After setting myself a blog challenge I’ve now been writing for 10 weeks (almost without a break…) and I’m not going to lie – it is a rollercoaster of emotions every Thursday. Every Thursday I sit down and have a massive tantrum (one step away from lying down, fists hammering the ground) that I don’t want to write. I normally bribe myself into sitting at my computer with a glass of wine and after writing a few sentences a sense of calm and purpose cocoons me. I get completely engrossed and genuinely struggle to step away from my computer until the post is finished. This is inevitably followed by warm and fuzzy feelings from managing to rein in all my ideas into some sort of coherent message followed by the buzz of sharing my latest thoughts with my mini Twitter family.
Right now is like every other Thursday for the past 3 months. I don’t want to write (even though I get to write about how much I dislike forcing myself to write – work that one out!). So why the hell do I continue to force myself to do something I don’t want to do? The simple answer is: because I know it’s good for me.
I wanted to take this opportunity to share some of the things that I’ve learned from writing a weekly blog.
I have a LOT of things that I could happily write about
Who knew my brain contained this much? I have a million draft posts in various degrees of completeness: some just titles, some with draft notes, some with links to cool things I’ve read. They span from Hess’ Law teaching ideas, to whether being a teacher is really enough to “change the world”? I genuinely had no idea that there was this much in my brain and that the list could grow and evolve in such weirdly wonderful ways (even without writing the full post!)
No ideas get lost
Every week I get to scroll down the list of pretty much every random blog idea I’ve had for the last 10 weeks. I’m the type of person that asks a lot of questions, and comes up with a lot of weird ideas each week. I have no doubt that a serious number of those ideas would have been lost into the ether of my brain if I hadn’t been going through this process. By creating the list, every week I give myself a choice of what I want to focus on rather than haphazardly moving from one thing to the next.
Focusing on the important, not urgent
If you haven’t seen Tim Urban’s “Inside the mind of a master procrastinator” you need to stop reading and watch this TED talk now. The way he describes attitudes towards work, resonated with me a serious amount. Don’t get me wrong, I meet deadlines and my colleagues and students would describe me as an “organised” person. But I am 100% a last minute person (one who has perfectly worked out which corners I can cut and how long a task will take if it has my full attention…!). Tim Urban talks about it as prioritising the “important, not urgent”. Blogging is never, never, never urgent – if I don’t upload a blog, no one notices but me. Report writing, marking and lesson planning will always be urgent, but I learned that taking a little bit of time once a week to focus on my goals and moving my thinking forward is really worthwhile.
I learned that taking a little bit of time once a week to focus on my goals and moving my thinking forward is really worthwhile.
Seeing the journey
Even in the last few months I can see how some of my ideas have developed and grown. At the beginning I was creating a collection of fun strategies for reflection and just looking at the best times for reflection, whereas more recently my thinking has evolved into about how reflection can impact students attitudes to Chemistry and their overall well being. Tracking my thought process makes me realise how far I’ve come and I’m getting those warm and fuzzy feelings just thinking about it.
Making learning friends
Both in the Twitter-universe and within my own school community, writing the blog means that I can talk about ideas with like-minded people with more confidence. Whilst still remaining open-minded, it’s nice to feel like I’ve fully formed an idea rather than it just being something fleeting that I’m trying to explain. These people then share other awesome stuff with me and the list of blog ideas continues to grow! Working out which people in your school community (and Twitter!) are working on the same things as you and having a method for sharing ideas is super important for taking those ideas even further.
My next steps
- Switch to fortnightly blogging. Every week is A LOT, and I berate myself a lot when I don’t manage to make it happen. Fortnightly seems achievable and will still allow a regular reflection cycle to happen.
- Make a decision on what I’m going to write about before the deadline for the upload. At least that means the ideas have time to simmer and to really cement themselves before settling down to write.
- Writing back up blogs – writing blogs in advance is definitely going to be the biggest challenge for me, but will be incredibly worthwhile in encouraging me to stick to the schedule….. there’s a lot of reassurance in knowing there’s something written incase the week from hell strikes!