Hopefully you’ve already read about me as a reader. If not, I’d say it’s worth a few minutes of your time. Please? 🙂
And so as I sat down to write about myself as a writer, I decided I needed to start with a confession instead. Remember when I first posted about that really cool summer online writing camp I was doing? Well, at that point I was really excited about the prospects of learning and writing with amazing teachers/writers/librarians (and I still am) and was anxious to see where the process would take me. I really had no expectations.
I dug in, and was finally comfortable enough to post the first two things I wrote. And that’s when it all went downhill. Somehow the wind came out of my sails, and I have not done a single. assignment. since.
In many ways that bothers me. I don’t like to not succeed. I am naturally a perfectionist, and I usually take that to the nth degree when it comes to school/writing/reading/anything professional. I am an all-or-nothing kind of girl, and so if I can’t do it all and do it right, I don’t want to do it. But with this, I only did two assignments and then I hit a brick wall.
But after I got over the initial disappointment in myself (annoyance, really), I sat down to reflect on what had happened. I think part of my problem was that I write mostly for myself. I write when I need to write–which is usually to process feelings or to collect moments I don’t want to forget. So when presented with a “job” to do, I had a hard time figuring out how to do that. Since I write for myself, I had a hard time when the assignments/exercises were related to developing characters or settings, or outlining plans for a story. I did not go into the camp with the plan of writing or finishing a novel.
Ok, so what matters here? Does it really matter that I set out to do something and didn’t finish it? Or does it really matter more that I walk away with something that I learned? I say the latter is more important.
I learned to be okay with not being perfect. I learned that sharing your writing with strangers is hard. Especially when you don’t really have a choice or you’re not quite sure what it’s “supposed” to look like. These are both really important seeing as how I ask that of my student writers every day. I know I’ll think of those times really differently in the future. Yes, I’ll still ask them to share, but I’ll obviously have more understanding of how difficult it is. I learned that sometimes you just need to put yourself out there and not care so much about what people say about your writing. What’s the worst that could happen? 🙂
Oh, and just for the record, I do have plans of jumping back into Teachers Write! at some point. The great part is that it’s all archived on the blog and I can do it at my own pace. So yes, I’d like to say that somehow I will finish what I started, even if it looks a little different than I first thought.
Did you do Teachers Write! this summer? How is it going for you?