Monday, January 28, 2008

Too much freedom

The best thing about being a community-college scholar (i.e., being active in scholarship while working at a CC) is the freedom involved. Because my college doesn't care about my scholarship, I'm free to produce (or not to produce) whatever scholarship interests me. If I want to work outside of my primary field, I can. If I want to publish all of my scholarship online, rather than in print journals, more power to me.

But with that freedom, as with all freedom, comes certain difficulties. In my case, the big problem is that I have difficulty choosing between the two or three projects I have going at any one time. I've presented three conference papers in the past 18 months, all of which I think could be turned into publishable articles. Were I on the tenure track, I imagine that I would choose to work on the project that would result in the quickest (or perhaps the most impressive) publication. Since I don't have a tenure file to worry about, I have a hard time deciding what to work on. For the past four months, I've devoted what little research and writing time I have to two of these projects, but I tend to work in fits and starts--for a week, I'll work on Project A, then I won't have time to write for a couple of weeks, and by the time I get back to work, I'm more interested in working on Project B. And each time I switch projects after more than a few days, I have to spend a day or two just getting myself back to speed. I fear that I suffer from scholarly ADD.

It doesn't help that I enjoy research a lot more than I enjoy writing, or that I enjoy writing conference papers (which are brief and don't require the same level of commitment) more than I enjoy writing articles. I suppose I could content myself with simply research for the sake of research, but my Ph.D. comes from a big-name R1 school, so I've been raised on the idea that research should be published.

My solution: blogging. If I can spend my free time writing blog entries, then I don't ever have to decide between Projects A and B. Seems to be working well so far.


Dr. Virago said...

Welcome to the medieval portion of the blogosphere, Prof. de Breeze! I'm adding you to my blogroll and my RSS feed right away!

Prof. de Breeze said...

Thanks, Dr.V! I'm a longtime reader of your blog, so I'm especially glad you stopped by. Hope you're feeling better, by the way.

Anonymous said...

Welcome to the blogosphere! I think we are in similar places. My medieval work will do absolutely nothing for me professionally either. It is a great freedom and blogging does seem to be the best balance of doing research and sharing thoughts.

I've added you to my blogroll and feed.

Prof. de Breeze said...

Thanks for the welcome, Michelle. I love your blog and have been especially interested in the recent series of posts related to the Book of Cerne. That MS has a large impact on my specific area of scholarship, and I've long argued that it deserves much greater attention than it normally receives. Michelle Brown's wonderful study is a great first step, but I hope to see more on Cerne soon. Are you working with the MS yourself?

By the way, I've added you to my blogroll as well.

Michelle said...

I don't have access to the manuscript. I'm still trying to get a copy of the 1902 edition of the Latin. I wish there was a translation of the prayerbook of Aethelwald. It seems to me to be a pretty unique book, even if most of the prayers etc are known elsewhere.

So what general area are you working in? Book production or Mercia?

Michelle (of Heavenfield)

Prof. de Breeze said...


Just a heads up that I sent you an email about the Book of Cerne.


Anonymous said...

Yes I know, that some people are given too much freedom. People do whatever they want with nobody to control them. Is it bad?

Anonymous said...

Yes I know, that some people are given too much freedom. People do whatever they want with nobody to control them. Is it bad?