Sunday, July 12, 2020

Teachers Write 2020 - Sunday Check-In #1

Welcome to Teachers Write 2020! Teachers Write is a virtual summer writing camp for educators that started in 2012. We've evolved a bit over time but it's still an opportunity to really focus in on my writing life every summer. 

I'm guessing you are here after reading Kate Messner's first blog post with lots of Teachers Write goodness this week. If so, you're probably already signed up for Teachers Write but if not, you can click here to sign up
Really quickly, I'd like to introduce myself! My name is Jen Vincent, I'm a 7th and 8th grade ELA/SS teacher for Mundelein School District 75 in Mundelein, Illinois where I also happen to live with my partner, Chad, and our two sons. We have a dog named Perdi and a bearded dragon named Zeke along with several sweet plants that I've acquired since being in quarantine. 
I'm also the founder of Story Exploratory, a fun and funky writing community where people come to feel seen, celebrated, and empowered.Our goal is for you to use writing to own your headspace and to make the world a better place. We offer monthly workshops via Zoom, a monthly critique group called Feedback Fiesta, small group coaching, and one-to-one writing coaching. Our upcoming workshop on Saturday, July 18th, is called Joy in the Journey and focuses on finding stories from our past, present, and future.

On Sundays, I host our Teachers Write weekly check-in. It's a time to visit with other educators who write, reflect on the week, and share goals. Over the years, I've had lots of different goals for my Teachers Write time. Usually I devote most of my energy to drafting or revising a novel. This year I've been working on personal essays and am now spending time exploring how might stories might fit together for a memoir. 

My goal has been to carve out 20-30 minutes to do work in my notebook. I have a notebook just for this memoir project that I'm working on and I make sure to open it up and add my thinking to it. This week I tried the list like Kate suggested, I wrote some stories, and I wrote some revelations. The peak was finding my way into an essay I'd like to include and actually getting it from my notebook into a document. I don't particularly have a peak because I'm taking it super easy on myself and anything counts. 
I loved Kate's suggestion to make a list of facts I already know. The stories I've been focusing on include both of my grandmothers so I made a list of things I know about them and how they are similar but different. Depending on what you are writing, one of the exercises that Kate and the other great authors shared might work better for what you are working on. This is one of the things I love about Teachers Write! I get so many ideas and have so many choices.
I'm so excited to "meet" new campers and virtually hug returning campers. Below I have some agreements for us here. We always start Story Exploratory workshops with writers agreements and I co-create agreements with my students as well. And then I have some questions for you to answer in the comments so we can all get to know each other and support each other. If you have any questions, please let me know.

Teachers Write Sunday Check-In Agreements:
1. We respect each other and the type of writing we each do do.
2. We are positive and encourage each other at all times.
3. We recognize and maintain this as a safe, inclusive environment for all.
4. We have fun!
**I reserve every right to put the smackdown
on anyone who messes with our positive energy.**

Ideas for today in the comments section:
Introduce yourself! What's your role? Where are you in the world?
What is your goal for Teachers Write? What kind of writing are you doing?
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?)

Thanks so much for stopping by to check in and share this space with us! When I started blogging ten years ago, I  was already in love with writing and the connection between reading and writing. All these years later, it's fun to still be in love with writing and I owe so much of that to the people I have met along the way and amazing communities like Teachers Write. As much as I enjoy living the life of a writer, it's not always easy...but it is easier with friends. 

One more thing! I've been having fun with some typewriter art + words for a challenge I'm doing with my friend Carrie Baughcum, author of My Pencil Made Me Do It and co-host of Doodle and Chat. You can follow @storyexploratory and @carriebaughcum on Instagram and join in. We're using the hashtag #wordsofourworld and share a theme each week. This week's theme was inspiration. Maybe you find some inspiration in one of these pieces. xoxo

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