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Blogger’s Block

For the last few months I have been suffering from a writer’s block of sorts that has made it impossible for me to write a blog post of any length or substance. I have done other writing, just no blogging so it is a true blogger’s block. This has never happened to me before and I have spent the last few weeks honestly trying to figure out the cause is behind this blockage.

It is not a lack of ideas. I have lots of ideas for posts, they come to me at odd moments and usually when I am nowhere near a computer (or even a piece of paper and pen to jot down a quick outline). Lately, however, when I finally sit down to write a post one of three things seems to happen:

1. I start writing and suddenly I feel as if it has already been said before. What seemed like a brilliant blog post when I thought of it, now feels like it is just rehashing the same conversations that we have been having on libraryland blogs for the last few years. Is it possible that we have blogged to death the whole Library 2.0 movement? I am pretty sure we have. If we have, what is the next big discussion topic on the horizon?

2. I start writing on a timely topic but I don’t have time to finish and by the time I go back to polish it off it is no longer relevant or timely. My responsibilities at MPOW have increased greatly since I was promoted to Programming Coordinator, my son is older and involved in activities that require me to be the chauffeur, our older home is undergoing some renovations, and I have begun doing a lot more speaking engagements once more . All of these factors leave me with no time for sustained thinking or writing. I used to blog late at night, but lately my brain is exhausted by that point and when I do write it is mostly gibberish (trust me on this).

3. I start writing and feel like I am writing too much about MPOW and all the awesome things we do here. This is not the intended focus of Library Garden — all the bloggers on our team agree that we want it to be a broader conversation about libraries rather than a simple “how I did it good” type of reporting. Not that we haven’t posted occasionally about cool things we are doing at our libraries or places of work, but we want LG to be more than that and I am aware of this. However, I am so focused these days on planning and running programs that I have little left in me at the end of the day to discuss.

So, this brings us to this particular post. This is my “break the blogger’s block” post. It is the post to get me posting again. I can’t stay in this rut of not posting and so I sought advice online on how to break writer’s block. Here are the 3 of the most common pieces of advice I found:

1. Write on a Schedule: This is not likely to happen unless I start getting up at 5:30 am as is my only free unscheduled time at this moment that I could regularly guarantee nothing else happening in my day. I am a morning person, but even that is too early for me.

2. Set Deadlines and Keep Them: I have a lot of deadlines in my life to keep and I am pretty good at meeting deadlines. Blogging is a hobby and a creative outlet and somehow a deadline makes it feel like more pressure on me and I don’t write well under pressure (actually, I evidently don’t write at all as can be seen by my lack of posts lately).

3. Work on more than one project at a time: I am always working on about 10 projects at a time at a minimum. Maybe not writing projects, but I always have too many things to juggle. I actually think working on too many things is my problem. I can not sustain a single train of thought long enough to write a cohesive and coherent post. I get distracted by too many other pressing tasks.

Hmmm… okay, so three common tips down and none are working for me. I worked my way through many more tips such as those above, and none seemed to be the solution. Until I found a good article called How-To Break Writer’s Block on Buzzle that seemed to actually have a few ideas that would work for me! So, this post is courtesy of tips # 7 and #10 from this article:

7. Write when you are tired. Write at the end of the day, when you are so exhausted that your mind isn’t interfering with the flow…

and

10. Lastly, write about having writer’s block. Seriously! Write about why you feel stuck. What is it that seems to be keeping you from writing? Free associate and write about it. When you get down to the reasons why you have writer’s block, you can address them and correct them.

I wrote this post when I was exhausted. I know it is not perfect or the best writing I have ever done, but at least it is a post to get me out of my rut. I have also analyzed the reasons for my blogger’s block and now that I have one post out again I am already excited about another post that I started working on recently. So, with any luck, I will have another post out within 48 hours.

