Flexing Your Writing Muscles
I love to write, but I don’t always take/make the time to write on a consistent basis. I am a master at finding excuses for not writing: papers to grades, lesson plans to write, or laundry to wash. While I do need to do those things, I can find excuses to avoid them too! When January rolled around, I decided that it was time for me to make the time to write. I knew that if my plans were too ambitious, I would just be setting myself up for failure, so I decided to work on three easy practices.
I began by signing up for #100daysofnotebooking which is being spearheaded by MIchelle Haseltine (michellehaseltine.com). There are no prompts; the only “requirement” is to write in your notebook each day for 100 days. Some writers are posting in a private Facebook group while others are sharing on Twitter. Some are doing both. You may think that writing for 100 days straight is daunting or impossible, but it is actually inspirational and invigorating. I have been writing in my notebook, sometimes taking a picture and sharing, sometimes just posting what the topic or my entry or how things are going. The best thing about this practice is reading what everyone else is posting. I have found so many good ideas for my own notebook, and have tried imitating other writers. Viewing their creations have given me the courage to start adding sketches and color to my notebook. Will some days be harder than others? Absolutely! My goal is not to write print worthy entries each day, but to capture ideas and inspiration each day that can be the seeds for future pieces.
Next, I registered for The 30 Day Writer’s Happiness Challenge which is part of the Writers Happiness Movement (writershappiness.com). Each day I receive an email with a five minute prompt. It is quick and easy and gives me food for thought. So far I have written a “permission” note from my future self, looked for beauty in the space I was in, sent someone a positive email with a sincere compliment, and made a list of things I find enchanting. While I only spent five minutes each day writing on these prompts, I keep thinking about different ways to use them in the future.
Lastly, I am journaling every night before I go to bed. I have tried this many many times over the years only to see that weeks or months had gone by without an entry, and the journal becomes a book of summaries. Honestly, I don’t remember where I read about this idea, but the premise is to write a one-sentence journal entry each day. This journal lives in a basket next to my bed. I have faithfully written each night since New Year’s Day. It is so unthreatening and come on – who can’t write just one sentence each night? It makes me stop and think about what the most memorable or meaningful thing about each day was. No matter how tired, or how late I go to bed, I can manage one sentence.
I have shared my writing goals with my 7th graders, and they are asking me what I am writing in my notebook; most things I can share with them. Although I do write with my students, I want them to know that I write outside of school as well and how much that writing means to me.. I believe that the more my students realize the importance of writing beyond the classroom walls, the more they will want to write themselves for themselves. You what they say – “Use it or lose it.” How are you flexing your writing muscles? Please comment and share below. You never know who you will be inspiring.
Rita DiCarne is a 2000 PAWLP Writing Fellow. She teaches 7th grade ELA at Our Lady of Mercy Regional Catholic School in Maple Glen, PA. Rita married her high school sweetheart 39 years ago and with him she shares two wonderful children, their fabulous spouses, and four fantastic grandchildren!