daily writing habit

Daily Writing Habit

So, as some of you who have read my recent ruminations may know,
I have decided to blog every day.
Not because I have so much to say that I need to publish something every day,
but because by making my writing public every day,
I have made a commitment to a daily writing habit.
So, barring any unusual circumstances like no WiFi,
family commitments or
sheer exhaustion,
I am blogging every day.

Sometimes I am stuck for a topic to write about.
Sometimes I want to write about topics
that could get me into trouble if I made them public.
Sometimes I forego my instinct and do it anyway.
At other times, I walk along a long and narrow path.

All this is to say that I am pledging
to write at least 100 words a day.
Furthermore, I will add 10 or more words to my total goal every day.
If I’m going strong, why not keep the momentum going and up the ante?
My objective is to eventually write 1,000 words on a daily basis.
But, that would now become more than just a blog post.

To round out this idea even further,
I am going to invite some students to spend 10 minutes writing
at home every day, too.
 I can’t wait for this journey to begin!

And, just for the record, before I started writing  I had already written 187 words. So, maybe I need to move my goal to 250 or 300 words. Every. Single. Day.

#day#1afterSOL17 · daily writing habit

Showing Up to Find Out

Today is the first day after the last day of  #SOL17.
I’m missing it already.
Writing every day.
Making sure I linked my blog to the Two Writing Teachers website before the midnight deadline on the East Coast.

So, about three-fourths of the way through slicing in March, I promised myself that I would continue to write every day.
That I would blog every day.
No.
Matter.
What.

Well, here I am.
Even I can’t believe I made it!
Writing. Blogging. Thinking. Relishing every moment.

But, this is my weekend for writing progress reports.
Shouldn’t I be doing that instead of writing rambling thoughts?

And, as I think about writing every day, how will I come up with a fresh new writing idea for each day of the year? That’s 365 days of ideas! More to the point, where will I find the time and energy to keep writing every single day? I have a full-time job.

But, this is the old me speaking. I feel different. I am different.

Normally, I spend a lot of time thinking about what I need to do and precious little time actually doing it. This is a pattern that I know only too well. After I’ve made my lists – on sticky notes, on Google Keep, on my Notes app, or even on my Google Calendar – I am exhausted. There is so much to do!! Before I know it, I am overwhelmed. And, instead of getting busy doing, I find myself procrastinating. Not getting anything done. Finishing precious little.

It’s the self-discipline that I crave. Writing every day may be the way to develop a habit of starting and finishing personal- and work-related projects.
At least, that is my hope.
And, I’m showing up to find out.

Happy writing everyone!

daily writing habit · One Little Word

2016 – Bring It On!

I am a struggling writer. I struggle with topic selection, getting started and a lack of self-confidence. And, although I love to write, I realize that I love the IDEA of being a writer more. The process of writing, with its concomitant failures and less-than-perfect results, is not a selling point for me.

In my mind’s eye, I can almost see a blank book cover with my name on it, even if I can’t envision what the book is about. I can imagine myself a part of an elite group of teacher-writers who are disciplined, serious and have interesting things to say. I tell myself, “That could be you! If only…” And there my thinking trails off and I return to a state of numbness where “if only” becomes a long list of self-pitying excuses for why I will never write well enough so that others can appreciate and learn from what I have to say.

Now that I’ve confessed my deepest feelings of inadequacy, I can let them go. Just like that. I resolve to stop thinking about them. I am determined to turn the page. And, although I’ve attempted to do all of this before, this year will be different. This year my one little word (OLW) is ambitious, as in “having a desire to be successful” and not as in “wanting to be famous and powerful”.

Although being successful could definitely be equated with having power and fame, that is not my intent at all. I aim to be successful in the sense of achieving those goals that I’ve set for myself. For example, I will be successful if I am able to do daily and intentional or focused writing. It is less important if this writing is destined for publication writ large. What matters is that I’m writing. Period.

