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Numbers Be Damned

For the past month or so I’ve been focused almost exclusively on pursuing PMP (Project Management Professional) certification. When I wasn’t living and breathing the PMBOK and its associated formulas*, I gave some continued thought to my reading and blogging life. While I’ve thought about this for some time, this post is the result of some of that “I can’t possibly study anymore tonight” thinking.

Counting Reviews

When I first started this blog the idea was to keep track of each book I read throughout 2007 to keep me honest in my pursuit of reading 52 books. I did this by numbering each review. When I realized that my blog was going to have a life outside of that New Year’s Resolution, I kept the numbering alive. I can’t remember why I did that now; although it has been kind of fun to know when I hit milestone review numbers. It’s also a nuisance. The less often I write reviews, the harder it is to remember where I am in the count. Also, when my feed is automatically posted to Twitter, the post name always has a meaningless hashtag by default because I use a number sign before each number. Blah!

Since my job change earlier this year, my blogging hasn’t been what it has once been. While I haven’t been posting as much, I’ve been giving the whats, whys, hows, whens, and even whos of Literate Housewife a great deal of thought. I’ve piled up a pretty decent number of “to review” books that can stress me out when I think about it too much. The more I looked at the list, the more I thought that I really don’t have all that much to say about every one of those books. That’s where the Meh Mashup came from in my last post. Those books were sitting on that list making it feel all that much heavier because they didn’t excite me or even piss me off enough to want to write about them. What I found, when I freed myself to write just a little blurb, was that I did more justice to myself as the reader of each of those books and even to the books themselves than I ever would have done had I forced myself into writing them up in my typical review format. It made me excited about blogging again within the haze of PMP preparation of the last month or so. Why not discuss books like that more often?

So what does this have to do with numbering each review? Part of the point of numbering each review was reviewing each book I read. For a while I even reviewed them in the order in which I read them. When that stopped happening I could have dropped the number scheme as well, but it didn’t occur to me to do so at the time. Still, if I read it, I reviewed it by itself. I suppose I could have created five separate posts and numbered each, but why? That post was as much about what makes a “meh” or uncategorized reaction to a book as it was about the individual books themselves. Regardless, there were no numbers there and I’ve found that liberating in the way that can only be achieved by releasing oneself from self-imposed constraints.

I’m packing away this little tradition with care like I have done with the lovies my kids have outgrown over the years. I’ve been around the book blogging block a time or two and I know it’s time to move on. It feels good and right and, as far as I know, I’m the only person who ever paid attention to them in the first place.**


* I took the test on Monday and passed. Woot!
** When I told my sister about this plan, she didn’t like it. At least one other person has feelings about them. I wonder if she would have noticed had I not said anything?

13 Comments

  • At 2013.07.17 07:40, Karen White said:

    First off, congrats on passing the test! That must be a weight off your shoulders but also I hope you are celebrating reaching such an arduously won goal.
    Second, I am forwarding this post to my daughter who is starting a blog. I love that you are not only changing your format and goals as you go, but that you are considering and explaining the changes publicly. And I support the retiring of the numbers – it’s important to know when to let go!

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    • At 2013.07.17 22:14, Jennifer said:

      Thank you, Karen! It was definitely something I never hope to do again.

      I’m glad you’re daughter is starting a blog. I think being flexible is a good thing. What works today may not fit tomorrow. It’s a work in progress.

    • At 2013.07.17 09:02, Julie Merilatt said:

      Huge pat on the back, Jennifer. I know you worked really hard these past months.

      If you’re still slighly nagging about numbers, you could always just keep track of them seperately on a spreadsheet (I do, and it gives me something tangible to reference).

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      • At 2013.07.17 22:15, Jennifer said:

        I do track the books read in a spreadsheet, so I can always go by that. A yearly total’s as good as a cumulative total. Now, had I been counting books since my youth it might be a bit harder to give it up.

      • At 2013.07.17 09:04, Beth Hoffman said:

        Major congratulations on earning your PMP certification! That’s a huge achievement and such a milestone in your career.

        Brava to you!

        • At 2013.07.17 22:16, Jennifer said:

          Thank you so much, Beth!

        • At 2013.07.17 10:46, bermudaonion (Kathy) said:

          Congratulations on the PMP certification!!

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        • At 2013.07.17 11:09, dogearedcopy/Tanya said:

          First if all, “Congratulations” on passing your PMP exam! I knew your 2013 was going to be great! :-)

          It’s funny how something like a numbering scheme, lists, whatever can bind us to the point of being nearly moribund. Good for you for cutting the tether!

          For me, it was walking away from the “real” blog” and writing quick & dirty reviews on my tumblr account. There’s something very freeing about scrambling around over there. I don’t find myself struggling against writer’s block or hunting for the exact phrase to convey what I mean. It’s ironic that I’m now producing more content there than I was when I was posting to my blogger account. Apparently for me, it’s not abut numbering as it is about the platform! Hmmm…

          • At 2013.07.17 22:35, Jennifer said:

            Thank you, Tanya! Who would have thought that it would have gone so well in this way?

            It’s interesting the way a forced distance or a change in platform is freeing in the way that it makes us look at things from a different perspective. I’ve got a few other changes I’m planning on rolling out as a result of this time away. I wonder how many more there will be in the end. As often hard as change can be, it’s exhilerating to try new things. It keeps us vital.

          • At 2013.07.17 11:48, Debbie Rodgers @Exurbanis said:

            Congratulations on your certification! (When I was in Corporate [as an accountant], I always wanted to take Project Management. I’m living vicariously through you right now.) ;-)

            There’s always more readers than commenters on any blog (it’s so easy to lurk.). We will miss your reviews, but support your blogging changes. It’s no fun if it’s no fun. Way to go!

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            • At 2013.07.17 22:39, Jennifer said:

              Thank you, Debbie!

              I know all about lurking. I do that so much myself. Don’t worry about missing reviews. They will still be here in among the blurb type posts. They just won’t be set apart by a #XXX in the title. :)

            • At 2013.07.18 00:19, Coleen Marlo said:

              Jennifer, congratulations on your PMP certification!!! I’m so happy for you!! I love what you said
              about changes keeping us vital, it is exhilarating :)))

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