10 On Tuesday #SOL19

A writing prompt and a routine memory:

When I had my own classroom I provided a journal prompt on Tuesdays called 10 on Tuesday. I would provide a topic and the students would write a list of 10 things that fit.

I had an option in my room if students were compelled to write something they could “chuck” the topic — they just needed to let me know.

Some students would write a list of 10 words, some would write a list of sentences. Some would take an item from their list and write more about it or simply tell the whole story.

It was a change in format which met the needs of all of my writers.

Now on Tuesdays, I listen to Laura Tremaine’s “10 Things to Tell You” podcast. Listening this morning reminded me of this past activity. My writing prompt this morning was also a list so this post seemed appropriate!

I was going to write 10 Things I am Grateful For but decided instead to take a spin from Laura’s “What are your intentions?” topic.

My 10 on Tuesday:

I intend to live my day with fire today.

I intend to do at least one yoga pose.

I intend to write.

I intend to have meaningful, life giving conversations with teachers today.

I will intentionally listen to what needs my teachers are telling me through conversations.

I intend to pay attention to my surroundings today.

I intend to write down 5–10 experiences from my day.

I intend to write down a random memory.

I intend to smile and say hello to as many students today to celebrate Llama Tuesday!

I intend to enjoy a beverage when I get home from work.

What are your intentions today?

You can read this post on Medium here.

#FMF Practice

It’s time for the FMF weekly writing prompt blog link-up. Writers across the world get together, set a timer for 5 minutes and write to the prompt.

This week’s writing prompt from Kate is : PRACTICE

Perfect practice makes perfect. Practice just makes permanent.

This is a phrase that has been with me for years. I think it is form Madelyn Hunter who is an educational guru.

Practice is how we cultivate skill. Practice the journey that is meant to be enjoyed.

I have a writing practice.

I have a running practice.

I have a reflection practice for teaching, learning, and coaching.

But practice takes time.

I played and practiced the violin everyday from 6th grade to 12th grade, which is a lot of hours.

After so much practice, there is a wonderful moment when you breakthrough to the next level. Then you know the practice has done its job! It is an amazing feeling.

I often think of the 10,000 hour rule that is credited to Malcom Gladwell. It is that many hours to become good at something. New skills taking honing, attention, and intention.

All my children practice for their sports. Practice does not need to be boring. I usually don’t think that it is, but I know this is not always the popular opinion. Practice also doesn’t have to be drills. In fact, my youngest plays games at soccer practice but doesn’t know it helps him become a better player.

I have to remember to enjoy the practice, to enjoy the journey because sometimes practice is the next right step.

#FMF Next

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!

As I read the information about the prompt this week on the site I immediately thought of my work with Emily P. Freeman’s book The Next Right Thing. If you follow my blog, you know I love this book and have been reflecting through it since the beginning of the month. Each chapter is highlight by Emily on Instagram.

The idea of #mynextrightthing has been on my mind for quite awhile. It is a decision making process that makes sense especially in the sense of overwhelm. I can figure out what to do next, even if it is little like take a shower, or make a sandwich, or breath. I have been through trauma that had me feeling like I was trying to make it through the minute, not the day. I don’t remember exactly when I found the podcast The Next Right Thing but I know that it spoke to me. Emily’s voice is amazing if you haven’t listened to her either. I am thankful Emily is in my life this way.

There are lots of circumstances in this world that do not make sense to me. I used to be able to make a decision pretty quickly. This was at a time where my perception was that “Everything was gonna work out.” I have made some decisions which led to more obstacles as time went on and now I second guess as to if I will make the wrong decision. I have people relying on me and cannot afford to make any more mistakes than I have to. I will continue to make mistakes but try to be as informed as possible!

My next right thing right now is to keep writing. I will interact with my writing people this morning and my family this afternoon. Another next thing is to be open to opportunities and appreciate the moments I am in. The amount of next right things I get to choose are not guaranteed.

If you have not read Emily’s book I urge you to get a copy. It will be given as a gift from me several times this year! You can find it here.

Stay #SOL19

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It’s Tuesday and I’m joining the writing community over at Two Writing Teachers with a weekly Slice of Life Story.

Today’s Emily P. Freeman word is STAY.

STAY today refers to being in the present moment. You can only be in one place at a time. I suppose this is mostly true. As a writer, I am physically only in one place at a time, but mentally I am usually somewhere else. This is sometimes in one of my own story creations. Sometimes I am in a memory mining it for details that will add panache to the story I am working on.

When I am reading I am in the character’s head feeling and thinking what they are, often trying to anticipate their next move. Or I am trying to figure out the craft moves the writer made to have me feel the way I do about a character, setting, or story line so I can use it later.

I find it difficult to be in the moment. I am working on it. I know I should do one thing at a time but there is so much to learn. Everyone I meet has something I don’t know.

