Sunday, July 26, 2015

Teachers Write - Sunday Check-In 4.3

Hi again everyone! We've just made it through week three of Teachers Write! There is one week left and I'm hoping to make the most of this week. How about you? We started the summer off super strong and it seems like there are less people joining in but I hope you find a way to give it your best this last week. I've been reading Natalie Goldberg's Writing Down The Bones after it was recommended by so many people. It's another gem full of thoughts and ideas about celebrating the creativity and freedom of writing but at the same time the difficulty and the work it takes to keep going. I'm sharing some of my favorite quotes here this week again. See if something speaks to you!

What I loved is that she makes a lot of reference to meditation and I've been working on yoga more lately. I took a class on Friday and did more in my sequences at home. Yoga and writing seem to have an interesting connection. But I also see how persevering in writing can be like persevering in so many other things. 
"Writing is egalitarian; it cuts across geographic, class, gender, and racial lines." (p. xii)

"Learning is write is not a linear process. There is no logical A-to-B-to-C way to become a good writer." (p. 4)

"When you write, don't say, 'I'm going to write a poem.' That attitude will freeze you right away. Sit down with the least expectation of yourself; say, 'I am free to write the worst junk in the world.' You have to give yourself the space to write a lot without a destination." (p. 15)

"If you are not afraid of the voices inside you, you will not fear the critics outside you." (p. 23)

"Don't worry about your talent or capability: that will grow as you practice....just practice writing, and when you learn to trust your voice, direct it...In the process of writing them, you will learn how. You can have the confidence that you will gradually acquire the technique and craft you need." (p. 37)

"We learn writing by doing it. That simple." (P. 37)

"We are important and our lives are important, magnificent really, and their details are worthy to be recorded. This is how writers must think, this is how we must sit down with pen in hand. We were here; we are human beings; this is how we lived. Let it be known, the earth passed before us."(p. 55)

"Don't tell readers what to feel. Show them the situation, and that feeling will awaken in them." (p. 87)

"Don't be afraid to answer the questions. You will find endless resources inside yourself. Writing is the act of burning through the fog in your mind. Don't carry the fog out on paper. Even if you are not sure of something, express it as though you know yourself. With this practice you eventually will." (p. 112)

"A writer's job is to make the ordinary come alive, to awaken ourselves to the specialness of simply being." (p. 129)

"In the middle of the world, make one positive step. In the center of chaos, make on definitive act. Just write. Say yes, stay alive, be awake. Just write. Just write. Just write." (p. 131)

"When the old nag in you comes around with 'Why are you wasting your time? Why do you write?,' just dive onto the page, be full of answers, but don't try to justify yourself. You do it because you do it. You do it because you want to improve your handwriting, because your an idiot, because you're made for the smell of paper." (p. 149)

"Be willing to look at your work honestly. If something works, it works. If it doesn't, quit beating an old horse. Go on writing. Something else will come up." (p. 204)

"See revision as 'envisioning again.' If there are areas on your work where there is a blur or vagueness, you can simply see the picture again and add the details that will bring your work closer to your mind's picture." (p. 209)

There are so many nuggets here that I can see on the walls of classrooms, shared with students, left as notes to student writers. This book is a fast read with so many stories and ideas that I connected with and I'm sure you might also enjoy since you have participated in Teachers Write this year. I hope you look for it if you haven't read it yet or maybe reread it if you have.

My Teachers Write Weekly Recap:
I don't know what happened to my week. Well, I kind of know. We had a busy week and Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, I spent in training at work all day. This is such a teacher problem, but after those three days, I was exhausted. I just didn't have the energy to write much this week. I did write once when I was up at three in the morning and then I did write another time when I had a break but I barely wrote 800 words. That was not at all near my goal. I'm not happy with myself but it has to be okay at the same time. I'm excited to have more time to write this week but also to make the time. 

While I was at work this week, I did talk to a teacher about writing in her classroom and setting up student writer's notebooks. I shared my notebook with her from when I was teaching and sharing and modeling my notebook for students. It was fun. I'm excited to talk more with her about supporting student writers in her classroom!
And finally, we did got to a baseball game where we happened to be squinting into the sun from our seats and I noticed so many people with their hands up to shield their eyes. It was a moment where I thought about all the little details a writer has to notice so he or she can put it into their writing and I sat their, not really paying attention to the game, but definitely people watching and thinking about little bits and pieces I can incorporate into my work. I'm hoping for a better week and to get back to my 7,000 word plan. Happy writing!

A reminder of my rules for Teachers Write Sunday Check-Ins:
1. We respect each other and the type of writing we do.
2. We only offer constructive criticism.
3. We are positive and encourage each other at all times.
4. We recognize and maintain this as a safe environment.

Today, in the comments section:
How did you do this week? Did you meet your weekly goal(s)?
What was the pit of your week? (The hardest part, the non-fun part?)
What was the peak of your week? (The best part, the most-fun part?)
What are you looking forward to and planning for the week ahead?

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