How blogging helps me (1 of 5)

May 24 2010 Published by under Uncategorized

I'm going to try something a little different this week and actually do something organized, rather than just toss out anything that happens to be on my mind. I often get comments, here or IRL, to the effect of "how do you have time to blog?" or "Do you feel like blogging is a waste of time when you have so many other things going on?" Obviously, my answer is no, I don't think it is a waste of time, but over the next few days I would like to articulate that a little more clearly in a series of four posts, entitled:

Work like a butterfly, focus like a goldfish.

Connecting the dots.

Getting pushed.

I wish I had Zuska's balls.

Unlike the majority of stuff I write, these posts are all ones I've been thinking about for a while and this is a way (albeit possibly an odd way) to bring them all together into something bordering on coherent. This may or may not work, but at least it'll get these out of my head, where they have been clamoring and making a racket.

I have been blogging here for basically a year and a half and as things here continue to evolve for me, so do me interactions within this medium. There is much I never anticipated when I started doing this and probably about as much that I thought would come out of it that never did. However you look at it, blogging has changed the way I think and provided new opportunities and challenges. I'll see what I can do this week to put words around why and how this has happened for me.

And if this series turns into a fiery train wreck, you can all bask in the virtual warmth. 

12 responses so far

  • Dr.Girlfriend says:

    One thing I enjoy about your blog is that, despite all the ups and downs and trials of being an assistant professor you describe, I get the sense that you love your job. You actually seem to enjoy teaching! Blogging helped me realize I do not want to be a professor. I cannot say how much longer it would have taken me otherwise, but blogging helped me work through it.

  • Anonymous says:

    I'm so glad you started this topic! I'm still a postdoc and relatively new to even reading blogs, but I've already gained important insights into what my job prospects are, as well as how to succeed with whatever choice I make. My wife (not a biologist) has been gently harassing me to start a blog, yet I've been resisting. I suppose part of my resistance is based on fear. Fear of not being accepted, fear of screwing up my job prospects (yup I'm planning on academia). But at the heart of it I think I already agree with my wife - if done correctly they can provide interactions and motivation. One question I have for the general community is the degree of anonymity I should have. I can protect myself to some degree by keeping my alter-ego a secret, but I could also gain collaborations/recruit lab members if I am more open...

  • Prof-like Substance says:

    Dr. GF - There are days I like the teaching and days I wish I could cancel class. I think that is true of everything though - lab work, data analysis, writing - they all get to a point where you wish you could set them down for a while and do something else, even (esp?) when you can't. It's good that blogging helped you figure out your path. Anon - My advice would be to start with more protection than you think you need because you can always open the window more but you can't go back. Any way you decide to do it, blog as though everyone on your hall and in your lab will read it, because they just might. Anyone uncomfortable with that needs to realize that no matter how much you want your blog to be a conversation between you and a small group of like-minded people, things can get very public very quickly.

  • BikeMonkey says:


  • geekmommyprof says:

    Prof-like Substance, I really enjoy your writing. Especially looking fwd to "Work like a butterfly, focus like a goldfish" Describes well my email/web-induced ADDTo Anon@9:56: I only recently started blogging and am still in the state of panic that someone would find out who I am. So I keep all the posts and comments PG-rated. I hope I am doing a good enough job of not revealing my identity so that I will eventually be able relax and speak more openly. But the advice Prof-like Substance gave you strikes me as a good one: start very conservatively

  • DrugMonkey says:

    Anon- to follow up on what PlS said, my driving understanding is that if someone who knows you happens across your blog, they will know it is you.

  • Isis the Scientist says:

    I also wish I had Zuska's balls. My impression is that they are tremendously pendulous.

  • Dr Becca, PhD says:

    Personally, I'm looking forward to the final installment.Re: anonymity--if I could go back, I'd probably have started my blog with more of it (i.e., not used my first name), just so I could write more candidly and talk more about the people in my science world without fear. On the other hand, the result of me not being to say much of anything negative means that my blog is mostly lighthearted and upbeat, which I hope is something people like about it.

  • gnuma says:

    Agreed on teh Zuska's balls point. She's pretty frickin sharp, too.

  • Anonymous says:

    I hear Zuska bedazzled her balls. Hey, it's better than shaving, right?jc

  • Professor in Training says:

    Gotta love a fiery train wreck.

  • Venkat says:

    Just like geekmommyprof said, I also keep things PG (ok, may be PG13). Anyone who knows me will know the blog is mine. May be I should have an anonymous blog to liberally swear like CPP (pun intended).

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