My Return to Blogging in 2023

BEFORE the start of this year I had taken a three year hiatus from blogging. The reasons for this extended break were varied, but one of those central reasons stemmed from a heretofore unacknowledged fear of writing. For a long time I had trained myself to think of writing for publication as a practice which I could only fulfill if I was doing extensive research or extensive textual analysis—in most cases both. I was too concerned with the end product to allow myself much freedom to think about and enjoy the writing process—my writing process.

My realization about this unacknowledged fear came to me as a read a passage from Vicki Spandel’s The 9 Rights of Every Writer. In this particular passage Spandel’s assertions that student writers need to spend more time writing while being assessed less struck a chord in me,

“When everything (or almost everything) students write is assessed, they learn to be careful. They write to please the assessor. They keep their writing short so there will be less to assess and write in generalities so no one will take offense. They use words they can spell and avoid punctuation that they feel unsure of. They minimize voice in order to sound “objective.” They choose topics they think others will approve of. In short, they do the very things that make strong writing performance all but impossible (69).”

While Spandel is here speaking of student writers I could see how a continued practice of assessments could negatively impact the writing quality and practices of writers from across all levels of experience and professionalism. Although in my case I did not have an assessor I had at some point become my own most terrible assessor. With the awareness that my work was going to be viewed and read by people from across the world I had learned to be too “careful” about minimizing my voice and choosing topics would be not be deemed as too offensive by some groups or individuals. In short I had made, “strong writing performance all but impossible” for myself, and I could see that in the end product.

It is for this reason then that this year I gave myself up to the task of writing with what may seem a bit more liberty. Beyond choosing to write heavily in the first person I gave myself permission to publish blogs that I knew were not from in perfect form (and I urge my readers to comment on my errors). This I knew, but I wanted to shed myself of those those self-restrictive habits I had developed. In the process I wrote about my experiences as a digital writer, about my experiences with books and reading, about my experiences as reader, and about my experiences as writer and content creator. If I was rate these blog posts under the “best of” categories of,

Multimodal design
Civic engagement

I would rate my most professional blog “The Process Behind My Academic Writing.” This has been my most viewed blog up to date and people seem to appreciate content that touches on the technicalities of academic composition. As “best” for multimodal design I wold nominate, “Dry: A Book Trailer.” Although this was one of my most time consuming projects, it allowed to work with a script, videos, images, and music. For this reason I would also nominate, “Dry: A Book Trailer” as my most creative. By working with different types of media this project allowed me interpret and adapt a written text into a visual one. I can not say I have a best one for civic engagement, but I was inspired to be more active in environmental civic engagement. In this case I would nominate Adam Kirchbaum’s booktalk post as best civic engagement. His post reminded of the importance of water protection—in my case the protection of the Great Lakes.