From 9 to 16

The final three interviews today!


Ms. Tabitha Schmidt of 16/10 said:

I limit my blog reading because I still prefer to read from real paper, not the screen. I was surprised how many of the blogs I subscribe to are written by people I know, probably because two of my favorite bloggers are women I haven’t met. If I don’t know the writers personally, I stick with blogs that speak to my life, and that I know are worth every minute of my time. If they don’t meet that criteria, I usually end up unsubscribing.

I like how you’re thinking about blog reading. You seem to have found some good criteria for navigating in a world that can take as much time as you give to it!

What do you like to read? And how do you find the time?

I love to read stories — fiction mostly, or really good nonfiction books.  An inspirational/self-help book has to really speak to me for me to keep at it.  And how do I find the time? That’s a trick question for me — there is just always time to read! If nothing else, I’ll read in bed at night. And yes, I get to bed too late.

Is a Kindle real paper?

Well . . . Next best! It beats a screen hollow, and even an iPhone. You can take it to the bathroom with you, and use it while eating lunch. 🙂 But it does run out of batteries. Books just don’t need recharging. And you can go back and find something more easily.

What’s your greatest frustration with the blogging world?

For the best reading experience with blogs, I need to be at my computer. I don’t like to read from my iPhone, as I said. And it takes time to keep up with them. That’s why I keep unsubscribing from the blogs that barrage me with too many posts I don’t always want to read.

Your criteria for blog-reading centers around writers you don’t know personally. What about the writers you do know? I assume your reasons for reading may be different—not so much “worth every minute of your time” as “worth it because I care.” Do you ever feel obligation to keep up with what your friends write?

The “worth it because I care” nails it. Yes, sometimes I feel obligated to keep up. But then I may postpone the catching up until I have “lots of time” and do it in one sitting. I stay subscribed because I genuinely want to keep up with these friends, or encourage them in a fledgling blog or a difficult world, even if it’s only by reading what they have to say. Both reasons apply. And I would like to clarify that these blogs also speak to my life, and that is another reason I follow them.

What are your favorite ways to keep up with friends and connect with people?

Probably by going out for coffee together. If that’s not possible, then a phone call, when I’m in the right mood. And then Facebook or blogs. Email is good, but it takes time. For some reason, it’s easier for me to take the time to talk on the phone than to take the time to write a long, heart-baring email. Some deep-seated laziness on my part, perhaps, or the feeling that email is just not as private. Someone else in the family might open it first and see something completely personal, not meant for their eyes. Yikes. Horrors.


Ms. Janine Stutzman of 15/4 said:

I enjoy reading, and reading a blog is less involved than sitting down with a book. With kids, I have less “reading a book” time. I gain ideas for decorating, parenting, and new foods by reading blogs. On the flip side, I also get frustrated and sometimes angry at some of the stuff I read… so sometimes I’m not sure how much I actually “gain”.

You expressed both enjoyment and frustration, and I’d like to hear more! What books do you like to read when you have the time?

I read a variety of fiction and nonfiction. At this point in my life, it has to be easy reading though, nothing too deep or theological. Something I can read with lots of distractions happening around me.

What’s your greatest frustration with blog reading?

My greatest frustration with blogs is the “perfect” blogs where the perfect mom blogs about her perfect vacations from her perfect living room, with perfect pictures scattered throughout all taken with her fancy camera. I enjoy the bloggers who keep it real without having to prove it with pictures or words. The blogs that I will continue to come back to are the ones with one or two paragraphs of concise, easy reading on any subject or good tutorials on different things that not everybody else is doing. There are some really great photographers out there that I enjoy as well.

Have you found ways to avoid or filter out the irritating sides, and maximize the good?

I don’t have a good method for filtering the irritating. I just remind myself that what I take from it is my choice and I really don’t want it to ruin my life or change who I am as an individual. Remembering that I don’t know the whole story helps me to be less critical towards the things/people I read.

What are your favorite ways to keep up with friends and connect with people?

My favorite way to connect with people is face to face or just simply interacting with them on a day to day base. I find it a little disconcerting at times when I think about the details I know about people’s lives just because I read their blogs. The idea of having “blogger friends” or friends that I have never met is just not “me” and for that reason I am mostly a silent reader, who hopes that the blogger can’t see how many times I keep checking in for a new post. 🙂


Ms. Marlene Stoltzfus of 9/6 said:

My blog reading is a mix of keeping up with people I know and things that pique my interest. I find it important, as a stay-at-home mom who doesn’t like to run around much, to make sure that I’m getting positive input on my professional development. (Yes, truly. It deserves the same learning intention that my husband practices at his job.) I have learned so much practically, aesthetically, ideologically from blogs, though the fragmentation of input drives me crazy sometimes.

I like your terms! Could you explain “professional development”? What does it look like?

Professional development sounds more hip than it is. 🙂
A few years ago, I was in a class that talked about the importance of continuing to develop and stay sharp in your field, no matter what the vocation. Homemaking was mentioned as one of the examples. It was refreshing to think of homemaking as a legitimate field for seeing past the urgent (and immediate) to long range.

I think of homemaking as general categories that break down into a myriad of facets. General categories might be household and land management, interacting with children, and personal development (because a woman alive apart from her job ends up being a better, healthier worker). There are general tasks that everyone has to do (we gotta eat), but we usually pick and choose among the facets for what is more important to us (what will we eat and how much time will we spend making it?). So, I’m interested in knowing Jesus, mommying, and living simply/greenly with a dash of good literature and food. I tend to subscribe to blogs that share several layers of these interests. Some are like swapping kitchen tips with a group of women; others are for ruminating.

Do you like to read otherwise? Blogs and books: which do you find most enjoyable and beneficial?

I enjoy reading. When I really want to learn or luxuriate, I go to a book first, hands-down. I don’t have as much      unbroken time now, so blogs are the daily bursts that keep me engaged and still kicking. But it doesn’t quite cut it. I have to have the slower-moving nourishment of a good book at the same time.

I hear you expressing both appreciation (for all you’ve learned) and frustration (with the fragmentation). How do you access the one without getting overwhelmed by the other?

This one needs a lot of work. I try to keep blog reading to one span of time. I also try keep a steady flow from several blogs rather than flitting from article to article through social media sites. At the most basic level, I have to get up and live, letting what I’ve read solidify in my mind, rather than hunting for some kind of perfect life by gathering more ideas and picture candy through The Screen.


Well said, ladies! Thanks for being brave!

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Mama Zook
9 years ago

Wow! I enjoyed reading these blogs so much and can identify with what many have said…and always face to face is much better than anything technology has to offer!! And then, coffee always makes it even better yet! =)

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