(I Must) Write Every Day

Greetings from school! I’m (officially) back at work this week, enjoying lots of meetings, professional development, and, of course, getting ready for the first day of school on Monday. While I’ve been in the building more than a few times this summer, it was a harsh reality to wake up at 6 a.m. and start wearing ‘professional attire’ again!

As I wrote about back in my very first blog post, I am writing here to help me get in the habit of writing. I know that to teach writing, I must write. I’ve made a commitment to writing every day, and it is a really hard commitment to keep. Not only am I back at work full time, but my kids just started fall sports, so I’m constantly running and I’m tired by the end of the day. Last night, I needed to get to bed early as my body adjusts to my new schedule. I skipped writing before bed, and now I feel like I need to renew my commitment to this process.

So today, I’m sharing some of the pages I’ve written over the past week or so. I do so not because I really want you to read them, but because I want to remind myself that this writing business is messy, and hard, and I really do want to stick with it, even when life is busy and I am tired (which, let’s face it, is always).

Some of my daily writing pieces are things I am working on for class, like this piece:

I was working on this piece for our first unit on our name stories. I’m honestly not happy with it, and might scrap it altogether and start over. However, at least I have a start.

Other times, I’m writing about things that are going on in my life and the world around me. I’ve found that this writing has really helped me process situations and events that are weighing heavily on me.

The recent string of mass shootings along with an act of gun violence in my family left me feeling really unsettled. I am glad that I took the time to put these thoughts down on paper, even though they are messy. This is a piece I’d like to revisit. Once finished, I might even share it with my students.
Another difficult situation right now involves my husband’s brother. He was recently diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and is struggling to receive good, timely medical care in Mexico. It is really hard being so far away and unable to really help. I chose to write this in the form of a letter, as if I were talking directly to my brother-in-law, because it allowed me to try out a different style of writing.

My notebook is also filled with lots of lists. When there is too much going on in my head, I sometimes find it hard to put together a string of coherent, related sentences. Being able to recognize that in my own writing life is a great insight into a struggle some of my students may face in my class.

Below are two examples of days when I have spent my writing time creating lists and schedules to kind of make room in my brain for other things.

Today I was able to cross some things off my to-do list – yay!
Literally just a bunch of mostly unrelated notes to myself, followed by my actually planning time each day after meetings and PD. So much to do!

And finally, two nights ago, I decided to try out writing a poem. This is something that’s really new to me, or at least, sharing it is. Over the years I may have tried to express myself in verse, but I usually felt too foolish, or perhaps too vulnerable, to share it. So here I am, being brave and sharing my poem with a few dozen people who might stumble upon it. I don’t think I could use this particular poem in class, because I would probably sob the way I did while I was writing it. Still, it was worth the process of practicing that type of writing. Maybe next time I won’t choose a topic that is quite so personal and painful for me.

If you’ve made it this far, and took the time to read through some of my photos of my little writing notebook, thank you. I know they are hard to read and not super polished, but I hope that even if you can’t read them, you have an idea of the many ways I’m using my notebook and trying to keep my daily commitment to writing. I’ve really enjoyed all of the discussion and feedback that has come out of these posts, and hope to hear from you soon!

I also hope you are squeezing as much joy as you can out of what’s left of the summer, and feel ready to dive into the new school year.

Do you have a great way to hold yourself accountable to writing (or reading, or exercising, or…) every day? Please share them with me! And know that for today, I’m counting this post towards my daily writing commitment.

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