Ideas Worth Wrestling With

@MrBrettClark 1 Comments

I'm really working hard on getting back in the habit of blogging. As last year came to a close, I just couldn't stand the fact that I wasn't writing as often as I had just a couple of years ago. If I'm being completely honest, I would admit that I had started to feel a little stagnate in my thinking. I needed to get my creative juices flowing again. I have a new logo, a new design, and now this is my fourth post this month.

It's not the redesign of the website that is getting me back into blogging, but it's a reminder about why I blog in the first place. I blog because I believe in the power of reflection, it forces me to wrestle with my own thinking, it makes me consider the viewpoint of my potential audience, and it simultaneously gives me a clearer view of the past, while shaping my view of the future.

Nobody has helped me come to this realization more than my good friend, Bill Ferriter. When I first started blogging several years ago I was very fortunate to have Bill come to the district that I was working in at the time. We got to hang out that night and I'll never forget some of the things he said to me that night. One of the most helpful things he said to me that night, and has repeated to me on several occasions since then is, "everything is a blog post".

When he told me that, I took it to heart. You can see it right here on this site. A couple of years ago, I had 50+ blog post. Then the following year I dropped to 21 blog post. The last two years I have written a combined 11 blog post for this website.

So what changed? I think I can point it to a couple of things.

  • I took a job as Director of Technology. It's not that the job took up more of my time and I didn't have time to blog but I became more self-conscience of the potential to say something wrong and offending somebody. I say self-conscience because I've never actually been called out on anything I've written or tweeted about. Maybe fearful of saying something wrong is a better way of saying it. However, in the end, I've probably done my district a disservice by not blogging more the past couple of years. There is such potential in the power of being an open, reflective, transparent leader. 
  • I started writing for somebody other than myself. I said in my last post that it's more important to know who you aren't than it is to know who you are. Well, I'm not a "tip of the week" kind of writer. I've tried that and if you look back at the year when I wrote 50+ blog post, you will find a decent chunk of "how to" post. 

All of that being said, the most important thing I've learned about blogging is this:

  • Blogging is for me. I know that sounds selfish but I need to blog for me. I need to be reflective so that I can grow and move forward. I need to wrestle with my ideas so I can find my footing around the issues I face. It's why I loved the post I recently read by George Couros. Check out how he started this blog post:
  • How awesome is that beginning?! It captures exactly why blogging is just as much, if not more, for the writer than the reader. Of course, I think we already knew this. I think back to how much I learned about math when I started teaching it because I had to reflect on my math background and teaching it forced me to wrestle with mathematical concepts. 
So I am going to write when I need to reflect on my learning and my leading. I am going to blog when I need to wrestle with an idea and flesh it out so I can find out how I truly feel about it. Even when I wrote my last post; I wrote it, went to bed with it scheduled to publish the next morning, reread it when I got up, took it down because I didn't really think it matched my ideas on the topic, rewrote it, and republished it.

Am I still worried about somebody taking something I post on here the wrong way. Sure, perhaps a little bit, but I'll filter my thoughts as I write. The idea of writing for myself but acknowledging the fact that I have an audience, forces me to think more critically about what I'm writing. It puts the appropriate level of constraints on me to force me to be a more creative writer and sharer of ideas. John Spencer recently put together this brilliant video on the power of creative constraint

For the first time in a long time, I feel very excited about my ability to keep up with my blog this year. My reviewed vision and passion for reflective and transparent leadership will help shape me as a blogger. 

If I have an audience and my blog helps me form a relationship with folks currently outside my circle of learners, great!  I'm sure these ramblings can help somebody. If my audience is just one person, me, then that's ok too because I know my writing helps me out, if nothing else. 

If you have a moment, I'd love to hear from you. If you're a blogger, tell me why you blog and drop a link to your blog in the comment section. 

1 comment:

  1. Hey Pal,

    There's a lot of good thinking in here that I'd love to respond to -- but this comment would go on forever!

    So here's the most important point: The fear you express -- of writing something that will offend someone -- is legit. I feel it, too. But in many ways, that constraint is a beautiful thing because it makes me carefully consider both my position and the potential positions of people who might disagree with me BEFORE I post.

    It is the Tempered in my Radical.

    That doesn't mean I'm not going to say what I mean or that I'm going to change my positions to appease the masses -- but it does mean that I'm going to work to respect differing opinions in my posts and that I'm going to seek to understand someone else's take before responding to it. It also means I'm going to work extra hard to carefully articulate my thinking to avoid misunderstanding -- and that extra effort, which is a result of being worried about misunderstandings -- helps my own thinking to be refined and revised.

    All that to say the constraint you are most worried about will make you a better writer, a better thinker and a better leader.

    So get behind the keyboard.