Writing Teachers: Think You Don’t Matter?

Think again.

Because our students are not only listening, they’re living as writers, for reasons both professional and personal.

Last weekend, I attended a WordPress meetup called “Bogging for Professional Development.” Dozens of people showed up at a co-working space on a Saturday afternoon t

Scrabble tiles spelling “BLOG”

o hear a panel of young professionals talk about the ins and outs of blogging.

Yes, they talked about blogging platforms, especially WordPress— after all, the meetup is organized by WordPress ambassadors– and some of the ins and outs of blogging. But at the heart of each speaker’s comments was the conviction that regular writing on a blog has profound benefits.

What are some of the professional benefits?

  • It’s a way to build credibility in one’s field. Said one panelist, “Blogging regularly makes it easier to sound like a thought leader.”
  • Over time, a blog becomes a living resume.
  • Blogging is a way to to inspire others, as well as to to give back.
  • Said another speaker, “Writing is a skill. The more you use it, the better you become.”

A blog is also personal, even if one does not write about aspects of one’s personal life:

  • Deciding the purpose of one’s blog engenders a sense of power and ownership. One man said he had turned off the comments on his blog because “I realized I was doing this for myself. While I want my ideas out in the world, I really don’t want to hear what other people have to say. After all, it’s my blog.”
  • Starting each day with 15 to 20 minutes of writing is a cognitive wakeup call.
  • Blogging is a place to to collect one’s thoughts and hear one’s own voice.
  • Some of the best bloggers find a way to blend personal aspects of their lives with professional topics. For example, one tech blogger spends so much time traveling, she blogs from airports, writing about work-related and personal experiences.

Blogging tips:

  • Don’t like what you’ve written? Delete or unpublish a post.
  • You can abandon a blog and start a new one. One speaker confessed to having 16 blogs. “It’s free!” she exclaimed. (She was talking about www.wordpress.com, WordPress’s free blogging center.)
  • It’s always good to know about employer policies regarding blogs.
  • When an idea comes, write and post it ASAP.
  • A targeted blog helps readers know what to expect.
  • You want people to come to your site for the ideas and the writing.
  • What kind of blogging platform to use? “It’s not about the tool. It’s about getting your words out on the internet.”

The bottom line that every panelist agreed on: “Every viewpoint is unique and valid. You should just write.”

It’s everything writing teachers have been saying since teaching writing began. These bloggers came to their conclusions outside of a classroom. I’m betting the seeds were planted before the blogs began. I’m also betting that we teachers have a lot to learn from people who live writing on the world wide web.

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