“Writing is a muscle”

April 9th, 2015

I’ve really enjoyed the recent posts on the 10th Anniversary of PrawfsBlawg. Howard Wasserman’s post makes a very important point about junior faculty members blogging:

I share the belief (often articulated by Orin Kerr and others) that junior faculty should look for the chance to blog and that senior faculty are fundamentally wrong to advise pre-tenure mentees against it. Writing is a muscle–the more you use it, the more you are able to use. Rather than distracting from “real” scholarship, being on this site has allow me to fulfill the need to do “other stuff” while working on larger projects. (That is, if I spend five hours working on my current article in a given day, I easily have an hour or so to devote to a short post on something else, especially something touching on current events or something that might not make for a full scholarly treatment or something that I like thinking and writing about, but not enough for a deep dive).

I couldn’t agree more. Everyone told me not to blog when I was a law clerk. Everyone told me that it would doom any chances of my ever becoming an academic. I can say, without much qualification, that I got my job in large part because of┬ámy blog. But more importantly, the exercise of blogging has trained and conditioned me to become a better writer. People often ask me how I can write so much. My answer is usually the same–I work quickly. And that isn’t by accident. Writing is a muscle. The more you write, the better you get at it. I can now type out a pretty detailed post in a manner of minutes. The same agility carries over when I am writing a law review article. Blogging isn’t for everyone, but it provides an intensive regimen to hone your analytical skills.