Thursday, February 9, 2012

Why I Blog/Write Part I

As you can tell, I've been off the grid for awhile now. My writing phobia/paranoia returned with a vengeance in the spring of 2011, paralyzing my desire and ability to write. Slowly over the past few months the desire and confidence to write has begun to return. Although, my palms are sweating and my heart is racing as I type this.

I've often wanted to share what prompted me to write/blog my thoughts and the stories of my life. I was never much of a writer before my foray into blogging. Blogging has become the perfect medium for my writing. I have always had a love/hate relationship with writing, hence the need for several parts to this topic. The following will be a condensed version of my writing history.

As a young student, I always hated creative writing. I could never think of anything to fill up even one sheet of paper. I always thought my life was so typical, ordinary, and there was nothing to say. I could never come up with a topic much less generate anything to say when given a topic. I couldn't draw upon any details or spin a story. It seemed strange that someone who is never at a loss for words and is always talking could be stumped when it came to writing those words. I don't know if I just wasn't paying attention to my teachers as they taught writing, if my teachers really didn't know how to teach me to be a creative writer, or if even back then I couldn't bare to reveal myself to others in such a potentially lasting way.

Even though I couldn't stand to write I loved reading and had this romantic notion of writers. The idea of "writing" and even publishing a book seemed incredibility thrilling. How talented, committed, consumed, and bohemian writers must be. Writers seemed to be other worldly in my mind's eye. I definitely was not writer material.

So how did I end up becoming a "writer"? Basically, I ended up becoming an elementary teacher and had to teach my students to write. I have to admit that early in my career I stumbled about as I taught my students writing. Oh, I read books about teaching writing, went to workshops, and looked at the work other teachers got from their students. I still didn't feel a passion for writing, couldn't quite get at how to get stories to flow from the brain to the paper, and did not instill any passion in my students.

Finally my teaching of writing and my personal writing changed with the curriculum that Lucy Calkins wrote. As I read the detailed elements of how Lucy set-up a writing environment, taught children to generate ideas, and explore different mediums; I began to learn how to write the stories of my life. One thing that all writing experts say is that the teacher of writing must be a writer and should share some of their writing with their students. I slowly began writing at home (figuratively alongside my students) determined to grow as I expected them to grow. Over the past four years I've worked hard to tell my stories well.

With an awakening need to write, I'm dipping my toes into the ink. I'll take some slow languid strokes across the page with the hope that passion and daring will consume me. Those simple easy strokes will start out with some old family favorite stories; the stories my children and husband have often asked me to write. I'll write those stories they can't believe I haven't written, stories of tornadoes, snow storms, a lost diamond, stories of births, and those events in life that you convince yourself that with enough distance and perspective will one day be funny.

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