Last Day – You know what that means…

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The last day of the month means reflection time!

I am participating in a journaling circle later and will reflect on whatever questions Nicole poses, but I always do my own process.

What went well?

  • The month started well with winter break still in session. New Year’s Day felt like renewal to me which was a surprise to me.
  • I started the #the100dayproject earlier than the “official” program with love letters to different things in my life. It is inspired by the New York Times “Recommendations” column and Ross Gay’s Book of Delights essay collection.
  • Slow Novel Lab with Nina LaCour
  • The PUSH groups – oh my goodness how fun this turned out to be
  • Manifesting challenge with Gabby Bernstein
  • Writing every day
  • Submissions
  • The writing summit from Traci Skuce – Thanks to my friend Linda I learned so much from these talks.
  • I figured out the top three things that really matter to me and was able to let go of some things that I was self imposing that I HAD to do.
  • It snowed several times this month!
  • Daily walks
  • Vivid dreams
  • Life giving conversations with friends
  • Inspired writing

What didn’t go so well….

  • I asked the universe for opportunities and got a flood of them. I had to pivot and figure out my priorities
  • Early in the month I was having some anger and defense that was bubbling up in unusual ways. I had to go way back to some memories to uncover where some of these limiting beliefs were coming from.
  • There were days I felt quite lonely.
  • I got my first round of COVID vaccine – this is truly a toss up and more in a neutral category. I am thankful but also apprehensive about the unknowns.

What I Learned

  • I love coaching. I miss coaching in the school setting too.
  • Hosting live classes/workshops/conversation is where the magic is! I am so glad I switched to this format. My clients respond so much better to live than recorded sessions. I think they still have their place.
  • Just because I do not take every opportunity put in front of me does not mean I am ungrateful.
  • Mindset matters [To be fair, I did know this before but the understanding deepened in a new way for me.]
  • I learned about Jane Brunette

#oneword update: PUSH

My word for 2021 is PUSH: power, unleash, significance, hope

All of these words were prominent in January. I PUSHed out the groups and new programs. I am feeling the power of my knowledge and influence and how I can use that to help the greater good. I have felt more seen and have been putting myself out there more. I sent a manuscript out this month. My newsletters have been intentional and more emotional. Hope is an underlying theme through my writing and my life.

Do you do a monthly reflection? I would love to hear about your process!

Last January Weekend Coffee Share

Saturday rolls onto the calendar once again. My kindergarten students are having trouble learning the days of the week this year because there is a mundane quality to daily life in a pandemic. Most of them do not leave the house. There is not much distinction between weekdays and weekends. Zoom classes seem to be not as disruptive to their timelines as I would have thought at the beginning of all this.

Have you signed up for my newsletter yet? Go here to do that now. It is delivered to your inbox on Fridays and always contains a heartfelt story which allows you to know me better.

Thank you to Natalie for hosting the link party for all things Weekend Coffee Share!

If we were having coffee, I would tell you my PUSH group on Tuesday night was a fun life giving conversation about submissions and #100dayprojects. The groups were so fun I am continuing them. The next one is on Monday.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you next week I have parent teacher conferences and I have to be at work until 7pm both Tuesday and Thursday. I am not looking forward to this schedule. Most of my parents are asking for earlier times in the day for our chat so I will be working on my own projects as the day stretches into night.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I love my library. I was able to pick up several holds. I also checked out Bright Dead Things by Ada Limon. I am loving her poetry lately.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you we had a surprise snow day last Tuesday. I slept and read and wrote. It was a glorious gift of rest.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I got my first round of the COVID vaccine this week. I am still apprehensive about the whole vaccine business if I am honest. I felt light headed and tired afterwards. My arm hurt as well. I go for the second round in a couple of weeks. Being a teacher, there are lots of reasons to get the shot, but my lack of faith in information that is given as fact unnerves me.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I did something that scared me a little this week. The worst that can happen is that I get a rejection but it still made me want to throw up a little before I hit send.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you it is supposed to snow this weekend and that makes me giddy!

Thank you for joining me for a coffee today. I cannot wait to read what you were up to this week!

Snow Day? #SOL21

EVERY LLAMA TUESDAY I WRITE A SLICE OF LIFE.

