Over the last few years, I’ve seen my energy level slowly decrease. It’s weird, only 10 years ago, I remember working all day, heading home and blogging 5-6 entries in a short time. These days, I find myself glad to crank out one blog entry per week. What happened? I suspect that maybe there is an energy vampire sucking my vitality and energy away. It’s quite funny when I reflect on my twenties, when I worked with 50 year old teachers and encouraged them to learn how to use technology.
“Come on, you can hang out for 2-3 hours after work! It will be fun and you’ll learn!”
“Miguel,” they would say to me, dark circles under their eyes, “Ok, we’ll come but you have no idea what you’re asking.”
We’d laugh and off we would go to learn how to manage a gradebook, or use a word processor, or, integrate technology. Ah, what fun we had.
Wouldn’t it be neat to plant a wooden stake in the heart of the energy vampire, decapitating that vampire so it could never siphon precious life essence? Of course it would!
Here are some ways I re-energize:
1) Read two divergent blog entries, then bridge the gap between them. Nothing gets your blood flowing again like an argument, or trying to bring to disparate concepts, ideas or points of view into alignment. Instead of just disagreeing with someone else’s blog entry, blend an opposing viewpoint into your entry then build a bridge.
Another approach is to bridge the distance between experience and research. For example, did you know teenagers, as a result of their under-developed brains, take more risks than adults?
Last night while driving home after a long evening out with my wife, we noticed a young lady clad in dark clothing walking along the unpaved path of the road near a forested area. She could disappear from one moment to the next and never be seen again! Who would know? Then, my wife and I wondered, how long before our children reached the “safe zone” of adulthood, where their fears might counterbalance their youthful recklessness?
2) Drink a cup of coffee in the evening. I’ve found that some of my best writing in the evenings come AFTER I drink a cup of coffee. I wasn’t much of a coffee drinker in my younger days. In fact, I didn’t drink any coffee until my mid-forties. My Keurig machine, the Hazelnut Cappuchino, all conspire to keep me going in the evenings.
3) Exercise. Ok, I’ve been a bit of a backslider on my exercises, but a vigorous exercise will certainly get my blood pumping. It may also wear me out, but hey, some of one’s best writing comes when you’re exhausted. Weariness pushes down on you like a wet blanket allowing a different perspective.
4) Skip twitter and read RSS feeds. As wonderful as Twitter chats are, they all end up “wrapping up” ideas into 140 characters. The point of blogging isn’t to wrap it up, but to crack it wide open. Reading other blogs can re-introduce you to the blogging patterns. One pattern that becomes readily apparent is the blogger’s penchant for numbered or bulleted lists.
The list approach is my favorite to write (in fact, this blog entry is a list article) because it is so simple. Here are the steps I follow, honed after 100+ published articles following this formula or some variation thereof:
- Start out with an engaging question, quote, or scenario.
- Develop a list of follow-up questions (e.g. frequently asked questions are a good source of these kinds of questions) off the main topic. For maximum effect, you will want to develop an engaging quote, or scenario for each question before offering a short, pithy solution.
- Conclude with a short summary or end with the final question that references how you started the article.
Give it a try! You can make a list about anything!
5) Change your schedule. Now that evenings are such a sleepy time for me, I have found that blogging early morning works quite well. On weekends, which is when I do most of my blogging, I am able to write in the morning time before breakfast. And, after long naps in the afternoon, I can blog in the evening while watching the latest sci-fi/vampire/werewolf flick on Netflix or Hoopla.
These are 5 ways that I manage to slay the energy vampire that sucks the life out of my blog. Of course, you can always choose to add blogging to your “stop doing” list of things to do. But then, how will you get all that reflecting on learning done?
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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure