I’ve been surrounded by archival material this week. It’s the first time I’ve properly had “archive fatigue” and wow, is it real.
It’s now got to the stage where I close my eyes after leaving the archive at the Scottish Genealogical Society and all I see is a screen of gravestone inscriptions scrolling past. Freaky enough?
Well it gets worse. I found myself yesterday staving off a feeling of dread at the library where the archive’s situated. I was a bit worried, as I love gravestone research! Epigraphy and content and landscapes of graveyards are entirely my jam!
So what to do? Well, all the advice I’ve been given was as soon as you start to dread opening the books at the library, it’s time to take a break. So I did. I went out, sat in a cafe, wrote some words of something non-thesis, and had an enormous mug of hot chocolate. I didn’t set foot back in the library that day, instead I did admin on other projects, emailed people, read some guest blog posts (send me MOAR!), ate a decent lunch and went to bed early (midnight) for once. OK, so it was an afternoon off, not a full day, sue me!
Yesterday I returned afresh to the library, and I felt like a new man. I wasn’t tired as soon as I sat down, I wasn’t upset by the merest idea of reading through literally thousands of inscriptional entries, and I am absolutely not further behind schedule than I would have been otherwise. The break did me good, and meant that yesterday was orders of magnitude more productive than it might otherwise have been.
ON ANOTHER NOTE
If anyone missed my thoroughly professional talk (shut up) at the SGSAH welcome event the other week, I’ll be posting an audio copy of it on here this week. Sadly the deadline to apply for the Blogging Intern job is now passed, but the rest of it is still true and applicable!