With 2020 finally behind us, I’ve been thinking about how to be more efficient with my work. While I’ve always been pretty good about finishing the things that I start, I also want to get better at what I do, including thinking about different project ideas. Taking inspiration from my dissertation journal, for instance, I’ve started journaling about other projects I’d like to pursue, including steps I need to take to bring them to fruition. I have a habit of thinking about projects without necessarily doing anything about them, so writing down and prioritizing ideas is one way to begin following through with them.
I’ve also been thinking about how to make better use of this blog. While I’ve always been consistent about writing and sharing posts, shortly after finishing comps I started thinking that my posts could relate more directly to my work. For much of last year, my posts focused on reading lists and my thoughts about them, which proved really helpful when it came time to review. Given how useful this experience was for me, I decided I should continue to have the blog work for me, but this time as a means of thinking through dissertation ideas, sharing exhibition research, and other projects. I’ve done a similar overhaul with my Instagram account, but the blog is the best place to discuss ongoing ideas and research in-depth. If I’m going to spend time writing posts, after all, I figure I may as well incorporate it more directly into my scholarly and creative practice.
Today then, I’d like to share my new organization for this blog and give you a preview of the posts you’ll see in the future.
Essentially, the main change is that instead of viewing each post as a stand-alone piece, I’ve reorganized the blog around a monthly cycle of posts, with each post addressing a specific topic.
Week 1: Dissertation work. From now on, the first week of the month will focus on what I’ve been doing for my dissertation. I’ll talk about research, theoretical frameworks I’m considering, the actual writing I’ve been doing, and anything else dedicated to this project. Even if I haven’t done much of anything, I’ll talk about it and why I’ve been struggling with it.
Week 2: Exhibition Research. The second week of the month will highlight the work I’m doing with the Barry Art Museum. I might talk about specific objects or artists, overarching conceptual ideas, practical questions, and whatever else might seem relevant.
Week 3: Art. I want to be more consistent about my artmaking practice, so to hold myself accountable, I’ll spend week three of each month talking about what I’m doing, whether it’s sketching, creating more finished pieces, or even thinking about projects.
Week 4 (and sometimes 5): Miscellaneous. This final week of the month will highlight more eclectic posts that don’t relate to my work directly, whether it’s my musings on B-horror films or toilet paper.
Obviously this format can be adjusted as necessary, such as accommodating posts on conferences or other activities. If I end up teaching a class in the future, I’ll probably readjust further by switching out the miscellaneous week for posts on pedagogy. For now though, this is how it will generally look moving forward.
Essentially, I intend this monthly format to serve as a means of holding myself accountable and to follow through with projects while also documenting my ongoing work for future reference. It’s also a means of making myself more comfortable with talking about works in progress. I admittedly don’t like discussing unfinished projects because they’re well, incomplete, but it’s a crucial part of academic life, as well as working in general, and I need to get better at doing it. I’ve started doing this with my dissertation group, but the blog, with its public platform, offers another means of both sharing and documenting my ongoing work. In short, this new format will hopefully help me become better at what I do, whether it’s research, art-making, or just thinking about ideas.
We’ll launch this new format next week, when I start talking about my prospectus work. In the meantime, I hope your new year is off to a healthy and productive start.