Sunday, October 7, 2012

A Teachers Write Frame of Mind

Can you believe it's October already!? I hardly can! Things have gone at light-speed since the school year began. Just yesterday it was warm and I was taking Peanut to his first day of kindergarten. Now it's cold and it's almost time for parent/teacher conferences. Little Bean is getting so big, too. I have to share my proud mama moment. Little Bean has been singing more and more. It's so sweet to hear his little singing voice. I just had to share!     
He doesn't quite have his alphabet down yet, but it starts somewhere. Pretty soon, he'll being kindergarten and learning sight words and doing writing workshop like Peanut. My kids are growing up so fast and the school year is cruising by! 

It's already October and Halloween will be here before I know it. And after Halloween it'll be November. This year, November for me means a trip to Las Vegas for the NCTE annual conference. I'm so excited! Last year, it was a blast in Chicago, but this year I get to travel and attend the whole conference and even go to ALAN, too. I am beyond ecstatic. I'm looking forward to getting a chance to hang out with Kellee again! Plus, all the other amazing friends I have made on Twitter who will be there. I love Twitter as professional development and it's super exciting to get to visit with tweeps in real life for a change.
Today, I'm actually in downtown Chicago to cheer on my friend and colleague, Reyna, who is running the Chicago Marathon! She has run it several times before. I ran it in 2003 and that was enough for me. I attempted to train to run it again in 2006 but I found out I was pregnant with Peanut and that was the end of my marathon training. My husband did run it in 2006 and he had run it in 2003 with me, too. It's an unforgettable experience and I am inspired by everyone who gives it a go and makes it to the starting line, let alone the finish line. It's pretty amazing how determined we can be as people. If we put our minds to it, we can probably get it done. 

The marathon is definitely a physical challenge but it ends up being equally, if not moreso, a mental challenge. But, if we are motivated, we can do it. I feel that way about teaching in general but about reading and writing, too. If we are motivated and want to read a book because we are interested in it or if we want to write and we stick with it, then we'll get it done. Studies have shown that motivated teachers lead to motivated students and motivated students achieve more. Pretty awesome.  
Today is the also a special day because it's been six weeks since I finished up the completely-rough, totally-not-polished, first draft of my work-in-progress from Teachers Write over the summer. It was a great feeling to stay focused and to finish the first draft. After all, throughout the summer, didn't we talk again and again about how a first draft is perfect just because it's finished? Well, mine is finished. I printed it out and I packed it up into these four little envelopes. It has sat patiently on the shelf for six whole, entire, long weeks. The time is now to break them open and dive into rereading and revising. It seems daunting but exhilarating at the same time. I know it will be work but at the same time I know I'll be that much further down the road towards sending it off. Today is October 7th, time to break open the envelope....and I'm ready to revise like crazy. Challenge accepted. 
The fun of writing this summer and being in the mindset of a writer is still with me. I so wish I had more time and energy to devote to writing but it's not easy. Hopefully soon I'll work writing back into my daily routine. The good thing is that I'm still thinking like a writer! One day last week we presented in a different room than usual. In the morning, I happened to glance out the window and see this house. On the roof  of the porch, I saw a lonely yellow ball. 
It was a gloomy day, overcast and dreary, but this sunshiny, yellow ball sat on the roof of the porch. I love yellow and it's a cheery color in my opinion but I felt sad for this little yellow ball. All by itself. Stranded on the roof of the porch. I couldn't help but wonder, "How did the ball get there? Who was playing with it? How did that person or people feel when it landed on the roof? Did they try to get the ball down?" All sorts of questions started barreling through my brain. What do you think? How did Mr. Awesome Yellow Ball get there? What's his story?

How are things going in general with writing now that the school year has started? I think most of us are less focused on writing...at least that's what it seems like on Twitter. I have a couple thousand words on a new work-in-progress/first draft but that's it. I was doing well at the beginning of the year but in the last few weeks haven't gotten any writing done. I miss my Teachers Write friends! It's amazing how helpful it is to have a support system when it comes to writing.
 

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