It’s been a while since I’ve written anything here but as the calendar flips over to February it seems as good a time as any to get back into the habit of reflecting on work done, thinking in progress, what I’ve learnt and what I’ve identified I want to do more of.

Content strategy and design

I’m nearly three months in to my role with Alzheimer’s Society and I’m so very glad I decided to make this move.

The right sort of challenges and really meaningful work I’ve found that as an organisation there’s a real culture of care, not just lip service to employee wellbeing. It’s an empowering environment in which to transform the experience of people living with dementia with connected content.

We’ve been running a discovery phase over the last few months and that’s meant I’ve been deep into a content audit, and understanding the people, processes, and platform as it is at the moment. After a few years being very hands on with content design it’s been nice to stretch strategically again, and also take on the challenge of being the first and currently only content strategist in the org.

There’s much work to be done but around this work my thinking this month has been drawn to:

  • building strong and empowered content teams
  • how user experience comes from a collaborative effort – research, content, and interaction design advocating for the user and drawing on the knowledge of subject matter experts
  • semantic and structured content models fitting with design systems (or vice versa)
  • Design as a Service as a roadmap to transformation…and the evolutionary steps to take within an org as progress is preferable to perfection.

Record label

For the first time since we began (at the end of 2015) I took the decision to step away from Reckless Yes for a time at the end of last November.

I’m fortunate my co-founder was supportive of me doing so, although it was pretty evident to us both that I needed time away for my mental health, and particularly to process some industry-related trauma.

During my time away I’ve considered whether I want to continue being an active part of Reckless Yes, and more than that, whether I want to continue being involved with music (business and industry). I didn’t really settle these questions in my mind but at the end of January I made a tentative return joining a call with one of our artists.

That call was a joy, full of the support which is lacking in the wider industry, and the hopeful resilience which pulses throughout DIY and independent art. I flexed parts of my thinking and creativity which I’d let rest, and I feel more ready to make a carefully managed return.

Huge thanks to Pete Darrington for enabling me to have the time I needed, and continuing to support me to rest when I need to.

Writing

Work on my second novel has slowed again as switching contexts between work and fiction seems more challenging. But while I might not have written or edited much this last month I’m thinking through what I need to do next a lot.

I’m still intending to hit publication (finally) this year and spending time with the characters before Christmas was a bigger joy than I’d anticipated.

For now my novel is my priority writing project and Popoptica – my music journalism site – is once again on hiatus.

What else…?

  • I’m 2 books in to my reading list so far – Doctor Sleep (because I was long overdue a trip back to all things Overlook), and Dark Matters (because the multiverse is hot right now)
  • we managed a weekend away as a family and as it was spent mostly offline it was a great reminder of being in the moment and focusing on making the memories rather than experiencing them second hand in order to document them – more like it this year please!

Coming up next month

  • concluding the discovery phase on my current work project
  • more development work with Motivational Maps
  • thinking longer term about where I intend to be in 12 months, 5 years and beyond
  • stepping back more fully into Reckless Yes
  • a week away with the family

Original source – Sarah Lay

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