Wednesday, August 11, 2010

To Blog or to Not Blog? Question I Ask Daily

I have been feeling more and more pressure to post to my blog every single day. I see these other education bloggers posting three or four times a day, and I just begin wonder if something it wrong with me. I just don’t often have that much to say. Well, that’s not exactly true. I always have plenty to say. Sometimes it’s best just to not say it, especially in an open forum. But for me, it is real balancing act. I would love to post something of great substance every day, but sometimes the old techno-muse is not there, and I just don’t feel like adding to blogosphere chatter.

Maybe my expectations are too high. As a former high school English teacher turned principal, I criticize every single topic to death before I write the first word. I also can’t count the number of times I have started a blog post draft only to delete it or never post it. I have several of those on my local drive right now. Some topics I will feel the fire that accompanies the need to share, and somehow this fire fizzles out once I start the process of putting the words down. The topic loses it’s sizzle once I see the first paragraph or two on paper. For example, this evening I planned to share some quotes and ideas from Dan Ariely’s new book The Upside of Irrationality. I wrote two whole paragraphs, and had what I thought was a great opening, and ended up deleting the whole thing. The quotes and ideas I was going to use from Ariely’s book lost their power when I put them down on the page. That is something I remember well from all those years as an English teacher. My students and I both struggled to find those ideas and topics of significance, often leaving a big pile of wadded up paper on our desks. (As an English teacher, I always tried to write with my students, and yes, sometimes they would see my pile of wadded up paper too.)

I have come to realize a few truths about blogging in the two or three years I have been doing it. First of all, I absolutely adore the potential for authentic writing and the sharing it brings. For years, I have kept journals. I have loved writing since my six grade teacher praised the humorous stories I wrote with the spelling words each week. She told me I should become a writer some day. I also remember participating in the Appalachian Writing Project early in my teaching career, and I savored those morning writing sessions and the read-and-share time that followed. Blogging gives the writer in me the opportunity to write authentically and share what I’m thinking with others.

A second thing that I realize about blogging is that it allows me to plug in to this major education and technology conversation that is happening around me. Blogging is part of the means by which I can share what I’m thinking with others and also test new-fangled thoughts with an enormous audience. It was hard to do that when I started as an educator twenty years ago. I was isolated from the conversation in a classroom with four walls, with no means to connect beyond the two or three conferences a year I attended. Blogging is one of the tools that makes connecting to the worldwide conversation possible.

One final thing about blogging I have come to realize is that while it may be Okay to post a blog entry that lacks substance, I just can’t help myself: I will still probably be too critical and save the world from those posts I deem without substance. (This one barely made the cut.)  I just feel guilty sometimes adding to the Internet noise, so I meekly delete those posts that don’t cut the mustard. Others don’t seem to mind posting about the shopping trip they had yesterday or the picnic they had last Sunday. With me, I will share those things sometimes, but I try to find some kind of significance in them that is perhaps something others would like to know.

As I ponder the question about whether to blog or not to blog, I know a few things about myself. I may not be able to post each day. Then again, I also might find myself able to post three or four times in one day. I just can’t predict when I might feel the blog-muse inspiring me to write. And, yes, I am also going to be guilty of adding to the Internet clamor in spite of my good intentions. I, like many others, have perhaps come to love pushing that “Publish” button more than the “Delete” button. What that means in the long run is, unfortunately, I will subject the Internet with the all-to-common blog-post-drivel found everywhere in the blogosphere. I try to keep two things in mind about my blogging. First of all, there’s a lot of drivel out there too, so mine has company. And secondly? With all the choices of blogs on the Internet, no one is forced to read mine.

1 comment:

  1. Blog. You're good at it. I just today told a principal to follow you because you're living proof that it's possible to be a school leader and still exercise First Amendment rights.