I really need you to read this!
I was asked recently why I blog. I had to think about it.
It came about quite by accident when I was looking for a purpose to my retirement. I hadn’t made a list of all those things I wanted to do and bucket lists, if they had been invented, had not reached me. I suppose I fell into it after joining Twitter and discovering ‘mummy bloggers’. Blogging seemed like a fun thing to do and I had always enjoyed English at school so why not?
Blogging is not writing
For some reason, I had not equated blogging with writing. Stupid I know but in my head ‘writing’ was what serious folks did. Blogging seemed light-hearted, almost frivolous. It was a way of having a social life without stepping out of the door. In fact, you could stay in your PJs!
As I visited more blogs this definition soon changed. I came across some amazing writing that really blew me away. I was also amazed that folks could make money out of this activity and soon realised that it could even become a profession.
My blogging journey
So I set up a blog and here I am. If I were to draw a graph tracking my journey it would show many ups and downs. I have dipped my toe into lots of different approaches, memes and topics. I’ve changed the look of my space on the internet several times and I’m still trying to work out EXACTLY what I want from the experience.
I would love to have a facility that allows me to write as soon as I get an idea or a view rather than waiting to get to a device by which time the passion has ebbed slightly. I even bought an iphone plus in the hope I could write on the go but it hasn’t worked out like that. One thing that I am beginning to understand is that I like writing. I have words in my head that I need to get out. Once out I can feel a great satisfaction from what I have created. However, I also need someone to read it!
The quote at the top of this piece really hit me when I found it. When I was a teacher, I had never thought of giving the children in my care a reason for doing the work, other than it was what they needed to know. Bless them for usually following instructions and doing their best. I’m sure it was mainly in an attempt to please me. Of course, I was trying to please the head teacher, who would be trying to improve our results and ‘please’ Ofsted.
I had not thought about the place of audience in children’s learning as a tool to motivate and encourage them. It was only when I returned to the formality of writing that I realised how vital it is. When I write and share, I want folks to read and engage.
The boys in Ireland
I’ve been away on a trip to Ireland where I heard the request to read a post many times. My visit included working with young writers in classes that have embraced 100 Word Challenge. Each week they consider the prompt that has been posted, then craft just 100 words to produce a creative piece which is published on their class blogs.
Apart from the blog bit replacing ‘writing in an exercise book’ children across the world do this every day.
Previously, their thinking about who was going to read their work never went beyond their classroom teacher. It is the job of the teacher, after all, isn’t it, to mark their work and set out the next steps they should take? But should the teacher in this role be really regarded as ‘The audience’?
By posting on a blog they open their work to the world. Their audience stretches far beyond the four walls of their classroom. They engage with people who don’t know them other than the work they are sharing. This aspect of blogging and in particular 100 Word Challenge is immensely powerful. Pupils have explained that having someone in another part of the world take the time to read and then comment makes them feel like authors. They want to do it again and even better.
Be my audience
So, I reckon I’m no different to the boys. I want an audience for my work. I want to feel that I have a purpose beyond emptying my head when I put fingers to the keyboard.
The answer to ‘why do you blog’ is simple really. I want to be noticed. I want my efforts to be shared and whilst I realise that unlike the boys, the comments may not always be complimentary, I hope they are polite and start a conversation.
What is your story?
If you blog, why? If you don’t why do your read them?