If anyone else has experienced blogger’s block, I would love to hear stories, tips and advice on what you have done to overcome it. If anyone is currently suffering from blogger’s block, try reading the above article to see if it helps you like it did me or else read through this helpful list of resources I consulted to get me back in the blog saddle again:

20 Types of Blog Posts – Battling Bloggers Block

LEO: Overcoming Writer’s Block

Top 10 Tips for Overcoming Writer’s Block

How to Overcome Writer’s Block – 15 Tips

I am looking forward to attending the OCLC Blog Salon at ALA Annual in Chicago this year — and now that I have actually written a post I won’t feel like a fraud for attending. Oh, and if you plant to attend the blog salon, there is a Facebook page so RSVP today!

Creativity Image from: http://www.flickr.com/photos/alun/253596595/

June 28, 2009 at 8:00 am 8 comments

Nancy Promotes Public Libraries

This was just forwarded to me by Leslie Burger, the director at MPOW and a past-president of ALA, with a comment that really says it all: “Check it out – great advertising for libraries”

April 21, 2009 at 9:55 am 3 comments

Pres4Lib2009: Registration now Open!

Looking to hone your presentation skills, become a better speaker, or develop your training/presenting toolkit? If so, you will not want to miss the inaugural Pres4Lib Camp on June 12, 2009 in Princeton, NJ. The camp, hosted by the bloggers of Library Garden and friends, is being sponsored by SJRLC, CJRLC and the Princeton Public Library. The camp is open to anyone who works in libraries or with libraries and librarians.

Pres4Lib2009 is a presentation camp and will be conducted as an unconference. This will be a great opportunity for presenters and trainers (and those interested in presenting and training) in the library community to network and share their tips, technologies, best practices, and experiences.Highlights of the day will include two rounds of lightning talks, three breakout sessions, and a chance to witness Battle Decks in action.

A Pres4Lib2009 wiki (http://pres4lib.pbwiki.com ) has been established to answer questions about the camp, allow for collaboration and suggestions prior to the day and to record the happenings on the actual day.

Registration is limited and the cost is free, except for a nominal $25 charge to cover the cost of food (breakfast, lunch and snacks). The day will culminate with an optional dinner outing to The Triumph Brewing Company, a local favorite in Princeton.

Don’t delay and register today at http://tinyurl.com/pres4lib2009
… and remember, you heard it here first at the Library Garden!

April 9, 2009 at 12:10 pm 2 comments

Friday Fun: Google Street View "Outtakes"

You never know what Google Street View will find — some of it is pretty funny and some of it is downright embarrassing. Some random surfing today brought me to this article posted by the Telegraph in the U.K which also includes a slide show of more than a dozen street view images that have been pulled from the service following complaints or requests since the service went live recently in the U.K. and other European cities.

Not sure if the image with Paddington Bear in Trafalgar Square was pulled — I found it cute and appropriate. But then again, there is some question about whether Paddington was actually stalking the Google cam team.

How fun that they built in a Where’s Waldo game to the Street View as well — and even cooler that Waldo was found!

Of course, many questions could be (and have been) raised about privacy and the “Big Brother” aspect of street views… but that is a whole other post for a different day.

March 20, 2009 at 1:07 pm 2 comments

45 Billion Minutes!

A few fun facts from an interesting, but not surprising, article from PC Magazine today that reports on some findings as a result of recent market research done by Nielsen Online:

One in every 11 minutes online globally is accounted for by social network and blogging sites, the group found, or 45 billion minutes in total.

Blogs and social networking are consuming more online time than checking and writing personal email.

A search engine was used by 85.9 percent of the world’s population, followed by what the firm called “general interest portals and communities,” such as Yahoo, with an 85.2 percent reach. Software ranked third at 73.4 percent, with the member communities of blogs and email fourth, at 66.8 percent. Email came in fifth, at 65.1 percent. All categories showed gains from the year before.

Facebook remained the most popular social-networking destination around the world, and user attention rocketed by 566 percent from a year ago.

As well, this article provides some interesting and quantifiable data about a trend that we have all been observing — the movement of “old fogies” to Facebook (see my previous post) is driving the original demographic to leave:

Growth in social networking is being driven not by the young, but by the middle-aged. The category of men and women aged 65 and above moving to social networking grew by 7 percent, Nielsen found, while the 2-17-year-old category dropped by 9 percent. The most popular age group with Facebook in terms of growth is the 35-49 category, which increased by 24.1 million people.

