In this post I am exploring the ways that I have changed my blog posting practice. I differentiate passion/think pieces from reflective posts, show where each has value and offer suggestions for posting weekly reflection blog posts as part of an ALC reflective cycle.
This piece started as a comment/response to one of the Endor ALC students (@lucylove) weekly reflective posts. I’ve only been working with that Agile Unschooling group for a week but have already found plenty of inspiration for innovation in my own practices in that time. I’m writing this as a way to support easier blogging practice for ALC people who either aren’t sure where to begin (but want to) or are unsure of the value of their practice (but still want to). Key point is that this is intended for an audience of people who want to blog.
It is my hope and belief that a community of active ALC bloggers will eventually reach a threshold that will prove the value of the practice to others. I’m not trying to convince anyone who isn’t already interested in blogging. I doubt they’d have read this far anyway, right?
So, let’s begin
- There are [Two Types of Posts] in this world…
- Reflective Posts
- Value of Reflective Posts
- Three Easy Things I think Everyone Should do
Two Types of Posts
In my own blogging practice, there are currently two key types of Blog Posts.
- Think Pieces – these can be in depth responses to an activity, event or an idea (like this one! and thinky thinky!)
- Reflective Posts – these are mostly looking back at what has happened and recording it for posterity (or yourself).
Am I mainly writing this for other people or am I mainly writing this for myself? (Nosey family members and friends included). Often the writing becomes blurred: I’m often writing for an imaginary future me and so even the think pieces are ways of recording my ideas for future consideration. Even as I write this I’m wondering… is that what I really think/feel right now? Do I agree with that?
Aha! There’s a hint: if I’m really concerned about what I think and what I am saying it’s probably a Think Piece. Alternatively, if I’m more concerned with keeping a record, it’s probably a Reflective Post.
I’ve found that Reflective posts tend to want to be formatted for ease of both writing and reading. When Lucy talked about structure I think what she was reaching for was a way for her to pour all of the content from the week into one post. She didn’t want to leave big gaps. She ended up using a bullet-list for each day of the week and writing something about each day.
My thoughts on my own practice:
“I wanted my weekly posts to have a format so that when seen one after the other (which I imagine may happen when i want to have an overview of my year etc) there is some continuity.”
I’m currently using my Trello board to see what I did during the week, posting a picture of that, then listing 3 categories of reflections**:
- ‘Clearing’ – things i was unhappy with, but want to release
- ‘Gratitudes’ – to focus on the great things in life. Grateful for our blogs, and people like @drew
- ‘Achievements’ – Yay! cool things that happened
**These are borrowed from the afternoon meeting practice that we use in the ALC each day
The important thing to note about my own practice is that I have made it my own. I borrowed some things I liked from here and there and now I have implemented enough structure for me to be able to ‘brain dump’ a whole lot of stuff into this post format. The post mostly writes itself now. It’s not a question of ‘what will I write about’ so much as “oh! look at that trello board – remember you did that and that? what do you think about it now?”
I’ve already looked back at my older weekly reflections and been amazed at all of the things I’ve managed to do each week as well as reflecting on how I have changed in that time. Which brings us to the next heading…
Value of Reflective Posts
Perhaps this is obvious to many of you, but being able to look back at all of the great things I’ve been doing feels like a super-power.
- It reminds me of my progress when I’m feeling overwhelmed.
- It acts as both a diary and a port-folio.
- It holds me accountable to myself – I keep saying I should swim more, i better make this a priority!
- It holds me accountable to others – It allows my friends and family to check in on what I’ve been up to.
- It helps me do the things I do better – when I reflect on my practice I can record areas for improvement.
Three EASY things I think everyone should do
1. *Create a category*. Right now you are leaving all of your posts as uncategorized by default. Differentiate the weekly reflection from other, more free form posts. Maybe you aren’t writing ‘weekly reflections’, maybe you are doing a group blogging question or re-telling your favorite joke. Wouldn’t you love to be able to look at all of those together? It’s easy to do.
[Note: You can always delete a category later. Something I probably need to do pretty soon, as categories are NOT the same as tags = level 3 spell]
2. *Create a (simple) TITLE format*. The less thinking required here, the better. Trying to think of a funny, witty title every week for a post who’s primary purpose is journaling/archiving is counter-productive. This could just be my preference, but I like to keep the catchy titles for stories/posts that I really WANT other people to read.
3. *Decide on content /framing/ in advance*.
The goal here is to prevent you from stopping and thinking too much. Think pieces get the catchy titles and respond to your passions and interests. Weekly reflections are simpler and serve different purposes. By framing things in advance you will end up writing more in your posts and worrying less about ‘what to write about’. Make things easier for yourself! [note: I may have over complicated my own post structure, be Agile].
So that’s my Think Piece blog post on Weekly Reflection Blog Posts. Meta. Disagree or have thoughts on anything in this post? COMMENT IS FREE.
One more thing before you all teleport back to your corner of the interwebz.
Be Agile To One Another!*
(*Intended as a hybridized DFTBA // Bill and Ted’s sign-off, does it work?)