your friend has FIVE kids?! WOW!! She doesn't blog at all, right? I don't see how she possibly could! LOL. Kids do require a LOT of attention, at all ages, really. Even if it's just one kid. You REALLY want to be there for them! If I had kids, which, sadly, I don't, I would be there for them as much as I possibly could. And if it were necessary to be there ALL the time, then that's what I would do. Parents who are not involved in their children's lives will regret it later, for sure!

      I don't plan my posts ahead of time. What's been happening lately is that I haven't been posting some memes. Like I'll skip "Shelf Candy Saturday", or "The Book Lover's Den". Last week, I skipped all three! I was busy trying to finish a book titled "Echo Moon", which I had to review for a blog tour yesterday, the 25th. I wish I could do more, too..... :(

      It's sad that many co-workers could care less about blogging, or about OUR blogging. But I think the saddest thing of all is that many of them are not even into books..... :(

      My mom doesn't visit my blog. She's just not into computers at all. She does ask me how things are going with my blog from time to time, though.

      Since I'm typing this early on Tuesday morning, I'll wish you a GREAT rest-of-the-week! I'll be visiting your blog to find out what the rehearsals are for! Lol.

      Thanks for the WONDERFUL comment!! HUGS TO YOU AND MOUSE!!! <3 <3 <3 :) :) :)

  3. I relate to nobody being interested in real life to who I mention my blog. Aside from my parents. They don't exactly read my blog but they've said, especially my mom, that she's proud of me that I blog and review books. But my friends? They couldn't care less I think. One person asked me to send my blog's link to her once when I told her about it but she never said anything about it afterwards. So rude!

    1. Hi, Steph!

      Yeah, it seems to be a general thing for us bloggers. Many people are just not interested.... :(

      Parents vary in their reactions to their children's blogging activities. It's so SWEET of your mom to say that she's proud of you for blogging about and reviewing books!! :) :)

      Sadly, I don't have ANY bookish friends in "the real world"...... :( So of course no one asks me about my blogging.....

      It sounds like your friend asked you to send her the link to your blog just to be "nice", but she really had no intention of visiting. But she really shouldn't have asked. Didn't she realize you'd want to know what she thought of your blog? Yeah, that was rude! She might not have meant to be rude, but that's how she came across!

      Thanks for the nice comment!! HUGS!!! <3 <3 <3 :) :) :)

  4. Congratulations on the way things have worked out - you getting the extra class is fantastic and doubtless down to your enthusiasm and success as a teacher. I completely understand that you are currently feeling a tad overwhelmed - but I think that once you have got through this year, you will have the necessary teaching materials up together for the level you are now teaching and while there is always plenty of work, at least you won't be scrambling to constantly provide suitable lesson resources.

    As for mentioning your blog to folks - I know my mother regularly visits my site, which is lovely and one or two of my students read my reviews, but that always surprises me. I tend to keep the different areas of my life separate:). I hope you are having a great weekend, Maria - and hopefully getting a chance for a bit of relaxing!

    1. Hi, Sarah!

      Thank you SO much for the congrats and the compliment!! Yeah, that was a HUGE surprise!! And I suppose I have been pretty successful as a teacher; otherwise, the principal wouldn't have given me that class.

      Yes, I'm definitely feeling "a tad overwhelmed"! LOL. Thankfully, though, I've gotten better organized regarding materials. I've purchased some grammar books suitable for these two levels, as well as a book on idioms, which I feel are a VERY important part of ANY language. I've also purchased a reading book for advanced students. Of course, I make copies from these books, which I then give to the students. Usually, what I'll do is prepare originals (copies made directly from the books), which I then give to the office clerk in charge of copying materials for the teachers. As I explained in this post, there are times when I have a little "emergency", and there isn't enough time to get the copies made by this clerk. So I have to sometimes prepare sets myself.... It's all part of being an ESOL teacher! Lol. I think I've managed to build up some great materials for the rest of the course!

      Yeah, most folks don't seem too interested in our blogs.....sad but true.....My mom is not into computers, so she doesn't visit my blog. But she does ask about it from time to time. As for my students, I've told these new students about it. Hopefully, they might decide to drop by. They are in Levels 5 and 6, so they should be able to understand quite a bit!

      I had a very nice weekend, but spent some of it guessed it, preparing materials! Lol. I don't mind, really. As the saying goes, "You gotta do what you gotta do." Lol.

      Thanks for the lovely comment!! Hope your week is going GREAT!! HUGS!!! <3 <3 <3 :) :) :)

  5. FAB, FAB, FAB post.

    So happy about the surprise class coming your way...I remember your telling me about it.

    You can do it all, Maria. You are a very hard worker.

    I am glad you didn't quit your blog. It is my fun, and I know it is your fun, but it is nice to have folks stop by.

    I am a bit late visiting everyone's blogs.

    HUGS, and thanks for another marvelous post.

    1. Hi, Elizabeth!

      Awwwww......THANK YOU!!! <3 <3 <3

      Thanks as well for being happy I got that class!! <3 <3 <3 Yeah, I really needed it!!

      I don't know about being able to "do it all". Lol. I do fall behind sometimes!

      I appreciate the fact that you appreciate my blog, ao yet another THANK YOU for not wanting me to quit!! :) :) And yes, it is nice to have folks visit and comment. But it's true that we blog to express ourselves. DEFINITELY!!

      Yeah, sometimes I am late visiting other blogs, too..... I feel bad about that, but again, sometimes I do fall behind. I don't like it when that happens, but it can be unavoidable.

      HUGS BACK!!!! And thank YOU for another marvelous comment!!!! <3 <3 <3 :) :) :)


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