I want to stretch my voice, my writer's voice that is. As a child/adolescent/young adult I wrote fiction but never kept a journal. I also wrote papers for school but never really worked too hard on them. As a graduate student and an emerging professional I learned (with great difficulty) to write in an academic voice. Once I became proficient at that voice I found it difficult to write fiction. Then in my early thirties I started writing poetry. However I found I couldn't freely go between creative writing and academic writing. If I was productive on my dissertation or with journal papers I wasn't free enough to create; if I was happily writing poetry (or one attempt at a novel) I couldn't fit my voice back into the narrow confines of academia. Eventually I stopped the creative writing to get "serious" about my career.
Changing jobs and moving down south seemed like a good time to try and bridge my voices. I started a journal that, for the first time, I've managed to keep going. At the same time my research started to change--to get more innovative, more creative itself--and I started to explore different academic writing styles that were less conventional, less lab report-like, than what I had done previously.
This winter I had an opportunity to write a scholarly chapter and came up with an idea for structuring it that really tested my writing limits. It has recently come back from the editor with major revisions. I've only glanced at the review as I need a few days to face them without emotion. Holding off on a review is something I haven't had to do for a long time. I believe this means I'm deeply invested in wanting this new style to succeed.
I started this blog, in part, to help with the process and so far I think it has been working. I haven't gotten back to fiction or poetry yet but I'm getting more comfortable switching between my traditional academic work and my new work. The journal entries have definitely slowed down but I'm happy to report it is still in existence.
So progress to be sure, but still a long way to go.