Sunday, March 8, 2015

Labor of Love



I don't have a desk. Okay, I do, but it is home to my sewing machine and not really a conducive place for writing, crowded as it is with snips of thread, straight pins, and pinking shears. Instead, I write each day at our dining room table, either well before the sun comes up or well after it goes to sleep. These are my hours. The quiet time when my little boys are snuggled into their beds, and there is time to reflect and not just react. 

I especially appreciate this daily blogging challenge during the month of March hosted by Two Writing Teachers. Instead of keeping my writing to myself in my Writer's Notebook, I have this opportunity to write daily, to share daily, and to connect daily. I encourage my students to connect and share in similar ways, but then often find that without this daily deadline, my own blogging gets pushed to the bottom of a to-do list whose items I know I will never be able to completely check off. My blog is pushed to the back of the line behind responding to parent emails and providing feedback on student essays and arranging for Skype sessions with authors and calling local museums to arrange for speakers and responding to more emails. I write daily, but the writing that renews my soul - reflective writing and creative writing - often times is left as an unwritten monologue playing through my head while I attend to more immediate concerns.

This morning a request appeared in my inbox to share my reflections on when, where, and why I write as part of the weekly National Writing Project iAnthology series. And so I've spent some time today mulling over why I let the writing that I am truly passionate about go unwritten much of the time. I don't have a good answer to this question. But I do have a simple answer.

It's hard.

This is the writing I care about. I care about weaving a narrative, pulling threads of ideas together, making a creative and hard-hitting point. But this takes time. I am not someone that can pound out a blog post in minutes. I read over and write over each sentence. I write in stops and starts, slowly moving forward like a child on a rocking horse, ever leaning forward to an imagined finished line. And so far, I've only written five paragraphs, that is if you can really count my fourth as a paragraph. But I've considered why I've let that sentence hang there alone.

It's hard.

And now I'm at seven paragraphs. But if it takes me this long to write this short piece, I have to remember what it might take a student as of yet less experienced than I am at blogging to share his work publicly. Check the widgets to the right. I've been at this since 2007. And I know that this is hard. I must remember that this is hard no matter what age or level of experience you bring to writing. To do it well, writing is a labor of love, but it is labor. It is work. Writers must be given the space, the time, the opportunity to work at the craft. In order to create a narrative worth reading, students need time....writers need time to put in the work.

And, sometimes a deadline helps, too.  

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