Daily Archives: January 9, 2017

What Does It Mean to Succeed at Blogging?

Back at the desk after a holiday break that included lots of crocheting, binge watching and then a lovely visit with old friends. The snow storm sent me home a day early and we have been settled in our den for the past three days, warmed by the wood burning stove and watching football and the birds.

I browsed my RSS feed this morning and got stuck on this post from Tim Stahmer about the importance of independent blogging.  In blogging years, I’m very late in replying to his post, but that’s one of the barriers I face in my blogging practice so I’m not going to let the fact that my reply is a month late stand in my way of publishing this post.

That sense of immediacy is just one of my personal barriers to blogging. The other is the pressure to say something profound, and that’s obviously a bigger hurdle to tackle. What can I add to the conversations around me? What insights do I bring from my own experiences? I think I set the profundity bar too high. Better to just write it and send it out there sometimes. A simple share with a brief comment highlighting an important point or idea can spark a conversation as well as a long read.

For instance, I can highly recommend listening to How Silicon Valley Can Help You Get Unstuck from the Hidden Brain podcast. It focuses on applying design thinking to your own life, featuring the work of Burnett and Evans. I was fascinated with the idea of prototyping your life, particularly the idea that failure is to be expected, maybe even welcome. That isn’t the message we send our students, outside of a makerspace perhaps.

The title of this post also came out of the podcast. I have blogged on and off for a very long time in various spaces. Right now, I have two “active” blogs but do not have any schedule or plan for updating them so they are pretty sporadic. Am I failing at blogging? If not, I live at the very fringes of success. Completely failing would be to give it up and since I’m not ready to do that, I need to identify and pursue some definition of success that makes me feel less like a failure, I suppose.

I’m not ready to give it up because I agree with Tim that blogging continues to be a powerful way to share our stories and ideas. Getting beyond our personal barriers is an important first step in beginning a blogging practice. And, like any routine, it needs to become part of our schedule. Some people benefit from a good challenge: Jon Becker, for instance, is moving right along with his own Tweet of the Day blog entries.  This all help generate content.

From there, as Tim points out, the community becomes essential:

We also need to help each other build an audience and build communities around those educators who are willing to share in the open. And, on the other end, to teach our colleagues, parents, and even students why reading blogs is important, where to find the good ones, and how to easily build them into their routines (RSS still lives!).

And that is the biggest barrier of all. I wonder if a blogging challenge tied to a tweet chat would be a good start. It gets some content generated around a similar topic and as part of an already existing community.  There is always plenty more to say after a tweet chat.