Weekend Coffee Share #SOLC Day 31

Today we are having coffee in a little cafe in my town, The Librarium Cafe. There is a Harry Potter theme and board games. The best part is the Butter Brew. We are going to have large mugs of butterscotch, caramel, toffee and espresso deliciousness. Then I will have black coffee after one Butter Brew to cut the sweetness! haha

If we were having coffee I would tell you, this year I enjoyed the slice of life challenge as I do every year but something about this year was special. The caliber of writing was great as always but it seemed there were a lot more teachers who completed the challenge. Congratulations to every one who wrote and a special congrats to those who wrote all 31 days!

If we were having coffee I would tell you I think this coffee post is the perfect one to end the month with for the challenge. It has been met with the most commentary. I am drawn to the conversational form and love that people love it.

In the challenge, I am blessed to have met many wonderful teachers I would not have any other way. The group was interactive and allowed me to connect with people all over the world. I really hope it continues.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I have high hopes for April. I hope teachers will continue to write at least once a week. I hope they will link to their blogs on Tuesdays.I hope the commenting will continue.I hope these writers will notice how powerful their daily practice is and share that experience with students. I hope to see some familiar names at CAMP NANOWRIMO.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I am now on Spring Break and am so happy! It is going to be a good writing day tomorrow! I am meeting a writer friend and I also have a writers group Zoom call in the evening.

If we were having coffee I would tell you the rejections came in last week and it made me sad. I really had to get into a different mindset after a few came one after another. I am emotional about 5 days a year and one of those days was this past week.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I am thinking about silence and slow living. I am thinking about being intentional especially about time. Part of this thinking is tomorrow is the anniversary of my Oma’s death. I miss her all the time and I can hardly believe it has been 19 years now.

Do you need a refill on your coffee? Another napkin, or a glass of water?

If we were having coffee I would tell you my top productivity tool has to be Google Keep. I share dictated and typed notes with myself. I make notes from podcasts and reading. I save websites and stories to read and pictures. I can make it into a Google doc and just transfer what I need from the app or opened in the browser. I can open up Keep on the right side of my screen and scroll through different notes to add to one document in Google too! I LOVE IT!

If we were having coffee I would tell you I am still on my Bradbury Trio roll! I have been reading poems from Paris Review. I am reading Neil Gaiman, Kurt Vonnegut, and Octavia Butler essays. I am reading William Maxwell short stories and others. I SHOULD make a spreadsheet….

Thank you so much for joining me for coffee! I always enjoy our visits and today was no different. Let’s have coffee again soon!

Here is the link to Eclectic Alli and her weekend coffee post and link up.

Right Now #SOLC Day 30

I am participating in the Slice of Life Challenge for the month of March! We are almost to the end. Head over to twowritingteachers.org to check out some other great blogs.

Today I am using a format from fellow blogger Terje @ Just for A Month.

Right now I am

::sitting in the bed. I do not have to go anywhere today and it is glorious!

::watching the computer screen light up to greet me me hello! We are going to spend a lot of time together over the next week.

::sensing a nap coming on mid morning.

::drinking perfect hot black coffee – only on cup one right now.

::listening to the rain ping off the roof and flow down the gutters. The birds are twittering all about it.

::finding my thoughts centering around the Neil Gaiman interview on Tim Ferris’ podcast. That episode has stuck with me. Neil is my new go to author for essays for my Bradbury Trio. I have his book of nonfiction essays.

::hearing the quiet of the morning – no alarm, no children awake yet!

::feeling thankful for my job and spring break and writing and writing community

::appreciating the love of family in my life and spending time with them

::looking forward to resting over the next week! I also have a good writing day scheduled on Monday. A real life meeting and a Zoom writing meeting.

::wondering about what I am going to write today.

::doubting I will move much today!

::admiring how much my oldest son loves baseball. He is dedicated to his team and has played two games for this season already.

::realizing that next week is my Oma’s death anniversary.

::tapping on the keys of the Chromebook is a satisfying sound

::remembering to appreciated the moment I am in and not to wish away the ones I have.

::missing nothing right now.

::worrying about money stuff but right now I cannot do anything about it.

::deciding to do #CAMPNANOWRIMO I am glad it is less restrictive. I have a (kinda) plan and I write anyway so hopefully it will be ok! ha!

::leaning on my husband as always. I am also leaning on my writing communities. I have needed them this month, more than they know!

::sending sunshine and llama love out to everyone who reads my blog

::wishing  to have a wonderful relaxing and day full of laughter, togetherness, reading, and writing!

