As I get lost in Corridor in the Asylum, by Vincent van Gogh, knowing that the artist sent this drawing to his brother, Theo, as a record of his surroundings, I can’t help but connect the image as a personal mind-mirror, as a realistic representation of what it feels like to be a new blogger. I’ve read on various blogs that it can take one-to-two years for you to build an audience. One-to-two years!!! In a world where social media brings instant likes, comments, smiley-faces, and a feeling of-hey, someone-is-paying-attention-to-you, time becomes a labyrinth, an Alice in Wonderland rabbit hole of self-doubt that resurrects the five-headed-inner-editor-monster that hibernates in us all.
Despite the expert knowledge of all of those who’ve blogged before me, knowing that people are not ready to consume every hyphenated description I write, some other creature inside of me is excited and aspires to write. Yesterday morning, as I did my Twitter scroll, @KellyGtoGo tweets:
The Best Writing Teachers Are Writers Themselves https://t.co/K25yFlrb4f
— Kelly Gallagher (@KellyGToGo) February 11, 2017
In an argument for teachers to resist prescriptive writing and allow for and encourage personal reflection as part of the classroom experience, Cindy O’Donnell-Allen begins her thoughtful article by writing, “I was a closet writer from an early age. In the second grade I wrote a poem for my classmate Patrick O’Neal, who sat alone everyday on the playground, but I didn’t give it to him” (The Atlantic). Similarly, in my early elementary school years, I was a professional Cat Detective who, with a notebook, tracked the neighborhood cats, and wrote avidly about my adventures. Writing was something fun, something I chose to do, without an assignment.
What does this mean and how does it impact me?
- Teachers need a chance to develop a new writing pedagogy. O’Donnell-Allen wrote her article in part to promote the benefits of the National Writing Project as a life-long opportunity of professional development for teachers, by teachers, to create meaningful writing experiences for teachers. I’ve participated in the Cal State Northridge Writing Project with @KathleeRowlands, and since the training I’ve had countless opportunities to write, collaborate, and commune with teachers from a variety of grades, contents, and locations.
- Sometimes we have to write for ourselves, first. I had planned to write a more ‘academic’ post, since this blog is my Master’s Project, but I sat for nearly an hour at a coffee shop, neither drinking my soy-white-mocha-burn-my-tongue-off-hot, nor writing. My planned blog title, “Blogging as PD? TBD” might still appear one day, I just couldn’t do it today.
- Writing is joyful! I started this blog talking about how long it takes to build an audience, and yet, that is not what motivates me to write consistently. I write because I’ve always written. I write because I love to create. And who knows, it may be time to bring back the Cat Detective!