if you can fill the unforgiving minute
with sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
yours is the earth and everything that’s in it,
and—which is more—you’ll be a man, my son!
"if" by rudyard kipling
Despite the blustry January weather, despite the grey skies and somewhat dreary days, I'm convinced a sort of magic flows through the air in this first month. We stand before a new year, twelve pure, unspotted months, and it is our choice what to make of them. There are hundreds of things I'd like to say I plan to change about myself and how I live my daily life, but that is not the true meaning of this new year. Plenty make vain promises that they forget soon enough before February's rosy blush touches the horizon. The test comes for those who plod onward and remain as steadfast in October as they did in January.
One of my aspirations this year is to be a more punctual and purposeful blogger. Undoubtably such matters as schoolwork, housework, and other family responsibilites must always take priority over my blog's upkeep, but I should still not like to fall into a habit of lax, uninspired posting. I feel as if these past few months in particular have been slow ones here on Literary Lane, and I intend to change that in 2013. Taking inspiration from Rachel (what would blogging be without the little pin-pricks we receive from fellow writers to move further up and further in?), I'm going to set up some reasonable goals for myself and this site that I intend to keep throughout the next year at least.
For one, Literary Lane will have a new posting schedule. Instituting personal deadlines is the very spurring onward I need to complete tasks on time or, in this case, post regularly. I will only be updating this blog on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. (Sunday Blessings posts will also continue to go up each Lord's Day.) Such a schedule accomplishes two tasks, for it not only keeps me from going a week without a new post, but it also limits the amount of time I spend on the computer blogging. I enjoy keeping up this site, but the computer is not everything, and balance and good time management are always important things to keep in mind. I don't want one thing to completely override my other interests, responsibilites, and pursuits.
Speaking of the computer, I'll also be limiting all personal time on it, whether spent on blogging, email, Google+, or Pinterest, to one hour or less. Much as I am blessed by the relationships I share with those I have befriended through blogging and much as I am inspired and pushed further in my writing by all of you, I cannot let the world of blogging be my life. I love you all, and I'm certainly not taking a fast from all social media and Internet usage, but I also have a family that cannot be neglected in favor of other things.
On New Year's Eve I posted about the books I hope to read in this next year, and so far I've made some progress on that list. At the moment, I'm invested in David McCullough's 1776 (I also hope to read his John Adams this year, if time allows) and re-reading Pride and Prejudice for school (the most fun I've ever had with a required assignment). I've read just a few pages of The Last of the Mohicans, but I hardly consider that a proper beginning, so it balances tenuously between my to-read and currently-reading lists. My main goal for this year is to read productively. It's a simple task for me to read regularly, but I plan to hone in on titles that are well worth my time (I confess, I'm a bit of a book-snob), all the while remembering Larry Arnn's words about it being "better to read a few books carefully . . . than many books lightly."
On the Rifles in the South Field front, I've been rather silent of late. I completed the first draft of Part I at the end of November, and as Part II requires a hefty knowledge of the battles of the American Revolution, I've taken a self-imposed break from the manuscript to devote my time to research (hence my reading of 1776). My father has several other titles lined up for me to read when I've finished McCullough's book, and I'm already looking forward to burying my nose in their pages. There are a great many scenes I am still able to write, so Rifles won't be by any means abandoned, but I'll be progressing through it slowly, one day at a time, and all the while downing as much history as I can in order to tackle the more difficult parts.
If I were to sum up my aspirations for the year into one word, it would be discipline. At the heart of it, I'm going to live not for those brilliant bursts of inspiration, but move steadily further up and further in, taking my responsibilities in mangeable bites, and keeping a good balance between Bible study, school, family, blogging, and my personal interests. I want to learn more how to set Jesus at the forefront of my life and give Him full power. I plan to devote more of my time to studying His Word and learning about this great God that I serve, that I might grow "in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man" (Luke 2:52). I want to drink it all in and see the Word with new, unveiled eyes. I want to learn better how to love my neighbor as myself and put others' interests before my own.
In short, I want to live each day to God's glory.