Writing on this blog has become increasingly onerous. For the first year of this blog (which I put online in November 2011), I was in between book projects, and was able to blog almost every day (I was also keen to establish a writing habit and stuck quite rigorously to a schedule); then, my daughter was born, but I was on paternity leave, and then later, on academic sabbatical, and so, was able to find the time to write a post quite frequently. But in the past few months, I have returned to teaching full-time, and have balanced that with both a book deadline–due at Temple University Press by January-end–and parental responsibilities. (The ongoing variability in my daughter’s sleep patterns has meant that I’m exhausted and sleepless more often, and simply lack the inspiration and energy to write. Needless to say, this has affected my reading capacities as well; many library sessions of ‘study’ have seen me helplessly nodding away, unable to keep my heavy-lidded eyes open.) Working on a book has meant that quite often when blogging, I’m distracted by the thought that valuable writing time, energy, and imagination is being ‘used up’ here when it could be used to polish a still-rough manuscript (one which has already missed the first deadline at summer’s end). And of course, teaching full-time–three classes, all new preparations–means less time for writing blog posts, or even thinking about them. Very often, a full day of teaching leaves me exhausted the next day as well. (I realized quite early in my teaching career that even a seventy-five minute ‘performance’ is physically draining in ways not quite understood by those who don’t teach.) I had hoped that I would be able to blog about my teaching–the actual material discussed in class, analyses of discussions with students, responses to questions raised, and so on–but that hasn’t been quite how it worked out.
The sum result of all of which has been that gaps in my blogging have grown, and quite often, when I have been able to put up something here, it has had a ‘dialed-in’ feel to it–something rushed and under-cooked. The gaps in blogging continue to grow; I’m appalled at the number of ‘absences’ I have logged in the past few months. (Sometimes I have fallen off the blogging wagon for as long as a week–and that has been without going on vacation.) This failure to blog, to keep up the schedules and standards I was used to, or demanded of myself, has at times introduced a deep despondency. At times, I have wondered whether this blog is viable at all. But the thought of shutting it down is deeply depressing too. It would feel like an abandonment when the going got tough.
For now, I plan to continue. My blogging frequency will not be what it once was–as it will have to be if I continue teaching a full-load and working on my book projects. An academic book project has been languishing for two years now and needs to be picked up again if it is ever to be completed.
Perhaps the only consolation is that at least I will still be writing; if not here, then elsewhere.