Monday Blog Hop (#bloghop via @CathyLeFeuvre)


[See this posted on Cathy’s site]

I haven’t had time to look at what others have written for this, if there’s a particular style, and I’ve been working hard on getting to bed early – so – on a Sunday evening – let me do my usual writing style of whatever comes out of my fingers …

What am I working on?

Well, nearly 4 months ago Raising Child in a Digital Age: Enjoying the Best, Avoiding the Worst came out, sold 2000 copies in its first 10 weeks, and I’m still doing articles, etc. related to that…

I still have a number of half-planned articles, etc. sketched out/part-written, but in the past week I have finally been putting into place plans that have been swirling around my head for 10 years, when I finished my PhD, which I am now planning on turning into a book. There’s several hoops with image rights, etc. to jump through, but finally I have done a version of the book proposal, had an hour long Skype with my PhD supervisor, which has left me with about 40 things to action…

For CODEC, aside from blogs for BIGBible, I’m working on a book review of Digital Religion (eds, Heidi Campbell), and starting to think about how to structure research around digital culture, specifically discipleship in a digital age, with ideas for a ‘big data’ project built around ‘photoshopped selves’ and self-representation of religious types on social media platforms … and I’d love to put my history skills to use taking a more longitudinal look at digital engagement in/by the church.

Why do I write what I do?

The best material I write is the stuff that I find interesting, or I passionately believe that it will help others. Occasionally I’ll write stuff to get it out of my head (especially if I haven’t got anyone to talk it over with) – but that stuff is rarely for public consumption. I self-describe as a polymath (but people aren’t surprised once they find out what one of these is – a person who’s expertise spans many different subject areas… sometimes known as renaissance woman – it considers all areas of knowledge as important – intellectual, artistic, social and physical … and polymaths are often quickly bored!!)… so cover a wide range of topics. My blogs can therefore feel a bit ‘scrapbooky’ as I collect different things, and my mind weaves them together in strange ways!!!

How does my work differ from others in its genre?

Well, that’s a big question, and assumes that I work within a particular genre! As we have just said … that’s not quite true for me! Fundamentally, I can see my academic/historian roots coming through in every piece of writing that I do … especially in looking for the source for things. I was disparagingly told that I was “doing meedja studies” whilst I was doing my PhD – I took that and went on to teach it, and that now affects the kind of stuff I’m involved in now. My work typically works more at the ‘public engagement’ level, which is still not that well valued in academia … but paid off with my book. And, on that note…. most books aimed re: children/the internet flash “danger, danger, danger”, whereas mine says ‘respect the space, but embrace the opportunities’!

How does my writing process work?

When I was doing my undergraduate thesis, I would get up around midday, do shopping/gym/socialising, then settle down to work sometime between 6pm and midnight and work through til about 4-5am… Doesn’t really work so much any more, but I still do my best writing on days where I have had the day before off (and got all the household tasks, etc. done), then sleep in without an alarm, do a few tasks in the PJs, maybe go for a swim, then finally get going around 2pm…

As an overall process, let’s talk about the book. I tracked down book titles on Amazon/university library, then sketched out ideas of the kind of topics that I thought I wanted to write about, asked around what others thought was important, focused in on particular books – read my way through those making a lot of notes, and continuing to scribble new ideas. I then dump all the notes into a word file (I played around with Scrivener, but didn’t really get the hang of it in time) – which is usually excruciatingly long. Print off 2 pages to a page … ID what each section focuses all, coming up with what tends to become my subheadings. Move everything around in a file under those subheadings and start to shape out each section at a time, so I can feel a sense of achievement. I will always start with the bit I feel most inspired to work on – as this gets me going, and soon have the pleasing look that there’s a pile of writing in front of me, and it encourages me to keep going. Introduction/conclusions always written last and together. Always bear in mind what I learned from my PhD – what is the job of this section, being ruthless – treating each word as a bar of gold, but also treating each version as a ‘draft’ so the pressure to ‘produce perfection’ is lifted … As I’m more of a starter-chasing after new things, I then have to grit my teeth to finish things … and am seeking rewards that aren’t food for doing this… much of my reward in the past has been to get on with another piece of work, but I’m trying to learn to focus, clap myself, and do something other than work, before starting the next thing…. One day I’m sure I’ll actually manage that properly!

Now – I need 2 other people who write to answer the same questions next Monday – any takers (maybe a couple of #digidisciple(s)? I’ll link from this blogpost once agreed…