Recently, I was having a heart-to-heart-over-coffee in order to avoid grading papers with a colleague of mine. She said that she wanted to spend the summer writing a fun book, not academic research, because ever since she was a kid she only ever wanted to be a writer. I immediately said “me too”—but this wouldn’t be surprising information about me, since I majored in English and have a master’s in creative writing. She majored in Bio. Now, of course, we’re both law professors off the tenure-track.
We face one of the challenges that non-tenure-track (NTT) academics always face: If you have the luxury to have time to write, do you write scholarship with the hope of forwarding an academic career, or do you write something you might find more fun, and hope to publish it another way?*
In other words, since NTTs are no less driven or intelligent or educated than their TT colleagues (duh), what do we do with our creative energies? Hope that our work will one day get us TT recognition? Or something else?**
While I’ve been writing a lot on Twitter, and working hard to finish open projects (in the knitting world we call these “WIPs”—works-in-progress), I see that the date of my most recent blog post here is 10/18/13, and I don’t have vision for this blog. I don’t have a vision for the future of my writing at all. I have a mounting stack of unpublished book manuscripts (no time to market them to publishers) and conference papers that will never be articles (because more and more I don’t see the point).
So I’m back to where both my colleague and I both started: we are simply writers. In particular, writers who teach writing to law students.
Now that I have a premise to start from, I can finish this stack of papers, and see what comes next.
*Of course, all of this writing presupposes that the stacks of papers get graded.
**I’ve been inspired lately by the writing of my NTT Twitter and Blogger friends, such as http://www.kellyjbaker.com and http://pankisseskafka.com. Of course, those two have managed to publish their books. #sigh