This is going well

So I created this blog, what, two weeks ago? Almost? And this is my second post. And so far, I haven’t written anything interesting. As a lame exercise in ironic meta-analysis, I’m forcing myself to write a blog post considering the reasons why I haven’t written any blog posts.

storm trooper blog

For one thing, I created the blog over break, and I didn’t feel like doing a whole lot of extra work. Then all of a sudden, I was working again, and I didn’t feel like doing a whole lot of extra work. I need to just add blogging into my weekly schedule, maybe by extending the time that I spend doing homework for Computers and Writing, since that’s most of what I’ll be writing about. Which reminds me…

I don’t know what to write about. How do I write about stuff I’m reading in this space? It’s not a private journal where I can record my reading notes. I don’t necessarily have anything interesting to say about everything I read. But what does it matter? No one’s actually reading this, which brings me to my third point, which is that…

No one’s actually reading this. I’m just getting started, of course, but it still feels super awkward writing for an audience that doesn’t exist. On Facebook, whatever I write will be seen by dozens of people. Many of them will respond, by liking or commenting. A funny post about my kids might get thirty “likes.” I know how to use that medium pretty effectively.

At the same time, someone might be reading this. Unlike a private diary, where I can do pretty much whatever I want, and Facebook, where (theoretically) only certain people can see it, this could be read by anyone, both now and (more likely) in the future. Thus, to the pointlessness and awkwardness of writing to no one is added the uncertainty of writing for anyone.

And lastly, I haven’t developed a professional, scholarly voice. I can write a decent academic essay, of course, but when I’m
writing online, I usually do it to make people chuckle. Years of writing on Facebook has conditioned me to speak in witticism and anecdote.

My solution is to talk to other grad students and teachers about how they have dealt with these concerns. The nice thing about being president of the graduate student association is that I can be like, “hey, let’s have a discussion about this” and then make it happen. Thus, there will be a roundtable discussion on March 28. (And you, my beautiful, magnificent audience, are invited!) In the meantime, I just need to actually start using this thing.

I’m about to watch Frozen with my three-year-old. He’s probably going to be singing that Let it Go song non-stop for the next month (that is, he will be unable to let it go), just like all his classmates. (meta: do I write about my kids here? is this rhetorically appropriate?)

-Joe (meta: how are you supposed to end a blog post?)

In the beginning

I have a number of reasons for starting this blog, but I’ll just list a few here. In addition to hosting my CV and teaching philosophy here, I will use this site as a blog to talk about

  • literature that I’m reading,
  • theoretical texts that I’m reading,
  • research projects that I’m working on,
  • teaching practices,
  • and anything else I want to talk about.

Much of my writing will be for my own sake, to help me to organize my thoughts and recall information about texts that I’m reading. However, I wanted to make this work public, partly as a way of forcing myself to make at least a little bit of sense and keep my research relevant to other people, and partly out of a theoretical and pedagogical commitment to making the process of research writing more transparent.

One of my current projects is refining my use of student blogs in first-year writing. This blog is part of that project, since I can’t very well tell my students that blogging is a valuable learning tool if I’m not doing it myself. My hope is that by the start of the next school year (in 7 months or so), I will be able to show this blog to my students and speak from experience when I tell them to start their own blogs.

And lastly, this blog may turn into an outlet for me to engage with other scholars with whom I share similar interests. Another pedagogical concern of mine is that my students feel that their writing is part of a conversation. If this blog provides a space for conversation, it could further help to exemplify the value of blogs. And of course it would be personally and professionally valuable for me as well.

It’s no Bob Loblaw Law Blog, but it should still be pretty good.

-jam