My stab at carefully considering how to write better blog posts.
Step 1: Write.
I think this is my greatest challenge. Actually sitting down and writing posts that are personal yet pertinent. That don’t disengage my audience. That aren’t written only for me. That say something. But that aren’t too sanctimonious and insipid.
In this era of tweeting, and sms-based conversations, and threaded ‘conversations via email’ sometimes trying to be a blog entry can be too much! Sometimes a blog post should be short and sweet and say something right then and there. Sometimes it should be a lengthy rant or an ongoing rumination with updates as one discovers more.
Step 2: Worry about your audience…
But don’t worry so much that the worrying stops you doing Step 1.
It’s tough to know your audience, when you’re writing for a nebulous “somebody” out there. It’s important to decide the purpose for creating your blog. Is it like Larry Ferlazzo’s site, which is a huge compendium of lists and links – an excellent resource for any teacher, but not particularly personal. Or is it like The Podograni – which is fantastic if you enjoy listening to the rants of a curmudgeonly NZ principal who’s not afraid to speak his mind.
Or will it be a mixture of both?
I think if you can choose that mixture for yourself – not worry too much – then follow Step 1, you can really make it happen in your blog.
Step 3: Less is more.
From my time working in a design collective in London, it’s the brevity of your wit, your work and your design that will make the most lasting impact.
As a teacher, it’s an occupational hazard to blather on. So one simple thing I do is to write, then sit on my posts before posting. On a visual tip, I changed my theme today. Not sure about it yet – but will let it sit a while.
I need to work on this step.
Step 4: Enjoy the process – and follow the conversations. You never know where you’ll end up.
This is the nice thing about blogs and online communities in general As you read more, you build up a community of people you follow, read and engage with. For example, I’ve already been inspired by the writing on Russell’s blog, and I only started reading his work a day ago.
Step 5: Share
I guess that’s one of those basic things we are all meant to learn in kindergarten. The principle in relation to blogging (and to a greater extent, teaching) is about sharing the knowledge, the wisdom, the tips, the tools, and the people that we all connect with.
With that in mind… I really enjoy following and reading two other NZ educators, both who work at CORE.
Firstly Greg Carroll, who is the principal at Outram School in Dunedin. Like the Podograni, he has a particular take on many of the big picture political issues that are at play in NZ education, but also is a gracious thinker, who shares his thoughts with clarity.