Jodi Lea Stewart

Loving and Writing About the Southwest and the South

Swoosh! Kerplunk! Ping! Ahghhh!

A note from me: When I first began full-time novel writing and was forced challenged to build my Author Platform and blog immediately or die as soon as possible, this blog happened. I literally feel the angst and worry in my heart at that time! I want to tell you, it will get better. You will be okay. I’m living proof! 

But this is how I felt then . . .

The racket was driving me mad. Or, madder, I should say.

With every new Hootsuite, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Triberr or LinkedIn tidbit shared by the multi-quadrillions, the sound increased. I covered my ears.

I yanked my hair until the roots (which needed a little color, I might add) ached.

My throat growls were more wild than civilized.

The noise reverberated in my wetware *brain* constantly.

What was it?

Swoosh! Kerplunk! Ping! Ahghhh!

Swoosh. The sound of a heavy rock hurling through the air.

Kerplunk. A rock falling dead to the ground.

Ping! A rock clipping the side, top or bottom of a target.

Ahghhh! Unhappy groan of a defeated rock thrower.

Ad infinitum.

What in the world am I talking about?

Indulge me.

Pretend you have a stack of rocks. The rocks represent:

DUTY,  EFFORT, TOIL.

Several yards in front of you are a row of targets. The targets are:

  • Writing bazillions of words. Making them brilliant, diverse, accurate, breathtakingly grand.
  • Flitting effortlessly through the columns of Twitter (Triberr, Tweetdeck, Hootsuite, Tweetle-Dee-Dum) and the pages of Facebook like the flawless social-media mavens we are.
  • Blogging like there’s no tomorrow. But there is a tomorrow. And another blog to write. If we write it, will readers even bother to come?
  • Publicity, platform building, conferences, improving our craft, writing groups.
  • Everything else in life!!

STRUGGLES! FRUSTRATION! WAILS! That was the racket I heard from my fellow bloggers, writers, and social-media pursuers. And in my own mind…


Fear that perhaps not all the blood, sweat and tears in the world would be enough to get us where we needed/wanted to be in our writing worlds.

Fear morphed into resentmentresentment into the sting of realizing the days of blissful writing by the sea or in a quaint mountain cabin with no worries about platform, social media, Google Analytics, Dashboards, etc. etc. etc. were gone forevermore.

“I must do something!”

I cried out, scaring my three Standard poodles and two rescue cats. And maybe my houseplants.

“I will invent an elixir to free the masses from this endless target-missing guilt!”

My eyeballs did socket circles as I conceived a name for the elixir.

SQUEEZE – the perfect name.

Why? Because my elixir would literally squeeze thirty-six hours effort from a mere twelve-hour exertion!

“Do not follow me!” I hoarsely commanded my pet entourage, retreating to my lab. I vowed never to emerge until SQUEEZE was ready to market.

I tore off my clothes and dressed in sackcloth. I sat in ashes and scratched my boils.

Wait. Sorry. That was Job, the Patriarch from the Bible. I get us mixed up sometimes.

Actually, I happened to glance out the window. Birds jabbed their beaks into my winter lawn. A crisp blue sky with pillow clouds winked at me.

Inside, my kitchen twinkled like an old friend. My houseplants seemed two shades greener than usual.

Epiphany! 

I am in charge of ME!

Who said I had to turn out 2,000 words by evening? It was my own Sunday afternoon goal. I set it. I could break it, couldn’t I?

If I wanted to take weekends (or a day or an hour or two weeks) off and be a regular human being, I could!

I shook my fist in the direction of my home office.

Do you hear me, blogs yet unwritten?

Do you hear me, Work in Progress?

Do you hear me, computer, you greedy gateway to the social media universe?

I am the one in charge of my schedule . . . NOT YOU!

I think I must have passed out after that. When I came to, I was making potato soup, jalapeño cornbread and coconut pound cake. I spent the rest of the afternoon and evening with family (who sort of remembered who I was). We ate, talked and watched one of the very long Lord of the Rings movies. The best part – no guilt!

Takeaway

It’s hard to hit a target with a lopsided rock. Balance your life, and you’ll hit the important targets straight on.

How do you keep balance in your life? Please share. We’d love to hear about it!

31 thoughts on “Swoosh! Kerplunk! Ping! Ahghhh!

  1. SEND THE ELIXER recipe. Fun, fun, painfully accurate post about how I feel at the moment.

    Add. Hmmm. What else was it I had to do today. Oh. Right! We have our house on the market. HIDE ALL extraneous papers so I can spend the next three months looking for them.

  2. Fab post Jodi. This is something I’m just learning. By the end of advent I want to feel peace a calm and more balance. I’ve decided it is very liberating to choose random days or half days when you can be normal without the guilt. I think the first step is losing the guilt of not getting to every single blog you always go to all the time. Hopefully we’re in this for the long haul, so what’s the panic?

    1. Love your idea of random days or half days off, Catherine. That’s the trick..learning to breathe and take in the day (or half day) without feeling pressure and guilt. Bet you find the peace and calm you are seeking!

  3. What a great blog. It is dead on. My wife and I were discussing this very subject not 5 minutes ago. I’m thinking I need a weeks vacation from all social media to bring my nerves back to ground. Right now they are zipping around somewhere near Pluto… or maybe they have left the solar system completely.

