Welcome to Rough-Draft Thinking, a blog where I will reflect on the inclusion media and ideas I consume and my experiences as a queer educator, consultant, and engaged community member living, working, and dog-walking in the Red River Valley.*
I chose to title my blog Rough-Draft Thinking, a phrase I’ve used with students, friends, and family for years, because it creates space for initial, unpolished thoughts. Rough-draft thinking leaves open the possibility of learning and growth through revision of perspectives and ideas. Rough-draft thinking relies on curiosity over judgment, on closely and actively listening to others. (Yes, like many of you, I’m also drawn to the lesson in that particular Ted Lasso scene.)
As a former college educator, I encouraged curiosity over judgment, though I didn’t realize it at the time. When I started teaching in the English Department at the University of Kansas, I made the decision to comment on rough-draft student essays in pencil rather than pen or cumbersome Microsoft Word comments.
I liked physically holding my students’ ideas in my hands. I liked responding as a reader in marginal comments and writing a quick supportive endnote to each student in pencil. I like the pretense of impermanence graphite offers. Graphite’s erasability quietly connotes that writing (and learning) is a process, requiring revision, further development of ideas – reminding students nothing is fixed permanently in place. And most mistakes are fixable, are opportunities to exercise curiosity, learn, and grow.
By commenting on student rough-drafts in pencil, I also encouraged progress over perfection and practice is the point. Though, as a recovering perfectionist, I occasionally have to remind myself about the importance of celebrating progress and honoring the experience of practice, so I draft posts or outline projects in pencil, first, before committing them to the digital spaces.
(For those curious, my favorite pencil for writing is the Blackwing 602. Pop back for more on my love for pencils in a future post.)
As a corporate learning partner, I actively incorporated curiosity over judgment, progress over perfection, and practice is the point into every workshop I created and during every one-on-one coaching session. And now I bring these lessons into my work as an inclusion and leadership consultant.
My goals for Rough-Draft Thinking are to:
Thank you very much for your time and for joining me on this adventure! And I cannot wait to start a conversation with y’all!
*For my first official post, I consider the meaning of the Red River, which separates North Dakota and Minnesota, where the simple act of crossing the river means losing or gaining rights for LGBTQ+ folks and women. Pop back on Wednesday, November 15, 2023, to read this post!