Scary, Scary, Scary“An experience isn’t finished until it’s written.” Anne Morrow Lindbergh
For the last three years (okay, five) I have been entertaining the idea of blogging. After all, I read blogs all the time. Blogs are a steady part of my reading diet, especially blogs about education and anything that involves literacy. Yet each time I think about writing posts in a blog, I talk myself out of it. I come up with excuses - lack of time, feeling like I have nothing to write about, not understanding enough about technology to blog, etc.
Recently, I realized something - I haven’t started blogging yet because I am scared. Really scared. The act of writing isn’t what scares me; I am in a solid routine of daily writing. It is publicly sharing my writing that paralyzes me.
In Fear, one of Elizabeth Gilbert’s chapters from Big Magic: Creative Living Among Fear (Riverhead Books, 2016), she includes a list of common fears that she believes prevents people from living a creative life. A few of these fears include:
- “You’re afraid you have no talent.”
- “You’re afraid you’ll be rejected or criticized or ridiculed or misunderstood or - worst of all - ignored.”
- “You’re afraid someone else already did it better.”
- “You’re afraid of being exposed as a hack, a fool, or a dilettante, or a narcissist.”
- “You’re afraid of what your peers and coworkers will say if you express your personal truths aloud.”
When it comes to my writing, I face all of these fears. And more. Unfortunately, for the last few years, I have let this fear prevent me from sharing my writing except with a very small (and safe) group of people. Sadly, as an English teacher, I expect my students to write and share their writing in authentic and public ways. Yet, I have not done a very good job of modeling this for my students.
One of my core beliefs about writing instruction is that teachers who write are better teachers of writing. Therefore, my practices must match my beliefs. I need to write and publish like a teacher of writing. As Katie Wood Ray shares about the human side of writing in What You Know by Heart: How to Develop Curriculum for Your Writing Workshop (Heinemann, 2002), “...we ask our students to give so much of themselves when they write. We ask them to write about things that matter. We ask them to invest enormous amounts of time and energy to write about those things well. And then, the crowning request, we ask them to take their writing out into the world and give it to other people. We need to know how it feels to do what we are asking them to do. We need to understand the very human side of what we are teaching when we teach writing.” (Wow. It is as if Katie Wood Ray is speaking directly to me.)
I must do better this year.
And so, in fear and excitement, I begin this blog, not only to remember my human side as a teacher of writing, but in also sharing my experiences and beliefs in teaching.