Friday, March 4, 2016

One Writer's Insight

Day 4 of The Slice of Life Story Challenge sponsored Two Writing Teachers




One Writer's Insight
I took on the Slice of Life Story Challenge for many reasons, but the biggest reason was to help me reflect on the life of a writer so that I could be better teacher of writing.  This morning as I began to write I was hit hard with a writer’s dilemma:  What do I do when I HAVE to write but I just can’t get in the right mood?  

When I started this challenge I spent some getting prepared by creating a google doc called Slice of Life Challenge.  I placed the link to the Slice of Life Challenge site at the top, left a spot to draft each daily slice, and made a place to list potential ideas.  I felt ready and excited, AND very organized.

This morning, as I was leaving for the day, I looked at my potential list of ideas for today’s slice.  As I drove to work I churned a few thoughts around in my head, but nothing seemed to be coming together. The ideas I peeked at before leaving were not striking a chord with me and ideas weren’t coming together. I began to think about the reasons for this dilemma: Was it because I stayed up too late last night?  Were the grey skies dragging me down? Did I bite off more than I could chew and adding additional pressure to my days?  As I continued to reflect on my block I began to understand that writing is as much about ideas as it is about mood.
 
Hmm… how many of our students have days when the mood doesn't strike?  Their topic notebooks and ideas list are long and filled with so many fabulous ideas, yet they don’t write.  No amount of discussion or prompting get them out of their rut. Are they having a tough day? Is something going on at home that is distracting them?  Did they just not get enough sleep?
 
All of these thoughts gave me a deeper understanding of the writing process.  It’s not just about getting the story written, it’s also about being in the right frame of mind to capture the moment, to feel the emotion of the event, to relay the actions and the dialogue.  My block this morning has given me some great insight for the students in similar situations. Mood does indeed impact the writing process.  

How can I better honor this dilemma in myself and in my students?

6 comments:

  1. I tried planning ahead on my electronic calendar. So far I have failed. I think, for me, a paper list of ideas is the way to go. I write down an idea when I get it, then, when the mood strikes me, I can write about it. Not super efficient, but semi-organized at least.

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  2. Welcome the dilemma of a writer. Like Adrienne, I personally, find more connection with writing when I draft in pen and then turn to typing. Also, we are writerly connected - I have the same Google doc organized in the same way! Keep up the great work and consider borrowing some ideas from your fellow Slicer.

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  3. This is so important and the reason teachers should write! The process is critical to being a writer. You cannot truly understand it until you have experienced it. Such an important reflection and post!
    Clare

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  4. It is always good for us to attempt to learn new things as teachers; it always does give us so much more understanding of the problems our students face!

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  5. Yes, yes, yes!!! I actually wrote about this same thing last week. We want our students to produce on demand, but when we put ourselves in their place we see that sometimes that is hard. Thank you for sharing this...

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  6. Congrats on making a slice when you weren't sure you had a slice! I tend to tell my students who say they aren't sure what to write to write about how they are feeling about writing. We need to realize our kiddos have writing blocks, too.

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