I recently realized that while I still blog a lot professionally, I’m not writing as much as I did in previous years. In the past, I sometimes found that this happened to me during report card times or holiday times, but often blogging less, really bothered me. Now it’s not. In fact, I’m not even sure what else I would write about. And it was then, that I realized why.
For the past couple of years, I’ve had the pleasure of working with a fantastic teaching partner, Paula. Between our conversations in the morning and after school, and usually some text messages and emails in the evening, we are constantly talking, thinking, and reflecting together. While we have many similar values, we often think differently when it comes to many topics. Paula’s questions and insights have resulted in many changes in my approaches, and vice versa.
Probably, for the first time in my life, I’ve consistently talked through my blog posts with somebody else before I write them. Paula’s also inspired many of these posts. But after some of our conversations, my desire to write is slowly fading. I got the ideas out there, even if only to a small audience, and I got that different perspective. Paula’s my real life commenter, and sometimes that is enough. Other times, I still feel motivated to write, or I think there might be other perspectives on the topic, so I blog with the desire to hopefully hear some feedback.
Now though, my 5-7 professional posts a week have dwindled down to 2-3. I’ve always found my blogging topics through my teaching and life experiences, but maybe I need to find new inspirations. Doug Peterson, a prolific blogger, often looks to articles to inspire his posts. Is it time that I start doing the same? Maybe, since I’m not missing these extra opportunities to blog, a little less writing is okay. Sometimes I feel as though I’m living my blog posts now instead of just writing them. What inspires you to blog? Have relationships also changed some of your blogging patterns? I never thought I’d feel comfortable with writing less, but maybe in the ebb and flow of blogging, I’m on the way down right now before going up again.
I love how you’ve pinpointed exactly why you’ve been blogging less (although maybe in your case it went from being a “blogging machine” to a regular blogger – no offence meant).
Blogging, for me anyway, is such (and still is) a personal thing. My blog, like yours, was featured on the ECOO website and Andy asked me to articulate the purpose of my blog. Mine said it’s “a reflection tool that I use to examine my pedagogical practice, document my experiences, and connect what happens in my personal life to implications for teaching and learning.” According to the ECOO site, the purpose of your blog is “to reflect on classroom happenings, but also on new learning related to current topics of interest.” It also sounds like it’s a way to process what’s happening and to gain other perspectives. I’m a big believer in doing what’s best for you, and if your needs are being met via your conversations with Paula, then it’s unnecessary to write more than you “have to”. I’m grateful that you aren’t abandoning blogging entirely, as I know I’d miss reading about what you’ve been up to. Your posts always make me think.
And let’s talk about “having to”. For me, I need to write once a week, and to limit it to just once a week – I need to “not write less” because I don’t want to forget what happens week by week; I need to “not write more” because I would spend more time, to paraphrase something you said in this post, writing than living the experience. (I’d sit and write rather than do almost anything.) How much is enough? How many posts are the right amount? That’s another deeply personal question. Comparing yourself to others can lead to a dead end. I love Doug and I enjoy reading his posts, but I don’t know if having a required theme (like his Sunday “Whatever happened to” posts or his Friday “This Week in Ontario Edublogs”) would work for me. I love reading them (and I still get a thrill when Doug decides to highlight a post I write) but a set writing topic would be too restrictive for me. I was even chaffing a bit at the initial suggestion by some related to the #onewordOnt that we do a monthly check-in and I was so relieved when I saw that Julie Balen said that the importance is about having options for responding and reflecting.
My teaching and life experiences are still the main reasons why I blog. Current events, shaped recently by my experiences in my Media AQ course, also guide what I talk/write about, but it’s still within the lens of me and my teaching/learning. If articles inspire you, then by all means write, but don’t do it because you feel any obligation to your audience to produce content.
You asked if any of my/our relationships change some of my/our blogging patterns. My husband and kids support my regular patterns. Often, I’ll ask my daughter which of the two topics I’m considering for the week I should pick. Yes, I could write both of them, but I’ve pre-determined that I will only write one blog post a week and she helps me by asking questions or making comments. When I’m unsure if something I’ve written is too controversial or edgy or inappropriate, I’ll have my husband proof read it and he’ll share his opinion. My new relationship with the AML means that between a group of us, there will be 40 new blog posts on their site to coincide with the 40th anniversary of that organization, so that’s another writing outlet for me if I ever want to rebel and write more than my self-designated one post a week.
Sorry for the super-long response. It must have hit a nerve!
Thank you so much for your comment, Diana, and ultimately helping me think through what I’m feeling right now. Like you, I’vd blogged for many years … and on a whole variety of topics. Your blog has a predictable pattern with its Monday posts — which I love — but you blog on various topics — which I also love. My blog has never really had a pattern. I tend to blog on educational topics, but with a sprinkling of some personal posts as well. I blog for me, and to make sense of a lot of my thoughts at feelings, but at other times, I also blog for some feedback and a new perspective.
I think that my conversations with Paula have eliminated the need for me to blog in some cases, but blogging has become such a huge part of who I am, that I can’t imagine giving it up entirely. When I started blogging many years ago, I committed to a weekly post, and here I am years later, wondering about my 2-3 posts a week vs. my 5-7 ones. (I also have my monthly posts on the TMC Blog, and that won’t be changing).
As I read your comment, I think that by you limiting your posts to once a week, you always have lots of options for topics. I’ve written about so much over the years, sometimes I wonder if I’m running out of things to talk about. Sometimes I go to blog on a topic, and think, “Wow, I wrote that post already.” I wonder how people like Doug, who blog daily, always think of something new to write about. Maybe I do need some new inspirations.
And, as much as I say that I’m okay with blogging less — and to a degree I am — I can’t help but wonder if writing this post is my subconscious way of expressing a fear with no longer blogging as much as I used to. How do I continue to stay inspired to write? Two to three posts a week is “regular,” but what if regular drops to infrequent? That I don’t want. I love living the “human blog post,” but still love writing the online one. Maybe hidden in my confession is a little bit of fear, and I wonder what that might mean.
Identity is such a key concept in media literacy and in life. Being a blogger is part of who you are (as well as my own self-identity). I didn’t realize that by insisting on just one post a week, I might have inadvertently extended the lifespan of my blog. There are potential posts that lay thought eggs in my head but I tell myself that it’ll have to wait until the following week to share because I already have something else scheduled.
Platforms come and go – what is it about blogging that has this hold or staying power? Do I feel the same way about blogging as I do about tweeting? Or other forms of expression?
Such great questions and thoughts, Diana! It’s true: blogging is so central to who we are. I can’t imagine not blogging, which is why it scares me when I feel as though I’m running out of topics. If I’m always thinking, will I always have topics to blog about? I wonder …
I’m a big believer in less is more, so I think it’s just fine if you distill your blogging schedule to essentials. It sounds as if you have discovered the true reason behind your past blogging schedule and have now arrived at a turning point. The big question is, what now?
That is a great question, Sue, and one that I’m still trying to figure out. Maybe there will still be enough topics for me to reflect on and discuss in this space, and maybe, I’m going to need to re-think why I blog and what some other reasons might be. Lots to think about and maybe even more to question in the coming months. I guess that I picked a good one word goal. 🙂