Blogging and that Dissertation You’re Working On
by Adam Robbert
“At first I was quite reluctant to blog as I thought that it would add a burden to my research, writing, teaching, and personal life.”
It doesn’t do that, of course, and anyone who writes a blog regularly already knows this. There’s a good article on the topic here. Some people think that blogging might be corroding the quality of academic writing all together, and will even go so far as to tell students or young academics never to do it (“Your ideas aren’t ready!” “They’ll get stolen anyway!” “Save it for your dissertation!”). I think this is all nonsense.
As long as you understand that your blog posts aren’t a replacement for your dissertation, manuscript, or next article then you have nothing to lose. In fact, if you’re just getting started in your life as a writer then I would suggest you start a blog right now and commit yourself to writing a few posts every week. Sure, maybe no one will read it for the first six months, and every once in a while you’ll get some ill intentioned snark sent your way. But all of that’s irrelevant because all of the while you’ll be improving as a writer and finding more people and sources who are interested in what you’re doing. That’s what really counts.
If you want to be a writer you have to write, and you have to write everyday. Some people, particularly grad students, spend way too much time getting their first project together (say, their dissertation) as though this initial foray into the academic world were some epoch-changing gem that’s going to usher in a new age. Yes. your dissertation or thesis is very important, but it’s more important that you get it done and start in on your next 50 projects. Blogging will improve your stamina as a writer and it will get you out of your head in ways that can only help (even if you do post the occasional less-than-stellar essay online).