Reader lamestllama, who is one of my favorite readers and commenters, left the following question:
Clarissa, I often wonder if you wouldn’t get a lot more of your actual work done if you didn’t write so much on your blog. I would be interested to know how you keep up teaching commitments, research targets and post so much here. Especially when quite frequently you end up arguing with somebody who really has nothing to offer and not worth your effort.
I was surprised to learn that your blogging is done by phone. What is the secret to your prolific output?
BTW you blogs draws ever nearer to one million hits.
I really want to respond to it here because it gives me a chance to show off and self-congratulate, and what is more fun than that?
More done? Are you saying that 3 articles published, 8 courses taught, 92 books read, 1 conference talk delivered, 1 book translated, numerous other translation orders completed, 1 book manuscript almost finished, and 1 midpoint tenure review passed with top marks in all categories is not enough work done in a year? 🙂
Blogging is actually one of the main reasons behind all this productivity. I wouldn’t be able to sit there alone grading final essays for 7 days straight, 10+ hours a day every day without blogging. First of all, I would get lonely. Even I’m not anti-social enough for that.
At the same time, the way my brain works is that I need to switch between tasks a lot. For instance, I’d be working on my book or article and feel stuck. This happens often. A sentence just doesn’t work out, or I feel like I have no idea what to write about. Then I’d go to the blog and answer a few unrelated comments. Ideally, there would be a troll lending itself for verbal beating. After this small break, my brain clears, and the elusive sentence or idea come to me immediately.
As a result, I blog a lot more when I have many things to do and less when I’m not that busy. Of course, I’m almost always busy these days. 🙂
Every productive academic I know has his or her own productivity-enhancing strategies. Blogging is mine. Before blogging, I did most of my research and grading at bars. This allowed me to create, to a degree, all of the things I need to be able to work: the company of people who can be switched on and off whenever I feel like it, the opportunity to intersperse work with small discussions on all kinds of subjects, the regular bouts of relaxation in the midst of work, etc. Bars, however, are not extremely good either for one’s health or for one’s budget. Even if you get just one drink and nurse it for hours, it’s still more than no drink at all. Now that I have blogging, I don’t think I’ve seen an inside of a bar in God knows how long.
It’s very heart-warming that readers worry about me and my productivity. However, I have to reassure everybody. As you might have noticed, I’m not only intelligent but also self-aware. I analyze myself a lot, and everything I do is well-considered. Blogging helps me in a variety of ways, which is why I enjoy it so much.