Disrupting the Edu-Writer Persona: Some Reflections

There’s nothing like great professional development that returns me to this space. For the past six months, I have grappled and struggled through the reality of “educator as writer” in the digital spaces I navigate daily. I began this blog as an attempt to practice what I preach, and yet—time after time, writing is the thing that always gets pushed to the side.

Time. There never seems to be enough time. I’m constantly pushing writing aside for the other more seemingly urgent needs of my family, my colleagues, the teachers I support…pretty much any and every need except for that of myself.

But when I really consider my time, I don’t think that it’s the scheduling that really keeps me from opening up the browser and tapping key after key…I still struggle with that ridiculous demon of imposter syndrome, consistently feeling as though what I have to say is nothing new to the conversation, that someone has already written something more articulate and better-researched about whatever topic I’d like to approach.

I put a lot of pressure on myself to deliver “academic discourse.” As an educator, the personal of digital “edu-celebrity” is real. We see leaders in the field leading Twitter chats, each set of 280 characters full of insight, pushing the thinking of others in the field with each like and retweet. Each blog is full of hyperlinks, citations, current research in the field, student samples…and so much pressure on the educators like me who want to be a part of the conversation but feel just so inadequate to do so.

This post isn’t a solution to imposter syndrome by any means. It’s also not a criticism of the people who do such incredible work to write and inform on Twitter, blogs, etc. It’s more of a self-affirmation that I don’t have to be edu-famous, and that is okay.

I’m giving myself permission to write about things that I’m thinking, regardless of how long the conversations and research have been happening in the field of education or other.

I’m giving myself permission to write about non-education related things, to explore topics and ideas that are important to me not just as an educator, but as a human being.

I’m giving myself permission to write imperfectly, messy, redundantly.

Finally, I’m giving myself permission to write for myself, not for others. My top writing goal for 2020 is not to become published, acquire x amount of followers, subscribers, etc. My goal is to connect with my writerly identity: who is Caty Dearing, writer? What does she care about? What topics bring her joy, peace, satisfaction through the writing process?

If you’re like me and you need someone to give you permission, I invite you to join me. Let’s shift back to writing as an exploration of identity and thought together, casting off the pressures of the digital edusphere and see where writing for joy takes us.

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