Like the first day of school.
The intoxicating smell of new.
Scents of wool sweaters with price tags barely clipped off and the fine shavings from freshly sharpened pencils. You know, the big old black ones that 6-year-olds could grasp in their pudgy fingers?
On the first day, I walked along the rows of tidy desks, placing a flat box of Crayola crayons on each one. Even today, all I need is a whiff of that heady wax scent and it takes me right back to the classroom.
Those, and the rectangular pieces of modeling clay that reeked of oil and stained your hands in one of three butt-ugly colors: Army green, chocolate brown or steel gray.
Most kids had the first day jitters. Giving them some clay kept them busy working to soften it—so busy that they forgot about their fear.
They were full of fears, yes. But I learned so many things from them. One of them was how to blog.
5 reasons first graders would rule the blogging world
When I worked with my start-up blog coaching clients, I could kind of see the first grader thing going on. It’s true that as bloggers, we want to get past that newbie stage. We want to be grown-up bloggers.
But I’m thinking I never want to lose that way of looking at things, as long as I blog.
In the spirit of of back-to-school and new beginnings, I offer this: five reasons why first graders would rule the blogging world.
1. They haven’t lost their sense of wonder and curiosity.
What they are like: For first graders, life is full of wonder. From losing that first tooth to reading their first word, every day holds surprises.
They are constantly asking. And one question just leads to the next. And the next, and the next.
They take the world in with all of their senses. That means when they were gathered on the carpet for story time, I would hear that methodical rip-rip of their Velcro sneakers as they listened to Green Eggs and Ham.
Or one of them might slowly rub my foot just to feel the texture of my socks. (First time that happened, it freaked me out a little bit.)
They want to know how things sound, feel, look. And this is how they learn.
What they taught me about blogging: I will remember to see the wonder in small things. I will appeal to all the senses of my readers, so they can see, hear, and touch my words in their mind.
2. They think anything is possible.
What they are like: They are imaginative and brutally honest because they haven’t had it beaten out of them yet by well-meaning adults who just want them to conform so they don’t grow up to be axe murderers.
When two of them were locked in a conflict, all I had to do was give a hand puppet to each of them and they started a conversation—in the puppets’ voices—that resulted in making up and being friends again. They were not afraid to try on new hats.
What they taught me about blogging: I will tell stories in blog posts when they help me illustrate a concept. Take different points of view. Try on other perspectives. (And I still like to make puppets talk. But that’s another story.)
3. They think about weird stuff and sometimes they try it out to see what happens.
What they are like: First graders proudly own their ‘weirdness.’ To them, it’s a badge of honor. Like the time in the lunchroom, when Josh bet another boy that he could make a spoon stick to his nose.
Another time, when we were learning place value during math by gluing 10 beans on a tongue depressor, one little boy got a bean stuck in his nose. Okay, that one was kind of odd.
But the point is this: 6-year-olds are not afraid to think differently and try new things.
My blogging lesson: I will try writing all kinds of posts. I won’t throw an idea away just because it’s a little different. I may get a bean stuck in my nose every once in a while, but I will also never run out of shiny new ideas.
4. They are ‘in the moment.’
What they are like: First graders are blurters. If they have a thought, they just say it. Now. It may not be the most perfect idea, but they don’t care because they are testing their world. And if you ask them a question, they will give you their best and most honest answer.
What they taught me about blogging: I’ll respond to my readers in the comments section now, not tomorrow. When I get a new idea, it may be at 2am, but I will run into the office and scribble it on the whiteboard before it goes poof.
I won’t try to analyze my posts to death. I will let them pour out of me. I will edit (but not too much because then I lose my real self), run spell check and let them go out into the world.
5. They have stories and they need to share them.
What they are like: Have you ever been in a first grade classroom during ‘show and tell’? Hands waving wildly, squeals of excitement, little bodies leaning forward, waiting not too patiently for their turn to captivate the audience.
And they tell their stories with such excitement. With passion. With utter abandon.
One little girl got a box of Fruit Loops for her birthday. (I learned later from her mom that she was only allowed to eat a sugary cereal once a year, on her birthday. Which explained her excitement. But still…)
A boy brought his umbilical cord in a jar and proceeded to take it out to pass it around.
Okay, that one was a little strange.
But their fellow classmates were always in awe because the kid ‘showing and telling’ did so with such enthusiasm.
What they taught me about blogging: I will tell my stories and share my thoughts with passion. I will ‘show and tell’ with enthusiasm—but always with respect for my readers. (That means maybe no umbilical cords. But you never know.)
What about you?
Were you more excited about blogging when you were just starting out?
Do you ever feel like you are running out of ideas?
What do you do to refill the bank and keep the spirit of a 6-year-old in your blogging?
Judy Lee Dunn is an author, book lover and collector of shiny new ideas. Her blog was named one of the Top 10 Blogs for Writers. She is currently working on “Out Late,” her debut memoir. You can find Judy on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.
*This post originally appeared on For Bloggers By Bloggers. I loved Judy’s thoughts so much I asked her to share her post here. Don’t you love them, too? And to answer her questions, I’m as excited about blogging about things I’m interested in or passionate about today as I was years ago when I first started. I never, ever run out of ideas and if I could just sit around and read, research, learn, and write about things I love every day—well, I’d be in heaven. What about you?