1. I think in this day and age nothing should be written in stone. As we learn and relearn, we continue to change our perspectives and ideas that we may have been at one time dead sure about. I think that risk taking is part of the growth and development into who we are as people and professionals. Even when we think we’ve achieved mastery or excellence, there is something yet to be learned and improved. It is our willingness to acknowledge our misconceptions or need for more learning that propell us to grow further and continue learning.

  2. Hey Pal,

    Enjoyed your reflection on writing a book. Definitely understand the “written in stone” bit and dug the “formative v. summative” bit on blogging v. books.

    Two thoughts:

    1). If you ever want to talk about writing process, let me know. I’ve got a few tricks. #beenthere #donethat

    2). One of the things that I”ve wrestled with on my blog over the years is the different perceptions that audiences have about our reasons/purposes for the writing we do. Sometimes, audiences see content on blogs as “written in stone, final draft thinking.” Then, they criticize our ideas and/or our writing.

    That sense of disconnect between OUR purposes and beliefs aobut blogs and the purposes/beliefs of our audiences can cause conflict when people uncork in the comment section.

    It’s interesting stuff. The way that social spaces are changing relationships between authors and audiences — and the perceptions that audiences have about the content that they consume — is only going to continue to get more sophisticated over time.

    (Now I wonder if we are teaching this stuff to our kids!)

    Anyway…My best to you and Paige!

    • George

      I love what you share Bill…Such a unique thought process and something that I had not thought of at all. I really try to make sure that my blog is a place of constant learning, not absolutes. I think that is one of the things that has really shifted in my thinking over the years. Hope to see you soon my friend!

  3. Hi George,
    The thing that stands out for me in your struggle to finish your book is the “Why:” why are you compelled to get this done?

    When I was finishing my dissertation a decade ago (after I’d left it sitting untouched in my desk drawer for over 5 years), the “Why” compelled me was my three young children. Certainly, completing my PhD was important to me, but I might have left it unfinished if I was not haunted by the message I would send to my kids (especially my daughters) had I remained a perpetual ABD (like far too many women who become mothers while doing doctoral work). It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done: waitressing & teaching part-time at night to afford daycare while dissertating out of a public library and juggling one infant and two toddlers. What got me through was not a selfish determination to earn my PhD for my own career goals, but the selfless urgency of showing my children what they can achieve. The “Why” that drove me, in short, was bigger than myself.

    I can imagine that the “Why” that will drive you to finish the book will also be selfless in nature. As one of the many members of your ever-growing Twitter fan club, the “Why” of your blog (thankfully) is both selfless and self-actualizing: you share your thoughts and experiences for your own professional growth and to inspire others as you reflect, revise, and hone your own ideas and practice.

    The “Why” of your book seems to be similar to that of your blog: you are driven by the selfless/self-actualizing idea of sharing your ideas and vision with others to help educators and schools be (even) better. Letting go of the control of your writing by finishing and publishing your book is another step in this process of sharing. Yes, you will cede both the opportunity to revise your writing and to reply to comments in a fixed space, and it will take a scary amount of trust and a leap of faith on your part. Like teachers all over the world who are right now trying to figure out ways help students become the center of their classroom and learning, you will have to give up control of the learning environment in order for us all to grow.

    In doing I predict that you will impact a different and larger audience, while also learning new things about yourself and your learning community. In the end, I have no doubt you will gain an expanded perspective on what it takes to “lead innovative change” at the systems level.

    So find that “Why” that will drive you to finish your book. Your current and future PLN depends on it and we will have your back.


    PS: Commenting publicly on this post scares me, but I’m taking the leap to thank you for all you have done to propel my growth as an educator.

    Twitter: @cdworrell

    • George

      I think with a comment like this, you might need to blog more. What a great writer!!! Thank you for sharing Colleen 🙂

  4. Thank you for sharing your insights, and, for the encouragement to take the seemingly impossible risk.

    RE: your book: I know a professor from college. It took him TEN YEARS to complete his book on Frederick Douglass.

  5. George,
    I love the distinction you make between a blog as formative vs a book being summative and you are right when you say that today, any idea that is committed to print has a certain amount of “permanence to it” which can be intimidating. That is certainly the reality of our time, as is the number of people who hide behind the curtain of anonymity or who quickly make assumptions and publicly tear down people and ideas. One of the reasons I think your blog posts resonate with so many of us is that there is authenticity and integrity there that is not necessarily prevalent everywhere. I think that anyone who knows you, knows that you are driven by a genuine desire to see innovative change happen beginning at the system level and permeating all aspects of education. Am I correct to suspect that your book will help Districts with whom you have worked, and others who may not as of yet had the privilege to move forward as learning organizations?
    I feel like I need to say that as a newish blogger, I am very fearful when I publish a post because it makes me vulnerable to criticism and because I second-guess my ideas. Both directly and indirectly you have encouraged me to find my voice & purpose, trust myself, and just do it. As you embark on this new literary journey, I trust you will get the support you need to do the same.
    So keep writing, George, because as Colleen suggests in her reply, your current and future PLN (and we are many!!) are looking forward to your reading your book, whenever that might be, and we have your back!

  6. Jen

    HI George – I’ve seen you speak a couple of times in the last few years: At Leyden High School 2 summers ago and this past ISTE conference. You are always inspiring! I’m really surprised to find out that publishing your book scares you but it’s nice to see that you’re human. 🙂 After ISTE I tried to write a couple of blog posts but I realized after I wrote them that I don’t enjoy writing. The thing is…I’m a writing teacher. After reading this post, I now understand that there are two reasons I don’t like to write. 1. I’m afraid of criticism and 2. I don’t like to read my own writing! For a few weeks, this really bothered me because I kept thinking, “How can I be a writing teacher if I don’t like to write”. Then I realized that I might be a better writing teacher because of this. I can truly understand my students when they complain about writing. I’ve been there! Anyway…I want to thank you for helping me understand my dilemma. Good luck with finishing your book! (BTW, I didn’t even like writing this comment – please don’t judge me. 😉 )

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