Overcoming Blogger’s Block: Inner and Outer Critics
I absolutely agree that blogging can be a daunting task – we are always facing the imposter syndrome (who am I to write about this topic – there is someone who knows more than I do!)
Just as some of us are disheartened when no one replies, and we end up blogging for ourselves always wondering if anyone is reading the posts, and asking ourselves whether the whole blogging enterprise is a case of vanity publishing, others are surprised at the less-than positive comments and criticism and assumptions about our post. We are shocked sometimes to realize that the language used in our posts can mean something else to others than how you intended, and you are blown back on your heels when others tear up the path using your quoted words to turn the intent of your writing into something else entirely. More surprising still, is how opening yourself up to others will get them to project their concerns, language and agenda and look at your post through an entirely different lens, sometimes an entirely unfamiliar one.
It’s enough to back out of the blogging project entirely, I’d say.
Combine the possible criticisms and projected assumptions and agendas of others with your own inner critics (and let’s be honest, most of us have more than just one), and it is really hard to get any ideas committed to paper. You are just making it really hard on yourself, letting one internal voice/narrative perspective get edited and suppressed by others.)
I think that not only do we need to adopt the autonomous perspective with respect to others’ critical replies or non-replies, we also have to be able to apply that perspective to our own inner critics, too.
For me, having an autonomous perspective means you are open to the comments of others, but will not be de-motivated by their absence. You are capable of blogging for yourself, for your own set purposes. It involves writing for your multiple (potential and actual future and present selves, as well as for a more wider public audience. But blog mainly to address your own critics, your own narratives. Having an autonomous perspective also means that you are not always going to mesh well with the perspectives of others, and others’ ideas will not always make sense to you.
Tanya, you write about the division of the personal and private lives while blogging.
I’ve also realized that every academic and professional decision I make, as well as my perspective on everything dista ce education is 100 percent colored by my family and life outside of work and studies. Just a part of being an anytime, anywhere kind of learner. So what does this mean for my forays into blogging?
You should celebrate your diversity, and be openly sharing your perspective with others as a full-time mom with five children. The imagery, the metaphors that can be used from your extensive experiences raising a family are extraordinary. I draw on the experiences of living in a remote First nations community in northwest BC to generate metaphors for how I use the blogging tools. For me, the metaphors, of course, will mean something different than how others interpret it. I mean, what I think of as berry-picking within a blogging setting will be influenced by my own life experiences of getting into the bushes and picking buckets of ripe juicy berries. How can the idea of berry-picking be conveyed fully? – perhaps by storying.
Why did I choose jigging and setting recently to explain how I use my blog? It seemed closest to my personal experiences of getting on a skiff and hauling in crab traps, fishing for salmon, and setting lines with baited hooks to catch halibut. I don’t pretend anymore that my personal life experiences have no connection with the metaphors I use in my writing – I am becoming more and more a personal blogger. Yes, the metaphors will invite criticisms from others, undoubtedly, because the words, the connotations, the deeper meanings, aren’t shared. So, for me the questions of others are an invitation to elaborate, to share further.
I separate the private and public for the most part by having two blogs – the AU Landing blog, and the edublogging4literacy blog. Their focus is similar, but I sometimes allow myself to post personal experiences onto one or the other blog, sometimes both. It is also an area of further investigation and discovery.