Recently someone asked me how I can possibly write almost every day on the same topic. The question hadn’t occurred to me before, because with the exception of a handful of days where what I wanted to write about would’ve gotten me in trouble, I never have a problem finding a topic related to our experiences as life learners.
To be honest, this blog began as a writing exercise; could I discipline myself enough to write something every day? Procrastination is the art and bane of many writers – they have a lot to say but just can’t make themselves sit down every day and put words on the page, or in this case on the screen. The blog was a way to get myself writing, and I chose a topic that I felt would be easiest to maintain since it is an integral part of our lives. I don’t think I would have been as successful if I’d chosen, say, ‘gardening for city-dwellers’ as my topic. Waaay too far out of my comfort zone.
It is amazing, though, because now that I write this blog every day I also work on my fiction every day, and feel weird on the days that I don’t write. Funny how that happens, because before I started this blog I might have said I didn’t really have time to write, which I might have even believed but which would obviously have been a big fat lie. It’s not about time; it’s about priority.
But whatever the initial impetus for this blog, it has also come to serve another purpose for me personally. Yes, it allows me to voice my views on learning and education and how we deal with those things in our family, but it has also become a way for me to check in with myself at the end of each day. This is particularly effective on days that I perceive as trying; I’m grumpy, I can’t wait for everyone to go to bed, etc. Then I sit down to write, and I’m able to assess the day from a slightly saner point of view. Usually what happens is I notice that things went pretty well – the kids are happy and healthy and enjoyed themselves – and so what am I complaining about? (Sometimes I complain anyway – or I find something to criticize – but that’s ok, right? I know I get sick of people who never admit to any rough patches – nobody is THAT perfect!)
Green Mangoes also helps me write my quarterly reports for the DOE. (That’s the Department of Education, which in England is the DFE, or the Department for Education, which sounds odd, doesn’t it? ) Gee, what did we do on May 1st? Check the archives! Also, because I know I’m going to write about life learning, it motivates me to pay more attention – be aware of how Maya and Ben learn and what sparks their interests. It’s something I do anyway, but writing about it brings it into focus and sometimes I’ll be in the middle of an entry and think “Ohhh, that’s what was going on today!”
So I suppose you might say this blog is a selfish pursuit. It gets me writing and thinking and ties up all the loose ends each day. And I enjoy it, so there’s that, too. And if I’m really lucky, some people checking in enjoy it as well.