Writer’s Block

I promised all of you that I would blog whenever I assigned you a blog. After all, it is only fair, and I really should make sure that what I have asked you to do is a reasonable amount of work. The only problem is that I have no idea what I want to write about. I sat all day in teacher meetings, but anything that came out of those meetings would definitely not interest students. My last two posts were a little  didactic (yep, look up THAT vocabulary word!!) and it was a pretty mellow weekend in my house with no hockey games or major events. I cleaned, and I HATE cleaning, but that isn’t much fun for a topic. It made me think about when I ask you to write for quick writes and tell you to just start writing and if you get stuck, just start sketching or doodling until something comes to you. Just keep the pencil moving and get as much written as possible…word vomit (Hope Mrs. W is not reading this; you know how much she hates the V word!!). It is about building stamina in writing, and usually I am a pretty prolific writer. (wow, I am full of fun vocabulary for you today!). So what do you do when you really just don’t know what to write about? I thought about writing about my latest read, but I just did that with my last post. I am enjoying Neal Schusterman’s Undivided right now, but I am also reading a professional book on teaching and a more adult book by Neal Patrick Harris – where do I go with that? Now I see that I am rambling, but if you stick with me, I may get to a point. Oh wait….I think I am there. This blog is about sharing. We can share our thoughts,  our expertise, our worries, our experiences. So today, I want to share with you that everyone has moments when  we feel blocked or stymied and sometimes it is about hanging in there and barreling through the challenges to find the light at the end of the tunnel. (Ok, it must be late because not only am I inundating you with vocabulary, but now cliches too). So here is my light; I have shared my moment of writer’s block and hope it inspires you to persevere in your own moments of doubt or confusion. Good luck with your own blog posts – I really do enjoy reading them and bet someone’s post will inspire a new topic for me as well!

The Power of Words

These past two weekends, I have been fortunate enough to attend the most amazing conferences. The first one was a young adult literature conference which boasted 46 authors. I was so excited to meet some of my favorite authors and discovered several new authors so my “to-read” stack just grew exponentially. The second conference was the Illinois Reading Conference which is the statewide conference for literacy leaders. I presented my own session one morning, but the rest of the time was spent learning from experts and colleagues as well as meeting some more of my favorite authors. I also met a local author, Crystal Chan, who wrote Bird, and after spending quite a bit of time talking to her, I delved into her book. WOW. I was blown away by the lyrical way she writes, and the power of her words reached me, not only on a personal level, but reminded me as a teacher of how words can transform lives. I used her text as mentor pieces in my lesson on descriptive writing,  and I think I will have a hard time keeping Bird on my shelves. In this fast-paced world of Vines, Snapchats, YouTube, and Facebook statuses, we forget how beautiful language can be and how quickly words impact someone’s life for better or worse.  It is so important that we take the time to say what we really mean, and not go for that quick jab or retort. In the old days of letter writing, we took the time to write, revise, write some more, and revise in order to express ourselves. However, with a quick click of a button, we can send our first draft, that slip of a tongue without any thought to whether it transmits our message accurately. After all, we didn’t have time to think about it; how could we hope to cause anyone else to think critically about the words. It makes me want to plagiarize the seatbelt campaign, “Think Before You Click”. Take the time to write, read, take a step back, revise, really tinker and mold the words so whatever we say is what we really meant and that we leave a trail of beautiful words that generate powerful messages.