17 Jun

balance, having it all, and the myth of the superwoman

Lately, I have been thinking a lot about life post PhD (I am way, way too far away from done to be doing that, but I have been indulging in it) and I’ve been reading a lot about the idea of balance. This post is a reflection on my own views on balance, views I think I’ve had for quite some time, but which I’ve really only made sense of by writing this post. It started out as a response to some other posts I’ve been reading through the #blogjune challenge. I’ve been working on it for at least a week, in various forms, and I think it’s done. Done, but not perfect. It reflects my views and my life and my reality, but it may not reflect yours. I should also note (for those who don’t know me) that I am pretty much a workaholic and that I have an unusual (but awesome) family situation. It’s probably worth keeping these things in mind because there is ultimately no way I could write a post like this that is not informed by how much I love my work and how much time I spend on it, and how much I love my family and how much time I invest in my people. So here goes.

[Update: I should add the disclaimer that I don’t have a partner and I don’t have kids, and I still struggle with the notion of balance. This post is not just a reflection on my life as it is right now but on the life I imagine in the future.]

******

The phrase ‘work/life balance’ implies a divide. It also implies there’s a sweet spot at which work – at one side of the divide – and life – on the other side of the divide – sit at an equilibrium. It’s a precarious thing, this balance. It’s hard to maintain. You have to sit pretty still. Sneeze, and that seesaw is going to move out of alignment.

In fact, I think this balance is so hard to maintain that if we were to be really, truly honest with ourselves, we’d all fess up to the fact we have aspired to this thing, but we’ve never actually seen it in the flesh. At least, I haven’t.

I don’t know what balance looks like, but I do know what it doesn’t look like. It doesn’t look like picket fences, perfect lawns and a gorgeous house; it doesn’t look like immaculately dressed and impeccably mannered kids who do great at school, play five sports and spend their evenings practicing piano; it doesn’t look like parents with rock star careers who spend an hour a day at the gym and pursue their respective hobbies on the weekends. It doesn’t look like these things because we are not perfect and life is messy.

A few months back, I saw a picture on Pinterest of a masking tape car track that some awesome mum had made in her lounge room. So I did it. I crawled around on the lounge room floor and taped out a massive mess of interconnecting roads complete with mountains (cushions with road taped over them) and driveways that lead to garages (in the book shelf). My nephew was in raptures. It was awesome. I put the picture somewhere online and a friend commented “Wow! I’ve seen this on Pinterest but I didn’t realise that *actual people* did this stuff” (or something along those lines).

Life is not perfect and we do not live inside a Pinterest board. We can’t all plan menus a month in advance, drink fresh, unpasteurised milk from the house cow out the back, scrapbook every event from birthdays to barbecues, and tick off a major house cleaning task every day as we pursue a 365 day cleaning plan. Well actually, we probably *could* do all that (except for the cow; the cow may not work in suburbia or the city). But it’s when we try to do all of that *and* work 70 hours a week in a demanding job (or 20 hours a week in an undemanding job, or 40 hours a weeks in a whatever job, or whatever hours per week in an amazing job) *and* be a friend or a lover, a wife or a sister, an aunty or a mother, maybe all of these things… that things start to fall apart.

But we perpetuate this myth that it’s possible to strike a balance between work and all the other aspects of our lives.

Even if we don’t attempt to live by the Pinterest rules, it is really freaking hard, if not impossible, to find that elusive sweet spot that allows us to balance all of our priorities and all of the things we love.

You cannot separate work out from everything else that you are, everything else that you do, and everything else that you desire and expect to find some sort of equilibrium. You cannot put work on one end of a seesaw and lump all your other stuff on the other end without turning that seesaw into a catapult.

I do not believe there is such a thing as work/life balance. I do not believe it is possible to draw a line between work and life. And I do not believe that balance is either possible or necessarily worth pursuing.

I think there is just life, and life is a mix. A complex, gooey, sticky, amazing, terrifying, awesome mix of stuff.

