……and why ‘King Nose’ stays undiscovered?
For today’s Guest blog for MOOC participants it gives me great pleasure to introduce Svetlanta Kandybovich. I noticed Svetlanta during my Fall Blog Festival webinar when she told us that she’d started blogging just three days earlier. She made some fascinating comments during the webinar, and as par for the course, we connected on facebook afterwards to discuss blogging, life and the universe.
Svetlanta is certainly bringing us universal perspectives here today, wrapped up in the story of her relationship with thinking, living and blogging.
It all starts with some paleontology as Svetlanta digs deeply into her own hidden reluctance to unleash her blogging beast.
Take it away Svetlanta:
Scientists have recently discovered a brand new dinosaur, called Rhinorex Condrupus, or “King Nose” in lay man’s terms. Actually, the 75 million year-old dinosaur (or what was left of it) was unearthed some 30 years ago but was completely forgotten about until recently when scientists pieced the royal fossils together again. It is probably pointless to try and find reasons why they kept putting off the reconstruction of poor King Nose for so long, leaving it in the dark.
What matters most is that it was finally found and put on display for the public.
This is what they think it would have looked like – the big picture after reconstruction.
Image credit: © Julius Csotonyi.
We all have our “King Nose” moments at some point of our life.
My King Nose was put together three days ago.
It got the name of ELT-CATION in memory of my unforgettable summer vacation with an unlimited number of flights, “flying high” with iTDi and WizIQ, my first PechaKucha online and first acquaintance with our online community of wonderful educators . We spent the summer busily tweeting, facebooking, supporting, sharing and re-sharing.
My King Nose was the blog I had never started.
The thoughts, feelings and ideas that I had never reconstructed for my own understanding.
Well, here they are.
My new blog called ELT-CATION also got its name in honor of my vocation and just because all other blog names with the key words such as “ELT”, “all people are equal, but only the finest become teachers” and the like had already been taken.
The decision to start a blog was not spontaneous. The idea of blogging would come to me from time to time. However, whenever I had a sudden urge to become a blogger I would immediately come up with a good excuse or a bunch of good excuses for actually not doing it.
My top five favorites included the following:
1. I have no time.
I am busy and important. I teach, I train, I facilitate, I organize, I translate, I assist, I do a million other things during the course of a day, and on top of all that I have a family. I have too much on my plate. Add blogging to that and I would have no time to sleep.
(Note from the author: Here the reader should start sobbing convulsively).
With all due respect to all those writing odes to the “real world” and “online heaven”, the latter is not the other world you simply dive into. Time does not stop or slow down waiting for you to get back and resume your life again. The laws of time apply here just as anywhere else with the only exception that the time spent online flies much faster. Nevertheless, even if I had some precious five minutes to spare and blog about something, I could always resort to my second best excuse.
3. I don’t like talking to “the universe”.
When I was a kid, my great grandma (a woman of strong character, will and determination) kept repeating one rule – never ever talk to strangers. She never mentioned blogging though. However, posting and sharing your thoughts with the public may be equal to an open invitation to all strangers of the world to come and talk to you.
Then again, even if I decided to step into the unknown……
3. I wouldn’t know what to write about.
Kurt Vonnegut gave a brilliant piece of advice to all aspiring writers –
“use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted”.
Now, when do we know our time was not wasted?
Either when we get intellectual stimulus, or when we have some fun. To achieve that I have to make sure my posts are about something relevant (and oozing intelligence), have an element of hilarity and can make a difference.
Which part of my life could actually be used for that ?
My past or present research
What I do in the classroom
Everyday victories and failures
Ideas, just ideas or super dooper ideas
Ideas about one topic, a few topics or topics kindly generated by blog post ideas and topics generators?
Anyways, let’s assume I’ve found the topic to “cover the real stuff” and make art of my everyday life as a busy bee……
4. What if nobody likes what I write?
Time and time again, I would be worried that others would be critical of my writing because it isn’t any good. Yes, despite blogging gurus saying that we write for ourselves to untap our hidden (in some tough cases really well-hidden) writing potential and for the sake of the aesthetic experience, my “make a difference” crusade will not move an inch unless I get some followers, i.e. the audience supporting and showering me with some “top notch!”, “right on!”, “fantastic!” comments and billions of likes.
What are the chances of getting a follower with over 110 million blogs already in existence?
Wait…. is it ……
No, absolutely not. It is the voice of logic. With the 7-billion population of the world, I could probably rely on a slim chance of getting at least one follower who will accidentally come to my page and decide to leave the “like” footprint there. And in the extreme case of luck, I may also get a comment from this follower saying he or she will be back because “the stuff you write is great”.
Yet, on the other hand there will always be the creme de la crème – mega popular and charismatic bloggers with extraordinary stories, huge audiences and millions of loyal fans. Now, close your eyes and describe what you see.
I see Breakfast at Tiffany’s rain scene with the only exception that instead of the wet and skinny kitten, I am holding my teeny-tiny blog trying to keep it alive.
(Image credit: Pedro Veneroso)
These five reasons may be added to a million other reasons, but they alone are already more than enough to bury King Nose where it was found. …..
Until one day you meet someone who has put the fossils together in his or her backyard and invited his friends or strangers to come and share his achievement. And while enjoying the party you will realise that no one had ever expected Pulitzer Prize-level writing from you and you are not there to attract a lot of attention and have tons of followers (unless that is actually your main aim).
The only thing needed is to enjoy the process.
That’s what matters.
My King Nose got pieced together three days ago. Our journey has just begun and I have no idea what is awaiting us in future, but I am enjoying the ride.
About Svetlana Kandybovich:
Svetlana is a teacher, teacher trainer and materials writer. She has been teaching English as a foreign language for seventeen years and has taught every age group and every skill level. She has also conducted teacher training in Belarus, Montenegro, and at many national and international conferences. She is the author of four course books for teaching English for specific purposes (Business English; English for PR; English for management and marketing). She’s working as an expert of the British Council in Montenegro in the areas of impact assessment and leadership teacher training
Special thanks to Svetlanta for her humorous, wise reflection on what prevents us from blogging.
It seems that ‘time’ is the biggest factor that gets in the way.
People ask me this a lot. My answer is that I just love blogging.
No one asks politicians how they have time to play golf, do they?
My advice is this.
If you have time, blog.
If you don’t have time, but spend time watching TV, surfing the net mindlessly, or reading horoscopes, then that might be a sign that you need to blog;)
Seriously, the only satisfactory answer I ever found for myself or anyone else came from Charles Bukowski on ‘The ideal conditions and myths of creativity’.
“No baby, if you’re going to create
you’re going to create whether you work
16 hours a day in a coal mine
you’re going to create in a small room with 3 children
while you’re on
baby, air and light and time and space
have nothing to do with it
and don’t create anything
except maybe a longer life to find
A fascinating review with comic strips and infographics published by Brain Pickings says it all.
Svetlanta’s topic was particularly interesting to me and very timely on the blogosphere as I had previously written an article called ‘ 30 reasons Why Your Blog can Make a Difference’.
Svetlanta’s ‘ – 5 Reasons Why People Don’t Blog’ shows us a lady who doth protest too much, as she gives her reasons for not blogging in the form of this beautiful guest article which introduces her new blog:))
Let’s call this a house-warming party for ELT-CATIONS –
Long live the King Nose.