    Thanks for a timely and fun read.

    1. Oh, Richard, I so know what you are going through. I think you and your wife are right on. A vacation from social media might be the next ingredient for me to add to SQUEEZE. It can’t hurt. I think hubby and I are right behind you! Today, I was supposed to be writing on my WIP. Yet, I had to answer my FB notes, contact my web person and clear out my biz email which led to this, that, this, that, and here it is noon. Sigh.I’m thinking of gentle turquoise waves and white sand covered in shells. What time shall we all depart? ;D Thanks for visiting!

  4. What a wonderful post! I wish I had some answers, but I don’t. Balance is so hard to find, and I think it’s finally exhausted me today. I am out of it and want nothing more than to, well, sleep. LOL I need to star this post and come back and read it when I’m more, well, NOT out of it! But I love it just the same!

    1. Thanks, April. Listen, you are on the right track in so many ways. Just hang in there. I’m excited about your date night with your husband tonight (ala Facebook posts). Bet that puts a lot of balance back in the mix! Have fun! ;D

  5. Great post, Jodi! I have the guilt-game down to an art form. I need to take my lopsided rock labeled ‘guilt’ and let it swoosh, kerplunk, and ping off a few choice targets. Thanks for the laugh! I can always count on you for a good one.

  6. You certainly don’t lack VOICE. See, you are miles ahead of some of us in that department so it all balances out in the end. I laughed heartily at this post. You are fuuuunny, girl.

    I went through a day like above about two weeks ago and finally had to say enough already. I can only do so much, I HAVE A LIFE, somewhere under the piles on my computer–oh, no that was my WIP under there–I meant outside my office, and I need to be there sometimes. Thanks for the laugh. Keep working on the Triberr though, will save you lots of time. Have you seen the tutorial?

  7. Have to admit I haven’t watched the tutorial. But Laird is working feverishly INSIDE the Triberr system to get me there. If it doesn’t work, we’re going to Hawaii together and get snookered on coconut drinks! You know I mean it, don’t you? ;D Thanks for writing, Cora. Come back often!

  8. Over the past six weeks I’ve felt chained to the computer/iPhone screen… Even when watching TV, I’ve been in Triberr reading/approving blogs (sorry to mention the T word here, but hopefully you’ll be with us soon!). I’m starting to resent the gruelling schedule I set myself.

    I’m going to phase back on blogging – I can’t really sustain 3 a week, unless I happen to be inspired by something. I might be able to manage two and stay sane. Let’s see! But I have to prioritise my WIP, which is languishing forgotten somewhere. Because if I don’t get that done, then what’s the point of pushing myself to have a ‘platform’?

    I want to blog when I feel inspired, when I have something to say. All this scheduling and feeling obliged to blog is doing my head in. I need to find the middle road.

    Great post! I’m in a similar place to you 🙂

    1. Are we twins separated at birth? I feel your pain, girl. The schedule we are keeping IS grueling, and it’s crucial to find those moments (hours/half days/days) in which we are just ourselves again. I hear you about the blogging…if we squeeeeeze the fruit of inspiration too hard, it may dry up. One biggie blog and one fun blog a week seem to be my max, at least right now. Please take some time for yourself before that resentment you mentioned turns into something worse. RX for Ellen: one or more days REST and RELAXATION (R&R). Mad Scientist’s orders!

  9. Love this, Jodi! Your writing and pictures are just hysterical. Yes, sometimes it’s hard to remember we’re self-employed–and we need to give ourselves breaks from the internal slavedriver sometimes 🙂

    1. What came to me in the process of answering these wonderful comments is that if we weren’t all so high-powered, drill-heavy Type-A’s, we wouldn’t be having this angst! Our more laid-back friends and relatives think we’re bonkers to drive ourselves like we do. But I know that we can’t help it! I’m not going to say to hack that internal slave driver into a hundred pieces, oh no…but do subdue her often, Alina. You deserve it!

  10. That whole balance thing is so tricky. Just when you think you’ve got it…bang, something else comes your way. LOL. I guess we just have have to keep readjusting. If we’ve got a list of top priorities, it’s much easier to let the unnecessary stuff slide.

    1. Sonia, you are so right. It’s a little like balancing an egg white on an ice cream stick, you know? Laughing about it helps! 😀 Thanks for visiting. Come back often!

  11. Bulls Eye – right on the nail – etc. This is a brilliant post. There must be something in the air, because my son and I sat and watched all three Lord of the Rings movies in his last days before starting uni, and right now I’m making plum butter – I finally bothered to go and pick them off the tree, along with the apples, lemons, nashis and some pears. so life is good, even when there is no computer in sight. Loved this post, did I say that?

  12. “It’s hard to hit a target with a lopsided rock.”
    Can I quote you, Jodi?
    I have been scarce in the cyberworld of late. Trying to find rocks. lopsided or not . . . and trying to find some of that balance.

    1. Sure you can quote me, Susanne. I’d be honored if any of my sayings helped others. Don’t give up…those rocks you’re looking for are just around the next bend in the river! Thanks so much for stopping by.

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