#FMF Measure

I participate in Five Minute Friday. Set the timer for 5 minutes and freewrite with the word provided. Find the link up here.

Set the timer and GO!

I am measure against other people all the time externally. This past 2 weeks I have been struggling to get anything more published. I am measured against the other submissions that are coming in. There are criteria I am up against as well I am aware of but it doesn’t always take the sting out of the rejection. Gladly, many of the letters came with a little feedback which was encouraging.

Many times in my life I have been in competition with people – sometimes only on their side. Now I mostly measure myself with my own set of agreements – not anyone else’s.

I measure what kind of writer I am by the fact that I write every day. It is not measured by how much I publish or don’t. I am in a community of writers. There are outside measures like critiques, evaluations, and feedback but I don’t always take them to heart.

I am a coach and a teacher which have its own measures and criteria by definition. I guess I measure myself by labels. There are sets of critical attributes of what I believe are the fundamentals of what each of those labels entails. There are also universal attributes for these labels as well.

How do I measure success? In the ACTION. The doing is more impressive to me than the reward or sometimes even the outcome. That is a measure from the outside and a factor I cannot often control.

“What can I control?” has become a mantra for me when in a situation with obstacles. It makes a huge difference to my mindset. I cannot control others – that I know for sure.

English to English Translation #writingprompt #SOLC Day 29

One of the writing resources I use is Language is A Virus. Here there is a list of 66 writing experiments. I used the idea of English to English translation to work on craft yesterday.

According to the site:
Homolinguistic translation: Take a poem (someone else’s, then your own) and translate it “English to English” by substituting word for word, phrase for phrase, line for line, or “free” translation as response to each phrase or sentence. Or translate the poem into another literary style or a different diction, for example into a slang or vernacular. Do several different types of homolinguistic translation of a single source poem. (Cf.Six Fillious by bp nichol, Steve McCaffery, Robert Fillious, George Brecht, Dick Higgins, Dieter Roth, which also included translation of the poem to French and German.) Chaining: try this with a group, sending the poem on for “translation” from person to another until you get back to the first author.

I used the poem, “The Imaginal Stage” by D.A. Powell.

This is what I ended up with after utilizing a thesaurus and them rewriting for more cohesion.

Inventive Theater by T.L. Breitweiser

On the plane where we change

I move away into a view of abundant worlds.

Rather than suns,

Abundant corners are fancy to scorch.

Do not settle

Perpetually adoring

An ending opportunity

When instantly they indeed appear

To settle with the mundane.

Quiver and alter

The remains of my mind

The end game is we combust

Apt to escalate at dawn

When I share my feathers.

This was an interesting exercise and more difficult than I first imagined. I would like to try it with students. I would only give students one stanza as it can be frustrating to find words that fit.

My Good List #SOLC Day 28

Today’s Slice for the Two Writing Teachers Challenge is inspired by Tsh Oxendreider and her podcast.

A good THING: This fountain pen

I was writing with it this morning! It is light and perfect for my little baby hands.


A Good Work of INSPIRATION: Kelly Link

I have re-watched this video of Kelly Link numerous times. I think she is amazing as a person and as a writer. She always inspires me.

Pronoia is a worldview that says that every person, place, thing and circumstance in this Universe is actually conspiring to bless you. This idea reminds me of THE ALCHEMIST which is a book that came to me when I needed it.

It’s A Beautiful Morning! #SOLC Day 26

Running made me a morning person. I used to get up before 5am everyday and run no matter what the weather or the mood. I am not training for anything now however.

I keep hearing and reading lots about morning routines. The information centers around creativity, productivity and being a leader which I enjoy. I also like reading about routines especially when they are about the process or writing.

I like the Ninja Writers W.R.I.T.E.R. acronym: For 10 minutes each Write-READ-IDEAS-EXERCISE-REVIEW but I do not stick to it.

I have read a lot of about other people’s routines here.

I do have morning routines for home and school.

My ideal morning routine is to wake up naturally, have coffee in bed with my husband, write and read for several hours, and then run outside.

At school I try to freewrite before my official day starts. I either write what comes to mind organically or use a prompt I am feeling that day. Many times it is something that was sparked by a podcast that I listen to on my way to work.

When the day starts I look at my bullet journal and what I have for the day. I double check email to make sure that I have everything on the list. I pour a cup of hot Joe and then get started.

I feel like my mental clarity has been better the last couple of weeks which is refreshing. Throughout the day I read my Bradbury Trio. There just isn’t enough time in the morning to get that all in!

What is your morning routine?

