This month seems to have rushed past in a bit of a blur. There’s needed to be some real deep thinking and stretches at work around content strategy, content model, and platform and release plans. We’ve also needed to do some hard consideration and harder decision making at the record label. Around this it’s exam season at school for my two children, and I’m mindful not to lose focus on how resting is a vital part of being productive.

Content strategy and design

This has been a hard-thinking month as we work toward key decisions, and I try and understand what decision-makers need to know to confidently set our direction from here.

This has meant conversations around digital ambition and what good looks like, options and recommendations for routes to achieve those goals – content strategy, content model, platform requirements, and release approaches as well as resource and capacity, authoring models, and roadmaps.

It feels as if there are a lot of plates spinning – managing the information upwards, sideways, down, and outwards – and lots of uncomfortable conversations as we try to align on language, concepts, and culture (in our team, but more widely across the organisation too).

I’m looking forward to passing this milestone and getting into the detail of the route we choose, but also reminding myself to go slow and listen to questions here. What has been a really good lesson this last month is the reminder of the value of both having other experts around to help shape the concepts, and of non-experts who will question those concepts to ensure they have full understanding.

Frustration and friction, but together setting the strongest foundations from which we can deliver.

Record label

We hoped we’d be coming out the other side of the post-pandemic challenges in the creative industries by now, but unfortunately for this little label the stormy sea has only got rougher in the last month. We’re currently doing our accounts for the last financial year and things aren’t looking good – not unexpected but disappointing all the same.

While we’ve not let that or the challenges which continue to mount against us dull our enthusiasm for our current releases we have done more soul-searching and pragmatic thinking about what we need to do to not only survive, but at some point (distant as it may look from here) thrive again.

We know we’re not the only label in this position right now – and while we feel resolute in our decision about how to go forward from here, the repercussions of the grassroots and small indie level collapsing aren’t being taken seriously by the wider industry right now.

Personal development

I’ve noticed this month I’ve done better at challenging back at self-limiting thoughts and the Voice of Doom I often direct toward myself in my internal monologue. That I’ve noticed the frequency with which this is happening is unusual too, but I’m enjoying questioning the down-talk and finding evidence which straight up shoots it down.

I’ve also been focusing myself on ‘good enough’ and rejecting the pull toward perfectionism, a state which helps no-one and is in direct conflict with both happiness and productivity.

What I’ve read this month

  • Content as a Service: Your guide to the what, why and how (buttercms.com)
  • Moving toward conflict for the sake of good strategy (Medium)
  • What makes writing more readable (pudding.cool)
  • Faster. Better. More Focused. Reading (Bionic Reading)
  • Content Accessibility by Sarah Winters (contentdesign.london)
  • How to measure content operations maturity (uxcontent.com)
  • Trauma-informed design: an introduction for non-profits (thecatalyst.org.uk)
  • A content strategists guide to using tone in products (Medium)
  • To build gentler technology, practice trauma-informed design (Medium)
  • How to create a unified content experience (contentrules.com)
  • Design Better Forms (Medium)
  • Principles for doing interaction design in DfE (dfedigital.blog.gov.uk)
  • The grammar of interactivity (uxbooth.com)
  • Accessibility swarms (bbc.github.io)
  • Accessibility design review (bbc.github.io)
  • How to write accessibility acceptance criteria (bbc.github.io)
  • How to document the screen reader user experience (bbc.github.io)

What I’ve written this month

Once again, just the press releases for Reckless Yes and the documentation at work. That second novel looking quite the way off and Popoptica moth-balling looking more long-term.

What else?

May is one of my favourite times of the year – everything is so SO green and lush. The heady smell of hawthorn, the lacy caps of cow parsley, and no mow May means all the fields around me are glowing with buttercups and dotted with dandelion clocks beneath which clover, cowslips, and an array of grasses spring forth.

Coming up next…

  • leaning harder into rest and restoration as we head toward the peak of summer
  • committing to some forms of basic self-care I’ve allowed fears & trauma to keep out of my reach for too long
  • moving toward key decisions on direction at work
  • more releases at the label, including a first album for 2022 (on vinyl!), new signings, and an EP too
  • trying to regain momentum with press for the label – something which seems more challenging than ever at the moment

Original source – Sarah Lay

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