Thursday, March 1, 2012

Slice of Life Challenge - March 1

This past weekend was the Dublin Literacy Conference, and it was time for the last session of the day.  I had the opportunity to spend time with Ruth Ayres, one-half of The Two Writing Teachers blog, as she talked about making writing mini-lessons meaningful.

Ruth had so many important things to say, but the one thing she said that I kept coming back to in my own head was the idea that to be a writing teacher, we need to live a writing life.  My apologies to Ruth, but my mind started drifting off from her presentation as I thought about this past year, and how much writing I did NOT do.

About ten months ago, I had knee replacement surgery, and to say my recovery was a much different experience than I expected, would be a major understatement!  I thought I would have all this time to read, write, and catch up on life in general.  Truth be told, while on pain medications and even a little after that, my mind was a sieve and unable to hold attention on any one thing for longer than five minutes (and that was a good day).  Then, there were all the exercises and rehabilitation -- all that took time and often left me exhausted.  Not much writing happening in my life.

At the point when my energy and focus finally started to come back, it was time to start getting my classroom ready for new groups of students, and start the marathon of the first months of fall.  Beginning of the year assessments, getting to know my students, my own parents' illnesses and traveling often to see them, parent-teacher conferences, progress reports, getting ready to present at NCTE in Chicago, holiday festivities.  Wow!  More time had flown by and still no writing.

So, on this Saturday of the Dublin Literacy Conference 2012, I realized I needed to step up my game.  It was time to become a writer again.  I was going to start writing and doing it on a regular basis.  And then, as karma would have it, Ruth was sharing in her session how one way to lead a more full writing life would be to participate in the Slice of Life Challenge that they host at Two Writing Teachers for the month of March.  Aha!  What better way to practice being a writer than doing it each and every day?!

So there you have it - my reason for starting this challenge today.  Life can get in the way of our best intentions sometimes, as my life this past year amply demonstrates.  But there comes that moment in time when we need to grab the reins, and get back in control of the situation ourselves.  This is my moment.  Let March and the Slice of Life Challenge begin as I test who I am as a writer! 

Thanks to those of you who have agreed to be my online writing support group, and for anyone else who stops by to check on my progress as a writer this month, thank you as well.

22 comments:

  1. I love how you call it an online writing support group. That is what it is, you know!

    Welcome!

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  2. Watch what you write...I'll be reading your posts! ;)

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  3. I agree that the slice of life challenge is a great way to get back to living the life of a writer! One of the reasons I joined as well. I hope that this experience will be memorable and powerful for you as a writer.

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  4. I hope that this challenge helps you live like a writer again! I know that's one of the reasons I joined again this year!

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  5. You go girl! It's so true that we have to intentionally make time to nurture our own writing lives. I do see a difference in my teaching of writing when I am actively writing. I just feel more attuned to the whole process, it becomes much more organic.

    I think it is also what will empower us and give us confidence in developing our own teaching points to guide our students in their writing. We can draw from strategies to share with them, when we've encountered the same struggles and have overcome them!

    Thanks for your inspiration!

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  6. I know what you mean about the best of intentions for reading, writing, getting stuff done while you recover. It's so easy to fall out of good habits and so hard sometimes to get started again! To get started writing regularly again is one of the reasons I signed up for SoLC, too!

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  7. Looking forward to reading your posts! I am especially looking forward to the ones from your classroom! I know I will learn a lot!

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  8. I'm glad that Ruth gave you some inspiration and that writing is a path before you.
    You wrote: "It was time to become a writer again. I was going to start writing and doing it on a regular basis."
    I think it is good to remind ourselves of the power and creativity of writing, and Slice of Life and other writing communities are ways to reconnect with our writing selves.
    Kevin

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  9. Karen, I think Ruth's mentions of having to write to teach writing hit home with more people than she knows. I'm honored to be apart of this challenge and writing support group with you. I can't wait to read what you have to say all month.

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  10. It seems like you have some very good reasons to take the plunge. Hope you have a great time!

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  11. yeah you...life does seem to get in the way, and I'm sure it will this month...I'm determined and might write ahead when I have the chance because of those days :)At least that is my plan!

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  12. Welcome back to writing! I began my blog - and writing in general- after NCTE this year. Ruth was instrumental to me deciding to do that as well. Glad you are coming back to something you enjoy.

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  13. You're so right on so many levels. I am also thankful for your writing journey because I am able to follow it and I really have missed all of our next door classroom conversations.

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  14. And, look at the support group you have gained! I started the challenge last year and I can honestly say, it has made me a better teacher of writers. I'll look forward to hearing more from you!

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  15. I am glad that your thoughts had drifted back to what Ruth was saying just in time to hear her mention SOLSC! I always love this time of year, and I can relate to wanting to focus more on myself as a writer.

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  16. This is a great support group and although I'm retired now, I still enjoy reading about writing in the classroom...it helps me become a better writer as I "listen" to what others are saying about teaching writing. Welcome to the family! Hope your knee has healed nicely.

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  17. Welcome to the group! You will really enjoy it! (P.S. It was fun to see you at the Lit Conference!)

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  18. Welcome! Your will never regret taking the plunge!

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  19. "Life can get in the way of our best intentions sometimes..." I could not agree with you more. I enjoyed reading your slice. ~Theresa

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  20. I could so relate to all your reasons for NOT writing, as life has gotten the better of me in the past months as well. Writing is so rewarding, though. I'm glad you're ready to get back to it.

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  21. Yay Karen! I'm excited to be on this journey with you. I left Dublin Literacy with so many things running through my head. :)

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  22. Karen,
    Life can sometimes make finding the time to write a bit of a challenge. I'm a bit nervous about taking on SOLSC. I want to finish, but let's say I've had a few exercise plans that have fallen to a quick demise. I worry this will be the same. The one thing that has always helped me to follow a fitness routine is a friend who will workout alongside me. Someone who will get me to the gym when I really don't want to go. I am thinking that following your SOLSC challenge, and the many other friends who have jumped in, will help me to stay motivated and get back to writing.

    Looking forward to following your stories.

    Cathy

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