Writing is My Process

I was recently invited to participate in an “Author Tour” about my writing process by the lovely Angela Amman. Being considered an “author” made me swoon, so I said yes. Of course.

I met Angela a few years (YEARS???) ago when I was linking up and then helping run The Red Dress Club. I quickly fell in love with her writing and the fact that she is also an inhabitant of the Mitten State. I knew her writing would take her far, and it has/is. She shared her writing process last week.

Ok, so the idea here is that I share with you a peek into my writing process. I’ve written before about writing being a process and not just a product, but I never really shared my own process. I hope this does not stifle any of the magic about me for you. Heh.

1. What Am I Working On?

Ummmm…

My blog when I have time?

In all seriousness, I have some lofty goals for this year. I am trying to submit my writing to different places both online and print. I have been rejected and accepted a few times so I guess I am breaking even in the jubilation/sorrow department.

I guess right now a big area I have been working on is my Teaching & Writing post category. I try to post something about writing or teaching/education every Wednesday, but it doesn’t always work out because I get busy with, you guessed it, teaching. I’m reading, going to trainings, and reflecting on a LOT in that area, so there are lots of started drafts in the works.

I’m also always working on drafting childhood memories and writing out my good and hard times.

What my work space generally looks like. I know what you're thinking...jealousy.

What my work space generally looks like. I know what you’re thinking…jealousy.

2. How does my work differ from others in its genre.

I have two different writerly voices: my story-telling voice and my teacher voice.

I think what makes me stand out in my story-telling is that I am very honest, but I am also very positive. I think it’s easy to get pulled down by the hard stuff and lose the joy. I try to balance the difficult with the joy I believe is always always there.

My teacher voice–a more academic tone–is one I don’t see as much in the bloggerly world.

3. Why do I write what I do?

This is easy: it’s important to me.

I tell stories because I wish more people in my family had told their stories. Shoot, I would love to tell their stories for them, if they would let me. (not that anyone won’t let me; I haven’t really asked).

I write about teacher stuff because I am deeply passionate about finding the best way to teach kids. I also think too many people are misinformed about the processes and issues that public school teachers face.

4. How does my writing process work?

So here comes the “do as I say, and not as I do” part of the show.

In a perfect world, every writer–nay everyONE–would carve out an hour or so of time to just write. Every single day there would be an uninterrupted time of thoughtful “flow”.

I advocate for this.

I give my students time to do this (not a whole hour, but still).

My advice to new writers is always WRITE! And if you’re not writing, READ!

do write daily, but this is how my process goes:

  • think of an idea or twelve
  • don’t write them down, but mull them over during commute to work, while making dinner, while showering, etc.
  • plan to write about one (or three) during planning hour at school
  • realize that tons of grading and copies need to be done and then a student comes in
  • get no writing done on planning hour, revise to work after school, but before going home
  • 2:30pm comes and four students come in to work/get help.
  • After students leave, tie up loose ends to be ready for next day.
  • Realize that I have tons of grading, but open a blog post or new doc anyway
  • stare
  • remember a promise made to a student about a letter of rec.
  • Do that instead
  • Check Facebook
  • Follow links.
  • Realize it’s my turn to pick up the boys, vow to write at bedtime.
  • Mull over a new idea during commute
  • Feel passionately about this new post and almost completely write it in my head
  • Get boys, get home, make dinner, clean up dinner, clean boys, watch Curious George.
  • Realize it’s my turn to put Eddie to bed. Vow to not be too tired to write when I get done with bedtime
  • Fall asleep reading books with Eddie.
  • Wake up at 8:45pm and haul myself upstairs.
  • Sit on the couch and stare.
  • Get my computer
  • Check Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram
  • Work on homework for about a minute and a half
  • Open a new blog post or doc and write a bit of nonsense.
  • Yawn.
  • Brush teeth while mulling that great idea that now seems dead.
  • Go to bed vowing to write MORE tomorrow

Clearly at some point some of those ideas become reality on the page/screen.  This mostly happens on weekends (during Charlie’s nap) or during the rare time after school when I don’t have tons to do (or it’s procrastinate-able) or in the evenings when Cort handles Eddie’s bedtime routine.

Right now I fit it in while I can.

The time I spend is greater over breaks, so I am looking forward to spring break in three weeks.

*************

Next week, the tour pushes on with a couple of writers who are incredibly inspiring to me.

Jessica Smock writes the blog School of Smock, but she is also one of the women behind the HerStories Project. She is not just a writer, but a former educator. In fact, she is DR. Jessica Smock. She and I share a lot of the same philosophies about education and her work is an inspiration to me.

Pauline Campos write the blog Aspiring Mama, but she is also a columnist for the Latina Magazine. She is also a champion of the fight for girls to have a better body image. She is a gorgeous writer, but she is even more of a gorgeous soul. Her dedication to her writing and causes makes me want to be a better me.

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