Friday, February 19, 2016

Inspiration Strikes

I'm a big believer in living with your eyes wide open. I think that inspiration can strike at any time, in any place, and you have to be ready to grab it. I've perfected the use of voice texting myself, or leaving messages, on my phone because an idea for a blog post, article, or something will strike when I'm driving. Always. 

I also believe that the more creative you are, the more inspiration tends to strike. My creative outlet tends to be writing. The more I write, the more I have ideas to write about. I first came to this realization when I blogged during the March Slice of Life challenge run by the Two Writing Teachers blog during my first year of blogging. (You can learn more about that challenge HERE if you'd like.) I thought it would be an impossible challenge, 31 posts in 31 days, commenting on others daily, but I loved it.

Since then I've tried to replicate that for my students. I ask them to write each night. I don't care what they write, just write. They moan, a lot, in the beginning. Some do not rise to the challenge. But many do. Today, pouring over their most recent writing assignment that they turned in, a fiction story from a first person point-of-view, I was simply stunned by their growth as writers. It was unreal. Several of them write better than many adults I know, including me. Inspiration is all around us.

I tell my students about where I get ideas all of the time. In our fiction unit, we talked about how I'd sit to write, no idea where the story was going, and let my mind wander. We talked about how I'd get names for characters, eavesdrop on conversations, use parts of people I know all to make up this fictional world. 

I told them how friends inspire me, and not just as writers. I have friends who I go to lunch with, who push me to be my best self. Friends that make me laugh so much my abs hurt. Friends that push me, sending me messages and gentle nudges to do more, be more. They inspire.

Inspiration has been alive in our classroom this week - in the writing we've produced, in the books we've shared, in the conversations we have had. I don't think this is by accident. I think kids need to have these conversations, to realize books don't pop into authors' minds by accident. These authors are living lives open to possibility and when inspiration strikes, they grab it and hold on. All creators are. Our kids can do that too.

Today I started listening to an amazing audio book that only deepened this belief. I highly recommend it to you if you'd like to live an inspired life, and I'm only an hour in. The book is Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. I know you will love it and be ready to create something yourself when you're done. Huge thanks to my friend, Colby, for pushing me to just read it already. It is exactly what I needed.