Anyone have any suggestions for building a little bit of research and a little bit of writing into a weekly schedule that includes minimum 20hrs non-academic paid work, 8 hours volunteering, 6 hours housework, and a lot more procrastination and feeling sorry for oneself?
When I was in my teens the film “The Mummy” with Brendan Fraser came out. In it Rachel Weisz’s character whilst drunkenly assessing the turns her life has recently taken declares: “I am proud of what I am. […] I am….. a librarian”
This quickly became a kind of de facto motto for my small group of friends, our way of declaring that we might not be sporty, or the party-animals and cool kids and that we were ok with being thought of as the swots (this was way back before being a geek was cool). We even all took the chance to be school librarians when prefect allocation came up.
Later we went our separate ways to university and beyond; one of our group went to Aberystwyth to study Librarianship (although under which branch of information science I no longer remember) and I took the long slow road towards a doctorate. Being a librarian was something we did at school and I thought no more about it.
I have always been interested in a career in heritage. Mostly that has always been about working behind the scenes at museums and sites but more recently I have been thinking about archives.
Until quite recently I had never really thought about the difference between libraries and archives except that libraries have books (which sometimes you can take them away) and archives have original documents (which generally you can’t). I have only ever accessed letters and similar through libraries with archival holdings but when a job opportunity at a library came up at the same time as the possibility for volunteering at an archive I began to think about these things more carefully.
I didn’t get the job at the library in London – although I did enjoy the tour and the discussion of alternative cataloguing classification systems – but I have started volunteering at an Archive dedicated to Mills.
So far I have learnt the difference between smock mills and post mills, the usefulness of volunteer labour in donation record-keeping and the importance of context. It turns out that the really important distinction between archives and libraries is the notion of the preservation and curation of the context of the collection. I’m a long way from understanding the nuances yet but I am looking forward to seeing how getting into the depths of a collection changes my approaches to research.
I’ve been keeping you hanging on again, but um… tough. Sorry to fail miserably but I’ve been working hard at the job that buys the food and I’ve been suffering with a lot of pain and the ongoing fight with my depression.
Still its a new year and I have plans.
- Blog – 3 more SFF posts (1 on the final panel, 1 on some theoretical issues incl. Nick Lowe’s plenary & 1 on the panel I was in and my thoughts & plans…). Furthermore I will write at least once a fortnight.
- Job… I have applied for a couple of things this year so far and I am determined that I will end the year doing something different to now
- Publishing – 2 articles that I started last year will be submitted! Partly I need to get over the perfectionism that keeps me re-editing but also I need to be brave enough to approach people to give me advice.
Wish me luck and strength
So I have turned 30 and been on holiday since the secondary schools started their new term but I haven’t “achieved” very much.
Non-academic work and the effort required to manage that, my shoulder problems, mental health and sleeping patterns, as well as attempts to look into new jobs have left me exhausted and deflated.
On the other hand a kind prod to write a paper for the Institute of Classical Studies Early Career Researchers Seminar series has re-kindled my research work and a new physio programme is helping towards a pain management regime.
Next steps include: finding someone to advise me on my Phoenicians article; writing the ICS paper; re-writing my CA paper as an article (and getting some advice on that); working on the possible business plan; changing pill intake; oh and, finishing my write up of SFF….
Wish me Luck