‘Tis the Season for Writing

A number of members from my writers group are participating in this years National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). If you haven’t heard of NaNoWriMo before, participants aim to write 50 thousand words in the month of November, the idea being that a time frame forces you be consistent in your writing practice and can help you get the novel onto paper.

The local literary group where I live, Stories in the North, is hosting a number of writing events in November as part of NaNoWriMo.  This includes a kick-off party, ‘write-ins’ around town and a wrap up event.  Many of the write-ins take place while I’m at work, but I love the idea of bringing the local writing community together and creating positive communal work spaces.

In the academic world Charlotte Frost recently announced AcWriMo (academic writing month) and is encouraging academics to tackle their own writing goals.  Check out her announcement to see the full ‘rules’ and details.  Participants are encouraged to post their goals, efforts and results using the #AcWriMo hashtag.  
I’ve been struggling with the concept of NaNoWriMo — mainly because I’m realistic about how much time I can feasibly devote to writing each day.  I also have a lot of non-novel related writing that I would like to spend more time on.  AcWriMo seems like a good fit for my current goals and schedule.

What do I want to accomplish as part of AcWriMo?

  • Spend at least an hour a day on writing. 
    • I’m going to say that blog writing can count toward this time.
  • Have finished drafts of two articles I’ve been pushing to the back-burner for ages.   
    • One article is a short 3,000 word case study, so seeing that article in polished form and ready for critique would be nice. 
    • The other article needs a bit more research love.  Having a workable draft by the end of the month or a near to finished draft of this article, would be ideal. 

Are you participating in any form of NaNoWriMo? How do you stay on top of your writing goals?

Action Planning

Today’s #reverb10 prompt: Action. When it comes to aspirations, its not about ideas. It’s about making ideas happen. What’s your next step?

When thinking about what career and heritage based actions I would like to take next year the first thing that comes to mind is planning. But, does planning count as action? It’s an activity and at times a very important first step. However, planning is often a predecessor to actual physical action. Despite its apparent lack of physicality, I think the importance of planning gives it merit to be included as an action, even if it is more of a mental action.

My next step is to begin prioritizing and planning what long term activities are going to help me grow professionally in 2011. I need to prioritize based on gain, enjoyment, and effort inputted into the activity. Currently, I’m debating about trying to focus on one or two volunteer activities or one volunteer activity and one major project to take on in the new year.

Joining the #reverb10 bandwagon

After seeing a couple of #reverb10 posts I began to read up on the idea and started to debate over participating. Some gentle encouragement helped and I decided to participate in #reverb10.

Since reverb officially began yesterday, I’m writing two posts today to catch up. The December 1st writing prompt was: Encapsulate the year 2010 in one word. Explain why you’re choosing that word. Now, imagine it’s one year from today, what would you like the word to be that captures 2011 for you?

I debated back and forth about my 2010 word, but ultimately decided on discovery. I’ve discovered a lot about myself, my passions, the world around me, community heritage, and the world of public history in this past year. My top three heritage based discoveries include :

* Volunteering as a research associate for the Red Cross’ Health Equipment Loan Program (HELP) allowed me to rediscover my joy of archival research.
* My time working with OurOntario and the Community Digitization Program (CDP) helped me rediscovered my love for Northern Ontario heritage, people, and lifestyle.
* This year I also discovered that it is possible to combine my public history interest with other aspects of my life. This discovery eventually resulted in the combing of my traditional historical interest in First Nation-Settler relations with my interest in preservation. This combination took the shape of my new job and I couldn’t be happier about that.

I would like my word for 2011 to be growth. At this time next year I would like to be able to say that I’ve learned something substantial, continued to expand my activities in the public history realm and that professionally I have made a step forward (no matter how small).

Upcoming Projects

With all the New Years resolutions floating around I decided it would be valuable for me to record some of my intentions for the upcoming months. Below is a rough list of projects I have on the go or plan on beginning in the new year.

Presentations:
OLA Super Conference, Toronto, February 2010. “Community Digitization Program: Collaboration and Capacity Building.” This presentation will be highlighting the ongoing Community Digitization Program. It will be a panel discussion of the various experiences of the staff and organizations involved, focusing on resources, knowledge gained, and overall experience.
OLSN North Conference, Sudbury, May 2010. This presentation is still in the early stages of development, but will most likely be similar in format to the OLA presentation.

Projects:
Recipe collection project. As a Christmas present I received a “Recipe Keeper”, which is essentially a template for creating a scrapbook of recipes. Working with the recipe keeper I plan on collecting various family recipes as well as some of my own. In addition to the traditional scrapbook I plan on creating a digital counterpart. The digital counterpart is based on my desire to preserve things for longer than their physical lifespan, and on the fact that so many of my recipes are already saved/annotated using zotero.
Completion of the Digitization Handbook I’ve been working on. This is intended to be a guide for the organizations I am currently working with. It includes how to establish policies, workflows, administrative guidelines, and various templates for creating a sustainable digitization program.
-Renewing/relearning CSS/html skills. I recently used some of my CSS knowledge while working on a digital photo exhibit project. However my skills are pretty rusty at this point, so in the upcoming months I plan to use them more frequently on similar digital photo projects, this blog, and my personal site.
-In a similar vain to the previous project, I haven’t done any programming in processing or java in sometime. In the upcoming months I would like to work on a project which allows me to keep using these skills. Specifics have yet to be decided on.
-Researching and assisting in the writing of a history of Knox Presbyterian Church, Alliston Ontario. This will be a community commemoration project and is in the very early stages of conception.