I haven’t been writing. There, I confessed. Last summer, I agreed to co-author this blog, Rethinking Media Centers, with my friend and colleague, Jamie Riley, but I have not done my part. This morning I hesitantly looked at the calendar to see how many weeks I had left to complete the 8-blog-posts requirement for the Literacy Connection course that I am taking. 8 weeks. Whew! It almost felt like I planned it that way. Almost.
The strange thing is I eagerly read the text for the course, Celebrating Writers by Ruth Ayres in one sitting. Loved it! I may have even cheered when I read her journal entry that said, “If you are going to teach people to write, you need to write yourself.” So, why has it been so difficult for me to make time to write?
My defensive side would be able to provide a long list of excuses including: start of school, holidays, and out-of- town guests…the usual stuff. But the truth is writing is not high on my priority list. Why should it be? What is the payback for tapping a keyboard and putting a few words on a page? Wouldn’t my time be better spent working on lesson plans, getting organized, exercising…you know, thing that give me something to show for my time.
Then, this morning I read a blog post on ruthayreswrites.com. The post refers to a picture of a board game that she posted on social media with the caption, ”Better than TV.” On her blog she confessed that in reality this family time wasn’t perfect and included spilled drinks, arguments and other interruptions. By the end of the game they managed to turn it into a pleasant experience. She concluded that the game actually “was better than TV …not because it was easier, but because it helped to transform us into the kind of family we want to be.”
Writing about this moment in time helped Ruth to see beyond the chaos and see this event and her family differently. I have to wonder if she would have been able to put this positive spin on the event, if she didn’t write about it.
So, why should I pick up a pen? What is the payback of writing? Maybe it will help me be honest with myself. Maybe it will help me reframe my view of an event or person in a more positive way. Maybe it will help me understand what is important and set priorities. Maybe it will help me to know who I am and who I can become.
I devoured Ruth’s book and plan to implement many of her suggestions in the Media Center this year. Yet, her brutally honest description about an everyday event is what gave me the energy and motivation to turn on the computer and give writing a chance.