In which, undeterred, I try to figure out what to write next

One never-ending challenge for faculty is finding things to write about. The problem is especially acute for those on the tenure track, but it really applies to almost anyone in a faculty role. Moreover, coming up with the wrong idea can be a real setback. It’s possible to spend months working on a topic before realizing that it’s not viable. I’ve done this; it’s not a good outcome. Sometimes it’s best to cut your losses and move on.

One strategy I’ve tried is to reapply the same methodology in various iterations. It can be reassuring to take an approach you’ve used before and apply it to a new topic. In my experience, the problem with this approach is that it can lead to boredom. Boredom can quite easily doom a paper too.

Specializing in a specific tool is another strategy. For example, working with Python provided me with a bunch of ideas. They didn’t share a methodology, but they were all built with the same infrastructure. Being knowledgeable about infrastructure can be productive. The boredom may seep in eventually, but maybe a bit less quickly.

I honestly don’t know what the answer to this problem is, but I will determinedly try to figure out what to write next.

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