SHARE YOUR LINK IN THE COMMENTS SECTION OF THE TWO TEACHERS WRITING BLOG.

GIVE COMMENTS TO AT LEAST THREE OTHER SLICE OF LIFE STORIES

Before the end of the school day yesterday we received a communication warning about a winter storm. Now, I live in Wisconsin where winter is celebrated and we are still virtual learning so at first I thought this meant that I would just be working from home. We simply don’t have snow days here. What I was told last year is only 3 days had been called over the course of more than 30 years due to ice and power outages.

Then another email came explaining that if the day was called to inclement weather the buildings would be closed and there would be no distance learning. In this new normal, my assumption was that since we have the capacity to distance learn than that would alleviate the need for a snow day all together. Apparently, I am wrong.

The ad building called it. I am at home, in the middle of the week with a day off.

You know what? I needed it. I walk every day and yesterday my 6 miles were awful. I felt uncomfortable the whole time and normally the activity that rights me in the correct path made me cranky. I ate and had a writers call which was good but not as energizing as I would have thought. My sleep has been sporadic over the last week at least, with vivid dreams dripping like honey off my brain in the morning.

To top that off the coffee pot is sputtering and misbehaving.

I am taking the sign from the universe to rest. I slept in, I am reading, and writing. I am going to write messages to friends. I have my last PUSH group later but am so energized by these women I am looking forward to it. I am going to savor this gift of time on a Tuesday in January and not feel guilt about it.

After all, it is a snow day.

Weekend Coffee Share

The sun is shining this Saturday and the temperature is in the single digits. It is the perfect setting for several cups of Joe!

Thank you to Natalie for hosting the link party for all things Weekend Coffee Share!

If we were having coffee, I would tell you my PUSH group on Tuesday night was a fun life giving conversation about moving from unpublished to published. I am doing one more open workshop next Tuesday about Submission/Creative projects. I expect the conversation to be just as rich. There is magic in gathering together and talking about creative pursuits no matter what stage you are in. It is one of my favorite things.

We are meeting on Tuesday. If you want to join you can sign up for the Zoom link here. I am recording them and placing them in the Patreon group if you cannot make it live.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you with the holiday last Monday I have to drive more than usual and it was welcome. I do not miss my commute to school at all but once in a while it feels nice to have a large span of time dedicated to the highway. It is a creative time for me – like being in the shower when ideas come to you! We were able to go out to dinner as a family as well so that was lovely. The food was great as well as the service and I was thankful to have that space.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I had a creative meeting with a writing friend this week that was so fulfilling. We talked about all things writing and process plus some spiritual pieces. She is a wealth of experience and I am thankful to have met her.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you one of my favorite authors wrote an article for Electric Lit. You can find it here. My new system of at least 15 minutes of reading a day is working and getting me back into the grove and habit. I feel much better this week mentally because of it as well. I am reading Craft in the Real World, The Invisible Life of Adie Larue, and Freshwater. [Affiliate links]

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I am starting a writing experience on Monday. Our first group call for introductions is then. I am excited for this opportunity! I am hoping to learn and make some serious writing connections.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I examining more closely what I am spending my time and energy on. Energy is a concept that has come up multiple times over the last week so I am paying attention. One surprising thing that zapped my energy was a change of schedule. My students and I were off Monday but then the kids were off Friday because of a teacher work and PD day. Wednesdays are meetings anyway. I was able to get a lot of work done on Wednesday but it still threw me off.

Thank you for joining me for a coffee today. I cannot wait to read what you were up to this week!

When You Feel Off

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Yesterday I changed my routine and I felt pressed for time the whole day.

When I look at the facts, I did get a lot done but it didn’t FEEL right.

I usually begin my day with writing [and lots of it] which helps me feel grounded. I worked from home yesterday but the day flew by. I was not able to write in the bed. The time between my teaching was eaten up fast while I multi tasked.

I am the woman who walks every day and I pride myself on this part of my identity BUT I didn’t enjoy it yesterday. It was sunny and I had dressed too warm. I was forcing it and it was not comfortable. I kept trying to recall the feelings of walking in the snow earlier this week but it wasn’t working. I listened to nourishing podcasts and returned Voxer messages. Everything was irritating.

I felt like I have been writing in between obligations all week. This is not necessarily a bad thing. I do this all the time but did not feel like I had a longer creative time without other interuptions.

I find at this time of the year there are at least 7 books I want to read RIGHT NOW. There are 3 of these titles coming out Tuesday. I could easily spend $150 on preorders today but that wouldn’t be smart.

There are trainings and classes galore right now. Being an input monster I want to absorb them all. I asked the universe for new opportunities and she is delivering but I am trying to discern what I NEED. A friend and I talked this week that this should be an easy question to answer but it is not.

I know this is impossible to absorb them all right now.

This morning, I woke up remembering the Storyaday Framework. Julie Duffy comes back to this resource over and over again. I normally don’t like outlines or plot devices but when I feel like I am going off the rails and around and around a spiral I fill it out. I still surprise myself with the structure if I let the pen flow.

If you would like to check it out go here: https://storyaday.org/framework/

Happy Writing!

What do you do when you are stuck? I would love to hear in the comments.

I also read. This story came on my radar this week from the Why is This Good? podcast – Symbols and Signs

I would love to know what you think.

Weekend Coffee Share

Welcome back to the weekend! It is snowing outside and I am thrilled. What can I get for you today? The coffee is hot. Let’s settle in for a chat and several cups of coffee. I feel like we have so much to catch up on today!

Thank you to Natalie for hosting the link party for all things Weekend Coffee Share!

If we were having coffee, I would tell you my PUSH group on Monday night was super fun around reading. Everyone shared three favorite books The most animated discussion came from a book that we hate. The PUSH group next week I am super excited about. I am launching my program about going from Unpublished to Published. Even if you aren’t ready to publish yet this class is for you. There are lots of things that you have to have set before you start submitting (from my experience.) If you love to talk writing or just want to get started you should join us! We are meeting on Tuesday. If you want to join you can sign up for the Zoom link here. I am recording them and placing them in the Patreon group if you cannot make it live. The full course will be happening in the Patreon at the $7 level and there will be weekly content and then live Zoom calls. It is going to be amazing!

If we were having coffee, I would tell you my friend Jenna Britton is coaching in a dynamic way around Human Design charts called Clarity + Connection Conversations. You should check out her website. I have had several sessions with her and it always leads me to new insights. You can find her on Instagram as well. She just did an IGTV video that explains everything.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I walked every day this week and several days it snowed which is always my favorite! I have come across some new podcasts so that has been fun. Bulletproof Radio has been informative this week as well as Bookable, Stop Writing Alone, Find Your Voice, and Hello Seven.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I posted about Rereading for Two Writing Teachers and one of my #100dayproject essays. You can read that here.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I was a guest judge for a creative writing app called Story Squad. There are fun prompts and people handwrite their one page stories and send them in for voting.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I am thankful for the three day weekend. I am submitting some poems today and hope to get lots of writing done. I have written every day as normal but have not been posting and sharing the writing in any of my closed writer forums. I am also examining why I cannot seem to write any fictional stories around teaching. I never make my characters teachers in any short stories.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you my school district decided that we are staying virtual until March 26th which is the last school day before our spring break. The plan is to return in person April 6th then. I am relieved to know what the plan is now. The liminal space was getting more and more difficult to deal with.

If we were having coffee, I would ask you what is the question you would most like me to answer?

Thank you for joining me for a coffee today. I cannot wait to read what you were up to this week!

Rereading #SOL21

Every Llama Tuesday I Write a Slice of Life.

Share your link in the comments section of the Two Teachers Writing Blog.

Give comments to at least three other Slice of Life stories

I am re-examining how I think about personal rereading. I typically do not because there are too many texts to read.

Several weeks ago I heard a podcast where an author chooses a poem and reads it every day for a month to see what happens. While I listening this seemed like a novel idea…and then I sat in my classroom yesterday introducing the book The Snowy Day that we are going to reread and work with all week.

I have used this practice for years! Now I know why I was drawn to read my poem for a week rather than a month. It is a pattern I have already established!

I had to laugh at myself how I sometimes do not make the connections between my personal reading life and my professional one.

There are joys in rereading. There are things you notice after several rereadings.

