Thinking out loud

Thinking out loud

I've been here many times before, creating a new space online for thinking out loud. I wish that, over the years, I'd documented all the different online spaces that I've built: the first site that I made in Drupal; my various tussles with Wordpress, where I struggled with templates and getting things to line-up; my move to an author site that I made in Squarespace.  

That's the funny thing about online writing, isn't it? We forget about archiving and documenting. Or in my case, I've actively chosen to delete those earlier versions of myself. Unlike my notebooks, which fill boxes and drawers and reach back into my teenage years, I haven't kept very much of my online writing. The blogs and sites that I've created and then abandoned over the years are like the rooms and houses that I've lived in. I move on, without much of a backward glance, until one day I look back on them with a nostalgic glow, forgetting that on some days they drove me crazy, how they never felt like quite the right space for my thinking out loud.

But I do want to think out loud, especially right now, at this moment in my own learning and teaching, when there are so many conversations that I'd like to have, so many ideas I need to synthesise, process, develop further.  The problem with notebooks is that ideas can just sit there forever and never benefit from the magic that happens in connection and dialogue with others.

And so I've made this new space and, for now at least, it really feels like the right space for me. I like Ghost, both in terms of its values - non-profit, open source - and its design - minimal, pared-back, a crisp, clear font, lots of white space for writing.  

I've spent an evening getting comfortable in my new space, which is always what I most need to do whenever I'm beginning something new. In the same way that I like a clear desk and white walls, I find that I need to get my online space right, everything arranged in the right way, before I can feel free to create. In this sense, online has never just been online for me. Spaces for making have always been hybrid, partly public and partly private, partly inside and partly outside of me at the same time, transitional spaces of play, in a Winnicottian sense. (More on this later.)

Perhaps this is why I've always struggled so much to make a permanent online home for myself. How can we be ourselves online, knowing that this is only part of the story? How can we remain open, in all the many senses of that word?

I'm sure that lots of us must struggle with this. In my next post, I want to say more about those struggles and to document how it feels for me (practically and imaginatively) to set up an online 'thinking out loud' space, this time around.