Almost 10 years ago, I joined the Lake Michigan Writing Project (part of the National Writing Project). I was beat up and burnt out by teaching. I joined the project as a last-ditch effort to save my career.
What happened was I found my people. I was surrounded and embraced by passionate eduactors who loved to learn and yearned to create.
We taught each other. We encouraged each other. We shared our writing, our tears, and (of course) our food. It sustained me and revitalized me, reminded me that I am a writer and a teacher. I’ve stayed involved with the Writing Project ever since.
Last night, the director invited me to a more intensive “advanced institute.” We’ll be meeting four days a week for the last three weeks of June. 9:00-3:00. Monday-Thursday.
We’re all tired from teaching, struggling and dragging ourselves into Spring Break, trying to keep our heads above water. Decision-fatigue and Pandemic Brain Fog are constant companions.
I had to put my phone down on the table to keep myself from immediately responding, “I’M IN!!”
I should look at my calendar.
I should think about how drained I am at the end of the school year.
More importantly, I should talk to Anne.
“So,” I broached the topic with Anne, “Lindsay emailed be about an advanced institute through the Writing Project.”
Like I said, I’ve been involved with the Project whenever I had the opportunity, so Anne had an idea about what was coming.
“She doing a new kind of advanced institute. It’s more intensive than the past. I’d kind of like to do it,” I said, slow playing it a little.
Anne raised an eyebrow. “When is it?” I told her the dates. She was silent for a few seconds. “That’s a big time commitment.” She can be understated too. “How will you feel about dedicating that much of your summer?”
“I want to do it.”
She said, “For most things, I’d say to wait, to remember how you feel at the end of the summer when you’ve over-committed to things and felt tired before the school year even started.” I stay silent, waiting for the “…but.” “But,” she continued, “I know how important the Project is to you. If you want to do it, you should.” My wife is the best.
Writing with my fellow teachers is so affirming and energizing. I can’t wait to do it in person this summer.
I’ve found similar encouragement in this community. From the daily inspiration posts (I was even featured once) to the amazing posts to the generous and kind comments from other bloggers, I’ve felt encouraged and supported throughout March. I’ve also remembered how much I enjoy writing. I’ve seen the benefits of mindfulness as I look for my next Slice of Life. I’ve paid more attention to details and word choices, listening to conversations around me.
Thank you all for this month of affirmations. I’m excited to keep writing. (Although, I probably won’t post every day.)
Take care y’all and keep writing.