Lance Cummings

May 22, 2022

How Shipping 30 Essays for 30 Days Has Helped My Academic Writing (even during the busiest schedule of my career)

Today I am finishing my 3rd round of Ship30. You may wonder why I've taken the time to do this, when I have 3 classes to teach and 3 articles that need to be finished soon ... and I'm taking students abroad this week.

For academics, something more "urgent" will always try to displace those precious hours needed to produce new knowledge. This is even worse when working from home.

Publishing ideas, even bad ones, online every day has jumpstarted my writing agenda.

Ship30 helps me find new categories of thinking.

Most of my academic writing is in response to something else ... a proposal, a deadline, a grant, etc. There's nothing wrong with that ... but publishing every day helps me find ways of thinking outside those boxes.

After 90 days of shipping, I now have 2 ideas for a book project and 90 potential articles.

Ship 30 helps me present my new thoughts at a drop of the hat.

Many atomic essays feed into my conference presentations, talks, or articles in progress.

Because I'm writing about these topics constantly, I have no problem explaining these ideas across contexts ... because I've already written for many kinds of audiences.

Ship30 helps me experiment with different frames and audiences.

It's one thing to write about rhetorical theory for rhetorical theorists, but writing outside that circle is a challenge ... and gave me new ways of thinking about my topics.

Academics have the same fears as everyone else about writing online. Perhaps more so. We are used to going through many quality checks before anything sees the light of day ... and we feel like our reputations are on the line.

But once I got over that, Ship 30 became the perfect sophistic exercise for exploring language and knowledge through writing. So maybe I'm more of a sophist than a professor ... but that is the sharp edge where ideas become real.

Lance Cummings

I write and teach about the right use of ancient and new technologies to create new ways of thinking ... what I call iSophistry. šŸ¤–šŸ›ļø