Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Slice of Life - #Prewriting

A few weeks ago I attend the All Write conference in Northern Indiana. One of the more entertaining stories I left with was a running joke between Donalyn Miller and Terry Thompson. Both were working on their latest books this past spring and were encouraging each other as they wrote. Sometimes they would send each other text messages like:

Checking the fridge for food. #prewriting

Making guacamole. #prewriting.

When they told me this story, I laughed, of course. If you’ve ever been around these two you know they each have a wicked sense of humor and can really tell a story. I also felt relief.

I am not a procrastinator by nature. When something is assigned to me, I try and get it done immediately. If I am in a faculty meeting and my principal asks for an email by the end of the week, I often send the email as I sit there. When we get an invitation to RSVP to, I often do that the day the invite arrives. If I can cross off something on a list, I like to do that as soon as possible. It isn’t that I am super organized, just that I like to have things done. I worry I will forget about them, so what can be done immediately, gets done immediately.

It is when the task is bigger than a simple check mark, that I stall. Need a blog post or an article? Done. Need a chapter or more? Hmm… What’s in the fridge? Let me go look.


At first this freaked me out. This isn’t my nature. I can crank out writing when it’s short. A thousand words means sitting for an hour and typing, revising. That is easy to me when it’s a thousand words in isolation. A thousand words as part of something larger and I’m drowning. (And eating, and baking, and running, and organizing.)


So I spent the better part of the last few weeks freaking out. I want to write a book. I really do. Then I start to have these moments of panic. Or that darn inner editor I wrote about – or, more accurately, inner critic – will pop up. I tell her to go weed. I return to the computer. Type. Eat. Type. Head out to weed myself. Type. Read for a bit.


I think what I’m learning is this is part of my writing process. I will not be cranking out a book a thousand words a day and done in a few months. This will happen, it will just take awhile. And now I will return to what I know works for me. Return to brainstorming in my writing notebook, writing a bit for my blog, thinking about my students, walks with my children, reading books that inspire, thinking of writing friends like Terry and Donalyn, and know that I am not alone in this crazy venture we call writing.

While I might be doing a lot of #prewriting, but I #amwriting as well. That is what matters to me.

Slice of Life is sponsored every Tuesday by Stacey and Ruth from Two Writing Teachers