Verbs are what you DO #SOLC Day 25

Damon Suede is an author on the Joanna Penn podcast this week. He was on the KOBO podcast a couple weeks ago and is definitely worth a listen. He has an interesting approach to writing which involves verbs. When we describe characters we are always looking at lists of adjectives but we need characters to DO SOMETHING in stories.

Verbs are what you DO.

I have the book but haven’t gotten through it completely but ever since I heard Damon talking about choosing an over arching verb to describe a character I have not been able to shake the thought.

Along the lines of my TEACHER BRAND post I also think about what verb would describe me.

My verb is CONJURE. I conjure magic and experiences for students and the people around me. I conjure worlds for people to get lost in with my stories. I conjure ideas with blog posts.

#dailyverb on Twitter is a great search if you are looking for interesting verbs. Today’s verb is BARRICADE.

Writing Prompt: Use the verb from #dailyverb to stimulate a list of 10 ways to use the word in a story or just what comes to mind. It makes for an interesting mind map!


What verb describes you?

Weekend Coffee Share #SOLC Day 24

Grab your cup of coffee and sit in a comfortable chair around this oak table and let’s chat! I am having my regular black coffee this morning but I can make you iced coffee if you prefer. Even though it is warmer it doesn’t stop me from drinking several hot cups. I think I will bring us glasses of ice water just for variety.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I am participating in the Two Writing Teachers March Slice of Life Challenge. Teachers all over the world are posting on their blogs daily and at the TWT blog and then commenting on at least 3 posts. I have read some inspirational posts this week. I am going to miss this challenge when it is over.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you there was lots of testing this week at school. We have a district program called IREADY that requires a diagnostic 3 times a year. We are taking the end of year test a little early in preparation for the state test. There have been some incentives put in place for our 7th and 8th graders and they did much better this time.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I wrote everyday. I also started work on a coaching workshop that I hope to teach within the next year. I want to make it as interactive as possible – no PowerPoint! The other writing I did was reflective. I also worked on a few stories.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I read at least one essay, one poem and one short story every day this week to continue my Bradbury Trio program. I was just recording them in my notebook but now started a Google Folder to log some links. I finished one notebook and started a new one so now the lists are separated!

If we were having coffee, I would tell you our team consultant visited on Wednesday. He is always interesting to talk to. He talked about paying attention to students who are always doing the right thing. Some of the things he said caused me to write 3 notes to students thanking them for various behaviors. One student is a fantastic writer and I am always honored she shares her stories with me. Another student went up 26 points on his diagnostic test which is about 2 grade levels. A third student is always kind and smiling. She is uplifting to everyone around her. I also write a couple thank you notes to teachers. Thank you notes have power!

If we were having coffee, I would tell you the students I gave the envelopes to at first didn’t know what to do with them. In this digital age paper is not common. They weren’t sure if they should open them or not! The looks on their faces were cute and surprised.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I am enjoying the 10 day writing challenge. The prompts are interesting and different. The game name from the Day 1 prompt I liked so well that I am using part of it for my writer bio.

If we were having coffee I would admit to you I did not go to my in real life writing group this week. I was tired and the drive seemed too long to go. I had not prepared a story to share. There is a celebration event I will be going to next month. My online group was not as active this week on the Slack channel. There seems to be a lot going on with them swirling around spring break and college admissions and other life stuff. I have missed the conversations.

If we were having coffee I would tell you yesterday was spent outside. We went to the park and I went for another run. It was 50 degrees and sunny all day! Today will be an inside day with cooler temps and thunderstorms in the forecast. Today is about being low key, reading, and writing!

If we were having coffee I would tell you I loved this chat with you today! It really is a highlight of my week. What is the best thing that happened to you today?

Happy Weekend!

Other weekend coffee share posts are here 

You can also read more posts from teacher writers at twowritingteachers.org

#FMF: Reward

Every Friday I free write for 10 minutes based on the word chosen by Kate from Five Minute Friday.

Today’s word is REWARD. Set the timer for 5 minutes and GO!

Reward is defined as a thing given for service or recognition. I am personally offended most times by rewards or prizes of any kind that are given for an expected or required effort. I am motivated intrinsically.

Are rewards equated with acceptance? Validation? For me? No. For others, I think so.

Rewards for me are the activity or the feeling of accomplishment at the end. I suppose that is a reward by my own definition but not a THING. Rewards are not the tangible material items. I don’t work for STUFF. It is just not my way.

The reward is the to do list checked off. Or the runners high at the end of a trail run.The smile or laugh when I tell a good story to a friend. The joy of the relationship I have with my husband.The fact my jeans fit better after 3 months of IF.

Every day is a reward because I was able to live it.