Weekend Coffee Share

Join me for a cup of coffee and a conversation!

Happy Sunday to you all! I am so glad to be back home after 4 days of being out of the state this week. I am also thrilled you have joined me for coffee today. We have a lot to catch up on and I cannot wait to hear from you.

I am going to have a pumpkin latte today — it is the season for it! I always think it has too many calories but it is a special seasonal item and I feel it is part of the celebration of the time of year. What would you like today?

If we were having coffee I would tell you I flew to Atlanta for an education conference on Tuesday. For air travel it was on the smooth side. I haven’t ridden in a plane for over 5 years. The automation has changed in the airport — let me tell you. You now can tag your own checked baggage and an attendant just double checks it. It actually was quite fast and efficient. Southwest Airlines has always done a nice job with customer service in my experience. I just always wonder about how many people lost their jobs when they put another kiosk in the airport for self service.

How do you feel about flying?

If we were having coffee I would tell you I had great food in Atlanta. The restaurant in the hotel was excellent and we had lunch there a couple times. A memorable place we went was Sweet Georgia’s Juke Joint. I had crab cakes and catfish fingers here and fantastic mac and cheese. There was live music which was great but really loud.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I had sweet tea only on Friday. I could not leave Georgia without having it at least once though!

I would love to hear about favorite food you had while you have traveled.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I learned a lot from the conference. There is a lot to process and I am still synthesizing how I am going to present some of the information. The approach to education for the organization that hosted the conference is student centered. The belief is that talk is instrumental for the learning to happen as well. A lot of this approach is how I have taught for years, so I felt like I found my place without knowing I was looking for it. To be in the presence of others educators that truly believe ALL students can learn was energizing in the most wonderful way.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I made several connections to my own writing to the concepts presented at my sessions. I attended a double session on writing by the wonderful ladies who are part of the Vermont Writing Collaborative but the real connections were in a session about feedback. I am working on a specific article about this that will be coming out this week.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I still wrote every day. My sleep schedule craziness continued while I was away so I took advantage of the early morning wake up and wrote. I was still able to write and publish a couple pieces in spite of being separated from my regular routine.

If we were having coffee I would tell you it was awesome to have my husband and kids pick me up from the airport. It was great to see them after time apart and my littlest one spied my bag off the carousel first and even rolled it to the car!

If we were having coffee I would tell you we celebrated my oldest’s 17th birthday this weekend with final soccer games with drama, special birthday dinner, cake, and a new game of balloon volleyball!

I cannot wait to hear about your week!

Currently…

Photo by Andrey Grushnikov on Pexels.com

Currently I Am…

Reading: Twyla Tharp – The Creative Habit Learn it and Use It for Life and The Artist’s Way

Listening to: Stop Writing Alone Podcast

Watching: The computer screen

Eating: nothing til 1 pm! Intermittent fasting is awesome

drinking: water

loving: writing and Medium and The Artist’s Way

hating: dreams of feeling trapped and confused

waiting for: Minnesota

daydreaming about: Minnesota

researching: high priority standards

#FMF Success

success

Kate posts a new word every Friday to use as the topic of a 5 minute freewrite. Set the timer and WRITE!

I have been successful my entire life in the traditional sense. I set goals and achieve them. Until I was 40 this seemed like a cut and dry process. In my mind, the traditional route of study-graduate-college-graduate-marry-job-family was made clear to me.

Success was notches on a time line.

My definition of success is different now. A successful day is time to write and connect with my writing communities. It is sharing a morning coffee ritual with my husband. It is life giving conversations in the context of my coaching work and life. It is great food and laughter. It is learning.

Lately the idea of healing has come up for me mostly through the ppportunity to be part of an Artist’s Way community. If you are unaware, The Artist’s Way is a book and program created by Julia Cameron for creative recovery. There are two main parts of this program: morning pages and the artist date. You can read more about my first 6 weeks here.The Truth About Creative RecoveryMy first 6 weeks with the Artist’s Waymedium.com

Part of the program is affirmation work. I do not like affirmations because I feel they are inauthentic. I have tried to work with them before and made a good effort but it never felt right. With an accountability group I have not allowed myself to pick and choose pieces of the weekly tasks which means some hard emotional stuff has come up for me, especially about my childhood. (The visualization of a terrible therapist asking me about how I feel about my childhood pops up often!) I do have mantras I repeat to myself however. But then something changed. I read Sam Kimberle’s post about her work with affirmations and decided to try an experiment.

This week I have been working with the affirmation, I allow myself to heal. I was reminded I used to have an intention I would write over and over. Whatever you call them, the truth was being brought to the forefront like a fire licking my brain.

The takeaway here? It came to me during this freewrite that the reason The Artist’s Way is successful for me this time is because the real recovery I needed from AW was healing. Healing from my childhood, healing from toxic relationships, healing from doubts and imposter syndrome, healing from me getting in my own way.

The bottom line is I am a paid writer. I will be a paid author once I get my books published. (REVISION OCTOBER) I share my writing and interact with readers. That is success.

I have an abundance of love in my life. That is success.

My new definition is more a content feeling and determination to grow rather than ticks on a timeline and I must say, I am a hell of a lot happier.

Sam is hosting more book clubs if you want to be part of the process.

2020 Book Club AnnouncementAn invitation to join my Book Club, starting in January 2020medium.com

Here is Sam’s post on affirmationsHow I Use AffirmationsAnd some suggestions if you would like to try, too.medium.com

You Can Read This Post and Support Me on Medium Here

How to Cultivate Writers


Yesterday I followed up on a coaching conversation from last week. A teacher had expressed concern about a student who has ability but does not produce much work product in class.

My intent was to watch her interact within the culture of the classroom to see if I could spot some strengths and possible insights to her reluctance before talking to her. Unfortunately, the teacher loudly announced my presence as I walked in.

I stood to the side for a bit waiting for the teacher to finish directions of reading material curated for them in connection to this week’s learning targets. Then he asked them to take out their writing and move to the floor.

I took this opportunity to have a quieter conversation with the little one. She brought her 2 books and her notebook. We talked about her day as we walked to my office. I assured her she wasn’t in trouble and that I just wanted to talk reading and writing with her.

This little one has a soft spoken voice and spoke like she is often interrupted – Heavy breaths lay in between her thoughts.

Her notebook didn’t have much writing. A sentence or two on some pages. Some only the date at the top with the label “Quickwrite”.

We talked about ways to make quickwrites easier for her. Then I wrote with her.

As we readied ourselves to write together she expressed a piece she had worked on earlier that she wanted to add to. PERFECT. I had her reread what she had written. I reread mine as well since I said I was adding to something I had started already.

I set a pretty hourglass timer on my phone in the middle of the table and we wrote.

Sometimes we need each other to do the thing – no matter what is.

Other ways to cultivate writing:

+Have them talk before they write.

+Use materials and resources that real writers would use – not just teaching resources.

+Writing as an experience –treat them like real writers and not just children. Acknowledge they have something to say.

+Teaching them to honor their feelings and imagination when they are in the younger grades can help them to not lose the spark that is their voice when they get older.

+Writing is not about having a formula and plugging words into it.  Don’t treat it or teach it this way.

+Write with them.

+Give them freedom and trust. They will produce amazing pieces that are heart felt and honorable. A group of fourth graders I worked with in 2006 had such great writers they sometimes moved me to tears with their insight and it was from ALL the students not just the ones you “expect” to be good writers.

+Performance is a true part of the writing process. Let your students shine that have this ability.

+Remember writing is hard and fun! Support them in both areas.

Happy Writing today!

My First 6 Weeks with the Artist’s Way…again

Here in my truth about creative recovery –

What is It?

The Artist’s Way is a book by Julia Cameron which came from a creative recovery class she was teaching. It is a 12 week program divided into weeks with tasks and two main tools with the purpose to find and fuel your creativity. It is not just for writers, it is for anyone. There are two main tools in addition to the weekly exercises.

Tool 1: Morning Pages

This is the heart of the program and is likely a word you have heard or read around writers and other creative people. Morning pages are simply three pages of longhand writing done in the morning that are a brain drain. You write whatever comes to mind. They are not supposed to be smart but they can be. Many times it is complaining or what you need to remember for the day.

Julia Cameron says: There is no wrong way to do the morning pages.

Yet, there is much conversation around what is the “right” way to do them. Our inner critic makes us perfectionists and many of us are hard wired to want to do things right.

Why do we do morning pages when they aren’t considered real writing? To get to the other side — of the censor, of our own obstacles — they help us get out of our own way.

For me, the morning pages lift the fog and I reach clarity. My relationship with them are different because this is the fourth long term relationship I have engaged in with the tool. It is more about what happens after the morning pages for me. All my other writing is more clear and focused when I use this tool. My MP’s tend to be list like and weird streams of thoughts. There are reflections and random memories as well.

Tool 2: Artist Dates

The artist date is a weekly date you take solo.

Read the entire article here.

Weekend Coffee Share

Join me for coffee and conversation!

It is Sunday again and the temps are a little cooler here. There is supposed to be a heat wave this week here in the Midwest later this week. I hope it stays away.

If we were having coffee I would tell you this weekend is the anniversary of me moving into the house I am living in now. It is not my forever home and I feel it. The birds do great us every morning as do the bunnies and the baby squirrels. There is lots of green which I adore.

If we were having coffee I would tell you it was a productive and busy week at work. Lots of conversation and planning which was positive.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I am in week 5 of the Artist’s Way program. I am doing my morning pages every day which are three handwritten pages of whatever comes to mind. It clears the way for the creative juice to flow. On Thursday night the ideas kept coming for articles and stories and I really wish I could have taken a writing day ALL DAY Friday to massage and nurture those words into pieces but alas the day job and other responsibilities called.

If we were having coffee I would tell you Storyaday is going strong. I have been writing to the prompts everyday and it has been going well. I enjoy the challenge and use it to try different techniques to foster my writing skills. I tried a new genre this week — cyberpunk. It was out of my comfort zone but a fun experiment. I wrote a 100ish word story and still do not like them! hahaha I have met some new writers through the group as well and that has been interesting. The Zoom call was Tuesday night. We did a lot of writing sprints — where we set the time and write all together — but there was some talking. I write in the morning on my own so I show up more for the conversation then the word count. It does get me some extra words. This week I worked on nonfiction during the call.

You can read the whole post here.

Weekend Coffee Share

It has been a fast week! I almost forgot it was Sunday time rolling back around. I think today I will have caramel syrup in my cup. I feel like having some sweet. What would you like to drink today?

If we were having coffee, I would tell you this week was full of meetings at work. There were after school meetings and lots of conversations with teachers about planning and ILearn our state mandated test. I did a lot of running around between the 3 buildings I go between as well.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I am excited Storyaday is starting next weekend. I do this challenge twice a year. In May and September I write a story a day. My online writing group came out of this challenge and I speak with at least one of the Superstars daily.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I took a writing class for 2 days. It pushed me out of my comfort zone a little. I had a hard time with the prompts which surprised me. They should have been within my wheelhouse. The prompts came later in the day and I was forced to write later in the evening after thinking about the prompt which is not my ideal time. I do have two new prompts to work with moving forward though. I will for sure use them again. It was fun to play. I did get two drafts done plus a third partial because of the class.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you the idea of making space has been on my mind. There is space for community and interaction. I am the type of person who is quite solitary but I can build up ideas to a point where I want to share. Most of the time this is through writing, but sometimes I need people. I need to carve out space for things that energize me which I have not done well with since school started back.

Making space for writing, reading, and exercise is important as well. Honestly, sometimes just taking a moment of stillness too. I have so many priorities!

I am part of several communities but the interaction is not always at the level I crave at the moment. The 2 day class didn’t allow for the type of interaction among writers as a longer one allows so connections were not really formed sadly. I still haven’t quite figured out how to do that either which is part of the problem. Medium is a community as well and I interact with other writers through their pieces. I have my AW group also.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I got into a flash fiction class for the end of September which I am excited about.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I picked up some great books at the library this week including The Little Swedish Kitchen! If anything it will inspire a story. I also picked up There, There have you read it? I keep hearing wondering comments about it.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you …this is your prompt! Finish the sentence for me. What have you been thinking about?

You can read the entire post here.

11 Questions Answered

clear glass bulb on human palm

Tim Ferris asks successful people 11 questions in his book Tribe of Mentors. I have answered his questions in order for you to know me a little better. I would love to hear your answers to these questions as well!

Comment here or on Medium!

“What is the book (or books) you’ve given most as a gift, and why? Or what are one to three books that have greatly influenced your life?”

I love books about life experiments and was immediately drawn to this book as soon as I heard about it. I believe in the idea that you are influenced by the people and books you surround yourself with. Megan had coffee with a new person to learn from them and also to make new connections.

“What purchase of $100 or less has most positively impacted your life in the last six months (or in recent memory)? My readers love specifics like brand and model, where you found it, etc.”

  • Kaweco Classic Sport Fountain pen, black, fine nib
  • A pair of scissors in every room
  • $10 business cards that have writer printed on them — solidified the idea that I am really a writer

What new belief, behaviors, or habits, adopted within the last 5 years, have most positively impacted your life?

  • intermittent fasting
  • keeping only what I love
  • stop saying yes to things I want to say no to
  • study what is energizing and what is draining

What would you put on a billboard?

  • Everything is temporary — good and bad

Click here to read the entire Medium article.

Weekend Coffee Share

Thank you for joining me for coffee today on this hot hot summer day! I am so glad you are here with me and it is to be a day full of sunshine.

I am having my regular strong black coffee. What would you like today? I have some iced tea if you like, or do you want something stronger today?

To read the rest of this post please click here. Please comment and clap (I believe you can clap up to 30 times).