In January 2006, I started this blog when the manuscript of the History of the Ancient World went off to my publisher. My hair was shorter, my children were younger, my office was still in a corner of the farmhouse’s third floor, and the process of publishing massive history tomes was still new and fascinating.

For the last six and half years, I’ve been blogging about the the ups and downs of writing and publishing the history of the world, as well as a host of other related and semi-related (and totally unrelated) topics. But the blog’s been organized and centered around this project.

Now the third volume has gone off to the publisher. I’m not finished writing history, but I’ve taken a temporary departure from the exhaustive History of the (Whole) World. (For details, read this.)

And as a result, I’m feeling like my blog and I are experiencing a time of distance that’s going to lead to a…restructuring. Not a break-up, I hope, certainly. But it’s time for a State of the Relationship talk.

I have, after all, already chronicled–multiple times–the whole laborious revise/copy-edit/clear permissions/make maps/write flap copy/agonize over publicity/etc. process of publishing. Sure, I’ll do it one more time for the History of the Renaissance World, but I’m really starting to feel like a bore.

Plenty of things are going on at the farm (if you’re wondering why, read this). In recent weeks, the shearer came to shear the sheep,

and we made applesauce, and canned peaches.

And we’ve taken a long-planned leap and decided to put in an agricultural pond, so we’ve been visited daily by Very Large Machines.

I could post whole series of photos on sheep-shearing, peach-canning, and pond-digging, but somehow they seem not quite the point of this blog.

The helpful denizens of the Well-Trained Mind boards have made a whole list of useful suggestions about future blogging topics. But they don’t seem to fit either with the History of the (Whole) World or with my farm projects.

And although I feel like I’m going through a very interesting and potentially creative series of personal changes, I’m kind of wary about rattling on about them in public. No, make that “very wary.” Or even “positively phobic.”

So every time I sit down to update my blog, I find myself running into a brick wall.

Hence the paucity of posts, recently.

Any ideas? New title? New blog? New purpose? New brain?

‘Cause I think my brain is broken.

Showing 41 comments
  • TerriMiKyTx

    Have you blogged about how everything fits together? I mean especially about how your journey into history affects you and especially your ideas about homeschooling? This could bleed over to how it has affected your thoughts about the whole world, I’m sure. But homeschoolers want that connection. We enjoy your practical and technical journey, but want to see how it has affected you, changed you, challenged or affirmed your assumptions, developed your homeschooling, affected your writing program. Surely this broad topic is large enough for several forays, if you have not already done so.

  • Alan Koenig

    I think you should post anything you want! You have a lot of fans so I think anything you do would be considered cool!

  • Becky Brunner

    I personally find ANYTHING you write about on your blog insightful and, more often than not, hilarious. You are intelligent, you mince no words getting to the point…but you also have that dry sense of humor that I truly enjoy.

    I’m sure I speak for others as well. Whatever you blog about, you’ll have appreciative readers.

    That’s my 3 cents. (Adjusted for inflation. Maybe not the current rate, but the concept of the joke doesn’t really call for accuracy…does it?)

  • Heatherlee

    I used to love the humour in your life in a day articles in the newsletter. Open up and share your world. It is interesting to hear your take on the normal bits.

    The History of My World might be fitting if you do change.

    Are you correcting my grammar .

  • Donna Boucher

    Perhaps a re-title and categories.
    HotwW, Sheep, Family, Deep Thoughts, Twaddle….

    I like keeping up with you Susan and hope you can find a way to keep sharing your remarkable life with your long time blog sistahs.


  • Danielle B

    What makes you wary to share the changes that you’re going through right now? I think if you pin that answer down, you’ll have a better idea of where to go from there.

    Perhaps a new blog with a new purpose? Then if you have a post that is specific to the History of the Whole World, it can be posted here. Otherwise, just having a small button pinned to the sidebar of your new blog will let others easily find this blog to refer back to. That way there’s no need to try moving posts from this blog to a new blog. On this blog maybe you could pin a button on the sidebar that will take the user to your new blog.

