Category Archives: 2023

Clearing my Email Inbox

A picture of a white woman wearing blue glasses and a preschool aged boy. They are both bundled in winter clothes and are outside.
This picture has nothing to do with the contents of this post. It’s Sammy and me, taken yesterday at the playground.

I haven’t had a handle on my email since the two weeks before my twins were born (we’re talking early July 2019). I spent that time in the hospital with preeclampsia with nothing more than my computer, an iPad, and an occasional visitor to keep me busy. And so I answered as many emails as my swollen fingers would allow before the boys arrived.

Since then, my work life (as represented by my inbox, which has always served as part to-do list for me) has been something of a disaster. First the boys were tiny and getting anything done was nearly impossible. Then the pandemic arrived and I spent two and half years without any outside childcare. I thought things would improve back in the fall when the boys started preschool, but they proceeded to get every single cold, flu, and virus on offer (I got a number of them too).

Things have finally started to look a little clearer for me. We’ve had several weeks of good health (you can’t see me, but I’m knocking vigorously on the table as I type that). The boys are pretty good at playing with one another and leaving me alone for stretches of time. I regularly get seven plus hours of sleep. And so I’m once again trying to turn on the work portion of my brain.

One of the things I did today to facilitate this is that I archived all the old emails that have been hanging out in my inbox for the last three and a half years. I don’t know why I thought I’d get back to them, but I am finally accepting that it’s just never going to happen. I am never going to answer the canning questions that people sent me two years ago. And that to move forward, that needs to be okay.

I actually feel physically lighter having moved all those emails off my plate and into my digital attic (it might have been smarter to delete them entirely, but that was a bigger step than I was prepared to take at this time. What if someone follows up and I don’t have a record of our previous interaction?!).

All that said, I am still trying to figure out what my work life is going to look like as I move forward. The world has changed so much in the last four years. The blogging I did for so long doesn’t really work anymore. I’ve spent the last couple years working with a SEO consulting company to better optimize Food in Jars. And that’s been useful (thought it moves very slowly since my bandwidth is so narrow), but it has left me floundering a little as I try to figure out what my writing life should look like now.

One of the things that the SEO folks have repeatedly stressed is that I should focus on my existing content rather that keep creating more. And while I get that (it’s the best path towards higher traffic and more ad revenue), I also keep wishing for a place for the new stuff. I am considering a newsletter, though I fear that that is now an oversaturated market. So I am here, noodling around, writing about what’s on my mind. Which feels good!