Clicking publish

Where do you get all these amazing ideas?

This was the start of a comment from Vicky Loras to my blog post of yesterday.  There’s a lot of value in that comment for me.

  • Yay!, someone is actually reading this blog
  • Yay!, someone took the time to comment
  • Yay!, someone found the idea amazing

Writing wasn’t always something that I did.  In fact, going through elementary and secondary school, I either loved it or hated it depending upon the mood I was in and the activity that we were supposed to be doing.

In fact, in Grade 13, it was a failsafe for me.  I only needed six credits so I took three Mathematics and three Sciences and threw in English just in case I wasn’t successful in any of the others.  I didn’t mind the reading part of English courses; it was the actual sitting down and forcing myself to write.  For some reason, I had no problem reading in stops and starts but writing was all about getting started and finishing in the same session.

At university and beyond, I avoided writing as much as I could.

It was only later, as a program consultant, that I had a conversation with a good friend who I noticed wrote everything.  He was constantly writing.  It was just for himself but, unlike me, he never dropped the ball on things.  I think I did because there was so much to remember.  I remember a conversation over lunch where he explained his theory about writing everything down.  Obviously, the biggest payoff was not forgetting things but he felt he slept better because he didn’t have to worry about forgetting things.  I took his advice and have been notetaking and writing ever since.

Today it largely culminates in blog posts here.  I’ve committed my early mornings to writing and scheduling a post until the sun rises and I have to do more important things, like walking the dog.  Documenting things has just become a way of life.

I don’t do it for the comments but I’ll be honest in that there’s always a rush when someone comments.  Whether it’s something like Vicky’s comment or a mention in Stephen Downes’ daily or a mention in a major news source calling me a “snooty blogger”.

Speaking of snooty, a Canadian blogger named Doug Peterson was discussing the quandary he experienced on Thursday night  when faced with the choice of watching the Cubs – Dodgers game, the Canadian Prime Minister debate, or the U.S. vice presidential debate.

You get to know preferences too.  It’s about half an hour until the Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi.  I know Ron Millar hates it when I talk about Formula 1 racing.  I also know that Paul McGuire likes being in my TWIOE posts but I do have to spread the love around.  I really get pumped when I find a blog that I’d never seen before.

But, holy cow, people actually read this stuff.  There’s something humbling to think of all the blogs that people could read but actually come and spend time on mine.

I like that it’s become part of my routine.  I enjoy the connections that I’ve made and I like thinking about new things to write about.  Maybe I should have been a daily newspaper editorialist.  A great compliment was being invited to be part of the “Media” at a Microsoft Partners in Learning Global Forum by friend Alfred Thompson.

There are minefields too.  Heaven help me if I make a typing error and my editors at large are there to correct me.  Or, if I fail to schedule a post properly and I get a private message from a friend telling me that I screwed up somewhere!   (and you’re usually right, Aviva)

But back to the ideas?  To answer Vicky’s question, I think it’s because of the advice from my friend.  Write everything down so you don’t forget it.  So, if I’m walking, driving,  or reading and there’s something that catches my attention for a moment, I make a note to remember it.  These days not on paper but by talking to my watch.

Having done that in advance, when I sit down to write, I’m not starting from scratch.  In fact, the mind is an amazing thing.  It must be formulating things in the background because most of the posts just seem to write themselves.  I just have to let my fingers loose.

Blogging has become the latest release for this hobby.  I’m not on a mission to change the world or even one mind.  What was a serious task in school has now become just an enjoyable thing to do.  I think that’s probably why I’m such a fan of student blogging with their own goals rather than something laid on.

There’s just something really satisfying when you finish proofreading and click Publish.

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8 thoughts on “Clicking publish

  1. Keep clicking publish I enjoy your variety of posts. No doubt you have many readers like me who have not been thoughtful enough to comment. You’ve encouraged me to keep track of thoughts and maybe write some more. Thank you.

  2. Doug, I can’t help but think about how much we try to encourage our Kindergarten students to write to share ideas and to communicate with each other and sometimes a larger audience. None of them are writing these long blog posts (yet 🙂 ), but the more they write, the better they become at it. They also become far more confident writers. As I read this blog post, I see this same evolution in you. So we all benefit from reading your posts, and you benefit from becoming the writer that you are today! A great little lesson for all of us (and our Kindergarten kids). 🙂

    Aviva

    P.S. I’d like to go on the record that I’ve never thought you “screwed up” anywhere. I always figured something just happened. And based on the number of posts you schedule to publish and the number of errors, I think you have one awesome success rate! 🙂

  3. Thanks, Aviva. I do confess that when you catch me, it’s because I’ve done something wrong. I appreciate you letting me know when it happens.

  4. I had to laugh at the idea of someone thinking you snooty. That is pretty much the opposite of how I see you.

    BTW I also hated writing as a student. I think it was mostly the physical activity of writing with a pen. It got easier and almost fun when I got my typewriter to take to university. When computers with word processing software came along it became actual fun. Now I really like to write.

  5. I think you’ve nailed it, Alfred. There’s something about using a computer with appropriate software that actually make writing a great deal of fun.

  6. Thanks so much for sharing your journey on this one, Doug. I really like that you shared how much of a kick it is for you when people comment. Keep them coming – you know we’re out here reading. And I really think that students benefit from just writing about what interests them, and sharing that thinking. I know I need to do it more!

  7. Hi Doug!

    Thank you ever so much for the mention – I truly think of that every time I read a blog post of yours, “wow! How did he come up with that!” Or “what a great idea!”

    You are one of my absolute favourite bloggers – in the top ten, you’re number one! I love learning from you literally on a daily basis.

    Thank you so so much!

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