Posted in 2017, Classroom, Literacy, Reflection, Slice of Life, Writing

#SOL17 Day 31: 31 Lessons in 31 Days (Part 2)

This is the third year I’ve participated in the March Slice of Life Challenge through the Two Writing Teachers, and I can’t believe what a powerful month it has been each time. As I sit here and reflect on what this month has meant, what I’ve learned, and how I hope it has changed me as a writer and teacher going forward, I’m going to spend the last two days reflecting on the 31 most important things I’ve learned by participating.

  1. You have to be forgiving of yourself when you don’t write. Just like any good habit, it Image result for finish line beginning of whole new racewon’t always happen. Life gets busy. I’m committing to continuing my writing, but I also know that I will only stick with this commitment if I learn to forgive myself during the busy times when I can’t always squeeze it in. Each day is a new opportunity to write–even if you didn’t yesterday.
  2. Writing is always a work in progressFor years we have used the Units of Study mantra “When you think you’re done, you’ve just begun.” Living as a writer has shown me just how true this is.
  3. Technology has taken writing to a whole new level. Without blogging and Twitter and Two Writing Teachers, I might never have found the right tools and forum to have the courage to write and share my work. Technology connects us in powerful ways. We can’t forget that.
  4. Incentives are great, but the prize is the writing. I love how TWT includes little challenges along the way to push our thinking and help us connect even more. But there’s no disappointment or discouragement if a prize isn’t part of the experience. My reward is the work I’ve done and the things I’ve learned along the way.
  5. Writing makes you a better reader. We know, of course, that the opposite is true–the more you read, the better you write. But I have also begun to notice over the past few weeks that I’m noticing the craft of the writing in the books I’m reading more than ever before. (This makes me think about cooking–how much better things taste when you know the effort and love that went into creating them.)
  6. Writing captures who we are, where we’ve been, and where we’re hoping to go. My writing this year isn’t like the writing I did last year. My writing next year will not be the same as the writing I’m doing now. Our lives change, we grow, and our writing lives on as a snapshot of our current reality.
  7. Developing myself as a writer will make me a better teacher of writing. I look forward to sharing with my students the power of being a writer myself, the challenges, and how I work to overcome struggles.
  8. Writing isn’t just something you do, it’s something you areI’ve always considered myself a teacher who gets to teach reading and writing. Now I love thinking about myself as a writer who gets to teach children how to write, too.
  9. Each new piece of writing is a blank slate. It doesn’t matter if the last piece of writing was prolific or if it was a tremendous flop. Every time I click the ‘Write’ button to start a new piece is a fresh beginning with endless options.
  10. Powerful messages aren’t always told with words. Some of my favorite posts this month that I have read have included powerful images. I have to constantly remind myself of the power of visual media and work on thinking of ways to incorporate this more into my own work.
  11. Writers support each other. Even more than just an audience, the other writers this month have formed a support system. I can’t forget that in my classroom–there is just something so powerful about knowing there are people out there who are waiting to read your work and willing to be your cheerleaders.
  12. Goals don’t have to be shared to be transformative. I’ve kept pretty quiet about this challenge to my family and friends. I haven’t talked a lot about making myself write every day for 31 days. At one time I think I kept it to myself because I was afraid of not making it to the end, but I really think it’s because this goal was so personal that I didn’t need a push from anyone else to help me achieve it. I completely owned this goal.
  13. It is so important to share the power of writing. For the past two years, I have tried this challenge alone and have been afraid to share with the people around me that I was doing it. Part of me was a little intimidated that someone I know might read my work, and part of me was worried that the people I shared it with would think I was crazy for wanting to take something like this on. This year, however, two of my teaching friends–a classroom teacher and our instructional technology coach–have tried the challenge with me, and I have loved sharing this experience with them. I can only hope that more people will join us next year!
  14. Sometimes you have to take the time to look back at how far you have come as a writer. Participating in this challenge for three years means that I have hit publish 63 times (plus a few here and there as I’ve done the Tuesday challenge). As I sit back and reread my very first post from 2015, I can see how much more confident I am, how much more committed I am, and how much writing has come to mean to me.
  15. I am a writer. I could easily say I’m too busy to write. I have two small children and a husband at home. I’m finishing my doctorate. I’m returning to the classroom. I lead PD after school. My kids have activities almost every afternoon and on the weekends. But in spite of all of that, I have made writing every day for the past month work somehow. And there’s no reason at all to think I can’t continue to write regularly. After all, not only am I a mother and a wife and a student and a teacher . . . I’m a writer.

I’m excited to join other writers every Tuesday (and daily during the month of March) in 2017 to participate in the Slice of Life writing challenge through Two Writing Teachers. Read all about how you can Write. Share. Give. on their website here.
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Teacher, mentor, reader, writer, mother, wife Lover of good books, chocolate chip cookies, and sunny days

17 thoughts on “#SOL17 Day 31: 31 Lessons in 31 Days (Part 2)

  1. These are so good and I’m so inspired to read them on our final day! I woke up feeling #6 today; this snapshot of of life that won’t be the same next year. You have had so many great slices this year that I’ve missed. I’m excited as a reader to catch up on them. Congrats on making it to the end another year 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  2. These are all so true! #7 hits me right now because I was just thinking about how much more I can relate to the students when I’m writing regularly, not just modeling writing. I can talk to them about struggling for ideas or where I look for for inspiration. Hopefully you’ll have some of my kids next year and can continue the challenge with them 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I loved reading this! So many wonderful points here. I love how you talk about reading like a writer helps you grow as a reader, too! Growing a writer’s identity and building confidence – looking back to see how much you’ve grown – all so important. I am going to look for you every Tuesday!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This thought spoke the loudest to me: “Writing isn’t just something you do, it’s something you are.” Only by completing this challenge, year after year, reminds me of this fact. Great list today and yesterday!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I love the truth of writing not being something we do, but something we are. We have an inborn desire to express ourselves from the outset of life – Donald Graves says: “We wanted to write before we ever wanted to read.” I can remember trying to write my first story independently when I was six. And writers do support each other – you have been tremendous in this capacity! Your strength and presence of mind are amazing, even more so with all the hats you wear. Counting you a great blessing from this experience, and wishing you many in return. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Love your quote … finish line / just the beginning of another race … Your words resonate with me, “Goals don’t have to be shared to be transformative.” I look forward to seeing you every Tuesday!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Your observations are spot on! I printed out your list to use as a reminder to get teachers to join. I’m a first time slicer; I am amazed at how this thirty-one day challenge transformed me in so may ways. I agree whole heartedly with, “Writing isn’t just something you do, it’s something you are.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m absolutely honored that you printed my list! Participating in this challenge has really taken on a new meaning for me this year as I’ve connected with so many people and read so many fantastic pieces of writing. Thanks for your kind feedback!

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  8. Thank you so much for inspiring me daily. I would love to stay connected with you and love being inspired by you. Thank you for your amazing insight and brilliant ideas! Thank you-see you Tuesday!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! I’m so glad I’ve “met” you through this challenge! I’ve loved following your writing journey this month and look forward to staying connected!

      Like

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