The third time's a charm I think as I sit down at my desk to write my first post for my third year of participating in the Slice of Life writing challenge hosted by Two Writing Teachers. So much has changed for me in a year. So much has changed for me since I first participated three years ago.
The most significant change in my teaching life has been the way that I have integrated digital writing with my students. Writing each day in the 2012 challenge encouraged me to co-design a two week challenge with ninth graders at my high school that school year. In spring I built a digital writing project into my syllabus for graduate students; some elected to write alongside me in the 2013 March Slice of Life challenge. I integrated a blogging component for all of my students this spring in the Teaching Writing in Middle and High School course that I teach at UCF. Through each adventure, I learn more about myself as a writer, a teacher of writing, and a digital navigator.
The first year that you do this, you wonder, can I really post each and every day? Yes, you can and you will. I think that ultimately becomes the quest for some the first time around. I saw it in myself and I saw it in my graduate students last year. It was hard, but we rose to the daily challenge and produced quality work. It wasn't' always easy. The second thought is who is going to really read my blog? That is the beautiful part of the challenge. People will read your blog. You will be surprised at how much that means to you. They might not always comment, but they will read your blog. You will realize that readership matters. You might check your stats, but the feedback you get each day will provide you with the power to write daily and finish the month.
You will delight in the comments of others. You will find delight commenting on others because you will learn amazing things about them. In my classroom, the undiscovered poets, musicians, and voiceless found safety in the net. They took even greater risks as writers. They shared their hidden talents and found strength in the bonds they created digitally. Just as I do by participating in the Slice Challenge and my Diabetes for Social Media Advocacy group--- you will make bonds that transcend the walls of your home, your classroom, and your community.
You will grow as a writer. You will find yourself allocating time to write and then still find yourself at the desk, writing away. That is the danger in writing. You will get better, your words will come to you more quickly, you will write more and longer than you intended too. You will find inspiration in the words of others. You will try techniques out. Just by the habit of writing each day, you will find yourself getting better. Much like the daily reading habit we work to instill in our students, daily writing works the same. What we put our time and attention upon, blooms as your writing will this month.
Despite what happens this month, we will be able to post each day. It will be hard. It will be challenging. It will be done. We will find the time and the words will come to us. We
will be changed.