Mid-October Blues (Applying a Method When I Don’t Feel Like Blogging)
There are times when you get saturated with using your blog as a drafting board, and you generate ideas so fast you are surprised by how much output you are producing. Topics tend to come off so smoothly, and you are inspired to write.
However, this day is not one of those days. Maybe it is a long weekend of relaxing, eating turkey dinner with all the trimmings. Maybe it is lack of sleep after a couple short sleeps (thanks to the storms over the past week). Maybe it is preparing four presentations on the topic of academic blogging over the past few weeks, including an early morning presentation at 630 this morning. I enjoyed the events, and sharing my ideas. But I feel spent. I feel anxious: where do I go from here?
Should I focus on one blog? Three blogs are getting to be too much, and rather than split my energies, merge the blogs to one central blog instead.
Should I be more frank with my ideas? Certainly not. The dangers are clearly evident. If I write for the public on my blog, I have a personal to maintain, and venting is not part of this persona, particularly in academia. I need to be very cautious about the message I send out. Edublogging does not include personal recollections and feverish rants and peeves, or the expression of angst as I transition from one life situation to another.
This type of post is strictly personal: it is concerned with identity construction. After all that is said and done, with all the presentations made, and the articles written and the academic programs completed, after getting the projects done for courses, what still drives me to blog, to express myself in written form, is how I am taking in and interpreting meaning from these experiences.
This post is partly about self-efficacy issues – they are not typically shared in an academic environment, but they are crucial to keep one on track. So, when I write to reflect on identity construction, I am concerned with how I am going to get to where I want to go, and how my goals mesh with what I feel to be true. What I write today is not how I will feel tomorrow, so is there any point in composing these thoughts and committing them to paper? I think it is important to do so, not for the value of how others will perceive these ideas, but how I will review and revisit them at a later time, as new experiences have tempered my outlook.
The thing about identity construction is that it is really very nebulous, very-un-academic, and constantly shifting. Sometimes I wonder if I should commit any of the fleeting thoughts to paper, and disclose the raw emotional energy underlying the messages. Then I realize that it is not about disclosure, it is about release and purging. It is cathartic, and heals you, to address the imaginary listener with your worries and concerns and entrust them to a private space in your blog.
Posts that cover one’s Self-efficacy tend to be concerned with identifying goals, expressing frustrations, making visible the threads and cracks of ambivalence, the uncertainties and doubts, and it is most useful when not shared in a cohort setting. I would argue it has little place in formal academic writing. However, it has tremendous value for the individual learner to get the ideas out, and offload them, and be able to place them in stasis for further reflection and analysis later on when one feels differently, when the storm of emotions and rocky events passes.
Blogging openly and authentically to express one’s experiences, emotions, challenges, and victories requires us to unravel ourselves. It is not the sphere of the academic writing space that this type of self-expression occurs. It is in the sphere of the personal/transformational.
Unlike any other time in human history, the blog provides a tool to capture our ramblings in electronic form, for us to return to them over and over again over time, reviewing and revising them and appending them in view of our new experiences and insights.
So much emphasis has been on designing online instruction for cooperative and collaborative learning, that so little attention has been paid instead to the individual’s lifelong learning. So much effort has been made at structuring instruction for learners, rather than aiding learners to structure and monitor their own efforts. Perhaps the rise of the blog can remedy this oversight on the part of educators. I certainly hope so.