Learning Month

My focus for February appears to be education because there are a lot of things going on in that space for me this month.

I’m going to be taking an online seminar later this month, and I think this one even has homework. It’s a look at figuring out processes and productivity.

Meanwhile, one of my favorite features about Prime Video is that in their “shows to sample this month” feature, they usually offer at least one of the Great Courses programs. They have professors who are known for a particular topic and who have been recognized as good teachers essentially present their classes. It’s a semester’s worth of lectures, usually about 24 half-hour lectures per course. What’s offered on Prime is meant as a teaser preview so you’ll subscribe to the whole Great Courses channel and get all the courses you want, all the time. I enjoy watching these when I get one of the free ones, but not enough to want to subscribe, and I can get some of them through my library, so I just plow through the preview course that’s offered each month. It’s fun to get to hear the lectures without having to worry about taking tests or writing papers, like auditing a university class. Most of the ones I watch are history-related. So far, I’ve studied things like the Black Death, England between the Roman Empire and the Norman Conquest, ancient civilizations in North America, the history of pirates, and Norse mythology. This month, they have two interesting courses, one on Charlemagne and the other on the history of anti-slavery movements. So I’ve got a lot of lectures to watch before the end of the shortest month of the year. I often use these as background noise, just absorbing the information rather than intently taking notes, unless there’s something that gives me an idea for a book I’m working on or a story idea. I keep a notebook handy in case something strikes me while I’m listening. I also jot down any references when a book they mention sounds interesting.

At the same time, I’ve been doing Neil Gaiman’s Master Class on writing, which is available through one of the streaming services my library offers. I can only get so many videos per month, though, so it’s taken me a few months to get through all the videos. I should finish that this month.

And that’s not counting all the books and other online lectures on writing and publishing. I should emerge from this month a lot smarter, or at least somewhat better informed.

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