I was recently working on a blog post that had me stumped. I knew what I wanted to say, but for once I had a deadline and began to stress about getting it done. My husband even noticed the shift, commenting on how I appeared to be wired for the past few days. The problem was not writing the words. The problem was having the stamina to sit and write for longer periods of time. Writing is still a newer pastime of mine, and working on this post made me realize how little writing stamina I had. I seemed only able to work on it for 15-20 minute spurts. Then I would come back and completely change sometime, decided I hated another part, and get barely any new writing done. One post was taking me days!
I began to think about the implications this experience has for me as a teacher. How many times did a student tell me they couldn't keep writing, they had nothing to write about, they didn't want to go back and look over their writing?
I recently attended #nErDcampMI and sat in Jen Vicent’s session. She put a quote on the board to start the discussion about teaching writing. “Only writers have any business teaching writing.” Of course, such a statement was met with a variety of reactions, but I feel that this experience has further solidified my belief in such a statement. A year ago, I did not consider myself a writer. I taught writing and told my students what I thought they should do, but I brought no experience to the table. I didn't fully understand the struggles they had, the way they learn, or what it was like to write when you truly felt like you would rather be doing anything in the world but.
I still have days where I hate my writing. I’m not sure I will ever feel satisfied with my writing, but I am becoming more comfortable every time. I’m glad I finally can appreciate the struggles my students go through. The next time I watch them go through another “avoidance strategy” to get out of writing, I will be able to sit down and sympathize, understanding and appreciative of the unique path we each take as writers.