I have quite a few drafts saved, but none are ready to publish. I am still working on making myself a WRITER. I know I need help. But how do you get that when you are out of school but not a professional writer? A few summers ago I participated in a Summer Institute of the local NWP branch, and I had a writing group for two weeks. But that has fizzled out. I know my writing is very journal-like, and I don’t want to keep publishing that kind of stuff. I started the March Slice of Life Challenge to get myself back in the writing habit, and I let it be ok that that is what my writing is like. But I have some slices that I want to say more than that. They are moments I have enjoyed, or moments that have had an impact on me, and I want the writing to fit that. But I need help. Where can I get that?
This is this issue I have always had with writing and speaking. I never feel like I really have the words to match the pictures in my head, or the feeling something gave me. And that just gets so frustrating! I already know that I identify as a reader (shouldn’t that HELP me?!?), how can I really identify as a writer?
We are preparing for state tests in my class. That means this week, I want them doing Read to Self as much as possible. I’m switching it up some. Some days, we try for at least one hour of a book, others I’ll split it up- 30 minutes of a fiction book, 30 minutes non-fiction. I’ll meet with a few kids one-on-one to go through some test-taking strategies, if only to build confidence. I just want my kids to read a lot, to enjoy reading, and to be able to think through texts they struggle with. I think those are great goals for fourth graders.
A memory that I had recently that helped reinforce this- around this time last year, I would go to the bookstore either later in the evening or early in the morning during the weekends. I enjoyed that time to really get away from all of the people and hustle and bustle of everything (and I enjoyed there being a seat open for me- usually after 10 am they’re all taken for what seems like forever). Anyway, on this particular morning I was reading from In the Middle and a part of a song came on the speakers and it was just a wonderful moment. I was relaxed, there was soothing music on, and I was lost in a book, picturing in my head what that environment was like and imagining myself there.
They were playing a recently released album, and as I was driving home last weekend, the single’s newest single, that song I heard about a year ago, came on. It took my back to that moment in the bookstore and I felt relaxed again (for a minute, anyway!).
Really need to train myself to look for the positives. Some from last night/today:
-Saw a kid I had my first year who had a lot of issues and ended up in a self-contained class. He no longer goes to my school, but ran after me as I was leaving to say hi.
-I’m not really as anxious to drive in the rain in my new car. At one point when I was just starting out driving in my old car, I unknowingly had a screw in one of my tires and it made for some scary drives in the rain. I eventually got it fixed, but it was always in the back of my mind. Plus my new car had traction control!
-Made myself work out today!
-A lot of things are ending- the after school club I do, my class I was taking. I’ll still have random meetings and such, but my Mondays and Tuesdays should have less stress. 🙂
I have never been good with words. I’m very much the quiet type. I think that’s why I’ve never been much of a writer. I can’t really explain myself well, and I’m very private. Which irritates me to no end because I am trying so hard to work through this part of my life, this stuck feeling that has been around for far too long. And I know some people write to work through things, but I am finding myself saving so many drafts, trying to work through feelings but just ending up more frustrated because I don’t feel like I can express myself enough to help myself.
But to end on a positive note, after handing out progress reports, a struggling student did two things. He said, “Let me go ahead and tell you what my mom will say- thanks for all you do” and then hugging me, then said, “You make me learn.” Sometimes it’s really hard for me to see all of the positives in my life so it’s good when they just jump out at me like that!