Popularity Contest?? Not here.

Popularity Contest?? Not here.

Blogging, like a lot of things in life, is like a popularity contest. I have never been a “popular” person or run with the “in-crowd”, so why should I expect differently from my blog?  I am beginning to accept this. I write because it satisfies me, I have been told I am good at it, and it lets me vent – on occasion. Essentially, I enjoy the process, and usually, the product of my writing.

One thing is true, however.  I stay true to myself, my thoughts, my experience, and my convictions (er – beliefs, that is).  My writing is not calculated to produce an effect.  I do not try to get attention. I do not disrespect others. I do not poke fun at someone else’s expense. I might alienate some. I might make some angry.  I might marginalize myself……but, I try hard not to do the same to others. I try to reflect, understand, inform, communicate, and relate. In essence, I want to make you think.

The problem, here, of course, is that sometimes it makes for dry reading. Unless you are already invested in a topic I choose to write about, there is a great potential that what I write is not relatable to you, specifically.  I think that is a risk all writers take.  Some, many – actually, feel unable to take the risk, and therefore, try to attenuate the risk by altering or twisting their story/words/style/caption/tone, etc  ….  making sure you feel compelled to jump on board.  Can you feel the peer pressure? Yup, it is there with blogging, too. You like a certain blog because your friend or co-worker likes it. You want to fit in. You want to be able to talk with a friendly banter or laugh about what they recently read on someone’s blog.  You, along with several hundred other people, know this person. So, you follow along with all the other “groupies”.

Here are a few reasons my blog might still be minimally followed at six months of age:

On using family and friends: That’s just not happening for me. First off, let’s look at the social media aspect of blogging. Social media is okay. But, I am really not into hanging my whole life out there for the public’s general perusal.  I have always had a very small group of close friends and that suits me just fine. I do not have hundreds of Facebook followers or hundreds of friends. I have a small group of loyal friends and I am loyal to them in return.  My family is small. When you have no true cousins that is a small family! You figure out what it means!  Plus, I do not ask that my family be involved in each and every aspect of my freaking life. They like that I am writing, read occasionally, and share even less often. That is all okay with me. I am not going to beg them – or you.

On being a role model: Lately, there is a lot of disrespect being bantered around the internet. I suppose that is because it exists to a large extent in daily life.  I fail to see this as amusing or something to be propagated.  As adults, in my opinion, we are always on display with our words and our actions. Children pay attention, whether you think they do or not. If you are exhibiting disrespect, through words or actions, then you are role modeling that for children. If you are being a respectful and responsible person, that is noted too. Adults are role models 24/7 – all the time, every hour of every day. Watch what you do, for there are eyes on you. I try to follow this guide for the primary reason that eventually children learn what hypocrites are.  I do not want to be one.

On Being Authentic: I am a mother, sister, daughter, wife, nurse, teacher, friend, jewelry artist (didn’t know that one, huh?), author, leader, gardener, lover of music, photographer, citizen scientist, community participant, environmental group member, baker, cook, and many other more mundane titles. I am mid-life (hopefully), having three nearly grown boys. I have things I can share from my experience. Some of those things, I have chosen not to share – yet. I am still deciding whether I want to or not. But, I write authentically, from my own life experience.  It is all I know.

On not trying to sell you things:  I like information. There is no doubt about it!   Better for me than any funny story, is a boat load of information. I love sifting through it. I love finding the little known fact or tidbit. I love a detailed map. I love facts. And, I love sharing all those things with my readers. So, a large part of why I write my blog is to inform. Bloggers that write to entertain, or play on your feelings more than your mind, will probably experience a larger following.

likeable-blog-1000-2x

Do I want to gain more readers? Of course! Will I compromise my integrity to get them? No. I will continue to plod along, writing daily, challenging myself and hopefully, engaging most of those who come across my page.  But, as the saying goes “you do you”.    I will stick with being me.

Surprisingly, several hours after I wrote the bulk of this post, I got a notification from WordPress that I recently passed 1,000 likes for my blog! All in all, not bad for the first six months of blogging! I will take it! I think I do have a little popularity among my loyal readers! Thank you!

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Tuesday’s Slice of Life Are Slices of Life

Tuesday’s Slice of Life Are Slices of Life

There is much I could write about today for my slice of life post and the supportive writing community of two writing teachers blog.

