Time is a precious resource, particularly around major deadlines for grants, manuscripts and teaching. For that reason I sometimes feel a little self-indulgent keeping up on the blog when I am facing a deadline, but the truth of the matter is that it is helpful to me. Not just in that I need an outlet sometimes for jotting my thoughts down, but because it pushes me.
I bring this up because of Tuesday's post over at Female Science Professor and the subsequent comments. FSP simply (in eight paragraphs) asked her readers how her blog (and others) help them. Many of the comments, including my own, provided typical answers about why we are likely all here - to learn about the steps ahead of us and know we are not the only ones going through some of the unique aspects of the academic ladder.
But I would like to take that just a step forward and ask readers for specific examples of how their blog reading helped them with a particular situation or allowed them to take a new direction. For me, I can say that I almost certainly would not have applied to NIH as early as I did (or maybe at all) without this community*. Be it the general granting advice to be found over at DrugMonkey's spot or just having to figure out what the difference between an R01, R15 and R21 was just to follow the conversations going on around the sciencebloggy parts, I got a start on untangling the NIH knot before I even knew I was doing it. And having a responsive community available for the questions the inevitably come up has been instrumental in this broadening of my funding scope.
So what about you, dear reader? What specific way has blog reading allowed you to do something you wouldn't have if you remained unaware of this community?
*So I'm blaming y'all for my current crushing deadline situation.