Category Archives: 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!

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My One Little Word – Confident

My One Little Word (OWL) for 2015…drum roll, please…is…”confident“!

I came about this word fairly quickly during the last two weeks of 2014.

I started by making a list.

The first word on that list was “confident”. Then, came a stream of words and short phrases – assertive, confidence, be myself, just do it!, health, communication, exercise, and change. My methodical but slow search for the perfect OLW for 2015, made me realize that the word “confident” addressed or subsumed all the other words on my list quite nicely.

In order to be assertive and stand up for myself, I need to be confident in my professional abilities and expertise. That way I can speak eloquently for whatever I want to accomplish in my job.

In order to focus on my health during 2015, such as exercising more, I need to be confident that I can develop a daily 30 minute exercise routine, whatever shape or form that happens to take.

In order to be myself, I need the confidence to trust in whatever gifts I can bring to the table and that these gifts will be welcomed by others. This last self-knowledge has always been hard for me; it’s connected to communicating what I want and need in my personal and professional relationships.

“Just do it!” and “Be myself” are really about the same thing – going after what I want and deserve rather than sitting on the sidelines waiting for it to be delivered to me. An administrator once said, “If you want something, go after it. Don’t expect others to come to you. It doesn’t work that way.”

After I chose my OLW, I searched for a dictionary definition of confidence and found the following three definitions – (1) the feeling or belief that one can rely on someone or something; firm trust; (2) the state of feeling certain about the truth of something; (3) a feeling of self-assurance arising from one’s appreciation of one’s own abilities or qualities. Of these three definitions, the third one was the one that resonated the most with me. My dirty little secret, according to my family, is that I don’t have a full appreciation for my own abilities and expertise. In fact, I am in awe of people who seem to have this quality or at least pretend that they do. In the big scheme of things, is there a difference between the two? I read somewhere that “if you act as if”, then that “acting” will become reality.

Therefore, a focus on building my “confidence” in 2015 will mean taking risks with the knowledge that if I want something, I better go after it. No one is going to give it to me on a silver platter.

Maybe 2015 will be the year that I focus on writing that professional book that has been incubating inside me for years? Who knows? The only way I will know is to confront my fears with confidence and grace.

There! I said it! Wish me luck.

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