Friday, January 20, 2012

The New and Improved Telecommuter Talk

It's been over a month since I posted anything on this blog, and I haven't been reading any blogs, either. Some of this is due to the fact that 2011 -- a year that will be memorable for not being one of the best in the Barton household -- went out with a bang (our car broke down on the way to Maine and what should have been a relaxing vacation, after an exhausting Thanksgiving and Christmas season, instead became an exhausting vacation dealing with what to do with it and, ultimately, buying a new car -- the Prius v, Prius's new station wagon, which is proving to be a fabulous car so far). That happened during the week of December 26th, and we got back to Pennsylvania on January 3, though, so I can't really blame it for my disappearance from the blogosphere for all of January as well. I can say, however, that because I didn't have the relaxing vacation I'd planned, in which I was going to spend the majority of my days reading in front of a fire, I came back with three long books to read for our One Book, One Community committee (I'm serving on that to choose the book our three counties will be reading for 2013). I had to spend every spare minute reading them. Then again, that meeting was a week ago, so I can't really use it as an excuse anymore. Finally, I've decided that I was just a little bit bored with my blog, but I don't want to give up on blogging altogether. After 5 1/2 years, I just needed to tweak it a bit.

First up: a face lift. I've changed the design template (Blogger has much more to offer in this regard than they did when I first came on board with them). I hope you like it. I'm way too much of a Luddite to design my own look, but this one caught my eye.

Secondly, I've decided to be more purposeful in my posting. Those of you who've been with me since the beginning know that I started this blog with the intent of writing about my experiences as a telecommuter. I quickly ran out of content and started writing about any and everything. My blog's title now seems like false advertising; I don't even telecommute anymore; but I like it (I'm a huge fan of alliteration), so I'm going to keep it. How to be more purposeful? I started thinking about my passions, and I came up with three:

1. Books
2. Food
3. Music

I'm not at all original in my passions, huh? I'm passionate about other things: animals (especially frogs), for instance, but I don't particularly like reading and writing about them. I mean, there are only so many fascinating facts about frogs that I would care to share with my readers and only so many pictures I could take of new additions to the frog collection I've had since I was five. Books, food, and music, though, are passions that lend themselves well to blog posts. After all, I've already been blogging about books and music for years. I recently realized that, although I talk about loving food and cooking, I rarely ever post anything about my adventures in the kitchen (kind of like I talk about writing a novel and a collection of ghost stories and never seem to finish them -- but I am. I promise! It's just taking much longer than I'd like). I think it's about time I did.

With these three passions in mind, I've come up with a weekly game plan for the blog, as follows:

One post a week will be focused on books. This won't necessarily be a book review, although I hope to include plenty of those, but it will always be about books or authors or publishing or libraries or some such thing.

One post a week will be focused on music. Again, it may be more than a favorite song (which I've been doing for years on Music Monday), and I do still plan to share favorite songs, but I want to broaden this category and write about groups or composers or types of music, etc. And I hope to stop being so lazy, giving you something a little more substantial than mere links to YouTube videos.

One post a week will be about food. Same thing. I hope to share original recipes with you, but I also want to share other aspects of food that interest me, like nutrition and the celebrity chef phenomenon, etc.

Finally, one post a week will be a free-for-all. This is where all the other stuff I like to ponder will appear.

I'm not going to assign days of the week to these posts, although Music Monday seems like it ought to remain on Mondays (lovely alliteration yet again), so it probably will. My goal is to be more purposeful but not more anal: no need to assign specific days of the week to specific types of posts. I'm going to start using the label function, so if you're not interested, say, in reading about music, you can skip that post and spend your time reading what does interest you.

So, Happy New Year, everyone, and Happy New Telecommuter Talk (I hope)!


Amanda said...

Happy new year Emily! I hope the new blog plan proves energising. I look forward to reading.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you're back. I'm back to! I look forward to reading more posts in 2012.

Anonymous said...

