Pushing myself into the new

sols_6It is Saturday and the day stretches before me open with possibilities and yet I stick with what I know.  I open my blog and write.   I feel safe here.  I know I can do this.  It is short, quick and to the point and feedback keeps me working.   I am a shy writer with ideas and stories running through my head all the time but afraid to make that step into the long piece of writing.   What I call in my head “real” writing.

In the shower the picture book of Where ants go in the rain? is ready to be written.   On the drive to work the curriculum work around vocabulary and content integration slides into my thinking with chapters aligned and ready to be filled in.   After the spring walk with students the science and writing connections are there ready for me to put them on paper to be used and shared.   The fictions books that are a time travel for a young student to work along side a famous artist are in draft form but sitting quietly waiting on a shelf.

Today I feel like my students.   They know how to write their Slice of Life.  It is short, dependable and something they understand.   When I push them to step into a new writing genre they get mad, sharpen pencils, go to the bathroom and put their heads down and tell me they are thinking.   No writing happens.

So here I am my day to write –  in a new genre (anything but my blog).  I have watered my plants, dusted the house, sharpened my pencils (although I write on a computer), and now I am sitting at a coffee shop writing my blog. No new “writing” happening.   It is a bit like putting my head down and telling myself I am thinking.   I am so like my students.

There are a thousand reasons to not write what I want to write.  I have gotten away with this because I tell myself  I am writing.  I am writing my blog.   It is finally not working for me.  I need to be brave and open up the other documents and begin.

How do you push yourself or your students pass that blank page?

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About Joanne Toft

I am a retired Minneapolis Public School teacher. I walk, garden, help in schools and write. Life is good!
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9 Responses to Pushing myself into the new

  1. Gail Stevens says:

    You are in a place I know well (and I suspect, many others do, too).

    You can do it! Push yourself past the fear and just start writing.

    Thanks for putting into words what I so often experience.

  2. I love how you connect with your students. You are writing, and you want to push yourself, too. I would love to read the picture book and time travel and the science-writing connections. Another safe and welcoming community that could support you is the Teachers Write group started by Kate Messner and Gae Polisner and Jen. I hope they do it again next summer. Look for the Teachers Write Facebook page to get started.

    • Joanne Toft says:

      Thanks for your comments. I started last summer with Kate and Gae’s summer camp but life got away from me. I hope to write with them again this summer. I know they are working on setting it up. Thanks again.

  3. newtreemom says:

    Just think of all of us out here who would like to read what you are ready to write. Readers await go ahead and write!

  4. Tara says:

    I would love to read your writing! Seeing other people taking chances helps make me push myself out of my comfort zone.

  5. I definitely can connect with this one. I hope you can push past your misgivings and give yourself some time writing in a different genre. It sounds like you have some amazing ideas!

  6. I can connect here. The way I’ve pushed myself in the past was to give myself challenges or to join a group of writers. If you haven’t been a part of a National Writing Project Summer Institute, maybe that’s a push you could use. Check out your local project and you could spend a big chunk of your summer writing and thinking with other teachers. 🙂

    Thanks for sharing your slice today.

  7. Wilcox Carol says:

    I don’t have any answers, but I can certainly identify. So hard to shut down that inner editor and just write what you want to write. Have you read BIRD BY BIRD, by Ann Lamott? She talks about giving ourselves permission to write crummy first drafts, so that the good stuff can come emerge. That makes sense to me.

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