This article gives terrific insight in to the shift that occurring online and gives some great data to justify the addition of digital branches and social networking features to a library system. The reach of social networking is extending and, like email before it, is something that library patrons of all ages are becoming comfortable using.

Source: More Time Spent Social Networking Than On Email (PC Magazine Online, 3/10/09)

March 10, 2009 at 11:46 am

A Little Link Love

Just a quick post to share a few articles and links that I have found interesting/useful/funny — and sometimes all three. These are in no particular order and with no particular theme.

Why Facebook is for Old Fogies: A humorous article from TIME with lots of truth mixed in about why adults want and need to be on Facebook. A great handout to add a little levity for classes on social networking or for any bibliography for a presentation. My favorite reason from the list:

10. We’re not cool, and we don’t care. There was a time when it was cool to be on Facebook. That time has passed. Facebook now has 150 million members, and its fastest-growing demographic is 30 and up. At this point, it’s way cooler not to be on Facebook. We’ve ruined it for good, just like we ruined Twilight and skateboarding. So git! And while you’re at it, you damn kids better get off our lawn too.

Building Your Base Toolkit: A great resource for those who do library programming from the New York State Library and hosted by the Mid-Husdon Library System. This site is designed to give libraries “tools for connecting with your community” and has lots of good marketing advice in addition to tips for running successful library programs. I am always on the lookout for new programming ideas and they have a lot of good ideas on the Creative Programming page.

Twitter Basics for Librarians: This post is meant to help libraries and librarians start using Twitter, but it could easily be adapted for any group or for a handout for a basic class on twitter at your library. This post also led my to discover Tweeters Directory: Librarians, twitter resource that I had not seen before (although I am undecided about adding my name as I like to keep my following/followers list small and hate to decline people).

Flickriver
: My new favorite way to browse and explore flickr, but be warned that this site can be a giant time suck. If you want to have lots of fun, do a search for the tag “librarian” and sort by “interesting” — here are the results of this search. It is so cool that Cindi’s photos comprise 3 of the top 5 and very telling that many of the “interesting” shots comprise photos of the stereotypical “sexy” librarian image. Oh, and the “librarians in shower caps” mosaic ranks quite highly too! Of course, it is always fun to search for your user name too. The black background and not needing to click to get to the next image just makes the browsing so much better.

Best and Worst Blogs 2009: The second annual list by TIME “spanning politics, housekeeping, astronomy and everything in between”. I found a few new blogs to check out thanks to this list and was happy to see many of my favorites included. The Most Overrated Blogs list is short but right on the money.

March 5, 2009 at 8:50 am 2 comments

Speaking of Nominating

There have been dozens of posts made over the last few months reminding everyone to nominate their favorite Mover and Shaker from libraryland for the annual Library Journal supplement. I myself am in the midst of polishing my M&S nomination for submission before the deadline on Monday November 10th, so I thought while everyone was in nominating mode I would post a reminder that nominating season need not end on Monday!

There are lots of ALA professional recognition awards that you can nominate your colleagues and institution to win — and many of the awards given by ALA have a December 1st deadline, giving you three weeks to put together your nomination!

I spent the last two years serving on the ALA Awards Committee and this year I was appointed the chair of the jury for the ALA/Information Today Library of the Future Award. This is not only a really prestigious award but a really cool one too — as is evident by the list of past winners. Look over the requirements, then think about what your library is doing and how you might possibly qualify:

… to honor an individual library, library consortium, group of librarians, or support organization for innovative planning for, applications of, or development of patron training programs about information technology in a library setting.

Criteria should include the benefit to clients served; benefit to the technology information community; impact on library operations; public relations value; and the impact on the perception of the library or librarian in the work setting and to the specialized and/or general public.

I know, for a fact, that there are many libraries with innovative, forward-thinking and amazing technology-focussed programs that are deserving of this award, so step forward and nominate yourselves or your colleagues.

November 6, 2008 at 12:44 pm

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