I would like to make a confession. There is a blog I follow above all others. I believe my commitment to it could qualify as a “blog crush”. I anticipate the daily tweet that a new post is waiting (and if the stars align it’s twice daily). I savour the words, the meaning, the message, the delivery…everything. Oddly the topic of the blog is completely unrelated to the majority of blogs I follow on education, leadership, teaching, learning, and technology. Quotes from this blog that resonate with me are scribbled on the whiteboard in my office and pasted into Evernote. My husband has come to expect that over the course of dinner I will utter:”Today Seth was talking about…”, “Did you know Seth thinks…” or “Seth says…”. Indeed the object of my affection is Seth Godin’s blog.
Seth’s blog is about marketing and publishing but truly these topics are a vehicle for much broader themes about life, risk taking, leadership, ideas and change. Seth’s posts encourage shaking up the status quo while looking at ourselves and situations from a different angle. He is skillfully observant of human nature and advocates for movement forward. I am quick to apply his ideas to education and teaching but I believe his writing can be interpreted through many lenses.
Last week, as so often happens, one of his posts serendipitously spoke to my moment in time. Just as I am wrestling with how to write openly, out loud and reflectively in my blog Seth comes through for me. In “Talker’s block” he discusses how we never lack for anything to say but when it comes to writing we can hit a wall, a standstill. Why is this? What differentiates the ease of talking from the challenge of writing? The answer according to Seth is practice.
We get better at talking precisely because we talk. We see what works and what doesn’t, and if we’re insightful, do more of what works. How can one get talker’s block after all this practice? ~Seth Godin
Seth offers a great reminder for overcoming writer’s block-just write and do it regularly. The more you write the better your writing becomes and the easier it will flow. There is no quick fix or magic spell…get to it and keep at it. Again it comes down to practice. Naturally the message is the same for any style of writing and Seth strongly promotes writing publicly:
I believe that everyone should write in public. Get a blog. Or use Squidoo or Tumblr or a microblogging site…Do it every day. Every single day. Not a diary, not fiction, but analysis. Clear, crisp, honest writing about what you see in the world. Or want to see. Or teach (in writing). ~Seth Godin
While reflecting on Seth’s sage advice and agreeing that frequency is key, I panicked wondering how I was going to blog daily. These four posts that make up my entire blogging history didn’t come together in the carefree fashion I envisioned at the start of this journey. The behind the scenes of each blog post is a mashup of several days worth of ruminating, playing with ideas, 3:00 am musings, and testing content out on the dog (who is a tough customer). It isn’t pretty. And this is all before a word is typed. It is such a process and the thought of creating a daily post at this stage seems far too daunting. But then I realized I am indeed writing daily if I take into consideration my online course discussion boards. It is writing that is reflective, responsive, honest, and it centres on big ideas. The ideas are perhaps more focused as they are moderated and related to course content and the public nature is limited to my classmates but the thought and the process behind the writing is similar.
Thank you, Seth for pointing out the simplicity of “Write like you talk. Often.” You have reminded me to honour the daily writing that I am doing as it will move both my writing and my learning forward. It doesn’t have to be perfect or profound, it just needs to happen. It is a process, another journey.
Whether or not you write well, write bravely. ~Bill Stout
I’d love to know: If you write daily what shape does it take? Where are you writing? What are you writing about and how do you collect ideas for writing? Do you follow a blog that speaks to you (aka a “blog crush”)?