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Guest Thinkers

For me, the medium matters

[Since CoComment won’t play nice, here’s my response to Clay Burell’s post]

When I started blogging in August 2006, I was feeling very down about the idea of writing. The range of acceptability of style and form in academic writing is pretty narrow. The belief of my peers that publication in peer-reviewed journals was the only writing that was worthwhile also was very constraining, particularly since the educators that I’m trying to reach don’t read those publications. I was struggling to find meaning and value in what I was supposed to be writing.

Blogging cured me of my writing blahs. It provided me with an outlet that fits me like a glove, helped me discover my writing voice, and made me realize that I LOVE to write – indeed, maybe LIVE to write – if given the proper medium. A few months of blogging also gave me the courage to say:

This is who I am. This is what I’m all about. I’m a practitioner-oriented professor trying to facilitate change in schools. I’m a professor who thinks that there is unbelievable power in the ‘Social Web’ and I am going to try to figure it out, regardless of what others think. If U. Minnesota won’t reward that, it’s time to find a place that will. And the hell with those who think I’m moving down the institutional pecking order. What matters is job/life satisfaction and I’m going to find it.

So it turns out that I am a writer after all. I just didn’t know it because I had been trying to follow someone else’s writing paradigm, one that didn’t fit me very well. I’m lucky that my new university, Iowa State, finds value in what I do. And I’m lucky to live in a time when these self-publication tools are so readily available. ‘Cause I’m going to milk them for all they’re worth.


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