Tag Archives: #modigiwri

composing in image: doodling into the new year

As a jumpstart in my writerly life, I am participating in a 30-day challenge to reflectively write at least 150 words and then post online. We’ve since expanded on the idea with international colleagues into #modigiwri. Join us and here goes!

When I started the challenge to write and post everyday—just 150 words—I did not anticipate the way this would blossom. If you check out the #modigiwri feed on Twitter, however, you’ll see the kind of growth that’s possible when you are connected to generous, creative, and dedicated colleagues. Kevin was critically pondering this positive, generative energy in a recent #modigiwri post, actually. Here it is: Call Me Naive, We are Part.

So one way (there were other creative branches as well!) that the folks who are participating in the More Digital Writing or #modigiwri challenge have taken the original 150-word challenge has been toward abandoning words all together. Well, first, a conversation about the constraints of digital composing tools inspired Wendy, I think it was, who suggested that folks try to write with just 150 and she came up with a dictionary game to spark that writing. (Wendy is that right?)

Then, Terry asked this question:

Continue reading composing in image: doodling into the new year

when more is more: failing up in a 30-day challenge

As a jumpstart in my writerly life, I am participating in a 30-day challenge to reflectively write at least 150 words and then post online. We’ve since expanded on the idea with international colleagues into #modigiwri. Join us and here goes!

So, I’ve been failing miserably at the 30-day writing challenge to write at least 150 reflective words and post them. I have done better at responding to my challenge friends—albiet always a day late! I am grateful for their patience with me.

The same holds true for #modigiwri. That hashtag has taken off! You should check out the feed on Twitter. It’s on fire. Oh and Sherri pulled together the folks who are blogging with #modigiwri. So you can check those out as well:

But I digress.

Above, I italicized “and post them” because I have done some offline writing. And actually, I have been seeing some of the effects of my 30-day challenge activity as pitiful as it is. I was remarking to Darlene, and another colleague who mentioned being in a major writing slump, that I have felt the influence of writing and posting more and more frequently. For instance, I am working on a chapter right now. Using the proposed abstract, I was doing what I always have done, and was moving text around and extending some sentences, but I was not happy with how this was beginning. Here’s a sample of the proposal:

In this chapter, I suggest three ontological orientations for lifespan writing research. These orientations are framed by the provocation that comparative frameworks dominate methodological approaches in studies of writing development. When oriented to the comparative only—such as comparing age 8 to age 12 or designing before/after interventions—chronological time, age, or curricular sequences play an a priori determining role in findings. I suggest that a way to work both with and beyond comparison is to reflexively consider how we are oriented ontologically toward the methods and theories we take up in lifespan writing research…

Smith, A. (in preparation). Working title: Prepositions through the lifespan. R. Dippre & T. Phillips (Eds.), Approaches to Lifespan Writing Research: Steps Toward an Actionable Coherence.

Inspired by Darlene’s idea of writing different memoir beginnings, I thought: “Why don’t I just write a possible new beginning that’s totally different from what’s here?” Let me tell you: Ever since finishing the behemoth called a dissertation I would have never thought that. “Why don’t I just write a possible new beginning?” Please. Every word since that experience has been precious and some painful.

However, among other things, writing and hitting post or making efforts to write and hit post every day is helping me feel the weight of every word less and less. Writing nearly every day has helped me feel for the first time in a very long time that if I don’t like what I’ve written I will be able to write something else. I can’t emphasize enough how radically different that frame of mind is. It’s such a relief.

So, here’s another take at the beginning that may or may not stick this time, and I am totally fine with that. (It also shows, dear challenge buddies, that I have been writing…just offline! Now to go do some creative digital remixes and composition with the #modigiwri folks!)

DRAFT: An orientation is consequential. The angle from which we witness an encounter like a car crash, for instance, heavily influences our perception of what occurred. Did the blue car pull out first? Did the red one slow down? The answers to these questions are not just dependent on empirical evidence, but are also based on the relative perspective from which we experienced the accident. Conceptual and ideological orientations operate similarly. When reading the methodologies of a research report, you can often anticipate the findings. That’s because perspective from which the researcher took on the project limited her field of vision theoretically and methodologically. For these reasons, when it comes to understanding a person’s writing over the lifespan, it matters, or rather, it’s consequential, what ontological orientations the researcher takes up.

Smith, A. (in preparation). Working title: Prepositions through the lifespan. R. Dippre & T. Phillips (Eds.), Approaches to Lifespan Writing Research: Steps Toward an Actionable Coherence.

What do I learn from this? To write more (when it’s hard and feels heavy)…I need to be writing more. It sounds counterintuitive, but I am finding that the weight of each word is distributed across blog posts and high-stakes academic texts and comments on social media and tweets. When there are more words being written there are more words to share the weight of writing.

