Weekend Coffee Share – Feb 10

Come and sit and let’s chat! I have a large cup of dark roast black coffee this morning. It is chilly this morning and I am sleepy.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I am participating in the #write28days blogging challenge. Today’s word is SUPPOSE. This word causes me to formulate a list of questions.

Suppose I start the GATHERINGs – what would happen? Would I keep them going? Would it become a business? Would I foster friendships that would last forever?

Suppose I recognize my skills and be confident and just do it?

Suppose I don’t start the group? Would I regret it?

Suppose it would be more fun to plan the gatherings than actually deploy them?

I am still pondering and planning over here.

If we were having coffee I would tell you it is back to winter temps again here – I cannot resist talking about the weather at least a little. It was around 12 degrees F the last couple of days. It was sunny yesterday with a little bit of flurries in the morning which always makes me happy.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I went to a Buddhist center yesterday which hosted my writer retreat. I sat in the library just off the meditation room all day. I learned a lot about my novel and my process. I have a plan now as to how to move forward. I made some strong connections with other writers as well. I was also reminded that I need to not make assumptions about anyone’s process. I was surprised several times yesterday.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I have a busy week at work. I am trying to positively frame it…

If we were having coffee I would tell you I enjoyed my training on Friday. You can read about the library of stories here.

Please share something wonderful with me from your week and the drink you have!

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Currently… Feb 9

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LOVING // The writing retreat space and people today

READING// I am currently reading my draft of my novel

EXCITED ABOUT// FINALLY outlining and starting revision on my novel

LISTENING TO// silence, the gas fireplace, other people writing, a singing bowl

MAKING// word clouds of amazement and connections along with new friends

DREAMING OF// writing all day, every day

WORKING ON// novel, reflections, and a library timeline of stories

ENJOYING// Black coffee! ALL DAY LONG vegetarian chili homemade with cornbread and focaccia bread

WEARING// warm slippers, BSU sweatshirt and black athletic pants

NEEDING// More days like this!

THINKING ABOUT//My characters and this amazing magical space that I didn’t know about until a few weeks ago

Thank you to Maria @ Cooks & Books for her inspirational post – you can read hers here.

How to Develop a Library of Stories

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The word belonging came up at the Jim Knight training I attended yesterday and several times this week. Belonging is a large component of engagement which is a buzzword in education right now, but applies to everyone. Everyone has the need to belong which can mean simply to have friends and to be part of a tribe. Sometimes we find these people in real life and sometimes they are online.

One practice of how we connect with another human is through stories.

Developing a library of stories is the biggest takeaway for me from yesterday’s training. A library of stories is basically a cheat sheet to jog your memory when you need a story to illustrate a point or for entertainment. It could be on a physical piece of paper, it could be a list in your phone or a mapped graphic organizer at the back of your planner. It is a tool. It is similar to how I use my Goodreads list. Whenever someone asks what me I have read lately, my mind immediately goes blank. I often will open Goodreads to jar my memory. A library of stories is a similar tool.

Telling stories is one of the most important things we can do as people. It is how our brains work and also connects us to people! Stories are part of why I am a writer and an educator.

Storytelling is an effective practice for engagement. They are quite effective for fostering hope.

A few components to keep in mind:

  1. The story needs a purpose to the story – a why to why you are telling it. In the classroom it is likely to demonstrate concept or key idea. It may be humor or just a show of a similar situation.
  2. Effective stories CANNOT BE LAME. They should be concise, vivid, surprising, and emotional – but maybe not all at the same time.
  3. You audience must identify with the story you have chosen.

Using stories can help you illustrate the ideas you are trying to teach or portray. Danny Bauer talks about core value stories. His story of tenacity is portrayed with a story about honeybadgers. Doing the most important thing first is illustrated with the BIG DOMINO story. I remember these concepts because of the stories he told. Check out his podcast to hear the stories for yourself.

How to:

To develop a library for stories create a timeline from birth until today. The beauty is you can keep this paper (larger size might be better) for you to capture story ideas with a few words so that when you need to pull a story for a lesson or situation they are gathered in one place. You scan and choose.

List people.

List events.

List the stories that go with each using a few words.

When I first did this activity I was shocked how difficult it was for me to come up with events and people. It might have been due to the fact Knight told us the exercise should take 90 minutes and we were doing it in 2 minutes.

BUT… when I woke up this morning this idea was still with me. On the commute to my writers retreat I decided I would go through each age and see if I could recall stories that corresponded. The ones that emerged on the paper yesterday were the ones that I often tell. Several of them I have even written about on the blog. There were a few that I had forgotten about like the story I shared in my small group about a surprisingly difficult exercise class that left me uncharacteristically sore for days! It even hurt to breathe. I am sure if I would have had more time and it wasn’t 20 minutes before the end of the workshop I would have had more things to write.

