Sunday, October 27, 2019
Deadlines, Challenges, and Other Writing Truths
That morning I awoke trying to find the article I would submit for our writing group. It was to be submitted that evening. I'd had two weeks to write the article (honestly more), but I had not produced a word.
Here I sat with a deadline and nothing. I'd try rereading old pieces for revision, but none of them felt right. I tried starting a few new pieces and none of them took off.
Of course, the challenge wasn't the deadline as much as it was the writing. I know the problem. I just haven't been writing as much as I usually do.
Writing is harder when I'm not writing regularly, I find. I know this, but I have to keep reteaching myself this lesson. Because calendars. Because time. Because work. Because distraction. Because excuses.
When I got home that evening, the clock was ticking toward the deadline. I had to do something.
Tick, tock. Tick, tock. Tick, tock.
Once again, I wrestled through a few older articles I had in my drafts folder, but they just weren't going anywhere. Finally I decided the clock was running out, I had to write about where my feet were right now. I started a draft that was related to some work I was currently doing. Still. Every. Word. Was. Hard.
That's the challenge of not writing regularly. It's like exercise. The less you do it, the harder it is.
I've sworn myself back to some regular writing, but I can't help but wonder about the writers in our classrooms. Do they have the daily time to write? Do they have the time to play in their words? Do they have time to write the really bad stuff that hides the gems we can tease out?
When we aren't writing regularly, our young writers can struggle to get words onto a page. If we aren't writing regularly, we can find ourselves trying to push them through their struggle by giving them graphic organizers and strict guidelines for pieces. We can find ourselves wondering where their passion is in their writing, where the voice is hiding, why they struggle so much to write.
Time isn't the solution to strengthening our writing, but it certainly is the first required step.
I didn't quite make the deadline, but I wasn't far behind. (Yeah, I need an occasional deadline to push myself forward.)
It did remind me that the best way to make writing easier is to write often.
So here I am.