So, in late August, I committed to some folks over Twitter (through Shawn White, @swpax) to writing a blog post every day–or trying to–for the month of September. I had ups and downs, but I did it, and a few days I even wrote two posts.
BUT, it wasn’t the most fun I ever had writing. I thought about what was I going to write about when I wasn’t ready to write. I worried about it, even.
When I knew I had a post due and I had no inspiration, I found myself thinking, “What can I do to get’r done?”
I hated those days.
BUT I found out some things, both about blogging and myself:
- I can do it–write a blog post every day. The question is, do I want to?
- Some days are more inspirational than others.
- I have had some incredible administrators in my tenure as a teacher in my county. They rock in so many ways and often gave me encouragement in September. (My former principal is an amazing friend. She needs to tell her stories!)
- My colleagues in Albemarle County Public Schools are incredibly supportive and kind. (I knew that already, but I was reinforced in that belief this past month.)
- Many of the people on my staff were reading my blog! One even commented here, many over email or to my face. Thanks to all of you–your encouragement means a lot.
- I found myself looking at the stats and the retweets, and I found myself looking for patterns in the posts I wrote.
- While I started this blog to share what I was doing in my classroom and describe that (how I was working to amplify my students’ minds), those seemed to be the least read posts, looking at the stats. They were definitely the least retweeted and commented on.
- While people didn’t often comment on here, the things I was saying were starting conversations face to face and other places.
- I received several DMs, or had conversations that people felt uncomfortable posting to the web. While I wanted conversation, I understand sometimes a reaction just isn’t appropriate to post online.
- I hate feeling forced to write on someone else’s schedule. And, while I KNOW I was the one who decided to do this, there were times I wanted to blame someone else for feeling irritated I had a blog “due”–even if it was just due to myself.
- The days I felt like “Get ‘r done.” weren’t worth it to me. I love writing and want to continue to love writing. I don’t want to feel like writing is a chore.
- The commitment kept me going and writing, even when it was hard… and that’s got me thinking about making a commitment-any commitment.
So, as I think about doing this every day of the year, for 365 days, I’m just not sure I want to do that. I tried the photo 365 one year, where you take a picture every day for one year. I lasted until April or May before I quit, I think… and while the project was amazing for getting me to look at the world around me differently, I began to see it as a chore. Writing a blog post a day for one month seemed really doable to me back in August. Looking at 365 days seemed unsurmountable. I’m now pondering long term and short term goals (365 days versus 30 days, in my case.).
I guess I really want to think about what we do to kids when we set their goals for them. That’s what the state standards do, don’t they? The standards define their minimum learning for the entire year…and we all know kids who could–and should–go WAY beyond those bare minimum requirements. So when we begin a unit in Social studies, or science, or even math or literacy, do we tell the kids from the get-go all we’re planning to teach them? Do we ask them what they want to learn? Do we gather their thoughts and consider them in our planning?
Part of why I’m asking these kinds of questions is because Stenhouse just publicized a book called, “Celebrating Writers” which has a preview of the entire book you can read online. I began it last night, and read through part of the first chapter–a story about a kid named Mason. You see, Mason looked like he was doing nothing during writing workshop–but the teacher gave him space, and was able to then use his behaviors to motivate others and help them learn…
The whole book seems really worth reading, says she who has begun the first chapter. Go check it out.
Well, I took some space this past week, after September 30, because I was out of town, at two different summits and incredibly busy. I had no time to write, I had no inclination to write, and I had no brainpower to write after having been in some pretty heavy conversations each day, all day.
Having taken that space, and doing the reflecting I’m doing today, I’m not even going to think about doing 365 posts. I like writing and don’t want to look at it as a chore. I want to model good habits of writers for my students and I don’t think this is one. Writing on a regular basis, yes. Writing even daily, probably. But writing just to post a post each day? No.
And, here’s a funny–I was going to point you readers to the list of people who had joined the 365 blog-a-day group. I knew Shawn had created a Twitter list, so I went to his twitter feed to find it, I went to his blog to find it, and I found this instead.
Priorities–we all have to make them.