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Author Topic: Other: When is a blog entry good enough  (Read 530 times)

Vixen

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When is a blog entry good enough
« on: June 06, 2017, 07:03:54 am »
I have been compelled to write blog posts for a while now. I am a historian and a writer. I am a researcher and a teacher. I love educating people. Like Albert Einstein said: "I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious."

For a school project I had to make a blog including several blog entries. I kinda riffled through it trying to complete the assignment (which wasn't about writing but about setting up the blog and the mechanics behind it) but now that I have the blog going and a website for people to land on. Why not? I've been wanting to do this for years. Besides, my Lord had given me a nudge that 'It's about time...' ok, ok... hint taken.

Now. My problem. I want to write about the gods in my area from before Christianity up until now. But the area I live in has seen such a turbulent history it's almost impossible to discern who lived where and when. Migrations were the norm. Tribes fought amongst each other, pushing each other out. Romans came and annihilating resident tribes and granting the grounds to allies. In more recent history (last 300 years) we've been part of the Austrian, French, Spanish, German, Belgian and Dutch government.

I want to do my blog justice. I want to be sure about what I write. I am a historian and a researcher. In order to say something about what the people that lived here believed I need to know who lived here. In order to find out who lived here I need to do in depth research into the tribes and the political situations in ancient Europe. But what has that to do with gods worshipped here?

When is a blog post good enough? How do you deal with that question?

« Last Edit: May 07, 2019, 03:04:27 pm by RandallS »
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Jenett

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Re: When is a blog entry good enough
« Reply #1 on: June 06, 2017, 02:17:20 pm »
When is a blog post good enough? How do you deal with that question?

I think you deal with it by realising the limitations of the format (you're writing in really rather short chunks for academic-style writing, even if you do long posts by blogging standards), being honest about what you're doing, make it as easy as you can for people to see other related context (consistent tagging, linking to previous posts, etc. as makes sense) and being honest about your background and resources.

I think it's also about figuring out what the right focus for you is - I actually explicitly don't do historically-focused blogging because I can't figure out a voice for it that works with my standards for citation and academic research protocols. I've chosen instead to focus on 'personal experience with a side of referencing further reading' because if I try to do the academic thing in a blog format for a wide audience, my writing gets weird and stilted and no fun to write or read.

(Where if I'm in a different format like a paper, I'm fine, and I'm also fine in my 'selected audience of known readers' on Dreamwidth, where I also let the snark out a bit more when it's relevant than I would in a totally public space.)

Some people can do both, but I'm not - or at least not in a timeframe that works for blogging. If you haven't read it, Kristina Killgrove's Powered by Osteons does a nice job of blending academic sourcing and blogging (she's a biological anthropologist, mostly focusing on Rome.)
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Kylara

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Re: When is a blog entry good enough
« Reply #2 on: June 06, 2017, 02:35:20 pm »


When is a blog post good enough? How do you deal with that question?

I struggled with this a LOT when I first started blogging, and still ask myself this from time to time.  The answer I keep coming to is "It's my blog, so I write what I want to write and the people who enjoy it will read it".

For me, blogging is a very informal thing.  It is sort of like a diary entry that I am making public.  I do have some blog posts that I have done a lot of research on and that read more like articles than diary entries, but the vast majority of my blog posts are me picking a topic and then just sharing my thoughts and insights on it.

I think that you have to find what works for you.  If you want your blog to be more academic, then by all means, write posts that are like articles.  But if you want to write your own observations about the things that you want to write about, you can do that too!
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Re: When is a blog entry good enough
« Reply #3 on: June 06, 2017, 06:14:21 pm »
When is a blog post good enough? How do you deal with that question?

Performance anxiety is a tricky thing.  And that's what this sounds like.

A blog is not an academic journal - which isn't to say that I haven't made posts with academic citations in them, when I've been doing things for which that's the right mode.  A blog post is something comparatively tiny - often part of a conversation, often just an expression of one thing.

The scale of a blogpost is something like "here's a discussion of this one artifact found here and ideas about what it might mean".  For longer things, more in-depth, on a subject, use tags or categories to pointilistically create your thing.

But it's for the most part casual, conversational.  Trying to approach certainty - setting aside the problems with that in a historical context - is a good way to completely stifle yourself.  Throw ideas at the wall and see if any of them stick.  Compile "hey, this was cool, I thought I'd share it with the world" posts.  Do a twenty-part running series on a particular thing.  That kind of deal.
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Vixen

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Re: When is a blog entry good enough
« Reply #4 on: June 07, 2017, 03:16:03 am »
I think you deal with it by realising the limitations of the format (you're writing in really rather short chunks for academic-style writing, even if you do long posts by blogging standards), being honest about what you're doing, make it as easy as you can for people to see other related context (consistent tagging, linking to previous posts, etc. as makes sense) and being honest about your background and resources.

If you haven't read it, Kristina Killgrove's does a nice job of blending academic sourcing and blogging (she's a biological anthropologist, mostly focusing on Rome.)

Thank you Jenett. We are both from a similar background so I can see how you struggle with the same. I like to stray more to the scientific side of things but still keep it readable for the every day person. What I love most about researching is finding the sources people drew from and chasing them to new sources. When I start my blog I would like to continue that link for other people.
I love your way of writing and your articles, blogs and website are a big inspiration to me.

"It's my blog, so I write what I want to write and the people who enjoy it will read it".

Lol, I love you being so matter of fact about this.  ;D

Performance anxiety is a tricky thing.  And that's what this sounds like.

A blog is not an academic journal - which isn't to say that I haven't made posts with academic citations in them, when I've been doing things for which that's the right mode.  A blog post is something comparatively tiny - often part of a conversation, often just an expression of one thing.

The scale of a blogpost is something like "here's a discussion of this one artifact found here and ideas about what it might mean".  For longer things, more in-depth, on a subject, use tags or categories to pointilistically create your thing.

But it's for the most part casual, conversational.  Trying to approach certainty - setting aside the problems with that in a historical context - is a good way to completely stifle yourself.  Throw ideas at the wall and see if any of them stick.  Compile "hey, this was cool, I thought I'd share it with the world" posts.  Do a twenty-part running series on a particular thing.  That kind of deal.

Thank you Darkhawk. You might be right. I'm probably overthinking this. You gave some great tips and advice to get me started. Maybe it's just a matter of just getting started and find my own flow of things.

Thank you guys for the insights. You're wonderful.  :-*
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Vixen

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Re: When is a blog entry good enough
« Reply #5 on: June 07, 2017, 05:31:33 am »
Maybe it's just a matter of just getting started and find my own flow of things.

Alright. I just got started on a topic that should be pretty straight forward: a roman deity worshipped in the 2nd century in the town that I work in. I notice I use a lot of Wikipedia to do research on the more mundane things. Like, the fact that the Maas was waylaid in the 14th century changing the location of the temple from the eastern bank to the western bank. I don't feel like its productive to go hunt the original sources of how, when and why the Maas was waylaid. Should I mention the Wikipedia article I found this information in, or should I just leave it as it is?
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