Of course, some of this writing will be published in the form of blog posts, presentations, articles, book proposals, and stories. But, by writing every day I will no longer be searching for THE topic to write my next blog post. Instead, I will have a repertoire of writings from which to select. My writing will improve. I will have accomplished my ambition. I will have been successful.

I am approaching 2016 in the same way that I approached my third pregnancy: this is the year (month for getting pregnant). If my writing doesn’t become a regular routine, a viable part of my daily life, then I may as well give up and recognize that while I am a strong reader, I am a less committed writer.

If this is how things turn out then I will have to readjust my approach to teaching writing in the classroom from a teacher who writes to a teacher who struggles with writing. I am hoping this will not be the blog post I will be writing on December 31, 2016. Rather, I am planning to focus on asserting myself as a successful (habitual) writer by the end of this year.

Throughout this year, I will hopefully post about my writing journey. I know it won’t be easy. In fact, it will probably be difficult and I will probably want to give up more often than not, but it will be worthwhile. Wishful New Year’s optimism? Perhaps, but  I am speaking and acting as if this is already how things are. Today’s writing is proof of my new approach.

Here’s to a productive, ambitious, joyful 2016. Bring it on!

Angela Maiers · daily writing habit · noticing · taking note · TED talk · writing

Noticing and Taking Note

Angela Maiers, in this TED talk, recommends that we take note of what we notice. And, by taking note, I think Angela means taking the time to appreciate everything that happens every day. There are many noteworthy things to notice and we need to take the time to appreciate that which we notice. For me, this means naming the noticing and writing about it as a way to reflect on it. Writing serves as a reminder that things matter, people matter, and that what I think about all of this matters a lot.

Yet, I notice so many things but I rarely take note of anything.

Writing about what I notice sometimes feels beside the point. Ostentatious. Unimportant. Too much work. But, I know that the act of writing, no matter the topic, gets me to writing that really matters. I also know that for this to happen, I need to establish a regular writing habit. Daily is best, even if it’s just for 15 minutes at a time. And, I have to protect that time at all costs. Surely I can find 15 minutes every day to write?! Or maybe I’ll start with a five minute writing session every day for a week. Then, I’ll add five minutes the following week and so on. Fifteen minutes being my goal for now. Once I have this habit firmly established, I can add five minutes every week until I reach thirty minutes. That would be heavenly.

It’s funny that I should be writing about this – a teacher of writing and a writer of…of…of all kinds of things. But my writing is often measured by deadlines rather than nurtured by a daily habit.

That’s the next step.

daily writing habit · writing · writing club

Writing Club

        Yesterday we had a meeting of the children interested in writing club.  There were about 70 children present from grade one through grade four.  Although I shouldn’t have been surprised, I was.  This year we’re starting late.  Normally, we start in October but the start of 2011 was fraught with atypical personal and professional challenges.  So, here we are, it’s mid-January and just getting ready to start.  Yet, despite the late start, there were lots of children interested. 
Of course, it’s encouraging that so many children want to stay once a week during their lunchtime to write because they love it.  However, there are only two us sponsoring writing club so we needed to set some parameters so that the children who finally end up staying would do so because (1) they love to write, (2) they are willing to spend a lunch period writing, (3) they are fairly independent when it comes to writing – they won’t need much supervision (a concern in the past with some playful grade one boys) and will use the time they have in a productive manner, (4) they won’t quit in the middle of the semester (we go until May) because another more enticing club has come along.  In other words, writing is their passion. 
We’re starting on Thursday this week and I, for one, can’t wait!  I plan to spend a few minutes at the beginning of every writing club time doing my own writing, as well.  I’ve recently come to call myself a writer who can write well.  Therefore, I need to make a habit of writing in order to become a better writer.  So, I’ve started a commitment to writing every morning for about an hour when I wake up.  Since I’ve started doing this I find my days go more smoothly and I feel calmer.  This last result is not something I was expecting. In New Orleans, where I lived for four years, we call this lagniappe!