Thursday, January 19, 2012

Blogging Blues -- From Writing Time to Time to Write

Before the Denver Writing Project, recent writing endeavors, and beginning this blog, I used to start a piece of writing (usually long-hand, in a beautiful new, crisp journal) and never finish it.  I wanted to write but I didn't have enough ideas, deadlines, readership or reasons to see a draft through to publication.  I really liked writing titles.  It was "the rest of the story" that I couldn't seem to spit out.

These days, it seems I have the opposite problem.  I have so many things I want to write about, genres I want to try, books I want to review, stories I want to tell, amazing teachers I want to profile and interview...and my day job, three four-legged children, personal and professional responsibilities really seem to be getting in the way of the writing I want to do.  (How do people with two-legged children do it?)

I've moved from writer's bock to writer's stopwatch  -- so much to say, so little time.  I've generated more writing this year than I did in the first five months of last year, and yet, if this little blog where it all began were a book, it would be coated in dust and cobwebs.  

I am finding time to write -- proposals for conferences where I'd like to present, curriculum documents, emails, Tweets (recently), status updates, letters of recommendation for colleagues, reports, and on and on...what I miss is "writing time."  Time, free of pressure, deadlines and other demands.  Time to wonder about things in the world, some related to education but others just related to being a human being on this planet in the 21st Century.  

My reading seems to be following the same pattern.  I'm consuming so much information, but when asked about a really good book I read recently, I gave a colleague a blank stare.  Good books?  Oh yeah, I used to read those.  But now, there's so many articles and list serves and blogs and Tweets and posts and videos and emails to catch up on and consume (commas omitted intentionally - who has the time for small pauses?)  I feel compelled, even guilted into reading for informational purposes only.  And yet, I'm always behind.  It's hard enough to keep up on my "inbox" let alone my "Twitter queue."  So  many hundreds of 140 character blips to scroll through.  Reading for pleasure?  That's becoming a faint memory.  Thank goodness for my monthly book club.  If it weren't for that, I might not read "for fun" until summer vacation.  At least, I think I might have some time then.  

Time.  The older I get, the more precious it becomes.  And the more I learn, the more time I need to learn more, read more and write more.  Time.  Thank goodness for trails, treadmills and a few balmy days in January.  If it weren't for them, when would I have think time?  

Coincidentally, (or not?) time is one of the key factors I highlight as an essential component for teachers to engage in meaningful professional learning in my latest Ed News guest blog post (  Time is critical for teachers and it is being slashed from schedules more quickly than money is being cut from budgets.  Time is critical for students, too.  For "meaty learning" like rich discussions, deep thinking, complex texts and collaborative projects all require time.

But for now, it's bedtime.  Finding more writing time will have to wait.  In the meantime, faithful readers, you can find me on Facebook or Twitter or face-to-face, eyes glued to my screen trying to catch up on...well, everything.  Trying to make up for time already lost in cyberspace.  

Friday, January 6, 2012

Commentary Published on Ed News!

Friends and Followers:

Education News Colorado graciously agreed to post my commentary on the importance of teaching public speaking skills and offering students the opportunity to take speech classes in high school.  It was interesting for me to see what decisions the editor made and to think about the decisions editors make every day with respect to every writer's work -- what sentences get cut, revised or truncated and why?  What paragraphing and punctuation changes are made and how do they alter the writer's message or style?  The writing process continues to fascinate and sometimes flabbergast me...

Thanks as always for your support -- and teacher/writer friends: Education News Colorado seems to be a viable publishing opportunity for us and a news service that wants to hear firsthand from Colorado, if you haven't already -- start capturing all of the powerful teaching and learning going on in your classroom and share it with a larger audience!

Link to my commentary as published:

For more about Education News Colorado visit:

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Resolutions Revisited

Happy 2012 to my faithful followers and friends!

As I reflect on the past year I can't help but feel old.  Not old in the achy joints, wrinkles and orthopedic shoes way (although a recent Zumba Toning class has awakened muscles I didn't know I had...ouch!), but old in the "where did the last year go?" way.  It was a year ago, January of 2011, that I began this blog as a New Year's Resolution.  And though memory is subject to lapses and faulty recollections, I believe this blog may very well be the first resolution I've ever kept for the duration of a calendar year.  My 2011 writing journey included: 
  • 31 blog posts (or an average of 2-3 per month) and 13 official "followers."
  • A month spent with other teacher writers over the summer through the Denver Writing Project where I generated 3 "polished" pieces and, more importantly, acquired over a dozen new friends
  • A small paid writing gig through the Teacher Leaders Network where I submitted my first "long" piece in December, and signed a contract where I committed to write and participate in this "Writer's Guild" through June of 2012.
  • Acceptance as a finalist in a 250 word essay contest through Las Olas Surf Safari where many readers supported me by voting for my blurb.
  • An invitation to participate in a professional learning and curriculum writing cohort through the National Writing Project.
  • The completion of two Lighthouse Writer's Workshop courses where I sat next in awe, learning beside real authors...
So apparently, it IS possible to keep a resolution.  Especially if your resolution involves doing something you love.  Who knew?

What will this year bring?  Only time will tell.  But in the meantime, thank you for taking the time to read, comment and encourage me.  Thank you for being a part of my writing journey.

And for this year?  I'll keep writing.