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On life, death, and not writing

April 25, 2010 Leave a comment

Despite what it looks like, I haven’t ignored the blog this week.  I have drafted posts almost every day only to decide that they are not worth publishing.  I think the lack of published material stems from the fact that I’ve been writing drafts on issues that I don’t really care about and ignoring the one thing I’ve been thinking about all week: death.  (I know that sounds dramatic.)

You see, my friend’s mother died suddenly this week and I’ve spent most of the week thinking about it in one way or another.  Early in the week I was thinking about how we share news in the digital age and how some things – like notes of condolence – should still be handwritten.  Later in the week I was at funeral home visiting hours, the church memorial service, and visiting with the family at home.  These experiences had me thinking about what it means to lose a wife versus lose a mother, how we never really know the shape our lives will take, and what comfort there is in old photo albums.  I spent a lot of this time, too, grappling with my own religious beliefs and trying to figure out exactly what I believe happens after death.  Big thoughts, and not easy things on which to come to quick conclusions.

Indeed, none of my thinking felt firm enough to write about, so I looked for other topics — but no other topic worked when I was thinking about something else.  And hence, my silence.  I hope that with the memorial events now wrapped up and life (as it so relentless does) returning to normal, I will be able to think again about other thoughts, and to share them in this space.

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My blogging style

March 31, 2010 Leave a comment

When I started this blog I was the only one reading it, so I wrote, essentially, for myself.  The first post is a good example of what my writing looks like when I write just for me – it’s rambling and it’s fine, but not special.  That’s not a great way to get or keep an audience.  So since I went public I’ve been playing around with styles and formats of my writing on this blog.  There is a limit, I think, to the number of entries anyone wants to read about my knitting.  The blogs that I most enjoy of others are the ones in which the writers are themselves, but not the mundane version – instead, they’re sharing the edges of themselves that make other people say “huh, she’s a little odd.”

For instance, there are many, many ways I could have written about my lesson planning process.  In this blog, I chose to emphasize my obsession and self-doubt, because those two pieces are there and they’re real.  If I were writing for a group of pre-service teachers, however, I would write about the steps in my planning process and the result of my planning choices on student achievement.  In doing so, I would shift the focus from the time and energy I spend on planning and instead focus on its rewards.  And this would also be real and true, but for the audience of this blog it might not be as interesting.

All of this is to say that when I’m writing this blog, I’m deliberately choosing issues I feel strongly about and focusing on the edges of my thoughts and personality as I write.  When I reread what I’ve written over the last few months I tend to think “yep, totally still agree with that,” and “people must think I’m crazy.”  Hopefully this approach of writing an extreme version of the truth will keep things interesting – for you and for me.

Categories: Choices Tags: , ,
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