March 14, 2016
Writing and I have had a love-hate relationship for a long time. We've spent long, lazy afternoons together dreaming about our future. We've fought and spent months apart trying to figure out how to reconnect. We've had ups and downs, just like any partnership. While our bond is strong now, our relationship had a rocky start.
As an elementary student, I'm pretty sure writing hated me---and I hated it right back. I wrote because I had to. I reluctantly completed class assignments and awaited the painful feedback. My grades were primarily good, but not in English class. Writing and I just couldn't work well together but we struggled though this rough patch.
In middle school, writing and I got back together when I started writing in a diary. This became an outlet for me, writing of the drama of the day, venting about friends, school, and my parents. Reflecting at the end of a day was my relaxation and my counseling. While most middle school relationships don't last long, writing and I were actually getting along!
In high school, the challenging course work put a strain on writing and I. Honors English was almost the demise of our entire relationship. Analyzing Shakespeare's sonnets, learning MLA format, discussing political satire, developing character traits, and writing multiple drafts with specific narrative elements. Writing and I were growing up and improving, or so I thought.
Off to college thinking that writing and I were in a good place, but my professors disagreed. I soon lost touch with writing (and my grades suffered). Writing seemed like a moving target. I was never sure how to make it happy or what to do to improve our relationship, so I gave up. I wrote as little as I possibly could to get by and washed my hands of the whole relationship.
Years passed, and as many couples reunite, writing and I met again. I committed to a doctoral program, where writing and I would inevitably have to co-exist. With a dissertation looming, writing and I started from scratch, learning to get along and communicate again. With help from a passionate and demanding professor, writing and I finally felt supported. Ongoing feedback about our relationship helped writing and I to grow stronger. After two years of research, revision, and more revision, we completed the dissertation. The hard work was rewarding and invigorating. So much so, that writing and I continued to try new things--publishing several articles and writing proposals for conferences.
Commitment in relationships can be a scary, daunting phase, but writing and I were sure that we were going to stay together. We took the ultimate step--a book. Over the course of a year and half, writing and I took everything we've learned throughout out relationship and put it to the test. The book STEAM Makers: Fostering Creativity and Innovation in the Elementary Classroom will be out next week!
So after some 30 years together, how will writing and I continue to keep our relationship going strong? How will we keep things vibrant and engaging? What goals would we work towards next? When I heard about the Compelled Tribe on Twitter (the greatest personal professional development tool ever!) it was perfect timing for writing and I get involved in a new phase of our relationship. So along with others in the Tribe, writing and I will share our work every month on this blog. We hope that it brings us closer together as we continue to share ideas and learn from others.
As with any, this relationship with writing hasn't been easy. It has taken hard work and commitment. Some days its fueled by creativity; other days it requires loads of patience. In the end, it is a relationship that I value and promise to develop for better or worse, in sickness and in health til death do us part.
What is your relationship with writing? What tips can you share about keeping the relationship strong?