Trying Something a Little Bit Scary Every Day #sol22

Here we are… March 1. The beginning of the month long writing challenge! I’m totally psyched for this and also… completely unprepared. Ok, not completely unprepared. I think I decided that this is my six or seventh year of the challenge, so I do know what to expect, a few panicky mornings where I don’t know what I’m going to write about, a couple of days where time gets away from me and I’m writing right before the deadline, and one or two glorious days where I write something I’m truly, truly proud of.

A few weeks ago, I was asked to talk about why I write and what is the benefit of being a teacher writer. I’m reminded of this saying that I have above my desk.

We believe in courage in cartwheeling past our comfort zones and trying something a little scary everyday.

One of the things I said was I used to think of myself as a reader and a reading teacher that also taught writing. Now I see myself as a writing teacher who sees the connection between writing and reading. Such an enormous connection! My Tuesday writing companions feel like a club where everyone is always teaching me something new about the world, about writing, about our work as writing teachers. It is truly, truly amazing.

My friend (we’ve never actually met) Darin wrote a blog this week about why he writes or maybe it was actually about how he loves to write. I second that emotion. When my friend, Clare, encouraged me to join this writing group so many years ago, I was hesitant. There are actual writers in this group… published writers! Here I am, six or so years later, discussing cookie cutters and disappointments, triumphs and worries with people who have read hundreds of my blogs.

When I sit down next to a kindergarten writing about her mom’s birthday, a first grader writing about safety, or a third grade trying to convince the principal that we should have a four day school week, I am not talking to them as a teacher of writing but as a fellow writer, a mentor, a coach. I wonder to myself, how would I write that? I ask, what do want to say? I ask, what happened next? What else can you teach me? This isn’t how it felt before. I’m not sure how it felt, but it felt more like ‘teaching’. Now it feels so much more like collaborating or mentoring. You got it in you, young writer. You will surpass me, young padawan. I can’t wait to see that.

Today I went from kindergarten writing, to first grade writing, to third grade writing. It was a nearly perfect day. K. mom is having a birthday today and they will have cak(e). Her present is a dress. In the drawing everyone was smiling! My first grade fellow writers were finishing up some all about… books. We had some deep conversations about editing, author’s craft, and what’s next. You know A. taught be that accidents can happen to anyone anywhere, but there will be someone (a grown up) there to help you. I can’t wait to see what she teaches me next. My third grader friends are knee deep in some persuasive speeches about Free Friday or four day weeks. That spirit that says you can change the world will take them far. So will writing.


14 thoughts on “Trying Something a Little Bit Scary Every Day #sol22

  1. Happy March! I too am excited and worried about these next 31 days! It is so true that once we become writers, the way we approach other writers is completely different. This line resonated with me – I am not talking to them as a teacher of writing but as a fellow writer, a mentor, a coach. I can’t wait to write with you this month!

  2. Welcome back Susan! I so agree with you…teachers who are writers are much better teachers of writing. We just get it. We can give advice to our young writers authentically. Go you! 🙂

  3. Cartwheeling past comfort zones…..what a great way to take on the world! Susan, that may be a new motto for me. There’s a Facebook group that just started and is called 12 adventures in 12 months that careened from a few interested folks to hundreds within a day. Because they are ready to cartwheel past comfort zones and share what they did that was a little scary! 🙂

  4. Kids know when we are faking — when you sit beside a child, they know you are real, you are not a faker. It’s an immediate connection – writer to writer – no matter the age. I bet each writer you sit beside takes your question to heart because you talk to them not as teacher to student but writer to writer.

  5. Maybe the tables have turned and your words pushed me to be here this year … funny how things come around and go around. Here’s to the next 30 days my friend – and the possibility of an in-person meet-up soon! I’m on my way to your town today!

  6. Welcome back. I love your perspective about writing as a way to both “stay in the game” and move into a “challenge zone.” I think that is how I feel as well. I face this day not sure I will make it to the finish line intact, but sure that I will look for the small moments of life that deserve to be captured!

  7. Thank you for the reminder about trying something scary. I love my routines. They keep me going. But, they also keep me in my comfort zone, something I ask my 4th graders to step out of every day. Glad to be with you on the March journey!

  8. I’m positive that you are a gift of a fellow writer to all those kids…you’re a gift to me too! So glad to be here with you AGAIN. I tried to figure out how long I’ve been here today too. I think it’s year six for me!

  9. It’s good to see your words, my friend. I love how you are constantly in classrooms, sharing, mentoring, and just being that person with whom writers can share their experiences. That is so cool.

    And it makes for some awesome slices too! 🙂

    Good luck with your writing!

  10. I really like that lesson at the end about accidents and people to help pick up the pieces. You have an effect on kid writers…and adult slicers. Thanks for being so supportive and responsive. I’m not sure how you find the time, but I’m grateful.

  11. Cartwheeling nicely encapsulates an image for panicky exhilaration. Here’s hoping March writing brings you a heartening ratio of the latter to the former!

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