Be More Me

I’ve got to the end of the #Blogging28 challenge. And the final topic is to think about my blogging plans for February. Last week I heard the coastguard helicopter hovering overhead, I went to Twitter and saw that locals were discussing it. I noticed one of the locals had a blog and I decided to follow them. I have a lot of people in my life that use blogs, but most just blog to talk about their hobbies and interests. So, despite being frequently around bloggers, I rarely meet people passionate about blogging.

One of the things I’ve noticed about this blogging local, is that they are part of blogging networks and share their writing on social media. This is something I have not really done before, I mean, it’s difficult to say please read about my life. I worry about being boring, seeming vain or just inadvertently excluding others. But if I really analyse these feelings, most communication involves some form of risk – whether that’s risk of being disliked, misunderstood or ignored. I don’t know if I am ready to start promoting myself, but if I want to interact with more folk I will probably have to at some point.

I started following a few Twitter accounts aimed at supporting bloggers. I like them, and have found interesting blogs through them. However, a theme I am noticing in all the networks is Follow me, retweet me, comment and we’ll do the same to you. So, to me, the correspondence feels shallow. I am sure it’s not aimed that way. But that’s how I feel.

The local blogger writes often about their mental health. This is a theme I have strong opinions on. And I’d like to blog about more often, but meh, I live my mental health. I am too tired to write about it. I probably will write about it again in the future, but right now I’d rather paint about it:

Latest painting

Latest painting

So what does this have to do with goals? Well, what is seen as blogging good practice (eg. blogging often, promoting yourself) just isn’t me. Sure I’d like readers, but not enough to actively go out fishing for them. I’d like to write about my mental health because I think it is important to communicate, but I need to recuperate. I want a support network of other bloggers to hang out with – virtually or in real life – but I don’t socialise naturally. And if I keep comparing myself to other bloggers, I’m doomed to feel inadequate. One of the things I think is important about my voice is that sometimes it’s just quiet – and that’s OK.

With this in mind, here is my plan for next month:

  • Blog when I feel like it
  • Refrain from starting my posts with I haven’t been active lately but…
  • Enjoy the silence

Publish or Perish

Approx. ten hours ago I found out I am going to be published in the lastest Resonance Press anthology. I have mixed feelings (all of them good though). I write very much like I speak – and this will be the first time my voice has been on such a large platform. And the scary thing is that people will hear it and people I know may seek it out. This is what I intended when I decided to pitch under my real name. I wanted to start putting myself out there. However, this feeling is new and I am still adjusting to it.

Thank you.


Sometimes, things come together harmoniously. This afternoon I took part in a TwitterChat organised by Staff Development Forum. The theme was self-coaching and it fitted so well with my experience of Personal Development Week and similarly reminded me of a post I wrote about Professional Development in 2017 (mainly because I’m in the middle of an Edublogger blogging challenge then and now). It also encouraged me to think about my development because, frankly, I do not practice what I preach.

The sheer act of using work time to reflect on my development feels like shirking (for out-of-country readers, neglecting actual work responsibilities). I know, I mean I actually know, that development is hugely important for staff/student retention and resilience and loads of other good things. I know this. OK, I may have overemphasised how much I know this but that’s only because…

… I do not feel this… for me. Yep, I fully encourage you to go out there and learn, but me? Well, there’s probably some data entry I should be doing.

In fact, as I write (which is my go-to tool for reflection and wellbeing) I am worried someone will come into my office and think I am shirking. And I need to understand why I feel like this because this very week is dedicated to personal development in my university – hello!? Also, my writing does link to my job role at the moment. So the very process of analysing my feelings towards development can be used in my department’s reports. Again – hello!?

One of the topics I spoke about in the TwitterChat is how a lot of my learning is self-directed. This stemmed from anxiety, but just grew into self-reliance because I trust myself with my learning. But despite spending a lot of time as a lone wolf, I like teamwork. Although, physically, I have been missing from most of the Personal Development Week workshops I have taken part.

I think I am an attendee. But, on paper, I am not. The worrying thing is that this is what is being measured. The act of being present is an indicator of engagement.

I like the Staff Development Forum TwitterChats, and I like the Edublogger blogging challenges because by their very nature – remotely linking people – they acknowledge and illustrate peoples’ different development methods.

I’m leaving my office today with three main thoughts (that I aim to think about over the weekend):

  • How do we enable development, and ensure we cater for the people we can’t see?
  • How do we move past the un/deserving of development opportunities feelings?
  • How do we reframe development as something just as important as our day-to-day work tasks?

Also, here are my new socks 😀

Funtastic socks

Funtastic socks

Personal Development Week

This week is Personal Development Week where I work. And I thought I’d use the time to reacquaint myself with some of my old passions that have been hidden underneath studying and data entry. I’ve worked and studied in Canterbury for a year but I rarely see the city. Before moving to Kent I was a museum buff. And my biggest passion is museum learning (you have no idea how much I miss my old friends and ex-colleagues in Brighton Museum).

The Beaney

The Beaney

So, when I saw we would be visiting the Beaney I knew I just had to go. When I got to Canterbury it had started snowing!!! So I went to the Beaney an hour early because I was afraid of the ground getting icier (nothing to do with my getting the time wrong – d’oh). It did not disappoint.

I love seeing learning/play activities in museums. I am interested in how the curators and learning departments have embodied the feel of the displays into the activities.

My favourite room was Materials and Masters. The room contains a cabinet of dolls house furniture. I used to have a dolls house in my youth and would often imagine how amazing it would be to shrink and live in it. Then I saw Honey, I Shrunk The Kids and I changed my mind. But seeing the furniture reminded me of how much I used to enjoy little worlds.

I also loved looking at the bicycles in the café. I got a bicycle for my birthday this year and I have been relearning to cycle (my balance isn’t what it used to be – hence relearning). I hope I can build my confidence again – cycling gave me such immense happiness.

Augustine House library had a handful of interesting workshops for Personal Development Week. There was a Shout It Out workshop to talk about social media (including blogging – hello!). I probably didn’t start in the best spirit:

Life in the library

Life in the library

But I thought my commentary on slimline technology was hilarious (quite why it didn’t go viral I do not know).

Trying to find the power button

Trying to find the power button

Speaking of going viral, I discovered the CCCUMeme Instagram page and it’s brilliant.

There was also a zine making workshop. I didn’t feel inspired as I frequently make collages and reflect on my life goals (y’know – it’s my thing). But you betcha I rang in an illustration:

My goals

My goals

I also had my Canterbury College Student Union Officer induction. I’ll be volunteering four hours a week in their office until summer. I have a student and trade union history so it feels great to be volunteering in this area again.



Personal Development Week, for me, was all about finding my passions again. I get so bogged down in day-to-day things that I rarely leave my desk. And my hobbies become abandoned. I am going to make a conscious effort not to let that happen again.

Desktop Inspiration Generator

I love my new Desktop Inspiration Generator. I had been thinking about getting an affirmation deck, but when I saw this generator I had to buy it. I am a fan of bots, and this is pretty much a paper version of one. The random statements are sometimes moving. but more often odd (but there is a kinda beauty in that). I enjoy the combinations and I quite happily spend five minutes a day flipping through.