January 2013
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TSS: Structure is the answer

tssbadge1Good morning, Saloners! I appear to have decided this week that structure is the answer to all of my woes, and that if only I can organize things in my life a little bit better, I’ll be more able to achieve some of the goals that have been lingering in my life.

I started with blogging and reading, and you’ve actually already seen evidence of this. I am rigidly scheduling how I’m working on this blog to prevent myself getting overwhelmed by feeling like I’m not posting enough. Reviews on Tuesdays and Thursdays and a Sunday Salon post on Sunday (heh, surprise) are what I’ve decided is enough to keep my blog active but not so much that I’m overwhelmed or don’t have time to write the posts. That also gives me plenty of time to post anything else I would like, should I have a desire to do so, like pictures or quotes or anything at all. It also seems to have translated into some extra time spent commenting, which I’ve been trying to get myself to do for aaaages.

In reading terms, I set out my goals earlier this month, and I’m sticking to them so far, at least in that I’ve read two older books already and I’m on the first non-fiction one now. I made a Google Calendar with the days that I have promised reviews so that I don’t forget, and I’m even reading the first review book I’ve scheduled in that way now.

With some of the other goals I’d like to achieve in my life, I’m still trying to be organized. I’m setting aside an hour each weekend to work on my Russian, I’m writing 500 words of fiction a day (and I’m actually doing well with this, incredibly, but it isn’t many words), and I’ve signed up for a bunch of free online classes staggered out over the year via Coursera because I miss learning, I miss history in particular, and I can’t yet afford or know if I’m going to devote the right amount of time to a paid class. I’m also in the process of learning to drive, as I think I mentioned before, with 2 hours a week of that. I’m hoping to pass by the end of March.

It’s all a little eerie and I’m wondering how long it’s going to last until I burn out, but I don’t feel too restricted, yet. The part I’m most encouraged about is the writing. I often feel I’m producing absolutely terrible stuff, but I’m trying to remind myself that even if I am, at least I’m writing something and practice is what I need more than anything else. I think I’ll manage as long as I still feel I have enough free time to do whatever else I feel like on a regular basis – gaming or reading a different book or spending some of the weekend going walking.

In reading news, I’m about halfway through Guns, Germs, and Steel, which I mentioned starting last week. I’m finding some of it more of a slog than I expected; there were about 100 pages on farming and how that impacts the rise of civilization with various tables and charts and it was a little bit more than my post-work brain could handle. Fortunately, I’ve made it to germs now, so I’m hoping I can give it a little more brainpower this week and finish it by the end of the month on Thursday. I’m also reading Shadow on the Crown by Patricia Bracewell, which is proving to be good historical fiction so far, and after that I’ll start one of my last two books for Long-Awaited Reads month, probably Carter Beats the Devil.

How is January turning out for all of you?