In a mix, things are chopped up, beaten through, whisked together, pulled apart and reformed. Nothing exists in isolation; everything is part of the same mix. [Aside: I’m really sorry about the tortured baking metaphor. I’ve been baking a LOT of cakes lately and I can literally see the molten mix of this white chocolate mud cake as I write… And I really just want to go eat more cake.]

There are only two things about ‘the life mix’ that are constant. The first is that it’s messy, and the second is that it’s constantly in flux.

Whatever is important to you, whoever you want to be, whatever you want to achieve, however you want to live, making it all work is hard, and messy, and complicated, and exhausting. Once it’s all chucked in together, I don’t think it’s possible to separate it all out neatly. Not into a dozen piles, and certainly not into a single pile on either side of the work/life divide.

A little while back, I was having a discussion with someone who was on maternity leave after the birth of her child, and who was thinking about options for her career. She said to me, “It’s just not my season”. This conversation had a profound impact on me because in this short statement, I saw that it’s okay, that it’s possible, to let life unfold in seasons, in periods of time where we we focus on different aspects of ‘the mix’.

Which leads me to another myth. One that is perpetuated by the work/life balance myth. One that I think is potentially dangerous. The myth that says we can have it all.

The reality – maybe just my reality, but maybe it’s yours too – is that it’s never going to be possible to have it all. I know for certain that whatever ‘it all’ happens to be, we absolutely, definitely, cannot have it all at the same time.

Once upon a time, I thought it was possible to have everything, as long as I was patient, and willing to wait for some stuff to happen. Ultimately, I knew that everything I wanted to do and be could not be actualised at the same time, but I still thought it was possible to do All Of The Things over the course of my life.

I have recently had the realisation that I am now, in fact, a grown up and that I have been for quite some time, unbeknownst to me, and now all of a sudden I am years and years down the grown up path and I have wasted time. Before you all jump up: I know, I know, I’m young. But that does not mean the clock isn’t ticking and it does not make it any easier to reconcile myself to the fact I might have missed the boat on a few things (again, I know people are going to tell me that’s a crock, but in my reality, it is the truth; it is true that I won’t get to do some of the things I wanted to do in quite the same way I might have envisaged).

Luckily for me, these realisations coincided with another: the realisation that I actually do not want it all. Because ‘it all’ includes some things that are mutually exclusive, and ultimately, I have to prioritise one thing over another. Because ‘having it all’ means I would have to compromise to an unreasonable extent on some of the things. Because life is too short: it’s too short to do a half assed job of everything; too short to be jumping from one pursuit to the next without any time to stop and reflect and take stock and enjoy; too short to be focusing on the big picture and consequently missing out on the minutiae, skimming over the moments, and being present without being present.

Work/life balance is a myth. The idea that we can have it all is a lie. And superwoman is a fictional superhuman babe invented by a man.

30 posts in June: 14/30

16 Jun

my name is kate, and i procrastinate

Did you get that the title was meant to be rapped? No? It’s okay, I was concerned* this may happen.

I try not to work on Sundays, or at least to only do bits of work like answer email or respond to students on Facebook and Twitter. At least, that’s the plan, but the reality is I do tend to schedule tasks for Sundays more often than not.

Today I had two big things on my to do list, but I haven’t done either of them, and here’s why.

This post is essentially a reflection on my day of procrastination. [Aside: I just realised this blog post is another act of procrastination.]

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s start at the beginning.

