Blogging Habits (2)

by Zhenya

The title might also say something like this: Blogging Habits 2, and Other Related Thoughts. Why so? Because after posting Blogging Habits (1), reading to the comments from the readers as well as responses posted on the other blogs (you will find all the links in the first blog post) I feel I learned much more than the answers to the questions I was initially asking. To be completely honest, I also learned a great deal from the process of responding to the comments and from commenting on the other sites (and reading the comments there, of course — and the chain can continue!) I suddenly realize now that if someone has been following this Blogging Habits exchange on Twitter, for example, and reading everything I was saying about my own thoughts on the matter, they may have already guessed what my answers would be.

So, below you can see my answers to the questions about blogging habits, thoughts, tips I had asked, and some more (hopefully related) thoughts

What are your 2-3 favorite blog habits/rituals you find helpful?

  1. Creating drafts: making lists of possible posts (titles, brief initial notes, quotes, links, etc.) This whole process to me is a kind of ‘pre-writing process’ and it can happen at any time of my day, and can even be in the middle of another activity I am doing. If I have a bunch of small pieces of paper, I put them together (envelope or a paper clip — anything to indicate that they are related) and then when I think I am going to start ‘writing’ I sit down and copy those notes into a new Word document. If I started a draft on my computer, it is just easier.

  2. Bringing something to write on and something to write with anywhere I go (the funny extremes are a couple of times when was running with a pencil and some cue cards in my pocket, which I think was actually too much!) Having my writing tools easily available makes me feel comfortable about the ‘idea fairy’** who may find me away from the desk, and I don’t want her to leave.

** I actually rely on the Idea Fairy a lot. I came across this idea (sorry for the tautology) in a book by Richard Bach, can’t remember which one, and I really like this metaphor.

What are 1-2 blog habits you find less helpful (and would like to get rid of in the new year?)

  1. procrastinating** with the actual writing process (finding the specific moment when ‘enough is enough’ in terms of thoughts, links, ideas, etc. Reminder to myself: do a bad first draft, because you can’t edit a blank page (can’t remember who told me this — but ca’t agree more!)

  2. (lack of) self-editing skills — stop being impatient and make a conscious effort to work on the quality of my writing, possibly through reading more articles about editing skills, letting someone read and ask for feedback before or after publishing (Have I just switched into ‘what I would like to be doing instead’?)

** I am wondering if this procrastinating might be linked to my initial perception of blogging as a Professional Development tool, or a very serious thing. I think this is changing now: even though I see how the writing process in this space is going to help me develop as a teacher/trainer, etc. I also see how enjoyable it can be! No reason to delay the fun part 🙂

By the way, what is blogging? I searched briefly for possible definitions of the blogging genre, and saw that there is not so much on this topic, to my surprise. I found a short post by Paul Bradshaw from 2008 helpful It is called An attempt to define blogging as a genre. The key words (or the words that describe blogging) from this post are: conversational, social, networked, incomplete, open, ongoing, personal and informal. I agree with them all. One quote from the author: It is about process, not product. It is about a shared space. Apologies for stating the obvious for some (many?) of you — but I realized that this is a confirmation of my own beliefs about blogging, and I am happy about this validation!

(and now back on track)

What is one new idea (tip, habit) you would like to start in 2015?

Making writing a part of my daily routine (even it is not exactly a post I am planning to publish that day or week) I actually dream to have written more than I can publish, and create a choice for myself by reading critically through what I wrote and making final edits before it goes to my readers; I am wondering about the spontaneity of the blogging process in this case (as in the definition above), but I would like to see how it works for me. One possible way to try it is writing first thing in the morning (inspired by the fantastic Dawn Wink’s post on getting organized and planning for the coming year – dreams and deadlines.


Learning from this experience, and Final Thoughts

  1. It is so much fun when my fellow bloggers responded to the questions I asked, and when I saw that the word started to spread and there are now 4 posts sharing blogging habits and styles (and much more than that, if you see that the comments made can easily be treated as blog posts!

  2. Mike Griffin, whose blog I regularly read and admire for many things, reminded me about the importance to make a move from planning to acting: He left a comment on my post last week saying that he hopes to write one (or more?) posts in Korean. Now, he has already done this – please check hereBy the way, from Mike’s blog I am learning numerous examples of genres and formats for blog posts (lists, questions, interviewing other people, semi-fiction posts, stories, and many many more fantastic ideas!)

  3. Just as I was going to hit ‘publish’, my WordPress Reader showed that a new post by Anna Loseva arrived. It is also about blogging and bloggers, however, she is inviting a very different level (or layer?) of discussion, so… maybe this is going to be another interactive blogging exchange to take part in?

Thank you all for reading, and hope our conversations will continue!

Updates added later

Yes, the sharing and learning goes on! I am adding more links below:

Sandy Millin joined us by answering the initial questions and reminding about the interview she gave at IATEFL 2014 (you will find the link in her post!)

Alexandra (whose great blog ELT Diary I discovered only recently) shared her ideas On Blogging 

Micaela (whose blog I have been enjoying a lot) wrote a post called Blogging Habits Ramble, and Joanna added hers – please check Blogging Confessions on her blog.