Developing a work out loud ‘attitude’

I’ve been conscious that I haven’t posted anything here for several months. Part of this has been a result of me consciously spending less time online in general, to focus on being more ‘present’ at home, to reprioritise a few things and to give genuine attention and time to important relationships in my life.

That said, not publishing anything isn’t the same as not writing – I have numerous ‘draft’ posts in various stages of ‘completeness’ which I haven’t published. I’ve often wondered why this is so…and I think part of it is fear of publishing something which seems ‘incomplete’ or not entirely thought through.

But, as Jeff Merrell so eloquently expressed in a (relatively) recent post ‘Working out loud week lesson: ignore the network’, publishing ‘work out loud’ reflections and ‘half baked thoughts’ has value in itself – for yourself (to articulate and capture your thinking). And more than likely, has value for others – even if you don’t get an immediate or explicit response from anyone telling you so. The value of making something public is that you provide the opportunity for someone, sometime to benefit from it – possibly at some point after you wrote it.

And in fact, this exact thing happened to me around the time I read Jeff’s post: Norman Jackson, who publishes an online magazine on learning, personal development & education, stumbled upon the ‘work in progress’ post I’d written 3 months earlier on the PLN model I was working on as part of my Masters research – and asked if he might publish it as part of an issue on PLNs he was doing for the magazine. It was one of those purely serendipitous moments…but one that was only possible because I’d posted those thoughts publicly, instead of just working on it privately.

Doing this consistently and regularly – and integrating it into part of ‘what you do’ is the challenge. Another post which recently changed the way I viewed ‘working out loud’ was Nigel Young’s ‘When working out loud isn’t really WOL’. The most important point, for me, in his post was the notion that ‘working out loud’ is an attitude – it’s simply about sharing, exploring ideas & seeking feedback openly and in public. This doesn’t necessarily just mean blogging or on social media, it can also be in asking questions and sharing ideas in meetings, on the whiteboard – or in any medium.

So, when I saw Helen Blunden’s post on Third Place inviting the group to join her in ‘work out loud’ week (June 15-21 2015) I thought it might be a good opportunity to start consciously practising and developing this ‘work out loud’ attitude.

And although (as Nigel says) blogging isn’t necessarily the ONLY medium for working out loud, it’s probably one of the more visible options. And there’s nothing like a bit of social accountability and collective action to kickstart a new attitude (or habit). I might even post some of those ‘unfinished’ drafts.

6 thoughts on “Developing a work out loud ‘attitude’

  1. Activate Learning Solutions says:

    Great work Tanya, really you can start anytime. Life sometimes must be reprioritised and it’s not all about being present online. Like you, I will use it to get back on and refocus to more ‘work out loud’ blog posts as opposed to ‘after the fact’ blog posts!

  2. Jeff Merrell says:

    FWIW: I am beginning to think more about “out loud” in layers. Some people (you, Helen Blunden, Simon Terry, others we know) definitely have an “out loud” attitude. Sometimes it shows up like this – open for anyone to see. Sometimes, I suspect, it’s very visible but only to those in a work layer or personal layer in which we operate on a more routine basis. But it’s there. Always. And if you want proof – ask those who surround you. Are you someone who they see as accessible, willing to listen, and to share? I suspect the answer will be “yes.”

    I love the motivation inspired by things like Working Out Loud week. For me, it is a reminder that sharing is a discipline worth practice. A craft. But what really counts is embracing the attitude and living it, across the layers.

  3. tanyalau says:

    Hi Helen and Jeff – thanks for your comments! : ) Helen – yes, I”m working more generally at being more comfortable with sharing things ‘in progress’ too – it does require a bit of a change in mindset though.
    Jeff, that’s a lovely comment – thank you, and a really neat way of looking at it. Your comment is in a similar vein to Nigel’s post – thinking more broadly about how we might (already be?) working out loud, and I guess this is the crux of thinking about working out loud as an ‘attitude’ rather than a specific action / task or even behaviour- not prescriptive in how it is done, more a way of being and doing – that is apparent across all aspects – “layers” (I like this description!) – of our lives,

  4. Ryan Tracey says:

    That’s good advice, Tanya.
    In my early days of blogging, I used to be perfectionistic about it. I suppose I was wary of publishing incomplete thoughts and be judged negatively as a result.
    These days I am much more WOL minded, meaning that I’m more willing to post something that I haven’t agonised over for weeks on end, with a view of crowdsourcing improvements.
    That’s not to say that I don’t get flamed occasionally by the odd commenter who doesn’t agree with my POV, but over time I’ve learned how to handle those situations better and I must say, it helps.
    So… publish those drafts!!!

    • tanyalau says:

      aw thanks Ryan for your comment, always appreciated. Yes – i think it’s probably a bit part of blogging and writing in general – and something that you likely only get over by practising and posting regularly. I also tend to start a lot of posts ..and literally just never complete them….and then often don’t go back to them. It’s like, the moment / momentum / motivation is lost. This might be more about practising and developing a better writing habit – perhaps writing a complete draft (or even outline) faster, less self consciously, then editing later. But thanks for the encouragement to post some drafts – I will – maybe even tonight!

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