November’s Invite to Write: HOME

Growing up, there was a small forest across the street from my home.

After crossing over a small creek, you would come to an immense oak tree that was unlike any other you’ve ever seen. Its thick, low branches jutted out in about five different directions from the same point, creating the perfect nesting spot for a young girl.

I would often head into these woods, crossing over the creek and climbing into my nest with my notebook in hand.

It was my Terabithia.

There, I would dutifully work on what I planned to be my first writing masterpiece — stories about my dog, Sam. These stories were a compilation of both fiction and non-fiction:  How to Take Care of a Dog in Ten Easy Steps, Superdog Sam, Sam Saves the Day, and All About Brittany Spaniels were probably chapters in my masterpiece. I’m not sure if they really were because copies of my masterpiece never went to print.

Yet, the story of traveling into that woods across from my home to write has lived on in my memory.

When I think back to that home that I grew up in, I cannot separate my stories from that place.

Oh, those stories…

Like the time I went ice skating on the lake behind my house at dusk (when my mom told me not to) and broke through the ice near the shore. My skate and legs were sopping wet, but that was the least of my concerns once my mom found out what I did.

Or the summer we found an abandoned baby bird in the yard and adopted it. It slept on the screen porch and loved to eat Cheerios and powdered donuts. (Another story altogether.)

Or the New Year’s Eve my cousins and I stuffed balloons with confetti, blew them up and taped them to the ceiling in the living room. At midnight, we jumped up with pins in our hands and popped the balloons, sending confetti flying everywhere.

So many of our stories–good and bad–are tied to our notion of home.

That’s because our home is a major part of who we are.

When you think of the word HOME, what stories come to mind?

How has your HOME shaped your stories?

How had your HOME shaped you?

Where is HOME for you?

Join this month’s Invite to Write by writing about HOME and whatever that means to you. There are no rules here. We just want you to write whatever comes to mind.

Then, share a link to your online post using the InLinkz button below so others can read and respond.

Let’s grow this community of teacher-writers!

Special bonus: Everyone who writes and links up their post using the Inlinkz button above will be entered into a drawing to win a copy of The Crossroads of Should and Must: Find and Follow Your Passion by the amazing Elle Luna. This is one of our favorite inspirational books for finding your creativity and living through it. We know you will love it too!

The Crossroads of Should and Must

The winner will be announced on December 2, 2017, and contacted through their blog post. Your chances of winning depend on the number of entries. Thank you to Workman Publishing for sponsoring this book giveaway with their donation.

So what are you waiting for? The world is waiting for your story.

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Now it’s your turn to write. Add a link to your HOME post in the comments of this post.

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Why I Write

Capture this image for your own Why I Write blog posts.

    Join NCTE for the National Day on Writing, Oct. 20. 2017.

The National Council for the Teachers of English created a National Day on Writing. TeachWrite friends, this is the perfect opportunity for us to join the nation in telling our own #WhyIWrite stories.

Please leave a link to your own post in the linky icon at the end of this post. Be sure to check back and find other linked up posts as the month goes on.

I think a lot about why I write. I’ve been a writer ever since I was given my first diary with a lock and key.  Inside I wrote about my crushes, my worries, my dreams.  I wrote really bad poetry, but I wrote.  Now I make my writing more public, no more key.  But why?

I write to

  • connect: This is not why I started writing, but it is the reason I continue.  When something I write connects to the life of someone else, there is a powerful story being woven into the universe.

 

  • know what I am thinking: I can be a bit of a scatter-brain.  Just ask my kids.  When I write, I have to make some sense of things.  I also find that when I am dealing with tough stuff, writing helps. Writing can heal.

 

 

  • love language: I love the way our language works.  I’m fascinated by words.  Writing can be a puzzle. Letter by letter, word by word, you are building something beautiful and unique.  I adore poetry.  I have discovered the richness of language by reading and writing poetry for children.

 

 

  • be better: I am always striving to be a better person in my teaching, with my family, and through my self-care.  Writing helps me be that better person.  Writing can lead me to myself and reveal a part of my soul I cannot access in other ways.

 

See more of my writing at Reflections on the Teche.

Why do you write?  Answer that question in your own voice and add the link below.

 

Beginnings

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This week we turned a page on the calendar, marking a new month.

Another page, a new beginning.

I love beginnings.  They give me a sense of refueling and renewing, or a way to say, “Hey, that didn’t work out so well, but we have this moment to begin again.”  When I start something new, I have this desire to start on a Monday, or the first day of the month, or a new grading period, or even a new year.  A benchmark, so to speak.

I seem to avoid beginning something on a Wednesday, in the middle of the day, or with just a few days remaining in a month.  New beginnings don’t belong in the middle of a time period.

Sadly, benchmarks are also a way to procrastinate, or put something off until a better time comes along. It gives credence to “I’ll start that tomorrow.”  For me, writing time can be the same way. I seem to be in a constant search for the right time. But occasionally, that time never comes, and I find myself not writing.  I easily make excuses for not writing, and typically they are tethered to time, something that seems to elude me.

The same day I turned the page to September, I also turned a new page in my own life. I began my coursework for graduate school, a degree in curriculum and instruction.

