Monday, May 16, 2011

Measuring My Writing

In The Inclined Plane---Or Raising Chickens, C. Hope Clark-Blue Tape MeasureStyle from Sioux's Page, Sioux asks,        

“As writers, how do we measure the work we do?  Do we solely count up the places where we've been published?  Do we tally up the hours we spend on writing every week?  Do we count up the "tasks" we accomplish every week  ( __ queries sent off, ___ submissions mailed, ___ many rough drafts started, and so on)?
         And what work do we consider the most difficult?  The students discovered that the same amount of work was being done each time (the length of the ramp was unchanged) but the work was easier to do when the ramp was gentle versus steep. What is the most difficult work you do as a writer?”

In order for me to measure my writing, I need to decide on a few things.

· What is my purpose?

· Who is my audience?

· How will I communicate my thoughts?

· How committed am I to what I am writing about?

My overall purpose is to share my thoughts and ideas mainly about teaching, sometimes about life in general with others.

My audience is mostly educators or anyone interested in education.

I want to communicate my thoughts by sharing from my point of view, by including examples from my personal experiences.

I have to believe in what I’m writing about. I have to believe that what I’m sharing is important.

I have a self imposed schedule of writing Monday through Friday with weekends off. This works for me because I am a schedule oriented person and I like things to run on clockwork. It stresses me out if I can’t figure out a schedule for myself and then this stress would keep me from writing. Having a schedule also helps me plan my writing and looking constantly for new ideas, inspirations, motivations about topics to write about.

As my subscribers grow and comments come in, I feel that is an indication that my writing is improving. Compliments sent to me by my readers makes me feel so thrilled that it is like an enhancement to my writing. These things make me want to write more. It is a validation that my ideas and thoughts are being heard and people are willing to enter the conversation with me. It is also thrilling when I’m reading someone else’s blog and see them refer to my blog in their post! (That sounds so conceited, doesn’t it?!)

Some days the thoughts just roll off my head like a roller coaster out of control. Other times I know what I want to say but it just doesn’t come out right or easy. It takes lots of revisions to make it come out the way I want. Sometimes I just have to accept that the last version is the best that I can do and throw it out for all to see. I’m constantly amazed that the posts I think would interest the most people don’t seem to cause a ripple and others that I think might not matter to others causes the biggest impact.

I grew up in a world where you don’t rock the boat. My high level classes were more of rote memorization and regurgitation of learning with very little critical thinking. My writing has pushed me into the world of critical thinking. I constantly struggle to find out how I feel about different topics and other people’s beliefs. Then when I decide if I agree or disagree, I force myself to show why I feel this way. This is the hardest part of writing for me. It is hard for me to write my thoughts clearly and not doubt or second guess myself when I do this. Writing for everyone else to see makes me feel so vulnerable. What if someone disagrees with me! I am learning to find myself through my writing and I feel like I am growing into my own skin every day.

When I first started, I couldn’t imagine myself writing on a regular basis. Now I can’t imagine myself NOT writing on a regular basis. I guess for me that this is the true measurement. I can read my earlier posts and actually see how much I’ve grown and improved, not just in my writing but also in my own person.

So, how do you measure your writing? Please share!

(A thank you goes out to Sioux who is constantly inspiring me and motivating me to grow! If you get a chance, please check out her blog because I feel it is a must read!)

Posted on the Successful Teaching Blog by loonyhiker (successfulteaching at gmail dot com).

Original image: 'Blue Tape Measure' by: Darren Hester

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