Writing for the Love of Work

Wednesday, May 21, 2014: Do you feel nourished or drained by the act of writing?

The answer to today's prompt really depends on the type of writing that I am doing. As an academic, I write and communicate for a living. However, as a blogger, I write for fun. Both types of writing can be nourishing or draining though depending on my purpose and state of mind while writing.

Writing is my primary means of communication with the world. I communicate my thoughts and ideas in the written word. Most of the time, my academic writing is nourishing to me mentally and to my career. For example, I am usually able to make the best connections to ideas and my research through "free drafting." This is a process where I set out with my moleskine and a good pen to just start writing down whatever comes to mind about a particular topic or idea. Lately I have been working on my theory chapter of my dissertation. As a I mentioned in an earlier post, I had gotten stuck on how exactly to add the missing historical context to my theoretical framework. After doing much reading, I had to synthesize my notes and ideas into a "free draft." Now things are going much better. 

As an academic, publications are the currency of choice. Where and how often one is published determines if one will earn a coveted tenure-track position, if one will be granted tenure, and if one will be promoted through the ranks. Publications are how one's ideas gain traction in field and help to make a name. That being said, this can be the draining part of one's work. I have several drafts of work that I am finishing polishing for submission to academic journals. The feeling that my work is not good enough or that I may have missed an important citation is frustrating. I know that at some point I just need to stop fidgeting with the piece and send it in, but that's easier said than done.  

Fidgeting with a draft
Blogging is an outlet that I generally find more nourishing than draining. This month of posts has prompted me to think about how and why I blog and given me new purpose and direction. I've enjoyed interacting with commenters and being pushed to write outside my comfort zone. In the future, I hope to write more about the happenings of Smith Land as we navigate the world of academia as a family unit. There are more events on the horizon that I think speak to where we've come from and where we're going from here.

Best wishes!

P.S. I recently had a book chapter published with one of my mentors.  Woohoo!  Our chapter appears in Towards a Victimology of State Crime.


  1. "Publications are how one's ideas gain traction" ... NICE! I love it that you are blogging! I sometimes am awake at odd hours with thoughts about what I'm blogging about next. Yes, I love writing that much. Congrats on publishing a chapter! I would love to read your chapter but $138 for the book is better spent on motel rooms at the beach, if you know what I mean. Love, mom

    1. The book was too expensive for me to buy as well. Thankfully the publisher sent me a free copy. I think that fact speaks volumes about academia as well. I won't see a dime from my work in this book, but the publisher will. Most people who buy it will be students who are assigned to read the book by their profs. Students can't really afford the book either. /ugh...

      I usually keep 10 or so posts in my "drafts." I think of ideas and then start a post so that I can come back to it when I'm ready.


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