The question I asked myself was: How do I plan to intentional connect in January? I could just log activities randomly if they happen to fit the criteria, but I wanted to make this years’ word more of a goal. I did not want it to be an afterthought.
I want to live the word, partially because I NEED to.
Initially, the list held:
Go to one Write on Hoosiers meeting – This is my in real life group that meets twice a month at a local library.
Participate in my online writing group at least once a week – This is usually once a day honestly. We have a slack channel which makes it really easy.
Participate in my editing class (amazing experience – I will sign up again.)
Email another writer I connected with on Twitter – we talk about writing and check-ins.
Blog once a week and make 10 comments/week to other writers
Submit at least two pieces of writing
Order business cards.
10 Things I Learned
Being open to connections means I hear differently. At the Write On Hoosiers meeting, one of the other writers talked about a retreat she attended at a local Buddhist temple. I signed up the next day for the one in Feb. I have committed to work on the novel revision.
I connect with writers on the Two Writing Teachers blog and the Five Minute Friday site link up and WordPress reader. Making an effort for new blogs works for Twitter too, but there are some games on there that I try not to take personally.
Once I was in submission mode I sent quite a few pieces in. I also contributed to several blog based writing contests which was fun and got my writing out there. It helped make a connection with another writer as well who reached out and sent an email. That was AWESOME.
With the idea of reflection already a part of the process, I felt tied into the concept of connecting with people more. I sent specific tweets to authors I admire and wanted to make sure I told them.
I am more visual than I thought. Using my graphic I created for my #oneword is fun to use in blog posts and social media.
6. I participated on a TEACHWRITE Zoom call and was able to talk and see Jennifer and Amanda.
7. I supported a writer friend through Ko-Fi.
8. I was the book fairy at school and gifted stacks so teachers can get them into kids’ hands.
9. I reached out to another teacher writer about IF – Intermittent Fasting.
10. Be persistent- I got into Kathy Fish’s Fast Fiction Class. I am so excited for it – in July.
Moving Forward to Feb:
+I need to connect to more books next month and then reach out to more authors of the books I love.
+Connect with my body more. Yoga, intermittent fasting, running outside, and walking with the incline is how I am doing this.
+Write real letters and participate in a letter writing challenge.
+ Interact with the new “10 things to tell you” podcast recommended by Emily Freeman
+ Continue to marinate on creating a magical gathering. My thoughts are hovering around my Workshop Wednesday concept. A reading literary society?
I recently read the essay, Laugh, Kookaburra by David Sedaris printed in The New Yorker. You can read the essay here.
I like the idea of favorite lines from a poem, essay, or short story to use as a writing springboard.
Here are the quotes from this essay I will be writing with as inspiration:
When Australians say “the bush,” they mean the woods. The forest.
…she invited us to picture a four-burner stove…
This was not a real stove but a symbolic one, used to prove a point at a management seminar she’s once attended. “One burner represents your family, one is your friends, the third is your health, and the fourth is your work.” The gist, she said, was that in order to be successful you have to cut off one of your burners. And in order to be really successful you have to cut off two.
Today is Tuesday. The day that The Two Writing Teachers host the weekly Slice of Life Challenge that teachers around the world participate in to write alongside their students.
Every Tuesday there is a post on the Two Writing Teachers main page where you can link your Slice of Life story post and read other people’s Slice of Life stories. All you have to do is leave the link to your SOL story blog post as a comment inside of that Tuesday’s post.
I thought a lot about what I wanted to write this Tuesday.
Do I write about my new health routine commitment and intermittent fasting? I have more energy and have gone back to feeling how I did when I was in major training for marathons and ultras.
Do I talk about how much I loved reading Harry’s Trees by Jon Cohen and how I want everyone who believes in everyday magic to read it?
Do I talk about how I printed my manuscript for my NANOWRIMO novel and am petrified to read it so that I can move forward?
Do I talk about the podcasts that I look forward to every Tuesday morning? Do I talk about the Next Right Thing I need to do? Or the literary society I want to start now?
I think the best choice is to sit with these questions and read other people’s blogs today!
Happy #SOL19 everyone! It is the year of #CONNECT for me so comments will flow from my fingers today.
I found some notes today labeled “Life Writing” Zadie Smith. I read her book Feel Free and these are a few snippets I took from the book.
“If you’re going to write a diary, it should be like this, it should be utterly free, honest.”
“I realize I don’t want any record of my days. I have the kind of brain that erases everything that passes, almost immediately, like that dust pan and brush dog in Disney’s Alice in Wonderland, sweeping up the path as he progresses along it. I never know what I was doing on what date, or how old I was when this or that happened – and I like it that way.”
Last Wednesday I hosted Workshop Wednesday during team times. The invitation was specifically sent out to the English teachers but everyone was welcome as always. The email informed the staff the topic was Independent Reading. This meeting is voluntary so I always let staff know ahead of time so there is no surprise. I was pleasantly surprised myself when my content teachers showed up as well. Their attendance really showcases how dedicated they are to the new reading culture in our middle school.
Last year there was not consistent Silent Sustained Reading, Independent reading, or choice reading. It doesn’t matter what the label was, but there was not enough time or support it seemed to pull it off.
It was decided with the new block scheduling this year there was time to implement Independent reading time. Now is the time where teachers have tried various components and how to differentiate for their classes and students. I am so proud that all of the teachers who keep the choice piece sacred. All the decisions made were around that central idea.
The purpose of the meeting was to celebrate reading in our building and the culture they are all perpetuating. It was also to make lists of what was the reality of the reading time and what we want to make consistent across the school. To make a school wide definition decided by the teachers – not anyone else.
It was a great discussion about conferencing, book talks, reading identity, first chapter Friday and what it looked like and sounded like in their respective classrooms.
We talked about what they needed and how to make reading spaces more inviting.
There was celebration about reading memories, students asking for more reading time, and books disappearing because the students want to read them so badly.
Taking inspiration from THE ART OF GATHERING by Priya Parker, I had my version of “15 Toasts”. I had silly plastic champagne glasses with sparkling water. Everyone had a toast to make in the area of a reading memory or the first memory they had of reading. One teacher shared she sat in the back of her third grade classroom because it was where the bookcases were and she could snatch books and read no matter what subject was being taught. There was one book that she loved so much she stole. She still has it! After the meeting she came to show me the book!
I also incorporated the Google Jamboard which I had never used before. It is designed to be used on an interactive white board but I just used the post it note function for everyone to share something exciting going on in their classrooms. I hope to foster some relationships between teachers to visit each other’s rooms and share ideas that are working.
I am excited for the conversation when I can get all the stakeholders together and make some decisions for the achievement of our teachers and the students!
In the past I was hardly ever still. This has become a newly acquired skill. I used to drag myself out of bed no matter what to run. No matter what else was going on, no matter how tired I was. That is not the case now.
I like being still now. I feel I need to commit to meditation but haven’t yet. Writing ideas usually come then so it is beneficial. I try moving meditation which is calming.
I am still here.
I am still learning.
I am still loving.
I am still writing.
I am still reading…BUT…have been in a slump. I listened to the Secret Library Podcast and heard the author Mary Laura Philpott talked about being in a reading slump herself and some of the books that helped her out of it.