Doing It All

I miss blogging.

I used to blog every day. And then I went to several times a week, and then recently I’ve barely blogged at all. It’s because I’ve been so busy. The problem with getting to do all the things you want to, is that you’re doing all the things. And there are still things I want to do that I don’t have time for.

So what am I doing? I have two wonderful academic positions, both of which I love: teaching writing to undergraduates at Boston University and in the Stonecoast MFA Program. This year, I finished a novel, so I am writing, even though it’s been a while since I’ve had a short story come out. I have almost enough short stories for the next short story collection; I mean, I have enough, but I want to write one more. And then I want to write the second novel, the sequel to the one I just finished.

I’m already into describing what I want to do, aren’t I? Instead of focusing on what I’m doing. The problem is that there doesn’t seem to be enough time. In these last few weeks in particular, finishing the academic semester, I’ve been exhausted, not sleeping enough and not eating very well. (I mean, I eat very healthily, or I wouldn’t be able to do what I do. But when I’m up past midnight, I get hungry again, and then I’m eating five meals a day. Like a Hobbit . . .)

So what is the problem exactly? I think it’s the sense that I’m doing so much for other people, and not doing all that much for myself. Not getting enough time to write, but also not getting to connect in the way I want to. In a way that blogging allows me to.

A friend of mine who is a writer once asked me why I do it, because it seemed to her as though it was taking time that I could be doing other work, like writing short stories. But blogging is easy for me, in a way writing short stories isn’t. It doesn’t take as much energy. And it allows me to get ideas out there, talk to people directly. I think I need that. I spend so much time talking as an authority on things. You know, I walk into a classroom and I’m the Professor. Or I’m advising a student on how to revise a story, a novel. Blogging is really the only place where I get to say, Here’s what confuses me. Here’s what my day is like. Here’s what I’m afraid of. (Failure and irrelevance, at the moment. Those are my particular fears.)

It’s the place where I get to speak without an editor.

I don’t know how much I can get back to it. There’s so much else I need to do. But I think that if I don’t get my ideas out, they get stuck in my head, and then it’s as though they’re all backed up, and they get snarled. I think I need a place to speak, and I think it needs to be public, because that’s who I am. It’s not enough for me to talk to friends. I’m a storyteller. Blogging is my way of telling the story of myself, and it allows me to get myself out of the way, so I can tell other stories as well.

Conclusion: I need a way to make sure that I’m writing. Otherwise, I get sick. I start to feel all wrong . . . And it’s important for me to write fiction, but when I can’t, blogging can fill that gap. It can keep me writing regularly, so I don’t feel as though I’ve somehow lost it . . . or lost myself. I need it the way I need to work out in the morning, or take a hot bath at the end of the day — because it keeps me healthy. I suppose the lesson here is that if you want to do it all, people will eventually let you. And then you will be doing it all, and you will go, all right, but I still need time for myself. Even if it’s writing a silly blog post!

Snowy Day

This is me, on my way to class, on the last week of classes. With the first snowflakes of the season on my hat . . .

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13 Responses to Doing It All

  1. Morticia says:

    Mhmm, must be hard for someone with all that work to still have time to sleep around with other peoples boyfriends. Same ol’ Dora.

    • As a writer, I’ve had to deal several times with stalkers, including those who leave pseudonymous comments on my blog. This information will be shared with campus police:


      Host Name: 209-6-61-44.c3-0.sbo
      Browser/OS: iPhone/iOS
      IP Address:
      Mobile Device: Apple iPhone
      Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States
      Length: Multiple visits spread over more than one day
      ISP: Rcn

      13 Dec 10:16:12
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      14 Dec 19:42:12
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  2. I found your book in bookstore in Brazil!!!

  3. simplysands says:

    I’m glad you are back and sharing your thoughts. I also feel time is not enough for all we want to learn and accomplish.

  4. csecooney says:

    Wow, Dora.

    A.) I agree about blogging. It is such a relief just to spill sometimes, and then be able to look at the mess and find the patterns, pick out the pearls.

    B.) You handled that first comment very efficiently. It was good to observe because I don’t think I would have had a clue.

    C.) I recently read an article about how writers who write regularly are in fact SCIENTIFICALLY healthier than the bottle-uppers. So – I bet there is something definitively chemical that occurs when we aren’t writing as much as our bodies are used to. We get… Squirmy. Need endorphins.

    • Oh, I like that: finding the patterns and picking out the pearls. Yes, it’s a way of understanding myself and the world I’m living in, and also of contributing to it in some way. I know you feel that too, Claire! And if you find a link or publication information for that article, let me know? I’d love to read it. 🙂

      Thank you, it’s a total pain to deal with stalker-types. In this case I happen to know who it is, and I sent both his name and all the electronic information I had to campus police. People often don’t realize that anything you do online, you’re leaving electronic footprints all over the place. I once had someone doing some really inappropriate stuff, and it took about five minutes to determine that he was at a particular university. So I contacted the university, which tracked the IP address to his dorm room, and he had to go through a disciplinary hearing, where he was penalized for online harassment. Online is not a good place to harass anyone: you’re always leaving a trail.

  5. Once I was so busy with work and family that I began to be sick and depressed. When I met my therapist, she said the most amazing thing. “You are a writer and you
    have to write.” From then on I make sure I write, even on folded envelopes from
    trash mail seeking donations. It is freeing to find that what I crave most is healthy.
    Whoever has the need must do so. Sometimes when mixed up with the hope to be read by kindred spirits, and fame, I have to meditate for a while. It is the beauty, the
    need to find it and give it away.

    So sad about your stalkers. The dark side of being gifted, admired and a spellbinder.

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