You might be wondering what is going on here. At one moment this site is called Wilson Waffling themes with blues and pinks and then it is called ‘Enter the Academic’ and the theme is red and green!
Well, I am going through a transition and I wanted to share this as it happens on this blog. I’ve always been a blogger and aspire with my content creation to be a story writer. Although I have never achieved any accolades for either of these I always pursued these hoping to achieve something!
As I progress as an academic, I read and read. And, as I read, I feel that things are changing. So these posts will be documenting my transition and what I am finding out about the world of academia, research and myself!
Enter the Academic!
Reading this book!
Have you every noticed that as you progress through a task things can get harder and harder and then you find that you have stopped?
The sun is shining through the windows as I sit in what I fondly call my reading chair. I like to have two or three books on the go at one time. These are not fiction books but academic books. Why three? Well, I like the change. Read a couple of chapters of one, make notes, update my research journal and then move onto another topic and book. With my varied focal glasses, reading is never easy. I have to get the text in that exact sweet spot where it ceases to become double and blurred and becomes crystal clear. I do prefer Kindle or online books nowadays, only because I can increase the font size and change the background from glaring white to more mellow sepia!
I read from a book called ‘Evocative Autoethnography: Writing Lives and Telling Stories by Bochner and Ellis. I came across autoethnography as a method and from that moment, fell in love with its approach. I sat in my academic mindset firmly in gear and started to read. Here we go, chapter 3 – Crafting Autoethnography. I am enjoying this chapter so much. I frequently grab my pencil and circle various comments and scribble my own reflections in the available white space surrounding the text.
“This is me!” – “I agree completely!” – “Wow someone else who feels like me!”
The narrative is supported with references but is constructed as if I am watching a scene unfolding at a conference. The familiar scenes increase my immersion and I find myself no longer reading an academic book, but feel that I am at the session, listening and interacting!
Personal note: I did think at certain points, I’m so glad they are not asking me these questions – I suffer a great deal from imposter syndrome!
The connection between writing and sharing experiences continues to be developed and I read about freewriting, passive and active voice and structure and syntax. In a moment of revelation, I realise that this ‘academic’ book was a combination of writing and research, linking narrative to a possible strategy.
Finding my voice?
Freewriting intrigues me. The idea of sitting down and actually writing about something without looking back and altering what is written. This is what I am trying to achieve at the moment. Writing about myself, research and finding my voice.
I know that I am swapping tenses and probably switching from the passive to the active, but I am trying to ignore this and focus on writing.
When I was a primary school teacher, I did a great job. I would say that, at times, it was perhaps even better than great. I really found my niche, or voice, in that environment and was known, recognised and acknowledged for my practice. From there I decided to jump willingly into the vast ocean of academia and since then have struggled to find my voice or even myself. I had plenty of ideas and started off well, attending conferences and publishing an article. But as time progressed I began to realise that I had gone from being a big fish in a small pond to being a small fish in an ocean. Wellbeing a small fish is probably an exaggeration. More like a single-celled amoeba, floating suspended in the swirling waters being buffeted by other fish and currents.
In order to establish me as a major contributor to academia, I need to find my voice. I need to carve out a territory, become an expert in that area and then, in order to become an established academic, research and publish in that area to gain recognition.
One thing I struggle with in my life is to move away from being a generalist to become a specialist. My brain doesn’t like that. It wants to think about a multitude of different topics and flit from one to the other. Knowing this fact probably allows you to see why I have three research books on the go!
As always, when it comes to research I know that I will not go the for the normal or the accepted. From my reading, it is apparent that autoethnography does not have the best reputation within academic circles and I can imagine that evocative form of this strategy will be shunned in favour of the more analytical version. And yet I feel that I am drawn to this strategy. I want to do something I enjoy and can fully embrace. Technology is always a keen interest to me but also blogging and podcasting. Is this my niche or do I need to leave these areas behind and start to focus on more ‘academic’ topics?
This blog is so good for my self-reflections. I recognise that this is not autoethnography but does blogging have a place in academia? Does podcasting? Does technology? or do I?