Every October 20 is National Day on Writing. I first learned of the day last year through various blogs I follow, which led me to the NCTE page linked above for more information. Last year I wrote about why I write, and as I reread it today, I still feel the same. But I’d like to reflect on additional reasons I write this year.
I’ve recently been participating in the #IMMOOC, a massive open online course based on the book The Innovator’s Mindset by George Couros. In this setting, I’m writing to make deeper connections with the content of the book and the other MOOC participants. I’m writing to add my thoughts to the collective discussion about innovation in schools. The more I write, the more I get to know others in the course. I’m also reading and commenting on more blogs than ever before, as I want to see how others are expanding their understanding of innovation in this context. I appreciate that this reading and writing is leading to new relationships (often through Twitter connections) with new educators across the globe.
The longer I’m in leadership roles, the most important I realize that trust and relationships are. For any endeavor to succeed, especially long-term, people need to trust in one another, in their leaders, in their own abilities (self-efficacy), and in the abilities of their peers and students. It takes time to build trusting relationships.
It takes more time than writing a quick tweet, text, or email. While I love writing, and it is definitely my preferred method of communication in many settings, I know the value of face-to-face discussions.
After exchanging various introductory emails with my new mentor, from the AASA Women in Leadership Initiative, we both knew we would prefer to meet in person. Since we live across the country from one another, we had to make due with a phone call for our first conversation. We both agreed that we would like be able to talk face-to-face throughout the year, so Skype became our next option.
We could have written about the same ideas, over a variety of email exchanges, or even in a collaborative Google doc (now called GSuite I understand!), but we reached our desired outcome quicker and more collaboratively with a real conversation. I followed up our chat with a written summary in a shared Google doc (because I still love writing!), but it was more meaningful knowing we had a shared understanding of the ideas we had discussed.
Writing is an amazing communication tool, but even an introvert like me knows it can’t replace authentic conversations with real people.
Why do you write?
How do you know when you need to go beyond the pen and paper or keyboard and screen for a face-to-face meeting?