Slice of Life: When there’s not much to say

“A” handed me the Chromebook. “I don’t have anything to blog about today. I need inspiration.” She smiled. ” I think I’d rather read.”

Maybe next time, I told her.

My students get the option to blog every third day. So when they don’t jump on, I’m surprised, and I understand. That’s why I sit here.

Tonight’s post started with the feeling “A “had.  But if I expect to guide my students as writers, I had better find something worth a click and a peruse. My students are the reason I write when I’ve got nothing. They are my motivation. That’s why I sit here.

Last week I wrote alongside students. They watched as I started in my notebook. They watched and slowly opened their notebooks. I chose. They chose. And then we drafted.

Now we’re revising. Using the TCRWP checklist for narrative writing, I find that I have not stretched the heart of my story out. In fact, this important part consists of one word: embarrassed. That’s it. I come clean and checked the “Not Yet” box on the 4th-grade checklist.

Not yet. Now, what?

This weekend, I came up with three strategies to stretch, to figure out what I’m trying to say.

1. Write long about the idea
2. Flashback to a time before the big thing happened to look at what might have caused it
3. Daydream about what I wish had happened

Today, I tried out each scenario with my students. I wrote. They wrote. Again and again and again. Each strategy. We loved the idea of daydreaming.

Tomorrow, I’ll rewrite this part in front of my students. They’ll watch me struggle through it. Strategies matter, but the fact that I struggle in front of them is equally important. It’s messy and imperfect. Not up to standard, yet. It is a process I live through as they watch. I struggle. They struggle.

With this spirit,  I plan to write beyond this blog in other genres and formats.  Just as I ask my students to write, I will write. And be critiqued. Not with the 4th-grade checklist, but with adults who expect adult writing.  (Is there an adult checklist?)

I approach this new writing with not much to say. In fact, I’d rather read. But if I expect to guide my students, I had better find something.

Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for Slice of Life Tuesdays. Read more slices here.

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