Can an identity be changed in a week? An attitude, at least? A perspective? If so, mine has.
Just last week, I started with our local chapter of the National Writing Project. It's called Lake Michigan Writing Project.
Let's see--Lifelong friends have been made. (Where have they been all my life?)
The Writing Project made us all quite tight--in a week--by sharing things I wouldn't share with people I've known for years. (It turns out, when all are vulnerable [and recipients are supportive]), great learning can happen. Already, I notice the power of the people around me. I'm thinking, 'How did I live without these people in my life?' Really. Lindsey--what an immediate connection between History and ELA. Let's find it. Erica with her great laugh and abilities with technology. Chris (aka, David Malibu) and his awareness that we MUST improve--even after 20+ years in education. Ben and his sense of humor and stinging passion to improve education. And Tracy, the teacher ready to change the world. I'm so thankful for her energy, for her optimism.
All others have been amazing in shaping a unique and engaging community.
THIS HAS HELPED CHANGE MY PERSPECTIVE.
Let's see--Quality of skills has risen
Just by listening to other thinkers/educators, I've gotten better at expressing my ideas and just pulling it all together. I've been more clearly able to identify my purposes for writing (self-reflection, family connection, sharing ideas) and my audiences (this group of teachers, my Twitter PLN, the world). Because of this knowledge, my skills have gotten better.
Note: my skills have NOT gotten better from intense grammar study. They have NOT improved from worksheets. Here's a quick overview of the schedule at the workshop. The major component? Reading and Writing.
-The goal for the day (the theme, really)
-Quotes to get us fired up FOR that goal
-Sacred writing decided with choice
-Teaching Demonstration (teachers teaching teachers)
-Log Report (in creative fashion, we go over the previous day's activities)
-Reading/Writing Workshop which includes sharing
-Closing/Launch (Thanks, Lindsey for that!)
THIS HAS HELPED CHANGE MY ATTITUDE.
Let's see--This leads to something even more important: IDENTITY.
On Thursday, to end our first week with the Writing Project, we went out into the city with our writing groups and wrote about environments during our Writing Marathon--four hours of straight writing. My group and I bounced from the Grand Rapids Brewing Company to Heartside Park to the farmer's market nearby to the riverside back near campus. Each of these places are populated by many people and our lone instruction from our director before going out on the town was to respond to the people questioning our actions with the simple phrase, "I am a writer."
I had the opportunity to use this phrase at each place--at first feeling uncomfortable. I don't think I've ever said that before. I mean--am I?
I haven't written a book. I don't have much published. I've only been writing my blog for six months. But, by the fourth stop, it changed.
Through the National Writing Project and, more importantly, because of the affirmation of the people inside of it, I know that what I have to say matters. It might not--and probably will never--matter to all people at one time.
But it matters to me.
And that is why I can say with full confidence and conviction that--
I. AM. A. WRITER.