I like the new look and that sounds like a good structure.

ZoesMom said...

I like the new look! I went for a redesign too. Also, I think your plan is excellent and I look forward to some good blog posts.

Stefanie said...

Like the new look! Sorry the relaxing Maine vacation didn't pan out. Will you be talking about those three books you read for the One Book committee? I'm curious about what they are. I think frogs are awesome but turtles are even better ;) I hope your new sense of purpose proves to be energizing and I look forward to where it takes you.

Susan said...

I didn't think it was possible to have a worse end of the year, and you did. I don't think congrats are in order, except that you did get through it, and have a lovely new car out of it. Thank heaven it's 2012, right?

I really like the look of your new blog, Emily. And post about whatever you want to, I'm just happy you're back again and wanting to post so we can chat. I hope you and Bob have a fabulous 2012 :-)

And yes, what three books were you reading for your community group? that sounds interesting. See? We bookish types are curious about anything to do with words, which is why we all read cereal boxes if nothing else is around :-)

Rebecca H. said...

I like the new look here. Sorry your vacation wasn't as good as it was supposed to be. I hope 2012 is a much calmer year than 2011!

Charlotte said...

I hear you about December 2011. Mine was grim, but not as grim as yours.

Love the new look and your new blogging energy. Looking forward to keeping up.

Emily Barton said...

First of all, those of you who asked what books I read for my first One Book, One Community committee meeting, they were the following:

City of Lights by Lauren Belfer (I loved it.)

Mystic River by Dennis Lehane (I loved it.)

The Ballad of Tom Dooley by Sharyn McCrumb (liked the premise more than the execution, but I'm still glad I read it)

I can't say much more, though, because our conversations are supposed to be confidential.

Amanda, thanks! You're one of my long-time readers, and I'm glad you haven't yet gotten bored with me.

Sara, so glad you're back in the blogosphere. Now, if I can just start writing on my pen pals again, 2012 really will be NEW year.

Lilian, glad you like the new look. Let's hope the structure pans out.

ZM, I look like such a copy cat, but I promise I changed mine before I knew you'd also changed your. I will say, though, that my changes had a lot to do with the conversation we had in November.

Stef, glad you like the new look, and, oh yes, it's very difficult to choose between turtles and frogs, but frogs are just a wee bit better IMHO.

Susan, yes, thank heaven it's 2012! I'm all set for a much better year (so far, it has been. After all, I'm driving around a new car).

Rebecca H., yes, calm is what I'm hoping for, too.

Charlotte, so glad you like the new look (and that you're now able to comment!).

Anne Camille said...

Love the new look. Looking forward to your re-energized blogging.

litlove said...

Happy New Year! And here's to a MUCH calmer and easier 2012. Five and a half years is a long time to be blogging, isn't it? I agree that it's easy to fall off the wagon a bit, unless one can come up with interesting tweaks (and that's not easy, either!). But I love the new look, and having a new plan is always a good idea. Whenever you post, I will be round to say hello.

Bob said...


Love the new layout. You'll have to tell me how difficult it was to change as I think I need to do something with my own blog. I'm always concerned that while trying to make a minor change the entire blog might disappear! (Sometimes, I wonder whether it should:-)

And I like your refocus on books and music. Food, I'm not too sure, unless you send me a care package of edible goodies instead of posting delicious looking pictures :-)

Ah, 1984. Read it in college, but that was in the early 1960's when it seemed like 1984 was so far in the future it would never arrive. And so it has in more ways than one. Look forward to your full write up.

Emily Barton said...

Anne, glad you love the new look. Hope you'll enjoy the new content, too.

Litlove, always, always a pleasure to have you round to say hello.

Bob, when I finally send that email that I hope you haven't been holding your breath for, I'll tell you how I changed the template. I probably won't post too many photos, because I'm no good at that, but you'll have recipes, so you can try your hand at creating your own photo ops (or pass them off to the Master Chef in your house and let her give them a whirl).