So. Here we are. Seven days in and seven days successful at showing up to write.
However, as I established in my last post, for me this month is about more than just showing up to write every day. I have personal goals to achieve and reflect on! Let’s take a look at where we are on day seven.
15 Minutes Daily Writing
I had a slow start to the month. On the first three days I wrote the bare minimum — that was all I could seem to manage. I have been doing better about actually notebooking with my students instead of taking care of what I like to call “teacher business.” It was something I was guilty of doing a lot in September, despite telling my students I would notebook every day. October is helping me get back to my original commitment and it helps that if I write with every class, because then I easily hit 15 minutes by the end of the school day.
The trouble, of course, comes with the weekend. Especially since this past weekend I did not have any Time to Write workshops to rely on for accountability purposes. However, I made it to at least 15 minutes and, starting this week, there has been an increase in writing time as I attend our regular workshop days and write during those times.
Accountability really does make a difference.
31 notes in 31 days
One aspect of my personal challenge that has helped is holding myself to 31 notes in 31 days. On the days where I didn’t feel like notebooking, or writing fiction, or didn’t have students writing with me — I wrote notes. I knew having this as a goal would help me show up to writing — because writing for others is not only fun, but I get the added joy of sending a little love out into the world.
As of this posting I have written 12 notes! Some notes I have left for teachers or administration at my school, while others I have mailed to my TeachWrite friends. I got positive responses from both groups and I’m excited to continue spreading the love. It made me feel good to know I was making others feel good. I should really print out the emails I received from some of the recipients.
I even used one day to write individual (sticky)notes to leave for students on their desks — but that felt a little like cheating (easily I see 30 students in a day). So, I only counted the whole class as as note towards my 31 count, instead of each individual student. It was fun to hear the students react to the messages — I even noticed today that one girl still had her note with her!
4000 Words of fiction
This goal caused me the most grief to start with, but once I sat down to write (I literally made a note to myself to commit to fiction that day) it came easily. Is it good? Probably not. But that’s not what is important right now. I remember not feeling especially motivated to do it — I think that was a reason I was putting it off — but I told myself what I always tell my students: just write.
This is my crappy first draft. I need to leave judgement and critiquing out of it. There were so many times I wanted to go back and edit or fix what I had already written — this is a story that has been on the shelf for some time — but each time I stopped.
Progress. Not perfection.
And so I wrote. And wrote some more. And do you know, I actually managed 1,877 words in the two writing times I dedicated to my fiction? I was shocked when I did the word counts! It was also reassuring to see that I COULD do it…once I showed up to the page.
Five Blog Posts
Which brings us to this, the second blog post in my #TeachWritetober20 series of blogs. I think it was a good call to use the blogs as another kind of accountability checker. I’m always asking my students to reflect and I think using this space to reflect on my own is helpful. You all left encouraging comments on my last post, which also helped motivate me and I can only hope you found inspiration for your own writing over the past seven days.
Even better? I jotted notes to myself in my notebook all throughout this week that I was able to use as a reminder for what I wanted to make mention of in this blog. Which is something ELSE I’m always encouraging my students to do.
I know we’re just on day 7 of 31, but I’m hopeful for the writing days to come and actually excited to press forward. I invite you all to continue forward with me as well.