Walk the Talk, and Bring a Friend

#SOL16 Day 17 Screen Shot 2016-03-01 at 5.11.16 PM

At least once a month I host a Teachers Write group for my school district. The inspiration came from Kate Messner’s Teacher’s Write an online “community of teachers and librarians who believe that people teaching writing should walk the walk.” Over the past two years we’ve had a small but dedicated core of teachers who join me over at our local Barnes and Noble to walk the talk.

We are usually pretty spent at the end of a teaching day and the hit of caffeine from the café is a prerequisite to composing! Each month we have different projects or pieces we are engaged in and it is always interesting to see what captivates each of us enough to put it to paper.

It’s no surprise this month I’m working on my Slice of Life blog post. One of us is working on a fictional thriller.  One of us is composing a letter to IMG_4933persuade administration for more access to technology. One of us is talking!  She is stuck for ideas, and as we suggest several she waves them off.

Hey write about how you listen to  Eva* (her young daughter) read her stories to you over and over!

Haaa! I can’t I’ll sound like a horrible mother!

She shares another ’embarrassingly honest’ mommy story with us.

“Write about that!”

“I can’t write that down!”

I share with her the idea of a “Truth Quotient” in writing that I read in Carrie Gelson’s #SOL16  Carrie wrote, “Sometimes we write around what we should not share. We leave hints that likely, only we, ourselves could figure out. Other times, we nudge things a little closer to actually being exposed. But, because we are so very precise in what we do and don’t say, we are still playing it safe.” I suggest my friend could write with the truth quotient turned way down!

The conversations we have each month, eerily mimic the experiences and struggles our own writers have in class.  We give ourselves permission to talk them out, seek inspiration,  and even decline advice from others. This is all part of the walk of writing.  It helps us to remember that our young writers need to take these walks from time to time as well.  We certainly aren’t 100% nose to the grindstone during our writing sessions. That’s not how it works!

We try to make our writing time together enjoyable. That is what the best writing workshops strive for as well; creating a community of writers who lift one another up. The more walks I take as a writer, the more I can appreciate and anticipate the needs of our writers.

I know every member of this slicing community is taking a walk each day.  Let’s invite more of our friends and colleagues to come along for a walk. We just never know where it might lead.

Screen Shot 2016-03-17 at 7.30.46 AM


*not her real name



6 thoughts on “Walk the Talk, and Bring a Friend

  1. I am so very honoured that you quoted me here and shared with your writing community! Also so pleased that you are thinking about this “truth quotient.” I keep thinking about it too.

  2. Wow, I love your idea of getting a group of teachers writing to “walk the walk.” I think it is so true that to be teachers of writing, we must be writers ourselves. I am going to file this thought away for next year and see if I cannot start this idea with some staff!

  3. So impressed that you can entice teachers to join you! What a wonderful group you must have – teachers who are committed to the understanding that to be better teachers of writing they must write!

  4. Wow! That is so great that you are able to bring teacher writers together for this type of experience. Lucky teachers to have you & your inspiration and to have each other to learn from & inspire. I wish I had had such an opportunity…though I would have needed much prodding to realize I needed or wanted it! =) I am incredibly thankful for finding Teachers Write & this Slice of Life challenge at this time in my writing life.

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