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Future Thinking for 2021 (Part 1) – The Year of Journaling*

Making new year’s resolutions seems more precarious than ever right now. And while I’m always reluctant to set goals that I know I’m likely to drop by February, the imperative to do better seems stronger for me than usual in 2021. I’ve been thinking about where I would like to be both in my career and personal life five years from now; and the path forward in both instances is through writing. So 2021 will be the year of journaling, *though writing, more generally, will be my focus.

I’ve set a personal goal to write in a paper journal each day. I’ve also set a professional goal to put aside time each M-F/9-5 for writing-focused projects: either writing that needs to be done on behalf of the library or writing for the publication of my own research in professional journals.[1] To meet this goal, I’ve time-blocked at least 1 hour of writing time each day in addition to time-blocking for research work.

I don’t have any restrictions on what I write: the goal isn’t to produce anything in particular. Simply, the goal is to put pen to page. Pixel to screen. Make the clackity noise.

[1] I’ve surveyed the LIS field and discovered that many of the scholars that I admire most publish approximately 2-3 articles a year. With that in mind, I have set myself to the same goal.

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Whither goes web writing

I am constantly tweaking my social media feeds mostly in an effort to limit what I see when I log into Twitter, Facebook, or whatever. A recent post by David Moldawer of Boing Boing gives some insight into the type of writing I try to avoid:

“The long tail of odd and authentic content is bigger than ever, but if you find your content the way most people do, through the algorithmically warped suggestions in your social media feeds, the stuff you stumble onto feels less like writing and more like wordage, a sort of tips-and-tragedies lorem ipsum.”

One of the first things I talk about in my library instruction courses for First-Year writing seminars is the difficulty of doing research in the Filter Bubble, but Moldawer’s post has me thinking about this from a different perspective: library marketing. I am not opposed to occasionally using popular forms of web writing (listicles, grabby headlines, lifehacking) to catch a reader’s attention, but I strive to create an authentic voice for our library, one that is friendly, energetic, and attentive to users’ interests and needs.

Which reminds me, I need to found out how the University of Iowa’s Special Collections’ team creates these awesome gifs. Also, you should follow their Tumblr.

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Not feeling it

And it’s at about 6 pages into this paper that I’m suddenly “not feeling it.” There is nothing worse than becoming utterly bored with a topic once you’ve passed the point of no return. I’m going to do my best to bring this to it’s so-predictable conclusion but am afraid the result will be absolute rubbish… sigh. Ok. Let’s do this.