02 July 2011

Return to form

Lifestyle blogging has long struck me as boring, but the past month has left my intellect and my energy too drained to attempt even something so desiccated as talking about the books I've read or the neat political science tricks I've learned.

What was most draining, strangely, wasn't the travel per se or the concentration that I've been giving to other projects, even though I've worked pretty hard on several of them. Rather, it was the sheer strain of meeting lots and lots of new people. It turns out that there's only so many times that I can give my name, my university affiliation, and a précis of my dissertation topic.

I've now returned to my comfortable cave, however, and that means that it's time to write. A lot. Just as there is a difference between composing great symphonies and writing production music, so too there is a difference between crafting top-notch prose and creating drafts of articles that explain variables and measurement. The latter version, in both cases, requires a strong back. And that is why I blog: it is the equivalent of pumping iron for hack academic writers.

I do feel, however, that my workflow has gotten rather better in the past couple of months. And a nontrivial portion of that improvement derives from using the iPad more strategically. I took both my Macbook and my iPad to the undisclosed location (Syracuse University) I spent most of the past month. It turns out that, save for statistics, this is a belt-and-suspenders solution. I only use plain text and Pages anymore when I have a chance; the iPad is perfect for both. And the iPad also now offers me every TV show I've ever wanted to watch via the Netflix--and the Netflix app seems to run more smoothly on the iPad than on the MB.

So look forward to more prose ground out over the coming months. Inshallah, some of it will even end up in journals read by as many as several hundred people.

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