You might have guessed this was coming. My blogging frequency has dropped off dramatically this year, particularly this semester. I keep writing “yep, I haven’t died yet – I’ll tell you all about what I’m doing sometime, really” posts, and not ever following up.
Other signs have included….
I hardly participated in Donors’ Choose even though it is a really worthwhile organization. (By the way, today I donated $377 as a 10% contribution of our final donation number. Thanks so much to everyone who donated anything at all!!)
I hardly even read blogs anymore, let alone write. And this wasn’t making me feel very good.
I have been feeling for a long time like I was letting SciWo down by not meeting my blogging commitment, and by not finding time to comment on her posts.
I have been feeling like I was letting down my other blogging colleagues at Scienceblogs, and elsewhere, especially Zuska (my first blogging friend), Isis, Maria, Jane, Abel, Scicurious, Janet, the doods at DrugMonkey, Pal, Jenny F. Scientist, Dr. Shellie, Lab Cat, and lots of other folks I’m overlooking here (sorry! ? ).
Like Jane, when she signed off in May, I had hoped to be able to keep blogging through all the “critical points” in an academic’s career, maybe try to make transparent (or visible? interesting how those are opposites) some of the process of being an academic.
But if my job is (as I wrote here)
My job is to think creatively about gender and engineering education, and to think about, write, and teach in ways that result in a change in how engineering education is done in the US
then I haven’t really been doing a good job at this, still. And part of the problem is, I realized a few weeks ago, that I have no internal conversation at the moment. None. All my thinking over this semester feels as though it has been for other people — for my students, for readers of my articles, for colleagues…. and none of it really has been for me. I didn’t appreciate how much this would matter to an introverted person.
When I’ve been able to gather some mental quiet around me, it has pretty much been to simply hear silence — to have some of the both physical and mental noise around me cease. No students complaining about their lives or problems or how my course isn’t living up to their expectations. No colleagues or students needing things from me. No “advice” from senior folks about how I should focus on research then followed up with a complete absence of help from them running interference on my behalf so I could focus on my research. When I heard this silence, I was loathe to fill it with even my own thoughts.
I need to stop. I need to refocus on how to do this job in a way that is balanced — and I don’t mean research vs. teaching, or work vs. home. Those are dichotomies that are too simplistic. I mean in a way that makes me feel as though I am focusing on a balance of important and urgent, that I have been able to do at least some of the things in life that are important and matter, whether at work or at home, whether in the classroom or out of it, instead of always feeling like I’m fighting fires wherever I am.
And part of this, I think, means acknowledging that blogging — for the moment, in this way, at least — doesn’t have a place in me anymore.
I hope my blogging groove will come back sometime. After all, I started blogging to find community, and I found it. I hope to keep some of it (through Twitter and email and such). I started blogging at Scienceblogs to have a bigger microphone to talk about being a feminist and an engineer and I used although really very occasionally. For the short term, I’ll still roll-over the hosting for Scientiae, although if you’re interested in being the uberhost and carrying it onwards through 2010, do give me a shout-out. (And I might be thinking of a way to turn Scientiae posts into a book… what do you think? Send me an email too…)
But maybe the actual act of blogging has helped me all it can for now. I have good community, and I am starting to develop my voice in other fora. So, perhaps for now, I think I need to start refocusing on important, rather than urgent.
So, for your reading, comments, emails, posts, and support over the almost 2 years I’ve been co-blogging here, and over my 3.5 years total blogging, a very grateful thank you.
And to SciWo: for your generosity in sharing your blog and turning it into our blog, for your support online and off, for your blogging the good fight, and for your continued friendship, I am even more grateful. Thank you so much. *Hugs to you and Minnow.*
See you all ’round the interwebz. Thanks again.