The blogging life


speaking 2, by K
Three years ago I outed myself as a blogger–to both the folks in my department and beyond, as I started using my real name online in places that could link back to my identity as a graduate student. Prior to that, my blogging was something that I did on the side, pseudonymously. However, for a variety of reasons, it seemed time to meld my online and real-life identities.

Two years ago I wrote a post on my History blog about the “seduction” of the blogging life, and how it was an asset to my work as a scholar. I explained,

Yet what I find the most seductive about blogging is the continued experimentation. It’s a challenge to find something new to say every day and to find new ways of saying it (especially when my life is just a mundane mix of grad school, parenting, and spiritual seeking–it’s hard to imagine more boring story fodder). So I have to think about how best to ‘hook’ my readers, how to provoke a response, and how to write with such skill that my posts are linked by larger blogs.

Now that I’m addicted to blogging, I wonder how it will affect my professional life. Though I’m a few years from facing the job market, I can’t help my think that search committees might be put-off by my flower photos and rambling observations. Often I vow to stop blogging and focus my time on more legitimate academic pursuits (just think, people, of all the book reviews I could be writing instead of blogging!).

But then I consider this: Blogging lubricates my writing muscles. Pounding out a two-paragraph post during my morning latte primes me for a day of historical inquiry…

Now, I’m finding myself in a place where I’m a bit weary of blogging. Certainly that’s a strange confession in a blogpost!  But it seems as though blogging doesn’t carry the same excitement for me that it once did. It might be because I’ve become an avid tweeter, or because I’ve been at this blogwriting gig for nearly a decade and I’ve run out of things to say. Or maybe it’s because I spend so many hours at the computer with my academic work, when I have some moments of discretionary time I want to do something wholly different (like read poetry). Surely it’s a phase that will soon pass. But it feels fairly odd to me right now, knowing how enthusiastically I blogged in years past.

*Note: the picture above is of me giving a talk about academic blogging at a departmental gathering.

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One Response to “The blogging life”

  1. Justin Bengry Says:

    One line struck a chord with me in this post: “Blogging lubricates my writing muscles. Pounding out a two-paragraph post during my morning latte primes me for a day of historical inquiry…” I think that’s the key. Writer’s write! And as scholars, we are also writers. But writing a dissertation is fraught with obstacles and sometimes profound writer’s block. I sometimes wish I had been doing more non-academic writing during my academic studies. But having just finished them, I’m remedying that, and am heartened by posts like this! Thanks! :)

    But I also take to heart your comment about what search committees and colleagues might think, say, or not say were they to find other writings. (I was surprised when a panel chair came up to me before a talk in London to confirm details he had found after googling me!) It’s a tough call, and identity (and multiple identity) management will be an increasingly significant concern for us academic/non-academic writers. I’m erring, I think, on the side of using my name for most of it, but I wonder how many others continue to use pseudonyms to avoid mixing worlds?

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