An Open Letter

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SOL March Challenge #1

Dear Readers,

Today I am embarking on a challenge.  I have successfully worked through this challenge once before, so I am very excited to try it again.  I now have one year of experience with this thing called “slice of writing” under my belt.   I’ve done other writing in my life, but this SOL writing has shown me what I can really do as a writer.  Of equal importance, the SOL writing challenge has shown me what our students go through when we tell them, “just write what you know.”  I learned last March that it’s just not that easy!  So, here are some things I learned about myself over this past year.  I want to share them with you……my readers.

  • There are days that I won’t enjoy writing, but I will write anyway.  All writers go through this.
  • Of course there will be days when I don’t think I have anything to write about.  But, I will write anyway.  All writers go through this.
  • Some parts of my writing will be lifted from:  lines or ideas I’ve read in other places, things I’ve overheard people say, things that people have said to me, or from music I have listened to.   Writing often, and reading often, has taught me that this is OK.  It’s not stealing.  It’s learning from others.  It’s finding beauty and replicating it in my writing.  It’s what writers do and they never apologize for it.
  • I am working on writing pieces that are funny and/or uplifting.  I tend to write about painful memories.  While they may be therapeutic for me I worry that I’m bumming out my audience.  I understand that many writers stick with certain subjects or topics and they are very successful.  I want to branch out.
  • Coming up with a title for my writing piece has always been a bit tricky for me.  I’ve learned that it’s not just about slapping a title on the page and writing from there. Quite the contrary!  Sometimes I come up with a title half way through my writing.  Other times I won’t have a good title until the end.  And still other times I will think of my title in my dreams.  No kidding!  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve woken up in the middle of the night, or when my alarm goes off and I have my title!  I’m sure there are other writers out there like me.
  • I know what I want to say when I write, even if it’s hard for me to get it down sometimes.  Because of this I know what it feels like to be a kid in a classroom who is trying to write.  I could never….NEVER…..write what someone else thinks I should write.  Just because I get stuck or have a momentary block doesn’t mean I need someone else to tell me which direction to go or which words to use.
  • I participate in another writing challenge called “Five Minute Friday.”   In this challenge we are given a word to write on for five minutes.  Sometimes I don’t write in this challenge.  The word given may spark absolutely nothing in me, so I don’t participate that Friday.   My writing must be my own.  My.  Own.
  • I have written once about my “one little word” this year.  I’m already disappointed in myself for not writing about it more.  My word is “try”.  I’ll try to do better with this.
  • I sometimes have trouble with endings.  This letter is a fine example of that……..
  • I look forward to the next 30 days.  I will cultivate my writing skills.  Flex my writing muscle.  Believe that I can achieve.  Stumble along the way.   Continue to move forward (hey!  I actually incorporated my friend’s “olw” here without intentionally doing so!)
  • I also look forward to the rest of March because we have, oh, about 30 colleagues from our school district writing in this challenge.  Yes, 30!!!  We have doubled in size since last year.  No matter what the number, I know what happens when we write together.  We learn about each other.  We laugh together.  We cry together.   We are inspired by each other.  We grow closer with one another.
  • Happy Writing Everyone!
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15 thoughts on “An Open Letter

  1. Well, this list HAS to be shared with some kids, too. I mean, it HAS to. I can’t wait to see what else you and me and our colleagues learn about writing this March.

    I’ve 2 “new” Slices from our district so far this morning and both of them knocked my socks off. Who knew we had more writers hiding in the shadows????

  2. Just this morning, I thought about making a list of thoughts about writing and the whole writing process as they emerge during this slice challenge. Do you mind if I steal some from you to add to my own list? Of course you don’t. It says so in your 3rd point.

  3. Honest list of a writer here. You’re genuine about your writing process and I can relate. Five Minute Friday doesn’t always do it for me either and I figure well, we did our time as students where we HAD to write on the prompt. Now we can pass on say “garden” or whatever words just don’t spark. I think I took 2 months off from them.

    I regretted not joining in last year. Happy to be on this bandwagon this year though.

  4. The “All writers go through this” line stood out to me and took me right into my classroom. I feel like I say this so often to my students when they are struggling with something- this is what writers do.

  5. It’s what writers do. And we never apologize for it.
    Truer words have never been spoken, written, or thought. I love this list and every bullet hits home. Share. Share. Share!

  6. Writing comes from within and you are so right it has to be your own. It says a lot that you returned to this challenge this year and that you are making plans to expand your writing horizons. Enjoy the 31 days:)

  7. This list will be printed out to help remind me daily this month, and quite possibly shared with some of my writers as well. I appreciate the honesty of how difficult it can be to do a challenge like this. I have done a couple Five Minute writings too, and find some weeks easier to write than others. I am excited to see what everyone has to share this year!

  8. How did you get to be so incredibly amazing in one year?? This is a must read for every new blogger. Definitely something I plan revisit often. 🙂

  9. I never Knew that about you-that you are a “moving on” type of writer! I often think that I will burn my readers out, but then I remind myself, I write to be free.

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