Monday, August 12, 2019

Big Changes In Store

It's a big announcement time. For those who know me, I've been a homeschooling parent since the very early 2000's. The fun ride finally finished this year, when my youngest son turned 15 and moved on to 'proper' Year 10 study online, with Open Access College. So I've run out of young ones to keep under my wing. What's more, it's meant that I've had to stick my neck out and find some other way of employing my time that will satisfy Centrelink. I'm starting a Master of Divinity at Tabor College in Adelaide. It's going to be a fascinating ride, but also daunting, because I never expected to return to full-time study, yet here I am.

What will that mean for the future of this blog? I enjoy writing free-flowing reflections about books I've read, especially my return to the classics in recent years. It helps me feel as if I've digested them to the fullest extent, allowing any literary vitamins to nourish my spiritual cells. And I love the freedom to be my unapologetic self, to deliver what I consider to be original, honest opinion pieces with no frills. They're free from what I consider injections of hormones and preservatives; that is the addition of academic waffle from outside experts who seem to think in meandering text-book language. I've been poring over my course material, and words such as 'exegesis' and 'teleological' are already making my head spin. I don't want to give up the enjoyable chewing of my cud I've thrived on for years.

But the fact is, my reviews, book lists and blog posts take hours to prepare. And my new course workload is heavy enough that I'll have to ruthlessly pull back on blog time. I've never been much good at the sort of computer games which require a wide spread of attention. Do you know 'Whack the Squirrel'? You have to keep your eye on several different holes in the ground, and be the first player to hit any small, protruding head with your mallet. I'm always last. Or how about the classic challenge of keeping plates spinning? You have to be always keyed up enough to fix the ones that are slowing down. In no time at all I feel scattered, unfocused and anxious. I hate the impending disaster of smashing plates. I'll have to prioritise study, or I can predict I'll be a total mess. But I refuse to pull the plug on this blog, because I love it.

So here's what will happen in the next few months until November.
1) Gaps of a fortnight, (or maybe even three weeks under pressure) instead of weekly posts.
2) The occasional resurrection of blasts from the past which I intend to tweak like new. They might be posts that have received a bit of love, or others I feel haven't received the love they deserved, and need another chance.
3) A way slower output of new material, but not a total stop.
4) I also post book related content on Instagram, which doesn't make it on this blog, so feel free to follow my Bookstagram account.

One final bit of trivia
Just for curiosity, I took a look at the word count of several of my blog posts, and it turns out they average 1.5 to 2000 thousand words. That happens to be the typical length of a University assignment. So for the last several years, I've been giving myself a virtual tertiary education by studying classics, taking copious notes about them, and then writing reflection posts, reviews and extensive lists. The only difference is that I never ended up with a qualification, but if I could be paid, even just a little bit, for keeping up this blog, I'd happily devote all my time to it. I'll also take this moment as a shout-out to all the other hard-working book bloggers I follow who can surely say exactly the same thing.

If you enjoy following this blog, I sure hope you'll bear with me and stick around. And when our summer holidays arrive toward the end of the year, I'll be back on board to pump out fresh content, to take us into 2020.


  1. Well, from one homeschool mom to another...congratulations on completing your greatest work! And how exciting to begin a new chapter or season!

    You can be confident that you have been self-educating all this time, reading the classics and writing about them. There isn't a better education, I think.

    I'm somewhat taking a break from writing to do more reading, but like you, I hope to just do little blurbs on other social media, and maybe a blog post once a month or so. I agree...writing (that is, formulating an emotional review) is time consuming...and for me: emotionally exhausting. : D

    1. Thanks Ruth, those homeschooling days are very sweet, and we are so glad we made it all the way through. Keep enjoying yours 😊

      I so know what you mean about the time consuming aspect, especially since getting up reviews we are happy with take such emotional energy too. I'll be keeping an eye on your blog and catch you on Instagram too. Sometimes we just need a break 👍

  2. Congratulations on your home schooling achievements.

    I also struggle with blogging time. I sometimes work very long hours and I write very slowly. I have generally been getting up one post every ten days or so, and I sometimes struggle to do that.

    I am glad that you will still be around. I always say that bloggers should never feel rushed or pressured to get posts up.

    1. Thanks Brian, and congrats for keeping your own blog going, in the face of long work commitments. It is a good bit of brainwork for those leisure, which is surely doing us good. Slow and steady is great when it's all we can manage, and once book blogging becomes a chore to keep pumping out content, we've lost what it's all about.

  3. I knew your posts were meaty, but I didn't realise they were that long! I well understand why this blog might need to take a place on the backburner for a while. Good luck with your studies!

    1. Hi Iola, yeah, I was quite surprised when I measured a few, and they all turned out to be around 1500. It was comforting in a way. I've been feeling daunted by the thought of assignments, but reminded myself that as far as length is concerned, I'm at least used to creating content 😊

  4. Congratulations, Paula!!! For getting the youth educated and ready for the real world, and for stepping back into full-time study yourself - fantastic! Of course, I'm (selfishly) sorry that it'll mean a little less of you here on the blog, but I'm impressed that you've made such a realistic assessment of your commitments and sorted yourself out ahead of time ;) I took the plunge in returning to full time study earlier this year (Master of Creative Writing), and it is both not as bad and far worse than I was expecting! Hahaha. Either way, I'm there in the boat with you, we can do this!

    And P.S., you're spot on about a self-education through blogging about books - the other day, I did some maths, and realised I've written in excess of 100,000 words for Keeping Up With The Penguins! That's a generous thesis right there!!

  5. Wow Sheree, first off, imagine if you were to publish those 100 000 words in several volumes of books. How thick it would be! It would be a great and honest guide concerning which classics to choose.

    Secondly, I'm in awe of your managing to keep up such a steady lot of great content on top of full time study commitments. How do you manage? I am not a good juggler of anything, but least of all time 😉

    The holidays are going to have to be one of the perks of returning to study, I'm sure 😄 Thanks for your encouraging words.