As always, I apologize that WordPress has begun to force ads on each post. Please ignore any ad that follows. I have not vetted and do not support whatever is advertised below.

mo(re) #modigiwri!

I do love how connections among educators and creatives can snowball (in a good way) online. Two days ago I elbowed my way into a challenge from Darlene Kriesel (@darlenekriesel) to write at least 150 words every day for 30 days. It reminded me of the collaborative energy that was generated in #clmooc and I wrote a post to that effect.

Now, just a couple of days later several people have responded by sharing, expanding, and branching out on the idea. The energy is just bubbling over!

So, one of the branches came when Kevin (@dogtrax) reminded me of our first real online exchange as colleagues. We engaged in a conversation by sending each other multimedia posts we had created, and we also posted reflective process notes about how we had created our multimedia artifacts.

We used the hashtag #modigiwri to stand for “more digital writing.” (We had just finished the #digiwrimo [digital writing month] and didn’t want the conversations to end!) That was in 2012! Time flies. Well, yesterday Kevin went on a hunt for the conversation and posted what he found here: Searching for Curation: A Nearly-Lost Conversation about Digital Writing. In looking back, he realized the conversation was never rounded out…and it looks like it’s time!

So, we’re inviting you to engage in a combo of these two challenges, writing digitally every day to jump start your writing… and sharing and responding to others who are doing the same!

The writing can be about anything and come in any form. Use the hashtag #modigiwri if you want to help people find your posts!

Continue reading mo(re) #modigiwri!

Easy as Pie: Thanksgiving Dinner and Digital Content Creation

Thanksgiving is easy.

Hear me out: Turkey? Stick it in an oven for hours. Mashed potatoes? Boil some water. Yams? Sprinkle some brown sugar. Green beans? Open a can. Even hand-whipped whip cream? Yep. That, too. Whip it.

Even if you end up making a Half-Trifle Half-Shepherd’s Pie Rachel Special, “what’s not to like?” Joey will eat it.

Yes, I have a point.

We like to make Thanksgiving a big deal. Sure there are more mouths to feed, more places to set at the table, more potatoes to peel, but it’s not any more difficult than a single crème brûlée. A good mole? I have no idea where to start.

In the same way, there are some of us who still think that digital content creation—a video, a blog post with an image, a podcast, a visual meme, a musical track, an image collage—is a big deal. I am here to say that like Thanksgiving, it isn’t that hard. In fact, digital content creation has never been easier.  We don’t have to wait until next year for Facebook to provide us with another 30-second video with five of our photos. We can make our own in just about the same amount of time it took to watch it.

Here are my go-to apps for composing-on-the-go:


This last winter, my nephew was performing at an Open Mic with his brother for the last time before he left on a two-year service stint. As I watched the performance, I took snapshots and recorded a couple of the songs. And as I went up to the bar to order a hot chocolate, I opened Animoto on my phone, selected a couple of pictures and a snippet or two of the video, typed a couple of words.  Continue reading Easy as Pie: Thanksgiving Dinner and Digital Content Creation

Creating Conversation: Composing in the Digital Age

Update: You can now navigate this conversation here.22477440_4366572e31 (1)

One of the many potentials of the shifts in re-envisioning writing in multimodal spaces is the chance for new conversations — for stretching out thinking beyond your own physical space and joining in discussions about the changes now underfoot. During November 2012’s Digital Writing Month, educators and writers and others from across many teaching levels and learning domains — from public schools to college universities and beyond — were engaged in a deep exploration of digital tools and ideas, and many participants shared reflective practice on what those digital choices were doing to their conceptions of writing.

As fellow explorers during Digital Writing Month, Kevin Hodgson and I have decided to continue that conversation through consideration of digital literacies and contemporary composition by coordinating a multimodal conversation that begins with the idea of Digital Writing Month and then stretches outward from there. We will be jumping, leaping and diving from digital media platform to digital media platform in their conversation, as we first reflect on literacies in the 21st Century and then ask, and respond to, each others’ questions.

Kevin is a sixth grade teacher in Western Massachusetts and a member of the National Writing Project. He is the co-editor and writer of Teaching the New Writing: Technology, Change, and Assessment in the 21st-Century Classroom. You may already know him as @dogtrax on Twitter. I am ecstatic to learn with him! (And, by the way, most of the text in this blog post was written by Kevin. Gotta love collaboration!)

We hope others to join us as we build this digital tapestry of ideas and reflections! We’re excited to announce that we’ll be hosting this conversation on the National Writing Project‘s Digital Is website. The exchanges will take place on Kevin’s Digital Is blog posts and my Digital Is blog posts. Please visit and join us in the comments…and feel free to respond using the same platform we used! We are also using the hashtag #modigiwri on Twitter to link the conversation together.

(#modigiwri is a play on #digiwrimo, which was the hashtag for Digital Writing Month. Our #mo doesn’t quite stand for month…We’re hoping you can infer its meaning!)

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