As the previous editor for the Comparative Literature Blog at Rutgers and a student who has submitted a few blog posts myself, I want to share with you some of the many benefits of blogging and why I think graduate students should do it more. You should blog,
Because . . . it forces you to write more often: I am always looking for ways to improve my writing, and as the famous saying goes, “practice makes perfect.” For me, writing long pieces or seminar papers can feel overwhelming at times, and article-length drafts are not really something that most people can produce in one sitting. However, because blog posts tend to be short and specific, writing them works as a perfect way to create a daily writing routine. Since we usually have to be juggling many other things at the same time, blogging can be helpful in thinking through ideas in a more compartmentalized manner, without having to spend a long part of one’s day doing so.
Because . . . it helps you learn how to write in a different way: As academics, depending on our fields, we are used to writing in specific ways and using a particular jargon that is comprehensible to others mainly within our disciplines. Yet, given the length and style of a blog post, we have to rethink how to make our work more accessible and clear not only for academics in other fields, but for nonacademics as well. Presenting your work to others in a language and genre that may be different to the one you are used to writing on will help you rethink your work in other ways, and as a consequence, expand the reach of your scholarship.
Because . . . it helps you to reach a different audience: Evidently the main benefit of blogging is that it allows you to share your work and ideas with others. In addition to reaching those within your program and/or field, and allowing them to learn more about your research (and the events you attend or organize), blogging allows your ideas to reach a wider audience that may not be in your current academic circle; and having an audience that will more publicly interact with your writing will thus make you a more confident writer.
Because . . . it can be fun and it looks good on your CV/resume: Many (if not all!) of us can attest to the fact that writing becomes much easier when you are passionate or interested in the topic that you are writing about. Blogging about an interesting event, talk, or research topic can be fun, and it can also give you exposure for others to get to know you and your work. Besides, publicly blogging is always a great addition to your CV, as professional organizations and institutions are looking for people who have demonstrated the ability to write and teach through mediums that are accessible beyond the academic space.
Thanks to the program’s blog, I had the opportunity to read and learn about what other graduate students were working on and many of the events happening on and outside of campus. I hope some of these points inspire you to write and share more blog posts so that we can learn more from each other.
For more information on blogging while in graduate school: