Shut it down

When I started writing here, I had a pretty clear idea of what I wanted to do: document the process of writing a book. The idea itself of writing a book was born of needing to do something ambitious to get my academic career back on track, and give me something to focus my energy on after an extended period of inactivity. It seemed simple enough. Write about writing. Well, first there would be a lot of writing about reading, because of the massive amount of material I’d have to engage with before I could even really think about what to write about in the first place. But I saw that all as part of the overall process, so there was no problem there.

For about thirty days, I kept a pretty strict schedule and wrote more or less daily. I was also documenting my parallel project of teaching myself – for real, this time – to code and some associated concepts like statistics, and I kept a separate blog in which I also wrote pretty much daily for about thirty days. Following that I posted less often but still tried to keep up some sort of a regular schedule.

A couple of things happened during that time. First, I was able to shake off some of the effects of what had been a pretty tough previous year, and actually get my brain working again. I engaged with some new ideas, some of which were difficult at first but eventually started to make some sense and changed my thinking. It also allowed me to think more broadly about other projects I want to pursue, and I am pursuing a couple of them now. Most importantly, it got me motivated in a way that had been missing for a very long time, and gave me some hope for a future which had previously seemed very uncertain.

This was not the plan, but a lot of what I wrote ended up being pretty personal. I was, and still am, of two minds about this content: on the one hand, I figured it was all part of the overall process of trying to work through a large project, which of course involves significant emotional aspects that nevertheless rarely seem to get talked about, especially by academics. On the other hand, though, I started to be sort of embarrassed by it. I had had pretentions of baring my soul and coming up with something profound, but increasingly I looked back on what I was writing and really just saw…some guy’s diary. That was somewhat deliberate – the posts were largely written as a stream-of-consciousness without too much planning. Although that seemed appropriate at the beginning, I was starting to be dissatisfied with it. Also, while very few people have seen the content here so far (just a few friends and family with whom I’ve shared the link), it could eventually become a liability if future potential employers are able to see what I’ve written about. There’s nothing shocking, I don’t think, but there’s some fairly frank discussion and I’m not sure I’m comfortable with it being public, at least not yet.

I’ve also hit a bit of a hiccup in what has otherwise been a pretty busy schedule of working on all the projects I’ve mentioned – which is why I haven’t posted in nearly three weeks. Without getting into the reasons for it, it has caused me to reevaluate what this blog is for and the underlying project it was meant to document. And I’ve decided that, while I intend to continue with this, I want to have somewhat of a fresh start with content that’s not quite so personal. Or, at least is personal in a more curated way. I’ve always had a hard time talking about myself in a way that I feel strikes a balance between being honest and avoiding ranting or whining, and I’m not quite there yet.

So while I’m not deleting previous material, I will be making it private, effectively locking it. I might, at some point in the future, decide to make it public again, maybe with some editing, but for now I feel more comfortable making it inaccessible. It was useful in getting me to start writing and thinking again, and it allowed me to work through some important issues (still, of course, ongoing), so it certainly served a purpose. But it’s time to put it to bed for a little while.

‘Til next time –

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