Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Trouble with Blogging: A Writer's Lament

The act of putting pen to paper encourages pause for thought, this in turn makes us think more deeply about life, which helps us regain our equilibrium. ~Norbet Platt
Let's try this again. If you look (and please don't), you will notice my last blog was well over 3 months ago now. The guilt over this has finally become overwhelming enough for me to remedy the situation. It's bad enough when you don't privately keep up with your writing, but even worse when you fall short publicly.

I began blogging near the start of the new year as a way to:
  • reflect on my practice as an educator.
  • refine my teaching.
  • participate in the larger conversation of educators on the internet.
  • work toward a more purposeful role as a community member in my school and in the profession.
  • improve my writing.
Knowing I would struggle with the same obstacles I work to overcome in my writing, blogging was sure to be a challenge for me. For this reason I set a goal that wasn't ambitious, but obtainable, to post by Thursday of each week. Of course, it wasn't long before I let a Thursday slide, then another, and another. You see, the trouble with blogging is the same as the trouble with writing. To be a better blogger, I have to become a better writer. Somehow I think (hope) placing these personal goals on a public site may make me more accountable, so I'm telling all of you I need to:

  1. make blogging/writing a part of my routine. As much as writing takes time to put "pen to paper" (archaic expression), blogging takes time to put "fingers to keyboard". Once I had a writing habit. I dabbled with ideas for a bit of time each evening, waking early on Saturdays and Sundays to write longer pieces. Ideas had been brewing for days making it easy to get much accomplished in these writing bursts. Somehow life kept creeping into my writing time and soon my established routine was gone. You see, I'm a creature of habit. If I am to be successful at blogging, I have to plan time to write posts. This will be easier in the summer as my teenagers sleep until after noon. (Good parenting says I should break this habit. The writer/reader in me loves the quiet. What to do? What to do?) I'm going to have to hold myself to my commitment to post each Thursday, at the very least. These morning times to write will work for now, but I'm going to have to come up with a new plan when the school year starts afresh.
  2. find time to be inspired. Writing/Blogging require inspiration. Lucky for me, I have so many insightful educator friends who inspire me. Of course, Twitter and blogs constantly provide new thinking and dialogue in education. Additionally, I know I need to continue to find time for professional reading to keep my thinking fresh and challenged. Thanks to all of you, I know I will remain inspired!
  3. record little thoughts and ideas so they don't slip away. I'm pretty sure I suffer from pre-alzheimers as I can't remember ideas for any length of time. I think I need a blogging "notebook" to jot blog ideas down whenever they occur to me. I keep a notebook for my writing, but adding a separate one for blogging may help me. Some of you are probably thinking I should keep my ideas on my phone in keeping with the "techiness" of blogging. Hmmm, maybe I should.
  4. consider audience. For most of my life, writing has been personal. It has been enough for me to write for myself. It has always been a way to maintain balance - "equilibrium" - with the world. Recent experiences in my career, with fellow professionals, and on the internet have led me to understand the importance of putting my writing out in the world. As someone who changes her thinking often, I am a bit intimidated (to say the least) with placing my thoughts in any permanent form. Writing is often more like footprints in concrete as opposed to footprints in sand. Scary!
  5. fine tune my purpose. A strong piece of writing has a clear purpose and structure. Readers leave it somehow moved or changed by its message. It seems to me, blogging should be the same. My favorite blogs have some kind of common thread holding posts together. Sometimes it is in the routine of the types of posts. Sometimes it is in the message of the posts, the structure of writing or the voice of the writer. I have to find the thread in my posts to pull my writing/blogging together.
  6. find internet (or QUIT MAKING EXCUSES). I'm writing this post from my dad's house as we have used all of our internet again this month. This problem is unique to blogging, and most of you do not even have to worry about it. One of the biggest obstacles to writing a blog post is having enough internet megabytes to do so. The only way to get "high speed" (faster than dial-up) internet where we live is through cellular companies. We have a MiFi from Verizon which has changed our world, but is limited to 5 GB. Can you imagine 5 GB in a house with two high school students, a college student, and myself? Luckily my husband still prefers his books to internet, or we'd really be in trouble. So what happens? We run out of MB a week or two before the end of our billing cycle. It's hard to post if you don't have internet. Of course, this is an easy out when the writing is challenging. I guess I really don't have to find internet, I have to give up the excuse. To be a successful writer/blogger, I am going to have to quit making excuses. Ouch!
The trouble with blogging is writing. To fix it, I'm going to have to fix my writing. I hope you will comment with your tips and tricks for successful blogging/writing.

Still looking for writing/blogging advice?
Inspirational Posts:


  1. This is a great post. I struggled with lots of these same problems (except for running out of internet...yuck!) when I went public saying I'd write a poem a day in April. I kept going for a day or two after April ended, but then life took over what had been a very good habit. It's so hard. I think the key is setting reasonable goals, and your once a week goal is very reasonable. Good luck! Write on!!!

  2. I also struggle with this issue. Bill pretty much carried us from March through May. I wasn't feeling the inspiration to write. Now, it's summer, and less pressure, and I feel like writing again. My goal is to publish at least 2 - 3 times a week, knowing Bill will have something to write about as well.

    Last night was great thinking. Twitter is another thing I want to get better about participating in on a regular basis.