You have a story inside you that you need to tell. More importantly, you have a story inside of you that is meaningful and will help people. It’s true for you and it is true for your students & co-workers as well. I’m begging you to be brave and share it.
As a teacher I realized that depositing a story inside the brain of a student is nowhere near as powerful as allowing students to tell their own. It may take a while to give them the confidence, and it may take a while for them to feel that people will listen to the story that they share, but once they do, it transforms the classroom. Once they have a story to share, they need way to get it out to the world, to construct a process to connect them to their audience.
How students choose to connect varies a lot. Some make movies. Some want to write children’s books. In recent years I saw a rise in the number of students who wanted to create songs to tell their stories. It all depends on their intended audience and how they can best be reached.
For the past decade or so, the way I share my story, and hear other people’s stories is through blogs. (And twitter and Instagram, but that’s a different post.)
If you look closely you can tell how long a person has been blogging by what platform they are using. Each blogging platform has had its day. New platforms come, new platforms go and they each have their day.
7 or eight years ago Blogger was a very popular choice. That’s where my first attempts attempts at professional writing began. At the same time, I regularly used “Posterous Spaces” for class projects. I learned a valuable lesson when Posterous Spaces and their innovative posting and sharing abilities, died a horrible death. I lost quite a bit of my best work as a teacher, including the EPIC “Assessing Holocaust Responsibility” project that started my collaboration with Greg Kulowiec.
Ultimately I moved on to WordPress, a site that I felt was more powerful in sharing and connecting my writing to the world. It is still the main landing pad for my writing. But that said, new products arise and my eyes wander. Lately I am infatuated with Medium for the simplicity of the service and the wide range of writing that is published there. For a moment, just a moment, I considered packing up and moving my blog to Medium.
Fortunately, I found a great tool that allows me to use both of these services, maintaining the tools, followers and connections that I built in WordPress with all of the things that I love about simple, qualities of Medium.
When my students began blogging in class, someone would inevitably lose their work when writing directly into the website. As a rule, I told my classes to do their writing into a Google Doc. It allowed them to proofread and prevented students from prematurely clicking publish before they had a product they were proud of. I still follow that advice. (Especially since when I hit publish, my writing is automatically shared to Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin.)
Using the WordPress.com for Google Docs add on in Google Docs, I can quickly upload my finished writing from a Doc to WordPress where it is saved as a draft. Then after looking it over, simply hit publish to share it with the world. It transfers formatting flawlessly and works well with embedded images.
Once an article is posted to WordPress, (or any other blogging portal), I use the simple Medium Import Tool to bring the work over to my Medium account.
This is another efficient tool, that in addition to bringing in links and photos, also credits the site where your work was originally published.
I am writing in a comfortable space that is efficient and protects my work, then publishing to a hub location that is prepared to share the finished product to an audience across social media and leveraging tools that streamline and simplify that process.
So how are you telling your story? Where can I go to hear it? What tools are you using to share it? Your story is too important to keep to yourself. Share your story.