Thursday, November 12, 2009

Dedication to substance

Dedication to substance (NaSchoWriMo/NaBloPoMo 12)



I haven't written anything in ages. I have been trapped, even though I'm only teaching three courses (and two preps), between teaching, advising, and administering. If nothing else, the past 12 days have reminded me that, when I want to, I can carve out time to write. If I can carve out time to blog, I should be able to carve out time to work on my research. Of course, it took actually sitting down and committing to blogging to remind myself of that. Ok, a couple of other things happened, too. I have to admit that blogging is not the same as research, even when it is thoughtful blogging. I don't worry about getting the facts straight, for example. But much of what I should be working on is also not the sort of thing where I have to carve out research time. Much of it could be done (after some revising) in smaller chunks, here and there.

Recently, Notorious, PhD posted about why we write (a couple of other people did, too, but at the moment, I can't brain. I used to write because it was a way to get and keep a job. Now that I have got to the point that I see research and writing as really important parts of my job, and things that I really like to do, I have a much harder time finding the time. Part of it is real. I teach in a demanding way. I should probably just write lectures, but you all know by now that I don't. I will also admit that I don't prep enough when my students aren't keeping up. But my time always seems to be eaten up with chairing, assessment work, advising (I've only got 25 advisees at the moment, which is not horrible compared to some of my College colleagues, but is about eight times more than any of my departmental colleagues), and committees. Only one search committee, but I've got to read some apps ...

And, as a friend pointed out the other day, I could actually do something useful in the morning rather than get on facebook and read blogs! The thing is, I *do* like to write. I like to read. But somehow, I get caught up in the semester and it always seems that I have no time free in substantial chunks. OH! It was Jonathan Jarrett who wrote about carving out time for writing. I need to go back and look at what he said, although I disagree with the tidying up. I do work better when I tidy up, perhaps because the action of tidying up means that I've moved away from the computer and the internet and am just focusing on what needs doing.

But mostly, I just need to do it. After all, I'm doing this, aren't I?

3 comments:

tenthmedieval said...

Oh, I also work better when I tidy up, or at least more easily, but what I was saying is that the idea that one can't work without tidying first is a shibboleth. I clear enough desk to spread things out on, but by the time I'm done pulling together references for a paper or something, *every available flat surface is covered* with splayed folders of longhand notes, open books, offprints and so on. All that tidying does is give me space to fill straight up again...

Do you write longhand? Because I find that the biggest problem with writing generally is that the word processor and the Internet are in the same place, so I can't really move away from them to get something done...

Steve Muhlberger said...

You should talk to your chair :-) about that faculty member with 8 times the advising workload of anyone else in the dept. But seriously.

Another Damned Medievalist said...

Steve -- My chair will be allocating advisees later this year. Unfortunately, we've got some staffing issues at the moment, and I'm the only constant for the year. The good thing is that we have over 20 majors, which is 300% of what we had when I got here!