I’m not sure why I have this tendency to spend so much of my blogging time blogging about my blog. It seems kind of strange, but I can’t seem to help myself, since my blog is often what’s on my mind when I write.
I’ve been thinking a lot about how my blog is kind of a shallow endeavour (what isn’t?). Despite being a researcher, I don’t write much about the work I do. In fact, I do a lot of blogging about the work I wish I did, since I spend so much time waxing poetic about the humanities or talking about game design. I admit that I do spend a lot of time writing about teaching and my feelings on academia, but the one thing that’s missing is the stuff about what I actually do.
To be fair, for the longest time, I’ve not been doing much. I don’t think I’ve kept it a secret that my research has pretty much dwindled to a standstill. Despite getting four publications (five if you count the book chapter I co-authored), most of that has been commentary and not original research. But for the first time, I think I’ve finally latched on to what looks like a fruitful research agenda!
What does this mean? I would really like to be able to write more about the work I do. Maybe talk about the fine science of Markov Decision Processes in Educational Data Mining? Discuss the cool things I learn about psychology when doing literature reviews for papers and grants? I want this blog to be more than a commentary - I would love for it to be a heartbeat of my research, where I share some of the cutting edge work I hope I’ll be doing.
The problem is, that’s just not my style. My blog is, if nothing else, a commentary on my life. The commentary that’s absent from the research itself. It’s a strange relationship I have with my blog. I genuinely love to write in it, but I seem to only have enough time to push out one blog post a week. I suppose I’m ridiculously happy to finally be writing a paper for the EDM conference, but that’s keeping me from this blog!
I’ve been restoring my old blog posts lately, migrating them from Wordpress. It’s interesting to see how my writing voice has changed over the years. I’m up to September of 2012 now, and it’s funny that I wrote very conversationally before, and write so reflectively now. It’s almost like a diary that I’m putting out for the public to see rather than a piece that’s written with a public audience in mind. A place for the long-winded thoughts that don’t fit on Twitter.
I wonder if the commentary comes from me being in a place where I haven’t been able to contribute my own original work. I wonder if going forward into the new year, a new chapter will emerge where I write more powerful pieces about the work I’m doing. Or perhaps the change in my work will not change my voice, and I’ll continue to muse and rant about my life. Perhaps one day as a professor, setting up a lab-centered research blog will be the only way to publish popular pieces about my research.
Only time will tell. Until then, I write for writing’s sake. It might not be important, but it’s mine.