The desire to maintain a blog has been with me for some time. My 5th and 6th grade students even dabbled in some form of a blog years ago when we had a “Book Blog” on our website.
There are many reasons that I haven’t fulfilled the desire to begin a blog. Topping the list is TIME: I could call it a lack of time, but know that it boils down to where I have decided to commit my time. I can honestly say that I’m generally not a time-waster; I simply haven’t allocated time to writing in blog format.
Then came 2020. And a global pandemic. And more time at home. And the release of George Couros’s Digital Portfolio Master Course in April. The perfect formula for starting that long-wished for blog.
In May of 2020, our district leadership team was tasked with creating a Return to Learn plan for the fall of 2020. This was a monumental task, to say the least. It quickly ate up the time I thought I would have to complete the Digital Portfolio Master Course and begin my own blog. I had enrolled in the course in early May but again, allocated my time to other pursuits, this time around the Return to Learn plan, as well as developing a class for teachers around understanding our new ELA curriculum.
Fast forward to December 2020, and with it a long-awaited for winter break. I reluctantly decided to heed the advice of many, and take a break from school work. Instead of allocating time for some work around literacy coaching, I decided to complete the course that I had begun in May. With this decision came the remaining reasons I hadn’t previously begun a blog, including:
- Fear of commitment to regular maintenance
- Fear of scrutiny
- Fear of being unworthy
- Fear of lacking material to write about
Fear of commitment to regular maintenance In Couros’s Digital Portfolio Master Course he stresses the importance of developing a cadence: committing to a day and time that you will post. This is critical to engaging in regular reflection, and to building an audience. We are all “busy” (see what Dean Shareski writes about “busyness” – it’s an excellent blog post!), but it’s the life we’ve chosen. What we do with the 24 hours given to us each day is up to us. If personal growth is a result of regular maintenance of a blog, I’m in! (I am currently committing to posting each Sunday, 1:00 pm CST. Let’s see where I’m at six months from now!)
I declare a moratorium on the word busy.Everyone is busy, we get it. Busy is the default status. Let us know if that changes.
— Dean Shareski (@shareski) October 26, 2010
Fear of scrutiny I have a deep, deep fear of scrutiny. It’s enough to paralyze me into inaction (note my earlier mention of a long-standing desire to create a blog). When we put our voice out into the world, we are opening the door for praise, but also for criticism. And it’s this criticism (or fear of it) that can stamp out growth. On a side note, how is it that my fear of scrutiny from peers/those closest to me, is deeper than my fear of scrutiny from strangers? Parallel to fear of scrutiny is the fear of doing something for the first time. Brené Brown eloquently refers to this as FFT’s. (When you listen to Brené’s explanation of FFT’s (F—– First Times), be sure there are no little ears nearby 🙂 In her Unlocking Us podcast, she explains what an FFT is in the very first episode. She shares a strategy for “embracing the suck of new” (don’t you just LOVE that phrase?!):
- Name it/Normalize it
- Put it in perspective
- Reality check my expectations
BTW, Brené has since (December 9, 2020) added two more strategies to dealing with FFT’s (and talks about The Queen’s Gambit, an outstanding Netflix series!):
- Build in rest and recovery time
- Get and stay in fit FFT condition
Fear of being unworthy I don’t mean to sound like “poor me,” or appear as though I’m seeking praise. When I say I have a fear of being unworthy, I mean that I listen to and read the work of amazing people! My thinking goes something like this: “These people are so wise, and have stretched my thinking beyond my imagination. If I jump in to their world, I will never measure up.” If we all operate this way, we limit or prevent others from learning from what we have to offer. And everybody has something to offer. The following video, shared in Couros’s Digital Portfolio Master Course, makes a powerful argument for jumping in and sharing your thoughts (and for getting over the fear of being unworthy):
Fear of lacking material to write about Of all the fears, this might be the silliest, yet feels the most paralyzing. If I commit to posting each week, what happens when I don’t have anything to write about? This is a silly fear, as I think about the number of new experiences I get to have each week. In my role as a K-12 Literacy Coach, I have the privilege of working with teachers and students at multiple grade levels. This equals multiple opportunities to learn and reflect every week, every day, every hour, every minute. In addition to these experiences, as I mentioned above, I listen to and read the work of amazing people. Their work, alone, is fuel for many writing opportunities.
The Take-Away: let nothing hold you back. Jumping in and embracing FFT’s accelerates your own growth while opening doors for others to do the same. If you don’t believe me, check out what my sister and my niece, Jenny Steffensmeier and Rachel Steffensmeier, have done in launching a new business: