Blogging got me through writing my dissertation. Each day, I would get up to write and use the blog as a way to set my goal for the day or to reflect on my progress. In no time, I found myself in the midst of a community of academic bloggers. Those I became the most connected with were also finishing doctoral work or just starting faculty positions. It was a great space, one that I have attempted (and “failed”) to return to several times.
So here I am again, Reboot Number 3 (4?). As I am writing this, I have to ask myself, what is different this time? Is this just another New Year’s resolution that will fizzle out in a few weeks? To the later, perhaps. But to the former, I think there are a number of differences this time.
For starters, writing the dissertation required daily motion, provided daily motivation, and therefore I was able to sustain the momentum needed to keep up a blog daily. There was also accountability. The more bloggers I met, the more I felt encouraged to keep going. And then there was a tangible end goal–to finish the dissertation.
My biggest misstep in trying to blog prior to last year was the feeling that I had to replicate that first experience. I thought I had to produce blog posts daily. But with a faculty job, a family, and other commitments, I have not returned to daily writing. Instead I have moved from haphazard writing to “panicked gotta write” writing to seasonal writing. I am now comfortable being a seasonal writer, which for me means that there are some times in the semester that are more fertile than others for writing. It started with the summers and has expanded to include the beginnings and ends of the semesters–Jan/Apr/May & Sep/Nov/Dec. During these seasons, I write (or edit) just about every weekday.
Looking at the calendar, I realize that I am not far from writing every month, therefore, I think this start of a new year is a smart time to make an action plan to do so. I have already picked out my writing days and word counts for this month. To take the pressure off, I am aiming for three days of writing per week rather than five. If I write more, great, but I think this will take a little of the pressure off. For this month my goals are to:
- Add 5000 words to my NaNoWriMo novel (more on that later),
- Post at least four blog posts (about my progress, writing in general, my research, or books that I’m reading), and,
- Get some research done for a conference paper I will present in May.
I am grateful for a good year of writing. I am grateful that I am starting this year with a good sense of myself as a writer–that has been missing for a bit. I am grateful for another new year marker to reflect on where I’ve been and where I’m going. I am content with my journey, including all of the twists and turns thus far, and I am eagerly anticipating what is next.