Get it down. Take chances. It may be bad, but it’s the only way you can do anything really good. ~ William Faulkner
For me, 2014 has been a year of writing thoughtfully, reflectively and introspectively.
As always I have been writing unit plans, assessments and resources for my students. I have been writing 140 character tweets, and participating more and more in education Twitter chats (such as #satchat #sunchat #aussieED #whatisschool and #BFC530). I have started a blog in which I have been experimenting with voice and purpose. I have been writing my PhD, which is currently at almost 80,000 words. As part of my PhD I have written a self-study chapter in which I reflect on myself as learner, educator and leader.
2015 will be my year of writing abundantly, boldly and dangerously.
In 2015 I will need to write abundantly. I will need to write words and words of thesis. I will need to pen some papers on my research. I will need to write applications and abstracts for education and research conference presentations. I will write blog posts. I will write tweets.
Each form of writing is a different kind of therapy. I am prone to over-wordiness (I love words!), to verbosity, to an inability to be concise. Thankfully, Twitter is therapy for the verbose. To distil thoughts into 140 character bites is to crystallise thinking down to its essence. I am never more concise than when I tweet. Blogging allows personal exploration of ideas in an informal space. My blog is where I can explore ideas in greater depth than a tweet, but in more informal ways than in academic writing. My thesis is the place where I get to burrow into challenging writing problems and thrash around, working hard until I break through and find a solution. The PhD is writing friend and nemesis, a beast I have to wrestle into its cave, clay I have to mould into its form (or is that stone I have to hack at until it takes shape?).
And the more I write, the more my writerly-self expands and transforms, like a shape shifter, always taking new forms in organic, non-linear ways. I am a hybrid writing being who writes as educator, school leader, researcher and bloggess. 2015 lays the challenge of balancing these overlapping writing selves.
I will need to be bold in my writing in 2015.
I will need to be boldly honest, self-reflective, self-revealing and authentically-voiced in my blog posts, and in the conversations which bloom from those. I will need to be willing to disagree in Twitter conversations, in order to promote robust discussion instead of an inward-looking echo chamber of the same voices saying the same things.
In my third (and hopefully final) year of my PhD study I will need to be self-assured in discussing the contribution of my work. I will need to be confident in communicating in my own academic voice.
Yet in my boldness I will need to be sensitive to ethical issues such as how to tell others’ stories while protecting their anonymity and the authenticity of their words. Part of the reason I choose to blog and tweet under a pseudonomic identity is to protect my research participants. So boldness needs to be tempered with thoughtfulness.
Language is power. Words are tools. As a teacher of English and Literature part of my job is to help students to understand how language works (functionally, socially and globally), and help them to develop the capability to use its power to communicate, share, converse, discuss, disagree and disrupt.
Writing can be dangerous. It can be disruptive. It can be transformational for writer and reader. It can change individuals, groups, organisations and the world.
2015 is the year for all researchers, bloggers, tweeters and writers (or ‘those who write’, but don’t think of themselves as ‘writers’ as Pat Thomson explains in this post) to write fearlessly and compassionately, abundantly and concisely, reflectively and dangerously. I’m going to give it my best shot.
A writer never has a vacation. For a writer life consists of either writing or thinking about writing. ~ Eugene Ionesco