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(Re)Introduction and Intention

I thought I should take a moment to update the blogosphere on who I am and what I am doing here.  I started this blog last June when I was a pregnant postdoc, working in a lab at a major research university, where I was studying the effects of gestational diabetes on the fetus.  After a couple of posts, the blog fell by the wayside for about a year.  I got busy with trying to get as much work done as possible before the baby was born and with trying to get enough sleep, which has been a losing battle ever since.  Once BabyC arrived, my world of course forever changed.  I muddled through the first few months of being a mama, alternating (minute-to-minute) from being overwhelmingly happy to overwhelmingly tired to being generally overwhelmed.

Once I sort of got the hang of the mama thing, I started working on getting research papers published from my postdoc and even PhD work.  I was able to get a surprising amount done in 2-hour increments at my kitchen table, and I have several papers in various stages of being published as a result.  I hate to leave something unfinished, so it is important to me to get my work published.  However, I don’t anticipate going back to academia or a lab bench anytime soon.  Husband, BabyC, and I just moved to Eugene, Oregon, which is a lovely little college town where we might be able to stay forever.  While there are lots of cool things happening here, there isn’t a lot of biomedical research.  Husband has a new job that can support us.  I really want to be with BabyC most of the time, and I feel lucky to be able to do that.  But I also feel a little lost, now that I don’t have work that is my own.

So here’s where the intention comes in.  I need to develop some small career for myself which will allow me to keep up with science, continue learning, and be of value to others.  It would be great if I could do that from home (or a coffee shop) and if I could do it part-time for now while BabyC is little.  My goal is to write about nutrition and health parenting issues, drawing from the scientific literature to answer practical questions.  I’m going to start by posting small articles on this blog in order to build a sort of portfolio, get some practice with this type of writing, and hopefully get a little feedback from readers.  Eventually I will start pitching story ideas to magazines and hopefully pick up some freelance work.

I realize that I probably sound pretty naive to an experienced writer or blogger, and I am the first to admit that I really have no idea what I am doing when it comes to building readership for a blog and breaking into writing for magazines.  Maybe some of you will offer some advice to me.  Maybe you will enjoy coming on the journey with me, wherever it ends up.

I don’t claim to be any kind of expert on parenting.  BabyC is my first baby, and I’m learning as I go.  That puts me in a position to be in touch with the issues that first-time parents fret about.  What I can offer is the ability to search and evaluate scientific literature and distill it down to a useful form.  With a background in research, I have been trained to be skeptical and rarely take anything as an absolute fact.  I also hate being wrong, so I am much more likely to say, “it’s complicated and here’s why” than to give a straightforward answer.  Most importantly, I have no agenda.  I just want to make well-informed decisions and do the right thing for my kid, within reason.

I welcome any feedback on my posts, and I would also love to hear your story ideas.  If you are a parent, what questions do you have?  If you are a writer, do you have any advice to help get my tiny writing career off the ground?

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3 Comments
  1. For writing, I suggest that you establish (inasmuch as possible) a pattern: write every day in the morning, or at night, for even fifteen minutes if that's all you have, but keep to the pattern; discipline yourself. I also find that it helps to create a space, even if it's just a corner, for writing and only for writing. Of course… I can never seem to stick to these rules for long myself, but I do know that I am much, much more productive when I do. Hope that helps.

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    August 28, 2011
  2. Oh, and buy a copy of Annie Dillard's "The Writing Life." Back in school I did a little survey of some of the writing books out there, and most of them are schmaltzy crap that promise you that if you just follow their ten-point system, you WILL publish. Dillard makes no such promises–in fact she promises trial, hardship, drinking problems, marital stress, all with no guarantee of reward. My favorite quote: "One of the few things I know about writing is this: spend it all, shoot it, play it, lose it, all, right away, every time."

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    August 28, 2011
  3. Thanks for the tips, feralvermonter. The discipline part is hard, for sure. I try to fit in writing time when the baby is napping, but there are plenty of things that seem to need to be done once she goes down. I have found that if I can get myself to sit down at my desk, once I am there, I can be really focused. I'll check out the Annie Dillard book, too.

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    August 28, 2011

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