Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Getting Back to the Habit of Writing

A little over a year ago I started j-alking (my word for jog-walking...and there's no way you could call this a run). I have a two mile course I jalk several times a week. I'll be honest, staying consistent isn't my thing. I've learned - the hard way - if I don't jalk regularly, however, there's a price to be paid. If I take a few weeks off from this routine, the first several jalks are not easy. For this reason, I've tried to push myself to be more consistent in this part of my routine. It's honestly easier to be consistent than to start over and over again.

Writing is much the same. This month is October so I've made the commitment to improve my writing game (read about my Blogtober commitment here). I want to get back to the regular writing habit I had in place some time ago.

However, just like running, getting back to writing isn't easy. I feel like I'm starting again. Finding topics takes more work than it used to take. Deciding the best way to craft pieces feels like an uphill climb. The sentences don't come easily. I'm also reminded when I stop by blogs to read the writing of others that time and practice matter as their writing shines from their commitment. 

This challenge to get back to writing has me thinking about the learners in our classrooms. What's it like to come back in the fall and get back to writing? How hard is it to write if there isn't time carved out each day to stay in the habit? 

Here are a few steps that are supporting my steps back into writing. As I have reflected on these days back, I can't help but think these steps might matter for the young writers in our classrooms too. 

Getting Back to Writing 

Build a Community: As soon as I planned to reset the habit of writing, I went back to my favorite writing communities. These communities not only help me with the commitment to write, but I also learn so much reading their writing. 

Build strong writing communities within our classroom. (Of course, it's a bonus to build some connections for writers beyond our classroom.) 

Increase Time to Read: When It's time to go back to writing, I find I really push to also pick up my reading. By increasing the amount of reading I am doing, I seem to find the writing easier. It seems when I am trying to write, I pay more attention to the moves the author makes as well as the words selected. Additionally, I find it helpful to read about writing and the process. 

Share videos and snippets from authors who share their writing process. Amp up read aloud and time for independent reading. 

Find Mentors: Anytime I've taken a bit of a break from writing, the first weeks of getting back into the habit are hard. Really hard. I'd like to quit hard. I find searching for mentors for the type of writing I'm trying to do and collecting examples of craft moves I aspire to consider help me get back into the groove.

Select read alouds which can serve as mentors. Find picture books, short snippets, articles and types of text that are within reach for young writers. Read them first and then look closely at the moves the authors have made.

Grab a Notebook: Yep, I can't imagine jumping back in without getting back to my writer's notebook. This is the perfect place for play, mess, and terrible writing - and a lot of it is terrible right now. 

Help young writers start a writing notebook. There's a lot less stress writing in a notebook than on a piece of paper headed to an audience or working toward publication. 

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