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 think...to reflect...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 (http://www.ednewscolorado.org/category/opinion). 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.