Reading, Teaching, Learning

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Slice of Life - Am I a Writer?

    I love participating in Slice of Life, started by Two Writing Teachers and writing a story, reflection, or musing at least once a week.



     It is also time for Teachers Write! founded by Kate Messner.  This post is combining the two a bit since I am a teacher who writes AND I need to share a slice of life today. 

Yesterday, I had an experience that caused me to ask, "Am I a writer?"  This was a question posed by the hosts of the #nctechat on Sunday.  Be sure to read the archive of the chat if you weren't able to participate.  It was great!

This is a slice that takes a bit of courage to write.  I shared in a Celebration Saturday post that my fellow writer, friend, and former teaching partner, Megan Ginther, and I submitted a book query and proposal in the spring to an educational publisher.  It is a book in progress called Literacy Frameworks in which we outline our core literacy philosophies and the way we frame our ELA teaching around literacy contracts that we develop, which include a theme topic, read aloud, small group books, independent reading, and writing projects.  At that time, we got two very thorough reviews back and a request to revise.  The editor we worked with was extremely gracious.  We worked on it and revised a couple more months and resubmitted it a week ago.  We got the final word back yesterday that it is a "no."  Wow.  It felt like a punch to the gut!  All that work...
 
After commiserating with Megan, I immediately reached out to a handful of friends who knew how much we invested in this book.  I didn't tell a lot of people since I was still processing through some of the emotions.  A few of the people I told, besides my best friends and family, were online friends (thank you, Twitter, Facebook, and blogs!), and I am grateful for the encouragement and reassurance they gave me.  ALL of them gave the feedback that this experience is part of what writing entails:  rejection!  I don't like this part. :-(  Being a reader doesn't encapsulate rejection.  I should stick with that.  Ha.
 
 

Today, I decided to go ahead and share this part of the journey with my blogging community.  I know my Choice Literacy and blogging friends, family, and colleagues will want to hear the news since they were all so encouraging to both Megan and me.  One thing we can take away is that we are not giving up - ONWARD! (Thank you, Kate Messner!)  As our friend Louise Borden said in her wonderful, encouraging e-mail, "Face the sun...and keep writing!" I need to put that somewhere where I can see it all the time!  Thank you to those I reached out to (you know who you are:-)) for being there when I needed some pick-me-up words of faith and positivity.  I loved Jill's response: "It would be a boring story if the first place wanted it!" And the writers I reached out to reminded me that they have reams of rejection letters - way longer than our one.  We've only just begun. ;-) I printed ours out to start our rejection folder. Ha.  I also loved that an article by Stephen King came through in my Facebook newsfeed yesterday - so timely.  It was a list of tips taken from his book, On Writing, that I just started.  Serendipity!  Some of his advice was just perfect!  My favorites were #2 and #4.
 
 
So am I a writer?  I suppose I am.  One of the first things I wanted to do in response to this experience is to write!  I also know my students are writers, and I know that this is a fantastic thing to share with my them.  They know writing is hard.  I know writing is hard.  But it can be so rewarding.  My students know I am writing this book and that we submitted it for publication.  I'll share this rejection with them just like I share my Slices of Life and other blog writings, poems, and stories.  I'll share with them the writing I did this summer for Teachers Write! and I'll ask them to share their writing.  It is all part of the process.  Just yesterday, a fifth grade student wrote this in response to a question I posed on Kidblog about whether it was important for their ELA teachers to be readers and writers: "...if the teacher doesn’t read or write, how is a student supposed to progress in reading or writing if the teacher can’t give them advice or comments on how they can progress in a love of reading or writing?"  I look forward in giving them authentic feedback on what it's like to be a writer, just like I give them lots of feedback on what I'm reading.  I love the relationships we establish when we share these experiences with each other.

And thank you, Greg, for reminding me of this - it's my husband's favorite speech/quote, and is featured in Greg's wonderful book, Dash - Life Between the Numbers...



So, we continue to shop our book, and we hope something comes of it someday, but in the mean- time, I'll write because I am a writer! 

