On Incomplete Thoughts and Blogging in Grad School

I’ve recently been finding it harder to blog than usual.

At least, that’s what I keep telling myself.

When I really stop to think about it, though, I realize that I’m always imaging the present as an aberration to the norm. As though there were some time in the past when every day the words just flowed naturally.

It’s one of those tricks I taught myself, I suppose. Just as I often tell myself – it’s always busy this time of year. Of course, the truth is – its always that time of year. It’s always busy and blogging is always hard.

The writing itself isn’t so problematic, and finding the time to write isn’t as challenging as it once was. But putting a coherent thought into words – figuring out what to write about. That’s the hardest part.

This challenge has come into focus in the last few weeks. In the past, I’d occasional decide against tacking a topic if I felt like I wasn’t well enough versed in the broader context of that topic. If I knew that my thought or idea was just a tiny strand leading to a rich field I knew nothing about – it seemed wiser to leave that area to the experts. Or, at least, to wait until I’d developed more expertise.

But in school, nearly everything is like. There are so many thoughts, all leading in different directions and all wonderfully enmeshed in their own intellectual architecture. There is just so much to learn.

The challenge to the student is to use your time well. To identify a narrow focus, to allow sufficient time to delve deeply into that thought.

But such focus quickly becomes tiresome for a blog.

Over the next five years, you will watch me narrow my research focus. I’ll articulate a dissertation topic and no doubt spend a great deal of time exploring it in this space.

But, as someone reminded me today, it is good to have hobbies. And that’s exactly what this space is. My writing here will frequently cross the bounds into my “work” of graduate school, but ultimately it is a space separate from that:

A public space for incomplete thoughts.

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