10 tips for (reticent) bloggers…

A colleague who teaches writing, draws incredible poetry and prose out of her students. Yet she has what she calls ‘writer’s blog’ (block) which prevents her from starting a blog. Another has just had an incredible learning experience and spent four hours organizing her thoughts and experiences by writing blog posts… despite not having a blog, as she feels uncertain whether others will be interested in what she writes.

It seems they are not alone…

When I started blogging, I struggled to find my voice. My first few posts (some of which were subsequently deleted) sounded as if they had each been written by a different person. Then I realised I didn’t need to try so hard.

10 tips for reticent new struggling teacher student  bloggers…

  1. Write in your own voice, as if you are talking to people you know.
  2. Don’t over-think and over-plan, just write what’s in your head. You can write another post when you have developed your thinking further.
  3. Don’t agonise over whether it’s good enough. Write, check, post, done. You’ll improve with practice.
  4. Never force it. If an idea for a post isn’t working, scrap it.
  5. Avoid long slabs of text. Write in paragraphs. Use headings, images and bullet points to express your thinking clearly and ensure your message is evident.
  6. Don’t explain everything. Use hyper-links to existing explanations on your blog and elsewhere on the internet.
  7. Shorter posts are better than long ones. Always. Big idea? Break it into two posts. Small idea? Sometimes one paragraph is enough.
  8. You don’t need to have all the answers. Some of my most successful posts have been composed entirely of questions.
  9. Exclude all words that just don’t add anything. This was the very best piece of advice I read when I first started blogging. Carefully re-read posts that you have written and  try to remove all the extraneous words that add little or nothing.
  10. Exercise humility. (The tips above work for me, I’m just sharing…)

22 thoughts on “10 tips for (reticent) bloggers…

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  3. Mumtaz

    Thank you for sharing! I have had a bloggers block for a while. Your tips are great. I will surely keep them in mind as i write my ideas down.

    Reply
  4. henriettami

    I think you must be psychic again Edna, I am presenting on this very topic next week. I will share your post as it captures so much of my thinking too. I would add to that teachers can blog as a record of learning, it is a great way for new-scheme or pre-service teachers to showcase their own learning journeys. As well as keep records which they can use when applying for teaching standards or new jobs.

    Reply
  5. Megan Graff

    I think I need to have more self-discipline and make time to write instead of filling it with other pursuits. I usually blog in my head when I’m out doing things and when I get back to the computer, I consume instead of creating.

    Reply
  6. goodbyteaching

    Great tips. I have only been blogging for a short while and at first I was hesitant, afraid that it was a bit vain on my part. However, once I started I have enjoyed it immensely. Since most teachers enjoy talking about teaching or other things, I suspect most would enjoy blogging. I also think that Henriettami ‘s suggestions are very worthwhile. What a great way to chart your own growth as a teacher.

    Reply
  7. lsackerl

    How do you sift connections, ideas and thoughts that scramble about in your head and reduce them to a succinct powerful blog??? I have a messy mind – I am a compulsive clicker who is constantly finding new journeys on the internet or around me. Blogging requires thought and discipline.. and mea culpa- I am the teacher of poetry who has writers blog. HELP!! I will read the tips and try again.

    Reply
  8. Desiree

    Good tips Ed! Think I tend to ‘overthink’ sometimes. (If there is such a word) Exciting ideas get lost when over analysing!! Have also found some of my best posts are full of questions only. Yes, you are so right. Why do we think we always need to have the answers?

    Reply
  9. Denise Lombardo

    Thanks Edna… Always so much wisdom in your posts. I have only written four posts to date. My fifth has been in my head for a month and in draft for two days. Clearly I can take so much of your advice on board! Great advice… Many thanks!

    Reply
  10. Wendy

    Good advice but this requires a shift in Mindset, Speaking for myself (middle aged women who struggles with technology and feels intimidated by blogging, tweeting, etc) not over thinking is so opposed to what I have been trained for and good at all my life. I am writing this in my first attempt at blogging. Actually, I am not really sure if I am really blogging as I wonder if commenting on someone else’s blog makes this a blog. Am I over thinking again? I am certainly using words that could be erased in order to make this “blog” more concise but it reduces writing to its bare bones and makes reading so boring. So are there other teachers out there who know this is what I should be doing to stay current and connected but don’t truly get it?

    Reply
    1. Denise Lombardo (@denise_lombardo)

      I hear you, Wendy… I have only joined the world of Twitter and blogging over the past 7 months and I struggle when I blog as I spend too much time ‘getting it right’. My first blog post was about 3 months ago, but prior to that I found several great educators, like Edna, through twitter… Followed their blogs by setting up an RSS feed (not that hard… If I can do it, anyone probably can!) and started commenting… Testing the waters so to speak. And when I did start my own blog, there were so many kind people in my online PLN who supported me, gave advice and left comments on my posts. It’s out-of-comfort zone stuff but the journey has been amazing and enriches my teaching and professional life. Congrats on commenting for the first time… See, you’ve started!

      Reply
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  12. ReflectiveTeacher

    So I have to admit I am still finding my voice in my blogging. Looking back at my beginning posts (I started in January!) I cringe at the way I ignored your #8,9 and 10!! But blogging is most definitely a journey of personal growth and reflection, so it has been a very interesting and worthwhile process so far!
    Thank you for sharing your tips :)

    Reply
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  14. Lyndsie VanHorn

    I am a student at the University of South Alabama in EDM310. Our class is based on blogging, reading other people’s blogs, and making/watching videos. Everything we do is posted to our blogs. So, my summary of you post and my comment will go on my blog and etc. Our class blog is http://www.edm310.blogspot.com/ and my individual blog is http://vanhornlyndsieedm310.blogspot.com/ if you would like to have a look.

    I had never used a blog before this semester, and it has been a journey. I have learned a lot about HTML code and things I never realized were important. I believe these 10 tips would benefit our class, as many of us have never done a blog before this class. Thank you for sharing!

    Lyndsie VanHorn

    Reply
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  17. Tes

    I’m a new blogger (2 months) and have received nothing but spam. I was just at the point of giving up when I discovered these tips. I think they are all great advice and have given me fuel to keep gong. Thanks

    Reply
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