A couple months ago I had made a list of 25 life altering moments based on a business book I was reading so I am going to find that list in whatever notebook it is in and add it to my timeline.

Moving forward, one idea Knight shared was to roll this idea out to teachers and then have check ins to talk about the stories they were using with students. I would love to start this practice. It would not only help the students strengthen relationships with teachers but it would cement the bond between educators.

What do you think of a library of stories? Do you like the idea of a timeline? Do you like the idea of a list? Is there a story you tell over and over?

Currently… Feb 8

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LOVING // The connections I have with my fellow coaches

READING// I am currently reading my Instructional Coaching to Increase Engagement Workbook

EXCITED ABOUT// The learning happening today

LISTENING TO// Jim Knight talk and the other coaches I am paired up with during the day.

MAKING// I am formulating lots of ideas as I sit here about writing and coaching

DREAMING OF// Minnesota and cabins with a writing treehouse

WORKING ON// Strategies to increase engagement with students and TEACHERS

ENJOYING// Black coffee! ALL MORNING LONG

WEARING// Orange sweater, black jeans and Black DOC MARTINS

NEEDING// Laughter

THINKING ABOUT//ENGAGEMENT

Thank you to Maria @ Cooks & Books for her inspirational post – you can read hers here.

Build for FMF

It’s Friday! It is time for Kate’s word to inspire my writing today!

I am in the process of building something exciting.

The focus this month through #Write28days is to work through and plan these creative gatherings I have swirling around in my mind.

Serendipity is an amazing concept. I always think of the movie when I say the word and frozen hot chocolate. Podcasts, articles, conversations and people are making their way into my circle of concern that align with this idea.

A name occurred to me today for the gatherings.

The idea of a launch team is on my mind.

The idea of collaboration and using people’s strengths is on my mind.

LIGHT BULBS are turning on ALL OVER THE PLACE!

Today I am blessed with a day of learning with my friends. I will build new connections and deepening bonds.

What are your lightbulbs today?

Are you building something?

Currently…

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LOVING // All the comments on the blog this week! I feel I am connecting with more people which I LOVE

READING// I am currently reading LETTER FROM SKYE which was recommended by Tiffany/reads/too_many_books on Instagram. She is the creator of the Literacy Society group.

EXCITED ABOUT// The stories I have been working on this week. My beta reader read the one and loved it. It makes me happy. She gasped in all the right places.

LISTENING TO// Intermittent Fasting Stories Podcast

MAKING// Stories! SO many stories and blog posts!

DREAMING OF// Minnesota and cabins with a writing shed in the back

WORKING ON// Stories and coaching strategies – training tomorrow with the wonderful Jim Knight.

ENJOYING// Recent trips to Chicago with the hubby

WEARING// My favorite gray and black super soft baseball shirt

NEEDING// Clarity

THINKING ABOUT//the future

Thank you to Maria @ Cooks & Books for her inspirational post – you can read hers here.

#IWSG February

This post is for Alex Cavanaugh’s Insecure Writers Support Group (click the link for details on what that means and how to join. You will also find a list of bloggers signed up to the challenge that are worth checking out. The first Wednesday of every month, we all post our thoughts, fears or words of encouragement for fellow writers.

Today’s question – Besides writing what other creative outlets do you have?

Writing is my absolute main creative outlet and thinking tool but I do use some other creative outlets to keep my well filled.

1. Doodling

I love to draw spirals, coffee cups, ribbons, and fancy writing on my notes and in my bullet journal. To hear me talk about my bullet journal you can listen here.


2. Create cards

I used to rubber stamp and now I buy blank cards with envelopes and decorate them with stickers and doodles. I use cards mostly at work to thank people but am reviving my letter writing hobby.

3. Blogging

Blogging is writing but I can play with the format. I write lists, post pictures and ask questions.


4. Conversation

I love life-giving conversations with people. I love to ask unusual questions and really hear about people’s lives not just about the weather. This is also fuel for writing. Overheard conversations, especially in airports, are my favorite for short story writing.


5. Life Experiments

I like to give myself challenges and assignments. Lately, this has manifested in the form of blog and writing challenges. Everything on this list ties back to writing! It is ingrained! I have experimented with eating vegan, going blindfolded for a day, eating vegetarian, a shopping ban, reading only books I own, etc. Running was the experiment that became a lifestyle! Intermittent fasting is a regular system for me now as well.

I am always looking for new ideas so feel free to share in the comments!

