Wrap Up: TeachWritetober2020

Would you look at that? It’s November. That means that TeachWritetober is over and it’s time to assess myself on my personal writing goals. I will spoil this post a bit and be up front: I did not write every day. This was especially a struggle towards the end of the month. However, I won’t waste my time here with excuses or what I could’ve/should’ve/would’ve done differently.

15 Minutes daily writing

You would think showing up to the page to write every day (something, anything) would be easy. It’s not. I touched on this in previous entries, but it was a LOT easier to show up when I had others to show up to the page with me. Whether that was writing for a few minutes during school time with my students or during Time to Write workshops — I did OVER 15 minutes on days where I had others with me. Then, on days when it was just me (usually Sundays) I found it harder to write.

I definitely do better writing with others, but also I do better when I have “break” days. I also think I do better when I have a challenge or purpose for my writing as opposed to something as general as “write 15 minutes.” I stopped tracking my time after awhile and focused more on just getting my weekly goals addressed.

31 Notes in 31 days

I was pleasantly surprised how often it worked out that someone got a note from me when they needed it most — especially since I often didn’t KNOW they needed it.

At least, that was the case with one colleague of mine at the end of the month. She wasn’t on my original list, but I decided on a whim to write her a quick note. It was common for me to see her in the hallways during my lunch duty and I wanted her to know that I always appreciated seeing her cheerful, positive attitude. I slipped a note in her box one morning.

Well, she came to me teary eyed during my lunch duty, telling me how much that note had made her day when she was having one of the most frustrating/stressful days of that week. I hadn’t known that, but it definitely made me glad that I had decided to send her a note. It wasn’t anything long or super involved — just a quick note of gratitude and appreciation. It turned her entire day around. And it’s just more evidence that we never know what others are going to and just one small kind word or gesture can completely turn someone’s day around.

This was my favorite challenge this month for that and other reasons. I just really enjoyed spreading this little token of love so much that I’ve decided to continue my note writing practice. I’m currently working on writing personal notes to all of my students. I want to set aside another month in the future where I will send out another batch of 30+ notes to friends, family, and coworkers.

4000 Words of fiction

While I did not accomplish 1000 words per week like I thought I would, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that I DID end up writing 4000 words of fiction overall. So this was one of those goals that I achieved, just not in the way I expected to do so. Between the longer fiction novel I am writing and a challenge to write a short story, I wrote 4, 843 words of fiction this month. That’s over 4000 words I had not written before now and that’s pretty cool as far as I’m concerned. I am pretty proud of what I wrote, especially since I had to fight my inner critic several times to get it done. It’s nothing compared to what some will grind out for NaNoWriMo this month — but it’s also nothing to sneeze at and certainly a new accomplishment for me. That’s what matters.

five Blog Posts

If it’s five general blog posts I succeeded, but if it’s blog posts specifically about TeachWritetober then obviously I didn’t get five blogs posted here. Two of my blogs wound up on Kidblog to share with my students instead and here the fifth blog post is coming up in November.

In hindsight, a weekly blog accountability post probably wasn’t the way to go. I think in the future it would be wise to do a starting post, a mid-month post, and a wrap up post. I think that helps me be accountable without writing the same blog post week to week.

The focus was on progress, not perfection. I did not complete my goals perfectly, but I certainly made progress in all four. And, more importantly, I learned a lot about myself and others in my community over the past 31 days. I’ll touch on some of that in the sections ahead. I think the biggest accomplishment for me was not feeling so defeatist or judgmental of myself when I DIDN’T succeed in these goals.

I did what I could and I wrote (almost) every day. I feel good going into November because of the progress I made in October and I can’t wait to see where that progression takes me.


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