Someone commented on my March 1st post that I was “daring” and a “risk taker” for stepping out in faith and sharing my writing. I have thought a lot about that post since and decided that I should write a slice about how I got to this point.
I have always dreamed of writing. I can recall writing songs and stories as an elementary student. My mom would be my willing audience and offer specific praise for my efforts. Later, when the angst of junior high settled in, I found a lovely little spot in the backyard hidden between a large patch of tiger lilies, a huge shrub, and the cornfield. When life began to be too much, I would grab my notebook, steal away to my secret spot, and write until mom’s voice would call out across the yard to tell me it was time to come in. Somewhere between elementary and high school, though, I lost the courage to share my writing even with my mom. I destroyed what I wrote, not because it was bad or unacceptable, but due to fear. I began to believe that my writing voice was not good enough. Sharing my writing became unthinkable. That was when my writing dreams were placed on the back burner and considered a fanciful wish at best. They were pushed aside but not totally forgotten.
Fast forward to last June 2018. I had been teaching for 24 years. For the previous two years I had been teaching only writing and science. That longing to write was growing stronger. School was out for the summer, and I began to search online for something-I had no idea what, really-that would allow me to grow as a writer.
I found Teach Write. I signed up for Jennifer Laffin’s emails, and I joined the Facebook group. When she posted a call out for an accountability workshop, I took the plunge and joined. There I found people who were like me! They are teachers who write, but they also encourage and support without judging other teacher-writers. I tentatively began to write for myself again. Jen and the Teach Write group cheered me on and provided a safe space in which to write. Fast forward again to March 1, 2019. I still write with my Teach Write pals, and I am participating in my first ever Slice of Life Challenge. I couldn’t/wouldn’t have done this prior to last summer. Thanks to a book study in the accountability group, my volume of writing has increased. It opened my eyes to the sources of my resistance and offered tools for moving forward. My writing voice is growing stronger. I know it will continue to grow as I actively continue to participate in Teach Write and with the encouragement and support that I am receiving here.
The best part of this is that I can take everything that I am doing/becoming for myself and share it with my students. It is a win-win for me personally and professionally and for my writers at school. I highly encourage everyone who wants to write to find their writing group. The benefits are immeasurable.