In the Question Box, from KrikKrak:
Over the years I’ve tried to set up a blog. Each time I have, within a matter of months, or sometimes days, I take it down. I lose my nerve.
I also teach. And I yearn to share my thoughts, and parts of my life with my students and coworkers in order to open opportunities for discussion and real connection.
Thanks for showing me how it’s done. Do you ever get cold feet about particular posts?
May I suggest that you simply write, and leave the blog up and running? One of my two original inspirations for blogging was my pal DFJ3. He will start a new blog, write for a few weeks, and then quit for six months to a year before starting another blog. It’s infuriating because he’s a damn good writer, but he just won’t keep at it.
Anyhow, I do get cold feet about particular posts.
Sometimes I’ll start writing about something without being sure that I know what I’m talking about—either the facts are uncertain, or I haven’t thought the idea all the way through, or I find myself unable to make a cogent argument at the time. Those get saved for another time, or discarded entirely.
Sometimes I want to write about something that may really hurt a reader’s feelings. And I don’t mean “rub them the wrong way,” or “anger them because they don’t know what they’re talking about and I’m going to tell them so,” I mean “jeopardize the relationship.” So I either find a way to temper the message, or I throw it out, or I password-protect it and give the password to a select few.
Exception: I don’t worry too much about offending past acquaintances who are out of my life, so I’ll write whatever I want about them. After all, it’s not like anyone I haven’t seen in 15 years is going to look up my blog and challenge me on a point or two, is it?
And sometimes I write stuff for the sake of getting it out of my system, but the Republic would collapse if I published it here. Thus I put it on a hidden anonymous blog, a blog so top-secret that I usually forget the web address and password. Dr. Hmnahmna, Ph.D., P.E. once suggested that I use “pen” and “paper” for those entries, but that would be too simple.
Over the last couple of summers, I’ve tried to develop a school-related blog and integrating it into the classroom, but I haven’t found a process/format I’m comfy with yet. I’m also pretty certain that as soon as I did so, and found a way to require the kids to use social media as part of the course, everyone’s cell phones would disappear, home computers would stop working, and internet subscriptions would expire.
On occasion a current student will mention during class that he, she or it read my blog, and I re-direct the discussion back to the lesson at hand as quickly as possible. For me, school-time is not talk-about-my-hobby time. Some people may be able to integrate the two better than I can. My intention is not to reach students or coworkers in their capacities as students or coworkers. My intention is to enjoy my hobby. I don’t know if that makes sense, but it’s what allows me to enjoy my hobby.