imageI’ve been writing for most of my life, but not until January of this year did I ever let anyone read it.  It’s risky to put yourself out there.  You feel vulnerable…at least I do.  This blog has been a wild ride.  People have been incredibly supportive.  I’m not sure I can describe the feeling when someone tells me that they enjoy reading my writing.

But blogging has some dangerous side effects.  It’s much too easy to pull up the stats and see how many people are reading it.  It’s much too easy to get caught up in the number of likes and comments and how many countries I’ve reached.  This blogging adventure was meant to challenge me and to model what I’ve been asking students to do for years.  It was not meant to be an exercise in vanity.

The number of shares I have on Facebook or retweets on Twitter is not the measure of my success.  I’ve committed to writing each week, and it makes sense that some blogs will resonate strongly with others and some will not.  I have a story to tell…and so do you!

Each person has a story.  Everyone has a voice.  I want to encourage others to share their stories.

I am not the only educator blogging.  I am not the only educator on Twitter (@hcphipps).  What I appreciate about social media is the professional network of people lifting each other up.  We are willing to learn from each other and share with each other.  Shares and retweets are a way to affirm ideas.  People have been amazing about supporting me in this journey. My job is to be that same support for others!

Jen Hatmaker (@JenHatmaker) is a funny and thoughtful writer.  I’ve never met her, but I feel like I know her from Facebook.  That’s the power of social media.  This past week when promoting her friend’s online class for bloggers, she said that there was always more room at the table.  Her success is not threatened by other writers; it is enhanced.  My job is to welcome other voices to the party.

If I were to be totally honest (and what’s the point of this if I’m not), there have been too many Sundays spent checking my stats on this journey.  I’m working on that. There have been too many times I’ve compared my number of followers to other people’s followers.  Dangerous!

I have not “gone viral”.  My Twitter followers have not multiplied exponentially.  I am still just Heather, and I’m okay with that.

I am grateful to those of you who have read what I have written.  Your kind words and support have meant more than you’ll ever know!  I can’t promise that I won’t check the stats on this blog too.  It’s part of the fun I have with the process.  But like I’ve said before, it’s about reflecting on my motives.  I want to get better than I was last week.  I don’t need to be better than anyone else.

Many of you have stories that need to be shared.  A few of you should be writing a book.  (You know who you are.)  If any of you feel safer to share your voice because I have shared mine, this grand experiment has been a success.

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