Sunday, August 23, 2009

Do it only if ...

Three versions.

1. Amit Varma in India Uncut: Blogging Tips from a Jaded Veteran:


This is my last piece of advice, and possibly the most important one. If you don’t enjoy yourself, your readers won’t enjoy reading your blog. Blogging won’t make you a millionaire, so you should only blog if you love doing it. If it’s fun for you, then all of the above advice might be redundant, for the act of writing a blog will be its own reward. So log on and have a blast!

2. William Pannapacker in Chronicle of Higher Eductaion: Graduate School in the Humanities: Just Don't Go [via Mircea] :

As things stand, I can only identify a few circumstances under which one might reasonably consider going to graduate school in the humanities:

  • You are independently wealthy, and you have no need to earn a living for yourself or provide for anyone else.
  • You come from that small class of well-connected people in academe who will be able to find a place for you somewhere.
  • You can rely on a partner to provide all of the income and benefits needed by your household.
  • You are earning a credential for a position that you already hold — such as a high-school teacher — and your employer is paying for it.

Those are the only people who can safely undertake doctoral education in the humanities. [...]

3. Charles Bukowski at So You Want to Be a Writer? [via Rohit Chopra]. This is how the poem begins:

if it doesn't come bursting out of you
in spite of everything,
don't do it.
unless it comes unasked out of your
heart and your mind and your mouth
and your gut,
don't do it.
if you have to sit for hours
staring at your computer screen
or hunched over your
searching for words,
don't do it.
if you're doing it for money or
don't do it.
if you're doing it because you want
women in your bed,
don't do it.
if you have to sit there and
rewrite it again and again,
don't do it.
if it's hard work just thinking about doing it,
don't do it.
if you're trying to write like somebody
forget about it.

I really liked this appeal to one's public-spiritedness!

don't be like so many writers,
don't be like so many thousands of
people who call themselves writers,
don't be dull and boring and
pretentious, don't be consumed with self-
the libraries of the world have
yawned themselves to
over your kind.
don't add to that.
don't do it.


  1. Anonymous said...

    Pannapacker's article was good and it is true not just for humanities but also for science (less for engineering perhaps). How many PhDs can be absorbed by research institutes/labs, univs/colleges and industry ? PhDs too in the near future may find themselves searching for non-traditional careers besides teaching in colleges and schools just as masters and bachelor students.