Edublogs is hosting monthly writing challenges in the form of shared prompts this year, and I’m thankful for the inspiration to help me revive, refresh, and share my thoughts in this creative space.
#EdublogsClub1 prompt: Write a post that shares your blog story.
I became an elementary principal at the start of the 2008-2009 school year. I created my first blog via Edublogs, The Principal’s Posts, and wanted to blog every day that first year of the principalship, to create a finished story that would enlighten prospective principals about the highs and lows of such a position.
I think I lasted two days. 🙂
I quickly adjusted my expectations and used the blog as a space to share my thoughts about teaching, learning, and leading. I didn’t identify my school district name or even my own full name in those initial posts. I, like many other administrators, was nervous about the prospect of learning transparently.
That quickly changed, however, thanks to Will Richardson.
In 2010 at a technology conference for administrators, Will addressed the audience during his keynote and asked if anyone was currently blogging. I awkwardly raised my hand, and it appeared I was the only one to do so. He asked if I would mind if he projected my blog on the (double) screens for the audience to view.
“Why yes, I would mind very much,” is what my brain said, but my mouth replied, “Sure…”
He proceeded to point out some quality features in my blog, like my use of hyperlinked writing and tags. But he quickly pointed out that he couldn’t really identify much about the author or contact information if he wanted to communicate further about any of my ideas. From that day forward I added my name and contact information to the blog and realized that since I was blogging professionally, sharing my ideas in constructive ways, there was nothing that I should be ashamed of sharing by clicking Publish. Read more about that experience here.
There’s power in personal and professional publishing, public relations pro tip #1 for principals.
Since then I’ve moved my blog to its own domain, I’ve shared posts via Twitter, Google+, and Facebook, I’ve been published in collective spaces like Connected Principals and Voices of the Learning Revolution through Powerful Learning Practice and Learning Forward, and I’ve been recognized for my blogging efforts and my connected education work. Blogging has brought me so many opportunities to continue to learn, grow, and share, and that would not have been possible without those connections. I also love sharing about the power of blogging in schools through my consulting and professional development work. I’ve seen firsthand how blogging can inspire even the most reluctant writers to share their ideas in meaningful ways. I think there’s nothing more powerful than a blog used by a teacher or principal to forge home-school connections.
I read many other blogs when time permits. While I used to use Twitter as my go-to source for finding blogs of interest, I’ve found Twitter has become a very congested space that makes identifying truly innovative voices a very difficult task. A fan of the old Google Reader, I had a bundle of blogs titled “Read These Blogs” that I made sure to catch up on each week. My reading time has diminished some since welcoming Thing 1 and Thing 2 into the family, but I use the Feedly mobile app to read as much as I can during my spare time. I continue to have a Read These Blogs collection in Feedly, and they include many educational leadership and technology blogs such as those of Audrey Watters, Bill Ferriter, Scott McLeod, Rafranz Davis, Silvia Tolisano, Dean Shareski, Pam Moran, and Pernille Ripp. Here’s a look at some of my Feedly collections:
My advice for new bloggers is to write for YOU. Don’t write for page views. Don’t write for RTs. Write to share your ideas, to reflect, to ponder. Write to unleash your creative spirit. Write to make a difference. Schedule time in your day to write. Write every day, something, somewhere. You don’t always have to click publish. Don’t be discouraged if you hit a lull or encounter writer’s block. I used to blog several times a month, and now I’m lucky if I blog several times a year. Life happens, responsibilities shift…. your blog is a space you can always call home and it will welcome you back with open arms when needed.
While I appreciate this challenge to help motivate me to write, I also appreciate that I will be introduced to a number of new educational bloggers and will strive to comment on three others’ posts per week. I was stoked (a Bill word) to read this post from Mr. Ferriter this morning about his commitment to comment more in 2017. It’s what I miss most about blogging “in the old days”… the camaraderie, the conversations, the constant connections that emerged in the blogging platforms themselves.
14 Replies to “My Blog Story”
Thanks for the post and advice. You mention a lot of what I feel my blog should be about. I want to share but it also feels very much like a reflective thing for me. And maybe that is what writing is in general.
Thanks for reading and commenting, Mike! I wish you luck in your blogging journey no matter how you choose to shape your space. 🙂
Your blogging story made me laugh! “I think I lasted two days.” Think many of us can relate to that. Dr Spike Cook ( http://drspikecook.com/ ) blogged every day for a year in 2014 — I admit to being in awe of it!
My advice to new bloggers is the same as yours. Too often I see new bloggers stifled worrying about what their readers might like to read rather than their own needs.
I also agree regarding commenting. Commenting is such an important part of the process but also an area that many can struggle with. Yet we learn so much from commenting and is an important way to connect with others.
Hi, Sue! When Spike shared that he was blogging 365 days that year, I was so impressed! I have no idea how he kept it up! Thanks for taking the time to comment and thanks for all you do with Edublogs, I always recommend it to prospective school bloggers and I know it’s made a lasting impact on many of our teachers and students!
I really enjoyed your post and found it both humorous and light-hearted as well as inspirational. I look forward to reading more of your posts!
Thanks for reading, Melanie! I love the connections this Edublogs challenge has formed!
I love this post. The points you make about sharing your perspective, story, and gaining new information are all things I love about blogging and Twitter. I’ve been working with our staff to get them on board with both and would love to share your this post as an example of your initial failure and ultimate success in this realm. I think reading from someone that’s had the hardships some of them have had with starting the journey may help them see what can come of hard work and dedication as well as setting realistic expectation of what can come (like you mention in the post!). Would that be okay by you?
Hi, Ryan! Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment! Please share this post with anyone you feel would benefit from knowing another’s blogging story! I think it’s important to share transparently so others can learn from the process. Every blogger’s experience is unique and it helps to read about others’ journeys!
Great stuff Lyn,
I love the clean look and organization of your blog! I enjoyed reading this post. Like others, we share some parallels on our blogging journeys. Great connecting with you – thanks for all the great stuff you share!
Thanks for the compliments, Bob! I love spending time designing this space, it’s gone through a lot of changes over the years! As you know it’s a time consuming process! Thanks for reading and commenting, and I look forward to continuing learning with you.
Thanks for sharing Lyn!
I have never blogged before, so as I think about getting into it, I like all of your pointers.
Good luck with your blogging journey, Paul! Thanks for visiting.
I like your ambition that first year, to blog everyday. I’ve considered making goals like that, but quickly realize with the hecticness of being an instructional technology coach, that would probably not be realistic. That’s the biggest reason I signed up for the #EdublogsClub. I could commit to at least one post a week. Look forward to reading along on the journey!
Thanks, Dan, I appreciate the comment and I’m glad we connected through #edublogsclub! I am already so thankful for the weekly prompts, it’s been just the motivation I needed to recommit myself to this space.