    Just an idea because I, personally, would love to read your musings on all those changes happening in your world!

  • Christine Guest

    Well, we all know the narratives about plans that went exactly as planned, and we cheer. And we know about narratives of plans that fizzled and stopped and we aren’t as sure of the polite response, but at least it’s familiar. But what about the plans that demanded a change, and the writer respected her contract but listened to the work and found another way?

    Work does have a habit of demanding change, how do grown ups change their plans while keeping their word? That’s an interesting story that breaks out of the “revise/copy-edit/clear permissions/make maps/write flap copy/agonize over publicity/etc. process of publishing,”

    And the farm photos are lovely.

  • faith

    I’d love to hear about your farming adventures, I find it myself heading in a similar direction, as are many of my homeschool friends.

    As I have older kids now, I’d love an article on finding mentors or just guiding teens into adulthood…. but I understand if that is too personal.

    I enjoy your books and blog thoughts. It has helped me so much, so do what is best for you and your family.

  • jon

    As for me, I don’t mind reading an eclectic blog from you. Of course, I also appreciate it when authors of blogs do quality posts less frequently (hence the quality goes up since more time can be spent on a post). But I also enjoy seeing pictures and such, so the “less quality” posts are nice too, especially when they’re not so wordy, especially if they are posted more frequently.

    That’s my two cents. Of course, in the end it is whatever you make of it. If you don’t enjoy writing what you will then you won’t post.

  • Teish

    I know that “they” say that you have to have some sort of theme for your blog and never deviate. When I started my blog I tossed that advice right out and decided that I wanted my blog to just be, well… me. So I blog about a bit of everything. That may mean that I don’t have a huge following, but I don’t write to get a lot of fans. 🙂

    So the question really is, what do YOU want to write about?

  • Deborah

    Post about what you’d be willing to give up everything for.

  • Marcelino Esparza-Aguilar

    Dear Susan, take a breath, take vacations, do the things you need to do.
    We will be waiting for see you you come back, and hoping you will be back soon with the beautiful ideas and energy you have had for the History of the (Whole) World.
    About the blog, I like the actual title and purpose, because I found the blog looking for about the books. But if you will be busy in other issues, I think there is no problem if you change to fit more with the new activities. Eventually you will have to write again about writing History, and that makes me happy.

    Have a nice time-out
    Marcelino (waiting for the Whole series in spanish).

  • Stacy

    I think you should post whatever is interesting to you. It’s helpful for people to share in real lives, such as you can share through a blog. If it’s book work you want to share, do so. If it’s farm work, family life, or thoughts on the state or nature of life and society, share what you want. Personally, I just recently found your blog and we’re new to home educating, so I am not bored with any one subject. The farm and family posts are interesting as are others. Just open it up however you want.

  • dana b

    If you’re still reading comments, here are mine.

    The Texas August conference was my first. I’m glad I finally went to one since, apparently, it was your last one for a while! I confess I only went to hear what you had to say so I didn’t attend any other lectures and tend to retreat from agenda-pushing endeavors.

    I did make it the Peace Hill booth where I loitered shamelessly, perusing every item at great length. Although I scored quite a bit of loot at great prices, I regret now not buying one of everything.

    I also stopped you as you walked by and thanked you. It was late. You were weary. I wanted an autograph but didn’t have it in me to detain you one minute longer since you had *just* mentioned leaving on vacation as soon as the conference was over. I was probably the last parent after the last lecture at the last conference and perhaps the last straw. I apologize for that.

    Before being inspired by you, I thought I was better at public-school teaching. Thanks to the many great ideas you shared, not just in the books but also in the lectures, my year is rocking.

    Would you ever consider hosting a workshop or writing retreat that helps us fledgling writers/parents/homeschoolers write our own books, stories and poems? I’ve started everything from a teacher’s guide to homeschooling
    to poetry to fiction centered around homeschool families.

