By Jamie Steer 03/01/2019


It’s a New Year, and with it, time for a confession: my blogging output has been pretty bad. The good news is I’ve found a solution.

Since joining the Sciblogs stable in March 2017 I’ve written a total of 17 posts. That’s less than one a month. And, in truth, it’s even worse than that because fully 13 of them were posted only last month. Frankly, it’s inadequate.

And I’m jealous too. I look over at some of the other bloggers and they have numbers like 220 posts, 525 posts, and even 1645 posts (oh, get a life!). If this were a horse race these jockeys would be clear out in front.

Scanning across the field your binoculars would next come to the ones in the middle, jostling for position. Then, a couple of hundred metres back, you see a guy really whipping his horse but still losing ground. That’s not me.

Finally, someone alerts you to another competitor, as yet unbeknown to the audience. This one is still trying to find his way out of the stalls – his horse rearing up and threatening to remove him. That jockey, it seems, is me.

Excuses, excuses…

I can offer the usual reasons for it: work, children, procrastination, other interests. All fair enough, but ultimately just excuses.

So, the solution I’ve resolved is this: I’ll commit to writing one blog a week for the rest of the year.

That’s, um, 51 more posts for the year.

I figure this goal is a good mix of the usual stuff the experts recommend if you are to have any hope of achieving your New Year’s resolutions (i.e., specific, time-bound, publicly accountable etc).

Now, is that a challenge? Well, perhaps not for ole Bonecrusher out the front there – but for me, I have to say it will be a real effort. Couple of things I’ll have to do differently for starters.

First, I’ll have to shelve my perfectionism in favour of a ‘good enough’ attitude – 80/20 and all that. This will give an easy opening to some of the more terse, self-serious commenters. But so be it.

Second, and related, is that I’ll have to just accept the fact that I won’t be able to be comprehensive or bulletproof with my arguments. Surely this is more in the nature of a blog anyway though, right?

If a scientific paper is like a conference presentation, a blog is maybe something like a pub conversation. You put some ideas out there knowing that they’re not fully formed, and you might live to regret some of them. And some of them you do live to regret.

But most of the time you just have fun with it and, if you can remember what you discussed in the morning, you learn something too.

What’s left?

There, I’ve covered the who, where, how, and when. All that remains now is the what and the why. And the what is easy – it’s the topic of my blog: biodiversity, ecology, conservation, and I guess nature stuff more broadly.

I might write the occasional something on another topic but I’ll likely stick pretty closely to my knitting.

And why write about these things? Well, I can think of at least six reasons:

  • Because I love writing about, researching and discussing this stuff. It’s why I work in the industry and have spent virtually my whole working life doing it
  • Because I’ve got tonnes of ideas to share. New ones pop up each day in the course of the work, but there are also many previous lines of investigation from my research (and that of others) that I’m keen to explore further
  • Because I believe that writing ideas down and having them tested by others (particularly those outside of your immediate social group) is the best way of enhancing the validity and resonance of them
  • Because I think the more writing I do the better I get at it. This is useful in so many ways that it’s just not worth elaborating
  • Because, like a lot of other bloggers in this stable, I see a lot of stuff being written that I disagree with, especially in the popular media. I think people benefit from challenges
  • Because this is a huge year for biodiversity conservation in New Zealand. The Government is aiming to significantly advance major pieces of national direction, including the National Policy Statement for Indigenous Biodiversity, the next NZ Biodiversity Strategy, and the Predator Free 2050 Strategic Plan. Who wouldn’t want to have a say!

I’m keeping a list of ideas to write about which I keep – don’t tell anyone – in a locked safe in my basement. But I’d really appreciate it if you could also message me any (relevant) ideas on things you think I should write about too.

See you next week.

Posts written this year: 1

 Featured image © Flickr