I miss blogging. Ironically, for the first time in YEARS, I actually have two of my six classes of students I’m teaching this semester blogging again via WriteAbout.com. Most students are still choosing to just publish to our class (“inside sharing” within our walled garden) but some are posting publicly. You’re welcome to check out their posts and leave them some comments! Our public WriteAbout.com blog link is also included on the “Blogs” page of my Media and Digital Literacy / Introductory Spanish curriculum sharing site.

This past summer, I posted a well-intentioned office sign for myself at home which says, “Your job is to write books.” Unfortunately, however, I didn’t do any book writing this summer. In fact, I didn’t do much writing. I did considerable work on the “Conspiracies and Culture Wars” media literacy project, which included sharing one virtual conference keynote and one virtual conference workshop session, but no book writing. We’ve just wrapped up a 5 day unit on “Conspiracy Theories” in my 6th Grade Media Literacy class, and the success of those lessons is tied directly to that summer work connected to the Summer Institute on Digital Literacy. A HUGE shout out is due to my project partner, Brian Turnbaugh (@wegotwits.) Still, however, no book writing, even though I’ve been working for over 10 years now (very intermittently and slowly) on a faith-related writing project which is only about three chapters away from completion. My summer was fantastic from a professional learning and professional development standpoint, but wasn’t successful from a professional WRITING standpoint. That needs to change.

This past Friday morning, I met again (as I have monthly for about the past six years) with Curt Gruel, who is a retired OKC orthopedic surgeon, a member of our church in Edmond, and my “spiritual director” in the “Spiritual Directions Program,” aka “Heart Paths.” I mentioned something to Curt on Friday about not writing any books this summer, and he offered a simple question. “What about JUST WRITING?” Of course, he’s right. For YEARS, starting in 2003 when I set up my first blog, I was committed to daily writing and public blogging. As of today on September 21, 2020, this blog (speedofcreativity.org) has 6,127 posts, 5,859 of which were authored by me. Actually, more were as well, but those were under a pseudonym, which is a story unto itself. For at least the past five years, when I served for 4 years as a school director of technology and have subsequently been in a wonderful “tech director recovery program,” I have blogged very intermittently. So this weekend, I decided to change that. We’ll see how long this lasts, but for now, I’m blogging daily again.

We all can have ready access to social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook, which provide access to a MUCH larger audience than I think I ever reached with my blog “in the early days of web 2.0.” So why blog now, on my own WordPress site and domain which I own (lease) and manage? There are lots of reasons, and all of these are important:

  1. Ownership of Intellectual Property: Writing on your own website / blog site allows us as human beings, and specifically as academics, to “plant our ideological flags” and maintain better control and ownership over our shared ideas. Of course ideas can be copied, and blog scrapers can be hugely irritating as well as time consuming to deal with (just ask Richard Byrne @rmbyrne) – but I’m convinced the benefits of blogging on your OWN site, in your OWN space, are HUGE and GOOD.
  2. Generous Idea Sharing via Blogging Opens Doors: It would take me a LONG time to recount how many wonderful, professional doors have been opened to me because of the ideas I’ve openly shared here over the past 17 years. 4 trips to China starting in 2007, New Zealand, Brazil, and Egypt most recently in November 2017. Multiple summer trips to Montana, which (among many other things) led to my friendship with Jason Neiffer (@techsavvyteach), my weekly co-host for the EdTech Situation Room Podcast (@edtechSR). This list could go on and on. Despite the fact that social media has been and is being weaponized to subvert democracy, self-determination, and universal human values around the world at an astonishing speed and frequency… social media (and blogs and podcasts, specifically) have and continue to have a HUGE, positive impact on my friendships, professional growth, and overall quality of life as a teacher, learner, and human being living in the 21st century. In the face of all these wonderful open doors I have enthusiastically entered because of past sharing on this blog and on my podcast, I say, “Let the new doors continue to open!”
  3. Daily Writing and Reflection Deepens Learning: No matter how many or how few people read these words I’m typing in my Oklahoma City kitchen, I know the POWER and VALUE of reflection and writing. I love doing both, by the way. But I have allowed myself to give up a habit which I’m convinced had an enormous, transformative effect on my professional learning and growth as an educator for over a decade. I’m ready to reclaim those benefits.

If any of the ideas I’m sharing here are helpful to you, or if you have a related thought to share, I’d love to hear about it. I admittedly check for blog comments VERY rarely now… but with my blog post frequency dramatically changing now, I’ll probably check more regularly. I DO look at my Twitter notifications daily, so that’s really the best way to engage with me these days. Just include @wfryer in your tweet and I’ll see your message.

“UnLEASHED” is the word which resonated with me most strongly as I transitioned out of my Director of Technology role at our school in the summer of 2019 and took on an academic teaching and instructional coaching role with faculty. I’m still ready to be fully UNLEASHED in this next season of my professional life as a teacher and an educator. I’m betting that more regular blogging (perhaps even DAILY) will help with that. We’ll see!

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Made with Love in Oklahoma City