Try Again, Fail Again, Fail Better….

So this is my shiny new blog… but I’m dogged by a sense of failure already. The truth is I struggle to blog. I want to. I want to share ideas, to record some of the little details and thoughts that won’t make it into any of my papers or articles, to document the kind of work I’m doing and how etc. etc.  I’ve begun and then deserted a number of blogs becoming dissatisfied with the platform or with my own writing or with the way in which I’ve tried to focus it. Time is really the main barrier for me, though. Like everyone else, I’m busy: I have a full-time job, a book to write, a small child, a partner, friends and parents to care for. It’s tough enough trying to get research done around my commitments, never mind trying to carve out the time and space to actively maintain a website. And, while I really value the information-sharing and conversations that social media enable, I’m also more than a bit resistant to the ways in which (especially early career) researchers seem now to be expected to ‘self-brand’ online: a website becomes just another list item, along with the journal articles, the book contract, the grant money and the teaching experience. And, as we all know, a flash website and a coherent ‘brand’ can be built on very slight foundations.

Now my self isn’t very coherent or ‘marketable’: it’s fluid, slippery, hard to pin down, and a bit amorphous. And I like it like that. I make mistakes. I change things. Indeed, to me the mutability of the digital environment and the ways in which my mutable self can play around there is what makes it exciting. I’m also inspired by the ways in which other researchers and organisations around the world are sharing their data, results, and processes as they happen. I’m learning from many others, so it only seems fair to make what I’m doing visible, if only to myself.  I’m increasingly interested in these sorts of methodological issues: curious about how researchers describe and present how they go about their work, how they gather their material, create their data sets, set up their teaching and so on. So this blog is a bit of an experiment for me in trying to set out my own processes, for my own benefit more than anything else.  I’ll probably not post as often as I hope to, but I’ll keep Beckett in mind and be comforted by the fact that failure is not a possibility, it’s inevitable.

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