Thirty-one! I have never done non-required writing for thirty-one straight days before!
Anyway, I have been thinking about this challenge a lot. When I was in grad school, I really got serious about starting to run. In November, I signed up for a marathon that would take place the following November. I did most of my running on the treadmill and did some cross training. I picked a time where I would move to running mostly outside and found a plan I would try to follow. Come that following August, I moved out of state to a brand new place completely by myself and started my first year of teaching. I didn’t want running to become a source of stress, so I backed off to the half-marathon. And that November, I ran a half marathon!!
The next year, I moved up from the primary grades and started teaching 4th grade. This was a very writing-intense grade, and my students were no where near ready for it. And it hit me- writing is like running. No way could I have gone out on my first day and run 10 miles. I had to build up for it. It wasn’t too awful hard because before I had started running, I had been going to the gym and doing other things for about three years prior.
So when I had a parent come to me concerned about the fact that I was making kids write, and her kid just wasn’t good at it, I used my running metaphor. I told her we are going to have to make an effort to write more, to get ourselves used to it. We’re going to have to do a lot of bad writing to get to the good writing. And then, even after we get to the good writing, we’ll still have bad writing days. And that’s ok.
Well how does all of that fit into this challenge? I have been thinking about my posts each day. I kind of just sit down, write, and push publish. I definitely want to move away from that and put more focus and effort into my writing. But this is like starting to run. I need to start trying, start building up my stamina. I need to get used to trying to find things to write about, and then actually write about them. I have some drafts saved that I want to revisit later. I want to keep this “writing thing” up and see myself as a writer.
The really funny thing to me? Stress really did take over my life and running became stressful for me. My runs would never “good enough” for me and I kind of just let it fall. I do some running, but I’m always disappointed at what I’m not capable of doing. Yesterday it hit me- I need to think about my running like I’m thinking about my writing. Right now, whatever writing I can do is enough- it’s more that I did last month. I’m going to have to start over with my running, and that’s ok. So, I kind of went from a runner who used running to help me think about writing to a “writer (?)” who is using writing to help me think about my running.
Now, to think about what I will write about on Tuesday…