Even the quagmire of mediocrity through which they wade is a sham, the tired if apt phrase stolen from other writers, me being too uninspired to craft my own unique insult with which to describe my miserable work of late!
It used to be the case, when I was swamped with students and the endless marking, lesson planning and social problem solving that accompanied them, that I felt constantly inspired. Exhausted, yet excited about my work, I was frequently eager and somehow found the time and energy to share my various classroom experiments.
The world before and after school also seemed more blog-worthy, somehow, and the words found themselves more readily in my mind, and worked their way more effortlessly onto the keyboard where they danced together to form ideas reasonably worth crafting so that others, too, could be inspired while reading.
Whereas I used to easily spin out a blog post several times a week, I am hard pressed now to find the time or inclination to write and post something more than once a month at best.
Is it because I am no longer a classroom teacher, then, that I feel a loss of material worth writing about? How so? The world has not changed so much as my place in it... surely even if I feel my contributions are less directly valuable than they once were, there is still inspiration to be found in the world outside of work...?
Or has the world changed, and is that the cause of my inertia?
One thing I have noticed is the sheer abundance that colleagues and strangers produce: Before the age of twitter, instagram and facebook, before snapchat was ubiquitous, before in order for something to count, it had to have three hashtags and at least 250 likes, before followers were virtual and strangers were "friends", back at the dawn of the internet, when I was one of the few teachers in this country who had a blog, and by the very virtue of its existence, I was considered tech savvy (ha, ha, ha!) and my colleagues and students thought I was famous (tee hee), it was easy to get motivated to write. Without competition, I felt the urge to get out there and self-publish! Teachers needed me! My dashboard showed they were searching critically important key words on my blog, and I had so much more to tell them about those themes and ideas!
But now, now there are a hundred thousand plus people who can say it better, with greater clarity, and with more awesome photos than I can.
It seems as though every educator has a blog, a TPT acct and a social media following that rivals the Kardashians. What can I say that hasn't already been said, and with greater eloquence and more recency? And not just about teaching -- so what if I went to Cuba and spent two days off-resort with my kids? A gazillion other travelers have beat me to it, and described it with breathtaking verbal imagery and panache. My recently-begun Salsa class is also nothing to blog about -- unless people are interested in a blog post about two left feet. (And even that has been done and overdone.) So what if I periodically fly airplanes? #girlswhofly has 12 656 posts on IG. Even #queerparenting has over 1000, and I can tell by the pics that those parents are better looking, healthier, cooler and happier, and that their kids are all way more well-adjusted than ours!!!
It feels like I have nothing to offer the world, and that everyone out there on the internetz has me beat in every category.
My kids are becoming teenagers, but I'm the one suffering the adolescent existential crisis!
The superfluous content with which the world seems virtually stuffed, and the speed with which the it produces said content, is overwhelming. To be honest, the pace at which I feel called to keep moving makes me question my ability to discern quality and authenticity in any form of content -- mine or others! And I find myself not only lacking the inspiration to write, but often also the mental and emotional energy to participate at all.
If I stop to think about it, I have to wonder whether my writing, once a hallmark of my skill and imagination, has been replaced with other forms of creativity. Perhaps my ability to orchestrate six people's summer plans harmoniously across two or three households, or to coordinate a group of educators and policy makers by leading from behind is less public and glamorous than a well written blog post once a week but equally impressive and important.
But I sure would like a way to continue to develop these new skills while simultaneously growing as a writer.
Perhaps a mindfulness exercise I will endeavor to undertake will be to notice small things worth writing about, and then to capture them in a few words. Longer than a tweet, but shorter than the diatribes I used to write. A focused lens, an appetizer rather than a meal, a verbal salad.