On Writing

Heady after #reverb10 and feeling overly ambitious (what is it about the New Year that does that to us?), I and many of my blogging friends signed up for the WordPress Post a Day Challenge. At the same time, a fair number of people in the #sachat community started blogging. 19 days into January and my RSS feed, email, and Twitter messages are filling up with “what should I write about” questions. And I am feeling the same way. My friend Colleen put it well:

Posting daily has been challenging.Β  I get a daily prompt which poses a question, comment or something to respond to, but often I feel it’s a little silly or really not worth writing about.

She asked her readers to let her know what they’d like to read about, which is a good solution. She also noted that what’s difficult for her is that she doesn’t blog about work — and given that one spends a lot of time at work, that takes away a lot of possible content.

I have also struggled with the “what to write about” issue since starting this blog. On the one hand, I have very definite opinions about most everything, but am not always sure that expressing them in such a public space is a good idea. I would also like to write more about teaching, but am not sure how I feel about having my students read those posts (and I know some of them do read this blog). Family’s off limits because my mom reads this (hi, Mom!). And I hesitate to write about my daily routine or life because I wonder how interesting that would be for folks (I say this despite the fact that I love to read about other people’s lives). At this point you may be wondering why I started a blog in the first place and that’s a fair question. Mostly it was because I thought I had something to say, but now I’m trying to figure out how much of that something to say in such a public forum.

What do other bloggers do? How do you decide how much to share and where to draw the line? Or what to write about? Please leave thoughts, tips, etc. in the comments!

8 thoughts on “On Writing

  1. Wow, I feel famous! I’ve never been quoted before πŸ™‚ I’m going to keep peaking at the comments for some inspiration and ideas!

  2. I had that same issue when I first started to blog. The pressure was so bad that I rarely posted. I’ve noticed now that I let some of those questions go and just write what I think the posts are more frequent.

    There are some things I won’t write about like work politics and specific student situations. But if I’m doing something in the classroom that’s working, or that I need help with, I think that’s fair game.

    Maybe we should all post a question once a week for each other. We can take turns!

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  4. Okay, my second comment on your blog this morning, Brenda! I’ll poke my nose in one last time and then shut up!

    One step might be to think about who your target audience member is…maybe there are multiple ones. Having that audience member in mind when you write helps in thinking about what that person wants to read from you. You can think about the intersection of that person’s interests and the topics you want to share to identify blog ideas.

    Another idea is to give yourself a lot more latitude. When I was working in a corporation, the SMART people who worked for me read my blog. Because of that, I’d write about work tips, lessons learned, and new ideas that might come off as too pedantic if I delivered the message in person. Through the blog, I was able to generalize situations and share them for the benefit of both my employees and the target audience. For me, the key was always writing about the bigger story than hitting all the details which would compromise privacy or make someone else (or me) uncomfortable.

    There….I’m done : )

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