Karen Schneider has a great post that is just now crossing my radar because I’ve been ignoring my RSS feed for a while and spending more time cooking. It’s called How To Be Famous and there are two things I like about it a great deal.
First, when I scanned it the first time I was like “Oh this was great but she forgot…” and then on a second read I realized she didn’t forget a thing, at least as I see things. Second, she wrote this list so I don’t have to. People in libraryland ask me what I do or did to travel and speak like I do — less than most but more than many others — and I let them in on my little pair of secrets which is 1) you have to want to do it to be able to do it, which already rules out a ton of people with other obligations or who just hate travel, public speaking or, frankly, other people. 2) I can manage to do what I do because I live a very small and simple life in rural Vermont with no pets or children and only a few peaked looking houseplants. The town rolls up the sidewalks at eight and most evenings I noodle away working. I am lucky to have a job, or a few jobs, that are flexible enough to allow me to travel and I’m equally fortunate to actually enjoy schlepping around and meeting other people.
The most important things I would point to on Karen’s list are these. The importance of taking care of yourself or as she says “pace yourself.” Not only are you no good to anyone if you haven’t gotten enough sleep or down-time, but being continually on-the-road exhausted is a lifestyle problem at some level. If you’re a brain surgeon, this may not be true. If you’re a librarian, it definitely is. Also, I believe strongly in helping up-and-comers and mentoring people newer to the profession or even people just considering the profession. People were there to answer my million questions when I was an early WLA and ALA member, I figure I can do the same for early bloggers and facebookers and whoever. Time and effort you invest in other people, for the most part, is time and effort well-invested.