There is the personal angle, really foremost in my mind that today is my 30th wedding anniversary! It really is a milestone of two lives entwined with a shared past, content present, and enduring future.

I could write about a revelation that came to me while showering this morning. Many of my writing or creative ideas come to me while showering.  I have been known to write papers, create math questions, and formulate presentations all while coming clean in the solitude of the shower. Today’s revelation was that I have been compelled to prove my intelligence for the last 20 years since making the decision to be a stay at home mom. I am truly so much more….and feel the need to constantly prove it. Why is that? A case in point is that I am pursuing a second master’s degree in Environmental Education and instead of just taking courses to fulfill the requirements, I have asked to be mentored on conducting, writing, and possibly publishing a research study. Though thorough self-examination, I am not sure why I feel I need to do this, other than to prove I can. For those who read my slice last week, I am still waiting on an answer from my professors with regard to my research proposal. I am beginning to think a course might truly be better.

Then there is the blog I posted over the weekend that deals with grading policies and final weights in high school courses. I thought I would share that here because it did not catch the attention of many readers and being a teacher based blog forum, I would be glad to have some feedback. Suggestions on what to do with the information I uncovered would be welcome as well.

I could write about giftedness. Gifted education is something I have been involved in for a very long time – close to the 20 years I have been a stay at home mom!  Recently, I read a blog post sharing an article (Crushing Tall Poppies FB page sharing a SENG blogpost) about whether giftedness is innate and what the emotional costs are, if it is not.  The person writing the article really did not seem to have a full understanding of how permeating giftedness is for the person that is gifted. He equated giftedenss with achievement and that, most certainly, is incorrect.  He failed to take into account asynchronous developement and/or what might cause a gifted individual fail to perform at an exceptional level.  Click the above link to read the article if you are interested.  I was to take a foundational course on gifted education this fall (believe it or not environmental education is a great place to offer a place for gifted students to be enriched, be leaders, and be involved in community service). The absence of it being offered when I had it scheduled in my program plan is what led to the current quandary I have with revisiting the research proposal with my professors.  Everything is entwined. The gifted student population is underserved and greatly misunderstood, something I understand from both a professional and personal vantage point.

Lastly, I could write today’s post based on the Slice of Life Tuesday prompt that the TwoWritingTeacher’s offered on their home page that asks, “What summer writing are you doing now that will inspire your future students?” Although my garden club has ended, I will still hopefully have my third grade writer’s circle in 2018.   My answer to the prompt is that I am honing my writing skills by blogging daily.  In writing consistently, I am also acquiring some ideas for student writing, such as when I did my Silent Sunday post this week on Favorite Places.  I thought that this topic might be a good prompt for third graders, especially if they had a photo of their favorite place. It might also make the foundation for a short narrative story – one of the types of writing I do yearly with the writer’s circle students. I have shared some of my writing with my students in the past, just occasionally. It shows I am a writer and I understand what problems they might encounter, as well as allowing me to be supportive of their efforts.  In essence, we create a small writing community each year in which ideas, styles, and efforts are varied but all valued.  I hope to do that again for a 7th year. Any writing makes us better writers.

 

Curiosity

Curiosity

Recently, I have become curious about my audience of  blog readers. I have been bloging daily since March 1st and only have missed a handful of days. This is an awesome accomplishment, one which I am proud of making. My posts seem to yield a consistent and slowly growing contingent of regular readers. Some readers are regular commentators, as well. Just like anything public, it is nice to get feedback on what you are writing and how you are connecting with people.  I know when I have hit upon a nerve, when readers agree with me, receive different perspectives, and more, when I am able to have a few lines of feedback from my readers.

However, my curiosity is more about those who do not comment. I know linking to  my Facebook page brings my posts to more readers. My son, who is soon to be a new graduate student and my sister-in-law, both loyal readers, brought this to my attention. Previous to their observations, I did not realize that my slowly growing of followers number on WordPress is actually larger due to the Facebook links to my blog.  Like a lot of things in life, more is better.

But, who are these readers? Are they people I know that are reading my blog surreptitiously? Are they able to find a connection while reading my posts? When they like a photo that is featured with the post, are they liking just the photograph or something I said in the post? Without comments, I do not know.

