Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Just write. It's amazing!

at Two Writing Teachers!
After reading Betsy's post last week about inviting others to participate in the March Challenge, I knew I wanted to do the same. For a few days, I mulled over what I would say and who I would invite. (Still not quite sure if I'm brave enough to invite the whole staff like Betsy did!) For a few days, I was a whirlwind of busy-ness and thought, "Oh, I can do that later!" Finally, today, I sat down after school to write a "quick email" (famous last words) to invite a few special friends to join the challenge. As the "quick email" grew, I knew it should be my slice for today:

Hi! You're reading this right now because you're one of the most amazing writing teachers (teacher who writes / writer who teaches!) that I know. 

That's right. YOU. You are amazing!

And I'm inviting you (yes, YOU!) to join me in an incredible experience this March: the Slice of Life Story Challenge.

What's the challenge? Write a "slice of life" on your blog every day in March. You can write a story. You can write a poem. You can write a vivid description, a dialogue, a letter, a song, a photo-story, a something-that-doesn't-have-a-name-because-you-just-made-it-up! Just write. Every day.

That's right. EVERY DAY. 

No time? Make some. Too tired? Make some coffee! :-) 

No, really, you're too busy and too tired? Write something anyway. Write a 6-word memoir. Write a list of things you should be doing instead of writing. Post a photo and write a caption for it. But write something.

What will happen if you do? You'll notice small details you'd have been too busy-and-tired to notice. You'll become more reflective. You'll become more thankful. You'll think like a writer. You'll play with your writing craft. You'll find courage and creativity you didn't know you had. You'll also have days when you don't feel like writing ... and you'll learn how to just write anyway. You'll nod sympathetically the next time a student complains she's stuck, and you'll be able to say, "Well, when that happens to me, I..."

Yes, you might need to order takeout. You might lose a few hours of sleep. You might look for that shirt you wanted to wear and end up discovering a sopping wet mess of wrinkly clothes you forgot to put in the dryer. You might find yourself greeting your husband by yelling "DON'T-SAY-ANYTHING-I'M-IN-THE-MIDDLE-OF-AN-IDEA!" when he gets home from work. You might look at the closing credits of a TV show in astonishment as you realize that you have no idea which show it was or what happened in it.

But you'll become a better writer. You'll become a better teacher. You'll become a better person. And you'll become a part of a supportive, inspiring community of teacher-writers.

That's right. It's AMAZING. Just like you.

So be a teacher who writes, and become a writer who teaches! 

I also sent a slightly different email to our English Department and all my colleagues from my local Writing Project. Moreover, I'm encouraging my students to begin slicing on Tuesdays to get ready for the challenge, and they are already excited to participate! How will you encourage others to write with us in March?


  1. Sounds so great, so exciting. Can't wait to see who takes you up on this amazing invite.
    The Welcome Wagon will be ready :)

  2. What a great email - how can your friends resist joining now?! :) Thank you for a good reminder that March slicing can be intimidating, but it's TOTALLY worth it!

  3. I would join if one of my fellow teachers sent me an e-mail like that! Kudos for your courage! P.S. A "spark" visual in your classroom could also spark a few new conversations about writing. I think you should go for it!

  4. I absolutely love this! This will be my first challenge and I am so excited but question my ability to do it. I have your post bookmarked so I can come back and hear your encouragement! I can't wait!

  5. Terrific, Jennifer, I hope many are encouraged by your wonderful words. It is very special to do the challenge, we all know, but now to convince some others. I have one colleague and his class doing it, but so far, that's it. Hopeful for others, love that one line because I think you've said it before! ""DON'T-SAY-ANYTHING-I'M-IN-THE-MIDDLE-OF-AN-IDEA!" Have a great Valentine's Day week!

  6. You are such an eloquent persuasive writer! This reminds me of your letter you wrote to pass a bond issue, same passion. How can they resist? I would join. I hope you get some positive feedback.

  7. Thanks for the kind words, everybody! I have 3 people excited to jump into the challenge and several others who are thinking about it! :-)


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