Sources of inspiration and getting it down.
Get this for a start: Use of Blogs (2006) Axel Bruns and Joanna Jacobs.
It persuades you why to blog. Each chapter is written like an academic paper - an essay at least. Chapter 5 I found I was copying out verbatim (which I can't do here). Go see 'Can Blogging Unspin PR' Trevor Cook.
Your starting off point can be anything at all, once you start (for me at least) it is like opening a vein.
Who cares if it is a note to yourself. If it’s work or course work remember that you can compose then recraft as often as you like; what is more, you can turn access on or off as you please too – even allow comments as you please – with other blog platforms the list of linking choices is as broad as the destination board at Heathrow – you can ‘blog’ to a person, a group, people in different groups and so on (though this is a level of complication may turn the novice off).
If you are at all stuck for content ideas then my suggestions are:
1) Write about the deep past (everything you write is of course in the past) – what this might means is thinking of your earliest experiences of whatever your blog may be about – if it is about education then try these:
2) Your best friend at nursery school
3) Your first day at school
4) The funniest thing that your witnessed or did at school
5) The first thing you learnt and how
6) Add a caption to an old photograph then expand these thoughts into the era.
7) A birthday party
8) A Christmas
9) A first book
All of these are possible jumping off points; once you’re in flight you’ll be surprised how easy it is to steer back to where you had planned to be - who cares about the journey you took to get there – you can leave it in or edit out the first paragraph / chapter.
If you kept a diary at any time in your life – milk it! Put it up, selectively, verbatim and / or relived – you can even retrofit the date.
Getting it down
There is a beauty and simplicity to pen/pencil onto paper. Personally I find typing it up afterwards tedious and will find myself inevitably expanding beyond the way the thing was initially written. The mistake here is that you can/do with ease turn a natural, conversational flow of thoughts into something else – verbose at best, disjoined at worst. You then get into editing and saving sections/chunks for future entries.
Ideally, whether you have notes, an essay plan or mind map to guide you, I’d recommend typing directly into the Blank Box. The QWERTY keyboard is a piano keyboard and you’re playing a ditty or having a jam.
Most blog platforms have ample editing tools, the only warning is to save regularly in some if you are prone to distraction.
Even back up onto a clipboard or Word, though personally I’m not a fan of overworking a piece in Word first.
Have a notepad, record a thought on paper or into a digital recorder, have a device that you can readily use on the go – my most fruitful blogging years were when I had a Psion – I could type this spec-case sized device and draw it into my Mac to upload.
I’ll discover in due course an iPad can offer this facility – I believe it will (and some).
A final thought for now – if you can touch-type and write stream of consciousness then how many words can you get down in so many minutes?
Let’s say you think at FIVE words a second, talk at THREE words a second and type at 40-60 words a minute. In theory in five minutes you can blog between 200 and 300 words. Perfect length. Have a plan, three or so points to make and fire away.
Thank youAfter your recommendation of Engestroms book 'From Teams to Knots', which is turning out to be everything you said it was I have ordered 'Uses of Blogs'. Really appreciate your willingness to share, always enjoy reading your blog and always end up getting side tracked from the H800 course work.
Joanne, thanks for stopping by to leave a comment. These are very rare! I'm coming to see huge value in sharing books we like, even thinking that the sinmplicity of an excellent course book is of huge value. Imagine if we had a handful of books, or just one, that would be referred to over the 12+ weeks. How and when I share my notes on 'Blogs and Bloggin' I don't know - I've filled both sides of an 80 page shorthand note pad. I might even buy an e-Book version and start again as the software collates your highlights (you don't have to take notes), your notes go directly into your e-book (or are associated with it) and I can even send notes as messages to Twitter from the Kindle!
A note to myself about the value of comments 1) I had missed this comment because the OU Blog platform doesn't allow you to have comment alerts 2) seeing a comment promoted me to re-read first and edit (two spelling mistakes and some phraseology was improved).
Keep in touch, Jonathan.