On Thursday, I'm presenting a webinar for the Library Marketing and Communication Conference about how to increase your photography skills. We held a practice session his past week which meant I needed my slide deck pretty much done.
For each best practice I recommend, I provide an image as an example. I didn't want to critique someone else's work without their knowledge, so I only used my own pictures in this section.
Selecting these images turned out to be a painful process. I spent hours over analyzing each choice. I was looking at every lighting choice, depth of focus, angle, and subject with a critical eye. This resulted in me hating my own work. I'm including pictures I adore, but having to act as an "expert" made me want to look for perfection.
Perfect doesn't exist in photos. It can't.
But there I was asking, "Does this do what I say it does?" to every pixel. A bout of severe imposter syndrome raised its ugly head. I know I'm not a professional photographer, but this session is designed for amateur photographers like me. It's not about fancy tech or creating material for professional publication. It's for librarians who take pictures and just want them to look better than a quick snapshot.
I know I can teach that. But critiquing my own work - even when that is a best practice itself - was painful. Self-assessment is a great skill but not when you hold yourself unreachable standards.
How do you critique your own work?
Our kiddo gave us all some daycare crud. Luckily, it has not been too bad. More importantly, she timed it so that she didn't miss a day of daycare. Small victories!
Here's what else made me happy this week.
Why, in academia, do we always tell ourselves that if we make it through the next few weeks things will be easier? Things never let up.
Here's where my attention is going.
My colleagues and I were talking about how we often teach students about keyboard short cuts. We ended up in a discussion about where folks learn these. The obvious is Google, but most people learn them when someone sees them doing something with a mouse or manually, and jumps in with a keyboard short cut suggestion.
Just the other day, I did this. A student was clicking back and forth between programs on their computer. I let them know about Alt+Tab which lets you do that without a mouse. It's a minor change, but once you do it, you'll use it forever.
I love Alt+Tab because it lets me have our reference chat open in one browser window and my other work in another. When I chat pings, I can quickly switch to answer without losing what I was working on.
There was a lot going on this week and my brain simply cannot comprehend writing a long intro.
I looked at my list of possible topics and every single one seemed like a mountain to climb. Even the idea where I want to talk about how much I love goldfish crackers. I simply ran out of brain power.
Instead of forcing it, I'm doing what I need and resting.
Take care of yourself when you need to.
Our kiddo is actually napping right now. (Huzzah!) This is extra important because she is home while we're working and now I can power through some to do list items.
Here's what else was good this week.
Classes at our University started Monday. There's always a bit of controlled chaos to the first two weeks of the semester. We're managing things okay, but there are some hiccups we're having to work around.
Here's where my head is at.
I have a tendency towards completionism. That means, when I start something, I have to do/read/listen to the entirety of the item.
If I start the first book in a series, I will read the entire series. If I start a new podcast, I will go back and listen to the whole archive. If I start a project, by golly, I am going to work until it is done.
While this is time consuming, it is not usually a problem in my life.
Unless I need to play catch up.
That tends to happen after vacations or long periods where I am away from my usual routine. For example, we just go back from vacation. My email is overflowing and my podcasts are stacked up. My desire to ensure completion means that I'm going to be digging out for awhile. My inbox is at a number that gives me hives and I've got like 5 hours left of podcasts to listen to. All while the usual stuff is still rolling in.
Could I just mark everything read or as played? Sure.
Will I? Nope.
I'm just going to keep plugging away in little chunks until I'm caught up. Then I'm going to get back to reading the books in that cozy mystery series I started.
Do you have to complete things?
I did not melt walking to work/daycare this week. It was delightful! I know that summer heat will rear its head again, but I am going to enjoy the cooler tease of weather while we have it.
Here's what else made my week:
Dim Sum of All Fears
I'm normally not a mystery reader. On occasion, I make an exception for cozy mysteries. This is the second book in the Noodle Shop Mystery series and it's following right in the path of the first. There are a lot of characters with overlapping issues. And by characters, I mean those over the top folks that every place seems to have... but this place has more than its fair share. That, however, is what makes the cozy mystery genre work. I am enjoying how the heroine is growing throughout the series.
Also, I just recently finished reading the following:
Enchantee by Gita Trelease
A Spark Within the Forge by Sabaa Tahir