I’m going to stop blogging* for the rest of 2017. Let me explain.
For the past two years, I’ve published articles regularly on this blog. There was one month where I published three posts per week (August, 2015), one month where I didn’t publish at all (December, 2015), and one month where I published once per week (May, 2016). But mostly, I’ve just been sending things off into the Interspace every Tuesday and Saturday and hoping that colleagues near and far find something useful or encouraging.
Sometimes, a reader will write to me wondering, “How do you do it all?” And the answer I always give them is that I don’t!
Here’s an example. Yesterday, my colleague Erica Beaton (you might remember the Latin word chunks) and I were talking about the upcoming school year, trying to plan for a course we both teach. It’s her first time teaching the course, and she asked me, “So… where’s all your stuff?”
And the answer is that the stuff’s all in my head: there’s no master file system, no coherent Google Slideshow that I’ve polished over the years… there’s just a spreadsheet with the test dates and unit questions, a pile of texts, and my penchant for having kids read, write, speak, listen, learn, and argue as much and as well as possible, all year long. To which we both responded by cry-laughing, and not the cry-laugh emoji kind of cry-laughing, the kind of cry-laughing where you’re crying because the situation is funny and sad and exasperating and unbelievable, all at the same time. I’ve been teaching the course for five years now, and that’s what I have.
This is just one example of how I don’t do all the things. I make sure that I’m home by 5:30pm every night, and I don’t bring work home (teaching or blogging), and so there are just a lot of things that would make me better at being a teacher and a writer that I don’t do.
I’m not lamenting much here, either, because I would argue that blogging and teaching allow for this approach. Blogging is rough-draft thinking — I’ve always felt that way. When someone subscribes to my blog’s newsletter, they’re signing up for a bunch of rough drafts. These rough drafts are (usually) intelligible, but they’re right on the edge of my thinking, and at the end of the day, that makes them rougher than I’d like them to be.
(Now is a good time to thank Rachael Farwell, who has been proofreading my articles for over a year now. If you ever see a post without a typo, thank her. If you ever see a post with a typo, then you can assume I finished it 14 seconds before hitting publish, therefore giving her no time to proofread. In those cases, I’m giving you, dear reader, a chance to practice not judging someone. 🙂 )
All right. I could launch into how teaching is also friendly to rough drafty-ness, how every one of the 180 days I get with my students involves the collaborative drafting together of a special mixture of knowledge and skills and relationships and memories and visions for the future, but I won’t. (Except that I just did.)
Let’s get to the point of this post.
I have to pause on blogging because I’m writing a book. The book is under contract for Corwin Literacy, and Corwin Literacy makes great books for teachers, and I need to make space to rise to the occasion. The rough draft is due in the middle of September, and the final draft is due in the middle of December. I’ve been working hard to make this this book something special for you, the reader of this blog. I hope people who have never heard of my blog will read and enjoy this book, but you — yes, you — are the one in my head as I write.
There’s not really a physical thing you can hold in your hand that represents what this blog is. In an increasingly digital word, physical things are cool. Books aren’t just sources of information and inspiration and encouragement — they are souvenirs of sorts, sitting on our shelves and making us conjur an image or a feeling or a season of our lives.
Seth Godin puts it best: “A book is a physical souvenir, a concrete instantiation of your ideas in a physical object, something that gives your ideas substance and allows them to travel. … Books change lives every day. A book takes more than a few minutes to read. A book envelopes us, it is relentless in its voice and in its linearity. You start at the beginning and you either ride with the author to the end or you bail. And unlike just about any form of electronic media, you get to read the book at your own pace, absorbing it as you go.” 
Right now, I don’t have something like that to give you, something that represents what this blog and its readers are about, so that’s what I’m working on.  I want this to be special for you, so all of the last 1000 words has been me explaining why I’m making a few changes for the rest of the year.
* The Asterisk: There are two ways that I’ll still be blogging
There are two ways that we can still be together, if that’s something you’re interested in.
First, there’s the Oldies Station.
I’ve set up a custom email sequence of about 40 old blog posts (there are 372 total on this site, so lots to pick from), and these posts are scheduled to go out to the inbox of anyone who wants them every Tuesday and Saturday. It’ll be like I’m still publishing! I’ve got some old blog series in there, some short-form stuff, some long-form stuff — it’ll be like reading a “Best of the Blog” playlist. Some of the stuff on the Oldies Station might sound very familiar if you’ve been reading for a while, but if you’re like me, then those previously read posts will mean something different to you now than they did back when you first read them. And frankly, unless you are the super nerd of this website (I kneel to you), I bet you’ll get at least at few posts through the Oldies Station that you’ve never read.
To sign up for the Oldies Station, all you need to do is put your email in the box below. Just to be clear, this is going to send you a blog post every Tuesday and Saturday, just like normal. You can always unsubscribe if it’s not useful.
Oldies but Goodies: The Best of the Blog Series
Let's do this. You'll get an email every Tuesday and Saturday, and that email will contain a gem from the archives of the Dave Stuart Jr. blog.
Second, there’s the Let’s Talk about Writing a Book Station.
Once a week, I’m going to publish a new blog post where I reflect on the process of writing this book. I’m going to share what’s hard, what I’m working on, what the process is like, and anything else. These posts will be reflections on the teacher-as-writer-of-a-book-for-teachers process, and that’s why I don’t want to automatically sign my regular blog subscribers up for it. It’s opt-in — if you want these On Writing a Book blog posts in your inbox every Saturday until the end of the year, sign up below. If you don’t, then I’ll talk to you again in January 2018 when I resume blogging every Tuesday and Saturday.
To subscribe to these On Writing a Book posts, input your email below.
Let's talk about writing a book.
Usually, I just write about teaching. From September to December 2017, I'm writing about writing a teacher book. Subscribing below sends my posts on writing a book straight to your inbox. Please note that subscribing below does NOT subscribe you to my regular blog articles on teaching. For that, go here.
If you have questions, throw them out there in the comments section below. I appreciate and respect you as a colleague and a reader, and that’s why I’m doing this.
- Full article: sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2010/01/why-write-a-book.html.
- A few of you have purchased my Common Core book from 2014, but that’s an artifact from almost an entirely different blog. When I started this in 2012, it was called TeachingtheCore.com, and I was focused on unpacking the CCSS. My first post talks about demons and standards — an auspicious start.
Special thanks to Barrett Brooks.