I spent the second half of my work week drafting my chapter for the upcoming book Person-Centered Management. I threw a proposal out on a whim and was shocked to find that it was accepted. My topic - asking five specific questions regularly of your employees - is nothing groundbreaking. The chapter is more reflective and less theoretical or research-based. That's why I found it hard to write.
The outline I developed and received feedback on was extensive. Normally, this makes things easier to write. I simply extend my outline's bullet points into complete sentences with examples scattered throughout. That was not the case here. I found myself stuck in a quagmire of tone and word choice. Was I being to personal or not personal enough? Did I need a specific example or would generalizations do? Was my writing too vague? Did I repeat my points too much?
I also second-guessed the entire premise of the chapter. (That was just imposter syndrome rearing it's ugly head.) Finally, I decided to write what felt good in the moment. That's what ultimately led me to "complete" my draft. It's 500 hundred words over the max limit, but it's done.
I'm going to let this brain dump of writing sit for a few days before I start slicing and dicing in editing. I relish a good red pen session to make writing better. (I expect a lot of red penning with this one.)
The editorial process for the book is extensive. The first draft is due Friday, there is an optional peer-review I signed up for, there is a second draft, and then there is the final draft. I'm going to be wrestling with this 3,000 - well, 3,500 at the moment - words for awhile.
How do you write?
Tonight, the husband and I are going to order dinner from our usual place, crack open a beer, and rewatch Knives Out. I'm very excited to enjoy our typical Friday night plans. After a long week at work, I think it will feel extra relaxing.
Here's what was good this week:
The Towering Sky
I’m now on book three of this YA series. While this has not been the most addictive of YA novels, I’ve rather enjoyed the overall world. I’m intrigued to see where all the characters end up. This feels like the kind of book where everything will be tidied up and presented with a nice, neat bow.
I am realizing that one of the characters introduced in book two is playing more of a side part in this book three. It feels like she doesn't belong. Given how all the plots tend to weave in and out of each other, this is an outlier. That means it's either entirely unnecessary or is going to become a pivotal thing in the last chapters.
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I'm back in action! Yesterday was our required day of faculty professional development and, today, I'm in my cubicle digging out from the break. Our students don't report back to classes until Monday, so I have a few days off the reference desk to work on other things.
Here's where my attention is at:
I'm taking a little time off writing for the holidays. Normal posts will resume the first week of January.
I will be sharing some stuff in my newsletter while I'm on break. Check it out and subscribe here.
My colleagues and I were chatting last week about how we've entered the "meh" time of the year.
In academia, the time between semesters is a mixed bag. As librarians, we are finally free to focus solely on our own priorities. Our space is so empty we are only "on call" for reference work, no one is asking for classes, and most teaching faculty skedaddle after they turn in their grades. Our calendars are a lot emptier. But, we constantly wrestle with the mental exhaustion and general "eh, do I have to?" feeling that comes after the semester ends.
Knowing that we are sliding into the holidays, I try to be mindful of my energy levels. Instead of cramming in all the things, I try to complete one major priority and then just tie up loose ends. On my last day in the office - which happens to be tomorrow since I'm using up vacation days - I generally watch some webinars while I clean up my cubicle and write out a to do list for the new year.
Sure it's not "real" productivity, but at least it's progress.
How do you wrap up work for the year?
It rained all day yesterday. A cold, dreary downpour the entire day. It was gross and I didn't like it. Today, it may be rather cold, but the sun is shining brilliantly. I'm excited that the days will start getting longer soon.
Here's what else made me happy this week:
My colleagues and I were chatting today about how we've entered the malaise weeks. Technically the holidays are not here, but the semester is over and our drive to focus on work is gone. We moved a meeting to comments over email because none of us could be bothered. I'm glad we're a team on this.
Here's what little focus I have left is going towards:
A friend and I went to see poet Rupi Kaur live and now I want to read all her work. Plus one other title.
Friday morning, I wrapped up an optometrist appointment and quick pop in of my favorite stationery store when my plans got a little more complicated. It was gloriously sunny out and I decided to walk the 2 miles home. Stupidly, I was checking my phone as I stepped off a curb and landed awkwardly in a small pothole.
I crumpled immediately but caught myself with my hand. I felt several pops in my left ankle but didn't hear any cracks or feel searing pain. There was a small seating area a few steps away so I hobbled there and assessed. After the initial shock subsided, I tested my ankle and found it could bear some weight - albeit uncomfortably.
Luckily for me, the metro station was right across the street. I limped my way over, took the train one stop, and then limped the rest of the way home. Once home, my husband helped me set up shop at my desk with an ice pack and chair to prop up my leg.
Then began the Googling. I checked various websites to find the difference between an ankle sprain and a break. This is one of those injuries where many of the symptoms overlap. Both are painful, both swell, both cause the inability to bear weight on the joint. The one key difference seems to be where the sight of the pain occurs. For me, nothing was excruciating and, when I poked around, it was only the soft spots that really hurt. I diagnosed myself with a sprain and decided to wait it out.
As of right now, I'm doing okay. The joint is stiff and I have limited range of motion, but I can control the swelling with ice and the uncomfortable pain with some Advil.
But it never fails, just when you're at your busiest (this was supposed to the main prep/baking weekend before our holiday party), life puts something in the way to force you to slow down.