    That doesn’t really answer your question, but it’s something to consider.

    In the meantime, I’ll stay inspired with the MP3 lectures. I wouldn’t know how the conferences are changing since I’ve only been to one, but by continuing to create downloadable lectures, you can still teach and help other parents teach, too.

    Good luck.

  • Hilary

    Why can’t your blog be organized into categories with tags to sort posts? Those of us who admire all that you accomplish in a day would marvel at separate headings for your publishing life, thoughts on teaching and speaking, and your ability to remain self-sufficient. That way, a visit to your blog could be a scroll through the varied events of your life in chronological order (those that you would wish to share, of course) OR could be limited to a visit to specific topics of interest. You could even choose to post on a particular topic on a particular day; reading on Monday, farming on Wednesday, writing on Friday, and a picture on Saturday for example. I would hate to miss your opinion on gardening and orchards just because you decided to focus solely on one aspect of your life. Our life is so crazy here, that it’s calming to know how much others do every day!

  • Julie M.

    I don’t comment but I do read regularly and catch up on old posts when I get behind. I think your writing is smart and funny, so I’d hate to see you leave blogging behind.

    I don’t get to live on a farm, so I am enjoying all the farm updates. I’d love to have sheep and goats. I also enjoy your commentary on current education opinions, political happenings, book reviews, etc. I have not been able to homeschool my children in quite the same pattern you have, but reading about your kids moving into higher education encourages me to keep going.

    I say you should write about whatever makes you feel creative and non-phobic. =) Oh, and please come back to Atlanta someday to speak!

  • Monica Sharman

    ” I feel like I’m going through a very interesting and potentially creative series of personal changes.” Well, same here. So, whether wary or phobic, you’ll surely keep me interested [understatement]. Keep rattling on in public. It’s fun.

  • Nely

    I think it’s safe to say we are all fans. So we think it’s fun reading about your life in general. From homeschooling to running a farm and everything in between. I don’t think you need to change anything. Just keep writing when you want.

  • Briana

    You don’t have to blog. We will read your books anyway. And, your peaches look like jars of gems.

  • Kristi

    I’ve been waiting for a sheep update, since our family is dreaming of owning sheep in the future. I like reading about your life- strawberry shortcake, toxic chemicals to apply to peach trees, sheep, and running around with your family, among all the more traditional things that your blog “should” be about. Keep going! You are still offering the History of the (Whole) World; it’s just your whole world.

  • Sebastian (a lady)

    I think what I enjoy about reading your posts is that it is the chronicle of someone who is living the life of the mind, while also being firmly in the world. Seriously, you write about Charlemagne in a converted chicken house.

    There are days when I just want to finish reading or trying to pull together a feasible science curriculum for the year and then realize that I haven’t seen the kids for hours or that I’ve forgotten to cook dinner or that we have ten minutes to be somewhere.

    I love to see pics of the farm and of your kids. But I also like reading about the interesting tidbits on the Medicis or bloodletting or whatever else you’ve recently discovered. When I was leaving my career to have kids, several friends asked me if I didn’t think that I’d be wasting my brain. It helps to see you so clearly not wasting yours.

  • Ashley McG

    The posts about what good books you’ve read lately are always interesting …

  • Kelly

    It is true that you have a huge fan base. It is also true that you have a lot of people who are waiting to pounce on your jugular at the slightest misstep. I can understand the trepidation that you feel about “rattling on” in public.

    That said, I enjoy anything you write, and your perspectives are engaging and insightful. I have to second Donna Boucher on her ideas. I’d like to hear about any and all of it!

