Since starting my PhD I’ve become increasingly aware that I’m living through some of the most intense, fascinating and unique years of my life. Although my lab book, and hopefully, my research will survive as a record of this time I have also thought that a more general approach to encompass less formal aspects of my PhD would be good. I have kept diaries for specific times in my life before, however writing for the sake of writing, or my own retrospective thoughts in years to come, after a day of papers and thesis this seems unlikely.
Blogging however carries a major difference from a standard diary. That is, anyone can read it; this, I hope, will have several benefits. It’ll keep the prose constructive even after the toughest of days (no one’s interested in self pity!) and even the suggestion that someone else is monitoring my writing raises the bar in both quality and quantity. Regularly having to comment on scientific issues I hope will provide motivation to open up my approach and expand my reading and lecture attendance to beyond my immediate work (an approach I know all good academics should take, but day to day pressure can restrict us to the absolute necessities)
Also since taking this suggestion seriously I have been doing a bit of research (ever the scientist!) and found some really interesting blogs, articles and websites which are already feeding into my work, so it looks as if it’ll have some tangible benefits as well.
Although my ambitions are considerably more modest than the impact of Tim Gower’s post on journal charges, as reported on by Alok Jha’a article (http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2012/apr/09/frustrated-blogpost-boycott-scientific-journals) I hope that other’s may find something useful here.
Blogs are always going to be works in progress, this will be especially so though in the coming weeks and months as I work to identify more specific aims and audiences etc as well as some more boring technical issues. There are also issues specific to my arena such as intellectual property and copyrighting which I’ll have to tackle before I get my teeth properly into this project. In the meantime I’ll be sharing what I’m learning, as it may prove useful to other would-be-bloggers.