Another page, a new beginning.

I am excited, yet at times, I question my decision.  How will I have enough time?  Can I write ten page papers again?  Can I complete an action research project?  Can I keep up with my own personal writing life?  Can I still write mentor texts for my classroom?

This is why this group of teacher-writers is so important to me. Some of us have been writing for years, while others are just getting started.  I know this group will support me in my new writing, and encourage me to continue with the writing I have always done. That is what this group is all about.  If you need the encouragement to begin a writing life or the support to sustain one, then please turn to this group. That is our purpose; that is our goal.

There is magic in new beginnings.  We must trust the magic, and we must trust each other.  But more importantly, we must write.

Here’s to new BEGINNINGS!  Here’s to the MAGIC.

Consider this an invitation to write. We hope you share your thoughts about BEGINNINGS! It’s easy. Here’s what you can do. Go to your blog (or start a blog). Write a post. Share a link to the post by clicking on the link-up below. Find other posts and comment on their posts. We will share this invitation to write monthly with our Twitter chats.

We can’t wait to read your posts about BEGINNINGS!

Please join us on Twitter next month, Monday, October 2nd at 7:30 EST for our next chat.

Join Us!: September’s #TeachWrite Twitter Chat

Please join us on Monday, September 4th at 7:30 pm EDT for our monthly #TeachWrite Twitter chat. This months topic is very timely and one many of us are struggling with: Finding Time for Writing.

Are you a planner? Check out the questions for the chat:

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Schedule:

7:30 pm: Welcome & Introductions

7:35 pm: Q1 –  Describe your current writing habit.

7:44 pm: Q2 – In a perfect world, what would your writing life look like?

7:53 pm: Q3 – What is one way you can bring something from your “perfect writing world” into your writing life right now?

8:02 pm: Q4 – How can you encourage others to write?

8:11 pm: Q5 – Respond to this quote in terms of your writing life: “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” – Lao Tzu

8:20 pm: Invite to Write – Beginnings. What do you think of when you think of beginnings? Let’s start brainstorming possible writing ideas.

8:27 pm: Wrap Up

We hope to see you on Monday, September 4th!

Need help remembering? Sign up for the Remind:  www.remind.com/teachwri.

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Joy!

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JOY. What does that mean to me? Joy is deeper than happiness. It’s more sacred to me. It’s more authentic. I feel joy when I’m being my most true self. I feel joy when I overcome an obstacle or I figure out a problem. I feel joy when I sit down and write. Thinking back I have much earlier memories of reading than I do of writing. That makes sense, right? My parents read to me as a child. We had weekly library trips. Reading was a family experience.

My first memory of writing is the blue fabric journal my mom bought for me in 1980. I treasured that book. I wrote and wrote and wrote in it. It was the first place where I felt like I could be wholly myself without any fear. Those pages held no judgment. They were always there. That brought me joy. I felt like I had something to say on those pages. I wrote about school and my family. I wrote about soccer games and dinner and Grammy’s house. I wrote really bad poetry. I wrote and wrote and wrote. I figured out life in those pages.

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Writing brings me peace of mind. To this day, when I have a conflict in my life, the first thing I do is sit down and write. Writing is how I process life. Writing brings me clarity. The writing that often brings me the most joy is the writing that is not intended for anyone else’s eyes. I am the audience for much of my most important writing.

Writing for the joy of it is exactly how I feel when I sit down to write my morning pages. Writing for the joy of it is how I feel when I open the pages of my notebook to release my thoughts. Writing brings me joy.

Writing is hard too. Dorothy Parker said, “I hate writing, I love having written.” There are many days like that too. There are days when I’d rather do anything instead of my morning pages. There are days when I feel like my writing is the worst that’s ever been in the entire existence of the universe…ever. There are days when I can’t figure out how to say what I want to say on the page. Where’s the joy in those moments? Well, the joy is showing up to the page. The joy is, as Dorothy Parker says, “…having written” because even on those days, once I’m done. I feel lighter. I feel accomplished. I feel a teeny, tiny twinge of joy. Here’s a peek into my notebook entry from August 7th. I’m sharing a quote I discovered that I want to hold onto and remember!

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Here’s to JOY-full writing!
Consider this an invitation to write. We hope you share your thoughts about the JOY of writing! It’s easy. Here’s what you can do. Go to your blog (or start a blog). Write a post. Share a link to the post by clicking the blue frog. Find other posts and comment on their posts. We will share this invitation to write monthly with our Twitter chats.

Instant audience! We can’t wait to read your posts about JOY!

And we will see you on Twitter September 4th, 2017 at 7:30pm EST to talk about Beginnings.

 

#TeachWrite Questions for August 7th

7:30-Introduce yourself
7:34-What are your earliest memories of writing?
7:42-How has writing brought you Joy?
7:50-
How do you connect with other writers?
7:58-In what ways do you nurture the writer in you?
8:06-What have you learned about yourself as a writer as a result of your own writing?
8:14-What is one wish you have for yourself as a writer?
8:22-What do you need as a teacher who writes? How can we help?
8:26-Invitation to write this month on the topic of Joy.