2014 has already been a year of big changes for me. It’s the year I’ve finally been able to transition back to full time research after almost 15 years. Boy has started high school (and I underestimated the changes that would bring) and I’ve bought a new home. I’m still in the process of selling my old one, but the move will happen in the next month. This is the house I’ve lived in the longest out of all the houses I’ve lived in. Boy grew up here. But it’s time to move on. These are all good changes.
Another change is that it’s time to start writing a new blog (I’ve actually had it sitting there for ages). I’ve been interested in social media for science communication and academia too long for me to not walk the walk too.
So why has it taken so long? Essentially I’m too much of an academic. I feel very strongly that I should have the evidence for anything that I express, and ideally that evidence should have gone through some sort of process to ensure that it’s rigorous. Basically I have been waiting until I can get some papers published to give me the credibility I feel I need. And I’ve really only had the time to start and focus on that this year.
I’ve been really fortunate to have won a Barbara Kidman fellowship from the University and that has enabled me to get coaching in writing. Although I’ve been working alongside scientists and other academics for more than 10 years, the paper publishing that is so much a part of their lives was not part of mine. I facilitated workshops on writing for researchers, I coordinated a leadership program for researchers where part of the emphasis was to get them writing, I shared their publications through outreach and social media. But writing up my own research, after such a long time out of academia, and in a completely new field, has been challenging for me.
My writing coach, Maria Gardiner has been fantastic. I attended her workshops when I was only doing research part-time. The cognitive-behavioural approach to writing fascinated me, and I felt that it was really what I needed. It’s bloody scary writing up what you do and then letting it loose. It’s scarier when you know you are an animal scientist/science communicator writing in the humanities and social sciences!
So, big changes. If you want to keep up to date with my work please follow me at my new blog, agriCultural (it still might take me a few weeks to get my first post up!) although I will still write here from time to time. Who knows, having a separate blog for ‘work’ may make it easier to write more here as well.