I talk a lot about personal experiences , writing, teaching, and feelings about life. Selfishly, I admit I use it as a free-writing exercise to jump start my day of writing, except for Sundays when I give you a short story. (It’s kind of my day off.) But what is it I am creating? What do I offer my readers so they return? Who am I in the blogging world?
I keep pursuing this quest, because I know one elements of a good blog is focus. So far, I admit, I haven’t found it, so I’m asking for help.
I know the world HAS to be compartmentalized in order to process the flood of information we receive each day. In my University Communication theory classes, this was one important concept that was frequently discussed. But the nucleolus of the program was the theory that REALITY IS SOCIALLY CONSTRUCTED! Boiling this theory down simply means that because of our upbringing, socioeconomic status, experiences, and education, we all process the information that hits us daily differently.
Let me give you an example.
In December I posted a piece entitled, “Good By and Good Luck.” Most of my readers thought it was a very positive post about wishing my students a good educational future as they left my class. I say “most” of my readers, because there was one–Markus–who was very angry with me. Clearly, I meant no disrespect for any of my students, but looking into my crystal ball, I knew they all would not make it through college. Markus blasted me for being a poor teacher.
“Don’t ever underestimate your students. Your just one teacher and this is one class… NOT their future.”
He had a point. From his world, I was an uncaring, untalented bitch who limited my students. NOT TRUE. But because of my background, I knew his anger was more about him than it was about me, so I posted his comment and came back at him with one of my own. I wrote several paragraphs taking his criticisms one-by-one with further explanation. (If he had been reading my blog, he would have known how much I cared about the students in my class–but it was clear this was his first time making my acquaintance.) I finished my reply with this:
“So, Markus — take your anger out on someone else. There’s a big, wide world out there that would appreciate comments such as yours. Just get all the facts before you spew your crap.
Luckily, Markus was brave enough to swallow his pride and comment one more time.
Mrs. McCloskey, I applaud your efforts to reach the world through your teachings and your books. I too stand to learn something from you as I periodically browse through. I can’t promise I won’t challenge you or you challenge me, but you won’t receive any angry unwanted rants or replies from me. Fair enough?”
His post did something very important for me. It helped me realize I can’t be everything to everybody. So, I will keep searching for a “category,” as I post each day and wander through the blogging wilderness to try to find my niche. I’m in for a long journey. But, I am a woman, and I do stop and ask for directions.