  • Rebecca Silva

    You are hitting some major milestones/changes all at once. Third volume finished (that has to be like birthing 3 children), 2 boys off to the Big World, not to mention (how to put this delicately?) the reflection that comes with being a woman of a certain age (which I can say, because I’m older). If you’re looking for a wide berth, I’m certain we’ll all give it to you – you deserve a break. Speaking for the group, though, I can say that we all enjoy reading whatever you write, because it makes us feel…I don’t know…normal? Someone we respect for her intellect and wit, who has helped us raise and educate our children, also sends sons to college; has girl-filled sleepovers; loves chocolate and the perfect shoes; mucks stalls; cares for multiple generations at once; the list goes on. Yes, you’re crazy-brilliant and wise, but you are also the girl next store – the one we want to have a cuppa or a glass of wine with (with whom we want to…whatever). If you write it, we will read it…and enjoy it.

  • Megan

    I have been reading your blog for two years, so I guess I missed any specific stated purpose of the blog. I always thought the title was a cute double entendre – yes, you write about the whole world, but also your world, which of course for each person feels like the whole world.

    Write whatever you wish, I love to read it all.

  • Lucy

    You can’t go wrong if you blog about food — what you’re growing, what you’re canning, what you’re fixing for dinner, with lots of pictures of the prep and the final result.

  • Justin

    How do you see the history being made right now…the history of the present? You tend to see the big picture and how the past can truly inform the present, and you make it easy to understand. For example, if you look at the world and the America we live in today, can you make any historical connections from the decisions/events of the past to the current mess we are in now? I would love to see your perspective on the crises we see nearly every day. I see you as a reasonable person and that is hard to come by in the polarized world we live in today. I wonder if your farming/canning/shearing activities are a kind of “escape” from the mess this world is in. A word of caution: I think, Susan, that by writing in the manner aforementioned you have the potential to divide your audience, but that’s okay. Go for it! Give us what you really think and it will bring an even greater audience to the table and perhaps reintroduce facts, context, perspective, and reason back into the American conversation…

  • Nicole

    Write about your farming! Better yet, the HISTORY of farming. There’s so much material there. But whatever you do don’t stop blogging. Your subtle wit is unmatched and I don’t have time to search for a new blog that I like and can convince myself is “educational reading”. heehee

  • Mary Loebig giles

    Susan, you sound tired and in need of something playful and life-giving after the long writing/editing bender. My vote is for a sabbatical blog season entitled something like “My Other Life” (or funnier, pls) and chronicling life/seasons on the farm (photos) and –as spurred on by those observations — your thoughts about anything else (family life? education? reading and writing for pleasure? other soulful musings on the world at large?) Getting a window into how you do life as a writer, wife, mother, farmer, homeschooler would be an encouragement and — knowing you — humorous and inspirational for the rest of us. Keep it simple and fun while you recharge, my friend!

  • Cynthia

    I find your blog delightful and inspirational already but am looking forward to what you will have to say when the fog lifts.

    I think of this project as your baby that has continued to grow and mature. Now that it is in the teenage years it’s become a little tricky but you will find your way, see it through to completion, and look back with pride and satisfaction.

    Your plans may change but your purpose never will once you’ve clearly defined it.

  • LaVern

    I value your posts because I see in your life the very issues I am constantly trying to balance and improve in my own. I have four children (whom I afterschool with many of your materials), work part time as an attorney, and participate in my community of faith. In the midst of all this, I have to regularly carve out time to educate myself and exercise to keep me sane and happy. When I read your posts, I feel uplifted and hopeful that all this can actually be done — and even with a sense of humor! I like the varying topics of your posts because I see them as a reflection of the reality for me and many other women who are passionate about so many things (education, kids, family, work, faith) and want to make room for all of them.

    More specifically, I have a selfish interest in any posts relating to your teenager and college-age sons because my children are quickly heading in that direction, and it is new territory for me.

    If you have the desire and the stamina to keep blogging, I will keep reading.

  • Diviya

    I wish you would start writing about education again. I love all your posts, but that’s what I’d be most interested in, in any shape or form.

  • Colleen in NS

    OK, I know that these are probably common sorts of blog titles out there, but how something like these:

    – Susan Unplugged
    – Susan Wise Bauer: Just Me
    – SWB: Chronicles of A Creative Life

    Then you could write about anything. Sure, divide it up into categories as categories reveal themselves. One thing (of many) I’d love to read more about is how and why your farm and business experiments develop.