I have been tired lately. More tired than I should be. Last night I watched the movie The Professor and the Madman which my husband and I had been looking forward to. It did not disappoint. It is the story of how the Oxford dictionary came to be. It took extraordinary dedication and focus to have this book come to fruition. 70 years from the first conception in fact. Dr. Minor was meticulous in his mad state about the history and definition of words. He was in the moment for sure – for long stretches of time. I kept thinking of how much energy was put into this project and how many obstacles everyone had to overcome.

I am trying to find the right ratio of input vs output without driving myself mad. I love input of all sorts – deep conversation, reading, podcasts, etc. Outputs are likely interactions and writing lately. I know I have not found the right ratio when I am angry or overly tired.

Reflection and slowing down are both critical attributes for this process. I am glad that today I can breathe and think about it.

#mynextrightthing

I adore Emily P Freeman and her work. I was honored to be a part of her launch team and have been slowly absorbing the book in small chunks. It makes me think.

On Instagram Emily offers a community encouragement project to lead people through the book. I am not participating on Insta, but will share the graphic and some of my thoughts here.

pay attention

I pay attention to other people’s reactions and then sometimes base my behavior off this information. It has made me successful in job interviews in the past. I pay attention if I care about you or the outcome.

I pay attention to small details for my writing. I pay attention to how I feel or how something looks so I can write about it later. I pay attention to my reactions to words – written and oral – and then reflect on them later in writing.

I am not consistent about paying attention to the clothes I wear. I used to care a great deal and would be in dresses and heels 95% of the time. My job is different here, but sometimes I feel like my choices of clothing is based only that I need to be covered so I am not arrested for indecent exposure.

find silence

There is no real silence.

There are pockets of time where there is LESS noise.

There are always thoughts circulating through my brain. There is always a fan on, or a machine whirring, or a phone ringing.

When the power goes out and everything stops there is MORE silence.

name it

The idea of naming is a concept that seems particular to Emily. On Tsh’s podcast SIMPLE last year it was mentioned that Emily has the knack for naming the un-nameable. This has stuck with me and intrigues me.

Is it real unless you name it? Does IT have to have a label? Like relationships – people ask each other “What are we?” “Where is this going?” “Are you my girl/boy friend?”

In writing – did it really happen if it doesn’t end up on paper? Or on a social media platform?

We all have stories and the way we tell them are our own.

Naming is not explaining. I do think of naming as reframing. The darkness has the ability to suck us into the place where we know no answers. It can cause worry, anxiety, and physical ailments.

When I am upset that a car has cut me off on the highway instead of being sucked into negativity I think “Maybe they have a sick child and are needing to get home.”

When someone gives me a reaction that I am not expecting I think “Maybe they have something else on their mind right now.”


Emily says naming can release new growth and requires specificity. But naming is something I am still figuring out. Any thoughts are appreciated!

February Reflection

It is the last day of February which means it is time to reflect. Last year it was FIB – uary so luckily that was not the case in 2019.

In February, I participated in INCOWRIMO which is a letter writing challenge. The challenge is set up to send a letter every day but I didn’t. I wrote several and received responses back. It was nice to get real mail again. I missed my stationary collection I used to have but used my fountain pens a lot.

In February, I reconnected with my old home. It was great to drive around Kokomo and think about the great memories I experienced there. If you would like to read that post you can here.

In February, I connected with a writing/teaching friend from Twitter in real life. We met at a local Panera and talked writing and poetry and teaching. We are planning a writing meeting soon.

In February, I connected with more readers on the blog! I am now at over 1000 followers and am super excited. I also posted a survey to better serve my readers. I commented on posts that spoke to me and had some lovely conversation in comments and on Twitter.

In February, I connected with other writing communities through #write28days and IWSG. I was active with my Storyaday Superstars group every day. I did not attend my in real life writing group.

At the beginning of February, I attended a coaching training and enjoyed talking with other coaches and educators from the region. I was able to hand out my business cards for the first time which was exciting.

In February, I emailed several authors I admire. I also didn’t hesitate to send messages to people who wrote pieces I enjoyed.

Yesterday I met some of my husband’s family which was lovely. I was able to go to a cute coffee shop which was a bonus.

In February, I became a part of Emily P Freeman’s Book Launch Team. The book is released on April 2! I just received the full book yesterday and cannot wait to dig in.

In February, what happened? One thing is I feel more connected to people. I facilitated a Workshop Wednesday this month which was fantastic. There was lots of sharing and great discussion about checks for understanding BUT the next day was difficult because I was tired and felt depleted. I have to figure out some strategies to have that not occur.

Moving forward I have new exciting changes that are coming. I am participating in the Two Writing Teachers March Blog Challenge. I will continue to write daily and to submit short stories.

Writing Prompt: How would you finish the sentence starter: In February…

The Next Right Thing Launch Team

I am super excited to announce I am on Emily P. Freeman’s book launch team. If you are not familiar with Emily check out her podcast here.

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The book is being released at the beginning of April. There will be exciting preorder bonuses you will want to get in on!

Within the next couple of weeks, you will be hearing more about the book and Emily’s words of wisdom.

STAY TUNED!