Today was the fourth day in November that I wrote a piece on 750 Words as part of the November Writing Challenge. What’s motivating me? Well first, the fiction writing I’m doing is a huge motivator. I have stories inside me to tell. In fact, I’ve had some ideas for children’s picture books inside my head for quite some time now. For instance, one of my story ideas has been percolating since June 2009. However, in June 2009 I was busy wrapping up my job in Rhode Island. The next month we moved to Pennsylvania. The following month I began writing Day by Day with Ruth, which meant it was hard to dedicate any time to writing fiction. I found out I was pregnant the week after we turned the manuscript for Day by Day into our publisher. While I did some fiction writing during my pregnancy, it wasn’t a priority and it sure wasn’t a priority once my daughter was born. Therefore, being part of the 750 Words Writing Challenge has been encouraging me to finally write fiction again.
Only four days into the Challenge and I already found time being a huge factor. Prior to writing Day by Day, I got up and wrote every day at 5:00 a.m. I did this for two reasons. First, this was an uninterrupted time of day. My husband wasn’t awake for work yet and no one was calling or e-mailing me at that time of day. Second, I found it peaceful to write at that time of day. Once I finished, I made myself a latte, ate breakfast, and read The New York Times. Then, I got dressed for work. Now, waking up at 5:00 a.m. isn’t something I want to do since my daughter regularly wakes up at 6:30 a.m. (at the latest). I don’t get to bed ’til 10:30 p.m. on most nights, which means in order to have a solid eight hours of sleep (If she doesn’t wake up with teething issues in the middle of the night, which has been happening lately.) I can no longer write at 5:00 a.m.
My daughter frequently naps in the car, which is not a time I can go online and type out my 750 Words (for two obvious reasons: safety and lack of an internet connection). Therefore, I have to find a time at home to write. Yesterday I was able to steal twenty or so minutes of writing time while she took a longer than usual morning nap. (Usually I spend that time getting myself ready to go out for the day, but if it goes longer than planned, I’ll capitalize on the time.) Today I typed my entry while she was playing quietly on the floor of our living room playing with a bright colored sock monkey I recently bought her. The phone rang once while I was typing my 750 Words entry today. I ignored it. That was hard to do, especially since I have Caller ID and should’ve picked up the phone call. However, I realized in order to honor myself as a writer, I didn’t pick up the call. Instead, I decided to call the person back later.
As a new mother, I now understand how hard it is to find the time to write daily. It almost seems like a luxury… like getting a manicure (something I no longer do too often these days). However, writing, for me, is a necessity. I’ve come to realize that if I view my time to write as a necessity, rather than a luxury, I will not just squeeze it in, I will make the necessary time for it during each and every day. I believe this mind-shift is the reason I have been able to fit in writing each day this week.
My biggest fear, as a participant of the November Writing Challenge, is that I will miss a day due to a power outage, which is not such a rarity these days with all of the outages heavy rain storms and snow storms have been causing up and down the East Coast. Since I’ve committed to paying for wireless internet in my hotel room during NCTE, I don’t think a lack of an internet connection during my time in Chicago will be an issue.
So, four days into the Challenge I’m doing well. My writing is coming along nicely. I’m really happy to be back in the fiction writing groove again. I will keep you posted about my progress in another week or two. Until then, a big thank you to those of you who’ve e-mailed me words of encouragement. I cannot begin to tell you how appreciative I am of the support!
I am a literacy consultant who has spent the past dozen years working with teachers to improve the teaching of writing in their classrooms. While I work with teachers and students in grades K-6, I'm a former fourth and fifth-grade teacher so I have a passion for working with upper elementary students.
I'm the author of Craft Moves (Stenhouse Publishers, 2016) and the co-author of Jump Into Writing (Zaner-Bloser, 2021), Welcome to Writing Workshop (Stenhouse Publishers, 2019), and Day By Day (Stenhouse, 2010).