“Confront the page that taunts you with its whiteness. Face your enemy and fill it with words. You are bigger and stronger than a piece of paper.”
― Fennel Hudson
We’re at that time. I like to call it the “Dead Zone” (thank you Steven King). The school year is rapidly approaching stress city. We are preparing alterations to curriculums for next year. Kids (and to be honest, teachers) are itching for spring break. And the biggest beast of them all, MAP testing is just around the bend.
Add on top of that a commitment to write for 31 (or 17) days in one of the most stressful months of the year, I can feel the brain cramps now. I bet there are at least a few folks out there who are struggling to keep at it. I know I am. Let me just encourage you that you’ve been going strong for almost two whole weeks. You can do it.
Over the weekend I plotted out a few more “firsts.” I am a theme kind of person. (I both love and hate that about myself.) I like things to have a unifying element. Which is how I got to the idea of “firsts.” After having participated in Slice of Life for a couple of years, I’ve learned where I struggle. And the biggest one of them all? Exhaustion.
My mother laughs when I say it, but I’m an old woman! After work I don’t get much done. I’ve learned over the past three years that on a school day I have to set out to write my post no later than four p.m. Why? Because if I take my computer home, there is a very small chance it ever gets taken out of my bag (that’s hard to do when your snoring away on the couch).
During the school day I find pockets of five minutes here or there to scrawl out my ideas. I’ve usually got a rough draft out by mid day, then I spend the rest of the day revising and editing. On weekends I set my alarm on my phone. (Okay, I might have three alarms…per day.)
The biggest lesson I’ve learned is to make a list of writing ideas. I didn’t do this the first year (or the second) and man was writing a struggle just five short days in. It’s difficult to generate new ideas when your brain is out of commission from stress and fatigue.
You may not be able to get 31 (or 17) items down straight out of the gate. So, I don’t worry about having my whole list done. It’s possible even if I did this, I wouldn’t ever want to write about some of those things. Instead I try to have at least a list of 10 things at any given time (I delete things after I’ve used them). I also make sure my list is mobil (usually on my phone), so that when an idea hits I can add it to my list. I’m the type of person that I get inspiration in random places.
Personally, I take the list one step further. My list needs a theme. In that first year writing random things down didn’t seem to work out for me. If I have a theme my mind chews on it and I get a better range of topics because it’s always there sitting at the back of my brain.
Have you ever had that instance where you just learned something new, and then you see it everywhere. It’s sort of like my second car, Almonzo. He was a Chevy HHR. I hadn’t seen them anywhere! Then, before I went in to buy a new car, and was in the research phase, I came across them. After that, I saw them every where!
Themes do the same thing for me. The theme “firsts” is hovering in my synapsis. When I do something, even the most mundane of tasks, one of two things happens. One, I think “Well, this is a first for me. Hey! This is a first for me!” and I jot it down on the list. Or two, I think, “I remember when I did this for the first time! Hey..” and I jot it down on the list.
When I think back, I sure have learned a lot since that FIRST Slice in 2016. If your wondering… it was about tulips rising after a beautiful winter. 😉