For the past few weeks, I’ve been in a bit of a writing rut. Blinking cursors, empty pages, ideas that went absolutely nowhere…it seemed as though every time I sat down to write, I struggled. I was suddenly writing with fear, worrying about my words before they even made it to the page. When had that happened? I had embraced writing without fear, but here it was again.
Then, last night, as I scrolled through my Twitter feed, I came across the following pictures posted by Jen Vincent (@mentortexts). The first picture made me smile as I thought of myself in a fighting stance, standing in front of that blank page. I could hear myself saying, “Put up your dukes, blank page!” while bobbing and weaving (I am not the least bit athletically inclined, so this image really made me laugh out loud). But I realized that’s what I have to do. I cannot wallow in my writing rut, but I have to consciously work on writing. I have to tackle that blank page. Whatever that blank page brings, I have the tools to overcome it!
Then, I looked at the second picture. This picture reminded me that I can write. I can do this. I do have something to say. I am a writer. I am a writer. I AM a writer! What I have to say may not be perfect. It will probably need a lot of work, but there needs to at least be something on the page first.
Then, I went to Jen’s blog, http://www.teachmentortexts.com and came across the following line: “a first draft is perfect simply because it exists. Once we have something, we can go from there” (Jen Vincent, blog post, August 22, 2015). This was the further kick in the pants that I needed and I realized that my writing rut was self-created. It’s so easy to say, “Oh, I have nothing to write about today,” or “Not much has happened worth writing about.” When my students say those same things, I work to show them that they do have a lot to write about. We power through their writing ruts. I don’t let them get by with those excuses, so I can’t let myself off the hook with excuses, either. To use a cliché, I’ve got to practice what I preach. Somewhere along the way, I lost that and Jen’s tweets and blog post helped me get back on track (ok, another cliché!). I can write. I am a writer. The proof is on the page!