This morning I cleaned up my office and moved stuff around. This was absolutely necessary as everything was dusty because the cleaner is too scared to dust in here (I think). The first time she came I pretty much nailed the office door shut because I was in the middle of making about a million fabric crowns for the twins’ birthday party so the floor was covered in cotton and it was only going to get worse. I think she kind of thinks this room is off limits, even though I keep telling her to feel free to clean in here. I moved my enormous printer (twice) and then put it back where it was in the beginning. I sorted a whole stack of medical claims (a year’s worth of dietician, physio and exercise physiology receipts). Frustratingly, I had already sorted these once before, but the piles had been swept into a washing basket one day when the cleaner was coming (I’m seeing a theme here…) and all that lovely organisation got lost. Then I pinned a bunch of stuff on my non-cork board. I tried to get the printer working wirelessly via my new router. I wound up iDevice connectors and headsets and clipped them with bulldog clips and tucked them away in a little plastic dish. If I wasn’t still in a fair bit of pain courtesy of a bulging disk, I would have crawled under the desks to organise what I like to call Cord World. (Hey that reminds me, I’ve been meaning to buy cable management boxes… See, it’s a slippery slope.) I rewrote all the post its on my desk in my notebook. I looked online for iPod adaptors for Bose sound docks because mine are missing and my iPod has been propped up for six months on the little plastic dish that is now the receptacle for my headset. [Update: headset no longer has a home because I couldn’t find anything else suitable to prop the iPod up with.]

That’s some intense procrastination, I know. But it doesn’t end there.

I had a nap (which I really, really needed so I don’t think it counts). It was a good nap. The longest I’ve been able to pull off for ages. Two whole blissful hours in which I could procrastinate without having to *do* anything and in which I didn’t feel guilty for procrastinating, given I was unconscious.

I also bought some fabric, which involved checking prices in a couple of places (sounds simple, but add in a layer of currency conversion and you have a time sink), figuring out postage costs, and having an internal debate about buying it from the US when I discovered it via an update from a local small business. I actually procrastinated about the act of procrastinating through buying fabric. The fabric was in my shopping cart for three hours while I thought about whether I should get it and where I should get it from.

Then I brushed my teeth again because I ate cake (twice) and drank Coke (a lot) so they felt like they were covered in sugar.

When that was done, I thought I might be ready to work, so in preparation, I archived the files from the batch of marking I finished earlier in the week. Then I organised and renamed all the files I’m supposed to be marking today and prepared the criteria sheets.

Then I thought to myself, “This is so ridiculous that I need to write a blog post about it”. So I wrote this post.

Because here’s the thing: Today I missed out on going for a walk, playing at the park and having fish and chips for lunch because I needed to work. And now it’s after 5pm and I still have a whole day’s worth of work to do. Which means I now have to miss dinner at my sister’s place in aide of getting some work done.

This is absolutely the stupidest thing. It’s Sunday. I didn’t get any work done, but neither did I get to have fun. Well, the nap was pretty good and looking at fabric is pretty fun. But I missed all the family stuff. Because I procrastinated the whole day away. Who does that? And more to the point, how is that I do not have enough insight into myself to judge my mood and decide whether it’s going to be conducive to working or not? I should have purposefully had a day off, instead of faffing around and wasting it.

I decided this was a life changing revelation (although really, I’ve had this revelation before, and still I faff). I decided I absolutely had to tell the world that it is just silly to procrastinate about work on a Sunday. It’s just a great big waste of a day you could spend with the people you love, doing things you love doing.

So I wrote this post, hit publish, and got stuck straight into my marking.

Hahahahaha gotcha!

Actually, I decided I really needed to have a shower right-now-right-this-minute, and of course, I needed to have it before I could do even one tiny little dot of work. So I stopped writing this post, had a shower, came back to my desk, and started working.

Did I get you again?

Of course I didn’t start working! I had to entirely rewrite this post. And then I changed the title. And then I thought, “Oh, I wonder if people will read it as a rap? Maybe I should record myself reading it as a rap and post the recording?”.

So now I’m looking at my schedule for the week to see where I’m going to fit the work I didn’t do today, and that in all honesty, I am highly unlikely to do tonight.

Moral of the story? Work, or don’t work. But do it with intent.

30 posts in June: 13/30

15 Jun

but he started it!

Last night I happened to catch some of the late night replay of The Project. Unsurprisingly, there was a lot of talk about Howard Sattler’s interview with Julia Gillard.

