Friday, March 1, 2013

Paying Attention

I've been thinking about the March challenge for a while now. I haven't been very regular in my writing lately (big mistake) so a part of me really is looking forward to the challenge of daily writing for 31 days. I know that regular writing has so many benefits. I KNOW this. I know I write more and what I write is better when I write daily. Why is it sometimes hard to do the thing that is good for us? (I'm thinking choosing salads over a burger when I go to dinner! Why do I rarely do that???)

Anyway, I read a tweet Sara Kjader sent that says, "Inspiration comes from anywhere when you pay attention." I think she was quoting an author who had visited her school, but the idea is a good one. One of my dreads for the month is that I won't know what to write about, that I will run out of things to say, when I KNOW that is not true. When I know I will be writing everyday, I pay more attention to the world, always on the lookout for the idea for today's or tomorrow's writing. That's one of the benefits of writing daily (in class, too, not just out of class). So why do I worry? Is it the effort of writing? Because there is effort.  This isn't writing just for me, because I know someone else might read it, I pay more attention. . . And I think I worry a bit more about it. It's a good reminder for me about what students feel.

So, I am in Boston. Meetings are getting ready to start for the day. I try to walk around whenever I have a little break, and I take pictures when I do. I have been thinking that I like to have a photo to write from in my posts. I feel a little awkward today since I don't have the ability with my iPad to add the photos as easily as I can do it with my PC (I can imagine someone saying something about that right now!), but I will have photos to prompt me when I return to my PC. I was thinking about this lately, too. I tried to participate in a photo challenge in February where there was a topic for each day and the challenge was to take a photo on that topic. I thought it would be a good idea, but it was harder than I'd anticipated. I was wondering if having a subject would help with the March challenge, but now I wonder if having the topic open is part of what makes this work? Writers make choices--choices in content as well as word choice and genre and topic. So if we take the choice away, are we making writing more difficult or less? It's just making me think. And, I guess  because I was so bad at that challenge, I am wondering if I can really do this one now. Do students feel this, too? If they do poorly at one writing task, does it color the next and the next? Self-fulfilling prophecy and all that? NOT ME. I WILL DO THIS. But it makes me think about student writers a lot mo than I thought it would. Good.

1 comment:

  1. You are asking so many great questions! Don Graves, the father of the writing workshop, would definitely say that choice is what makes writing work. Sometimes, once in a while, I wish someone would choose for me, because I can't think of anything I want to write about!

    You definitely CAN do this challenge. One day at a time, one slice at a time! I have been slicing for four or five years. Every year, I wonder if I will be able to pull it off. And then, one day a time, the slices get written. And if one gets missed, no big deal.

    I can promise, too, that you will meet lots and lots and lots of really great people and find lots of writing mentors!