Teachers Commiting To Their Own Writing

Every time I pick up a pen to write, the rest of my world goes on standby. Every thing else comes to a halt. Only the writing matters.

Mel Levine (The Myth of Laziness) describes writing as ‘exquisite synchronization.’  I sit down to write my mind is pried open and thoughts begin to flow. I am connected only to the page. The challenge of the blank page takes over and must be attended to immediately. The words that initially spill out onto the pages of a notebook are often raw and untamed. It doesn’t all glitter.  As writers, we just want to trap those thoughts and ideas before they evade us. To do this we must carve out some time to write. Set time aside to allow our writing to develop on the page. We must learn to quarantine time in our hectic lives to give life to the writing ideas that come calling. Maybe beginning with things we never want to forget.

For writing to move beyond good intentions, requires a degree of self indulgence. Conscious self indulgence if you like. Remove the roadblocks holding up your writing. No one knows better than you what these obstacles are.  Get them out of the way! Out damn spot!

For this to happen, writing must be treated as something important, - a task too important; too urgent to be ignored. Prioritize, even if it takes you away from other tasks. Make time to breathe life into your words. Commit to the act of writing. Gather the raw stuff. Gather it regularly. Habits require time to develop. Automaticity is unique to each of us, but it is the regular repetition of the action that enables the habit to form. We need a cue. A notebook kept in a prominent place perhaps. We need the behaviour (find a convenient place and time- and write!) and the reward that arises from accomplishing the task of actually writing. The visible representation of your words on the page.  This raw material is full of potential. First we harvest words, then we review to assess the value of those words.

I say these things because I regularly meet teachers who are full of great intentions and want their writing program to fly, but have been unable to commit to their own writing. They lament that their students are not overly confident writers, yet fail to see their own behaviour replicated in their students. In order to develop positive attitudes and confidence, our students need to observe how their teachers, the most proficient writer in the classroom meets the challenges inherent in writing. 

I hope the ideas outlined above, provide some food for thought. Remember, 'Make time to breathe life into your words. Commit to the act of writing.'  It will breathe new life into your writing program. I have seen it happen so many times before. A little practical magic...


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