Success & Failure

coaching
A professor colleague of mine recently reflected on a “revise and resubmit” decision she had received from a journal: “why does success so often feel like failure?” Although her article had not been rejected (success!), the external readers or editors found things with which to quibble (failure!) And because publishing an article is one more step on the road to tenure, wavering on that path, even a bit, causes anxiety, shame, envy, fear, what have you--a whole bevy of negative emotions. Or was that just me? Success has a very narrow definition in academia: PhD, tenure-track job, dissertation revised and published as a monograph or article series, publication in highly ranked journals, tenure. Missteps, detours, and layovers can delay the journey to success, of course, or make it an unpleasant…
Read More

Filling Up Your Reserve Tank

coaching, creative work
If you are an academic--a scholar, a researcher, a student, a teacher--or a creative person--a writer, artist, content creator--a lot of what you produce gets pulled from within you. Or at least this is how I experience writing and lecturing and discussing and growing a small business. I use my experience of myself in the world as a springboard for ideas. I believe that my quotidian, embodied life is inseparable from my “work” in so many ways. How I relate to my body, to money (and where it comes from), to my family, to my domestic surroundings--all these things impact my ability to tap into my innate creativity and see where it takes me. In those moments when I feel frumpy, broke, underappreciated, and surrounded by chaos, I am incapable…
Read More

Originality vs. The Little Hater

creative work, Little Hater
The academy instills in its acolytes the importance of originality. The definition of successfully scholarship is, after all, making a NEW and significant contribution to your discipline. The focus on originality pushes knowledge further and inspires some great thinking. It encourages researchers to build on earlier knowledge to come to new conclusions and create new ideas. But the burden of being original often feels like just that . . . a burden. Matt Inman, the writer of The Oatmeal comics, published a long coming on "making things" that, I think, resonates a lot with academics as well as creatives. He wrote: "And it's great that no one can tell me what to write about, but I've found that being TOLD what to write is a lot easier than just conjuring…
Read More