Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Blogging Archaeology Carnival Month 1: Why I Haven't Blogged

This post is a response to Doug's call for a blogging carnival in the lead-up to the 2014 meeting of the SAAs in Austin, TX this April. I'm adding my voice to many other archaeologists who blog to answer the questions Doug has set out for us this month. Briefly, he asks:
  • Why blogging? – Why did you, or if it was a group- the group, start a blog?
  • Why are you still blogging?
  • Why have you stopped blogging? 
The most pertinent of these questions for me are the first and the third. As to why I started: I began this blog shortly before embarking on my year of dissertation research in Ecuador. I wanted a way to stay in touch with people from home, and my parents wanted a way of keeping tabs on their only child and granddaughter. Because internet access was limited, blogging was actually a good way of communicating with people - instead of writing or responding to numerous emails, I could craft a blog post, throw it up when I could log on, and then every one was on the same page. It was also a good exercise in working through some of the things I went through that were tangential to the archaeology but still a critical part of the experience, like living in a foreign country for an extended period of time and parenting a toddler. The blog was useful after I left the field as well. I, as well as some friends, have used my entries in classes to give students an idea of the experience of conducting fieldwork, and I used some of my entries as the bases for various dissertation chapters.

Since I returned from the field in May of 2010 I've posted five times, the last of which was over two years ago. I guess that means I have officially stopped blogging. Don't get me wrong, though, I'd love to blog more. So, why don't I? The answers to this question are varied. Perhaps the easiest answer is that I started this blog to document my experiences in the field, and that was a finite period of time that is now over. Without that adventure the impulse to blog has diminished.

Since my heyday of blogging my life has also undergone a number of changes. The husband I write about now is a different one than the one I wrote about when I was in Ecuador. Baby Girl is now officially Little Miss, and she needs different things from me. I also started a full-time job in May of 2012, and it was a bit of a shock to the system to go from a grad student schedule to a 9-5 one. Meanwhile, I'm trying to finish writing my dissertation in my free time. None of those things prevent me from blogging, but they got in the way in the past, and got me out of the habit.

The job I have now requires me to be the social media liaison for issues we deal with, and sometimes I just don't have anything left over at the end of a day to reflect on in a personal space. I also worry about people conflating my personal views on an issue with the official views of my organization, and because I am passionate about the work we do, I have definite, personal, opinions on a lot of those same topics.

Ultimately, though, I think I've struggled with finding my voice - feeling that I have enough authority about any given topic to write a whole post about it. I think it's related to the impostor syndrome, and a by-product of my graduate training and all the road bumps I've run into trying to wrap up my dissertation. But you know what? That's bullshit. I pontificate on Twitter or Facebook,  and I jump into cyber-debates and engage with colleagues face-to-face.

So, here's my promise to myself: I'm going to party with the rest of you on this #blogarch carnival, and give this thing another whirl. Besides, I went through all that trouble to compose this kick-ass background photo, and it would be a shame to waste it.

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