The Australian journalist Janet Albrechtsen was interviewed about the incident and about Gillard’s term more generally. She made a comment that suggested Gillard was playing the ‘gender game’.

Of course she’s playing a bloody gender game.

But the point is, she’s been forced into playing a gender game by the media, other politicians, and the public. From the outset, she has been criticised as a woman, not as a politician.

It’s a bit like parents who smack their kids to punish them for hitting another kid. I’ll smack you when I feel like, but don’t you dare think about smacking anyone yourself.

Gillard is being criticised for playing a game that she didn’t choose to play. We (the media, other politicians, you and I) don’t get to punish her for playing her part in a game we pushed her into.

If she was treated, criticised, held to account in the same way male politicians are, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

On a related note, and following up from my post yesterday: I am bewildered by all the people I’ve encountered in the last two days who think gender disparity doesn’t exist in Australia. What the actual fuck? Are we living in the same country?

30 posts in June: 12/30

14 Jun

this country isn’t ready for a woman pm

The first link I followed in my Twitter stream this morning caused me to tweet this:

All else aside, this narrow minded country needs the Gillard govt returned so we can give all the misogynistic, bigoted assholes the finger.

But I’ve decided 140 characters isn’t enough. So here are the rest of my thoughts on this.

This is not a post about politics, policy, or my political leanings.

This is a post about misogyny, bigotry, and narrow mindedness.

I remember the day of the original leadership spill like it was yesterday. For the one and only time in my life, I willingly listened to talkback radio in the car on my way to work. When I parked my car I walked quickly to the office, fired up my computer and spent the rest of the morning watching the spill unfold.

I remember saying “This country is not ready for a woman PM”.

How right I was.

To be clear: I strongly disagree with a number of Gillard government policies. I disagree with Gillard’s stance on marriage equality. I am bewildered by the idea that you can cut funding to education to fund educational reform. I am ashamed that I live in a country that has excised itself from its own migration zone. In short, I am disappointed, appalled even, at some of the decisions taken by this government and some of the bewildering legislation it has proposed and had passed.

But I am also appalled at how the media, opposition politicians, and even the general public have questioned, shamed, bullied, and discriminated against Julia Gillard, a professional acting in a professional capacity, in a manner and to an extent that would never happen to a man in her position.

How dare we question a person, who is acting in their professional capacity, about their own and their partner’s sexuality.

How dare we capitalise on a person’s grief for political or professional gain by suggesting they caused their father to die of shame.

How dare we expend more energy laughing at a politician losing her shoe than we do questioning her politics.

I am afraid of the outcome of the looming federal election. Let’s face it: none of the options are particularly appealing. I find myself lamenting – again – the demise of the Democrats.

But regardless of the outcome of this election, I have a bigger concern.

This country is not ready for a woman PM. This saddens me. It makes me worry about the future of this country. It makes me feel ashamed to be an Australian. And not just because it speaks of a culture of misogyny, but because it’s indicative of a much broader, ingrained, insidious, narrow minded bigotry.

30 posts in June: 11/30

13 Jun

friends don’t let friends say ‘yes’ to everything

Abigail posted recently about knowing when to say yes, and when it’s okay to say no. I have a longer post on work/life balance in draft, but I wanted to share this tip now.

In my 20s, I made a conscious decision to prioritise my career. I said yes to everything, not out of fear of missing out, but because everything sounded fun and interesting and challenging. It wasn’t always about progressing my career, but it is true that work was a huge part of my life and it was where most my energy went*. And I waned to do All The Fun Stuff. So I said yes. To everything. All. The. Time.

2013 is the year of the PhD. It’s make or break time. I either write my thesis in the next eight months, or I don’t get my PhD.

So I have made a conscious choice to say no. To everything. All. The. Time.

I went from being the ultimate “yes, yes, yes!” girl, to the “I’m sorry, but I can’t” girl, overnight.

I won’t lie. The lure of shiny fun new things is still as strong as ever. But this year, I’m doing a good job of saying no. And a couple of things are helping me to manage this. Actually, both ‘things’ are people.

