Reading, Teaching, Learning

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Slice of Life - Am I a Writer?

    I love participating in Slice of Life, started by Two Writing Teachers and writing a story, reflection, or musing at least once a week.

     It is also time for Teachers Write! founded by Kate Messner.  This post is combining the two a bit since I am a teacher who writes AND I need to share a slice of life today. 

Yesterday, I had an experience that caused me to ask, "Am I a writer?"  This was a question posed by the hosts of the #nctechat on Sunday.  Be sure to read the archive of the chat if you weren't able to participate.  It was great!

This is a slice that takes a bit of courage to write.  I shared in a Celebration Saturday post that my fellow writer, friend, and former teaching partner, Megan Ginther, and I submitted a book query and proposal in the spring to an educational publisher.  It is a book in progress called Literacy Frameworks in which we outline our core literacy philosophies and the way we frame our ELA teaching around literacy contracts that we develop, which include a theme topic, read aloud, small group books, independent reading, and writing projects.  At that time, we got two very thorough reviews back and a request to revise.  The editor we worked with was extremely gracious.  We worked on it and revised a couple more months and resubmitted it a week ago.  We got the final word back yesterday that it is a "no."  Wow.  It felt like a punch to the gut!  All that work...
After commiserating with Megan, I immediately reached out to a handful of friends who knew how much we invested in this book.  I didn't tell a lot of people since I was still processing through some of the emotions.  A few of the people I told, besides my best friends and family, were online friends (thank you, Twitter, Facebook, and blogs!), and I am grateful for the encouragement and reassurance they gave me.  ALL of them gave the feedback that this experience is part of what writing entails:  rejection!  I don't like this part. :-(  Being a reader doesn't encapsulate rejection.  I should stick with that.  Ha.

Today, I decided to go ahead and share this part of the journey with my blogging community.  I know my Choice Literacy and blogging friends, family, and colleagues will want to hear the news since they were all so encouraging to both Megan and me.  One thing we can take away is that we are not giving up - ONWARD! (Thank you, Kate Messner!)  As our friend Louise Borden said in her wonderful, encouraging e-mail, "Face the sun...and keep writing!" I need to put that somewhere where I can see it all the time!  Thank you to those I reached out to (you know who you are:-)) for being there when I needed some pick-me-up words of faith and positivity.  I loved Jill's response: "It would be a boring story if the first place wanted it!" And the writers I reached out to reminded me that they have reams of rejection letters - way longer than our one.  We've only just begun. ;-) I printed ours out to start our rejection folder. Ha.  I also loved that an article by Stephen King came through in my Facebook newsfeed yesterday - so timely.  It was a list of tips taken from his book, On Writing, that I just started.  Serendipity!  Some of his advice was just perfect!  My favorites were #2 and #4.
So am I a writer?  I suppose I am.  One of the first things I wanted to do in response to this experience is to write!  I also know my students are writers, and I know that this is a fantastic thing to share with my them.  They know writing is hard.  I know writing is hard.  But it can be so rewarding.  My students know I am writing this book and that we submitted it for publication.  I'll share this rejection with them just like I share my Slices of Life and other blog writings, poems, and stories.  I'll share with them the writing I did this summer for Teachers Write! and I'll ask them to share their writing.  It is all part of the process.  Just yesterday, a fifth grade student wrote this in response to a question I posed on Kidblog about whether it was important for their ELA teachers to be readers and writers: "...if the teacher doesn’t read or write, how is a student supposed to progress in reading or writing if the teacher can’t give them advice or comments on how they can progress in a love of reading or writing?"  I look forward in giving them authentic feedback on what it's like to be a writer, just like I give them lots of feedback on what I'm reading.  I love the relationships we establish when we share these experiences with each other.

And thank you, Greg, for reminding me of this - it's my husband's favorite speech/quote, and is featured in Greg's wonderful book, Dash - Life Between the Numbers...

So, we continue to shop our book, and we hope something comes of it someday, but in the mean- time, I'll write because I am a writer!