This month I am joining in on National Novel Writing Month - NaNoWriMo! The idea is to write 50,000 words in one month. I was hesitant at first, but now I am embracing the concept of just getting all my thinking inked and then being able to go back to edit and revise. As a student, I was lucky enough to have teachers who taught with Writer's Workshop. I wholeheartedly believe in the process of writing, but it has been a long time since I sat down to draft a narrative (don't worry, I haven't forgotten the pages upon pages I wrote for National Boards last year...but that wasn't this kind of writing...).
I forgot how hard it can be to write without thinking too much! When I write with my students, I am a pro at the free write. I can easily sit for ten minutes and just write as much as I can about anything and everything that comes to mind, but so far, writing a novel has me looking like my 2nd grader: blank page in front of me, looking at the wall, now looking at another wall, now looking back at my blank page, writing one idea, then looking at the wall, and now the other wall...I have my ideas but I'm thinking too much about exactly how I want to say it. In the true spirit of NaNoWriMo, I'm going to push myself to just write, and to get my ideas down. I know I will have to go back and make changes. I know I will have to edit. I know I will have to revise. And that's okay! You are free words, you don't have to be perfect, you just have to spill forth! For now, I just have to work on getting my thinking inked or I'll never even sniff 50,000 pages.
It's day three and I'm already learning about myself as a writer and identifying with my students as writers. In the past few years, as I have been reading and reading and reading like crazy, I have learned about myself as a reader. I have read enough books that I have experienced the thrill of finding an amazing book that brings me to hysterical tears and wailing and books that are hard for me to connect with where I find myself understanding the frustration of struggling with a book. Gaining this perspective has helped me identify with my students and be able to better teach them with this perspective. Last year I decorated a writer's notebook with my students at the beginning of the year and filled mine little by little as I went. I love having that as a resource that I can refer back to now that I want to write more about my ideas. As a writer, I understand how important that notebook is now! I recognize how safe it makes me feel to know I can look in there and get an idea when I stare at this blank screen and think I have nothing to write about! And last night, as I reread what I have and thought about the dialogue I have included already I could feel my worries about it not being right and not being good. I'm sure my students have that feeling, too. Already, I am anxious to see how I grow as a teacher by participating in NaNoWriMo and becoming a writer as much as I have become a reader.
A little tired, but overall, enthusiastic! Day Three - 6:00AMWhat are you thoughts about NaNoWriMo? Have you joined in before? How did you do? What have you learned about yourself as a writer? If not, how do you feel about teaching writing?
I'll post more about NaNoWriMo and what I learn as I go along!