I have been talking a lot about blogging recently, not just because I teach it in my classes, but also because I have been singing its praises in helping stuffy academics like me get more practice writing. Not everything is good fodder for a journal. But at the end of the day, academics are Writers, with all the concomitant foibles and joys. So more writing, specifically more blogging, is good for us.
Blogging for me started as a way to keep track of my thoughts and reactions to entering a new world (of Warcraft, specifically), which felt a lot more appealing than keeping files of field notes. My blog later became a place where I could put down ideas that might someday become the basis for research – or not – as well as keep myself writing on a regular basis.
If you follow my blog at all, though, you’ll know that sometimes I post quite regularly, and sometimes… well, let’s just say it’s been a year since my last post, and that’s not the first time I’ve lapsed so substantially. So although this blog makes for a good motivator to continue honing my mad writing skillz, it is not always…. consistent.
But there’s another aspect of blogging that has been on my mind of late, prompted by a book chapter that I have to have to have to finish, like, yesterday. That aspect of blogging is its ability to help me find my voice – my writing voice. Book chapters are more flexible in terms of expected writing style, and the chapter I’m finishing up uses a voice closer to my blog writing than my journal writing.
I do a lot of report writing and formal journal article writing, which tends to get me thinking mostly about results, existing literature, arguments, and the like. But dammit, Jim, I’m a writer! And writers need a voice. That’s not from me, that’s from this terrific article. The wise advice that hit me hard from that piece was, “Find a voice; don’t just ‘get published.'”
For me, journal articles and reports don’t bring out that voice. Maybe that’s because I’m writing more quantitative pieces which really do have a sort of formula I’m supposed to follow; maybe it’s because those pieces are so formal that I remove all personality to fit the standard form; maybe it’s because I just don’t have the nerve to write in anything but bland academic-speak. But whatever the reason, I haven’t invested as much in developing a true Voice of My Own.
So back I trot to my WoW Musings, mindful of my voice, and dedicated to findings ways to bring that voice into more than just this cozy little corner of the blogosphere. Maybe I’ll even get some of that voice published one of these days.