Tuesday, December 13, 2011

About Page

You may have noticed by now that I have some fancy new navigation buttons in my sidebar (courtesy of the wonderful and reliable Sebrina). Or you may never notice those links if you're using a blog reader....

I have links to the following:
  • Photos of our lives (with a focus on Henry, of course)
  • Notebooks: An overview of how I use a writer's notebook to collect and develop ideas
  • Pocket Neighborhood: Information about the little community I'm trying to pull together in Austin
  • Community: Directions about how to join the Feeding the Soil community (which is sadly quiet!)
  • Organization: I share my system for staying organized with my Life Binder.
  • Home Tour: Exactly what it sounds like!

The other thing I need to create is the "About" page. When I was in college, I loved whipping up quirky and eclectic bios of myself. I also enjoyed it during my early twenties when I was doing internet dating.

But now I'm not so keen on it. Not sure why. It just seems so impossible hard. Do I summarize myself by how I spend my time? Do I highlight things I've accomplished? Do I mention what I'm trying to develop in myself? What I collect? What irritates me?

Egad. The possibilities seem endless.

But alas. I need to write something for that page. Let me take a stab at it below.

I get a serious case of writer's block whenever I sit down to churn out a little bio of myself. I mean, where do I even start? Do I summarize myself by how I spend my time? Do I highlight things I've accomplished? Do I mention what I'm trying to develop in myself? What I collect? What irritates me?

  1. Whenever I start to get overwhelmed, I resort to bulleted lists. I guess that's the first thing to know about me.
  2. I was born in San Diego and spent 12 developmental years growing up there, dude.
  3. I collect vintage pottery of the sea foam green variety.
  4. My immediate family consists of my partner Matt, our bloodhound Hoss, our two chickens (who are also named in the Bonanza genre), and our son, Henry (born 2/28/11). (Editor's Note: They are listed in order of acquisition.)
  5. I spend my days running two blogs, facilitating an online course about preparing your mind, body, and life for pregnancy, writing a book about how to plan a meaningful and memorable wedding without losing your savings or sanity, starting a national network of Montessori charter schools, and volunteering as the Director of Operations and Compliance for Austin Achieve--but only during Henry's nap times. Thankfully, he's a good napper and goes to bed early.
  6. I used to be an over-achiever because my biological father never wanted anything to do with me and doing good work helped me garner the appreciation and love I so desperately wanted from him. Now I'm just an over-achiever because working on different things keeps me engaged and interested.
  7. I spend my free time playing board games that involve letter scrambling, reading, jogging, doing yoga, crafting, making templates, or planning adventures.
  8. I'm passionate about educational reform (first as an AmeriCorps member, then a Teach For America corps member, a KIPP teacher, independent consultant, public Montessori teacher, and now as the founder of Montessori For All, a national network of high-performing, authentic, public Montessori schools in diverse communities). I believe that the kind of world we create will depend on how we nurture our children.
  9. I've been a vegetarian since 2001 for environmental, ethical, and health reasons.
  10. I'm a staunch supporter of same-sex marriage and feel ashamed to live in a historical period that has such a huge example of blatant discrimination hanging over its head.
  11. I'm pretty terrible in the garden and the kitchen, yet I wholeheartedly want to be better in both areas.
  12. I'm not so sure about how to end this list. I was born in 1978, so I have a lot of years to pull material from.

I guess I'll end with one of my favorite expressions:


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Anthropolochic said...

I think this is a great bio. In my profession the ideal bio is academic and 4 sentences long. That's fine for me because I'm new - I mean, I've basically done one thing to date. How do you write a statement that encompasses and entire career or person in 5 sentences? I don't you can.

I much prefer your list. I like that you describe the events that motivate your professional life. It adds even greater depth to your blog. It's a great bio that really adds to your posts.

Anthropolochic said...

...sigh "I don't think you can". My editing skills leave something to be desired.

Jennie said...

Maybe it would be easier to do an interview style About page. Then you can choose a handful of questions and answer them instead of feeling like you have to write everything about yourself.

You've already got some questions too! (ie. How do you spend your time? What are your greatest accomplishments? What are you trying to develop in yourself? etc.)

You can always start with the q&a style just to get something done and then format it later into more of a bio.o8

Sara E. Cotner said...

Thanks, Anthropolochic!

Hi, Jennie! An interview would have been an awesome idea! Unfortunately, I just turned my current version into the official page (right before I saw this idea). I would revise it except I have to finish my 65,000-word wedding book in the next three days. Eep! I will definitely keep your idea in mind for future revisions...

kacey said...

I am investing in a heavy-sheeted notebook and colorful sharpees ASAP. I also like the idea of the Life Binder but I'm wondering- do you have time to keep both up to date? As a long-time blog reader I think your bio is a great insight :)

Sara E. Cotner said...

Hi, Kacey! When I have both a Life Binder and a Writer's Notebook going, I use them for different things, so it's easy to keep both of them up. At the moment, however, I'm trying to consolidate. I just have a Life Binder with some blank pages to use as my Writer's Notebook. Although it makes practical sense, I miss having my little notebook! I'm not sure what I'm going to do.

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