#SOL2015 17/31 – Building Habits but breaking them

Slice of Life logoI love this month long writing. I realize how much it gives me. There is so much that happens to a writer in a month of daily writing.

I am building

  • stamina – I can sit and write easily each day
  • patiences – I know if I wait there is an idea waiting each day to write about
  • creativity – I am pushing each day to look at new ways to present ideas or just reading others to help me learn
  • trust – I am trusting in my skills to be able to write a short piece that others might like to read – or at least I enjoy writing
  • cognitive strength – I am working my brain each day to string words together in a way that makes sense but also reflects my thinking and experiences
  • a writing habit – I feel the need to write each day – it builds the more I write

I am sure there is more that I am learning but there is one issue I have with this month long writing fest. I have become good at writing short pieces. I am feeling confident about finding a slice of life I can write about daily. I use to get to this point and be writing the slice that says I don’t know what to write. I have not found that true this year. This year for the first time I always have several ideas to write from. Writing be gets writing! So what is the issue?

It is the short write – I am struggling to write a story, a non fiction piece, anything that is more that 300 to 800 words. I seem to have mastered the art of short writing but can’t get out of it. This is what I taught my students. They were young and getting a few pages from them was a wonder. They and I mastered the art of writing short pieces.

These short pieces work well for blog posts, or magazine articles and papers for teachers. The problem now is that is my habit. A good habit but one I need to let rest or at least keep to the side.

I need to focus on how to research for information and then move it into story. O.K. – I actual know the how but the doing is another thing. I feel like a need a teacher guiding me through the steps I guided my students through. The structure and accountability of working towards a long piece of writing is what I am lacking. The Slice of Life gives me that accountability for a quick write. I feel the need to write because I told a community of people I would.

Funny how I have a hard time being accountable to myself. This is where I wonder about a local writing group and how it can help someone move forward, to stay with a task and to find the order in which to work. Although in my case I seems to be seeking an actual teacher who pushes, no really a teacher of shoves me along. (sorry the word push just seemed to gentle and I think I need a bit more of a shove.)

For now that teacher will need to be my calendar and myself. I need to set up dates for pushing my writing and research to a new level. Maybe using the old lesson plans of a research project I used with my students could help me. It could provide a frame work for learning/doing the steps of a research paper for myself. Then I can take that paper and move it into a story form.

Hmm – I wonder if this will work for me?  I will let you know

Research, non- fiction paper, to fiction story – lets see what happens.


Thanks for listening to my personal brainstorm. I am finding these slices this year to be more of a personal writing journal to explore my own thinking. The last few years were more a reflection on teaching and children. I guess that is what happens when you are not in the classroom daily. My thoughts move to a more personal level, exploring how to be a writer instead of how to teach writing. Interesting!  They can be the same and yet very different I think – teaching writing and writing.



About Joanne Toft

I am a retired Minneapolis Public School teacher. I walk, garden, help in schools and write. Life is good!
This entry was posted in Reflection, writing and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to #SOL2015 17/31 – Building Habits but breaking them

  1. lynnjake says:

    This is an interesting post. I agree that it’s not too hard to find something to ruminate about each day, and it’s a compelling exercise to try to make my randomness at least somewhat interesting to others. I am in the classroom every day and while I can surely find things to write about that, I am trying to not write about it. That is a different blog of mine and I try to keep them separate. I guess it would’ve been easier if I’d just done this from that blog! Best of luck on designing and writing your longer piece. I will enjoyo hearing about how that goes for you. Maybe we could make an online writing group!

    • Joanne Toft says:

      There are on line writing groups and I joined one last fall. Then broke my wrist and fell behind. I think they work well when you are well into writing a piece but I struggle on how to use them as I begin writing and while I am researching an idea. Maybe others have thoughts on how that might work.

  2. Donna Smith says:

    I know where you are coming from…or from whence you cometh…
    I’ve struggled with this writing of longer pieces also. People have hinted that I should, but I just don’t know how to shove myself forward. Let me know if you find out how. I’d be very interested. Likewise, if I stumble upon the key, I will let you know!

  3. Lynn says:

    Writing is therapeutic except on those days I’m blank! But I believe that is what this community is all about reading, writing and getting inspired. Great slice!

  4. Writing short is easier thanks to the challenge. I’m struggling with other types of writing I’m doing. I have several picture book manuscripts up in the air, but they’re just not feeling like page turners to me. It’s a wonder how I can read so many picture books and then have trouble writing them myself. (I guess that’s what makes it hard work!)

  5. Ms. Kelly says:

    Writing allows you to process your thinking and helps lead you to the path where you want your focus to be. A writing group sounds like a good idea.

  6. janiceewing says:

    This is my first time in this challenge, so this is just a hunch, but I’m thinking that maybe you should just go with the flow of short pieces for this month, then look back and see if one or more of them become the seed for a longer piece. I also think that writers’ groups can be helpful because you feel accountable to bring something, no mater what stage it’s in.

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