Why I Blog At All
I began reading math teacher blogs long before I started to write one [check out my blogroll for some that I read regularly]. I was inspired by the great lesson ideas being put forth, and the free-flowing dialogue about how to improve math teaching and learning. I “borrowed” (i.e. stole)lots of ideas that I used in my own classroom. So when I started my own blog a little more than a year ago, it was with the idea of giving something back to the vibrant math blogging community that I had learned so much from, while also expressing some of the thoughts unique to my own position as a half-math, half-engineering teacher in Baltimore.
NaBloPoMo: A Commitment to Write More
Your Goal the Sky
Your Aim the Star
– Inscription on Hopkins Gate at Williams College
Now, other than a four-month break, I have generally kept up a pace of posting once every 1-2 weeks. To me, an ideal writing/posting rate would be to invert that: 1-2 posts per week.
So why sign up for National Blog Posting Month (a.k.a. NaBloPoMo, so named in honor or mockery of the more-established NaNoWriMo), wherein I commit to write a post every single day? Well, even if I fail in my aim of writing a post every day, I will at least have succeeded in achieving my goal of writing (and reflecting on my own teaching practice) more. And if, by some miracle of fortitude and online connectivity even during travel, I do in fact write a post every single day, I will have (in one month) more than doubled the number of posts written (in over a year)!
By making an external commitment, I am forcing myself to prioritize blogging. I believe it is good just to get my thoughts down into words, with side benefits of sharing resources, sparking conversations, and/or thinking more deeply about a subject. In particular, I wish to do more (and more-immediate) reflections on the lessons I teach, with the bad included among the good. Thinking through why things went wrong, and soliciting the help of others, will help me to become a better teacher.
NaBloPoMo: Shorter Posts
As anyone who has read more than one or two of my posts knows, I tend to be long-winded. Yesterday’s post is a prime example. Relatedly, it often takes me 1-3 hours to write a blog post, from thinking things through thoroughly, to getting those thoughts expressed on (metaphorical) paper the way I want them, to researching related background ideas and linkifying the post, to editing for clarity and typos.
I know with absolute certainty that, although I am prioritizing blogging this month, I do not have the time to devote 1-3 hours every day to blog posts. So if I keep up that pace, I will wear out and drop out of my month’s commitment.
Instead, another piece of what I am hoping will transpire is that I will start to write shorter, quicker blog posts: just dash off a few thoughts, proofread for egregious errors, than publish. A 15-20 minute daily blogging commitment I can live with, and would be healthier to promote a lasting change in post frequency.
To my fellow NaBloPoMo participants, why are you writing?