    I just like who you are, so write about whatever is in that head and heart.

  • Nicole

    I would love more videos. Homeschooling videos, but shearing the sheep, in the kitchen with SWB while you are canning peaches.

    I can understand the weariness with kerfuffles and such, but something to think about. Are you going to let those people change who you are and how you choose to express yourself. Those who admire you and might learn from what you are doing will find it helpful. Yes there are those just looking for you to do or say something wrong, but those aren’t the people you are trying to reach. If someone is going to be judgmental and look for the bad in a caring, intelligent, woman who is trying to leave the world a better place, that is their issue, not yours.

  • Theresa

    Honestly, as a homeschooling mom living in an urban area of a brush desert, I really enjoy all of the farming pics and kitchen pics. I also enjoy the witty opinions on articles, blogs or books you have read.

    Have you considered a blog about how to juggle other responsibilities, hobbies or endeavors while homeschooling? There is a tendency for parents to become completely absorbed in homeschooling, curriculums and local organizations. You have shown us you can make homeschooling part of your life rather than an all encompassing endeavor.

    Thank you for all you have written, designed and developed for homeschooling families. We love all of the Peace Hill Press curriculums, and I am particularly happy that my girls are cultivating a knowledge base in history at an early age. We have just started the Olive Branch Books series, but it is a perfect fit for my family.

    Best of luck with whatever you decide!

  • Sandra

    I would read anything you wrote. I like the clarity, the focus, the way you fit your words together, the wry sense of humour that pops up here and there. I thoroughly enjoy your style of writing, whether it is (1) in the Well Trained Mind (totally aside from the HS advice, I was captivated by the “story” in the intro (2) on the blog (3) in History of the (Whole World) (4) Story of the World. I even get a kick out of reading the Writing With Skill book. So, I confess I am a shameless groupie.. there it is!

  • chademe

    It’s your blog, post about whatever you want, whenever you feel like it. You’re like a celebrity. No matter how inane it may seem to you, there are people out there who will be fascinated by it.

  • Pam K

    Honestly, Susan, a few years back you wrote about your day in chronological order. I never laughed so hard at a blog post, then or now, as I did reading those blog posts. Now, I’m sure you no longer lock yourself in the bathroom to get a few minutes to yourself, and it’s possible that you no longer want to divulge such personal information, but as a “veteran” (?) home schooler, I would enjoy reading some of the funny tidbits from your life as a writer, blogger, sheep farmer, etc.. As a previous poster wrote, your sense of humor is fantastic and we all need a good laugh in the middle of our sometimes-not-so-funny lives.

    Just a thought…

  • Burns

    First of all, thank you for your hard work. To me at least, it was definitely worth it.

    I don’t have any ideas about your blog, but I think I’ve found one of those esoteric rarities that may be right up your alley. Fustel’s “The Ancient City”. Have you heard of it? In any case, good luck and thanks again.

  • Trish

    Danielle LaPorte’s (she wrote what they’re calling the new “War of Art”) most recent book, THE FIRESTARTER SESSIONS, covered this:

    “I have never met someone who is living a bold and successful life—and by successful I mean prosperous, kind, and in touch with the meaningfulness of what theyʼre doing—who has apologized for being perfectionistic, mercurial, unrelenting, or whatever their slightly controversial hallmark characteristics are.

    “You will always be too much of something for someone: too big, too loud, too soft, too edgy. If you round out your edges, you lose your edge.

    “Apologize for mistakes. Apologize for unintentionally hurting someone—profusely. But don’t apologize for being who you are.”

    Hope this is helpful. I just made it through a very big life shift and lost my blogging courage too.

  • Sahamamama

    No ideas about the blog, but what’s going in the pond? Tilapia? I’m a lot more curious about the sheep, the peaches, and the pond than I am about the Renaissance. I know, I know….

    [Ducking the rotten tomatoes]

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