From Churning Butter to Expedition Journal - Blogging

Churning butter...not too exciting, eh?
An email came into my inbox yesterday evening as I slept, excitedly, happily exhausted from the roller-coaster ride of the last week (more on that in another blog post to appear tonight). The question is one I hear time and again from people who read this blog, stumble into my archive of published writing, and is worth responding to.
How [are] you able to focus yourself to be able to write so much? The emails I get on your updates are as regular as it gets. I'm trying my best to blog this year and consider myself a pretty good writer. I could never churn out what you do (at least now I couldn't).
Churning butter, as the image shown right implies, doesn't seem that exciting. Neither is "churning out blog entries," as I imagine some professors who assign students to do while reading my blog. Thank goodness, I'm not churning blog entries out! Rather, I keep an expedition journal.

As I shared with an interview committee, the way I process what I'm learning is to write through the experience, whether that experience be one I have via interactions with other people or with a text (e.g. book, blog, whatever). Into our lives--via myriad sources of social networks, people networks, books--ideas, information are dumped. How we make sense of those, how we connect them to our own experiences, that's up to us, isn't it? provide a lot of useable information and because it is in your blog, I know that when our district is able to afford the tools you are using now, the information about implementation, best tips, pitfalls, etc. is cataloged within your blog so I can go to it to research how best to proceed.  Keep up the good work.
But again, I'm not out to share usable information. . .I'm out to keep a journal of the learning of what's happening--or not--in my life. That it's usable to others, well, that's fantastic!

Until I began a blog, I didn't write every day. I wrote once a month, or once every two months. The focus on learning wasn't as "tight" or integrated into everything I did. What is "learning?" It's a question I often ask because I fear that we've grown to characterize twitter feeds and exposure to new ideas as "learning." Often, one of those ideas washing over one will stick, and require special attention. The more that "washes over you," the more something is likely to stick, rock your world, and make you reflect.
My EverNote Curation Buckets, shown far left

Some of the ways I manage that tidal wave of tweets and terrific info include using tools like's Twitter Search,, for highlighting content for MyNotes, and a robust social network to share anything I bookmark, read, "like" or "share" in GoogleReader. Believe it or not, anything I read online or, write gets shared in some way or's just easier to do that than email, print, and walk stuff to people or archive it for myself.
My opening screen in GoogleReader...all that gets starred is shared.
Working with young writers, I learned that everything we do is grist for the mill, all we experience in a day can teach us if we only stop to reflect. When I began blogging, the mill started to work more, and the need for more to feed it increased. At some point, I realized that I only blog a fraction, a bare fraction of what I'm learning and experiencing. The secret of blogging is that EVERY experience you have, reflect on, connect to, and share via your neural net...captures people's interest and attention.
The network connects us. The network changes us. - Larry Johnson
THINK about that. What were to happen if you were to blog about 3 experiences in your day? How would that change your focus, help you "suck the marrow" out that experience? If you blogged about your personal life, your interactions with family, I have no doubt your focus on family would be strengthened. If you blog about your professional work, people will beat down your virtual door.

And, then, at some point, the magical happens. You begin to have thoughts and ideas so strikingly un-ordinary that people label them extraordinary. That's not say my ideas are extraordinary (in fact, like everyone else, I think they aren't), but the fact that I share them...appears to be seen that way. In truth, you are a human being loving, eating, sleeping, reflecting, blogging because not to...well, that's not living.

We're all on a journey. Wouldn't it be more exciting to keep a journal of that expedition, reflecting on the experiences that made the day momentous, exciting, and radical? Yes, my blog is less an act of churning butter, more of an adventurer's expedition journal....
Source: Expedition Journal keeping -

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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure


Unknown said…
Sorry for the butter reference...I am from Wisconsin after all.

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