The first of these people is my boss. She is this big human shield that deflects the shiny stuff before I see it so I don’t get tempted. Not in a bad way. Not in a “I’m not letting you do anything fun so just get back to work” way. But in a strategic “I know what’s important to you right now, and I’m going to help you prioritise it” kind of way. The reason this works is that I am 100% confident she knows me, knows where I want to go with my career, and would never let me miss a shiny opportunity if I really needed to take it.

The second is a friend and colleague. She is my Just Say No buddy. We are very alike, equally tempted by shiny things, on a very similar path, and at very similar places in our lives. Because we work together, we know the demands of each others’ jobs. We have the same peaks and troughs in our work schedules. We know each others’ diaries almost as well as we know our own. We know what big projects we each have going on. We’re even aiming for roughly the same thesis submission date. Because we’re friends, we know about all the life stuff that’s going on too.

Whenever each of us sees an opportunity in our peripheral vision (peripheral, because we are deliberately not looking for opportunities) or gets presented with an opportunity, we challenge each other on whether we should do it. Even when we are actually really excited for the other person and we want to say, “yes, do it!”, we still challenge each other. We say, “So how is this going to impact on your schedule?” or we say, “You can’t do that right now. Where are you going to take the time from?”. Sometimes we say, “Oh my god oh my god squeeeeeee! That’s amazing!”. But we follow it up with “You know you really shouldn’t do it, right?”. Sometimes (often maybe?!) we ignore these challenges, and we do All The Fun Stuff anyway. But the process of challenging each other means we make the decision to do the shiny things with our eyes wide open. We know what they’re going to do to our workloads. We know we will have to compromise somewhere as a result. But ultimately, in most cases, neither of us says yes to anything unless we talk to the other person about it, and we’ve made a conscious decision to do that.

If your instinct is to jump at every opportunity, I would recommend you find yourself a Just Say No buddy. Or at least (if your goal isn’t to consistently say no, like it is for me right now) a Keeping It Real buddy. Someone who can help you get perspective on All The Shiny Things and help you to think through your options. This person should be someone who understands you, who knows what your goals are, who understands the path you’re on, who is strategic, and who (most importantly) has your best interests at heart.

Cause friends don’t let friends burn out.

30 posts in June: 10/30

* See how I’m using past tense here? Like this isn’t still the case? BAHAHAHA!]

11 Jun

mistakes i’d rather not make

I like to learn by doing. I’m okay with making mistakes.

I’ve learned to sew with a seam ripper by my side. Sometimes by the time I get a seam right, the fabric is so full of holes from being sewn and unpicked, sewn and unpicked, sewn and unpicked, that it’s likely the seam will never actually hold up to any wear. But you know what? I mastered that bloody pattern and I can make those pants again, with perfect seams (and probably a lot less swearing) the next time.

Some mistakes are harder to swallow.

Like mistakes that impact adversely on other people. It’s all well and good for me to learn by doing, but not if my jumping in and giving it a go is going to impact on someone else.

The other kind of mistake I’d rather not make is the type I just discovered I have made. It’s the kind of mistake where I spend a lot of time doing something the right way, only to discover it was actually the wrong way. The type of mistake I caught in time to fix, but so late in the game that the fixing is urgent. The type of mistake that is completely, 100% fixable. The type of mistake that is going to take me about six hours to fix.

Normally, I would go into my room, curl up in a ball, and sob it out for ten minutes. But the cleaner is here and I’m not sure what she’d make of that. So I thought maybe blogging about it would be cathartic, and luckily for me (and the cleaner) it was. (I still might cry when she finishes.)

Righto. Time to get my shit together and start the fixing.

30 posts in June: 9/30

09 Jun

one stop feed shop for #blogjune

Note: If you would like to cut to the chase and grab the combined feed of #blogjune blogs, here are the links you need:

[Edit: After all that work, I can’t get the feed to import into Flipboard (imports in Google Reader ok though). I think the feed is dodgy. Boo. Will have to investigate aggregators further. In the mean time, I’ve loaded Peta’s OPML file into Google Reader and shared the feed, which I’m now viewing in Flipboard. Please feel free to use my public Google Reader feed if you want to view the posts in Flipboard.]

