Tribal Writers, Study Hacks, and Me

My husband is a big fan of Cal Newport, the Study Hacks blogger/writer (and postdoc in something-or-other at MIT) who offers up solid advice on how to “explore strategies for building a life that is both remarkably accomplished and remarkably enjoyable.” I’ve been bopping around Cal’s blog which, though aimed at students, has tasty little nuggets for anyone trying to figure out how to do focused work in a manner that is meaningful and rewarding.

Cal led me to Justine Lee Musk, another blogger/writer with interests more closely related to my own. To say that I’ve become a fan would be gross understatement — JLM is precisely who I’d love to be. Or rather, she is doing precisely what I wish I’d been doing at her age, in precisely the ways I’d like to have been doing it. Granted, when I was JLM’s age (I’m guessing 10ish years ago?), social media was not what it is today, so big chunks of what she’s doing  wouldn’t have applied. But the writing-hard-and-well stuff… that I could have been doing.

JLM has me thinking quite a bit about how social media influences and shapes not only writers themselves, but the entire publishing industry, and the experience of the printed word. While I’m not yet ready to publish any of those dusty partial manuscripts, I now realize that blogging is an organic first step: I love to write, I love to talk about myself, and I love the idea of not having to see my audience face-to-face (at least, not in the beginning, when I’m nervous about how my writing will be received).

So this is my first blog post. Topics I hope to caress in the future include:

  • the creative process (including how to work when not feeling particularly creative/inspired/etc.)
  • writing in the margins of an otherwise full life (i.e. squeezing in the time to do what matters deeply to me, even when I’m sleep deprived from having nursed a 7-month-old every 45 minutes, all night long)
  • reading in the margins of (ditto-ditto-ditto)
  • nourishing my family (which means learning how to prepare delicious, plant-based meals, when what I’d really love to do is snarf a cheeseburger and a Coke while letting J eat pizza and apple slices)
  • learning some serious math (for reasons I’ll discuss later)
  • homeschooling (since, you know, I clearly don’t have enough on my plate already)

***Addendum: just discovered (two days after original post) that I am not, in fact, 10ish years older than JLM, but am actually only 2ish years older. Well, my previous point is still a good one: I would like to have been working in the focused manner that she appears to have done for the last N years. I’m a big fan, and am impressed by her passion and generosity — her blog is a veritable cornucopia of advice and inspiration for other writers.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. bronxboy55
    Aug 11, 2010 @ 23:21:50

    Good luck with the blog. I just started three months ago (today), and it has helped me become more disciplined about writing. It’s hard when life is pulling you in twelve different directions. I think the trick is to set goals that are ambitious, but not overwhelming.

    I look forward to reading your posts.


  2. Kellyak
    Aug 13, 2010 @ 19:48:11

    Thanks, Bronxboy! I’ll check out your blog as well.


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