In my last post, I talked a bit about my other blog, and the final project of which it is a part. Since I am building steam on writing for that blog, I wanted to write this post about what I have learned so far blogging both as a historian and as a LIS student. I would love to hear what experience other writers have in working between disciplines, so please add your thoughts to the comments!
The first difference I've noticed is my tone when writing. On this blog, I have developed my own 'voice' as it were, and feel like I can write somewhat more casually. The other blog doesn't use a very formal tone for the actual blog posts, but I feel like I need to write more in the way I would write for a peer-reviewed journal when writing the sections on historical background.I also use many more citations in the other blog, because it is based primarily on historical research.
On this blog, I do draw from other sources, but I don't find myself using parenthetical citations and a bibliography, because I am doing as much sharing of my own thoughts as I am pulling from other sources. That difference in approach is also reflected in the content: on this blog I feel much more comfortable sitting down and writing a post about some aspect of my professional life that I find interesting or particularly relevant, whereas when I post on the other blog I feel like I need to sit down and plan out what I will post about and how that fits into the scope of a larger project. Basically its the difference between creating a space for more formal research versus a place to share new ideas and offer my opinion on a subject.
The biggest challenges for me with this type of writing come from trying to switch not only between voices, but between ways of approaching a post. The Markham blog requires that at least some of my posts be approached as tightly-formed arguments on an aspect of a historical document (his cookery manual, in this instance). This blog requires me to write clearly for an audience across multiple disciplines, and discuss the world as it exists now. The greatest reward is that these two styles complement each other very well: by forcing myself to write academically on one blog, I can ensure that I am forming coherent arguments on this one. By writing in a way that (I hope) is interesting and accessible on this blog, I prevent my other writing from becoming too dry.
Because the blogs are updated frequently and are a more dynamic entity than an article, I feel this difference much more acutely than when I am writing papers on several different subjects. It probably helps that peer reviewed journals tend to adhere to some similar expectations in terms of building and defending an argument, and even in the scholarly language used in the paper.
I'm sure I will notice many more differences between the way I write for different projects as I go on, but one advantage I feel like I am giving myself here is exposure to a wider variety of writing styles--by both blogging and writing for more traditional publications across a number of disciplines, I am (slowly) familiarizing myself with the tenets of 'good writing' for these fields, a skill which I hope will be useful as I continue to work in a field as interdisciplinary as LIS.