In January’s blog post, I put together a meditation on what it means to be a successful academic. I received a lot of positive feedback on that post. However, there were several people who like the…
I responded to the earlier meditation because I appreciated what Steven R. Shaw had to say about success. An intersectional interdisciplinary and multi-genre scholar, below are alternative approaches to his advice that are discipline and or genre specific. I will turn to a recent podcast, PhDivas, to which I’ve just subscribed to explain. This week, they interviewed a literary scholar who also writes fiction. When explaining her writing process, Dr. Hashem talked about how her writing creatively would inform some insight into her literary analytical work and vice versa. Listening to Dr. Hashem explains how I have come to understand how my writing process will work. I write fiction based on social problems that emerge within the organizations and movements I follow all the while I similarly pull from autoethnographic feminists to similarly produce theoretical reflections of the aforementioned movements and, more specifically, the media they produce. That’s how I became a scavenger scholar.
The success of production, for me, comes from loving to write. Like spending ten minutes in my bed watching the sun rise turning the sky peach-pink all the while contemplating how I will write that when I get the chance. I journal about it, save the note, the image, so I can come back to it when it’s relevant. Podcasts emerged because I couldn’t read fast enough given teaching 4 classes; PhDivas, among others, like Freakonomics, allow me to update what I am teaching all the while how to reimagine theory. It’s why I’ve subscribed to about 90 different blogs. I read and think about what I could add to the conversation someone else has started. If I have nothing to contribute, I think about why.
At that point, I get on twitter. I ask questions. Questions become pitches. Pitches become brief meditations on which I can write later. I told a colleague that I needed to stop blogging and contributing essays so I can master the peer-reviewed journal. He said, ‘well that’s where the good ideas start.’ And then a lecture on the Hamilton Mixtape happens; the next day Sounding Out Blog accepted my pitch on writing about teaching it. I have a second draft in what I know will need at least six more revisions. Twitter and verbal conversations have updated my initial analyses.
Since the beginning of 2016, I have submitted about a dozen pieces, essays, short fiction, creative non-fiction. Fifty percent have been published. Some took days because of the intensity of the muse, others took months because of the editors, writing groups and or my own reluctance at revision. Writing across three genres emerges as a result of historic encouragement that grew into a love I did not realize was possible. I appreciate that I am in a place, at the moment, where writing is a joy. Where the madness of the rush, the deadline, the creative explosions in the middle of teaching, hallway colleague conversations, are still delights.
These delights inform the determined yet uncertain approach to article manuscripts.
I have two in the works. The first, which I tinkered away at for six months (with long breaks), a mentor says is ready to submit. Another, which I researched and organized intensely the month before school started, needs the story to then revise the theoretical analysis. The former is based on my longer research project on which I have not published in an academic peer-reviewed journal. The latter article manuscript is on Pulse Orlando, and emerged indirectly as a result of the former, it will be my second contribution to Queer Rican/Latinx Studies.
This summer, I will be preparing a guest-edited literary magazine and following up on the research I had done the year before I started teaching. I want to be as in love with my work in 30 years as I am in love with it now. Grateful for Steven R. Shaw’s insight as it confirms the validity of my thinking, albeit from a different discipline’s perspective.