My preferred tool for reading blogs is Flipboard. But Flipboard has the annoying ‘feature’ of limiting how many things you can add to your pages. In the past this hasn’t been an issue because you could simply subscribe to a feed of a folder you had created in Google Reader, or even a feed of all your Google Reader subs.

Unless you’ve been on the moon for the last couple of months, you probably would have seen some serious lamenting around the web about the demise of Google Reader. It’s set to be switched off from 1 July 2013. I’ve been less concerned about this than others, because other than a couple of teaching-related things, I don’t actually use Google Reader any more. I get most of my news from Twitter. I read the few blogs I still keep an eye on in Flipboard. Plus, Flipboard has announced it’s going to save our Google Reader subs for us.

But the demise of Google Reader is going to be a bit of an issue for my teaching. In Semester 2 each year, I teach a unit in which all my students blog. In previous semesters, I’ve run this unit off a self-hosted instance of WordPress Multisite with BuddyPress. This creates a network of blogs so students can easily monitor each others’ blogs by looking around the network or watching the latest posts feed on the home page. But next semester, I’m on sabbatical, so we’re going to run things a bit differently. Instead of WordPress, the course site will be built as a Blackboard site, and students will be free to choose where they would like to blog. I’m actually happy about this change, because I think students will learn more by managing their sites independently, rather than having me as on-call support for their blogs on the course site.

I also teach students about content aggregation and curation and as part of this, I share an OPML file via Google Reader that they can import into their own feed readers. Obviously, that’s no longer going to be an option. Which means I need to do a review of the material around aggregation and curation, even though there hasn’t been a lot of change in this sphere in the last 12 months (well, beyond Google pulling the pin on Google Reader) – the big players have remained the same.

So, with the move to distributed student blogs and the need to find an alternative to sharing my subscriptions via Google Reader, I needed to find another way to aggregate students’ blog posts in a single space. I’ve been meaning to play around with feed aggregators that output a single feed for some time, and #blogjune has given me a reason to do it sooner rather than later.

I just used FeedStitch t0 create a single feed for 60 blogs that are part of #blogjune 2013. It was a little bit tedious because I couldn’t just import the OPML file available on Con’s site. I had to manually add each feed. There are also a handful of blogs missing because I couldn’t find the feeds – they didn’t detect automatically and none of my usual detective tricks worked. If your blog is one of these, please let me know – just drop your feed address in a comment here and I’ll add it.

30 posts in June: 8/30

08 Jun

meet the katies: a twitter directory of kat*e davises

I regularly get tweeted by people I don’t know on topics I know nothing about because I have a really common name.

In fact, my name isn’t just common. It’s famous. None of that fame belongs to me, but I do often get mistaken for the more interesting Katie Davises out there.

But first, a confession: my name is not *actually* Katie Davis. It’s really Kate Davis. My family and friends call me Katie though. A term of endearment kind of thing that has crossed over from personal life to professional life. I don’t mind being called Katie. In fact I like it.

Which is kind of ironic because as a teenager and in my early 20s, I grew to be really defiant about my name being Kate. Because people always ask what it’s short for. Which is annoying. My standard response of “It’s just plain Kate” invariably gets met with a reply of “There’s nothing plain about you!” (not because there’s nothing plain about me, but because people are nice).

As a teenager, my dad clued in on how frustrated I got with the “just plain Kate” explanation, so he started calling me Katherine, and still does today. It’s even more difficult to fend off the “What’s Kate short for?” questions when your own parent is standing there calling you Katherine. Not that there’s anything wrong with the name Katherine. Or Kathryn. Or Catherine. In fact I know some pretty awesome specimens of Kathrineness. But I’m not one of them.

