Confessions of a Novice Blogger

Just how hard can it be – you sit down once a week, try and clear your head, reflect on your learning over the past week and write about it.  Simple, right?  As it turns out, maybe not so much.

So, what is it about this practice of blogging that imposes a degree of intimidation?  Perhaps, it is the idea of putting your thoughts “out there” for the world to see.  Maybe, just maybe, someone will suggest that they are not very profound or maybe not even very thought provoking.  Maybe, just maybe you will not have done such a great job of editing and there for all the world to see will be your typos!  Maybe someone will respond with questions and challenges for which you are not at all prepared to confront.  Maybe, just maybe, you need to know that connective collaborative learning can be simultaneously exhilarating, frustrating, gratifying and challenging all at once.

As I reflected on our class discussion last Wednesday and the reading assignments, an acronym came to mind which I found might be helpful in my approach to this novice experience of blogging.  I call it “D.A.R.E” and it basically outlines a set of practices which I hope to put into place in order to enhance and maximize this learning experience.

 D is for discipline. Blogging requires the discipline of routine reflection and writing in order to record the learning process. A hit or miss approach cannot accurately reflect one’s learning journey.

 A is for authenticity.  There must be the quality of authenticity in blogging.  Otherwise, it will lack integrity.  What makes a blog interesting is that it puts a person “out there” – transparent, real and open for comment from others.  Authenticity is essential in blogging.

 R stands for the need to read and respond to others’ blogs.  It is necessary, helpful and instructional to read and respond to other blogs.  In so doing one becomes a part of a larger community and has the opportunity to contribute to that community in a meaningful way.

 “Despite obvious appearances, blogging isn’t really about writing at all; that’s just the end point of the process, the outcome that occurs more or less naturally if everything else has been done right.  Blogging is about, first, reading.  But more important, it is about reading what is of interest to you: your culture, your community, your ideas.  And it is about engaging with the content and with the authors of what you have read-reflecting, criticizing, questioning, reacting.”  (Downes, 2004)

 E stands for experiment. You may need to experiment with your writing in order to discover and develop your own style of blogging. Don’t attempt to imitate another’s style.  Take a risk and discover your unique approach to blogging.

I’ve contemplated the risks and rewards and I’m ready to move ahead.  It may be a leap but one that I’m ready to take.  Here’s to the heights and depths of this new experience . . . here’s to embracing, really embracing this experience, here’s to taking a chance, to going all out!

Leap Stock Images

Downes, S. (2004). Educational blogging. Educause, September/October 2004, 14-26.

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9 Responses to Confessions of a Novice Blogger

  1. MelKoch says:

    Wally, I LOVE THIS! What a fantastic way to put blogging into practice! I think I will use DARE in my school and personal life. Those are great lessons to learn.
    The questions you ask in your second paragraph are so accurate–I’m certain most of us have dealt with those struggles when we began the program or decided to start blogging.

    • What an encouragement coming from a “seasoned” blogger. As you point out, most of us have probably had reservations and felt intimidated in our earliest experiences of blogging. Reading your blogs has given me hope that the routine practice of this genre of writing can really help build skills. Thanks so much for your comments!

  2. Jess says:

    Wally, I LOVE your acronym! I think you are a super creative blogger. 🙂 I agree that it can be very difficult…I often find myself sitting with my blog posts for way more time than I intend to, worrying that I won’t express my thoughts as eloquently as I’d like, or that I might miss a grammatical mistake (I’m a glutton for grammar). And, as you point out, there is also that element of publicity/exposure that can make this form of writing somewhat scary at times.

    • Yes, indeed! I, too, find myself spending a great deal of time “laboring” over these blogs. I’d really like to get to the point where I start to relax and enjoy the practice a little more. I do appreciate your encouraging words. They help! Thanks!

  3. Jeff Nugent says:

    An acronym to drive your writing…cool. It seems to capture the spirit of a process, and a bit of motivation it seems we all need to regularly engage. DARE yourself!

  4. lsniestrath says:

    Wally,
    Just out of curiosity, do you have followers outside of this program? I have contemplated doing so this week. I’ve added my blog “url” to my Twitter account and posted my blog to my FB page. No comments yet, however, that doesn’t mean that no one out there in my cyberworld hasn’t read them yet.

    We are all encouraging and polite. We take the time to read and respond to the blogs written by our classmates. It’s indeed a risk to put oneself out on the web and to “DARE” to create a digital footprint. Risky, yes. Rewarding, let’s hope so! Revolutionary to both the reader and the responder!

    Laurie

    • I like the way you put that, “risky, yet rewarding” – great way to frame this experience. Seems I have had one comment from someone outside of the class on one of my blogs but nothing other than that. I hadn’t thought of putting the url on my Twitter page but I like the idea. Thanks for the inspiration!

  5. sara says:

    I liked the acronym. I think the elements are very true. Are you ready to DARE to blog? 🙂

  6. J Even says:

    Look out, Blogosphere… here she comes!

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