So Long, Farewell

by Ashley Alexander on March 29, 2012

Wow.  I honestly can’t believe that my time writing for MTSG is over!  These 10 weeks flew by—although I must admit, there were definitely times when I thought it might last forever.  Not to sound like it wasn’t a great experience because it was definitely rewarding.  The rewards just came with challenges!

Like many of my fellow MTSG bloggers, I have been an academic writer for many years and dabble in creative writing on the side.  The blogosphere, however, was an unknown world.  For those of you who have never blogged, publishing a post is a lot scarier than it sounds—at least at first.  When I signed up for this course I don’t think I quite grasped that my writing would be floating out into the wide-open internet each week, subject to whatever criticism (and praise, I had to remind myself) was out there.  When I realized that fact, I sincerely wondered what I had gotten myself into!

When thinking back on these last ten weeks, it’s difficult to say what the biggest challenge was for me.  Picking a topic is absolutely on my list.  My friends and family have always teased me about my indecisiveness, but that quality could not have been better illustrated than each week when I had to begin writing my post.  Needless to say, the extra time I spent searching for just the right topic kept me well-informed on current research and events!  I strived to choose topics that I was interested in, but that I also felt were relevant to others (or could at least engage someone long enough to read 400 words).  I hope that for those of you who have read my posts, at least one of them really struck a chord with you or got you thinking about the topic a little more in depth.

My indecision in choosing a topic was only the beginning.  Writing my MTSG posts required me to sort of combine my academic and creative writing into one form, and trying to find the right balance of research and wit takes a lot longer than you might think (and isn’t always successful)!

Writing for MTSG this semester forced me to break through some of the barriers I set up for myself.  For instance, if I’d had the option to skip a week here and there, I’m sure I would have in the weeks when I was pounded with papers and exams.  Instead, I learned how to push myself through to meet a deadline while still (hopefully) producing something worth reading, which is absolutely a good skill to have better developed.

MTSG also opened me up to a better understanding of DOI numbers, hyperlinks, and image citations.  In January I couldn’t have told you what Wikimedia Commons was or what CC-BY meant (frozen yogurt…?).  On that note, I should mention that choosing an image to accompany my posts was also not as easy as I had thought it would be either!

Lastly, I would like to thank everyone who read my posts, both before and after they were published!  It was an honor to get feedback from so many of the mentors who have much more experience in blogging and communicating science than I do, and I feel lucky to have had this opportunity.  And I’ve really grown to like blogging, so perhaps you will see more of my writing on the web in the future…:)

Lali March 30, 2012 at 9:00 am

I agree that publishing those posts can be scary. Good for you for working through and meeting your deadlines! I have hangups about putting my opinion out there… maybe taking a course is the way to go? Hmmmmm… congrats on your good experience and keep writing!!

PF Anderson March 30, 2012 at 10:05 am

I agree! Keep writing! One of the strategies I’ve used in my own blog is to create placeholders for things I think I MIGHT want to talk about. I’ll create a draft post on a topic, with just a couple notes about what I’m thinking. Most of those don’t turn into real posts, but it gets me over that blank page hurdle and gives me some options and choices when I feel stumped for ideas. Admittedly, the latter is not usually my challenge. I have so many things to blog about, the challenge is finding the TIME! My best wishes for your future, and I do hope you keep blogging, although at a milder pace, perhaps. ;)

Meghan April 2, 2012 at 6:33 pm

Ashley, it was a pleasure reading your articles this semester! I was glad to be of any help or advice every week. I hope you keep writing, you have a talent for it!

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