Hanging up my blogging shoes

i-f875c0b07d9b3cb6229668554781b35a-alice.jpgYou 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.

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Oh, Alice! The blogosphere will really miss your voice and your perspective. But kudos to you for focusing on what's really important *for you*. Best of luck to you in the future and hope to hear your blogging voice again. Take care!

You are letting down no one, my dear friend. Personal and professional life throws its curves and it appears to me that you are making choices about where your commitment to women in science and engineering is best focused. You are incredibly successful at your home institution and you are fighting the good fight on many fronts. It is perfectly fine for us all to gather some brief moments in silence and reflect from time to time on where our limited time and energy is best spent.

So, "losing" you from blogging is not really losing you from our shared missions. And, I am certain, that the door remains open for you to contribute to our community on any number of blogs - I, for one, hereby issue to you (and to SciWo) a standing invitation to guest post at Terra Sigillata any time of the day or night when you have a message you want to express.

You have been an inspiration to me for several years, particularly in encouraging me and educating me as an ally of women in the STEM disciplines. You, Zuska, SciWo and all the Scientiae folks have always been supportive in cultivating me to share my voice in the community. I was especially touched to be invited to serve as host of the carnival back in August. I will still be in need of continuing education so I will continue to follow you in all of your scholarly activities.

It is an honor to call you a colleague and I intend for you to always be one, on-blog or off.

Best wishes to you in everything you do.

I've been reading your writing since it was back on your old site and it's been a pleasure to learn from you. Have fun with how you spend your slightly increased amount of available time!

I've taken long absences from blogging and most of my readers have understood. Its harder for you and SciWo to do that has you have commitments to the overlords. I wish you well and hope you are able to find your balance.

This made so much sense to me... I could never imagine blogging on top of what I try to do. I can barely read blogs. And I could completely relate to your need to take stock of things and do your work in a more meaningful and natural way. It may be a loss for your readers but I am sure your contributions to women in science and engineering will continue in other ways. Take care

I'll miss you, but totally understand. Life is about making hard choices about how to spend the limited time we have. You and Zuska introduced me to blogs, but I never understood how you found time to write them!

We'll miss you!

Sorry to see you go. Best of luck.

VERY sorry to hear - but you have to take care of yourself first. I'm very keen on a Scientiae book, will keep in touch and do want Scientiae to continue! :)

Oh, Alice! Thank you for everything that you have shared during your time at ScienceWomen. Thank you for broadening my view of engineers and engineering education. I'm sure that you'll keep doing that in other ways.

I very much hope that Scientiae continues (and I still want to host September 2010!). I might be interested in carrying that banner but need to know more about what it entails (and if someone else is eager I'm happy for someone else to do it). Thank you for starting the carnival.

I will miss this blog considerably, but I wish you all the best in your pursuits.

I'm sorry to see you go, but completely understand why. Best wishes on finding your focus.

I'll miss both you and SciWo, you are both very inspiring and one of the first blogs I started to read about living academic life as a woman.

Oh Alice. Not you too! Thank you for having the guts to be completely "out" on your blog. Thank you for all your insightful posts. I wish you the best of luck in your life and career

i am sorry to see you leave the blogosphere, but hope to see you return in the future.

Sad to see you hang up your boots Alice, but blogging should be an outlet and not a chore, and if your other life does not permit you the time and bandwidth, it is best to step away than to stretch yourself thin. And expectations from a community of readers can make bloggers push themselves at risk of health and sanity. So it is a good idea to evaluate and step away.

Will miss your voice among the many cool voices in the blogosphere. Take care.

all the best alice. Thanks for your final thoughtful signoff.

Thank you for all your insights and helpful posts. :) Good luck in the future! We're cheering for you. :)

Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us over the years. Best of luck in the future! I'll be thinking of you!

me encantaria me pasaran los datos de como puuedo obtener una beca soy muy buen aplicado y me encanta ponerle un poco de mi a todo lo que ago y un lugar asi es wooow para vivir y es motivante poder ir a estudiar y conocer ese lugar saludos agradesere el dato..!!