Occasionally, I write about things that might irritate my readers. I can be critical, hopeful, biased, and forgiving all in the same post. I know my blog is not funny, nor is it meant to be. I am not a funny person. I have a good sense of humor, but writing humorously is not my forte.  From my experience working as a classroom volunteer,  I know that authors write for different reasons. My reason for writing is not to entertain, but to inform.  I think there are local issues and observations that need to be discussed because if no one discusses them, the problems continue to exist. I want to stimulate your critical thinking skills, your problem solving skills, and maybe start a conversation about things that might be important to you – to all of us. I tend to express myself better using the written word. And, since I have tried more traditional ways of communicating concerns, of which some have worked and some have not, I thought blogging might still allow me to address issues I am passionate about – namely, education and the environment – without becoming overly frustrated that my audience is hearing me but not listening.

But, I ask this: are you reading my blog off my Facebook page? If so, I would really like to know. If you do not want others to know, why not send me a private message? What topics have I written about that have resonated with you?  What makes you curious enough to read my posts but not leave a comment?  I am curious about you, my readers – especially readers I know, readers that have personal experience with the topics of which I am writing. Am I reaching you? I am curious.

In any case, thank you for reading. Please feel free to comment, especially if you never have before.

Writing to Connect

Writing to Connect

The blog writing experience has been very positive for me. I started this past March with the writing challenge posed by TwoWritingTeachers blog challenge called Slice of Life. It was a good fit for me since it is filled with teachers and most of the blog pieces are about teaching, students, and education. The educational community is one to which I have chosen to belong.

In the last twenty-four hours, it has become evident that my writing is enabling me to use my voice to connect with people. A few weeks ago, I wrote a piece that called for action from parents who were questioning any  of the assessment policies our school district was using. I asked for help, as I spoke out, and it seemed others were not. Now, I know that there is at least one other parent who today is speaking out.  Thank you.

Previously, I also wrote about the end to a long time club that I led for our local elementary school. I do not plan to write much more about what brought about the end of that activity. Suffice it to say, the word has gotten out and I am hearing many different reactions.  I know life is busy.  I know teachers have an extraordinary amount of tasks and responsibilities to complete on a daily basis. This, I also shared when I met with the principal last week. I am definitely not a teacher basher! I want to be one, for goodness sake! However, I do not think that part of the message was received. I was seen as a complainer, a complainer about how others’ actions affected me without regard to the other things going on at the school.

You see, one of my problems, let us call it an intensity, is that I notice everything! I truly wish I didn’t, but I do. It’s been a tough year. My mother in law died this spring. My sister was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. Those things, along with the rest of life, were on my plate, similar to things that were on the plate of those who made me feel my efforts with garden club had become disregarded. Intentional or not, I felt the staff did not value what I was doing. And, yes, something important is now lost.  Yes, it was about me.  It was about me because it was my time, my loyalty, my effort, and my dedication that was not valued.

Writing to connect was one of my objectives for starting a blog. I seem to have a voice, things to say, stands to take, and experiences to share. One of the risks of writing is that you will not be able to connect to an audience. This has happened to me as well. I wish I knew my parents were reading this blog everyday. I wish I would receive a comment from them. I was hoping the blog would serve to fill in a divide that has somehow occurred after years of living in a different state. It did for a short time. But, that time is gone. It’s been month since I struck a connection with my parents due to something I wrote. I was hoping my writing would let them get to know the woman I have become, the experiences I have had, and my plans for the future.

Writing is powerful. It has the ability to draw people closer or push them away.  Writing has the ability to connect human feelings, thoughts, and  ideas with those around us and those who read our words. It also has the ability to make one misunderstood, need clarification, or anger those who disagree with what has been put on the page.

Writing is connecting, for better or worse.  It seems I have written long enough to have experienced both.

 

 

Pauses to live by.

Pauses to live by.

Pause long enough

to plant a seed and watch it grow.

Pause to smell

the bright flower that attracted your attention.

Pause be kind

to everyone who crosses your path.

Pause to smile

even when you are hurried and harried in your life.

Pause to appreciate

what you have and stop longing for what you don’t.

Pause to notice

the silence of a quiet afternoon as you are restored.

Pause to pick up

the piece of trash on the street, even if it isn’t yours.

Pause to play

with your children, especially when they are young.

Pause to show interest

in the live’s of your teens, even when they might seem disinterested in you.

Pause to think

about your life and what is important.

Pause to make

a difference.

Pause to live.