I have a couple of blogs. One for a class, one for Saint Michael’s Admission and this one, which I’ve had for a while, but have largely ignored.
Writing is something that I’ve always loved to do. I’ve also hated it. It’s a terrible chore for me, but at the same time, it’s often my best medium of communication. It happens so often, I sit down to write, and immediately, I feel like a garden hose, stuffed with dirt, or kinked, with water straining to get through the blockage to the other side.
There is no better motivation for me to check faded items off of old to do lists than the prospect of having to write – especially write something that will be read by an audience. Yes, even a 2 – 3 page reflection paper will encourage me to clean out the pellet stove, help my wife with the laundry, shovel the off the porch, brush the dogs, walk the dogs, brush the cat, change the litter box and a handful of otherwise forgettable chores.
Blogging, it will come as no surprise, is something that I had done rather infrequently in the past. Perhaps I’d be in a class that required it, or perhaps, that clog in the garden hose would give way from the pressure and the creative water would flow, exploding from the hose in a quick burst and then returning to a slow trickle. But by forcing myself to blog a few times a week, I have found that the hose clogs less frequently, inspiration comes less sporadically, and I believe I’m writing better than I did before I blogged. It has become harder now to find the time to get all of my ideas out than it has been to come up with them.
I think this is because it forces me to reflect. It is easy to slip into the habit of going through the day in a totally reactive manner or to go through the day in a routine – going through the motions. Stress and a hectic work day increase the probability. By taking time to sit, reflect, and write (perhaps not in that order) you develop a greater sense of self awareness, I find I’m able to glean lessons and insights almost every day.
I have to think that this would be a beneficial practice in a classroom. I can think of plenty of articles and books that I’ve read, and almost immediately forgotten. It is information that I may have stored in short term memory, but it didn’t stick. I have to believe that if I took the time to reflect on the material in a blog (and it wouldn’t have to been a huge entry rather just a few sentences to summarize key points) the information would stay with me longer. Students I’m sure would find this beneficial. Best of all, by far the biggest benefit is that it would create a habit of writing and reflecting, and it is so much a habit.