Tag Archives: goals

Learning from Writing: Reflections on the Poem-a-Day Challenge 2019

After 60 days of daily writing, it’s time to reflect on all I’ve learned from writing every day.  My first 30 days were entries classified as “slice of life,” vignettes and stories from life as I lived it. The second 30 days were poems, one each day of April as part of my classroom poem-a-day challenge.

The first and most important lesson learned is that daily writing makes daily writing easier. The more I write, the more I have to say.  That is not to say that writing is easy.  In fact, writing is work.  Every. Single. Day.  I have my share of “writer’s block,” but when I expect to write every day, I look for strategies to push through it.  Throughout my day I find myself paying attention to words, images, interactions…everything I encounter is potential fodder for my writing.

A tiny, furry caterpillar scurrying across the sidewalk grabs my attention and I stop to take a photo or two, knowing that there’s a story or a poem or a musing about life somewhere in that fuzzy body.  I’m reminded that attention to tiny, perfect things primes me for daily writing.


I’ve also learned that my students need me to give them tips, techniques, and inspiring mentor texts to nurture them as writers.  They need to see me as not just their teacher, but as a fellow writer who also experiences challenges and successes, who starts and stops, and even stalls sometimes during the composing process.  My scribbles and scratch throughs show that writing takes effort and that it is worth the effort.  Being a writer in a community of writer breathes wind beneath our writerly wings.


I’ve learned to see revision as a gift rather than a chore.  Writing doesn’t have to be perfect as you lay the words on the page.  Revision invites opportunities to revisit and re-see, allowing for new ideas to reshape that thinking on the page.  I especially love what revision offers my students.  Once they push past the idea that “done” is the goal, they are willing to rework their writing, especially when they have specific techniques to experiment with and concrete feedback to focus the reworking.

The beautiful part of writing is that you don’t have to get it right the first time, unlike, say a brain surgeon.  You can always do it better, find the exact word, the apt phrase, the leaping simile.  Robert Cormier

I leave this post saying now what?  60 days of blogging challenges have kept me accountable to my daily writing.  Will I write tomorrow without a challenge to motivate me?  Will I invent a new challenge to keep myself going?  Can I keep up a daily writing practice without posting publicly?  And what will keep my students writing?  They will spend time over the next week or two curating their poems: selecting and revising to create a book that showcases ten of the poems written in April.

Habits are hard to form and easy to break, so I’ll be working to keep this writing habit alive…for myself and for my students.



Summer Manifesto

There’s nothing like the CLMOOC to get the creative juices flowing…and the inspiration turned up high.  Ideas are arriving–pouring in fact–in flash flood proportions.  So I’m working hard to use the inspiration and not let the flood of ideas overwhelm and distract me.

This Summer Manifesto was posted this weekend…and I knew I would take it up and create one of my own–early in the summer, before my work pushes the good intentions from my priority list.  I hope this manifesto will be something I can return to throughout the summer to help remind me of my intentions.

So here goes:

Summer Manifesto

Spend time outdoors every day: exploring with my camera, walking/hiking for exercise, enjoying the sun and sea breezes…

Explore with my camera: try new strategies and techniques, go places in my community I haven’t yet visited, and see familiar places in new ways

Celebrate moments: take the time to breathe and laugh in the moment, even when they are squeezed between obligations and obstacles

Play: find the playful moments in everything I do…I even want to make brushing my teeth more like play!

Make stuff: digitally and physically, and keep trying even if it isn’t beautiful…and even share those “makes” that don’t quite turn out

Try something new: even if it’s scary!

And most of all, enjoy my family, quiet time, and a bit of adventure!

Welcome summer!

(I originally composed this manifesto in Noteography in my attempt to tty something new and make it more beautiful.  It offered Twitter as a way to publish it…and here’s my first try at embedding a Tweet on my blog post.  If you know a better way to use Noteography or some other application for similar purposes…I’d love to learn from you!)