My last post was at the end of January, just about the time that I finished the data collection for my dissertation. I spent the next five months analyzing and writing and successfully defended my study on June 3, 2009. It took the rest of the summer to finish it and then I plunged back into work. A combination of feeling pretty broke after not working for several months and a worry about being bored led me to take on several different projects, all of which seemed to have major deadlines in October and November so all those hours I freed up by finishing graduate school (I figure somewhere around 30 hours a week) were suddenly filled. Any plans I had for posting some blog entries or even twittering were abandoned.
But now the work load has subsided a bit and I actually spent today reading and crocheting rather than working. I got on my computer to check in to the online classes I’m teaching and to harvest a few crops in Farmville. And, I had an urge to write, too. It’s funny…I was really worried about being able to find the time and energy to read once I finished my degree. So many people had told me that they hadn’t been able to read for a long time after finishing their degrees. And reading whatever I wanted was one of those things I kept promising myself that I was going to do when I was done. So, I made an effort to read and even did some writing about my reading on my personal blog.
What I didn’t seem to be able to do is write professionally. In fact, the last thing I wrote was a proposal for the American Educational Research Association conference. I’m happy to say it was accepted. I’ve been doing a lot of creating or what you might think of as 21st century writing: a website for a STEM project, the first in a video series called Math in Real Life and two episodes of a new podcast. I’ve also been doing a lot of data work including Moodle administration, survey development, and a conference handout book. And there’s been some flash programming for a kids’ website I’ve been working on with my husband. But, with the exception of some personal journaling and a few blog posts about books, I haven’t been writing, not even Twitter posts. I should be working on an article about my study and I have passing thoughts about twitter posts and blog entries. But I just can’t commit to the process. (Just as an aside, this is my second stab at getting this blog post done.)
I’m not sure about the source of the block. I do know that I find it difficult to write off the cuff they way I used to when I wrote blog entries. They weren’t completely stream of conscious but I certainly didn’t draft them the way I did my dissertation. The first three chapters of the study began as the proposal so they probably went through somewhere around 8 to 10 drafts and were written over the course of a year. The last two chapters only went through two drafts and were written in about three months. But that was three months of almost full time drafting, writing and revising. It was intensive but also satisfying and productive.
But it seems to have ruined me for writing anything else. I want to edit every sentence, labor over every work, craft each paragraph. I worry about having something important to say and whether I should be adding citations. The freedom I used to feel as I wrote blog entries eludes me.
So, for tonight I’m going to stop and publish this…just get some words moving around.