I’ve always loved to write. As a child, I filled notebooks with stories. Writing was like breathing-it was something that I had to do and I was blessed to have parents who always encouraged me, as well as elementary and middle school teachers who also supported me. I was a writer and I believed that my writing held value.
However, things changed and my love of writing was paralyzed by experiences in high school. During that time, I allowed myself to be convinced that I was not a writer. I assumed my writing was without value so I became unable to get anything down onto paper without second-guessing myself. As a result, I packed up my notebooks and tried to forget that I had ever identified myself as a writer.
I wrote many research papers in college, but still couldn’t bring myself to pick up a notebook and just start writing. I only wrote when required to do so, even as I started a teaching career and attended graduate school. I was still so haunted by past experiences that I couldn’t imagine writing, much less sharing my writing with others.
About five years ago, though, I began to recognize that spark I’d felt as a child begin to ignite. Writing instruction became a focus in my school and as I planned lessons to develop my students as writers and worked with teachers to promote writing instruction, I realized that in order for me to teach writing, I had to be a writer. I wrote with my students and for my students and as I did that, the spark grew brighter. Finally, during the summer of 2014, while participating in Teachers Write, the spark became a full-fledged flame. I found a community of teacher-writers who accepted me and encouraged me. Teachers Write provided me with a gift for which I will always be grateful-writing without fear.
Every once in a while, though, the memories of high school writing activities and self-doubts try to drive me off course. However, now I’ve got the tools in my arsenal to fight that negativity. I am a writer. No one can take that away from me unless I allow them…and that’s not going to happen!