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It takes only 30 minutes to write a blog. Why am I struggling so much?


3, 2,1, go…

Brilliant blog by Duncan Green about the importance of blogging for academics and researchers as well as about how to get into the habit of blogging regularly: An antidote to futility: Why academics (and students) should take blogging / social media seriously

It was interesting to read that it takes him just 30 minutes to write a blog (including the research needed for it). So, why am I struggling so much to achieve not only a steady flow of blogs but also to be faster in writing them?

Few days ago I posted a blog (here) with the link to an interesting article about getting into the habit of writing regularly. The suggestion is to start with 10 minutes a day and stick to just 10 minutes even though you feel you can write more. 10 minutes a day will provide a rhythm and maybe become 15 or 20 minutes a day later on.

Ten minutes a day is a start, but I still struggle. Why is that?

I thought of few reasons while cycling to work this morning.

  • The insecurity of writing in a foreign language. I left Italy 1996 to study at Glasgow University and ever since I have use mainly English in my daily life and work. All I have learned about development I have learned it in English. Yet, that is not my mother tongue. It is a language I learned also late, when I was at University. I find myself in a kind of limbo where I would find it very difficult to do a presentation or write an article on evidence-based policy making (the stuff I am working on) in Italian. At the same time, I do not fully master English. English can be learned quickly but is a language with many nuances. Somebody, years ago, told me that if you put various European language dictionaries next to each other, the English one is the thickest. It is quite difficult to acquire a really in depth knowledge.

11 minutes and 51 seconds….

  • Almost every day I have an idea for a blog. I have a whole folder in my Dropbox with blog ideas and half started blogs. One blog is about the journey of evidence-based policy making: where it comes from and where it is going with the emergence of big data. Another blog is about whether philosophy can provide useful inputs to policy making and, if so, whether we can still speak of evidence-based policy making. Another blog ideas is about a famous Italian judge, Giovanni Falcone, and his political economy approach in the struggle with the mafia in Sicily. An half done blog is about the trends of academic publications by Indonesia universities and researchers. The list is long. This blog I am writing just made that list longer. I think than once one start writing the ideas will just pile up. How does Duncan manage ideas for blogs?

16 minutes 54 seconds…

  • Where to publish? Should I make an effort and plan and concentrate on building my own blog, post regularly, etc. or is it better to aim at ‘being out there’ submitting post to blogs and platforms that I know discuss the topics I am writing about? What is the advantage of one option vs. the other? Posting externally and ‘be out there’ requires some time to tailor tone and language to the style of those platforms.

The conclusion?

To blog regularly and be able to write well and quickly requires training (and talent). A bit like running 5k. The first time we may not make it or it will take a certain amount of time and we will be very tired. Through training, we will bring the time down and also feel much better at the end of the run. I think it is the same with blogging.

For the time being I try to put into it 10-15 minutes a day. I may not manage to write blog a day or a blog per week, but I hope to find a rhythm and improve my use of the written English. Let’s see if the 10-15 minutes will become 20 and whether, through practice, it will become easier to write those blog.

Maybe the real trick is to take self-imposed pressure off and remember that writing blogs has most of all be fun.

29 minutes and 10 seconds… I made it (now some spell check. Hopefully not too many typos).

5 Comments

  1. Agree entirely. Take the pressure off yourself, above all. I don’t know the mind of it but often ideas start to well up where the pressure (constraints) were. Best luck!

  2. Advanced Research Technology

    I find if I just write what is on my mind, it comes. It’s the perspective that counts, not the words, style, or intent. The interest is drawn from the spirit that goes into it.

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