Chris Zammarelli

The Sounds of Library Science

Category: Writing

Kick Like We Used to

I chuckled a little bit while reading Brendan Schlagel’s “Weaving a public web, or, why don’t I blog more?” It’s something I could have written when I was lamenting the demise of biblioblogging in the social media era.

I have these dreams of reviving the form, but I don’t know if I have the wherewithal to lead the charge. I feel like I don’t have the time because of my commitments to work, home, and… well, the other blog.

That’s just an excuse, of course. My goal right now is to write at least one blog post here each month. It seems modest, but the side goal is to spend more time preparing to write, versus only posting stuff when the magical inspiration fairy deigns to visit my brain.

Since I’ve been thinking about library blog history, which is now totally a thing, Schlagel and Tom Critchlow’s new blogchain on networked communities is really interesting to me. They are covering a lot of the same ideas I had been musing on, but in a more proactive and interesting way. It’s pretty inspiring.

Of course, posting this doesn’t move me away from my habit of writing about writing when I’m not feeling inspired. Old habits die hard!

Your Energy Is Loud

There is this thing called #1000wordsofsummer. It’s the brainchild of Jami Attenberg and it encourages writers to write 1,000 words a day from June 17 to July 1. A friend of mine mentioned it on Twitter the other day and suddenly I’ve decided it’s a good idea to participate.

(Don’t worry, that doesn’t mean I’m writing 1,000 word blog posts every day for two weeks. Although it doesn’t not mean that…)

I’ve always loved to write and I have created a couple of outlets for myself to do it, but I am always trying to write more. Not necessarily because I want to broadcast it all for public consumption, but because I think it’s fun. I have thought about branching out more, and maybe this will give me the encouragement to do so.

Or I just come up with something that amuses me and no one else because only I get all my in-jokes.

The Feeling at the End of the Page

When I first started teleworking back in 2011, the staffing agency I worked for and my supervisor at the time asked me to keep track of the work I was doing from home. I would send them an email at the end of each work day. When the bureau I work for set up G Suite back in 2014, I began writing my reports in Google Docs.

On February 29, 2016, I began to write up a report every work day, rather than just on my telework days. (I had to look up the date!) It had become useful for me to keep track of all of the projects I was working on. It became part of my daily routine.

I didn’t really think of it as a work diary per se until I read Amanda Leftwich’s article in The Librarian Parlor, “Reflecting Journaling: A Daily Practice.” I wouldn’t describe what I do as reflective and more as reactive. I’m just keeping track of what I’ve done in a day. That said, having all of those details written down has helped me when updating my duties in my contract, tweaking my LinkedIn profile, and (very occasionally) coming up with ideas for posts.

What I really took away from “Reflecting Journaling” was that I could get more out of my daily routine. I don’t really use the diary to work through problems I am trying to solve or projects I am trying to wrap my head around, but instead as a way to catalog my routine. This has a lot to do with the fact that the original diary entries were shared as reports with my original onsite and agency supervisors. I haven’t had to file telework reports for years, but the report format has stuck.

Despite my proclivity to play around with productivity tools and tips, I never used journaling as a way to help me manage my workload. Given that I tend to pick up and drop hacks, it makes sense to work within something that I already do on a regular basis. Maybe it will be easier to adapt habits I already have to new purposes.

Mr. Lucifer Subscribed to My Blog

Almost all of the blogs I referenced in Come Down and Play Around back in June went months without posting after we all published our thoughts about the old biblioblogosphere. It’s like we all went to our reunion, reminisced about the good old days, swore we’d meet up again, and then went back to our lives.

I can’t speak for anyone else, but I have a whole list of reasons why I stopped blogging for awhile, a combination of the usual junk that flows through my head at various points of the year and special circumstances that helped me suppress my desire to write. What occurred to me towards the end of 2018 was that this was a mistake: I need to write. I also need to relearn how to write.

I’m doing that a number of ways. I have a few different outlets set up: a Eurovision blog, a beer diary, some attempts at fiction in Google Docs that I treat like a morning jog, and of course, this site. As I wrote in my previous post, I have to figure out the story I want to tell here. What do I want to share about my job, my work habits, and my interests that aren’t related to Eurovision and beer? I don’t have answers just yet, but I’ll try not to make every post for the next two months about my search for a purpose. I may make beer recommendations, though.

I’m also trying to find different outlets (blogs, magazines, etc.) to expose me to new ideas and new ways to express myself. I tend to fall back on the same small group of resources. If I want to spread my wings to fly, I need to look beyond the ground in front of me to do so.

On that deep thought, let’s start a party in a schnapps distillery…

That’s How I Escaped My Certain Fate

Is January 17 way too late to make my New Year’s resolutions? I read a brief article in Fast Company recently titled, “Why you should start your New Year’s resolutions on March 4” that got me to thinking about how I approach things like, say, writing a personal blog.

The author Art Markman writes that a reason why many people fail to accomplish their resolutions is that they don’t put a plan into place to achieve them. He recommends spending the first couple months of the year making a plan, observing your habits, figuring out what will block you from succeeding, and finding people who can help you along the way.

(Yes, that’s a tl;dr version of an article with a two minute reading time.)

I won’t bore you with all of the bad habits I am resolving to change, but in context of my blog, my goals are as follows:

  • Figure out the story I want to tell with this blog.
  • Expand my reading and viewing horizons that will help inspire new posts.
  • Set and adhere to a writing schedule that is reasonable.

I don’t think that’s too tricky, but obviously I’ve made those goals before without success. Did I hold me back?

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