Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Just 21 Minutes {SOL 3.3.21}

Like many others, my to-do list these days is a mile long.

Just this morning, I was writing today's list of things I needed to get done in my journal and I ran out of lines. (It's going to be a really busy day apparently!)

But as I looked down my list, everything I had written there had something to do with work:

  • New course
  • Send chat to Tim
  • Logo design in Canva
  • Start new website
  • Research Medium
  • Write 300 words on the book

And while these things are certainly important, I wondered where the 'me' time was.

The other day, I read somewhere about taking time to read for pleasure for 21 minutes every day in 2021. Just 21 minutes. I could certainly squeeze that in!

I started yesterday and read 21 minutes of a novel that I have been wanting to read for a while, but always pushed it to the side to read some book that will help me with my business. 

These 21 minutes felt like a total indulgence...and I loved it!

The funny thing is that after my 21 minutes were up, I went back to work with a different attitude. I tackled more of those things on my to-do list with a little more energy. I didn't feel so drained. 

It's funny how just 21 minutes can do that.

I am a former 4th-grade teacher and the founder of Teach Write LLC. I believe that teachers who write make the best teachers of writers.   

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Waking Up to Write {SOL 3.2.21}

 My alarm went off at 4:45 am, but I was already awake.

I had first opened my eyes at 3:12 am. 

Squinting at the clock across the room, I was sure that I had missed it. I gave a sigh of relief that I had not, and then also silently swore because I had awoken so early.

My alarm was set for 4:45 am because I needed to get up to start the Zoom for my Wake Up & Write group. For the month of March, many of my Time to Write writers are coming together first thing in the morning to silently write together.  Just us, our writing, and our coffee. 

From 5:00 until 6:00 AM Central time, my writing friends popped in and out of our Zoom. Some spent the entire hour. Others just a few minutes. 

They came from far and wide -- places like Ghana, Cambodia, and Canada -- where it wasn't quite as early as it was for me. (Thank goodness that I'm naturally an early riser.)

Today was just our first day, but I think I'm going to like this Wake-Up & Write time. There's just something about starting my day with quiet writing time alongside my friends, knowing that I've begun the day with a win.

At 6:00 am CT, my alarm sounded again. It was time to stop.

"Good morning, writers," I gently announced to bring our time together to a close.

We all smiled at each other, took a few seconds to say hello, logged off, and began the business of the day.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

#TeachWritetober19 Day 1: My Goals

The idea for #TeachWritetober came to me last year. A group of friends and I were all participating in November's NaNoWriMo. We were chugging along, writing every day -- until NCTE hit in the middle of the month, only to be quickly followed by Thanksgiving and thinking about the upcoming holidays.

Needless to say, I didn't write a word after the 14th of November.

November is a really hard month to commit to writing a great number of words. (NaNoWriMo has a 50,000-word goal.) There are so many days I'm away from home that I was doomed to fail before I even began.

Hence, the idea to move a daily writing challenge to the month of October.

October is a good month -- no holidays, no conference travel, still not burned out from a crazy school year.

And judging by the response, it looks like a lot of educators agreed with me.

#TeachWritetober -- 
Your choice to write whatever you want, for however long you want, every day of the month.

#TeachWritetober is for you, teacher-writer, to nurture your writing habit by doing something related to writing every day.

You choose the writing outcome.
You choose the amount of time.
You choose -- just write.

This morning I read a post by Benjamin Woodcock where he shared his plans for #TeachWritetober19. He made his goals public and plans a weekly accountability post to share his progress. I thought that was brilliant so I'm going to do the same.

Here are my plans for #TeachWritetober:

  • Send at least 3 emails each week to the participants to cheer them on, offer inspiration and ideas, and to check-in. (Accountability and support are HUGE when it comes to challenges.)

  • Write daily in my journal. This could be either Morning (Anytime) Pages or a recap of the day. I'm going to be flexible here because the writing is more important than what I'm writing about.

  • Write a weekly recap post where I publicly share how it's going -- the good, the bad, the celebrations, and the struggles. All of it.

Any kind of writing that I do above and beyond these goals is icing on the cake. I want to set myself up for success by making this challenge manageable, yet habit-forming. 

I want to set you up for success too!

What are your goals for #TeachWritetober? 

Leave a comment and share or even better -- write a blog post about it and either share the link in the comments or share it on social media and include #TeachWritetober in your post.

Write away, friends!

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

The Un-Nesting {SOL 8.21.18}

Both of my kids left for college on Sunday. This is the third time I've gone through the experience of moving my kids from one home to another for a year away at school.

The first year, it was my son who left. When your firstborn leaves the nest, it is a sad day, a day you never imagined would arrive as quickly as it did.

Last year, my daughter joined him in flight, leaving our nest completely empty except for our two dogs. Having BOTH kids gone was an adjustment I was dreading.

This year, as the kids packed up to leave, I was sad, but not as sad as I've been in years past. Having made this extreme adjustment before -- from a house of four to a house of two -- I knew I would get through it. Afterall, I had survived this adjustment twice already.
My first day without the kids living here I spent the day cleaning: washing the carpets, vacuuming, cleaning bathrooms, dusting, and gathering up old clothes to take to Goodwill. Getting the house back into order brought me comfort for some strange reason. It reminded me that last year when both the kids left, I found my way into a new life, a life that included the house only getting as messy as I made it, date nights with the hubby, and not having to share the hot water, the car, or the washing machine.

A life that I kinda....liked.

I guess my massive cleaning efforts yesterday were my way of ushering out one way of life for another.

And you know what? It was okay. I was okay. My kids were okay. And we will all be okay again this time.

Monday, June 18, 2018

#DWHabit: DEEP {6.18.18}

A poem.

On the surface,
just words.

But go deeper
and find a message
among the letters.

Something that begs to be said
without saying it.

A hint
a whisper
a revelation
an inkling
a story

All revealed through
a few very carefully chosen words
of a poem.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

#DWHabit: EMBRACE {6.17.18}

Light breaks the night,

The darkness fades to dawn
taking with it
and all its

First the pink,
then the orange,
the yellow.

The birds awaken
and ride the sky,
of joy.

They understand.

A new start,
A new chance,
A new day.

I embrace the moment
and await the new stories
of today.

Friday, June 15, 2018

#DWHabit: BRING {6.15.18}


Packing for vacation
is not fun.

I'm not done
until the suitcase
is stuffed so full
I have to sit on it
to get it zippered.


I know I bring too much.

I know I will be made fun of.

I know I will not use half of what I bring.

But you never know
when you'll need that one thing
you chose to leave behind
even though there was extra room
in the suitcase.

So I bring it all.