Ten! Ten! Ten!


Ten of what, I hear you ask? Well – ten years of blogging. And 894 posts, counting this one. Not quite two posts a week for all of the ten years, but twice weekly for most of them. And given that most posts are about 1200-1400 words, then we are talking something close to a million words.

I only occasionally stop to think about the sheer volume of stuff on this blog. But I do often wonder about how long I can keep it going, and when it will be time to stop.

I started out thinking that the blog would address aspects of academic writing and research that people often find tricky or hidden. Making the invisible codes and rules of writing and research clearer, if you like. Ten years later that is still my goal. And there’s still more to say.

But ten! Ten years of writing every week. Now, on the 10th anniversary, how to celebrate? Well, rather than offer a list of the most popular posts, as I’ve done before on birthdays, I’d like to go backstage to note what’s behind the public face of the blog.

PhDers I work with. Working with PHDers keeps the blog real. Some PhDers I supervise, others I meet in workshops and courses. There are also PhDers who just ask a question on the blog or use my university email. I would have run out of things to say long ago if I wasn’t continually in conversation with PhDers and prodded to think about issues and difficulties. Thankyou.

A blogging community. One of the things about blogging is that you build up a network of people who not only have their own blog focus but are also interested in blogging as a practice. This means interesting discussions, as well as sometimes research and joint writing, shared presentations and shared projects. Seeing the blog as an intellectual as well as a writing task helps keep my interest. Thankyou friends.

Academic authors and researchers. I buy a lot of books about writing and research. I have a huge collection of texts. I don’t generally review books per se, so publishers tend not to send them to me. (They do now send me lots of book proposals to review! ) I use my library to develop strategies that have been informed by – or adapted from – other people’s work (and of course when adapted, these are cited). I also keep up to date with journals devoted to academic writing, higher education and research; I’m keen to read the discussions in the various fields and sub-fields. However, patter generally doesn’t report my own research, that’s on other blogs. That’s because Patter doesn’t intend to say anything “new”; the blog’s job is to share useful, research- informed writing and research approaches. So other people’s work indirectly “feeds” the blog. Thankyou.

Blog readers. Like other blogs, patter has subscribers. Most of these are people I do not know. I am not driven by numbers, although they do perhaps suggest that some people find the regular posts helpful. I’m very grateful for your/their support. But I am also very grateful for people who let me know that the blog is useful to their work, either in their own PhDs or in supervision. This kind of feedback really does keep the blogging juices flowing. Thankyou.

The platform. This is a wordpress site. When I began the blog patter was a state of the art “theme”. It’s now sadly out of date and some of my pages are not easy to revise, even though they really need it. At some point fairly soon I’ll need to change over to a new theme that is compatible with the new wordpress editor. I’ll just need a few weeks or so to sort everything – having consistent badging across the blog and other social media does mean there’s quite a lot of fiddling beyond the blog to do. But wordpress has served patter well, and the several other blogs that I run.

Sunday mornings. I nearly always write blog posts on Sunday mornings. After breakfast, my partner takes the dog for a long walk and I turn on some music and turn out some words. I revise the post during the day, and usually again first thing on Monday morning before it publishes. Routine is the way I’ve kept patter going. I am envious of bloggers who have loads of posts scheduled in advance, who have a spread sheet of what they’ve already written about, and/or who have taken the time to organise their archives properly. This will probably never be me! But as long as I have Sunday mornings I can find the time to maintain bloggage.

So there is it is. Here it is. Ten. Ten years of writing and posting. Ten percent of a century gone to bloggery.