- Lots of young and foolish scholars are now blogging.
- What is blogging, you ask? I'll define it, poorly.
- Examples of bloggers behaving badly and thus damaging their nascent careers.
- Careless confusion of blogs with social networking sites.
- Dark hints of how even those not behaving badly are in danger.
- Warnings of caution for those using these new-fangled computing devices, with implication that all writing should be in Latin and on vellum.
As regular Wordhoarders know, I've been plagued by five courses this semester (three of which are composition, oh joy!) and a dying office computer. I've had to farm out my regular feature, the Morning Medieval Miscellany, and have had precious little in the way of original-content posts. Even my video posts of "Learn Old English with the Wordhoard" had to stop because my daughter complained I was keeping her up at night.
I knew blogging was going to slow this semester, but I didn't realize it would come to a crawl. One other thing I had not realized, though, was how I have come to rely on blogging to help me with my other writing.
I've made zero progress on my monograph-in-progress, Medieval America. By zero, I mean I haven't written a single word on it -- it still exists on paper as just a half chapter, with the rest of the book alive in my mind but still unconceived on paper. No doubt the slowness of my work computer and my teaching schedule have contributed to this, but so also has the lack of blogging.
Blogging in the morning had become for me a type of throat-clearing exercise. Write a few paragraphs of off-the-cuff "hey, medieval stuff!" prose, and I was ready to conquer things with footnotes and scholarly tidbits. So many people have depicted blogging as a distraction from doing "real" scholarly writing, but the absence of blogging this semester has taught me that it's a little bit like doing scales before practicing a musical instrument -- it gets the synapses firing and limbers the fingers for a dance along the keyboard.
Not blogging has made scholarly writing like starting a 5K run from sitting in an easy chair. Sure, it can be done, but wouldn't stretching a five minute walk make that run easier and more pleasant?
So here's praise to blogging as mental exercise! I miss you, regular blogging, and will return to you when my schedule and technological situation allow!