Past me, the control freak who makes the calendars, has ambitiously decided that today, on this particular Tuesday, I need to spend three hours writing my book, an hour in a meeting with my new PhD student, another hour in a meeting regarding the Estonian Ministry of Culture’s project of declaring 2020 the year of Digital Culture, two hours at my whiteboard – preparing the keynote on ethics I have to give next week at the “Celebrities of Gaming” conference, an hour editing the digital methods collection also inching towards its deadline, and an hour on sketching the preliminary plan for managing my workload in the two upcoming research projects that I am a part of for 2020 – 2022.
Frankly, days like this Tuesday, the ones that include both writing and any other kinds of tasks, suck. I find that meetings, teaching, reviewing and editing the work of others demand certain brain resources, while writing demands something completely different. Switching back and forth between those “two brains” is inefficient and frustrating, so I usually try to set aside ‘writing days’ or at least writing half-days. But this week is full of days, where I have to do both. My co-author Emily van der Nagel and I are less than two weeks from having to submit the full manuscript of “Sex and Social Media” to our publisher. Emily lives in Melbourne. I live in Tallinn. Together, we live in Google Docs. Today I have to finish writing the last missing section of the Introduction and use the rest of the allotted time doing what I always do at this stage – read the written chapters out loud. This allows me to edit the text for maximum clarity and accessibility, but my husband calls it conjuring or casting spells. The solitary declamation, punctuated by sudden pauses and bursts of angry typing, when I find inconsistencies, is certainly eccentric. This is also why writing days should really be spent working from home.
Katrin Tiidenberg is an Associate Professor of Social Media and Visual Culture at the Baltic Film, Media, Arts and Communication School (BFM) of Tallinn University, Estonia. Her recent books include: “Ihu ja hingega internetis: kuidas mõista sotsiaalmeediat” (Body and Soul on the Internet – making sense of social media” in Estonian, 2017), “Selfies, why we love (and hate) them” (2018, to be translated into Korean in 2020), and the forthcoming “Sex and Social Media” (2020, co authored by Emily van der Nagel). She serves on the Executive Board of the Association of Internet Researchers (as Secretary) and the Estonian Young Academy of Sciences (as Communication Manager). Her research interests include social media, digital research methods and research ethics.