Things to do after finishing a book

2 May 2014, 0951 EDT

I just finished my cyber security book, provisionally titled Cyber Hype versus Cyber Reality.  The feeling of loss has set in.  I don’t know what to do with myself now, I am sleeping more than normal (but that could just be jet lag).  Working on articles seems like too small a task. Starting a new project seems too big.  How to get over this hump?

On such occasions, a moment of reflection is order.  If you had asked me two months ago, I would have sworn books are the best route to go in academic publishing.  The ability to compose on one theme from beginning to end – to construct a near narrative story about a problem – is something only a book can accomplish.  On the other hand, books are about as annoying as any task in academia.  I feel like I have read this book over 100 times, and there are still errors to find.  The details required for a book go beyond the requirements of other academic projects and I could not have done it without my coauthor.  The book still will not come out till later next year, so I won’t see the fruits of our labor for a long time.

So what to do next? Write another book? No, hell no

Go on a ridiculous and random trip to the U.S.?  Did that, twice, in April (LA and Cooperstown with my Dad and then Albany and NYC on my own).  My dog is already mad at me.  I think going on a random day trip to Liverpool is about as far as I can go for a bit.

Write a grant? Sure, that is the plan. But I need a break and grants are tough.  The chances of them paying off are slim compared to the work involved.  For someone who places a lot of value in working smart and not wasting effort, grants are a tough proposition.

Grade and mark? Can I just have another week off, please?

Book a whisky trip to Islay?  Done…

I find myself admiring Amanda Murdie’s goats.  I am clearly in need of a hobby for times such as these.  Too often we make professional obligations our hobbies and personal obligations our focus.  We need diversions.  I need some goats… amandas goat

This brings me to the reason I wrote this blog.  I needed to get past that hump of delay and stasis.  Blogs help with that, they are wonderful tools for writers to get right back on that horse.  It constantly amazes me to continue to see such a backlash against blogging, even to this day.  They serve an important purpose.  Sure, they often can be frivolous (like this blog), but they are an important part of the process of writing and producing knowledge.  I don’t think I would have finished the book without blogging throughout the process.

Here is a horse (that has a duck as a head), get on it and start writing

horse duck