As many educators are either on their summer break or about to enter it, I know many are looking for great books to read. This is great, but as we hope for our students, consumption should not be the only focus, but creation as well. If you are looking to read, how will you connect the information you consume and dig deeper?
For this, blogging is a great tool not only to synthesize your learning but to also catalog it into a type of library. Going through the process of writing “The Innovator’s Mindset” and finishing my second book, my blog was invaluable in finding great information from others that I had placed into my blog that I could reshare in a book. To find it, it was a simple as searching “George Couros + Search Term.” For example, to assist others in their journey for blogging, I just Googled “George Couros Blogging” and found these old posts that may be able to assist you on your journey that I wrote previously:
But the process of blogging can be daunting (for many reasons) so how do I start?
Here are some of my suggestions for people that are either new to blogging or dusting off an old blog and want to recommit.
1. It doesn’t have to be a college essay.
I guess that most of my blog posts are under 500 words. Some aren’t,’ but that is okay as well because sometimes I need to dig deeper and I use blogging to not only share my learning but blogging as a way to learn. But many get stuck in the idea that blog posts are like college essays and have to have a certain length before they are considered valid. I love short, quick blog posts, and to the point, but I also like ones that are longer and take a deeper dive into ideas — both work. Sometimes when we focus on writing for length, it stops us from writing altogether. My rule; if I have something to write that doesn’t fit into a tweet, that’s a blog post. It doesn’t have to be much more, or it can be a lot more.
PS…It can be tweet length as well. Don’t get caught up in the idea “I haven’t written enough.”
2. You can reference other work or articles in your post and share a few short ideas.
When I read an excellent article or see a video I like, I want to commit the idea to my library of learning further. Blogging about it not only “bookmarks” it for future use, but it allows me to process and better understand the ideas.
As in point one, it doesn’t have to be a long post to be valid. Recently, I wrote the post “The Unbucket List,” which is a term I had never heard of before. It consisted of the following structure:
– Intro paragraph
– Quote from article
– Four more short paragraphs
That’s it. That’s a blog post. Not only did I get to highlight the work of someone else and a great idea, but the idea of the “Unbucket List” also will never leave me because I took the time to archive it in my blog, thus securing it in my brain.
3. Focus more on consistent release times, not on blogging all of the time.
This is a suggestion I have shared with many people looking to start a blog. You may read this post and think, “I want to start this!” and then write five posts this week, and then not another for six months. The lack of consistency is not beneficial to you, and in all honesty, does not help you build an audience. Yes, I write for myself, but I do appreciate that others read it as well, as I think most people do. I love this quote from Clive Thompson:
Here is a simple tip. Pick a day (or days) of the week that you will “release” a post. For example, I am going to release a post every Monday afternoon. This will not only help you commit to reflect consistently, but it creates some accountability to yourself, just like going to the gym “x” times a week. This is an appointment with yourself. If you commit to every Monday afternoon, this doesn’t mean you have to commit to writing every Monday morning. Although I am writing this post on a Sunday, I am scheduling it to post on Tuesday afternoon as I commit to posting on Sunday morning, Tuesday afternoon, and Thursday afternoon. You might want to post once a week, once every two weeks, or twelve times a year. Whatever combo works for you is the one that works for you.
Making a schedule with ourselves helps to improve consistency in the process.
4. Find a blog buddy.
I have several people who send me their posts when they are published. Not only does this help them have some accountability to themselves, selfishly, but this also helps me grow as well. Reading other people’s posts on education helps me grow personally, and I love what they share. People that share their posts with me consistently are Mike Washburn, Kat Goyette, and Annick Rauch. I assume they are learning through their process, but I love what they write, and their experience and wisdom help me grow as well. Find someone to help you in the process as it is mutually beneficial.
Blogging has been one of the best, if not the best thing I have done my professional (and sometimes personal) growth in my career. It makes me think about what I do and share, and it does not only help me dig deeper into ideas, but it archives those ideas for future thinking. I hope that I have provided some advice that might help you on your journey, but remember, it is your journey. Do what works for you. The best part about blogging for me is that the process is my own to grow as it will be yours as well. Find what works for you.