Exercising My Writing Muscles

The amazing Kate Messner  has gathered some other awesome authors and challenged us as teachers to…write! (You can find more information on the Teachers Write! Facebook page) I gladly added my name to the list and had the best of intentions to join in every day (or almost every day!). Then I read a prompt and another and felt myself crumble…”I can’t do this! What was I thinking?! I’m just not a good writer!” And the voice inside my head reminded me of the voices in my classroom at times.

I arrived in Indiana this week for 2 days of wonderful professional development at the All Write Consortium Summer Institute. Friday morning I walked into Ralph Fletcher’s workshop on mentor texts. He shared several pieces of wonderful student writing. What voices kids have when we allow them to explore! Ralph shared one of his poems with us and challenged us to write our own poem using his as a mentor text. We were to “borrow” the first two lines and last two lines.

As I furiously scribbled, I realized it’s not necessarily that I’m a lousy writer, it’s that my writing muscles are sorely out of shape. I know in my classroom it is important for students to write every day, but somehow I keep forgetting that lesson for myself. So, here I am, reviving my blog space that has lain dormant for far too many months. Some of what I write may be lousy. Some of it might be fairly good. I might even create a sentence or two that is profound! Who knows….but for now I will be doing my best to begin to get those writing muscles in shape.

P.S.- Guess it is only fair I share what my creaky muscles were able to produce with Ralph’s coaxing and encouragement!

Summer Memories
Sometimes I remember
The good old days

The cool welcome of the pool
As we piled in on a hot summer day

Making my way to the snack bar
Waiting patiently for Andy’s Fries and a Coke

He sits at the table with me, my first blush of love
The bag between us a shared connection

I still can’t imagine
Anything better than that


5 thoughts on “Exercising My Writing Muscles

  1. Teresa, I loved your poem at All Write and I love it now. All Write really helped me realize that my writing muscles were out of shape as well! I wasn’t aware of Kate’s Teacher’s Writing Page until reading this. So thank you! I’m glad your experience at All Write convinced you to write again and get back to blogging. I’ll be reading!

    • Dawn-
      Thanks so much! You are so sweet. I’m glad I could share Kate’s resource with you. Happy writing!

  2. Teresa, You’re not alone in your fears. I’ve been posting lots of writing that’s out of my comfort zone. I’ve never been much of a creative writer and can still recall my freshman comp prof scratching his head when reading some poems I wrote as he tried to find something nice to say! I love te poetry prompts that let us borrow a line or two to get started.

    • Thanks, Glenda! It amazes me how many of us who are teachers “fear” writing. I often wonder does that affect how we teach writing? And is that effect good or bad?! 🙂 Glad that we are making our way on this journey together!

      • I think we get the idea that others think that because we teach English we write poetry and dream of writing the next great American novel! It’s the creative writing, because it often comes from very personal places, that scares me. I worked through most of my fears about academic writing long ago. Still, the blog writing is something I stress about. I’m always surprised when folks actually read my posts!

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