30 comments:

  1. Oh, I love that you wrote this, Holly. It certainly touched me on so many levels - but mainly on the human level. First and foremost, you are a human being. And human beings feel disappointed and sad and jealous and anxious and afraid and angry and all those things. But it is also the human feelings of passion and love and commitment that spur us on to do the things we believe in and love - like writing. So dust yourself off and get back to doing what you love. You may not succeed the first time or even the tenth, but you'll be doing what you love. And THAT is success, too! (Also, never forget the many many young lives you make a difference in. Not everyone can say THAT. Believe me!)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Barbara,
      Thank you so much for this response. Doing what I love keeps me going, for sure, and it means a lot to have a writer encourage me. :-)

      Delete
  2. Holly, I am happy to have met your acquaintance this past month and felt when I virtually met you that you were indeed a writer. Rejection is hard to face but as teachers with open mindsets we know that this is just a bump in the road. There is a destination and you will find it. Your honesty and thoughtful writing about this stumbling block is meant to have your turn a corner. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Carol,
      You are so kind! I love virtual meetings, don't you?! :-) I know this is just a bump in the road, and we will reach our destination!

      Delete
  3. Whatever the fray, I'd want to have you on my team, or be on your team. You're gracious, talented, and audacious.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're awesome. I feel the same way about you!

      Delete
  4. This took courage to share, but it is so important for us to hear. I love that blogging has given me the positive feedback I need to keep writing. We should not be ashamed of this need. It is basic and human. Feeling rejection is part of life, but it's the crappy part. Remember that you are not just a writer, you are a great writer.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Feeling rejection is part of life, but it's the crappy part." Ha! Love it - you are so right! ;-) Thank you for your kind words!

      Delete
  5. Awww, Holly. This is SO GOOD! Thanks for putting it out there. We WILL find some fit for this book. We've got a great idea that lots of people can use. Rejection sucks, but we sure have developed a deep, wonderful friendship because of the journey! I'll take that over acceptance any day. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know we will, Megan, and I'm grateful for our deep, wonderful friendship, too. Ditto! :-)

      Delete
  6. Thank you sharing your journey, Holly. I love how you are still finding countless ways to celebrate!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As Ruth Ayres says: Celebrate with Grit! :-)

      Delete
  7. "So am I a writer? I suppose I am."
    Please take out "I suppose". Leave the "I am".
    Process.
    Reflect.
    Keep on keeping on.
    You are brave.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Michele,
      Thank you! I love that. I am a writer. ;-)

      Delete
    2. Michele,
      Thank you! I love that. I am a writer. ;-)

      Delete
  8. I will echo Greg's comments and add that your bravery is an encouragement to all of us who have at any time even considered sending something to a publisher. Your authenticity is what being a writer is all about. Your words will be heard!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Bravo, Holly! I have a feeling that this is just the beginning for you - now that you've been through the cycle once, you will just keep going...writing, thinking of new ideas, and new frameworks. And, how awesome to have a cheering squad ready and willing to support and advise.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes - it already toughened me up. ;-) Maybe the first time is the hardest. We're ready to keep going now! And I love my cheering squad! :-)

      Delete
  10. Oh, I agree with Greg, and Jaana, and Tara! You are a writer! Repeat it with me, "I am a writer!" You are living the life of a writer!!! I admire so much about you and your writing! Your enthusiasm and feedback motivate me and so many others!! I know that you are at the beginning of your journey! I can't wait to see where life takes you! Thank you for including the quotes from your friends and the authors here in your post. I'm copying them down for myself. To my friend Holly, the writer! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Michelle. You are truly an inspiring and encouraging person. Your words mean a lot to me!! I knew I picked JOURNEY for my OLW for a reason. ;-)

      Delete
  11. Take heart. The fact that you had the ear, and time, of an editor suggests you're onto something good. Not all rejections are the same. I shared a couple of mine at gregswritemind.wordpress.com

    It's hard. It hurts. But it gets better.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Greg! I'm going to go read your blog!

      Delete
  12. I just love your "can do" attitude! This will also be an amazing experience to share with your students. Thank you for sharing, Holly! I will remember this post as I move through my own writing journey. :)
    ~Jennifer

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, it will be great to share with students!

      Delete
  13. Absolutely don not give up. There is a place for your book. Keep submitting to other publishers.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Gigi. We won't give up! We know there's a place for it. :-) Thanks for the encouragement!

      Delete
  14. My first thought was Michelle's - Don't say suppose! You are most definitely a writer! What a brave post. You will get published - obviously that editor wasn't the right fit. All the best.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I just read an interesting article online about when to say you're a writer (RIGHT NOW!) this morning. Here's a link to it in case you're interested: http://thewritelife.com/call-yourself-a-writer/.

    ReplyDelete