Thursday, March 31, 2016
Day 31: #SOL16- Some Final Reflections
Today is the final day of the Slice of Life Challenge, hosted by the inspirational writers of Two Writing Teachers. Throughout March, we have committed to writing every single day. It's a powerful learning experience.
Given that today is the last day of March, it is also the last day of the 2016 Slice of Life Challenge. As in past years, I find myself reflecting and trying to make connections that make be a better developer of curriculum, instructional coach, writer, and overall learner. As in other years, I'm struck by the power of our writing community and all of our shared commitment to doing something hard. Within busy lives, writing every day is challenging, and it's even more challenging because our writing is shared and public. Our bedside journals afford us the luxury of cross-outs, misspelling, and those not-quite-right words. On the other hand our blogs and daily slices require more attention to details. And so many of us have done it. (By the way, I give credit to the Challenge-takers who have missed a day or two. Your commitment still counts! In some ways you get a louder shout-out because it's so easy to fall of the writing wagon and just stay off.) To the entire community, the hosts and all the bloggers--even ones I didn't make it to--thank you. The combined energy keeps us all going!
This year, I had a couple important take-aways which impact the work I do with young writers. First, it's really important to read, celebrate, and study writing of various levels and genres. Some of my daily reads were so consistently wise and brilliantly constructed that I found myself doubting my own writing, and consequently, I started to freeze. My writing felt inadequate. As I wrote in an earlier post, I could work my way out of the slump and the negative feelings, but I wonder how young writers feel when the work that is held up for them to see is consistently better than what they feel they can produce. I think I try to share writing of all levels, but I now have an even greater belief in the importance of this practice.
Another important take-away for me is that sometimes we have to give permission to take our foot off the gas. During the course of the 31 days, there were times when writing within the same general genre of educational reflections was hard. I had committed to staying true to the educational purpose of the blog I share. In one of my posts, I compared writing to horseback riding, thinking about how sometimes horses respond to just having the reins let go so they can run and and buck and jump. Sometimes, I think that writers need this, too. Sometimes we need a day off from the hard work of serious writing so that we can just free-write, blurb, or rant--a writer's version of frolicking in a paddock. As an instructional coach, I may do more suggesting of genre-day-offs within units. I'll be interested to watch for re-energizing and revitalization that comes from dropping the writing reins for just an occasional day here and there.
There are too many people for me to thank everyone and feel like I've remembered all of you who have impacted me as a writer and as a person this month. If you think you might be on my shout-out list, then you are. This community is like no other with such passion and purpose for learning. I will see you on Tuesdays, and again for the #SOL17.
Happy slicing, learning, and remaining a community of writers!