What creative outlets so you have?

Goals and Self Care Podcast

BLBS Ep 183 Tammy Breitweiser Goals and Self Care

Have you listened to the Better Leaders Better Schools Podcast? If not, today is the day to hear my guest spot. It is my debut podcast interview so I am super excited.

Danny and I talk about coaching, goal setting meetings with teachers, and questions I ask myself every morning to get ready for the day. I even explain my bullet journal.

10 Things to Tell You

Every Tuesday (And every day in March!!!!) I blog and share it with teacher-writers on the Two Writing Teachers blog.

My Slice of Life today is inspired by the new podcast of the same title of the post. To listen you can find it here.

Image result for 10 things to tell you podcast
  1. Accept is my word today for today’s #Write28days. I need to accept some truths. I am contemplating and planning these GATHERINGS and I need to find the WHY. I think I have realized some truth after some journaling yesterday. One truth is I am an introvert so I need to carefully plan the execution of these events to not exhaust myself.
  2. I am super excited for my critique group video call this evening with Katherine and Marta. I am so honored to be writing friends with these ladies. I value their feedback and thoughts and they never steer me wrong.
  3. Storyaday.org’s Julie Duffy hosted a free writer Zoom call last night where 16 of us got together and wrote. It was wonderful to do 3 sprints together and I crafted a new short story! It took a surprising twist and direction. It is always fulfilling to talk story with other writers.
  4. The topic for the above podcast today is “Are you Lonely?” I love solitude but there are times I feel disconnected from people. On my commute this morning, I was thinking about being disconnected which is why I think I am pursuing the GATHERINGS idea. I want to have time to connect to other creatives for everyone’s creative well to be filled.
  5. Several years ago my life blew up and I was lonely because I was thrust into a situation where I knew NO ONE who had gone through the same thing. There was one person that had a small connection and I was rejected. Luckily, I found a group that supported me. I am forever grateful for this organization and they helped me from going into a spiral that would have not been recoverable.
  6. The #teachwrite Twitter chat was last night and super fun! The questions were amazing. I love that a teacher is part of this group that works in the corporation I used to. Seeing her name pop up in my feed makes me feel closer to teacher-writers locally! There is a chat every month – If you haven’t checked it out, I highly recommend it. (I will put the questions at the end of this post.)
  7. I have a literacy/coach meeting this afternoon with a consultant I adore listening to and working with. I am looking forward to the word for are going to do today!
  8. This is a wonderful site to follow. There are daily writing tips, great words, great quotes and a prompt. https://writerswrite.co.za/
  9. Another person to follow is Nancy Stohlman. She is an amazing flash fiction author, editor, and overall fantastic person. Find her here: https://nancystohlman.com/
  10. Connection for students is important and creating a feeling of belonging. I once named a remediation group “Writing Club” because I wanted them to come and I wanted them to enjoy the writing not get down on themselves for being selected for writing remediation. I wanted to instill an abundance mindset. Everyone wants to be part of a club especially one that you have a special invitation to!

What do you want to tell me today?

Happy Writing!

#write28days Simmer

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I am participating in the #write28days Blogging challenge. If you would like to see the other posts in this series click here for the landing page.

Jenny Blake wrote a book called PIVOT. It is a fabulous book and she talks about pilots and making the next moves to be successful. She has an inspiring podcast as well. Here is her definition of PILOTS:

Pilots, in the career context, are small, low-risk experiments to dip your toe in the water of your new direction. Pilots help gather feedback, and build the bridge between where you are now and where you want to end up. 

Simply stated, it is an experiment that you can see if your idea works. I hope to have a pilot to try at the end of the month. The ideas and the details have to simmer a little bit. I want to make sure when I launch the pilot that I have enough in place to make a decision about what the next right thing is.

Some ideas from The Art of Gathering book I am marinating in and letting simmer are:

We are tempted to focus on the “stuff” of gatherings because we believe those are the only details we can control. pg. xi

My job [author Priya Parker] is to put the right people in a room and help them collectively think, dream, argue, heal, envision, trust, and connect for a specific larger purpose. pg. xi

I am endlessly intrigued by the small and important interventions we can all make to help groups gel.

The last quote is sticking with me and why I purchased my own copy of this book so I can write in it and fill it up with marginalia. I want to know the little things that make that gathering you go to so dynamic you don’t forget how you felt that night. I want to know the things that are in place so that that the next time that host wants to invite you to something – no matter what it is – you go because you know there is something different and fulfilling about their events.

I am also pondering and letting what I am grateful for simmer in my stew pot mind today! The list keeps growing and my heart keeps swelling!

What are you simmering in your mind today??