Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Dry and Dreamy Days of Writing (SOLS #18)

If you are reading this post, you are reading my 18th Slice of Life story.  "Yay!"  When I began this challenge, I didn't know what I was really in for.  My biggest concern was finding an extra bit of time, in my already too busy life, to write.  Well, so far so good.  I have found the time to write, to read slices written by others, and to comment on at least three other posts written by others who have joined this challenge.  I don't know about you, but for me the story doesn't always come easy.  I call these "dry days".  These are the days when I can't seem to think of anything interesting enough to write about. Every story that comes to mind, seems like a story I've already told.  Sometimes, I attempt one or two story ideas, but abandon them for lack of inspiration or desire to write them.

I also have "dreamy days" for writing.  These are days when the story finds me and the writing comes easy. This happened to me on the third day of the challenge. I was dreaming about people holding hands. When I woke up that morning, I had developed most of the story in my head and excitedly ran to the computer to write it down. I love when this happens and I can't wait to see the story unfold before my eyes.

What I enjoy most of all,  is this writing community.  This is a community where it's safe to share your story, to put yourself out there, or try something new.  In this community, writers are boldly telling their stories and sharing slices of their lives, trying out new craft moves, and inspiring others.  Let's not forget the comments.  The comments that are left on your posts are supportive, encouraging, and compassionate.  It feels like...A Community Of Writing Friends.

I have learned a lot about myself as a writer since I joined the Slice of Life Story challenge.  Most importantly, is how this challenged has impacted my teaching.  I teach first grade students who are just beginning to write and live writerly lives.  As I work with my students during writing workshop, I have a new appreciation for how difficult it can be to get started or to come up with ideas for writing.  So, I started reflecting on the Slice of Life challenge.  What was it that helped me?  It was reading stories that other Slicers had written and the comments that were left on my posts.  I started thinking about writing workshop in my classroom.  I must admit, there are days when we run out of time, and my students don't get a chance to share their writing with classmates.  This was something that I NEEDED to correct.  If reading stories written by other writers in my writing community was important to me, it must be important to my students in our classroom writing community.  I'm happy to say that in my classroom I now make time for sharing stories in the Author's Chair on a daily basis.  I'm not saying I found some extra time, but now I "MAKE" time for sharing our stories.  The benefits are worth it and are listed below:
  • Inspiration:  Students get story ideas by listening to stories written by classmates
  • Audience:  Students enjoy having an audience and sharing their stories
  • Craft Moves:  Students attempt new craft moves they saw boldly used by a classmate
  • Comments:  Students are encouraged and supported by the comments of their classmates
  • Motivation:  Students are motivated to finish pieces so they have something they can share

In my classroom we comment on the stories we hear.  The writer chooses three classmates to share something they liked about their story.  Additionally, they choose three more classmates who have questions about their story.  The questions often help with the revision process.  They remind the writer of details that need to be addressed in their story.  It's similar to what happens during the Slice of Life Story challenge.  The process motivates, encourages, and provides ideas for future writing. 

Positive comments, questions, and demonstrations of new craft moves, help to infuse our writing community with enthusiasm, which encourages writers to continue in the process.


  1. I love how your students pick three with comments and three with questions. What a great idea! I'm going to borrow that for future classes. I've also had days where the stories unfold quickly and other days where I just can't seem to find the right words for my ideas. It has been a learning process for me for sure!

  2. I'm so glad you are still coming up with ideas to write about - it is a challenge. Your sharing here is a demonstration of how powerful we are as models to our young writers.

  3. You are the embodiment of 'stickability' and your persistence has led you to this introspective and honest post. Here, you have captured what it means to think and act as a writer. This is a piece well worth sharing with writers of all ages.