Thursday, June 11, 2009


Can't seem to put together an idea for a post. Have lots of wispy thoughts that get away... can't seem to smush them together to make one big one worth writing about.

Lots of unbloggable little tidbits lately. Lots of personal stuff that I have realized, having made the mistake before, that I don't really want input on from the blogosphere.

Speaking of input, I will write a little about that, since I am a little curious about what other bloggers think about this issue.

Been reading a book by a writer who talks about how she never reads reviews of her work, doesn't want to know that people write book reports on her novels, doesn't want to know what they think because she just writes for herself.

Got me thinking about the good and bad of having comments contantly coming in on one's writing, as happens on blogs.

I guess this writer would not like to have a blog.

But it does make me think again about the good and bad of having constant input on the main writing outlet that I use regularly (aside from my private diary, which rarely contains any great revelations, though sometimes amusing gossip).

Writing is, in many ways, a form of breathing for me. Sometimes worrying about being anonymous and/or criticized for what I write here makes me feel, well, really stifled and self-censoring. And I get more than enough of that in lab, thank you very much.

Which isn't to say that I never have anything to write about that I want other people to read. I do, pretty frequently, want to write for the express purpose of communicating with the vast faceless audience of desperate, often clueless students considering science as a career. To say what I wish I had known when I was their age; what no one else will say; what most don't really believe could possibly be happening, but it does happen. To be a vocal witness to the atrocities. To document what happens to me, and what I see happening all around me.

It didn't start out that way. I really wanted to write about how cool it is to be a scientist. But somewhere along the way that got lost in all the awful things that have happened to me while I was trying to do science. What is that saying? Life is what happens while you're making other plans?

Anyway since I'm of two minds about the good and bad of blogging, for others vs. for myself, I guess I'll try to stop writing myself around in circles on this topic. There is definitely something existentially strange about writing a post and then getting almost instant feedback.

Usually, I love what I wrote and it feels great to write it and re-read it.

But sometimes, no one else likes it and I get a deluge of angry comments. Sometimes that bothers me for days.

Other times I don't care what you say, any of you, and I just delete the annoying ones and go on with my day. Sometimes I laugh a little as I do that and wish that I could do the same thing when people in real life criticize me, especially when they do it anonymously. Wouldn't it be nice to have a delete key for paper and grant reviews?

Other times I just sort of toss something off and then get lots of praise for saying how many of us feel, apparently, although I was really just writing what I was thinking and not really worrying how it would read (at least, not too much- I've been blogging long enough that I always think about who is reading this).

And then sometimes I'm just really glad that somebody appreciated it, because it feels like a freebie, a nice little bonus for doing something I wanted to do anyway. Sort of how I wish scientific publishing would be, but it never has been that way for me.

And maybe the thing that worries me is whether blogging regularly is actually stopping me from doing other kinds of more creative (read: also potentially more therapeutic) writing, because there's only so much time in a day and even being very unfocused, I can only do so many things at once.

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At 6:53 AM, Blogger Helen Huntingdon said...

Random note: I've hit the "share" button in Google Reader for a number your posts, whenever I think you've said something trenchant about the reality of women in STEM fields.

At 9:41 AM, Anonymous a physicist said...

Even when I don't comment, I've always been reading your blog.

I think I try not to leave you advice because (a) I don't know you very well, (b) you're usually not asking us commenters for advice, and (c) some of your blog entries have said that even people who know you well, in person, have often given you useless advice. So, I can understand your frustration when the comments dump on what you wrote. But overall I think all of your posts add to a useful perspective on doing science.

I just wish things were going better for you overall.

Keep up the good work with your blog.

At 9:44 AM, Blogger Ms.PhD said...

Thanks, you two!

At 10:59 AM, Anonymous smithe said...

all the way to the road to search for friends in the world of blogg, so "I want to share life with blogg with friends who already have a lot of talent, eventually I want to run the internet to search for the plane, I finally succeeded in the internet to join in the camaraderie .


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