Slice of Life: Reflections from a Writer

March 31, 2010

Over the course of this March month, I have been reflecting on my writing more than I have in a while.  I appreciated this slice of life challenge, as I have learned much about being a writer. Thank you, Ruth and Stacey, for hosting the challenge.  I needed a boost.

Some thoughts from me, the writer:

I have more empathy for students with writer’s block.

  • I remember on day ten sitting down at the computer and feeling like I had nothing to write about.  An idea would come to mind, and I would think, “I already wrote about that.”  Another idea would come and I wondered, “How do I start?”  The empty screen was a bit overwhelming.  I actually chuckled because I could visualize students having the same struggle or hearing “I don’t know what to write about.”

I have learned to press on even when my mind is being critical of what I’m writing.

  • I would begin to write something and think, “That doesn’t sound very exciting.  You need to change your wording.”  I often was almost fearful of writing because I didn’t have enough time to revise and play with my thoughts.  I didn’t want anyone to think that I wasn’t a good writer.  I was worried that the posts would be boring to my readers.  Now, although I still have those thoughts creeping in, I’ve learned to push them away and write.  If I don’t write, how will I ever improve?  Besides many of the slices were for me, capturing a memory for forever.

I have learned that audience does help motivate the writer.

  • I appreciated everyone who commented about my posts.  The encouragement helped fuel me.  With a deeper understanding, I see how sharing helps children to energize with their writing.   I can make kids famous, but the act of sharing their work with someone empowers them to be more independent and driven.

I have learned that it’s okay to read something to get an idea to write about.

  • I practice using books to springboard ideas for writing, but through this SOL Challenge, I have learned that I connect with others through reading their posts.  I form an opinion or agreement with the writing that spurs my own writing.  I see the importance of allowing children to ask their friends what they are writing about and listen to them to gain ideas.  Sometimes you need to write about the same topic.  It’s the act of writing that is the most important.  Ideas will come.

I have learned that if I want to write, I must make it a priority.

  • I have struggled with making time for writing.  I enjoy doing it, but with the demands of three children and a full-time job, time is precious.  I used the challenge as an excuse, “I have to post before I go to bed.  It’s my turn to use the computer.”  My family supported me in my efforts.  Now, I must continue to carve out time – intentionally – to write.  How else am I going to improve?

I have learned to be more in tune with my observations and surroundings.

  • Because I was looking for something to write about each day, I found the idea.  I noticed things happening around me that I would not have thought to write about.  The baseball banter was one example.  I hadn’t thought about the words being poetic, but now I can’t help but notice.  I can teach my students to notice more by sharing my SOL posts.

I have learned that I can write poetry.

  • Poetry is not my favorite genre.  I find it hard to rhyme and make the writing sound like music.  I pushed myself through the SOL Challenge and tried free verse poetry.  I like it.  I like that I can take phrases and play with them to make a poem.  I have a better grasp on how to teach it to my students and show them how to create poetry.

I have learned that even tough subjects can be written about.

  • I posted a difficult experience that my daughter went through.  The appointment had been set for almost two weeks and my mind had been on it.  I wanted to share my feelings yet would back away; my thoughts were too real.  By writing, I found the good in the experience.  I will remember the specialness because of capturing it through the written word.  I can help children to see that writing doesn’t always have to be about a pleasant topic.  Writing can be therapy too.

I have learned that I feel closer to my family and friends through writing.

  • By writing, I expose myself even more.  I can explain some thoughts clearer through the written word than through talking.  I can grasp ideas and share something special with my family and friends.  I have learned that several teachers are willing to write a special memory after reading mine.  Because my writing is not lofty and actually rather practical, they feel like they can write too.

I have learned that I am a better writer by reading others writings.

  • I would read different posts and would see phrasing that I liked.  I would fall in love with certain word structure and visual pictures the authors would use.  I would then try it in my own writing.  Writing and reading is like practicing for a sport or musical instrument – the more you practice, the more tricks you can learn.

I have learned much by writing daily for the Slice of Life Challenge.  I must continue to learn by practicing the skill frequently.  I am a writer.