I did a round of reply tweets the other day to a bunch of people who’d tweeted me thinking I was another Katie Davis, which led to me tweeting about my parents’ lack of inventiveness when they named me, which lead to a declaration that I would write a “meet the Katies” post.

Incidentally, it’s not easy to let the poor misguided tweeters know they’ve got the wrong Katie Davis because my account is private (by virtue of it being the place where I just blurt shit out without thinking. Actually, I also do this in physical spaces, with far more abandon than I do online. Even when I resolve to say nothing on a topic or in a particular forum, I just can’t help myself). Anyway, I digress. Redirecting these tweeters means I have to tweet from my public account to explain that I am in fact also @katiedavis but not the Katie Davis they think I am.

Tweet with text: dear my parents in 1982. please give me a unique first name. make something up. common is going to be problematic for me. kthxbai.

So here, belatedly, is the “meet the Katies” post.

And lucky for me, one of the other Katie Davises has already started the list. This is an update with the addition of Twitter handles for the Katies, and a list of some interesting Kates, too.

Some of the most interesting Katie Davises out there include

  • @katieinuganda is a 24 year old mother to 13 adopted Ugandan girls. She lives in Uganda with her girls and runs a ministry that provides education, employment, food and more in Ugandan communities. Wow.
  • @KatieDavisBurps is an author and illustrator. She also blogs and podcasts about children’s literature, creates resources for authors, and makes book trailers. She’s also the Katie Davis who maintains the original list of Katie Davises.
  • @katiedavisawake is an inspirational speaker and spiritual teacher.
  • @katiedavismusic is an awesome singer/songwriter.
  • @katiebda is an Assistant Professor at the University of Washington iSchool. She researches around adolescents and new media. There are some really interesting synergies between what this Katie Davis does and what I do.

And those are just the Katie Davises. Then there are the Kate Davises (although interestingly I very rarely get mistaken for these Kat*es).

Lucky for me, I tend to be a reasonably early adopter of new and shiny things. This means I’ve been able to grab my preferred handle (katiedavis) or variations on it (e.g. katiedavispins on Pinterest) around the web. I did end up with a less than perfect Gmail address, despite getting an invite in the very early days, where they were so highly sought after that people were selling them on eBay. As a result, I’ve lost email, and I’ve gained email – and I’ve done a fair bit of “Hi, you sent me this thing and it’s pretty confidential and I am not the person you thought I was”. It’s also increasingly tricky to make a common name work across platforms that integrate. For example, if a friend wants to tag me in an Instagram pic and have it surface in my tweet stream, they end up spamming the lucky person who nabbed katiedavis for their Instagram account.

So there you go, interwebs. A lesson in why you should make sure at least one part of your kid’s name is unusual. And also the reason why I will be claiming my one-day-child’s name all over the web before they’re an hour old.

30 posts in June: 7/30

08 Jun

my brand of #blogjune

I’ve had an epiphany. Some days I just do not have any words left when it comes to blog-post-writing-o’clock. Some days I just don’t have the decisiveness to choose a direction for a post to go in and then stick with it. Some days all I can see are the typos and the clunky phrasing and I don’t have the energy to fix it all up.

I’ve got plenty of ideas – and so plenty of posts in draft – but some days I just can’t get them to go from half-baked-draft to fit-for-publishing-post.

This makes sense because right now I’m a week into a month in which I will do little else other than mark assignments. It’s hard to put down the (metaphorical) red pen when it comes to my own writing. Does this post clearly acknowledge and meet the needs of the audience? Is the plan or purpose of the post unclear? Tick. Does it acknowledge alternative viewpoints? Does it provide an exhaustive analysis of all aspects of the topic? [Hyperventilates]

So I’ve decided to modify the #blogjune challenge for myself. Instead of forcing myself to publish something I’m less than happy with every day, instead, I’m going to focus on writing 30 posts in the month. That might end up being a post a day sometimes, but it’s more likely I’ll post in bursts.

I’m blogging this June, but I’m just doing it my way.

30 posts in June: 6/30