Why not ecology?

A conversation in the comments on another blog post sparked the thought for this one. It was a post on what subjects to write about, which is something that has been on my mind a lot lately.

Regulars here will know that I mostly write about my own struggles in life. Struggles to raise my kids. Struggles in the academic system. Struggles with mental health. These struggles can also be success stories, but getting success often results from going through struggles. I don’t mean struggle in a bad way. These struggles are aspects of life that I deal with every day. My blogs are generally thoughts on these subjects, in a personalized jacket.

Because I also enjoy sharing things that bring me joy, I also write about our camper road trips, reptile keeping, and plant propagation, usually combined with some aspects of the struggles. Struggles keep it personal.

In the past, I have also written a couple of advice type posts, mainly on navigating academia, or on the writing process. However, I would say these are generally rare. I always feel a bit weird about writing them. I’ll get back to that later.

Now, besides some posts on nature and its beauty, I rarely – if at all – write about the subject of my job, ecology or entomology. Many fellow scientists in these disciplines write a blog on their favorite disciplines. I never really thought of it much, until that recent conversation in the comments. Why do I never write about ecology?

I thought I’d explore that a little.

1) I already write a lot of ecology and entomology in my daily job. I typically have five or so manuscripts in various stages of completion that I am working on at any given time. Currently that means one accepted manuscript last week, two under review, three that are close to submission, and another that’s in an early stage of writing. In top of that, I just finished writing a grant proposal and will start writing another next week. That’s a lot of ecology that I already spend my time on. I’m not sure if I can deal with more.

2) One aspect that I think influenced my decision, albeit subconsciously, is the fact that there’s no review here on my page. On my ecological papers, I spend a lot of time. Writing is quick, but there’s a lot of editing and streamlining that comes in after. And there’s peer review, which almost always makes things better. Here on the blog, there’s none of that. I could write all I want here, and I typically spend thirty minutes on a post. Is that enough to write any ecological wisdom?

3) What do I know anyway. I have expertise in various ecological subjects of ecology, but it’s pretty niche anyway. But does that make me an authority in the field? I don’t know. Should I become someone that spends his free time also writing his thoughts on ecology in order to reach an even bigger audience? When it comes to popular style ecology, I guess I would rather read someone else’s than my own writing. But then again I rarely read ecology blogs. And among them, I typically enjoy the ones that also post about other subjects most.

4) Don’t take my word for it. This goes for almost anything else I write on this blog. I stand by what I write, but, well, don’t take it as a universal truth. It’s just my opinion. I don’t do background research for the blog, I don’t reference here, nothing. I write literally anything just *poofff* as it comes to mind, straight onto the screen. In that sense it’s rather impulsive. Although I could probably write quality stuff about ecology here, I feel like I have to always be as correct as I can be there. And that, I cannot guarantee. My blogs, and even the possible ecology within them, are just my opinions. This is also my reason for not writing too many advice style posts anymore, although the ones I have written in the past have been very well read.

5) Ecology? It’s my job. And this blog, well, this is my life. Although the balance is sometimes hard to find, I try to keep work at work as much as I can, and keep my life for living at home. If that makes any sense.

6) I would probably become extremely unlikeable. Maybe I already am. Whatever. I have a tendency to become quite obsessive with information. If I start writing on ecology, I fear that I will end up in rabbit holes that I cannot get out of. I am worried that this might take away focus at work as well. But certainly also take away focus from everything else. I can already not look at plants and animals in a normal way. I walk through nature and see everything through an ecology lens. It’s already bad. I don’t need it to be worse.

7) Might as well write a paper… If I would spend the effort to write the quality I would like to write in ecology or entomology, I might as well submit it to a journal. I mean, all my works are open access anyway, what would be the difference? (The difference is number 5 above).

I might come up with a couple more if I press myself, but I think this is enough for today.

Would you like to read MY ecology posts?

Would you like to read MY advice on anything related to the struggles I mentioned?

Because well, I’m not saying I can’t. The audience is king, right?

I’m considering an ‘Ask Me Anything’ type series. That I think would be fun! That could of course include ecology…

Published by Robin Heinen

Father of two | Husband | Entomologist and Ecologist | Postdoctoral Researcher @ TUM | Traveler | Coffee Addict

6 thoughts on “Why not ecology?

    1. Nooo! ‘Whatever you like’ is too difficult, too vague. Sometimes a little structure is necessary, even if it feels challenging.

      Yeah, the walking in nature thing is really a bummer, haha. I mean, I love my job, but I wish I could look at a bee on a flower without thinking which chemicals will affect it and what kind of life history the species have. It’s fun, but it’s also work…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I used to work in the travel industry, but it didn’t put me off traveling. I did feel on duty at the airport, however…
        But your job sounds very interesting and I wish I’d become something like that. I once flew with a flight attendant who was actually a marine biologist, she just liked flying so did the 2nd job for fun. My choice to attend business uni seems so dull in comparison!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. But would you see the same things when you would travel for personal holiday as when you would on duty?
        It’s more akin to a tourguide visiting their own tourist spots for leisure. It can still be fun, but you look at things through that lense, often with more depth. But also less focus on the company that’s with me.

        I sometimes wonder why I didn’t do business stuff. Not sure if I would like it. Grass is always greener…

        Liked by 1 person

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