Building habits! Reaching goals! Practicing when you don't feel it! Pushing through the tough days. Any of these phrases could describe what it takes to grow as a reader, a runner, or anything else for which you strive in life. For me, this month, it's my growth as a writer. I have always embraced the idea that you need to be a reader to be a teacher of reading. I have share in the past that I don't embrace the writing, but I know to be a teacher of writers you must write even if is routinely writing with your students.
Looking back at this past month and the finish line, I've moved beyond how I felt in Year 1 where I didn't know if I could finish and actually made it through 31 days. It was tough. I didn't believe I could do it. Year 1 transformed,however, me for the better as a teacher of writing. I learned the power of a responsive audience, the power of community and the toil of writing practice since I had mastered "school writing." It changed me professionally. Upon completion I planned a slice unit for my students and we did our own. They too taught me about the power of writing outside the classroom. I embedded blogging in my course for college students.
Year 2 was different, I moved with the confidence and knowledge that I could meet the challenge, because I did it in year one. It was similar to the feeling I had at CG Games this summer. I knew I could complete the events because I had done them all at least once. That confidence frees you since you know you won't fail. I also blogged with other colleagues trying it out. I felt the same in Year 3 and Year 4. Between Year 3 and 4 I actually met fellow Slicers at NCTE in DC, a cool experience since I had only known these writers through our digital encounters. I also actually provided tech support and was able to share my experience with other future Slicers. I had the confidence that I could help others through the process too. I am always have enough knowledge to be a little dangerous, which empowers me to take risks. I read a little more about digital writing, Troy Hicks, being my favorite. I kept learning about the process.
This year, Year 5, was a little different. I had a routine. Just like I have a workout routine, I had a writing routine. I posted topics that were routine and helped me build content. This was the first year that I was really able to have drafts so I didn't always have to write the day of. I looked for content in my world. Part of my growth this year was attending Florida Blog Con where I learned about the noneducational end of blogging. This year I was also part of the welcome wagon where I had a small group of new Slices that I routinely commented upon. They provided inspiration each day. I did miss, however, reading the posts by Slicers such as Anita, and Stacey Shubitz as well as others. I just found that although I could write every day, it still took time. Just because it got easier, it still took time. The toughness was the work itself not the doing of the work. Little is really required of me to read each day I love it. It's not hard. Writing each day is hard just like working out each day is hard. On days where I had open posts, I struggled with the open-ended-ness. Still this experience continues to be one where I am able to push my practice and engage in self-centered professional learning. I love it!
Next year I want to participate in one of the commenting challenges. I want to be a better member of the community throughout the entire year for the weekly post. Last year was my least prolific.
That aside! I am eternally grateful to the Slice team, my fellow slicers, Lee Ann, and my other readers whose feedback both written and face-to-face help me grow!