Blogging as Authentic Writing

In the past two days, I’ve learned three important lessons as a blogger. The first, is that what I write, and more so, what I publish, must be authentic to who I am and what I want to say.  Fortunately, or maybe ironically, I’ve known this with other writing for years.

Secondly, editing matters. One of the things I tell my students over and over is that the delete button is their friend, and if not their friend, definitely mine. Used more often, it would help decrease the duration of some of the painful things I have to read.

Sometimes the sentence, or idea, you like the best is the one you have to delete.  I’ve told my students, “if you like it that much, write it on your wall, it’ll be there forever, and you can get on with it.”  Truth is, even though I’ve deleted great sentences, I don’t actually remember any of them, and I’ve never needed them since.

Consequently, what might be the inspiration for a post, may not actually make the final cut.  If you need to give credit to the inspiration, use an addendum.

The last post I wrote, originated as a mash-up of a Nickelback song, and my own thoughts.  However, it didn’t say everything I wanted, and not enough of it was my own. Consequently, I had to go back and rewrite it, even though I’d already published it.  With traditional media, that would be costly.  Now re-written, only one small quote remains.

Sometimes it’s best to let it sit in draft for awhile. The desire to publish it, doesn’t always mean you should.

The thing is, I know all this.  I’ve been writing longer than my students have been alive.  I know how to write; I know how to persuade.  This is the reason I view my English classroom as an apprenticeship in writing and thinking.

Thirdly, my digital foot print matters to me.  The copyright issues with that piece bothered me.  It was the one thing that I had an issue with when I thought of it, when I was writing it, and after I published it.  And I’m perfectionist, so I had to change it.

If anyone was to argue that blogging is not an authentic writing form, I would have to strongly disagree.  In fact, it likely requires traditional writing skills to be sharper and more succinct.

About shelleywright

I love education & learning, which likely explains why I'm a teacher. My areas are ELA, Sr. sciences, and technology. My classroom is best described as a student-centred, tech embedded pbl/inquiry learning environment. Furthermore, I am Buck Institute for Education National Faculty member
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7 Responses to Blogging as Authentic Writing

  1. Nice post, Shelley. Though I’m a new blogger, I enjoy agonizing over finding just the right sentence or phrase to both express my thoughts and make it interesting for the reader. When I have the time, that is.

    But what about the practice of just getting it written down before the idea is lost. Some people say you blog for yourself first. And if not-so-eloquent writing captures and later triggers the memories for you, that’s got to be good, too.

    Put it this way: I wish all my posts were eloquent. But I’ll settle for a nice one every now and then. For now…


  2. Buthaina says:

    Thanks for this post, Shelley. I would definitely agree with all your points if we were in Spring 2010. However, this semester things changed in my situation in terms of the kind and quality of my freshmen students. This comment of mine is mainly on your second point where you said: “This is the reason I view my English classroom as an apprenticeship in writing and thinking.” This is beautiful and I admire you for that, especially because I also view my English classes as you view yours until I gave up few weeks ago when I found most of my female students couldn’t be bothered to learn or even try to learn anything new. Many of them seem to be “well trained” in their K-12 years “not to think” for themselves. They don’t know how to brainstorm or come up with ideas or details on topics they are required to write about. They are afraid to do that and you could see it in their eyes or face expressions. Please note, a few of them (of the 34 students) are doing well and are eager to learn more, the reason why I feel good sometimes. Shelley, I would appreciate it if you would tell me/us what would you do if you were in my situation. Thanks for your time and for sharing.

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  4. ktenkely says:

    Shelly, the apprenitice model you have set in your classroom is what every classroom needs. It is not that you are the “expert” that is passing on your knowledge and understanding of writing. You are a writer, continually honing your craft. So when you apprentice kids, it is with an understanding that you are all writers. I never got that sense from my teachers. I saw them a little more than experts.

  5. Pam Lowe says:

    I enjoyed this post immensely. My personal mantra when writing a piece is that “less is more.” I tend to wind around when I need to just get to the point. It’s hard work trying to get to the point, and yet be entertaining or informative at the same time. For this reason, I spend a lot of time editing, splicing and paring down. It’s like being a sculptor with a huge blog of marble in front of you. You have a vision in mind and begin sculpting and carving your piece until the final product is completed. When I end up with my final piece sometimes I’m amazed at what remains from the original writing.

  6. Well put, very true that we must read through and ensure that we edit well and even ruthlessly sometimes to ensure the content is rich and true to us. Great piece!

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