After each rereading I noticed new lines that sparkled to me that I wrote down. I use them as springboards for writing. When I chose Four Hours In Paris by Cynthia Zarin [Winter 2020 Paris Review] I noticed the concepts in the poem that I was teaching in my classroom! Maps were a topic last week and those lines popped out right away.

I noticed the objects that were listed in the poem that paced the story.

I connected memories that I had not thought about for years because of the lines I pulled out of the text.

The poem started with a map and ended with the color yellow.

If you would like to hear me talk about this on my podcast you can click here.

This week with my kindergartners we will reread The Snowy Day and we will notice different things about Peter’s adventure in the snow! If we were in person we would go outside and mimic his footprints in the snow and smack trees with sticks.

My new poem for rereading is Sorcerer’s Apprentice by Margaret Atwood.

Do you reread?

Weekend Coffee Share

Welcome back to the weekend. What can I get for you today? The coffee is hot and it is cold and snowy outside. The fog seems to have lifted for now.

Let’s settle in for a chat and several cups of coffee. I feel like we have so much to catch up on today!

If we were having coffee, I would tell you my PUSH group on Monday night was super fun around journaling. I am hosting another group about reading this coming Monday. If you want to join you can sign up for the Zoom link here. I am recording them and placing them in the Patreon group if you cannot make it live.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I started reading Margaret Atwood’s poem Sorcerer’s Apprentice every day this week. This poem has regular stanzas so I am writing it out in my everything notebook. If you want to hear about what I did with the poem Four Hours in Paris you can listen to the latest episode of the podcast.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I had some great conversations with friends this week in Voxer. Have you tried it? It is an audio message system. It works well for writing because I have a few friends who I have a feedback relationship with. We read each other’s work and make comments and then are able to talk through them on Voxer. The beauty is that it is recorded and you can listen over and over and take notes. It is a good system. Voxer can be glitchy though so fair warning.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I posted for Two Writing Teachers this week and for FMF. You can read those posts here and here. I shared my love letters to TEN and to TIME. Today I am writing a letter to Questions. Do you have a favorite question you like to ask?

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I was trying to organize my Google drive and accidentally deleted the slides presentation that I use every day in my classroom. Ooops. The worst part was that I did’t realize it until I was starting class! I was able to recreate it before the second session.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I listened to Rachael Herron’s podcast Why Do You Write? where Heid Edrich was a guest. She read her poem I Feel Like a Fool Do You? and talked about writing her poetry. It was a great conversation and I listened twice!

If we were having coffee, I would ask you what the best part of your week was? I cannot wait to hear. Don’t forget to tell me your favorite question!

Thank you for joining me for a coffee today.

#FMF A Love Letter to #Time

Dear Time,

I meant to write this letter yesterday, but I ran out of you. Our relationship is so complicated. You are a human design constraint, but hard to escape when my body craves the cycles of the moon and the seasons.

Not only are there boundaries of seconds, minutes and hours to lead me like a horse through my day but then there are rules about what you are allowed to do and when.

In the mornings, you are supposed to be on time to wherever you are scheduled to report and there are morning beverages on the approved list. There are things you are not supposed to eat or drink in the evenings either. I don’t tend to follow these rules, but they are there.

There is no changing of the to do list after a certain time in the day. You can skip lunch and scroll through Instagram but don’t leave the building early.

Yesterday, there wasn’t enough of you. I had talks by Cheryl Strayed, Ada Limon, Sabrina Ward Harrison, KK, Tony Robbins, and the Quench collective that felt like there were on all at once. I needed to be able to listen with both ears separately and reflect and write simultaneously.

I wanted to write my daily prompt, this letter, the senses writing program activity but had other obligations that put money in my bank account. I made notes in my journal all day, but it wasn’t the same. The time I wanted was a creative bubble that was only interrupted by coffee refills and walks.

You have played tricks on me all week. The work day went fast and then the evenings went slow but you know that you make me weary and the writing comes slow in the night. My energy seems tied to you and the numbers that represent.

Yesterday was a great day in spite of these issues. My morning boys were fun and formed a writing group suddenly giving feedback and chatting during writing time. Talking cats will bring that out.

Dinner was amazing too.

I still love you.

Love,

Tammy