In December last year, I signed up to the Historical Fiction Reading Challenge 2013, in a bid to combine reading for pleasure with practice in writing reviews. The reading part has certainly worked out well, but I have four reviews pending. Perhaps it’s time to stop reading and start writing! Forthcoming reviews will include Alice Hoffman’s The Dovekeepers and Karen Maitland’s The Falcons of Fire and Ice.
23 Things for Professional Development is a blogging project for librarians and library staff. It officially finished in October, but fortunately it is flexible enough to allow you to keep going at your own pace if you haven’t quite managed to stick to the timetable. I only have four things left to go, and will be using the Pomodoro technique taught to me by AcWriMo.
Reverb12 has just started, organised by Kat of the I Saw You Dancing blog. This project is about reflecting on the year gone past now that we’re into December, and about looking forward and planning for the year to come. There will be a daily prompt to get you “celebrating the successes of 2012, honouring the challenges of 2012, [and] planting the seeds for a rich and rewarding 2013”. The beauty of Reverb12, based on my first two days, is that it really helps focus the mind on what’s important.
November’s writing project was less overtly personal, more professional, except for the fact that writing is such an important part of who I am and what I do that I would not be me without it. The first step of signing up to Academic Writing Month (#AcWriMo) was to make a public pledge via a spreadsheet on Google Drive, stating one’s goals for the month and how much time to spend or how many words to write each day. I decided to focus on time rather than words. I didn’t manage to finish any of my papers, which was disappointing, but I learned to expand my definition of writing to include annotations and research notes. I used to be very strict about it, and would start to worry if I didn’t manage to write entire paragraphs when I scheduled time to do so. Now I work in pomodori, while the freebie given to AcWrimo particpants by its organisers at PhD2Published, the PhDometer does give me an idea of how many words I manage to write in each pomodoro. Through AcWrimo, I learned to structure my writing and research instead of cramming, panicking and spending hours on a single sentence. AcWrimo taught me to have better, balanced habits of writing, which in turn mean that I can see my achievements and have a healthier attitude to writing as a part of daily life.
Blogtoberfest was the third blogging project to which I signed up, but the first that I completed, because of the time constraints. It was organised by Kat (the brains behind #Reverb12), and brought to my attention by the Mindful Mum; I signed up two days into October. It was difficult to blog every day – sometimes I was so tired that I just wanted to stop. But I stuck with it, using it as a way to catch up with CPD23 (above), and getting back into a habit of regular writing. I’m really pleased that I stuck with it, and it got me back into blogging at a point where my blog could very easily faded into nothing.