Stopping for a breather

Hiking boots having a rest

image by alan_cleaver2000

Yes, I know it’s “reflection week” rather than “sitting down for a bit and getting the sandwiches out week” but you know what they say, the best reflection takes place while sitting down. Preferably with cake. It’s virtually my family motto.

My overriding feeling from the first 12 Things is that I am always playing catch-up. Almost from the outset, I seem to be behind and trying frantically not to slip even further behind. I could have done with some catch-up weeks built into the schedule to help with my poor time management. I admit I’ve used this reflection week to get a few more Things blogged and ticked off my list. However, it’s not really cheating as I’ve been reflecting the whole way through. I reflect as I go. It’s true, I’ve been surprised by how much the 23 Things experience has made me think: about the Things, about how they could be applied in my work, about my professional development, about all kinds of things. It’s been quite invigorating.

Part of the problem, as I blogged about earlier, is that my approach is completist. I still try to read every post on every blog and every comment too. It’s by far the most enjoyable and instructive part of doing 23 Things. I have everything feeding into Google Reader and I check it throughout the day. The trouble with this approach is that, since I’m always behind, I read everyone else’s blog posts on a Thing before I get to writing my own. It’s great, because it gives me lots of ideas, different points of view, sparks off things that I want to say in reply. However, it also means I have a huge amount to say or I want to spend all my time referencing other people’s posts.

I’m sure reading all the other blogs first contributes to my other major problem – Hi, my name is Céline and I write too much. I cannot write a short blog post. I’ve tried. I just can’t do it. This is part of the reason why I get behind, each post takes ages to write, edit, annotate with links and images, edit again, post, edit again. Sigh. I wish I could be more concise.

Thirteen Things in and the biggest benefit to me so far is that taking part has forced me to be more sociable than I would normally be. I am really enjoying commenting on other people’s blogs, getting involved in discussions and conversations that way (and to a lesser extent, Twitter, which is obviously a challenge for someone as verbose as me).  In my first blog post I said:

I am particularly interested in seeing the new connections, friendships and working relationships that might be born out of the peer support and social networking that form an integral part of 23 Things.

I have high hopes that this will be one of the most lasting legacies of the programme for me. I still need to force myself to be more outgoing and build on these connections and relationships, but hopefully I’m on the right path to make that happen.

I was already fairly confident trying new things online and I could have tried these tools for myself. What 23 Things has done is given me a reason and an excuse to devote time to the various Things. It provided a structure – I’ve always been the kind of student who completes all her homework so I’ve made time even if it’s been difficult or if I’ve ended up getting behind in writing blog posts. Time is precious and it can be hard to carve out some space when there are so many other demands on your day so having 23 Things provides a useful focus.

The Things I’ve enjoyed most so far: Twitter (a bit of a revelation), Doodle (already recommended it to others and used in several different contexts), blogging (much to my surprise, despite the loss of my Batgirl disguise) and commenting on other blogs (I notice I’m more willing to participate by commenting even when not part of 23 Things). My own blog is very much specific to 23 Things so might not last beyond the end of the programme, so I don’t know if I’ll keep blogging in a personal capacity – and don’t know that I’d have much to say without the regular “homework” to write about – but I am enjoying it.  I absolutely LOVE rss feeds and Google Reader in particular, and would it recommend to anyone.

Reflection 2

image by Camil Tulcan

As I pull my hiking boots back on and put my thermos away, I ask myself what I will do differently in the second half of this journey? I’m going to make a concerted effort to blog about a Thing within the week, not let them carry over past the next Monday. Even if it means shorter blog posts. There are some really interesting Things coming up and I don’t want to get totally bogged down in one or two and end up miles behind with no hope of catching up with everyone in time for tea and cake. I will have a List, a List of Things I Want To Look At Some More – starting with Delicious (set up my own account and use it), but adding any of the future Things that I want to investigate in more detail. It almost always requires more than a few days to look at a resource, try it out, get to know it and work out whether it is right for you (or for your library). So this is an ongoing process and doesn’t stop with the blog post.


2 comments so far

  1. Girl in the Moon on

    Ah, there I was, about to (finally) write my reflective post, thinking ‘I’ll just catch up on a few more of the other blogs’ and wham! you’ve said pretty much everything I’ve been thinking. Still, practising reflective writing will be Good for this chartership candidate, so I will soldier on.

    Apologies when you discover that my (eventual) post sounds a little familiar…

  2. magistra on

    I have finally caught up for the moment, but expect I will soon be a thing or two behind again. I find there’s a very fine balance between blogging on something immediately (when you haven’t got your thoughts properly sorted out) and taking so long to ruminate that you get daunted.

    Sometimes I find it helps me to work out my main points for a blog post just on paper (which I can do on the train to work) and then fill in a few extra details and links as I’m writing the actual post. Certainly for reflective writing that’s going to form part of actual coursework (like chartering), it’s quite useful to build it up in layers like that, so you’re not starting just with a blank page. Reworking documents is really what cut and paste functions were made for.

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