Writing Day by Day
Last November, Melissa and I taunt/dared each other into trying to keep up with NaNoWriMo’s blog shadow. Daily posts on our blogs for all of November. I think people are calling it #digiwrimo now? I will do my level best to not blog about Digimon.
A year later, I can look back and recognize the crucial importance of that month for me. I gained an incredible colleague through the experience. Melissa had joined our school in the previous school year, and was quickly pulled in to the lower school routines and the 1:1 iPad planning. Reading her posts for that month was my first real connection to the learner and dreamer behind the work tasks. Before that month, I didn’t realize how much I missed having a writing partner. We strive to build powerful experiences for our students where they write and work together, but then forget that those connections matter just as much for adults, especially when they take shape outside the scope of our “real jobs.” You can respect a colleague for how they handle a meeting or a classroom, but their energy and enthusiasm has extra meaning when you saw the early morning time stamp on their blog post.
Writing on a schedule also gave me ownership over the blog and tieandjeans identity. I’m aways aware that ownership of an identity can slip from your grasp if you’re not paying attention**. Before last November, my writing was sporadic at best, and tieandjeans was slipping into the cold-storage of the happily employed. That’s how teacher blogging works, right? You only need a positive digital footprint when you’re actively looking for work. Throw some polemics and photos of student work on top of the blog stack when the resumes go out and then call it a day.
Daily writing helped me break through that mindset, move tieandjeans from being a CV line to a central pillar of my holistic public identity. When I write everyday, I can’t write just polemics (I hope! Clearly I’m off to a bad start). I write short pieces, because I’m tired and the clock is ticking. I write about Street Fighter and pinball because that’s what I’m playing. I write about Annika and Jodi, write about learning as I live it and life as I learn it.
This is part of my perpetual struggle to build strength out of weakness. I dig ruts and wallow in them, blindly construct routines and inhabit them. A month of “mandatory” reflective practice won’t remake me, but it gives me a long unflinching look at the habitrail. Blogging daily for a month isn’t a reformation, but it’s a start.
**In a way that’s deeply tied to my early D&D experiences, playing as the neighbor kid with a group of 4 brothers. When you’re not there, someone else is gonna roll for you. It won’t end pretty.