Lots of preparation before I get into the serious business of writing. My Mendeley database is in a sad state of disrepair, so first thing on the schedule is to start going through my “fix these” folder and adding proper metadata to the the 300-plus books and articles in there that need them. 20 a day should see me through.
I adhere to the pack rat school of thought. There are nearly 10 000 PDFs in my Mendeley database right now. Then there are another 17 000 e-books in Calibre. Most of those are novels, but some will have to be moved to Mendeley. There are links in Evernote that would be better served if they were accessible from mendeley, too.
And then there are the old-fashioned printed books and the printed journals that precede the digital age. My research process these days is pretty much digital-first, and increasingly, that’s where it ends. So those books and journals are doing me no good at all standing on the shelves, even if they make the lounge look donders geleerd. I need to take them out and start putting at least the titles and publication details into Mendeley, with hopefully a few tags and an abstract. Behold a major part of my 2016 …
“Is that all the books you have, Michel?” Not even close. I have books in languages I can’t even read … yet. I have books dating back to the 19th century and books printed last month. I have books by geniuses, and books by charlatans. These are just the books I am most likely to want to quote from.
I’m not likely to get much actual writing done until Leroy is back at school, anyway, so this is a good way to get started.
It will be worth while, though. Once you go reference manager, you don’t go back. Change your mind about where to submit your article? Press a button and your references are now in AMA rather than Harvard style. Need to find everything you have on the Dalai Lama? Enter a search term and the list pops up. Using this year to get my database in order will boost my productivity for years to come.
What else? Well, regular life does not end just because I’m on sabbatical, so I will be maintaining my Flipboard magazines (If you are not following my mag Religion Newsflips, you should be, by the way).
Bt there is more to life than work, work, work. I have a series of flash fiction stories to complete. I write software for an obscure hobbyist operating system. That’s right, my idea of relaxing at night is to get back in front of the same computer and push out more words and code. Sad, I know.
I need to join a gym this year. Now that I am no longer walking a kilometer to the office car park, and climbing stairs to that meeting on the eighth floor, I can’t end up sitting on my arse eighteen hours a day.