A blogging portfolio review

It’s funny how things come around when you least expect it.

In my post about the Pipesapp, I started thinking of the reading that I hated in high school.  Coupled with that was the writing.  I was probably every English teacher’s nightmare.  I didn’t do well and so really wasn’t terribly focused on any lesson.  I remember the talk about portfolios and how I should put my best writing in there and periodically review it, throwing out the content that I didn’t care for any more and replacing it with something that I was proud of.  I still remember my inner voice “yeah, that’s OK but what if you weren’t proud of anything”.  Then, reality kicked in; this counted for marks so I went through the motions.

Of course, I got better and I do thank those teachers for the lessons that didn’t seem important at the time but later in life became a staple that really did help me grow professionally.  I began to collect all kinds of artifacts and did, and still do, review them periodically.  For job interviews, they were so helpful.  For helping set personal priorities in a world where you can get easily distracted, they help to rein in my thinking.  For the most part, I try to “binderize” them and, at times, that can be a challenge.  Many of the artifacts are, in fact, digital so they’re kept one my computer and backups and I do a screen shot to add to the latest binder.

Yesterday, I was so excited to watch the Minnesota/Oakland football game.  With the success that both teams were having this year, this Vikings fan just knew that it would be the “game of the week”.  Hah!  It wasn’t even televised here.  So, I thought that I might do something else while listening to one of the other games as white noise.  I had my computer open and started doing some blog reading.  I have my favourites and was remarking as to what draws me to them.  Over all, it’s the quality of the writing and, since I’d followed some of them for quite some time, I smiled when I thought about how the writing had matured and changed over time.  I think that, overall, that’s what keeps me coming back.  I never know what to expect next.

Then, it was time to turn that reflection on myself.

From the gear menu above, , I have access to what’s called the Archives by WordPress.

Scrolling to the bottom, I see:

Wow, I’d been blogging since 1970!  As my editors will agree, that entry was one of my famous mistakes.  The two blog posts from 1999 were some configuration deally so it looks like I started to blog in earnest in January of 2008.  That must have been some sort of New Years’ resolution.  The number in parentheses is the number of posts during that month.  Scrolling up and down shows the posts per month – if you’re a regular, you know that half of them are automated daily summaries of what I’m reading. 

But I was curious and started poking around some of those earliest posts.

Now, I make no claims, and rightfully so, to being a scholarly blogger.  It’s just a hobby where I try to put down my thoughts on any given day.  But, I’ll be honest – those first posts were pretty bad.  If they were part of a paper portfolio, they’d be ripped from my binder, crumpled with disgust, and thrown into the recycle bin.  However, I have this hoarding mentality.

From those early days, I’ve read so many other good blog posts, communicated with wonderful blogging experts, read blog posts about how to blog and I like to think that I’ve learned so much along the way.  Today, I make room daily to try to write something.  I like to mix it up a bit – from reviewing software, to sharing my thoughts, to make connections to my past, to interview amazing people, …  I know that the conventional wisdom is to “find your niche” and write to that.  In a couple of months, this blog will be eight years old apparently.  If I wrote the same way about the same sort of things, I think I would have been burned out a long time ago.  As I look, I still have 49 partially completed posts in my WordPress account and all kinds of ideas tucked away in Evernote.  I hope that the ideas never dry up and the satisfaction that comes from writing and proofreading never goes away.  Well, maybe not the proofreading so much.  (Hi Lisa, Sheila)

I never had this tool when I went to school.  Writing was all about putting pencil to paper and the proofreading was a truly separate process.  Coming up with a perfect finished product was an ordeal.  Blogging has changed all that and I enjoy it.  Would I be a different and hopefully better writer if I could have shared this with the many passionate and patient English teachers I had?  I’d take that bet.

There’s been a lot said about “student voice”, whatever that is.  I prefer to think of blogging as something creative that encourages me to read more and research before forming an opinion or thought on a topic.  Only then do I turn it into a post.  Blogging also seems to make me get to the point quicker.  We know that people often don’t stick to the end if the post is more than 1000 characters.

So, any blogger that’s hung on to this post this long – do you feel the same way?  Do you have better thoughts?  I’d love to read them.

And, to any English teacher, do my thoughts make any sense?  How does blogging fit into your curriculum?

OTR Links 11/17/2015

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.